January 26, 2020
Introduction to Permafrost for Drilling Rig Operators
On January 24, 2020, a group of drilling rig operators attending the training courses offered by Yakutskenergo Co. visited MPI as part of the classroom program. Danil Shesternev, Ph.D., a research scientist at the MPI’s Laboratory of Engineering Geocryology, gave an introductory lecture presenting the fundamentals of engineering geology and describing the special characteristics of permafrost materials. The talk was engaging and inspired many questions at the end. The trainees then proceeded to the Soil Test Lab where they observed and learned about lab equipment and frozen soil testing techniques from Nadezhda Remizova, Artem Lobanov and Anna Safina. The visit completed with a tour of the permafrost tunnel at MPI.
December 11, 2019
MPI’ s Station in Magadan Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary
December 11, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the MPI’s North-Eastern Permafrost Station in Magadan. The history of the City of Magadan and Magadan Province is inseparably connected to gold mining. From the early stages of mining in the 1930s, permafrost presented many challenges for miners and builders. The immediate, vital tasks were to design reliable road embankments and building foundations on ice-rich permafrost, to develop effective methods for stripping of frozen overburden, and to find adequate construction approaches for dams on permafrost foundations. This was the period of trial and error. In 1948, a National Institute of Gold and Rare Metals (VNII-1) was established in Magadan, with its geocryology department focusing specifically on permafrost studies. This department conducted a wide range of research devoted toward finding effective solutions to permafrost-related problems for the mining and building industries in the Magadan Province. With the establishment of VNII-1, later reorganized into the North-Eastern Complex Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, achievements of the Magadan researchers gained wide recognition both in the country and abroad. During Perestroika, the Geocryology Department at VNII-1 was closed down. Academician Pavel Melnikov, then director of the Permafrost Institute in Yakutsk, proposed to organize, within the Institute, a station in Magadan. In 1989, a north-eastern department of the Permafrost Institute was established under the direction of Dr. Georgy Perlstein, which was renamed the North-Eastern Permafrost Station in 2004. Over the last 30 years, the Station research staff, while small in number, has continued fundamental permafrost studies in the Magadan region and provided a research service for about 50 firms and companies facing permafrost-related problems. Long-term collaboration is sustained with many of them.
October 21, 2019
Asia-Pacific Conference of Young Scientists and Science Fair Held in Yakutsk
From October 14-18, 2019 Yakutsk hosted the 8th Asia-Pacific Conference of Young Scientists (APCYS). This large-scale meeting was held in Russia for the first time and attended by over 130 participants from 11 countries, including China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. High school students presented their research projects in five categories: physics, mathematics, computer science, environmental sciences, and life sciences. The presentations were evaluated by an international jury comprising well-known experts in the corresponding category. The jury was chaired by prominent theoretical physicist Prof. Kwek Leong Chuan from the Centre for Quantum Technologies, Singapore. The 2nd Yakutsk International Science Fair was held concurrently with APCYS – with both events aiming to encourage and promote interest in science and technology. The meetings provided an excellent opportunity for contestants from remote Yakutian schools to showcase their work and interact with like-minded students from the Asia-Pacific region. MPI provides continued support to all regional science fairs by assisting with project review, judging, organizing research site visits, and running talks and workshops. This year, Alexandra Cherepanova of MPI Laboratory of General Geocryology judged the presented projects as a jury member (photo).
November 29, 2019
A New Book: Embankment Dams in the Russian Permafrost Zone
A new book titled "Embankment Dams in the Russian Permafrost Zone” by R.V. Zhang, S.A. Velikin, G.I. Kuznetsov, and N.V. Kruk has been released by Geo Academic Publishers, Novosibirks. This 427-paged Russian-language monograph reviews the case histories of embankment dam construction for water supply and power generation purposes in the Russian permafrost region. The results of field studies are presented which document the thermal evolution of dams which rely on permafrost for structural integrity and seepage control. Environmental issues of dam construction and operation in a changing climate are addressed. The role of geocryological monitoring and its implementation are discussed, along with geophysical methods that are capable of early detection of potential seepage through permafrost. Thermophysical principles of tailings dam performance are considered and guidelines are provided for their construction, operation and maintenance in permafrost regions. An innovative hydraulic well mining technology for dam construction is presented, as well as ways for using Earth's cryogenic resources for dam stability improvement. A location map of embankment dams and description of their current condition are provided. The book is intended for researchers and hydraulic engineers involved in dam design and operation in permafrost regions.
September 9, 2019
Two PhD studies completed at MPI
Two PhD candidates from MPI have submitted their dissertations to the Dissertation Council. A PhD thesis by Alexander Zhirkov, a research scientist at the Laboratory of Geothermics, is titled "Influence of Rainfall Infiltration and Internal Condensation on the Ground Thermal Regime in Central Yakutia". Based on the results of manipulated experiments at the Tuymaada monitoring site, this study shows the significance of non-conductive heat transfer by water and water vapor and quantifies the effects on the ground thermal regime. A mathematical heat and mass transfer model for frozen unsaturated soils is presented which takes into account rainfall infiltration, condensation of water vapor, and evaporation from the soil surface. Alexander is supervised by Dr. Mikhail Zhelezniak. Svetlana Kalinicheva is a junior research scientist at the Laboratory of Permafrost Landscapes working towards a PhD in geography. Her dissertation titled "A Method for Identifying Frozen and Unfrozen Ground in the Mountainous Regions of Southern Yakutia Using Thermal Satellite Imagery" suggests that the late summer land-surface temperature (LST) derived from satellite images can be used as a reliable indicator in mapping the occurrence and distribution of mountain permafrost. Svetlana's supervisor is Dr. Alexander Fedorov. Public defense of the dissertations will be held at MPI in November 2019. (Photos: Svetlana Kalinicheva and Alexander Zhirkov)