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Scientists of the Federal Research Center for Integrated Arctic Studies of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have proved that processes on the mid-Ocean ridges of the Arctic Ocean affect the seismic activity of the Arctic shelf, Novaya Zemlya and the north of the East European Platform, and this activity should be taken into account when developing minerals and building engineering facilities, said Galina Antonovskaya, Head of the Department of Seismology.

The phenomenon is caused by the spread of tectonic stresses that create an additional load in the lithosphere. The process is called deformation waves or "perturbation transmission". "These processes can serve as a trigger of seismicity. The disturbance moves and activates the process of releasing seismic energy. As a result, one area becomes more seismically active, then another," Antonovskaya said.

At the same time, earthquakes occur where there are some weakened areas: faults or discontinuous disturbances. The source of deformation waves are tremors in large tectonic faults in the earth's crust, which are characteristic of mid-oceanic ridges, where the process of pushing apart lithospheric plates occurs.

Galina Antonovskaya explained that there is not much data on the seismicity of the Russian part of the Arctic. To understand the processes that occur in the earth's crust, it is necessary to develop a network of seismic stations. Information about possible earthquakes is needed to build maps of seismic zoning. Such documents indicate the maximum possible earthquake intensity for a given area. There are several types of maps: for mass construction, for objects of increased responsibility and especially responsible objects, and separately for nuclear facilities.

During the extraction of hydrocarbons on the shelf, so-called induced seismicity may occur - that is, the extraction of oil or gas leads to the occurrence of earthquakes. "For example, in the North Sea, when active hydrocarbon production began at Ekofisk (Ekofisk is a gas and oil field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, 350 km northeast of the village of Teesside), an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.1 occurred," Antonovskaya noted. - The bottom has settled, and huge funds have been invested in restoration work, including well repairs. Oil platforms were raised to avoid flooding and a special concrete wall was built to protect the oil storage from waves."

It is also necessary to take into account the possibility of earthquakes when laying pipelines along the bottom of the Arctic shelf. "Even a small earthquake in intensity, but occurred in the area of laying the pipeline, can lead to its rupture. An ecological catastrophe is inevitable," she added. "Therefore, it is important to study in detail from a seismological point of view the nature of each earthquake that occurred in the Russian sector of the Arctic, in order to avoid negative consequences after the start of oil production."

Stocks for Doomsday, ghost towns ... all this is not a description of horror films or fantasy novels, these are parts of the vast Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

Spitsbergen ("Sharp Mountains"), also known as Svalbard, is located in the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the northern shores of Norway and the North Pole. Between Greenland and Franz Josef Land.

An international conference on bioremediation (the biological purification) of aquatic and land ecosystems of the Arctic coast was held in Moscow. It was attended by leading researchers from Russia, Canada, the United States and Finland who specialize in the remediation of contaminated soil and water bodies. The discussion was held as part of Russia’s plan of the main activities as the chair country of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023.

“The path from scientific development project to practical implementation is often arduous. Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council can help authorities and businesses pay attention to research results that are designed to promote the restoration of northern nature,” Krasilnikov added.

The experts presented their experience in research and the practical application of bioremediation technologies for restoring nature in the Arctic. They noted the effectiveness of biological methods as part of an integrated approach to cleaning contaminated areas.

“Biological treatment methods are highly effective in the Arctic given the increasingly intensive development of the region, including growing hydrocarbon production, cargo traffic and population,” said Mikhail Makarov, Doctor of Biological Sciences, acting director of the Murmansk Marine Biological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “In addition to being used to mitigate the aftereffects of emergencies, they can also be used for prevention and early detection of vulnerable areas.”

The participants also discussed the prospects for international scientific cooperation. In particular, they mentioned a joint project by researchers from Murmansk, Norway and Finland on creating innovative biotechnology for the comprehensive restoration of the oil-polluted Arctic coast as part of the Kolarctic cross border cooperation program.

“We see great potential in studying the effects of microorganisms on the decomposition of petroleum products,” Kirsten Jorgensen from the Finnish Environment Institute said. “These methods are particularly effective after a contaminated area has been mechanically cleaned or when other cleaning methods are not a practicable solution.”

The results of the practical use of bioremediation methods were presented. Graeme Spiers, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Geoscience at Laurentian University (Ontario, Canada) reported on soil reclamation and the reforestation of former industrial and mining sites in Canada.

Attendees noted that implementing bioremediation projects plays an important role in improving environmental safety in the Arctic. The importance of scaling up these methods based on their safety and manufacturability was highlighted.

During the Arctic exploration in 2021, Rosneft drilled six stratigraphic wells in the Laptev Sea for the first time in the history of scientific research and selected 415 m of core, the company said. The study of these samples will bring the country new knowledge about the geology of the region, experts hope. Expeditions organized by the company to study polar bears, Atlantic walruses, wild reindeer and white gulls will help preserve their populations.


Exploration of the subsurface
In 2021, Rosneft drilled six stratigraphic wells with a total depth of 840 m and selected 415 m of core. Representatives of the company told about this at a press conference dedicated to the results of the Arctic field season in 2021. The ship "Bavenit" worked in the Laptev Sea near the islands of Kotelny and New Siberia. It is unique in equipment and the only drilling vessel of its kind in Russia.
- Especially for this expedition, "Bavenit" was retrofitted with innovative equipment of domestic production, which makes it possible to improve the accuracy and quality of stratigraphic drilling (relatively shallow and not damaging to the environment. - "Izvestia"), - said Rosneft.
Now the extracted rock samples are transferred to the non-governmental Institute of development "Innopraktika" for laboratory studies, which will be held on the basis of the Geological Faculty of Moscow State University. Rosneft noted that thanks to the extracted core, geologists have the opportunity to look into the past for tens of millions of years.
Next year, work on stratigraphic drilling is planned to continue in the Chukchi Sea. The first deep-water studies in the Arctic Ocean will also be conducted.
"Scientists expect to receive new unique data on the geology of the Russian Arctic, which are extremely important not only for Rosneft, but, without exaggeration, for the entire world science," the company stressed.
The region is rather poorly researched, Dmitry Alexandrov, head of the Analytical Research Department at Univer Capital IC. And research using the latest equipment and modern technologies can really be very fruitful from the point of view of science, he agrees.


Arctic biodiversity
Within the framework of the national Ecology project, Rosneft has also committed itself to conduct a corporate program for the study, conservation and monitoring of polar bears, Atlantic walruses, wild reindeer and white gulls until 2023.
— In 2021, the second large-scale field season of this program was completed — four expeditions to the Arctic regions were conducted, thanks to which it was possible to obtain new data on the population of the studied species, - the company noted.

The collected data on the number, distribution, condition and behavior of animals speak about the current state of the Arctic ecosystem and will be useful for studying the impact of climate change and anthropogenic impact on animal life, Rosneft concluded.

As the chairman of the Public Council under the Ministry of Natural Resources Alexander Zakondyrin noted, the company pays great attention to environmental issues, as well as measures to preserve the biological diversity of species in its area of responsibility, when carrying out its production activities. Therefore, taking care of the environment can be called an integral part of the company's corporate culture, he told Izvestia.
Rosneft is implementing a comprehensive long-term scientific program in the Arctic, which includes geological, hydrometeorological and environmental studies, work is being carried out with the country's leading scientific and design organizations in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Alexander Zakondyrin stressed.

The Tansuo 4500 self-contained robot submersible, developed at the Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, successfully completed a research project in the Arctic, as part of the 12th Chinese high-latitude expedition. Four research associates studied the Arctic shelf from aboard the expedition icebreaker MV Xue Long 2.

The successful underwater mission by the Tansuo 4500 in the high-latitude Arctic zone helped obtain important statistics for use in conducting additional in-depth research, for comprehending geological processes and studying multiple energy-and-substance exchange cycles near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

This data will serve as a solid scientific foundation for actively involving China in Arctic environmental protection projects.

Due to the high density of sea-ice formations near the expedition’s operation zone, researchers developed an innovative method for obtaining soil samples from under the ice.

The method combines acoustic remote control and automatic guidance allowing the robot submersible to cope with certain difficulties caused by rapid ice-floe movements and a limited open-water section linking it with the vessel.

This made it possible to successfully complete several underwater missions in the high-latitude Arctic Ocean zone, covered with dense ice, and to safely return the robot to the icebreaker.

The robot managed to collect high-resolution multi-directional, hydro-dynamic and aero-magnetic data volumes that will form the mainstay of an advanced measuring technology.

This data will help provide insight into the topographical and geo-morphological specifics of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, its magma and hydro-thermal activity. Until recently, scientists made very little headway in studying these phenomena.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences developed the deep-water Tansuo 4500 submersible under a pilot strategic science and technological project aimed at evaluating substance-and-energy exchanges in the tropical belt of the West Pacific and their influence.

Prior to joining the Arctic scientific expedition, the robot submersible was adapted to the new environment and to high-latitude Arctic navigation. It was also pre-programmed to measure the seabed and to eliminate malfunctions.

Experts also tested the equipment in lakes and seas, so as to effectively prove the system’s reliability.

Japan is interested in conducting joint research with Yakutia on permafrost and climate change. This was stated by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Russia Toyohisa Kazuki at a meeting with the head of Yakutia Aisen Nikolaev.

According to Nikolayev, the Arctic theme is a promising area of cooperation between the two countries.

During the working visit, the Japanese diplomat visited the year-round greenhouse complex "Sayuri". This project has been implemented jointly with companies from Japan for five years. In the near future, the construction of greenhouse blocks with a total area of 1.2 hectares will be completed.

The head of the republic has previously called cooperation with Japanese partners one of the priorities of Yakutia's international relations. He considers the construction of wind power plants in the village of Tiksi to be a significant project — they were launched in 2018.

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