17 July. “To be, or not to be: that is the question!

As storm with the north-west wind was again forecasted for today’s morning, we decided to work on a short distance from our overnight stop place (protected from a storm). It is almost in front of the entrance into the strait Malye Ol’khonskie Vorota (Little Gates of Ol’khon).  The “Unshuy” structure was chosen because our shelter can be easily and quickly reached in case of bad weather.
The local wind, called “Sarma”, gains sometimes a speed about 40m/s, and that’s not joke while talking about safe work. We planned to take another 8 gravity cores and get the answer to question “is it a mud volcano on 1300 m depth or just a high (“Pupyr” in Russian slang) with gas hydrates of unknown origin.”

In the morning Lady Fortune and Mr. Weather changed our plans for this day. The anchor chain was locked, and a noise from working winch woke up everybody half-hour earlier. In the cores there was no hydrate or breccia, but only coarse-grained sand and gravel instead. Length of the recovery was just 1-1,5 m.

There was no “promised” wind and storm, it was hot, so we had a chance to take sun baths. And there was not a lot of work. Such a good luck. :)

We organized “deafening” excursion in the engine room of the ship.

Everything changed after the launch. We have started regularly obtaining gas hydrates and clay with sand admixture in cores. The recovery were 3 m long as usual. But we couldn’t stop, so we took 9 cores instead of 8 as we planned.

Everybody was working: pulling, cutting, describing, taking photos and digging into the sediments. Many people repeated the experiment with burning in hands hydrates, and hydrates boiling in the cup with water.

But we couldn’t get exact answer on question about the mud volcano. Baikal keeps carefully its secrets and it shares them only with obstinate researchers. So, we keep on working!

By the evening prognoses came true: the sky was covered by clouds, thunder rolled and lightings were shining. Here came the rain.

Evening traditional lecture that day given by researcher of Pierre and Maria Curie University took place to the accompaniment of rain drops hardly heard in mess room of RV “Vereshagin”.

Wakeful camera-lady of our expedition Svetlana Bubnova pleased us with the video about selfless struggle of geochemistry students.