The Altai flood refers to the cataclysmic flood that, according to some geomorphologists, swept along the Katun River in the Altai Republic at the end of the last ice age. These glacial lake outburst floods were the result of periodic sudden ruptures of ice dams like those triggering the Missoula flood. Large glacial outburst floods have been researched since the 1920s in USA only. In the 1980s, Russian geologist Alexei N. Rudoy proposed the term diluvium for deposits created as a result of catastrophic outbursts of Pleistocene giant glacier-dammed lakes in intermontane basins of the Altai; the largest of these lakes had a water volume of hundreds of cubic kilometers. Giant current ripples of up to 18 meters high and 225 meters per wavelength were created at several places on the lake bottom, they are best developed just east of the Tyetyo River in the eastern part of the Kuray Basin but several other smaller fields of giant current ripples occur there. They are made up of rounded pebble gravel.
Giant bars found along the lower Chuya River and the Katun River as much as 300 m above modern river levels, with lengths up to five kilometers. Well developed on the Katun River below its confluence with the Chuya River, the bars appear to have formed like giant point bars, on the inner bends of the river, as opposed to the scoured bare bedrock walls of the ‘cut bank’ on the outer bends; these bars diminish in thickness downstream to about 60 m near Gorno-Altaisk. Some of these bars form lakes. Much of the gravel deposited along the Katun valley lacks a stratigraphic structure, showing characteristics of a deposition directly after suspension in a turbulent flow. Unique block deposits cap erosional terraces that are a few kilometers long, tens of meters wide, about 4 m above the lower bars. Block sizes range up to 20 m on the long axis, show no evidence of rounding. Cuspate erosional hollows and accumulation ridges are associated with individual blocks. Rudoy estimates the discharge required to transport these blocks in suspension was about 1 million m3, with a duration of maximum flow of about 10 minutes.
Ice-rafted boulders up to several meters in diameter. Eddy deposits are seen along the Katun River between Mali Yaloman. Dating of the gravel bars has yielded at least 3 times of deposition, suggesting that multiple floods occurred. Towards the end of the last glacial period, 12,000 to 15,000 years ago, glaciers descending from the Altai mountains dammed the Chuya River, a large tributary of the Katun River, creating a large glacial lake including the Chuya and the Kurai basins; as the lake grew larger and deeper, the ice dam failed, causing a catastrophic flood that spilled along the Katun River. This flood may have been the greatest discharge of freshwater on Earth, since its magnitude has been estimated similar to that of the Missoula flood in North America; the age of catastrophic flooding is not constrained, may involve several events. The mechanisms of lake filling and ice dam failure would suggest an early or late glacial time, whereas conditions at glacial maxima would seem to preclude such events.
The catastrophic flood occurred between 12000 BC and 9000 BC. Most of the water discharge is thought to have occurred during one day, with peak discharges of 107 m3/s; the maximum lake volume was 6x1011 m3 with an area of 1.5x109 m2. The ice dam was about 650 m high; when the ice dam failed, floodwaters coursed down the Chuya River to the confluence with the Katun River, followed the Katun into the Ob River, into Lake Mansi, a large proglacial Pleistocene lake, ~600,000 km2 in area. The fast inflow raised its level by only ~12 m but some authors argue that, because the Turgay spillway of Lake Mansi was only 8 m above the lake level at the time, much of the floodwater continued into the Aral Sea. From there the flooding waters may have followed through the Uzboy spillway into the Caspian Sea through the Maryinsky spillway into the Black Sea, into the Mediterranean Sea. Diluvium – Deposits created as a result of catastrophic outbursts of Pleistocene giant glacier-dammed lakes Giant current ripples – Depositional forms in diluvial plain and mountain scablands Missoula Floods – Cataclysmic floods at the end of the last ice age, in eastern Washington state, USA Outburst flood – High-magnitude, low-frequency catastrophic flood involving the sudden release of water Lee, 2004, The Altay Flood Alexei N. Rudoy, 2005.
Giant current ripples. - Tomsk. - 224 pp. In Russian, Eng. summary: pp. 134-211 pp
The Sayan Mountains are a mountain range in southern Siberia and northern Mongolia. In the past, it served as the border between Russia; the Sayan Mountains' towering peaks and cool lakes southwest of Tuva give rise to the tributaries that merge to become one of Siberia's major rivers, the Yenisei River, which flows north over 2000 miles to the Arctic Ocean. This is a protected and isolated area, having been kept closed by the Soviet Union since 1944; the Eastern Sayan extends 1,000 km from the Yenisei River at 92° E to the southwest end of Lake Baikal at 106° E. The Western Sayan forms the eastern continuation of the Altay Mountains, stretching for 500 km from 89° E to the middle of the Eastern Sayan at 96° E. While the general elevation is 2000 to 2,700 m, granites and metamorphic slates reach altitudes of over 3,000 m, with the highest being Mönkh Saridag at 3,492 m; the principal mountain passes lie 1800 to 2,300 m above the sea, for example Muztagh pass at 2,280 m, Mongol pass at 1,980 m, Tenghyz pass at 2,280 m and Obo-sarym pass at 1,860 m.
At 92°E the system is pierced by the Ulug-Khem or Upper Yenisei River, at 106°, at its eastern extremity, it terminates above the depression of the Selenga-Orkhon Valley. From the Mongolian plateau the ascent is on the whole gentle, but from the plains of Siberia it is much steeper, despite the fact that the range is masked by a broad belt of subsidiary ranges of an Alpine character, e.g. the Usinsk, Oya and Kitoi ranges. Between the breach of the Yenisei and Lake Khövsgöl at 100° 30' E. the system bears the name of Yerghik-taiga. The flora is on the whole poor, although the higher regions carry good forests of larch, juniper and alder, with rhododendrons and species of Berberis and Ribes. Lichens and mosses clothe many of the boulders. In this area that shows only small cirque glaciers, at glacial times glaciers have flowed down from the 3492 m high Munku Sardyk massif situated west of Lake Baikal and from the 12.100 km² extended glaciated granite-gneiss plateau of the East-Sayan mountains as well as the east-connected 2600 – 3110 m-high summits in the Tunkinskaya Dolina valley, joining to a c. 30 km-wide parent glacier.
Its glacier tongue that flowed down to the east, to Lake Baikal, came to an end at 500 m asl. The Khamar Daban mountains were covered by a large-scale ice cap filling up the valley relief. From its valley heads, e.g. the upper Slujanka valley, but through parallel valleys like the Snirsdaja valley, outlet glaciers flowed to the north to Lake Baikal. The Snirsdaja-valley-outlet glacier has calved, among other outlet glaciers, at c. 400 m asl into Lake Baikal. The glacial glacier snowline as altitude limit between glacier feeding area and ablation zone has run in these mountains between 1450 and 1250 m asl; this corresponds to a snowline depression of 1500 m against the current height of the snowline. Under the condition of a comparable precipitation ratio there might result from this a glacial depression of the average annual temperature of 7.5 to 9 °C for the Last Ice Age against today. According to Sev’yan I. Vainshtein Sayan reindeer herding, as practiced by the Evenks, is "the oldest form of reindeer herding and is associated with the earliest domestication of the reindeer by the Samoyedic taiga population of the Sayan Mountains at the turn of the first millenium A.
D. The Sayan region was the origin of the economic and cultural complex of reindeer hunters-herdsmen that we now see among the various Evenki groups and the peoples of the Sayan area; the ancestors of modern Evenki groups inhabited areas adjacent to the Sayan Mountains, it is likely that they took part in the process of reindeer domestication along with the Samoyedic population." The local indigenous groups that have retained their traditional lifestyle nowadays live exclusively in the area of the Eastern Sayan mountains. However, the local reindeer herding communities were affected by russification and sovietization, with many Evenks losing their traditional lifestyle and groups like the Mator and Kamas peoples being assimilated altogether. According to Juha Janhunen, other linguists, the homeland of the Uralic languages is located in South-Central Siberia in the Sayan Mountains region; the Sayan Solar Observatory is located in these mountains at an altitude of 2,000 meters. Abakan River Ergaki Geography of South-Central Siberia Lykov family Mana River Minusinsk Depression Tuva Depression Altai-Sayan region Sayan Mountains at Encyclopædia Britannica Tuva -Sayan Mountains Photo of Sayan Mountains
Boulder clay is a geological deposit of clay full of boulders, formed out of the ground moraine material of glaciers and ice-sheets. It was the typical deposit of the Glacial Period in northern North America. Boulder clay is distinguished from other clay; the clay is scraped from the top layer of older rock by the movement of a ice sheet. An ice sheet pushes rocks and everything else in its path, which in turn wears the rock into silt-like grain, which makes up the clay. Clay formed out of Old Red Sandstone areas is red, over Carboniferous rocks it is black, over Silurian rock it may be buff or grey, where the ice has passed over chalk, the clay may be quite white and chalky. Much boulder clay is of a bluish-grey until exposed to weather, which transforms it to a brown colour. Boulder clay is classed with a group of poorly sorted materials, described by the non-genetic term diamicton, it is a stiff, tough clay devoid of stratification, though some varieties are distinctly laminated. Within the boulder clay, there are irregular lenticular masses of more or less stratified sand, gravel or loam.
The boulders are held within the clay in an irregular manner, they vary in size from pebbles up to masses many tons in weight. They are somewhat oblong, they possess a flat side or sole. If they are hard rocks, they bear grooves and scratches caused by contact with other rocks while held in the moving glacier ice. Like the clay in which they are borne, the boulders belong to districts over which the ice has travelled. By the nature of the contained boulders, it is possible to trace the path along which a vanished ice-sheet moved. With the exception of foraminifera, which have been found in the boulder clay of separated regions, fossils are unknown. In some maritime districts, marine shells have been incorporated with the clay. A classic example of boulder clay can be seen in England at the eroding cliffs of Hornsea, situated along the Holderness coast in East Yorkshire. Till
Firn is compacted névé, a type of snow, left over from past seasons and has been recrystallized into a substance denser than névé. It is ice, at an intermediate stage between snow and glacial ice. Firn has the appearance of wet sugar, but has a hardness that makes it resistant to shovelling, its density ranges from 0.4 g/cm³ to 0.83 g/cm³, it can be found underneath the snow that accumulates at the head of a glacier. Snowflakes are compressed under the weight of the overlying snowpack. Individual crystals near the melting point are semiliquid and slick, allowing them to glide along other crystal planes and to fill in the spaces between them, increasing the ice's density. Where the crystals touch they bond together, squeezing the air between them to the surface or into bubbles. In the summer months, the crystal metamorphosis can occur more because of water percolation between the crystals. By summer's end, the result is firn; the minimum altitude that firn accumulates on a glacier is called the firn limit, firn line or snowline.
In colloquial and technical language,'firn' is used to describe certain forms of old snow or harsch: Old snowfields or névé if the snow is not yet one year old the more recent snow layers of a glacier the uppermost, soft layer of snow, frozen overnight and, as a result of spring sunshine and high air temperatures, forms on an area of old snow or harsch "Firn". Encyclopædia Britannica. "Fundamentals of Physical Geography". Physicalgeography.net."Greenland Meltwater Storage in Firn Limited". Nature.com. "USGS Glossary of Selected Glacier and Related Terminology". Ulcan.wr.usgs.gov. Fern
Penitente (snow formation)
Penitentes, or nieves penitentes, are snow formations found at high altitudes. They take the form of elongated, thin blades of hardened snow or ice spaced and pointing towards the general direction of the sun; the name comes from the resemblance of a field of penitentes to a crowd of kneeling people doing penance. The formation evokes the tall, pointed habits and hoods worn by brothers of religious orders in the Processions of Penance during Spanish Holy Week. In particular the brothers' hats are tall and white, with a pointed top; these spires of snow and ice grow over all glaciated and snow-covered areas in the Dry Andes above 4,000 metres or 13,120 feet. They range in length from a few centimetres to 16 feet. Penitentes were first described in scientific literature by Charles Darwin in 1839. On March 22, 1835, he had to squeeze his way through snowfields covered in penitentes near the Piuquenes Pass, on the way from Santiago de Chile to the Argentine city of Mendoza, reported the local belief that they were formed by the strong winds of the Andes.
Louis Lliboutry noted that the key climatic condition behind the differential ablation that leads to the formation of penitentes is a dew point that remains below freezing. This combined with dry air will cause snow to sublimate. Once the process of differential ablation starts, the surface geometry of the evolving penitente produces a positive feedback mechanism, radiation is trapped by multiple reflections between the walls; the hollows become a black body for radiation, while decreased wind leads to air saturation, increasing dew point temperature and the onset of melting. In this way peaks, where mass loss is due to sublimation alone, will remain, as well as the steep walls, which intercept only a minimum of solar radiation. In the troughs, the ablation is enhanced. A mathematical model of the process has been developed by Betterton, although the physical processes at the initial stage of penitente growth, from granular snow to micropenitentes, still remain unclear; the effect of penitentes on the energy balance of the snow surface, therefore their effect on snow melt and water resources has been studied.
Penitentes up to 15 m high are suggested to be present in the tropics zone on Europa, a satellite of Jupiter. According to a recent study, NASA's New Horizons has discovered penitentes on Pluto, in a region informally named Tartarus Dorsa. Hoar frost Rime ice Suncup Bergeron, Vance. "Controlled Irradiative Formation of Penitentes". Physical Review Letters. 96: 098502. ArXiv:physics/0601184. Doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.96.098502. PMID 16606324. Kotlyakov, V. M.. M.. "Nieve and ice penitentes, their way of formation and indicative significance". Zeitschrift für Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie. X: 111–127. Describes appearance and formation of these ablation features, with reference to those observed in eastern Pamir, U. S. S. K. Lliboutry, L.. "Glaciers of the Dry Andes". In Williams, R. S. J.. South America, United States Geological Survey Professional Paper. USGS-p1386i. Media related to Ice and snow penitents at Wikimedia Commons "Spiky glaciers are slower to melt", New Scientist
The Altai Republic is a federal subject of Russia. It is geographically located in the West Siberia region of Asian Russia, is part of the Siberian Federal District; the Altai Republic covers an area of 92,600 square kilometers and has a population of 206,168, the least-populous republic of Russia and federal subject in Siberia. Gorno-Altaysk is the largest town of the Altai Republic; the Altai Republic is one of Russia's ethnic republics representing the indigenous Altay people, a Turkic ethnic group that form 35% of the Republic's population, while ethnic Russians form a majority at 57%, with minority populations of Kazakhs, other Central Asian ethnicities, Germans. The official languages of the Altai Republic are the Altay language; the Xiongnu Empire governed the territory of the modern Altai Republic. The southern part of the Altai Republic came under the Naiman Khanate; the territory of the modern Altai Republic has been ruled by the Mongolic Xianbei state, Rouran Khaganate, Mongol Empire, Golden Horde, Zunghar Khanate and Qing Empire.
The Qing period is a semi-autonomous period with the supervision of two Altan Nuur Uriankhai Governor Banners and part of the seven Altai Uriankhai banners. During the Qing administration, the General of Siberia Fedor Ivanovich Soimonov launched a non-military expedition into the Altan Nuur region in 1760 and began fort building, subsequently removed by Heseri Jalafungga of Qing. Since the 1820s, the routine border check was less frequent and the Chuy drainage basin has been occupied by Russians. Since the annexation of the entire Altan Nuur Uriankhai into Russia in 1864-1867, the Altaians no longer enjoyed autonomy until June 1, 1922, with the creation of Oyrot Autonomous Oblast, part of Altai Krai. During the Russian Civil War, the Confederated Republic of Altai was established, declared as the first step to rebuilding Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire, but it never became a competing force in the Russian Civil War, stayed neutral from 1917 until January 1920, when it was annexed back into Russia.
The original name for this region was Bazla. On January 7, 1948, it was renamed Gorno-Altai Autonomous Oblast. In 1991 it was reorganized into the Gorno-Altai Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992 it was renamed as the Altai Republic; the Altai Republic is situated in the Altai Mountains in the center of Asia at the junction of the Siberian taiga, the steppes of Kazakhstan and the semi-deserts of Mongolia. Forests cover about 25% of the republic's territory. Area: 92,600 km2 Borders: internal: Kemerovo Oblast, Republic of Khakassia, Tuva Republic, Altai Krai. international: Mongolia and Kazakhstan Highest point: Mount Belukha Maximum N->S distance: 360 km Maximum E->W distance: 380 km More than 20,000 tributaries sprawl throughout the mountainous Republic, making for a total of more than 60,000 kilometers worth of waterways. The republic's largest rivers are the Katun and the Biya, both of which originate in the mountains and flow northwards; the junction of the two rivers forms the Ob River, one of the longest rivers in Siberia, which flows northward to the Arctic Ocean.
The source of the black Biya River is Lake Teletskoye, the region's largest lake located in an isolated area far south in the mountains. The emerald-colored Katun River has its source at the Gebler glacier, situated on the Republic's highest point, Mount Belukha; the Katun River, in particular, holds a religious significance for native Altaians, as well as for many Russians who live in the area, as Mount Belukha is known in Altai folklore to be the gateway to the mystical kingdom of Shambhala. The hydrographic network of the Republic includes 7,000 lakes, adding up to a total area of more than 700 km2; the largest lake is Lake Teletskoye, 80 km long and 5 kilometers wide, has an area of 230.8 square kilometers, has a maximum depth of 325 meters. The mountain lakes of Altai contain enormous freshwater reserves of a pure quality as a result of their distance from civilization. Lake Teletskoye alone contains more than 40 cubic kilometers of clear water. Potential groundwater storage is evaluated at 22 million m³ per day, while the present use constitutes about 44,000 m³ per day.
The most striking geographical aspect of the Republic of Altai is its mountainous terrain. The Republic is situated within the Russian part of the Altai Mountains system, which covers a large part of the Republic and continues into neighboring Kazakhstan and China; the region continues to experience periodic notable seismic activity, visually made apparent through the mountains' characteristically high and rugged mountain ridges, separated by narrow and deep river valleys. The Republic's highest peak, Mount Belukha, is the highest point in Siberia. Various bodies of water are among the most important natural resources of the Republic. Mineral and hot springs are popular destinations for tourists and locals, sought for their therapeutic effects. Additionally, Altai glaciers contain a great amount of fresh water; the general volume of ice for registered Altai glaciers comes to a total of 57 km³, 52 km³ of, water. The total water stock of the glaciers exceeds the average annual effluence of all Altai riv
Geology is an earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, the processes by which they change over time. Geology can include the study of the solid features of any terrestrial planet or natural satellite such as Mars or the Moon. Modern geology overlaps all other earth sciences, including hydrology and the atmospheric sciences, so is treated as one major aspect of integrated earth system science and planetary science. Geology describes the structure of the Earth on and beneath its surface, the processes that have shaped that structure, it provides tools to determine the relative and absolute ages of rocks found in a given location, to describe the histories of those rocks. By combining these tools, geologists are able to chronicle the geological history of the Earth as a whole, to demonstrate the age of the Earth. Geology provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, the Earth's past climates. Geologists use a wide variety of methods to understand the Earth's structure and evolution, including field work, rock description, geophysical techniques, chemical analysis, physical experiments, numerical modelling.
In practical terms, geology is important for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, evaluating water resources, understanding of natural hazards, the remediation of environmental problems, providing insights into past climate change. Geology is a major academic discipline, it plays an important role in geotechnical engineering; the majority of geological data comes from research on solid Earth materials. These fall into one of two categories: rock and unlithified material; the majority of research in geology is associated with the study of rock, as rock provides the primary record of the majority of the geologic history of the Earth. There are three major types of rock: igneous and metamorphic; the rock cycle illustrates the relationships among them. When a rock solidifies or crystallizes from melt, it is an igneous rock; this rock can be weathered and eroded redeposited and lithified into a sedimentary rock. It can be turned into a metamorphic rock by heat and pressure that change its mineral content, resulting in a characteristic fabric.
All three types may melt again, when this happens, new magma is formed, from which an igneous rock may once more solidify. To study all three types of rock, geologists evaluate the minerals; each mineral has distinct physical properties, there are many tests to determine each of them. The specimens can be tested for: Luster: Measurement of the amount of light reflected from the surface. Luster is broken into nonmetallic. Color: Minerals are grouped by their color. Diagnostic but impurities can change a mineral’s color. Streak: Performed by scratching the sample on a porcelain plate; the color of the streak can help name the mineral. Hardness: The resistance of a mineral to scratch. Breakage pattern: A mineral can either show fracture or cleavage, the former being breakage of uneven surfaces and the latter a breakage along spaced parallel planes. Specific gravity: the weight of a specific volume of a mineral. Effervescence: Involves dripping hydrochloric acid on the mineral to test for fizzing. Magnetism: Involves using a magnet to test for magnetism.
Taste: Minerals can have a distinctive taste, like halite. Smell: Minerals can have a distinctive odor. For example, sulfur smells like rotten eggs. Geologists study unlithified materials, which come from more recent deposits; these materials are superficial deposits. This study is known as Quaternary geology, after the Quaternary period of geologic history. However, unlithified material does not only include sediments. Magmas and lavas are the original unlithified source of all igneous rocks; the active flow of molten rock is studied in volcanology, igneous petrology aims to determine the history of igneous rocks from their final crystallization to their original molten source. In the 1960s, it was discovered that the Earth's lithosphere, which includes the crust and rigid uppermost portion of the upper mantle, is separated into tectonic plates that move across the plastically deforming, upper mantle, called the asthenosphere; this theory is supported by several types of observations, including seafloor spreading and the global distribution of mountain terrain and seismicity.
There is an intimate coupling between the movement of the plates on the surface and the convection of the mantle. Thus, oceanic plates and the adjoining mantle convection currents always move in the same direction – because the oceanic lithosphere is the rigid upper thermal boundary layer of the convecting mantle; this coupling between rigid plates moving on the surface of the Earth and the convecting mantle is called plate tectonics. The development of plate tectonics has provided a physical basis for many observations of the solid Earth. Long linear regions of geologic features are explained as plate boundaries. For example: Mid-ocean ridges, high regions on the seafloor where hydrothermal vents and volcanoes exist, are seen as divergent boundaries, where two plates move apart. Arcs of volcanoes and earthquakes are theorized as convergent boundaries, where one plate subducts, or moves, under another. Transform boundaries, such as the San Andreas Fault system, resulted in widespread powerful earthquakes.
Plate tectonics has provided a mechan