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Blog Kytalyk 2013: 25 April

Expedition to Chokurdakh (Sakha Republic) 23 April - 5 May 2013


25 April, Yakutsk

Picture 1 smallView of the Putorana Plateau from the aircraft. The rock stratification creates peculiar patterns of forest cover. (Photo: L. Belelli)Leaving Moscow behind we fly over the taiga, across the Urals and the west Siberian lowland where the river Ob and its tributaries draw sinuous lines in the ice. As we fly further east reaching night, the full moon lights up the Siberian landscape, still perfectly crystallized by winter frost.
The light is magnificent, the ashen moonlight of the cloudless sky is progressively strengthened by reddish beans of light. Looking northwards the sky becomes a gradient of colours, ranging from purples to oranges, which precedes the sun, just hidden behind the north cap. The scene is a privilege for whomever flies along these high latitude routes and it is difficult to remain indifferent to the scene, even after many trips.
Once over the Yenisey, the land is sufficiently lighted so we can clearly distinguish the details of the huge basaltic platform stretching over western Yacutia. The last electric lights of a village and a mining facility, appear like buoys in the middle of the ocean, sliding out of view. Then nothing more, no trace of any dwelled place or human construction, at least judging from a height of 10 km. Only the work of nature is on online casino blog view which began 500 million year ago during the Cambrian period, with a massive volcanic activity followed by years of erosion, creating the geological structure we see today. The particular rock stratification of this region causes the larches forests, the dominant tree species in this extreme climate, to grow in stripes appearing as contour lines of a topographic map.
It is almost morning and we start to descend gently towards Yakutsk. Scattered villages are preceded by a huge kymberlite mine, the best modern representation of Dante Alighieri's hell, concentric circles pointing down to the centre of the earth.
The day was spent in downtown Yakutsk, choosing to ignore jet lag in order to buy the last necessities and organise the departure for Chokurdakh the next day. We also met Roman (Petrov), who will join us for the fieldwork in the tundra.
Yakutsk welcomed us with plenty of sun, a temperature around 0°C, and already quite some dust in the air, which is a typical summer feature here. Nevertheless, most striking were the smiles of the young people strolling along the main street and in general the relaxed attitude of the people, in deep contrast to the hasty manners found in Moscow.
Here we are in Siberia indeed.