Expedition Blog

29Jul 2012

Early in the morning we will take a taxi to Kranoyarsk, and with any luck, fly with our samples from there to Moscow, to Paris, and finally to Washington for me, and Boston for Seth. Though there is one more opportunity for blog-worthy drama, in the airport clearing Russian customs, there will...

Unpainted, being painted, completely painted
Fresh colors in the distance
Usual apartment building appearance
Smelters in the distance

It’s a new Noril’sk. Her friends hardly recognize her. Immediately I was shocked by the sleek new airport terminal, entirely different from my visit in 2006, when rain was pouring through each of the high ceiling light fixtures and flooding the floor to a depth of several inches, requiring that...

Headphones in the helicopter, about to take off
The plateau
The helicopter leaves
View down to the river
Marching to the helicopter at the river for departure
Return flight, Roma and Seth in back ready to go
The town of Talnakh from the air

Today the wind was from the south, and it brought a thick blue haze of smoke from forest fires on the Putorana Plateau. That meant our helicopter ride was delayed, and the photos I have to show are not as clear as they might have been. It also meant warm, clear weather, more good luck.


The front courtyard of our hotel
Juice section of small Siberian market
Empty dynamite bags blow across the tiaga from a quarry
My colleagues playing hockey, photographed from a tuff layer up the river cliff
Mokulay streamside
Mokulay stream
The towering Daldykan intrusion, seemingly tottering to an imminent fall
One of the big smelters around Noril'sk

Today we studied many layers of lavas and some tuffs while walking up a rushing stony creek called the Mokulay. Some tectonic folding and faulting of these rocks in the last 250 million years has conveniently tipped the layers, so we walk more or less horizontally along the river and pass the...

25Jul 2012
Climbing up the side of the gorge
The main waterfall
View of the mountain on approach
Siberian walking: Willow, moss, flowers, puddles
Bitumin in lava
A tree burned by the lava 252 million years ago, notebook for scale
Lindy at the contact between the Ivakinsky and Syverminsky formations
Alexei, Anton, and Seth at the top of the ridge

As one of our colleagues commented, "For every one day of work there are three days of arrangements. It's bad that way in Russia because we have many chiefs" Another result is that every carefully laid plan gets revised again and again right up to the moment it is happening; another colleague...