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Putin descends into ice cave's depths during Arctic tour

Vladimir Putin personally cut several splints of permafrost for studies out of the glacier

ALEXANDRA LAND, high-latitude Arctic, March 29. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who made a working trip to the high-latitude Arctic archipelago of Franz Josef Land on Wednesday, got acquainted with the technology of studying permafrost on Alexandra Land island.

He personally cut several splints of permafrost for studies out of the glacier.

Scientists do research works in an ice cave where the president was escorted by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi. It has the form of a gap in the glacier that enables the scientists to study permafrost in natural conditions, without drilling and consequent destruction of the glacier.

As Putin and Medvedev were entering the cave, they paid attention to a huge chunk of ice the size of a three-story building. The scientists accompanying them told the politicians about how it had formed and about the use of the glacier for research purposes. 

After listening to their story, Putin asked for an ice pick and cut out several splints of ice, each of them size of a human fist. The scientists called their attention to small air bubbles inside the splints, saying these bubbles are extremely handy in analyzing the composition of atmospheric air several hundred years.

The latter research helps, among other things, to state the hike in the levels of carbon dioxide and the ensuing formation of the greenhouse effect.

After that the president, the prime minister and the defense minister took a walk inside the cave.

After the tour they went to the main camp of the Russian Arctic National Park where the specialist studying the Arctic territory live. While at the camp, Putin and Medvedev took part in launching a weather balloon that operates on the basis of GLONASS global positioning system.

Scientists said balloons of this system have been designed in Russia and specialsts use them at the Vostochny Space Center in the Far East of Russia and at site of the future bridge across the Kerch Strait, which will link the Crimean Peninsula and mainland Russia in a few years’ time.

Putin and Medvedev also visited the laboratory of the camp and watched the scientists’ work.