Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Russian Federation  
The Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency  
«Rusgeology» JSC

Geological study of Spitsbergen

        Spitsbergen archipelago, the northern part of the Wedel Jarlsberg Land. Administrative Subordination: Norway, Governorship Svalbard. According to the Treaty of 1920, Russia, which signed the Treaty in 1932, has the right to conduct scientific, research and industrial works on the territory of Spitsbergen. Currently, a significant part of the territory of Svalbard has been declared a reserve, industrial work on its territory is banned, and scientific research is strictly regulated and their implementation is possible only with the permission of the Governor of Spitsbergen. The territory of the object of work is located within the reserve (South Spitsbergen National Park).


        Geological prospecting of the Spitsbergen archipelago сertain areas has been carried out by the PMGE since 1995. Conceptually, this is justified as a continuation of work on priority areas for the geological evaluation of mineral resources of the archipelago and the adjacent shelf in order to identify promising areas. The basis for setting forth the planned works is the "Concept of the Russian Federation Policy on the Norwegian Spitsbergen Archipelago" in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 1386c of December 31, 1997, as well as other normative documents. One of the objectives of the "Concept of Russian Federation Policy ..." is the large-scale presence of Russian organizations in the Spitsbergen archipelago and their diverse economic activities in cooperation with enterprises and firms of other interested countries. Therefore, the Spitsbergen party of the FSUSIE PMGE (now JSC PMGE) has been participating for several years in the program of creating geological maps of scale 1: 100 000 in the Norwegian nomenclature (six author maps of PMGE geologists and six maps using materials from Russian geologists have been published in the Norwegian edition), and also conducts independent work on a multi-scale geological survey of areas (GSA), compilation of map sets of geological content at a scale of 1: 200 000 and estimation of the resource potential of the archipelago territory and its individual regions. At present, such sets are compiled for the northern regions of the archipelago: Ny-Friesland peninsula, North East Land island; Andr?e Land and the surrounding area. For the southern part of the archipelago, such work has not been carried out to the full extent.

        Planned geological survey and prospecting works in the southwest of the archipelago (in the northern part of the Wedel Jarlsberg Land) will be conducted in connection with the need to update the Precambrian stratigraphic schemes of this region, as well as schemes of Quaternary sediments, compilation of new explanatory notes for geological maps, clarification of correlation schemes with age entities of those regions for which new maps have already been compiled and published.


WORKS OF 2017 

        Works in 2017 are carried out in accordance with the state contract No. 1.3 / 2017-PMGE dated 20.04.2017.

        In 2017, field work will be carried out on the area indicated in the statement of work (see Fig. 1). At the same time, since the central part of the area in question was investigated by the works of 2016 (Fig. 3), and also from the logistic point of view, it is efficient to distinguish three regions within which the works of 2017 will be conducted. The boundaries of the regions are arbitrary and the regions themselves are given only for presenting the general methodology of works and stages of work, since the work will begin in region 1, then continue in area 2 and region 3 (Fig. 2).

        Works on the GSA include: terrestrial geological routes of scale 1: 100 000, compilation of lithologic-stratigraphic detailed (reference) sections, sampling complex. The primary objective of the route works is the collection of materials for the compilation of geological and geomorphological maps at a scale of 1: 100,000 and searches for and study of manifestations of minerals; the compilation of reference sections is carried out with the aim of examining the sections of Riphean-Vendian stratified formations, the nature of the boundaries between individual strata, and the correlation of stratons both within the studied area and with other areas of Svalbard; the sampling complex is necessary to obtain a real characteristic of the studied complexes and manifestations of minerals.

        Specialized geological and geomorphological studies unite the work of geological-geomorphological direction and geological-prospecting works. Geological and geomorphological work is planned to obtain the characteristics of quaternary deposits and details of the geomorphological structure of the area in order to study the correlation between modern marine and glacial sedimentation and the composition of paleogeographic and paleoclimatic reconstructions for this part of the archipelago. For these purposes, in the area of the Dundersdalen valley, basing on the analysis of the materials of the predecessors a detailed site has been identified, for which it is planned to compile a geologic-lithological scheme of quaternary deposits of scale 1: 25,000.

        In recent years, PMGE geologists, to determine the absolute age of the quaternary sediments of Spitsbergen different areas, started using the uranium-thorium method [Maksimov et al., 2015]. It allows us to narrow the age ranges of the horizons and to clarify their stratigraphic dismemberment. This very method can be used to test the Holocene-Pleistocene sediments both in the Dundersdalen region and in the "classical" section in the Skilvik Bay.

        Geological and geomorphological work includes: specialized routes, compilation of partial (reference) sections of Quaternary sediments, mining activity (clearing operations), sampling complex.

        The work area is accessible only by sea or by air from Barentsburg, where the field group arrives from Longyearbyen airport. In Longyearbyen the group arrives by airline company SAS flight on the route St. Petersburg-Oslo-Arch. Spitsbergen (Fig. 5).

        Field detachments are to live in tent camps (Fig. 4), equipped with generators, heaters, alarm systems against polar bears, satellite phones, etc.

        The duration of the field season is from July to early September. In the middle of September, snow falls on Spitsbergen and ground geological work becomes difficult.


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