Northern Fleet, RGO monitor Arctic seismic activity
© RIA Novosti. Aleksej Kudenko

Northern Fleet, RGO monitor Arctic seismic activity

The Northern Fleet and the Russian Geographical Society (RGO) have completed the first stage of an expedition to Alexandra Land Island, part of the Franz Josef Land archipelago, with scientists conducting fundamental research in the field of seismic tectonics.

A Northern Fleet military transport plane flew expedition members to Alexandra Land Island and back. While there, the scientists measured the coastal fast ice areas, collected ice samples and studied the physical properties of ice cores. They also measured salinity levels and local temperatures. There are plans to implement other diverse research projects in the future, including marine biology projects and the study of certain atmospheric parameters for radio communications purposes. Additionally, the expedition should result in recommendations for regional economic activities and their forms.

Although the Arctic seems relatively quiet in terms of seismic activity, the results of joint expeditions involving the RGO, the Northern Fleet and the Russian Academy of Sciences have further information. According to Ruslan Zhostkov, the expedition’s head of research and a senior research associate with the Academy’s Institute of Physics of the Earth, the researchers have detected traces of ancient earthquakes in West and East Taimyr, on Wrangel Island, Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land.

“If powerful seismic processes happened in the past, they are likely to repeat themselves. Scientists working on Alexandra Land Island conducted fundamental seismic tectonic research,” the Northern Fleet’s press service said.

This expedition is part of a long-term program involving the RGO and the Russian Defense Ministry to study this region, including the Russian Arctic. The program continues research projects launched in the archipelago in 2021 when geological and geo-morphological research took place together with a project to monitor biodiversity and to count the local polar bear population.

This year, the RGO is planning to work with the Northern Fleet to deploy permanent seismic stations in the eastern Arctic. The first stations will be located on the De Long Islands, Alexandra Land and later in mainland Russia. They will constantly monitor seismic processes for assisting residents of the Arctic as the least-studied region.