Franz Josef Land waters receive top grades
© RIA Novosti. Vera Kostamo

Franz Josef Land waters receive top grades

Experts have awarded top grades to Arctic Ocean waters around the Franz Josef Land Archipelago and declared their benchmark status, in terms of hydro-chemical properties, Maria Gavrilo, Deputy Director for Research at Russian Arctic National Park, told participants in a meeting to evaluate the results of the 2016 fieldwork season.

In the spring of 2016, the park's research expedition worked on Alexandra Land Island under a cooperation project with Moscow's satellite center of the Trace Element Institute for UNESCO, affiliated with the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia. Expedition members collected seawater samples in the Cambridge Strait and on the island's ocean coast.

"Experts analyzed water samples in Moscow and awarded top grades and benchmark status to seawater around the Franz Josef Land Archipelago. In fact, this seawater virtually contains no impurities from shore effluents. Despite the island's proximity to the shore, this seawater reflects global hydro-chemical background levels, in terms of its micro-element composition. Therefore, scientists believe that waters around the Franz Josef Land Archipelago are quite unique because these water samples can be collected near the shore," Gavrilo writes on the park's website.

Scientists also conducted research in the Pacific Ocean and collected water samples hundreds of kilometers from the coast. Shore effluents indicate the scale of various types of human-caused and natural impact. For example, river effluents change salinity levels and discharge typical ground elements into the ocean.

According to the park's press service, scientists from Moscow earlier took and analyzed freshwater samples from a lake on Alexandra Land Island but found no indication of toxic substances or unusual biological activity. This is an inert freshwater benchmark. "Research conducted this year confirms the unique and pristine nature of the Alexandra Land environment, its high scientific significance, and this, in turn, makes us feel more responsible for preserving all its valuable assets," Gavrilo stressed.