July 12. “Wow! Baikalian Kukuy”

Strategic stocks

The night transit to the first working area was followed in the morning by delicious naval breakfast in font of Selenga Delta and very close to the Kukuy Griva, the underwater ridge, which we have to study soon.

According to geophysical studies of the last years, a large landslide body is assumed here on the north-west slope of the ridge. Supposedly, the slide was formed due to destruction of gas hydrates. Yes! The famous Baikalian gas hydrates!
7 bottom sampling stations were planned for today and we have managed to fulfill this ambitious plan   Demonstrating the great hospitality of Baikal, weather helped us to do our work – the day was sunny enough but too hot. The day has started with informal (but very typical for usually cheerful teams of marine geologists) marine geologist initiation ritual for greens. 

Initiation into a marine geologist – polishing and sharpening of core catcher

Sir Core Catcher as it is

The first three cores were taken from the top part of the studied structure - from an estimated main scarp of the slide from the upper part of landslide body and from its middle part. The result was rather unexpected. All three recovered sediment cores were very unusual but unexpectedly similar to each other. This we have to explain during the subsequent laboratory studies. But perhaps the landslide is older than we thought and it is covered with younger sediments.
Twice we took materials from a small circular height on a slope in the lower part of the studied structure - "cone". We dreamed about the real discovery to be made already by the first working day and we hoped that "cone" would be a mud volcano. The first core supported our hopes, recovering the interval which is similar to mud-volcanic deposits. The second core was unlike the first one. Therefore the question about the origin of "cone" was postponed until the laboratory analyses completed.

This is how “cone” looks on multibeat data

One more sampling station was executed at the very base of the studied slope. The recovered sediments were very picturesque and reflected gravity processes which are normal for this kind of environment but still very interesting to be demonstrated to students. The students were able to see deposits of turbidites, grain flows, homogenites with own eyes. It is not just a picture in a textbook. Real price for curious students!
“Dancing with the samples”

The sampling stations placed on multi-beam image

Summing up of the day

The last core of the day was taken from the top of the Kukuy Griva. It was processed by students who have learned already a lot for just one, but very saturated, day of “training-through-research”. They were proud of their progress and results. But definitely their teachers were proud of them even more. All day their teachers have seen in their eyes an enthusiastic interest to Marine Science. Such passion for new knowledge can be really seen in trivial lecture-rooms.

And there are still a lot to learn. And… will be continued already tomorrow.