In 2010 the scientific investigations on the spatial- temporal regularities of cryosphere, the heterogeneous reaction of cryosphere on the global and regional climate changes, the geoecology and the engineering-cryolithological peculiarities of the northern regions have been proceeded by Russian geocryologists.

The fundamental researches are kept on the following lines: “Natural and technogenic systems in Earth’s cryosphere and their interactions” (coordinator – Melnikov, V.P., the academician of RAS), “Permafrost of shelf and coastal zones” (includes the assessment of the geocryological history and contemporary cryolithozone’s state, the explorations of regularities of the dynamics and transformation of the frozen and cryotic rocks, the emanation of carbohydrates) (Earth Cryosphere Institute SB RAS).

The preparation of the new edition of the “Geocryological map” of the Russian territory is carried out (the corresponding problem is posed in the plan of subjects of Earth Cryosphere Institute SB RAS).
The “climate-permafrost-space-time” dependence during the last 20-100 years, the parameters of cyclicity of the changes of natural complexes under the technogenic impact are studied (Earth Cryosphere Institute SB RAS).
The investigations of the coastal-shelf permafrost in Russian Arctic are held on using the seismic hydro-technique and hydro-technologies. The GIS of Russian Arctic regions including shelf are worked out (Erath Cryosphere Institute SB RAS).

In 2010 the department of the cryolithology and glaciology of the geographical faculty of the Lomonosov Moscow State University has carried out the following investigations.
The phenomena of northward increase of thickness of the intermediate layer (layer with 1 higher relative ice content) and its protective role has been studied. It has been determined that the coast of the Western Taymir peninsula is the westernmost areas where not typical sediments of the “ice complex” are found. The underground ice is situated on the host grounds.

The fact that 2/3 of failures of objects in cryolithozone are caused by the development of dangerous engineering-geocryological processes has been determined. A significant increase (20-30% in the last 10-15 years) in shear forces caused by frost heave is observed. It explains the failure of the pipeline supporting piles of all kinds. This demands an intensive labour on cutting off about 5-8 thousands of piles supporting long distant and in-facility pipelines annually.

The main reason of high rate of breakdown and catastrophically fast wear out of materials in underground water collecting systems of engineering communication facilities in cities situated in the cryolithozone is uneven in time and area thawing in host permafrost grounds. This leads to uneven settlement of constructions and fast wear down of them. These processes are very hard to predict and do not match the expected rates of deformations estimated according to national standards and procedures. In the region of Norilsk city about 70% of water collecting systems are deformed. The situation is furthermore complicated by frost weathering of steel concrete used for building.
A decrease of area of glaciers of the Central Caucasus by 16% in the last 40 years is reported. Along with this, the glaciers of the Polar Ural Mountains are experiencing transition to stationary conditions after a period of fast retreat in 1990-2000.

During 2010 the interdisciplinary field expeditions were carried out in order to study the permafrost and mountainous regions and glaciations in the Elbrus region. Expeditions for study of ice complex on the north of Taymir were run in cooperation with Earth Cryosphere Institute. Expeditions for estimation of the engineering-geocryological conditions, geotechnical, ecological, landscape and permafrost conditions in Igarka and Norilsk regions on the north of Siberia were carried out. Study of dynamics of seasonal freezing processes in the Moscow-city region was fulfilled. Participation of students and PhD students was an important part of all expeditions.
In Sergeev Institute of Environmental Geoscince RAS (Moscow) the permafrost hazard evaluation for Yamal’s gas field recultivation territories was completed. The complete geocryological survey of East Siberia-Pacific Petrol Pipeline was started to estimate the exploitation risks in conditions of climate change.
Geological Research Institute for Constructions carried out the geotechnical monitoring of the railway roadbed Obskaya-Bovanenkovo to the gas fields on the Yamal Peninsula in the north of Western Siberia.
The road was built in an extremely complicated engineering and permafrost conditions. The results of monitoring observations are following:

  • the dynamics of technogenic disturbance of area, the thermal state of the embankment and the development of dangerous cryogenic processes during the construction and the maintaining of the railway road were determined;
  • the simulation of the temperature regime of soils in the embankment for different variants of design solutions was made;
  • the potential danger of anthropogenic cryogenic processes was assessed and the recommendations on the engineering protection of the area and the railway embankment were provided;
  • the proposals for improving the design of embankment and the technology of its filling for an accident-free maintaining of the railway road were developed.

Due to the international cooperation and especially under the aegis of IPA, the geocryologists succeeded in carrying out the expedition researches, maintaining the observations on stations and communicating during the international meetings. Russian geocryologists kept on close contacts with their colleagues from Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway USA and other countries.

On the 5-6 of July, 2010, the international workshop under the chairmanship of academician V.P.Melnikov was held in Tyumen, the priority lines of the geogryology were discussed.

Russian geocryologists took part in the International Congress on engineering geology held on 5-11 of September, 2020 in Auckland (New Zealand). During the Congress, the protocol on the expansion of the engineering-geological mapping in the cold regions has been accepted.

The results of the geocryological researches have been widely published as monographs, articles in the scientific journals and material of conferences.
In 2009-2010 the monographs by V.V.Rogov “Foundations of cryogenesis” (Lomonosov Moscow State University, Geographical Department), Yu.B.Badu “Cryolithology” (Lomonosov Moscow State University, Geographical Department), L.N.Kritsuk “Ground ices of Western Siberia” (VSEGINGEO) have been published.
The monograph by L.N.Chrustalev, S.Yu.Parmusin, L.V.Emelyanova “Reliability of northern infrastructure under the climate change conditions” (Lomonosov Moscow State University, Geological Department) has been prepared for publication.
The fruitful activity of the journal “Earth’s Cryosphere” ought to be especially marked out. The subjects of the journal embrace all the variety of researches on earth’s and planets’ cryosphere. Since 1997, 4 issues of the journal “Earth’s Cryosphere” have been published annually.

Recently the conception of the complex researches of Earth’s and planets’ cryosphere developed by academician V.P.Melnikov has obtained the recognition. It is significant to mark the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary contacts in the view of the enrichment with ideas and methods of the adjacent sciences and the determination of the perspective lines of the scientific and practical activity.

In 2010, the Melnikov Permafrost Institute at Yakutsk (MPI) celebrated the 50th anniversary of its foundation. Celebration events held on November 25-26, 2010 included the scientific session “History, Results and Future Prospects of Geocryological Science”. Sixty three MPI members were awarded various national and regional awards for their significant contribution to the field of geocryology.
In August 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Samoylov Island in Arctic Yakutia, where the Permafrost Institute in cooperation with the German partners conducts joint field studies on climate, permafrost and ground ice interactions as part of the intergovernmental program “Laptev Sea System”. As a result of this visit, a decision was taken on the federal level to construct a new international research station on Samoylov Island.
MPI members took part in 20 international meetings during 2010. The Forum for Young Permafrost Scientists was held in August 2010, which consisted of the conference on geocryology at Yakutsk and the field trip in central Yakutia focusing on ground ice, thermokarst and thaw depressions (alases). The Forum was attended by young researchers and students from Russia, China, Japan, and France.
Two issues of “Science and Technology in Yakutia” were published in 2010. This popular scientific journal is receiving increasing attention from both the researchers and the general public. Books published by MPI in 2010 include:

  • Zhang, R.V., Shepelev, V.V. (eds.). The Yakutian School of Geocryological Science (Research Scope, Results, and People). Novosibirsk: GEO Academic Publ., 236 pp.
  • Neradovsky, L.G. Methodological Manual on Permafrost Investigation with the Dynamic Georadar Method. Moscow: Russian Academy of Sciences.
  • Alekseev, V.R. In the Land of Eternal Frost, Notes of the Geographer and Permafrost Researcher. Novosibirsk: GEO Academic Publ., 394 pp.
  • Makarov, V.N. Nitrogen in the Yakutian Environment. Yakutsk: Permafrost Institute, 68 pp.
  • Gorbunov, A.P., Gorbunova, I.A. Geography of the World’s Rock Glaciers. Moscow: KMK Partnership, 131 pp.

The main research results of MPI in 2010 are summarized below:

  1. The concept of “cryogenic resource” was introduced to refer to any material or natural force, the origin and development of which are related to the sphere of cold (temperature below 0°C). The classification of cryogenic resources was elaborated, the important class being that of cryogenic construction materials (snow, ice, frozen ground).
  2. A glacier inventory 2010 for the Trans-Ili - Kungei glacier system (Central Asia) was compiled based on satellite images. This is the fifth in the series of glacier inventories developed during the period from 1955 to 2010. The inventory provides information important for effective cross-border water management.
  3. MPI took part in a fundamental national program to create a digital 1:2,500,000-scale engineering geology map of Russia. The Institute compiled the 12th block of the map covering Central Siberia and North-Eastern Russia. This electronic ArcGIS-based map provides data on soils and rocks, permafrost, and dynamic conditions. The map data can be used to analyze geotechnical parameters individually or in combination, for sites or for the entire mapped area.
  4. A physico-mathematical model for permafrost degradation following the Holocene transgression of the Polar basin was developed for variable climatic and hydrologic conditions. The effects of seawater heat and salts on permafrost degradation at subzero temperatures were determined. The modelling results indicate that on the Siberian shelf the subaqueous sediments with temperatures between -1.0° and -1.5°C could have persisted in a frozen state for a long time, as much as tens of thousands of years, due to the significant decrease in the permafrost warming trend over several centuries after the marine transgression and the subzero mean annual temperature of bottom water at depths of 6 m and more.
  5. Long-term observations of the ground temperature and moisture regimes were continued at the MPI’s monitoring sites. Observations in the eastern Russian Arctic indicate that the maximum erosion rates of ice-rich coasts along the Kara, Laptev and East Siberian seas are up to 20 m/yr.
  6. Permafrost research programs were undertaken in support of major industrial developments in Yakutia and adjoining areas, such as the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline system, the Amur-Yakutsk railway, the South Yakutian hydropower complex, the Elkon uranium mining project, and the Taezhnoe, Dues, Tarynnakh and Gorkit iron mining projects. These investigations resulted in the construction of permafrost, terrain and ecological maps of various scales, the compilation of data sets and data bases on permafrost characteristics, and the development of permafrost impact assessments and control measures.