NSU Geologists went to the Arctic aboard the Floating University

The research vessel "Professor Molchanov" left Arkhangelsk on July 8th and sailed to Franz Josef Land. The expedition included geologists fr om Novosibirsk State University.


The Arctic Floating University is a scientific and educational project to study the Arctic territories through marine expeditions. For the duration of the project, the research vessel "Professor Molchanov" will serve as a floating university. 58 people are participating in the expedition and more than half of them are foreigners with representatives from Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cuba, the Netherlands, France and Germany. Specialists from Novosibirsk State University were invited to participate in the Floating University expedition for the second time. They are responsible for the scientific and educational components of the ship’s geological block. The expedition will last 20 days with a route that includes the Desire Island of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago and seven islands of the Franz Josef Land Archipelago.

The representatives from Novosibirsk State University that are heading to the Artic are paleontologist Nikolai Mikhaltsov from the Laboratory of Geodynamics and Paleomagnetism of Central and Eastern Arctic, Dmitry Metelkin NSU Professor and researcher at the Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics SB RAS, Victor Abashev a graduate student at the NSU Geology and Geophysics Department and Nikita Kolesov a video operator from the NSU LIFE channel.

Among the 58 expedition participants are students, graduate students and scientists from different countries so the working language is English. Representatives from various scientific fields are on the voyage: geologists, hydrometeorologists, oceanologists, climatologists, ornithologists, soil scientists, entomologists, as well as historians and sociologists. Participants serve as both teachers and students. While at sea, teachers are responsible for the scientific and educational units and take turns lecturing on their subject areas. It is mandatory for everyone to attend lectures. Practical work (sampling by geologists, bird counting by ornithologists, etc.) is conducted during the shore landings.

NSU specialists presented the course, "The Newest Geological and Paleomagnetic Research on the Russian Artic Sector". As a rule, the work of researchers from other universities is connected with the study of different aspects of the Arctic today or the historical past: the biodiversity of living organisms, the study of historical and cultural heritage, the assessment of the status and degree of pollution, etc. Unlike their colleagues, the group of geologists from Novosibirsk State University are engaged in the very distant past, the restoration of the geological history of Artic development.

Nikolai Mikhaltsev talked about the expeditions, “In previous years, we visited the Franz Josef Archipelago three times but there are still unexplored places, and other areas wh ere there are more questions than answers, and we want to go back and study them. Most of all, we want to visit the most ancient volcanism manifestation on the archipelago from about 150-190 million years ago. That would be on Hooker Island, Northbrook, as well as Alexandra Land Island if, of course, the border patrol allows us to land there. Now there is a "struggle" between two completely different points of view on the history of volcanic activity in the archipelago, the "Classic" and "generally accepted". The idea of ​​a single, brief geological time period of intense volcanism about 130 million years ago is refuted by new data that was obtained first by the Moscow geologist Yu.V. Karyakin, and then indirectly confirmed by our joint research with him. Now we need to collect as much evidence as possible for this "alternative" point of view which is why we need to go there now. "

The participation of NSU geologists in the Floating University expedition is supported by the 5-100 Project.