Lena Delta and Laptev Sea Shelf Drilling Expeditions


April, August 2017, Omulyakh, Pestsovaya and Goltsovoe lagoons, Bykovsky Peninsula (drilling, geophysical surveys)
April 2016, Lena Delta
March-April 2015, Offshore Permafrost: Buor-Khaya Gulf, Laptev Sea

April, June, August 2015, Evolution of River Taliks and Sediment Transport: Lena Delta
April 2014, Lena Delta and Laptev Sea shelf

 MPI Laboratory of General Geocryology; Pacific Oceanological Institute in Vladivostok; Moscow State University

2016 Field Program: drilling in Bolshaya Tumatskaya Channel, Lena Delta (seven boreholes up to 26 m in depth)

2015 Field Program
Buor-Khaya Gulf, Laptev Sea - drilling from sea ice (40 m borehole, 5 km east of Bykovsky Peninsula); sub-bottom geophysical profiling; 

2014 Field Program:
drilling (three boreholes, 4.5 m, 8.3 m and 10.2 m deep, in the Lena Delta – Tumat Channel and Samoylov Island, a 30-m borehole offshore Bykovsky Peninsula – Mamontova Khayata exposure, Ivashkina lagoon, and two boreholes 30 and 40 m in depth, offshore Muostakh Island); temperature measurements in monitoring boreholes; ice, water, and sediment sampling; subbottom geophysical profiling

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Drilling from the river ice in Tumat Channel, Lena Delta (КМБ-15-3М drilling rig, April 2014).

Buor Khaya 2015          Lena Delta 2 2016

Drilling from sea ice, Buor-Khaya Gulf, Laptev Sea (2015).              Heading from Tiksi to Samoylov Island (2016).


Power of Siberia Pipeline: Permafrost-Related Hazard Assessment

Research Project: Permafrost Changes and Potential Effects of Related Hazards on Linear Infrastructure under Changing Climatic Conditions (PI: Vera Samsonova), 2018-2020

Field campaign 2018
In July-August 2018, a reconnaissance survey was undertaken from the Chayanda field to Skovorodino to identify permafrost-related problems areas along the pipeline corridor. Five field teams worked in the Chayanda, Skovorodino, Nimnyr, Aldan and Tynda areas focusing on permafrost terrain features, icings, and rock streams. In total, 410 sites were examined, of which 30 were identified as the greatest problem areas requiring further drilling and geophysical investigations in 2019-2020. In addition to icings and rockstreams, potential hazards along the pipeline were found to be subsurface erosion, thermokarst and gullying.

2018 Pipeline 2018 Pipeline 2

Suntar-Khayata Range: Permafrost and Glacier Studies

2012-2015 summer seasons

Participants: MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Landscapes; Arctic Environment Research Center, National Institute of Polar Research, Japan

From summer 1956 to autumn 1959, the Permafrost Institute undertook glaciological and permafrost studies in the Suntar-Khayata Range, northeastern Russia, as part of the International Geophysical Year 1957/58. The expedition led by Nikolai Grave performed a wide range of research, including meteorology, actinometry, ground temperature measurements, glaciology, geology, snow surveys, permafrost studies, and geobotanical sampling. Detailed glaciological investigations were conducted at Glacier 31 located at the heads of the Burgali River, a left tributary to the Indigirka. The scientific findings of this expedition were published in: N.A. Grave, M.K. Gavrilova, G.F. Gravis, E.M. Katasonov, N.K. Klyukin, M.M. Koreisha. B.A. Kornilov, L.V. Chistotinov. Freezing of Earth Surface and Glaciation of Suntar-Khayata Range (Eastern Yakutia). The Publishing House “Nauka”, Moscow 1964.

In 2012-2014, glaciological and permafrost studies were undertaken in the Glacier 31 area under the Agreement between the Melnikov Permafrost Institute and the Arctic Environment Research Center, National Institute of Polar Research, Japan. The objective of this joint project was to study climate change effects on glaciers, permafrost and surrounding landscapes in northeastern Eurasia. Field campaigns during the summers of 2012, 2013, and 2014 collected data on glacier age and dynamics, seasonal thaw depths, and ground, air and glacier ice temperatures. In 2015, the Laboratory of Permafrost Landscapes continued observations and examined the landscapes left behind by retreating glaciers.

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Suntar Khayata 2015 1

Suntar Khayata 2015 3



Kyzyl-Syr Expedition: Tukulans

Multi-disciplinary studies of the Kyzyl-Syr sand dune complex in the Vilyui River basin, Central Yakutia


Participants: MPI Laboratory of General Geocryology; MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Engineering; MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Geothermics; North-Eastern Federal University, Yakutsk; Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics, Novosibirsk; V.V. Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute, Moscow; Tomsk State University


Tukulans 2015 2    Tukulans 2015 1 
Tukulans 2015 3  Tukulans Figure 3b

Field Program:

- Geomorphology, morphometry and soil biology – ground surveys with landform characterization, excavation and description of soil pits and trenches, sample collection for standard soil analysis, wood sampling for dendrochronological analysis
- Cryofacies description of type sections of eolian deposits – cleaning off natural exposures, shallow test pitting, power auger drilling, sampling for grain-size, mineralogical, spore pollen, geochemical, micromorphological and radiocarbon dating analyses
- Ground temperature observations – drilling and instrumentation of boreholes for long-term thermal monitoring, near-surface temperature measurements
- Geophysical surveys – GPR and ERT
- Hydrology and hydrogeology – description of hydrological conditions within the key site, surface streams, intrapermafrost water discharges, frost mounds; ice, water and sediment sampling for hydrochemical and isotope (oxygen, deuterium, tritium) analyses
- Field testing – grain-size sieve analysis; determinations of moisture content, ice content, dry density by the core cutter method

Alpine Permafrost: Northern Tian Shan

Bolshaya Almatinka, Ili Alatau Range


Participants: MPI Permafrost Geothermics, Regional Geocryology and Kazakhstan Alpine Permafrost Laboratories; Institute of Geography, Republic of Kazakhstan; Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics, Novosibirsk

Permafrost-related field program: data retrieved from the long-term monitoring sites, four new sites established and instrumented with data loggers at elevations above 3400 m; geophysical survey (ERT) conducted along Zhosalykezen Pass crest from the south-facing to north-facing slope along borehole sites.

Rock-glacier studies: ERT, GPR, thermal measurements, melwater isotopic analysis

TianShan 1 TianShan 2
TianShan 3 TianShan 4

Altai Expedition: Permafrost and Rock Glaciers

Northern Chuya and Kurai Ranges


Participants: MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Geothermics; MPI Laboratory of General Geocryology: Department of Geography, Altai State University; Department of Geography, Gorno-Altaisk State University; Institute for Water and Environmental Problems, Barnaul; Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics, Novosibirsk; Altaigeo OAO.

Permafrost-related field program: Site reconnaissance was conducted to select sites for ground thermal monitoring in areas of perennial and deep seasonal frost from lowland to foothills to high elevations. In all, 30 monitoring sites are planned to be established in the northern Altai Mountains. In 2014, nine boreholes were instrumented at elevations of 2800, 2400, 2200, 2000,1800, 1600, 1400, 1200, and 1000 m. In 2015, permafrost temperature measurements were continued.

Rock glacier studies: ERT profiling, outflow sampling for water chemistry, lichenometric dating,
Schmidt Hammer Tests, temperature monitoring.

Altay 2015 1a Altay 2015 2a
Altay 2015 3a Altay 2015 4a



Permafrost Thermal Research and Monitoring

MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Geothermics

South-Yakutian Field Team

Field Team Leader (FTL): Ivan Misailov
Region: along the East Siberia–Pacific Pipeline and the Lena Highway between Bolshoy Never and Uluu (Amur Oblast, Trans-Baikal Krai, and southern and central Yakutia)
Dates: June-July 2015
Field Program: Data retrieval from existing monitoring sites; upgrading of instrumentation; establishment of new sites; borehole logging.


Elkon Field Team

FTL: Anatoly Kirillin
Region: northern Aldan Shield
Dates: March 2015, July 2015, October 2015
Field Program: Snow surveys, installation of an automatic weather station, permafrost temperature measurements in seventeen boreholes 20 to 700 m in depth.


Altay Field Team

FTL: Sergey Serikov
Region: Republic of Altay
Dates: June 2015
Field Program: data retrieval from temperature data loggers installed at different elevations in mountainous terrain.


Southern Verkhoyansk Field Team

FTL: Sergey Serikov
Region: Tompo Ulus, Yakutia
Dates: July 2015
Field Program: temperature data collection at active-layer thermal monitoring sites; data retrieval from loggers at Chyappara and Odzhulun permafrost monitoring sites; temperature measurements at Odzulun to 600 m depth; thermal observations at Vertikalnoe site in boreholes 30 to 300 m deep.


Thermophysical Team

FTL: Stepan Varlamov
Region: Central Yakutia
Dates: April, June, September and December 2015
Field Program: Permafrost terrain monitoring program continued along the Tommot – Nizhny Bestyakh Railway and adjacent natural terrain (borehole temperature measurements, snow depths, active-layer dynamics).


Vilyui Team

FTL: Valery Semenov
Region: Vilyui Basin
Dates: June-August 2015
Field Program: geothermal measurements in three boreholes at Sobo-Khaya site to depths of 700-1100 m; data retrieval from loggers installed in 2011; establishment of 5 active-layer thermal monitoring sites in different terrain units.


Thermal Monitoring 1 Thermal Monitoring 2
Thermal Monitoring 3 Thermal Monitoring 5



Monitoring of Permafrost Landscapes


Monitoring of Permafrost Landscapes in Central Yakutia

Participants: MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Landscapes
FTL: Pavel Konstantinov
Region: monitoring sites in Central Yakutia (Neleger, Spasskaya Pad, Yukechi, Kerdyugen, Churapcha) and along the Vilyui Road from Yakutsk to Chernyshevsky
2015 Field Program: on-going monitoring observations of permafrost temperature, active-layer depth, and thermokarst processes. New monitoring sites were established near Churapcha, 180 km east of Yakutsk, in rapidly degrading areas (abandoned plowfields and forests killed by a Siberian silk moth epidemic) and near Zhigansk, in the North-Taiga Zone, with a 15 m borehole instrumented for manual and automated temperature measurements.


JAMSTEC Joint Studies 

Project: Observational study of permafrost, vegetation, energy and water in Eastern Siberia towards elucidation of the impact of climate change in the geochemical cycle
: MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Landscapes; Department of Environmental Geochemical Cycle Research, JAMSTEC
Region: Spasskaya Pad and Neleger monitoring sites near Yakutsk (Central Yakutia) and Tiksi site, Arctic Yakutia
2015 Field Program: on-going meteorological, hydrological and heat-balance observations; ground surface dynamics in forest cuts of varying age; active-layer depth measurements at the CALM site.


MPI – IG/LU Project: Evolution of Thermokarst Lakes in Central Yakutia

Participants: MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Landscapes; Institute for Geography, Leipzig University
Region: Khara-Bulgunnyakh and Yukechi sites, Lena-Amga watershed
2015 Field Program: landscape controls of alas distribution, thaw lake dynamics


MPI – GEOPS Joint Studies

Participants: MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Landscapes; GEOPS, University of Paris Sud, Orsay
Region: Syrdakh monitoring site, Central Yakutia
2015 Field Program: observations of alas landscapes at the junction of Abalakh and Tyungyulyu terraces; hydrological observations in lakes and small rivers; active-layer depth and temperature measurements.


Mamontova Gora Expedition

Participants: MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Landscapes; Moscow State University; Tyumen State Oil and Gas University
Region: Mamontova Gora Natural Monument in the Lower Aldan Depression
2015 Field Program: collection of sediment samples from outcrops; continuous core sampling through permafrost; microbial sampling.


Chara Depression Expedition

Participants: MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Landscapes; Institute of Cryogenic Resources, Tyumen State Oil and Gas University
Region: Chara depression in northern Trans-Baikalia
2015 Field Program: studies of icings and other frost-related geosystems.


Perm Land 1 Perm Land 2  
Perm Land 3 Perm Land 4



Hydrology, Hydrogeology and Geochemistry Investigations


Hydrogeological Field Team

Participants: MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Groundwater and Geochemistry
FTL: Alexander Semernya
Region: Khangalas, Menge-Khangalas, Yakutsk (Middle Lena basin), Neryungri (southern Yakutia)
Field Program, February-November 2015: on-going monitoring of ground temperature regime, supra-permafrost and intra-permafrost groundwater hydrodynamics and hydrochemistry, icing growth in Ulakhan-Taryn Creek valley, icing ice volume measurements at Eruu Springs site, icing thickness measurements at Buluus site; resumed year-round hydrogeological and thermal observations of a suprapermafrost subaerial talik at Chabyda site; hydrological and hydrochemical investigations of surface and suprapermafrost waters to estimate runoff components of small streams in central Yakutia; cryopeg levels and dissolved-solids contents in urban areas.


Western Yakutia Snow Survey, 2015

Participants: MPI Laboratory of Permafrost Groundwater and Geochemistry
Region: Malaya Botuoba and Daldyn-Alakit diamondbearing areas; Tas-Yuryakh gas condensate field (western Yakutia)
Field Program: snow depth measurements, snow and surface water sampling for chemical analysis.


Hydrogeology and Permafrost Investigations in Northern Yenisey Area

Participants: Igarka Geogcryological Laboratory
FTL: Nikita Tananaev
Region: Khantay Reservoir Area (Shuchye Lake and Sukharikha River)
Field Program: permafrost studies; surface water sampling; settlement and frost heave measurements, seasonal freezing dynamics.


Hydro 1 Hydro 3
Hydro 4 Hydro 22



Permafrost Monitoring: Suntar-Olekminsk Power Transmission Line

Participants: MPI Laboratory of General Geocryology
Region: Lena River crossing of the Suntar-Olekminsk power transmission corridor
2015 Field Program: drilling of 7 boreholes for a thermal monitoring network and collection of foundation soil samples


Powerline 1 Powerline 2
Power line tower #3, Lena River crossing. Temperature measurement borehole near tower #3.



Zhigansk Expedition

Participants: MPI Laboratory of General Geocryology
FTL: Valentin Spektor
Region: Lower Lena basin near Zhigansk
Dates: June-July 2015
Field Program: studies of glacial deposits at six natural exposures of the high cut terrace along the Strekalovka River (a left tributary to the Lena River near the town of Zhigansk) and along the Lena River 10-22 km upstream from Zhigansk.


Zhigansk 1     Zhigansk 2



Kodar-Udokan Expedition: Permafrost and Glaciers

July-August 2014

Participants: Permafrost Geothermics and Permafrost Engineering Laboratories, MPI; Institute of Geoenvironmental Science, Moscow; Water Problems Institute. Moscow; Department of Earth Cryosphere, Tyumen State Oil and Gas University

Permafrost-related field program: Temperature measurements were repeated after 30 years in deep boreholes located in the Aldan anteclise to assess climate change effects. Surveys were conducted along the Chara-Cheena railroad corridor to evaluate the dynamics of permafrost-related surface processes.


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