Permafrost underlies about 63% of Mongolia. To support studies of permafrost conditions for practical and scientific purposes N. Lonzhid organized a permafrost station in 1959. From 1962 to 1996 the station was run by the Department of Permafrost of the Institute of Geography and Geocryology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences. It was renamed the Laboratory of Permafrost of the Institute of Geoecology in 1997. The department was headed by N. Lonzhid from 1962 to 1969, by N. Sharkhuu from 1970 to 1979, and by
D. Tumurbaatar since 1980. From 1962 to 1990 the department was staffed by 10–15 researchers and workers and had drilling equipment and a soils laboratory. Since 1990 it has had a smaller staff of 8–10 persons and has had to do without the drilling capability and the soils lab.
The Geocryological Department of Moscow State University and the Permafrost Institute, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences have rendered considerable assistance by training highly skilled specialists and supplying some devices. Senior scientific researchers, in particular N. Sharkhuu, are now engaged in studying the permafrost conditions of Mongolia on the basis of temperature measurements in boreholes. Since 1967 the depth and dynamics of seasonal freezing and thawing of ground have been studied by D. Tumurbaatar. Since 1987 the distribution and features of cryogenic processes and phenomena have been studied by R. Lomborenchen. At present, no permafrost studies are being carried out in Mongolia by other institutes. However, before 1990 some data on the permafrost characteristics of particular areas were obtained by Mongolian geotechnical and hydrogeological surveys. In addition, also until 1990, PNIIIS in Mongolia conducted engineering geocryological surveys at several sites and compiled some reports and maps.
The joint Mongolian and Russian geocryological expedition carried out from 1967–71 was of great significance to permafrost studies in Mongolia. A geocryological map on a scale of 1:1,500,000 was compiled and a monograph on geocryological conditions was published. A preliminary permafrost study by Japan and Mongolia began in 1998. The National Permafrost Association became an Adhering Body of the IPA in 1995.
Over the last 30 years these works have been published:
- N. Lonzhid, 1969. Perennially frozen ground in Mongolia
- N. Sharkhuu, 1975. Basic features of permafrost in Mongolia
- D. Tumurbaatar, 1975. Seasonal freezing and thawing of ground in Mongolia
- D. Luvsandagva, 1987. Perennially frozen ground in the Khangai and Khubsugul Mountains
Hundreds of scientific articles have also been published, but only about 10 have been translated into English. Recently, monographs by N. Sharkhuu (Regularities in formation of permafrost conditions in the Selenge River Basin, 1997) and by N. Sharkhuu, D. Tumurbaatar and R. Lomborenchen (Permafrost conditions in Mongolia, 1998) have been prepared.
N. Sharkhuu has carried out temperature measurements in many boreholes in Nalaikh, Baganuur, Argalant and Erdenet and on Bogdkhan Mountain. As a result of the measurements, permafrost maps of the Nalaikh and Baganuur areas and Bogdkhan Mountain have been compiled. N. Sharkhuu has prepared more than 20 permafrost maps of different regions at various scales. Almost all the legends were translated into English. Three catalogues on the characteristics of more than 70 boreholes with permafrost were prepared and translated and are available to the IPA.
We are interested in studying the permafrost conditions of Mongolia in more detail, and hope that these studies may be carried out in close collaboration with scientists from other Adhering Bodies of the IPA.
N. Sharkhuu ([email protected])