Open Science: AltSU Scientists Counted about 6,000 Rock Glaciers with Fresh Water Reserves in the Altai Mountains

15 March 2020 Department of Information and Media Communications

The Open Science scientific news portal published the material that scientists from the Institute of Geography of Altai State University summarize two years of research on glacial-permafrost rock formations in the Altai Mountains, most often called rock glaciers in the scientific world.

The project of scientists from the flagship university in Altai Krai entitled “Study of the internal structure of glacial-permafrost rock formations in Altai based on geophysical methods”, authored by Galina S. Dyakova, senior lecturer at the Department of Physical Geography and Geoinformation Systems of the Institute of Geography, received a grant support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research in 2018 in the framework of "My First Grant" program.

One of the first results of the work of scientists is the article "The internal structure of rock glaciers in Altai (The case of talus rock glaciers in Dzhelo River Valley)" which was recently published in the scientific journal "Ukrainian Journal of Ecology".

"Our main task is to estimate the volume of ice in rock glaciers using geophysical methods. After all, this is an unaccounted source of fresh water, the value of which in the modern world, in my opinion, cannot be overestimated. In Russia, such studies began only recently, and our project, implemented jointly with Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum-Gas Geology and Geophysics of the Siberian Branch of the RAS and Novosibirsk State University, in fact, is unique. Rock glaciers are objects that are very difficult to study, since they are located in inaccessible highlands”, emphasized Galina Dyakova. - "The basis for these studies in Altai was laid by the first Vice-Rector for Academic and Scientific Work of Altai State University Nikolai N. Mikhailov, who not only proposed the term “glacial-permafrost rock formations”, but also formed a research team in this direction. His work was continued by current Head of the Department of Physical Geography and Geographic Information Systems Oleg V. Ostanin, my teacher and now a colleague".

Earlier, scientists of the Institute of Geography of Altai State University cataloged all glacial-permafrost rock formations in Altai for the first time. At the moment, the scientists are completing a description of the latter objects and proceeding to calculating the volume of fresh water contained in the glacial-permafrost rock formations of the region. This data will be published in the next article in the professional academic journal “Ice and Snow”, devoted to the issues of glaciology and cryology of the Earth.

"If today in Altai there are about 1000 ice glaciers, then there will be about six thousand rock glaciers in our catalog. And here it should be noted that even with an increase in the average annual temperature, rock glaciers will continue to accumulate ice material, due to the fact that the rocks here are a natural thermal insulator in contrast to ice glaciers, which actively degrade when the temperature rises”, Dyakova noted.

It should be mentioned that along with the researchers from Altai State University, the scientific team implementing the project includes representatives of A.A.Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum-Gas Geology and Geophysics of the Siberian Branch of the RAS and Novosibirsk State University.
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