15 August: Physics in the Arctic and impenetrable Bely Nos
Breakfast, lectures, lunch, group work, everything was quite usual while our RV Professor Molchanov was slowly sailing to the Bely Nos Cape. Late in the evening we reached the point and started landing at 9:00 pm. All departments participated in field work: biologists, meteorologists, oceanologists, physicists, culture experts, students of history and law department.
While humanities departments were examining the environs, talking with the polar station employees, natural science departments made their way into fields to take samples.
As usually physicists were researching temperature distribution in frozen soils and glaciers. In addition they took samples of melt water and soil for the further analysis in the laboratory on the mainland using some equipment that they could not take on board.
- Distribution of temperature in soils and permafrost is a very interesting research area. More detailed survey let us determine the depth of the permafrost layer, - explained Evgeny Sofronov, Senior lecturer, Chair of General Physics, Institute of Natural Science and Biomedicine. - According to the information about external temperature, snow cover thickness and weather reports observations, we will determine the depth of the permafrost layer and its annual changes.
What is the practical application of this research? There are some problems connected with the deepening of permafrost layer. Evgeny told us that in some cities including Norilsk, for example, house piles began to move due to the permafrost melting and deepening. If the permafrost disappears, all piles driven in it will become unsteady and house will go to ruin. Even now we can observe such cases in the Arctic region. So soils and permafrost physical measures monitoring is important for preservation of existing buildings, further construction and industry development in the Arctic region.
Today’s landing was not successful for physicists.
- We found nothing interesting. Stones were everywhere. We did not find a place where we could drill deeper. I am not satisfied with this landing. We spent a lot of time, students got tired with drilling, but it was for nothing. Other departments were luckier. Botanists took samples of plants and lichens, meteorologists took off all standard data, geographical department observed the meteorological station and its environs, humanities department interviewed employees and examined all objects they were interested in.
While the expedition was carrying out field work an uninvited guest came to the station. It was a musk-ox. The frightened animal frightened our girls and decided to hide between rusty barrels. As it turned out the musk-ox’s name was Pasha and it is a frequent visitor. The employees of the station feed it up.
Soon Pasha was surrounded by a group of admirers. Somebody was observing at a distance, more courageous went closer to take pictures.
Suddenly a white shroud of mist covered everything in 5 minutes and the head of the expedition gave a signal to stop all work and get on board.