Arctic and Antarctica - rubric Natural resources of the Arctic and Antarctica



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Natural resources of the Arctic and Antarctica
Budantseva N.A., Vasil'chuk Y.K. - Geochemical composition of Holocene ice wedge casts of the Southern and Central Yamal Peninsula pp. 1-22


Abstract: The authors study the Holocene syngenetic ice wedge casts of five regions of the Yamal Peninsula: within the thick peat bogs in the Shchuchya River valley and near the Seyakha settlement, in the floodplain of the Erkutayakha and Lakkatoso Rivers and within floodplain sediments of the Ob Bay in vicinity of the Mys Kamenny settlement in eastern coast of Yamal Peninsula. The width of the top of ice wedges in peatlands varies from 0.5 to 1.6 m, their height is from 2 to 5 m, the width of the ice wedges in the floodplain and marsh and swamp also varies from 0.5 to 1.8 m, the visible height is not more than 2 meters. Samples of ice were taken from ice wedges vertically and horizontally. To study the genesis of the water that participated in the formation of Holocene ice wedge casts and ice lenses from the enclosing sediments, the author analyze the content of trace elements and heavy metals. The analysis of trace elements and heavy metals is based on atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS-3) at the V.V. Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute. The mineralization and chemical composition of water-soluble salts in segregated and ice wedges are determined in the same place. The radiocarbon dating of the surrounding sediments aging of the ice wedges is carried out at the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Holocene ice wedges are ultra-fresh and fresh, their mineralization varies from 20 to 200 mg / l, hydrocarbonates and calcium dominate in the ion composition. Participation of chlorides in the ice wedges on terraces indicates the influence of marine aerosols, the same for the ice wedges on the floodplain means the direct participation water of Ob Bay in their formation. The increasing of iron ions in some fragments of ice wedges, comparable to their content in segregated ice in the peat bog, may indicate a periodic participation of swamp waters in the formation of ice wedges.
Vasil'chuk A.C. - Pollen spectra of Holocene ice wedges in the Belyi Island and in the Tambey River valley, Yamal Peninsula pp. 1-24


Abstract: Holocene ice wedge structures in the arctic tundra in the Tambey river valley and in the Belyi Island are the subject of the study. The author studies the pollen spectra in the ice wedges and surrounding sediments and their chemical composition. To substantiate paleograhic reconstructions, the author analyzes radiocarbon datings of the Holocene sediments from the studied areas and the surrounding territories. Pollen analysis is the main research method. Adjacent sediment samples have been studied according to the standard procedure, but without acetolysis mixture. Pollen has been extracted using the simplified method due to low pollen concentration. The main result of the study is the systemization of the data of palynological analysis of Holocene ice wedges located in the zone of sea-level changes' imact. The author shows that ice wedges in the Tambey River valley had been accumulated from precipitations and because of the inundation by marine water. Ice wedges in the first marine terrace of the Belyi Island are characterized by the abnormally high concentration of marine salt, but the salinization is caused by ice wedge formation on the sides of remnant shallow saline lakes, not by sea-level changes.
Rudenko O.V., Vasil'chuk A.C., Enina V.V. - Comparative analysis of the composition of subrecent pollen spectra in bottom sediments of the Laptev Sea and ice complexes of the Siberian Arctic pp. 1-16


Abstract: The research subject is the varieties of subrecent pollen spectra in the unbroken surface layer of bottom sediments of the Laptev Sea shelf, which had been lifted by multicorers in the expeditions ARK 27-3 and Transdrift XXI in 2012-2013 on the shelf and continental slope. The authors substantiate the possibility of reconstruction. The authors consider how the following aspects are reflected in marine pollen spectra: 1) the level of ice coverage of the sea basin, which can be seen in the presence and concentration of index types of marine cysts of dinoflagellates; 2) oscillations of the river flow, assessed by the changes of concentration of organic suspensions of terrigenous genesis in bottom sediments (spores, pollen, fresh-water green algae), transferred mainly from the yedoma sediments; 3) transformed Atlantic water migration, which can traced by index types of microfossils; 4) climate conditions, defining the level of productivity of the flora of the dominating biomes of the shore, pollen to the Laptev Sea shelf comes from. The main research method is the study of marine pollen, which includes the analysis of the species composition and the changes of concentration of terrigenous and water palynomorphs in bottom sediments collected in the southeastern part of the Laptev Sea in the paleovalley of the Lena river, which was drowned during the Postglacial transgression. The obtained varieties of quantitative and qualitative composition of pollen and non-pollen palynomorphs in the unbroken surface layer of bottom sediments and their comparison with the results of the study of pollen from yedoma complex of northeastern Siberia help evaluate the modern conditions of formation of marine pollen spectra. 
Tregubov O.D. - The problems of Pleistocene fauna: thermokarst as a factor of mammoths’ extinction pp. 1-12


Abstract: This article examines the argumentation of the main hypothesis of disappearance of the large Pleistocene fauna. The four components of the problem are being determined and discussed – chronological, landscape-climatic, anthropogenic, and evolutionary. The author analyses the possible effect of the dating method upon the perceptions regarding the chronology of rise and fall of the populations of mammoth fauna, as well as different landscape factors of the destruction and disposal of the fossil fauna, temporal connection of the mass destruction of animals with the eras of climatic cooling and warming. The role of anthropogenic factor of mammoths’ extinction is being evaluated. Special attention is given to the loesses as a factor that forms the habitat of Pleistocene fauna. The article suggest several original hypothesis of mammoths’ extinction that are based on the principles of biospheric evolution and catastrophism. Degradation of mammoth fauna at the turn of Pleistocene and Holocene was significantly affected by the following: rapid increase of zonality of the natural environment with reduction in the area of intrazonal landscapes; disruption of the patterns of seasonal and long-term migration of Pleistocene animals, primarily most vulnerable to changes in ration of the large mammals; amalgamation of the resource-viable zoocenosis that led to degradation of grazing lands and disruption of trophic chain. The key role in disruption of the migration patterns and pasture exhausting is assigned to the thermokarst catastrophe.
Khimenkov A.N., Stanilovskaya J.V. - Phenomenological model of the formation of gas emission craters as exemplified by Yamal crater pp. 1-25


Abstract: The subject of this research is the gas emission crater (Yamal crater), located in the southern part of Bovanenkovo deposit on the Yamal Peninsula. Generalization of data on the structure of crater soils components, natural conditions and laboratory results, allowed building a phenomenological model of the Yamal crater, with identification of different stages of its development. The cause for the emergence of the gas emission craters is the formation within the subsurface of permafrost rocks of the underground gas accumulation zones with the abnormally high pressure. The diverse geological and thermodynamic factors substantiate the various scenarios of their development. The main research method lies in consideration of the different structural elements of the Yamal crater as the phenomena that reflect the processes of its formation. In determination of the processes that form the gas emission craters, the authors apply the method of analogies. The conclusion is made that the gas emission craters eventuate the self-development of the fluid dynamics geosystems, which are the local ice-surface gas-saturated formations in non-equilibrium thermodynamic state in relation to the enclosing permafrost rocks. The development of the selected geosystems is defined by paragenetic links between gas filtration processes and deformations of gas-saturated ice-surface material (from viscoplastic motion to brittle fracture). The Yamal crater is a particular example of a full and complete life cycle of the development of selected geosystems: from the initial stage – the formation of conditions for decomposition of gas hydrates, to the final stage – the explosion and release of ice-surface material.
Vasil'chuk A.C., Vasil'chuk Y.K. - The composition of trapped gases and pollen in the polygonal peat Seymchan-Buyunda depression pp. 1-15


Abstract: The subject of this study is the peatlands of the Seymchan-Buyunda depression, in particular the composition of gases contained in the permafrost peatlands and ice-wedge ice. Special attention is paid to conditions of the peat formation, features of the Seymchan-Buyunda depression climate and the Magadan region in general, the characteristics of the main types of vegetation, soil cover and landscape. The trend of changes in the average annual air temperature in the area of Seymchan town is considered. To estimate the time of formation of ice-wedge ice, the composition of spring pollen rain during the accumulation of the ice wedges was reconstructed. The composition of trapped gases in peatlands is established. Determination of gas composition was carried out using the chromato-mass-spectrometer Hitachi M-80. There are high methane content in frozen peat bog Chokachi and lake water on the surface of the peat bog; it was discovered that the lake on the surface of the peatland is both, a trap for gases released from the thawing peat and a depositing medium, in which the processes of reduction of hydrocarbons take place intensively; in the composition of gases trapped in the frozen peatland there is a high content of hydrogen, which is one of the mandatory conditions for the life of methane-forming bacteria.
Skrylnik Gennady Petrovich G.P. - Space-time in the development of geosystems and natural risks pp. 1-14


Abstract: The subject of this research is the diverse forms of space and time reflection in the development of geosystems (GS). The object of this research is the GS related to space and existing only in time. The author carefully examines such aspects of the topic as space and time, inseparable from each other, and if compared to other characteristics, are the paramount attributes of geosystems (natural, technogenic, and social) in the typical and anomalous environments. Particular attention is given to consideration of "time", characterized by the active (physical) properties influencing the events in geographic space and manifesting in opposition to the normal flow of processes, leading to the destruction of GS. The main conclusions lie in the positions determining the exogenous crisis situations and disasters as predicted. Author’s special contribution is the revealed opportunity to make certain adjustments to the practice of natural resource management considering sustainable development of the territory. The scientific novelty consists in tracing the sustainable development of the territory, which is based on taking into account not only typical, but also anomalous natural processes and phenomena. Because the exogenous crisis situations and disaster are predicted, the practice of natural resource management can be adjusted considering sustainable development of the territory.
Kachur A.N., Skrylnik Gennady Petrovich G.P. - Modern structure and sustainability of geosystems of the Eastern Chukotka pp. 1-15


Abstract: The object of this work is the polar landscapes of Eastern Chukotka. The research task is to determine the nature and specificity of geological and geomorphological structure of the territory in typical and anomalous environments of cryolithomorphogenesis. The goal consists in the theoretical and practical studies of sustainability and plasticity of the polar geosystems on the background of climatic changes, amid the conflicting interactions between continentality and oceanicity. Special attention is given to the detailed analysis of morpholythogenic effects of the typical and anomalous (extreme – critical and crisis, as well as disastrous) processes and factors. The main conclusion lies in the following: in the course of development of the northern territories and increased interference in their natural environment, all permafrost processes are activated, with the leading role of thermokarst. Special contribution into the study is defined by the fact that, in the context of the upcoming continentalization of climate and assumed conservation the territory in Eastern Chukotka, the traceable natural risks are reducing, and the geosystems, most commonly, retain their initial sustainability. The exogenous crisis situations and disasters are forecasted, which allows making adjustments to the practice of optimal natural resource management. The scientific novelty lies in tracing the sustainable development of the territory, considering not only the compound, but also thorough complexation of the living and fossil.
Skrylnik Gennady Petrovich G.P. - Climatic morphogenesis and stability of geosystems of Wrangel Island pp. 1-15


Abstract: The subject of this study is the Wrangel Island - the island of polar bears (local name - "Umkilir"). There is no indigenous population as such; the area is 7,600 km², out of which 4,700 km² is occupied by mountains in its central part; the highest point is 1,096 m (the Soviet Mountain). The object of this research is the polar landscapes that develop in xerocryotic environment and are notable for the unique appearance and arrangement. The goal and objectives consist in cognizing the nature of the regional climatic morphogenesis and characteristics of the organization (structure and functionality) of geosystems that possess augmented stability in typical environments of landscape genesis and are extremely sensitive to the effects of anomalous factors and processes. The materials and methods contain the data from the author’s permafrost-geomorphological research in Chukotka (1957-1959; 1971-1972), as well as accessible literary sources. The conclusion is made that the current development of Wrangel island’s terrain is defined and controlled primarily by the specific polar climate (directed continentalization of natural conditions; small amount of solid precipitation; high "wind tension" in winter, when snow is intensively blown into the sea; etc.). This results in the absence of the active loci of glaciation. It is determines that the development of morphogenesis on the island proceeds along the path of persistent displacement of nivation processes by constantly expanding and already prevalent cryogenic processes. Such trend of landscape development will continue for the near future.
Skrylnik Gennady Petrovich G.P. - Multifaceted interrelations and interactions between substrates and geomorphological processes in the south and north of the Far East pp. 1-15


Abstract: The object of this study is the Far East, located in a steadily active transition-contact zone of the two greatest structures of the Earth – the Asian continent and the oceans, and Arctic and Pacific oceans.The subject of this study is the nature of the relationship and interaction of relief formation and substrates (litho-, chion - and phyto -) generated by the three spheres of the physical and geographical shell of the Earth and composing the upper horizons of its solid shell.The goal of this work is to elucidate the multifaceted relationships and interactions between substrates and geomorphological processes in the south and north of the Far East.The data (1955-2011) of the author's research, as well as available literary and stock sources are used. Comparative geographical and information methods were used in the analysis.The novelty of the study lies in the fact that the substrates involved in relief formation in different climatic conditions of the Far East, differ in unique appearance and organization. Results obtained from original materials, with the relevant data from the literature, can be useful in choosing the strategy for environmental management in all of the areas where it must be utmost "gentle", taking into account existing risks and their identified environmental constraints.
Agafonova E., Polyakova Y., Romanenko F. - Diatoms in the Holocene sediments of the Tersky Ñoast of the White Sea in connection with the history of its development in the postglacial time pp. 1-16


Abstract: This paper demonstrates the results of diatom analysis of the Holocene sediments from the southeastern part of the Tersky Coast of the White Sea. The main subject of the study is the diatom assemblages’ concentration and composition, as well as the ratio of the main diatom ecological groups in sediments. The study sites were located on the Tersky Coast from the village Chavanga to the right coast of the Varzuga River, at heights from 17 to 52 m. Our reconstruction of the Tersky Coast of the White Sea development is based on diatom study of Holocene sediments from three cores. Age was determined according to radiocarbon dating. In this work, the author determines the features of environmental development, starting from the first half of the early Holocene, clarified the age of the main transgressive stages - Folas, Tapes, Trivia and the absolute heights of their marine sediments. According to the changes in concentration and composition  of the main ecological groups of diatoms, the author records the significant trends in the water temperature changes in coastal reservoirs and hydrobiological conditions in the Holocene, such as short-term decrease in the temperatures of the end of Boreal and the first half of Atlantic time, the Holocene hydrobiological optimum, and changes in temperatures of the Subboreal and Subatlantic time.
Vasil'chuk Y.K., Budantseva N.A., Vasil'chuk J.Y. - Heavy metals and trace elements in the Late Pleistocene ice-wedge casts of Northern Yakutia pp. 23-34


Abstract: The subject of the study is the content of trace elements (heavy metals and metalloids) in the Late Pleistocene ice-wedge casts of three yedoma blocks of Northern Yakutia: Kular, Bison and Duvanny Yar. Yedoma deposits of Duvanny Yar are exposed on the right bank in the lower course of the Kolyma River, near the Duvanny riffle, in the Kolyma Lowland. It is drained by the northward flowing Kolyma River, the sixth largest river flowing into the Arctic Ocean. The lowland is bordered by the North Anyuy Range to the east, the Yukagir Plateau to the south, the Alazeya Plateau to the southwest and the Ulakhan-Sis Ridge to the northwest. The Late Pleistocene Bison yedoma complex is located on the right bank of the Kolyma River, in the mouth of the Lakeevskaya Channel 15 km below the Duvanny riffle. Yedoma near the Kular village in the foothills of the Kular range is located on the mild slope of southern aspect in the valley of the Burguaat creek in the form of an inclined slope extending over a slope of more than 1 km. The main reseacrh method is atomic absorption spectroscopy, performed in the V.V. Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute. Samples of ice wedges were sampled in the field in polyethylene bags, melted at a temperature not higher than 15 °C and poured into chemically inert plastic bottles. The main conclusions of the study are as follows: a) in the late Pleistocene ice-wedge casts of the Bison and Duvanny Yar sections, lithophile elements (Mn, Sr) are significantly distinguished in comparison with the Kular section; b) the content of Sr in the ice of the Bison section is below the world’s average for surface water; c) Mn and Fe, highly mobile in gley reducting medium, are represented in the ice of the Duvanny Yar and Bison sections in much larger quantities than in the Kular section; it can be connected with different redox conditions during the formation of ice wedges. Probably in Kular the conditions were oxidative (for a long time) or more alkaline than in other sections, and in Duvanny Yar and Bison – mostly gley reducing and acid.
Chizhova J.N., Budantseva N.A., Vasil'chuk Y.K. - Heavy metals of the Polar Urals and the Caucasus glaciers pp. 35-46


Abstract: The authors of the present work consider heavy metals content in the snow cover and glacial ice of the Polar Urals and the vicinity of the Mt. Elbrus region (Central Caucasus). In order to define the background hydrochemical constitution of the snow cover of the Polar Ural region in 1999, the authors study three snowfields, near the Polar Ural village, 2.5 km and 5 km from it; in the winter of 2003 near the Polarny settlement the authors explored the structure of the snow layer in the trial pit. In 2000, a small glacier (Glacier No.1) located in the on the slope of the southern aspect, was studied on the slope of the Small Paipudynsky ridge. In the Central Caucasus, studies were carried out on the glacier of Garabashi in the southern slope of Elbrus, the snow layers were studied during the summer and winter seasons: in the summer of 1998, in January 2001 and in June 2001. Glacier ice of the Greater Azau glacier was also studied. Analytic measurements of the trace elements content (Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn) were performed by atomic absorption spectroscopy at the V.V.Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute. The concentrations of trace elements in snow and glacial ice of the Polar Urals are small, averaging 0.005 to 0.02 mg / l, among the measured Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, the highest concentrations are typical for Mn (up to 0.05 mg / l). An insignificant increase in the concentrations of heavy metals in the winter snow-summer snow-glacial ice series was noted. Dependences of the concentration of heavy metals on the morphological species of ice were not detected. For the snow cover and the glacial ice of Garabashi glacier and the adjacent slope there is also a certain tendency of increasing concentrations in the winter snow series to summer surface snow and to infiltration ice. The main minor elements in the snow and ice of the Garabashi glacier in the Caucasus are zinc and iron, the concentrations of which range from less than 0.02 to 0.6 mg / l (iron in infiltration ice) and from 0.01 to 0.22 in ice. The maximum content of heavy metals is confined to the horizons of infiltration ice. In seasonal winter and summer snow, the concentrations of almost all measured trace elements range from less than 0.01 to 0.03 mg / l. In the ice of the Big Azau glacier in the Elbrus region, the concentrations of trace elements are extremely low (less than 0.005 mg / l).
Chizhova J.N., Yanchenko N.I., Budantseva N.A., Baranov A.N., Ruzhnikov V.A., Vasil'chuk Y.K. - The assessment of the Arctic and Antarctic air masses influence on the isotope composition of a snow mantle of the city of Bratsk pp. 75-85


Abstract: The authors study the formation of isotope-oxygen composition of a snow mantle of Bratsk and the fresh snow in Baikal region and define the main trajectories of air masses, bringing precipitation to the city of Bratsk during the cold seasons. The research area covers the city of Bratsk and the points in Irkutsk region – the village Khidiakovo (18 km from Irkutsk), the village Kultuk on the southern coast of the lake Baikal, the mountain Snezhnaya of the route Irkutsk–Bolshoye Goloustnoye and the Tunkin valley in the Republic of Buryatia. The authors register the exceeded content of sodium (4-66 times) in the city snow mantle samples compared with the background snow mantle. Though the man-caused origin of sodium in snow is obvious, the natural causes are also possible. It can be brought by air masses, for example, from the Arctic coast. The study is aimed at this hypothesis testing. The research methods include the isotope method (assessment of the content of stable oxygen-18 in snow, both fresh and settled) and the reverse trajectory method, based on the Semi-Lagrangian scheme HYSPLIT for the period from December 2015 till March 2016 with the end points at the altitude of 3000m at 12 UTC. The average ratio of oxygen-18 content (expressed in the δ-ratio as the content of heavy oxygen in relation to the standard) in the snow mantle in Bratsk was -26, 54‰ in March 2015. Inside the snowpack the δ-rates vary from the horizon to the horizon from -21,52 to 28,1‰. It is considered as a relatively “heavy” isotope-oxygen composition. The authors find out that the influence of the Arctic air masses on the isotope composition of the snow mantle in Bratsk is quite insignificant. Of 44 precipitation days for the period from December 2015 till March 2016, 21 case was connected with the western air-mass transport from the Arctic, 5 cases were connected with the moisture coming from the Arctic sector, 15 cases – with the continental source and 3 cases – with the Sea of Okhotsk. 
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