From Russia, with love...

We left home 23rd of August, the journey went all nice and smooth. We called the day ina nice sushi restaruant in St.Petersburg.

On Monday the 24th, we met our Russian colleagues at Herzen State University. Our field companions Valery Shebotinov, PhD student and field assistant Alexei met at the university and we started to prepare the luggage to bring to the airport and fly to Syktyvkar, in the middle of our field area. The afternoon was quite hectic and check-in to the domestic flight was really stressful with serious overweight of our luggage (115 kg)! We arrived late in Syktyvkar and ?slept? in a quite ?minimalistic apartment that Valery had rented for us.

The next day, Tuesday 25th, we ran errands, shopping food and met colleagues from Moscow University and Russian Academy of Science. Natalya from Moscow University promised to join us in the afternoon and show some interesting sites. We first looked at a probable Saahlian (Moscowian) till overlaid by fluvial sands. A long car ride on bumpy roads took us to a section on the banks of Vychegda, where Eiliv, Astrid and Maria had worked in 2006. We had a quick look on the section and then we set camp in increasing amounts of mosquitoes and rain!


Section loggin in 06020

On Wednesday we continued working in the section, logging and sampling. At lunch we were finished at the section and started a long drive into the easternmost areas of the field area. Our aim was to work in the Kuryador and M?joldino sections, which after work by Eiliv, Astrid and Maria, could hold key information of the supposed ice dammed lake in the basin. We passed many very exotic Russian villages on the way and did a couple of quick stops to buy the excellent Baltica beer! We set camp just outside of M?joldino in one of the sections and were seriously harassed by tons of mosquitoes!

Thursday, 27th was dedicated to the Kuryador section, an erosional remnant squeezed in between an old ox-bow lake and the Vychegda river. We had to be driven there by our competent driver Jevgenij, and then we had a bit of bushwacking through forest and swamplands. GPS waypoints helped us navigate the bush. After a first look we started the daunting task of digging and clearing the section from mud. Valery and Aurelien started logging, while Ola tried to get a GPS fix on the elevation of the river. The whole afternoon was then spent on densely sampling sediments which we believe have formed in a last glacial maximum glacial lake. Future will tell! Back in the M?joldino camp at around 19:00 were we had a good dinner. Alexeij turns out to be a good chef and base camp manager! Later in the evening we were kept awake by an impressive thunderstorm surrounding our little camp.


Load structures in Kuryador, deforming the White Sea Lake material.

On Friday 28th we decided to revisit some other of Eiliv et al., localities in the area. One site was particularly interesting since it is one of the very few bedrock outcrops weve seen. Bedrock in the area is probably Cretaceous tufa with fossils and mineral grains cemented by lime/chalk. We found many such clasts in the sections we?ve been working in so far, together with other pebbles with more distant origin. Much digging work later in a handful of sections we came back to camp and had a late dinner in the twilight. The evening was cool and we could sense that autumn had arrived.

Saturday 29th started with a rainy night and a very wet morning. Our tents were soaked and had to be packed in a bad condition. Today we will try to reach what we believe is the most important pass-point, controlling the lake level in the proposed ice dammed lake. We travelled for several hours southeast to the Keltma river areal, all the way to roads end in the little village of Kanava. One local guy told us that small boats used to pass this area a long time ago, on their way from the White Sea in the north to the Caspian Sea in the south. Mind boggling to think that this very modest little place situated at only 132 m above sea level were connecting two seas so far apart! We had a look around in Kanava and tried to envision a huge ice dammed lake spilling over vast amounts of water here. We then started our long journey back towards Syktyvkar, but on the way we spontaneously stopped at an abandoned gravel pit, where we immediately found a very cool sequence of sediments. However, it was now late so we simply put up camp in the gravel pit and stayed until next morning.

Sunday 30th we continued working in the gravel pit. Based on the mainly fluvial sediments we found, we believe this site was situated above the ice dammed lake, within a channel possibly feeding into the lake. After finished logging, we finally started the real drive back to Syktyvkar. However, the trip turned out to be eventful. Just after one of the compulsory Baltica beer stops, we got a blown tire on the bumpy roads. This was easily fixed by Jevgenij, while the rest of us continued enjoying beer and taking pictures of poor Jevgenij under the truck. A couple of hours later we diverted from the main road back to one of our first localities, where Valery thought he had forgotten his camera. This was a long and tedious detour on very bad roads and as we?ve feared, just 500 m from our target, the truck got stuck in deep mud. We tried all tricks, pushing, pulling, and using logs and tree branches with little effect. Finally Jevgenij used his chain saw, took down a big pine, which we then used as a lever to literally lift the truck. Alexeij could then get a log under the sunken wheel and we could get the truck out of the mud. What a relief! We now really longed for a Hotel in Syktyvkar, where we arrived late and had an even later dinner. Bedtime at around midnight!


Taking it out of the sticky mud. Pine tree trunk against 4 ton truck. Trunk wins !

Monday 31th started with a late breakfast, we were all a bit beaten up by the last day?s adventures. After some internet work, cleaning and resting we went to see colleagues at the Geological Institute in Syktyvkar. Head of the Quaternary department, Lyudmilla N. Andreicheva, kindly received us, together with two of her younger colleagues. They gave us access to several very nice Quaternary maps, 14C dates and pollen data from the Kuryador area. Very valuable data indeed! We then had a guided tour through the geological museum and were shown all kinds of cool rock specimens, maps and photos! This has been a very product day despite not being in the field! The day ended with a long and nice dinner in the hotel restaurant.


Baltica beer for happy Quaternary Geologists after a good digging. The student is always the first to fall...

P hjemtur

Hilsen Helena, Heidi og Jonas

Flyet fikk lurt seg ned under lavt skydekke i Ny-lesund og n sitter vi p flyplassen i Longyearbyen og venter p at flyet til fastlandet skal g. Vi er godt fornyd med en kort og intens feltsesong. Arbeidet har gtt bra og gravemusklene har ftt god trening. Vret har vrt ok og de siste dagene hadde vi til og med sol og fint vr s stillongsen kunne f litt fri, men mest har det vrt overskyet og bruk for bde en og to stillongser. Av lyden dmme har vi hatt torden mest hele tiden men det har "bare" vrt Blomstrandbreen som vrt veldig aktiv og spyttet ut mange mange sm isfjell i fjorden.

I dryt to uker har vi vrt tilbake i noen av Heidis snitt p Kongsfjordhallet ved Kongsfjorden og gjort mer detaljerte underskelser der. Tolkningen av Mr X, den mystiske diamiktonen, som var et av hovedsprsmlene for oss i sommer, har underveis gtt fra vre glasial til marin til ras eller kanskje solifluksjon. Forandring fryder! Snittene viser i alle fall en spennende historie.

Helena tar sjansen nyte solen mens den varer.Jonas mler inn hyden p et blokklag ved hjelp av en GPS som er nullstilt ved havniv (betyr at han har lpt opp og ned skrningen et antall ganger).

Jonas har jobbet med oppgaven sin om strandvollen p Tnsneset og vi har gravd dype hull for se hvordan vollen ser ut inni. Vi vet derfor n at permafrosten ligger p 2,7 m dyp under vollen, vi kunne ikke grave dypere ... Jonas har ogs funnet gamle laguner som ligger under dagens laguner og som viser forandringer i havniv. Vi har tatt skjell- og sandprver for datering men det dryer dessverre fr vi fr resultatene.

P dybden i strandvollen. P slutten (-2,7 m) fikk vi lange sand videre p tre niver.

Nytt fra Kongsfjoren - pr satelitt-telefon

- Midt i middagen, lam mulligatawny selvsagt. Kontant svar fra Heidi da Jon ringte dem opp p satellitt-telefonen i gr kveld.

Strandvollen p Tnsneset der Helena, Heidi og Jonas ligger i leir n. Vi tror den store vollen dannes fordi havnivet stiger p vestkysten av Svalbard. Denne hypotesen testes av SciencePub-gjengen n, og svaret fr du p bloggen i lpet av hsten.

- Vi sitter i teltet p Tnsneset, Helena, Jonas og jeg. Arbeidet gr fint. Prvetakeren til Helena virker bra, vi har vrt ute med bt og tatt gode prver fra fjordbunnen. Og s har vi gravd i strandvollen her p Tnsneset, den som Jonas skal skrivebachelor-oppgave om. Og vet du hva? Vi fant et jordprofil under den! Akkurat slik jeg foruts etter ha kjrt georadar over vollen for to r siden. Moro, hva?
- De neste dagene skal vi bort i kystsnittene og underske dette hersens "Mr. X-laget". De frste gravingene vre viser at det endrer seg en del sidelengs. Vi reiser ikke herfra fr vi forstr hvordan det er dannet!
- Og forresten, det kom en stor bamse ruslende forbi p strandvollen. Han kikka p oss, hoppa p havet og la p svm. Greiest slik. Snakkes seinere, mulligatawnyen blir kald.

...kveldsprat formidlet av Jon

Mellomlanding i Ny lesund

Hilsen Helena

Det har blitt noen endringer i planene og jeg har n ankommet Ny lesund, en dag tidligere enn beregnet. Heidi og Jonas skal komme med flyet fra Longyearbyen imorgen mandag og da fortsetter vi ut i felt, til Tnsneset og Kongsfjordhallet tvers over fjorden fra Ny lesund. Uken som vrt har Olafur Ingolfsson, Jon Landvik, jeg og tolv studenter fra ni forskjellige nasjoner vrt ute p en ukes feltkurs fra UNIS. Vi har sett mye interessant og studentenes underskelser p for eksempel Site 15 p Brggerhalvya ga nye data som direkte kommer brukes i vr forskning og ogs vil komme med i artikkelen som jeg sammen med gruppen fra s n skriver p. Blant annet fant en gruppe bevis p at steinene i de sandige marine sedimentene har kommet dit med tang og ikke med isbjerg, da de fant en stein der tangen fortsatt satt p (bilde). En annen gruppe fant ut hva en grense som vi bare sett i georadarprofiler egentlig var i virkeligheten - et lag med mye finstoff i, og den tredje gruppen bidro med flere data om de lag som vi tolket som morener. Veldig bra!

Studenter i arbeid ved Site 15 p Brggerhalvya.

I disse finkornede sedimenter, som er avsatt p grunt vann, finnes det spredte strre stein. P en av disse satt litt tang igjen, hvilket viser p at steinen har kommet hit med drivende tang, og ikke med isbjerg.

Vret har vrt overskyet og med lett regn de fleste dagene men den frste august, da vi var p Kongsfjordhallet fikk vi den frste riktig penvrsdagen. Sol og varmt! Stilongsen ble tatt av ved lunsjtid og kom ikke p igjen. Noen av studentene badet ogs ved Tnsneset p ettermiddagen! Jeg synes kursen har vrt lykket, vi har kommet i land p de plasser vi tenkt og vi har hatt noen gode diskusjoner om hva sedimentene i snitten og landformene p overflaten kan si om Svalbards historie og utvikling. Ikke minst har vi ftt trene p observere frst og tolke deretter, basert p observasjonene vre - som ikke altid er like de som er presentert i de vitenskaplige artikklene fra omrdet. skille mellom observasjoner og tolkning er veldig viktig innom vitenskapen; observasjonene har evig liv mens tolkningene kan endres nr nye data kommer frem eller da vr teoretiske forstelse forbedres. De gamle observasjonene kan da bli gjenbrukt og omtolkede, hvis de er gott nok dokumentert.

Diskusjon om hva vi ser vid Tnsneset - en stor strandvoll som sannsynligvis viser p at havnivet har steget under de siste i hvert fall noen hundre eller tusen r. Jonas vil jobbe med den her strandvollen i sin bacheloroppgave n i sommer.