In 2006 the Polar Expedition successfully fulfilled the works on 8 State Contracts concluded with the regional Agency on the Depths Exploration on the continental shelf and in the World Ocean (MORGEO). The activity directions embraced traditionally the Arctic region, the Antarctica and the World Ocean. Besides the subject and research activities on the series of agreements with VNII Okeangeologiya, AANII institutes and other institutions were fulfilled.
I. On the object “Geological Investigation of the Eastern Part of Franz Josef Land Archipelago”. (2004-2007) during 2006 the mapping and field activities were carried out.
A number of final models of the maps in scale 1:1 000 000 for the eastern part of Franz Josef Land adjoining shelf part (sheet U-41-44). The activities were completed on the creation of the geophysical base GM-1000/3 for the sheet U-41-44.
In August-September 2006 the field activities on the investigation of the eastern part of the archipelago were carried out. The geological landing activities from board of the chartered vessel “Vilnius” (Murmansk) covered the little-known parts of the islands Graham-Bell, Vilchek Land, La-Roncier and a number of minor islands. A wider areal propagation of Jurassic and Cretaceous sediments on the South-East of FJL was stated on the South-East of the archipelago. The parameters of Kuna-Grilyovskaya and Champ-Luidginskaya coal accumulation zones were precised. And the area of Frankfurt phosphorite bearing node was twice increased. The nature of yttrium-bearing erosion crusts was pr?cised. By simultaneous echosounding of the straights and adjoining shelf (echo sounder “Simrad”ER-60) many details of the seafloor structure which hadn’t been noted before, were discovered, allowing to precise the navigational maps of Franz Josef Land region.
The ecological observations showed the presence of technogenic pollution on the shores of almost all the visited islands.
II. On the object “Geological Investigation of the Archipelago Spitsbergen” (2004-2007) the field and mapping activities were also realized in 2006.
In April-May the spring field activities were realized on the island Western Spitsbergen in the mountains on the boundary between Andre Land, Haakon VII Land and Dixon Land. In June-September the main amount of the field works was fulfilled on Western Spitsbergen in the region of Cape Krosspunten, Northern part of Ekman Fiord, Northern shore of Nj Friesland, between Bille-Fiord and Aust-Fiord.
In the course of the field activities the geological sections and stratigraphic cores of Low Paleozoic and Devonian sedimentary deposits were made. The samples were taken for isotope dating of magmatic complexes in the central part of the island West Spitsbergen. Additional data are collected to characterize the ore manifestations in Wood-Fiord and Veide-Fiord region. A big manifestation of fluorite is discovered to the North of Ekman-Fiord.
The map-making activities go on. A number of preliminary geological maps and schemes are made, in scale 1:200 000 in electronic form and Arcv formats for 2005-2006 zones of activities. A preliminary model of mineragenic map was worked out, with the spots of manifestations of mineral resources in the central part of West Spitsbergen, and the schemes were made of separate ore manifestation sites were made, with the sampling spots.
III. In cooperation with VNIIOkeangeologiya the research activities were carried out on the evaluation of mineral-raw potential of Western-Arctic archipelagoes of the North Ocean. On archipelagoes Spitsbergen, Franz-Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya the maps of mineral resources were made with mineragenetic elements in scales 1:1 000 000 – 1:1 2 500 000, as well as the schematic maps of the most perspective ore knots, and the brief notes characterizing the geology, tectonics and resource perspectives of the West Arctic archipelagoes.
A N T A R C T I C A
I. In the third quarter of 2006 the works were finished on the object “Geologo-geophysical Studies and Evaluation of Mineral-raw Potential of the Antarctic Depths and the Marginal Seas by the 50-th RAE”.
The following results are achieved:
1. The marine activities in the Western part of Mouson Sea basin. A set of geologo-geophysical maps in scale 1:2 500 000 was made. The structure and main parameters of the sedimentary basin were revealed: area – 280.000 km 2, the cover power – 5-10 km, the sedimentary material amount – about 2,2 millions of km 3. The hydrocarbonaceous potential of the Mouson Sea sedimentary basin is evaluated as 2,1 milliard tons of conventional fuel.
2. The geological works in Prince Charles mountains. A set of geological maps and sections was made in scales 1:25 000 – 1:200 000, of Sho mountain mass and lake Beaver western bank. In the upper part of the Permian suite Baimedar the fourth coal patch was distinguished, containing 34 coal strata with the total thickness 22,4 m. The predicted coal reserves of all the Beaver basin are evaluated as 10 milliards of tons.
3. The aerogeophysical survey on Princess Elizabeth Land. A set of final maps and schemes was made in scales 1:500 000 – 1:1 000 000 for the survey area of 15 000 km 2 to the South of Westfall oasis. Now we have a true notion of the geological structure main elements of the survey area, overlapped by the ice cover with the thickness from 1200 to 2600 m.
4. The geophysical activities in the region of the subglacial lake Vostok. Basing on the results of the investigations of the Central part of the subglacial lake Vostok the renewed morphostructural scheme of the unique subglacial lake was made. In the region of Pionerskaya station the subglacial lake discovered in 2004 was investigated. The area of the lake exceeds 20 km 2.
II. In 2006 the field and marine activities were realized in the limits of the object “Geologo-Geophysical Investigation and Evaluation of Mineral-Raw Potential of the Antarctic Depths and of the Marginal Seas by 51 RAE (2005-2007)”. The main types and amounts of works: marine investigations: reflection shooting method – 4000 km, refraction shooting method – 10 seismic soundings, hydromagnetic and gravimetric measurements – 4400 km., geological routes – 90 km (including airborne), geological sections – 7 km, areal aerogeophysical survey – 4900 km., reflection shooting method – 30 seismic soundings., continuous profiling – 350 km.
The following preliminary results were achieved:
1.The marine activities in the Eastern part of the Mouson Sea basin. A set of preliminary geophysical and interpretation maps is made, as well as of the schemes and sections in the scale 1:2 500 000. The main features of the basement structure in the Eastern part of the Mouson Sea basin were discovered. The succession of seabed magnetic anomalies was presumably distinguished from No 33 (79 million years) to No 18 (40 million years). The thickness of the Earth crust varies from 21 to 8 km. The thickness of the sedimentary cover in the deep-water part of the basin reaches 7-11 km.
2.The geological works in Prince Charles mountains. The preliminary set is made of the geological maps and sections in scales 1: 25 – 1:200 000 on the mountain mass Meredith, Lanion and Western bank of lake Beaver. In the mass Meredith a vast zone of quartz-hematite mineralization was discovered, and in the mass Lanion – metagabbroids with sphalerite impregnations. In the modern moraines of both masses big coal fragments were discovered, that confirms the earlier conclusion about the subglacial continuation of the Beaver coal-bearing basin Southwards.
3.The geological activities in the Eastern slope of the glacier Amery. The preliminary geological map of the region was made in scale 1:200 000. A complex of intrusive and metamorphosed intrusive rocks was distinguished, including 6 substance and age types. The tectonic structure of the region was precised.
4.The aerogeophysical survey on Princess Elizabeth Land. The set of preliminary geophysical and interpretation maps in scales 1:500 000 – 1:1 000 000 was made for the survey area of 15 000 km 2 to the East of Westfall oasis. The suggestions of heterogenic geological structure of the region were confirmed. The ice cover thickness was determined, varying on the site of works from 500 to 2500 m.
5.The geophysical activities in the region of the subglacial lake Vostok. A set of the preliminary maps, schemes and sections in scales 1:200 000 – 1 : 1 000 000. The width of the lake Vostok , according to the studied profiles S-51 and 1-2 reaches 60 km, the ice thickness is 4130-4250 m, and the water stratum thickness under the ice varies in the limits 220-500 m.
III. In the third quarter of 2006 started the next works in the Antarctica on the object “Geologo-Geophysical Investigation and Evaluation of the Raw-Mineral Potential of the Antarctic Depths and Its Marginal Seas by 52 RAE” (2006-2009).
The geological task on the object stipulates:
1). The marine complex geophysical works in the basin of the sea Ñîäðóæåñòâà and in the Southern part of the subglacial plateau Kerguelen: the discovery of the structure and nature of the sedimentary basin basement, of the Earth crust deep structure, and the evaluation of the resources potential.
2). The geological investigations in Prince Charles mountains in Fisher massif: the investigation of geological structure and mineragenic specialization of Proterozoic Fisher complex.
3). The aerogeophysical survey in the South-Western part of Prince Charles mountains: discovery on the survey site of the main features of geological structure and morphology og subglacial original relief
4). The on-land geophysical investigations in Central Antarctica: the discovery of the main structure elements of the Northern extremity of subglacial lake Vostok and more precise definition of subglacial original relief on the belt of route station Vostok – Observatory Mirny.
The staff of PMGRE on board of R/V “Academik A.Karpinsky” started the cruise on November 4, 2006 and at present is finishing the plan tasks for 2006. The continental staff of the expedition on R/V “Academik Fyodorov” is arriving at the station “Progress” at the end of December 2006.
A T L A N T I C O C E A N
I. In the second quarter of 2006 the final report is finished on the object “Research Activities on Deep-Water Polymetallic Sulfides in the Northern Part of Mid-Atlantic Ridge” (2004-2006).
The main results achieved are:
During the cruise No 26 of R/V “Professor Logachev” (January-June 2005) the search works on deep-water polymetallic sulfides were carried out in the limits of the Northern part of MAR rift valley in the region 13 ? N. In the course of these activities a new ore field “Ashadze-2” and ore manifestation “Ashadze-3”. The unity of structural-geological position of three ore objects (“Ashadze-1”, “Ashadze-2” and “Ashadze-3”) proves the existence of a new perspective ore knot, only suggested before. A set of geological maps in scales 1:5 000 – 1:25 000 is made for the ore fields and ore knot “Ashadze”.
The total area of the ore field “Ashadze-1” consisting of two contiguous objects is 71 000 square km . The ore objects are formed by the massive copper pyrite and zincous pyrite ores. The total area of the ore field “Ashadze-2” is 138 000 km 2. In comparison with the ores of the field “Ashadze-1” the ores of the new field “Ashadze-2” are considerably enriched with the cupreous minerals and obviously poor in sphalerite. In general they have a well pronounced zinc-iron-copper speciality.
The resources of the ore mass for the ore knot “Ashadze” in categories P2-P3 are about 3,5 millions of tons. The useful components are copper, zinc, iron, sulphur, gold, silver. The ore knot “Ashadze” is a unique natural object. In its limits the hydrothermal formations of different ages were observed, which allowed to trace the processes of hydrothermal ore formation. In the region of “Ashadze-2” field there are real perspectives of increasing the forecast resources due to the discoveries of new ore objects.
II. On the object “The Search Activities of Deep-Water Polymetallic Sulfides on the Site 16?38’ N. of Mid-Atlantic Ridge (2005-2007)”. In 2006 the cruise N 28 of “Professor Logachev” finished in full amount the marine activities.
The works in scales 1:50 000 – 1:5 000 were carried out on the Eastern board of the rift valley in the limits of the discovered earlier ore field “16?38’ N.” which had got the name of “Krasnov”. The area of the ore field is 0,482 km 2. In the limits of the field two ore bodies were distinguished: N 1 with dimensions 580 x 380 m and N 2 with dimensions 110 x 130 m. Massive ores forming the bodies, have mainly pyrite composition with subordinate development of zinc and copper sulfides.
By the data of the seafloor electric exploration the thickness of the bodies exceeds 16 m deep, and taking into account the heights of the ore scarps, their thickness may reach 70 m. Judging by the complexes of plankton foraminifers and covering precipitations the age of the ore field “Krasnov” is evaluated in the limits of 80 thousands of years. The forecast resources of the ore field “Krasnov” with the account of the new data are evaluated to be in two times bigger and is 13,1 million tons.
In 2006 the multibeam bathymetric survey on board of the vessel “Gelendzhik” was finished by the agreement with the expedition Yuzhmorgeo in the equatorial part of Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The steady bathymetric base is created for the further search and evaluation of the perspectives of regions for the presence of sulfide ores manifestations.
III. In the second quarter of 2006 started the activities on the object “Regional works of deep-water polymetallic sulfides in the MAR axial zone and the search activiyies on the ore knot Ashadze” (2006-2008).
The geological task for 2006 includes:
1. Geological regional works on the MAR polygon between 13? and 14? N. to segregate the sites perspective for the deep-water polymetallic sulfides manifestations;
2. Working out of the recommendations on evaluation of scales and types of polymetallic sulfides deposits on the base of the comparative analysis of ocean objects with firestone deposits on the continents (according to the Agreement with ÔÃÓÏ «ÖÍÈÃÐÈ»).
In November 2006 R/V “Professor Logachev” started the cruise No 29 to fulfill the first stage of the regional activities on deep-water polymetallic sulfides. Up to the end of the year on the polygon between 13? and 14? N. the hydrophysical sounding, hydrochemical sampling, hydrolocational profiling and echosounding will be realised.