Taimyr 2012

 
Start July 1st–3rd Augusti 2012


3 Aug 2012
We had a great trip, achieved our scientific objectives, and enjoyed the work on beautiful Taimyr – but it’s always good to come back home.  Thanks to the team, AARI, INTAARI, and the SPRS for a successful expedition!

2 Aug 2012
Today we continue our trip home, which for our team includes Moscow, St. Petersburg, Cambridge, and Stockholm.  We take a commercial flight from Khatanga to Krasnoyarsk, stay the night in a hotel, and then to points beyond the next morning.

Plane to/from Krasnoyarsk

 

1 Aug 2012
Last business of the trip before departure includes those nagging little things like repacking the boxes for shipping to Stockholm – some have to contain exactly the same items has they had coming into Russia (good thing I didn’t lose that content list!).

Packing list

31 July 2012
Back in Khatanga and the first order of the day for EVERYONE is a wonderful hot shower (and if you are lucky, some clean clothes!)…

Baby snow hare

30 July 2012
FLY DAY!  Weather is good and we are ‘go’.  As usual, we are grateful that it is not raining :)

Waiting for the 'chopper

 

29 July 2012
Preparations for flying tomorrow:  the usual pack-up to ship out.  In addition, we have a birthday celebration for VP which includes a special dinner (the Chinese ‘1000 layers’), presents of various types, imbibements, music, and even pineapple upside-down cake!  Needless to say we were up later than usual…

Happy b-day in stones

28 July 2012
We have visited all the geological section available to us – short of rafting kilometers down the river (which would be great) and then having to back-back the boat back (which would not be great), there is nothing left to do!  So we use this ‘spare’ day originally budgeted for bad weather to wash our stinky clothes and bodies, our hair, shave even – all looking towards a return to civilization that won’t scare off the locals! 

Baby bunting

27 July 2012
Well, the blister brigade can’t do the distance needed today, so ActionMan (AS) and RS head back across the river and go to the northernmost outcrops on their own.  They have a great day, see lots of terrific exposure (see conglomerate in photo), and return to another designer-fusion meal, ready and waiting...

Conglomerate

 

26 July 2012
We try again for the other side.  The weather looks better today – high, unthreatening clouds and a gentle breeze, so we all head east.  The river has dropped and the crossing is easy.  Work is fantastic – we see the best exposures of folded limestone yet (see the gentle dip on the left, with a very steep dip on the right).  This makes all our trials and tribulations worth it!  Even some C2-P1 for XZ to sample – yippee… 

Limestone fold

25 July 2012
Finally, heading across the Buotankaga River to work the section on the opposite shore (see photo).  We decide to stay ‘close to home’; the weather is still inclement and we can’t be sure it won’t turn on us – getting rained on is par for the course, but we can’t risk the river rising and being unable to cross back.  Sure enough, the biggest, blackest clouds we have seen form on top of us and we high-tail it back to the boat.  It is so windy that we have to have two persons paddling in order to transfer the third…

Boat crossing

24 July 2012
Fortunately, our creek cleared of sediment pretty quick so we were not short of potable water.  However, the Buotankaga River was running high and rough, so no crossing the big river – that means no fieldwork today since our only targets are across the river now.  We use the time to organize samples and personal gear. 

Gyr falcon

 

23 July 2012
Ok, we thought we were in heaven here at BC2 because the weather has been great, sunny and warm ever since we arrived – in stark contrast to BC1, which was wet and cold most of the time.  The heat and humidity seemed unusual for the Arctic, and last night we found out why…  We were in the heart of a genuine electrical storm with thunder booming, lightening flashing, and even ‘flash’ floods!  We were sure one of the tents had been hit, the thunder and lightening were so loud and so near!  It was midnight when we finished moving our kitchen tent from its ‘ideal’ location to higher and drier ground...  The thunder storm caused our stream to rise about 20 cm!  RS, AP, and XZ had to perform some quick engineering to divert water from flooding their sleeping tents.  Another long night on tenterhooks waiting for the ‘flash’ flood to subside, then we were able to get some unworried sleep.  The sky was strange after the storm… 

Post-storm sun

22 July 2012
Another mega-hike to the youngest part of the geological section at BC2…  We found a fantastic section of the Permian that was flat-lying - this is interesting because elsewhere it has been deformed and steeply dipping.  We suspect that we are in the core of a huge fold! 

Permian geology

 

21 July 2012
Off to recce to the Devonian-Carboniferous (?) limestone contact – very important for understanding the Uralian mountain building event here in Taimyr.  Late arrivals of the reindeer population continue to pass by – these big boys were almost in touching distance!

Handsome reindeer

20 July 2012
AMAZING!  Got up this morning to find hundreds of reindeer heading north through the valley near camp.  This was at 8 am.  We left to do geology along the river bank in the same valley and at 10 am, reindeer still heading north…  At noon, the migration continues; at 1400, 1600, and even 1800 when we head for home, the migration is still going!  We estimate this mega-herd to be 7000–10000 head – like the great wildebeest migrations of Africa!  We are lucky to get to see this.

Reindeer herd

19 July 2012
The weather is fine and our camp re-location is a ‘go’.  It’s nice when the weather is good, because packing wet soggy tents, clothes, sleeping bags, etc., is NO FUN!  After a few false starts, we manage to select solid ground for our second camp – it is a good location, both practical and scenic. 

Chopper coming in

18 July 2012
We expect to relocate to Base Camp 2 tomorrow, so today is used to prepare for the move, i.e.- packing food supplies for loading onto the helicopter, burning refuse, etc.  There is always a lot to do when evacuating a camp…

Pretty flowers

17 July 2012
Our last geology day at Base Camp 1 – a short trip to the youngest part of the section we will see.  We have seen some great structures on this trip (like the deformed limestone in the picture).  The usual samples collected for provenance, thermochronology, structural investigations, etc.  All our samples will later be shipped to Stockholm, and then the lab work will begin (see www.tmrg.geo.su.se for more information on analytical methods to be used). 

Deformed limestone

16 July 2012
Fish!We have done >110 km in 8 days of hiking and our feet need a rest, so we take an ‘office’ day.  It is also our first truly sunny day, so we get to wash socks, shampoo our hair, etc. – the usual things that need dealing with in addition to science.  As a bonus, AS takes his pole and goes fishing at a nearby lake.  AP helps carry the fresh Arctic char home for dinner – it doesn’t get any better!  Alina wants to do a PhD in geology – maybe in Sweden!

15 July 2012
Another day in the Triassic…  XZ got a lot of samples for her thesis today, but that means a lot of weight in the backpack – it’s a good thing she is strong and fit!

Triassic conglomerate

14 July 2012
Good weather and mega-millage today.  We hiked south to the distant limestone in order to evaluate the tectonic contact there.  What a pity the river was too high to cross and all we could do was look at it from afar!  Was it worth the inflamed Achilles tendon?

Faulted limestone

13 July 2012
Some days are a delight and some days are pure slog, but dinner is always welcome.  No matter what, we are always happy to gather and eat a warm meal.  Our dinners are of a high standard and seem to just get better and better – see what we can do with the most basic of kitchens at https://picasaweb.google.com/xiaojing.zhang33/WeCannotEatBetterInOurTaimyrRestaurant

Jing’s perogi

12 July 2012

Action on the tundra continues despite the weather!  We spend the day on the Triassic, a group of terrigenous sediments (land deposits) likely to contain information regarding the age of the rock units exposed from which these sediments were derived. 

11 July 2012

What a night - we can hardly believe it!  A tremendous wind storm (with a little rain thrown in) lasted throughout the night…  This site suffers from strong and variable wind! Our tents were clapping like thunder, so I looked outside to check on the kitchen tent - lo and behold, the kitchen tent was DOWN and so were 4/5 of the personal tents!  This was at 3 am; we secured things as best we could given the gale was still blowing.  At 5 am, we were all out in our rain gear re-securing – saturated ground does not hold the tent stakes at all well.  At 7 am, conditions remained unchanged.  At 9 am, the same; at 11 we were able to re-raise the kitchen tent, but remained on high-alert regarding the wind and all the tents.  Finally, the wind drops in the afternoon and we are able to get some rest!

Tent blowout

10 July 2012

The best geologic exposure we have seen so far.  Fifty meters of steeply dipping shallow marine sediments marking the edge of the Siberian craton about 270 million years ago.  The section is intruded by Siberian trap magmatism which was a HUGE volcanic event 250 million years ago and may even have caused the Permo-Triassic mass extension!

Late Carboniferous-early Permian

9 July 2012

What a day!  Not only did we trace the major thrust fault (older Devonian grey limestone thrust over younger reddish Triassic sediments), but we saw the elusive wolverine too!

Thrust fault

8 July 2012

Work begins with a vengeance – we have done a massive 23km hike to the Triassic section and now we have to pay!  The blister brigade is born...

Blisters

7 July 2012
Here we are!  The team and a typical Arctic field day – from left to right, RS, XZ, VP, AP, AS.  This is my first team with a majority of women!

The team

 

6 July 2012

Base camp 1 We arrive by chopper to our first base camp on the Buotankaga River and it is blowing a gale as we assemble our kitchen tent for the first time.  All goes well – our tents are nestled in a small depression and there is no indication ofour troubled future...  It seems that we have chosen the reindeer migration highway for our camp site and we see hundreds of animals passing by.

 

4 July 2012

Personal stuff

Wow!  After a really long flight with a re-fueling break in Tura (not too common for a plane!) we arrived in Khantange.  The time change of 6 hours left many pretty zoned, but we still unload all the gear, get it to the hotel, and grab dinner before we settle into our hotel rooms. Work today involved 1) splitting our field gear out from the glaciology group, 2) buying and packing up food supplies, and 3) sorting our personal gear.  My team of five is 'lean 'n mean', very efficient and finished with the job in no time – WE ARE READY TO GO!

 

1 July 2012, sent previously by iPhone

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