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Global Climate to be Forecast for 20000 Years on Basis of Ancient Cave in Irkutsk
February 25, 2018 09:09


 Russian scientists in cooperation with colleagues from Slovakia, Germany, and Great Britain undertook an expedition to the Botovskaya Cave, the longest cave in Russia.

Experts from the Earth's Crust Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences jointly with colleagues from the Oxford and Ruhr Universities will reconstruct the climate of the prehistoric era based on the research of Russia’s longest cave, the Botovskaya Cave in the Irkutsk Region. “According to it, we can assume what is going to happen to the climate in 20 thousand years”, - said the head of the Speleology Section at the Irkutsk Branch of the Russian Geographical Society, Alexander Osintsev.

As the speleologist reports another expedition to the Botovskaya Cave was completed on the 12th of February, 2018. 11 experts from Slovakia, Germany, the Great Britain and Russia took part in this event. It aimed at examining the new passages of the underground labyrinth and select samples of substances that can contain information about life on Earth in the earliest epochs. According to Mr. Osintsev, based on this data, a reconstruction of the paleoclimate will be obtained. It will be a special map showing the climatic zones at a certain point in the historical development of the planet. From this map, experts will draw conclusions in regards of the upcoming climate changes on the planet.

“The samples collected in the Cave were sent to a laboratory in Oxford for solving the super task - the paleoclimate reconstruction. The task is extremely urgent in the view of the climate changes that have been observed recently. It is obvious that these processes on the planet are of cyclical nature, and on the basis of reconstruction we can assume what will happen to the climate in the next 20-30 thousand years”, - the researcher explained.

Botovskaya Cave, discovered in the upper reaches of the Lena River in 1946, is also known for the finds of fossil bear skeletons. Since 2013, about 30 remains of these ancient animals have been found there. This time, the skeletons of seven individuals were unearthed and eight more were recorded at the site, Aleksey Klementyev, a researcher at the Institute of the Earth's Crust of the SB RAS, noted. According to him, the Botovsky bear is a species of the Pleistocene fauna (a period that began 2.5 million years ago and ended 11.7 thousand years ago) remotely resembling a Himalayan bear.

“The uniqueness of the Botovskaya Cave is that this is the only place on the planet where several dozens of these predators lived. For a long time these bears visited the Botovskaya Cave and died there, so it is difficult to establish the exact geological age of the Botovsky bear, because it goes beyond radiocarbon analysis. That means that this species is definitely over 50 thousand years old”, - the paleontologist pointed out.

It is expected that the next expedition to explore Botovskaya Cave will be undertaken in February 2019. Because of the inaccessibility of the cave, research is conducted only in winter season: there are no year-round roads in this area and explorers have to drive 90 km on the ice of the Lena River to reach the prehistoric cave.


Sources: http://tass.ru 

Author: Vera Ivanova

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