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Revelations of Floating University may add to Arctic soil map

August 03, 2017, 11:25 UTC+3 ARKHANGELSK

The head of the expedition said that "the expedition was very successful from the point of view of the objectives we have planned"

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© Irina Skalina/TASS

ARKHANGELSK, August 3. /TASS/. The data received during work of the Arctic Floating University will help scientists in verifying the maps of soils and sea streams in the Russian Arctic and to understand the climate change processes in the Arctic area, a participant of the expedition, an expert of the Russia Academy of Sciences' Institute of Geography Sergei Goryachkin told TASS.

The Arctic Floating University is a joint project of the Lomonosov Northern (Arctic) Federal University, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring and the Arkhangelsk branch of the Russian Geographical Society. The University's ninth expedition to high latitudes was on July 8-28 in the waters of the Barents and White Seas, at the Franz-Joseph archipelago and the northern part of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. The expedition featured 58 people, including 25 from Switzerland, Cuba, Bulgaria, Germany, Sweden, France and the Netherlands.

"The result would be some fundamental-scientific, soil-geography solutions, thus we shall verify the maps of soils and the soils' classification," the scientist said, adding the Arctic zones would be verified, too.

Representative of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute Anna Vesman said the measurements had been taken at 47 stations. "Our main work was focused on the directions Novaya Zemlya - Franz-Josef Land: Russkaya Bay - Flora Cape, the Salm Island - the Zhelaniye Cape. Those are the directions where formerly scientists of our institute made the oceanographic research regarding circulation and dynamics of the Atlantic waters in that region," she said. "Results of our expedition will verify the circulation."

The research results will specify influence of the Atlantic waters on the Arctic Ocean.

Head of the expedition Konstantin Zaikov told TASS "the expedition was very successful from the point of view of the objectives we have planned. We have made important discoveries, which we can state even now already at the rather early stage of the cameral processing of the

collected data. The data in oceanology, marine biology, ornithology, soil and environmental research demonstrate the continuing global climate change and the anthropological impact affects the continuing processes."

The expedition has collected much data, which will be researched within a year to reveal some secrets of the Russian Arctic, he added.

Changing the route

The Floating University's route was Arkhangelsk - White Sea - Russkaya Harbor (Novaya Zemlya) - Flora Cape (Franz-Josef Land) - Tikhaya Bay of Hooker Island - Alger Island - Fersman Island - waters near Graham-Bell Island - Zenit Cape - Tikhaya Bay of Hooker Island-

Topographov Bay of Zemlya Alexandry - Zhelaniye Cape (Novaya Zemlya) - Solovki - Arkhangelsk.

The Floating Unviersity came to the northernmost point in its history: 81 degrees 15 minutes 7 seconds of the northern latitude north of the Kuna and Kane Islands near the Becker Island of the Franz-Josef Land archipelago.

The expedition has to change the initial route: they could not land at the Flora Cape because of thick fog, at Heiss Island - a polar bear, and the ice would not allow the vessel to north of Franz-Josef Land.

The participants could explore the soils only at the Alger Island.

"Algera islands were not on the program, but it is sandy, and there we could see what we wanted to explore at the Graham Bell Island," the expert said. "So, I am satisfied."

An international educational project

The Arctic Floating University is not only a research project, it is also educational, and this is why 30 members of the expedition are students from Russia and other countries.

"The successful implementation of the educational program is of great importance: the excited looks prove the expedition was a success and satisfied interests of the students, who participated in this Arctic adventure. Hopefully, it would be a bridge to major scientific careers, and some of them will join the teams of courageous polar explorers," the expedition's head told TASS.

Leader of a group from Switzerland Eric Horsley told TASS the route opened the Arctic and Russia for its participants. The image has changed a lot, the students worked in new conditions. The journalist and expert on Russia hoped that was beginning of the process, where people would get interested in the Arctic. It was an interesting experience of how to work together, he added.

The research vessel Professor Molchanov, the only vessel in Europe that combines a unique research laboratory and practical basis for training scientists, hosted the University's Arctic expedition.

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