Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

One of the largest lakes in the world

09.09.2008
The geologists are digging in the bed on the western bank of what was once a 700-800 kilometre-long lake along the 62nd parallel in Russia. Large lakes, dammed up by a huge ice sheet one or more times during the last Ice Age, used to dominate this enormous plain.

We are just beyond the ice margin from the maximum of the last Ice Age, where it has been mapped 100 kilometres north of the town of Kotlas in north-western Russia.

Here, at Tolokonka, in a four kilometre-long cutting beside the River Dvina, an international team of scientists is busy studying the past changes in climate.

International cooperation

“Lakes have probably been situated here in two periods during the last Ice Age. We’ve found river delta deposits which suggest that the oldest lake formed some 65 000 years ago,” Eiliv Larsen, a geologist at the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), tells me.

He is in charge of fieldwork being done in Russia as part of the SciencePub project during the International Polar Year. Along with colleagues from NGU, the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and Hertzen University in St. Petersburg, he is continually finding new pieces to fit into the last Ice Age jig-saw puzzle.

Right on the margin

The enormous lake stretched from Kotlas in the west to the village of UstNem in the east, just a few tens of kilometres from the Ural Mountains. Last year, the scientists found remnants of a lake near UstNem. Now, the same lake has been found 700-800 kilometres further west, in the long cutting at Tolokonka. The mighty River Dvina, meandering north-westwards through the flat landscape to Archangel, dominates this region today.

“We’re trying to find out just what these lakes have looked like. Where did the sediments come from and how did the lakes influence the environment and the climate in the region? Even though we’re just beyond the ice margin, we’re finding traces of the snout of a glacier that calved into the lake from the north. This probably took place around 20 000 years ago and this was the youngest lake in the region,” says Eiliv Larsen.

The future climate

The scientists also tell me that it is very interesting to find out what took place when the ice finally melted, the dams burst and the enormous volumes of dammed up fresh water poured into the Arctic Ocean. This must have had consequences for the climate system and the oceanic circulation, for example.

“We ourselves are urged on by curiosity. When we started working in these parts of Russia 12 or 13 years ago, very little research had been done on the Ice Age. The results of our work now form part of the framework which climate researchers are using to calculate the future climate,” says Eiliv Larsen.

He generally uses a keyhole as a metaphor. “From a distance, you see hardly anything of the inside of the room, but the closer you manage to put your eye to the keyhole, the more of the room becomes apparent. It’s the same with the research here in north-western Russia, we’re uncovering more and more of the Ice Age history and hence the past climate changes,” he says.

Eiliv Larsen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ngu.no

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>