The goal of the expedition is to understand the environmental impact of permafrost melting.
To get an insight into the warming climate on subsea permafrost, the team boarded the research vessel Akademik Mstislav Keldysh, and are conducting their research in the area around Bennett Island, the largest of the De Long Island group in the northern portion of the East Siberian Sea.
At a position roughly 150 nm to the east of the island, they spotted a large methane seep using hydroacoustics.
To record this phenomenon with equipment is one thing and to see the methane emission to the water surface with your own eyes is completely another. Regardless of equipment accuracy, showing the coordinates of a gas fountain, it is extremely difficult to find it in the sea. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Nevertheless, the expedition succeeded!
... commented Sergey Nikiforov, a journalist and chief expert of the Vice-Rector Division for External Affairs.
Moreover, the scientists used high-tech equipment for this expedition, and conducted seismoacoustic profiling to study the structure of the sedimentary stratum, electrical exploration for recording permafrost, took seawater samples, bottom sediments and suspensions from different horizons.
During their investigation, the researchers fpund a spot of emerald colour against the background of dark water. They then observed 'gas rising from the black depths of the sea to the surface with thousands of bubble.'
In the meantime, the expedition continued the next day, when the scientists saw a fountain of approximately the same power in another part of the expedition area. The team conducted a comprehensive examination of this phenomenon, including underwater photography.
Prof. Igor Semiletov, head of the expedition, corresponding member of RAS stated
For three days, we collected unique scientific materials in this expedition area, in the East Siberian Sea. However, the expedition came only to its middle.
Overall, the Arctic is an attractive location for researchers as there is still an undiscovered part of it. Recently, the MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) began an expedition in the Arctic, the largest polar expedition to ever study the Arctic, focusing on climate change and the marine ecosystems of the central Arctic ocean. The Polarstern icebreaker, used in this research, was also deployed on an Arctic expedition in the spring of 2014 and summer of 2015, where researchers found higher amount of microplastic in Arctic sea ice than ever before.