Sampling Lake Baikal’s Tributaries

As many of you know, we had two legs to our summer expedition trip in August 2013. Sarah and George were responsible for lake coring and lake water sampling, based onboard The Geolog. While Anson and Ginnie headed off into the outback, in their trusty “Tabletka”, sampling the lake’s many tributaries and catchments.

The Tabletka

The Tabletka

The Road Trip leg started off on Wednesday 31st July from Irkutsk, via the Russian Academy of Sciences, in order to fully stock up on camping supplies and provisions for our 11 day drive around Lake Baikal’s Southern and Eastern coast.

Provisions for the expedition

Provisions for the expedition

Our two companions Alexander Sizov and Pavel Firsov, along with our driver Igor, made up our team. Their knowledge of the terrain and countryside was invaluable as was their “great outdoors” experience. 

Sasha (Left) and Pasha (Right)

Sasha (Left) and Pasha (Right)

Sampling the Selenga River. Image thanks to Anson Mackay.

Sampling the Selenga River. Image thanks to Anson Mackay.

Leaving Irkutsk we headed in a south-easterly direction to Lake Baikal’s southern coast and the town of  Slyudyanka, where we would commence our water sampling. At each site, samples were collected to analyse the dissolved silicon isotopic composition of rivers (δ30SiDSi ), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), nutrients and total phosphorous (TP).

Every night, after setting up our tents we would begin our ritual task of filtering samples through the respective filter papers for each of the different analyses as well as labelling all bottles and acidifying. While Sasha and Pasha would organise our camp and begin cooking dinner for us all. Finally, before the end of the night we would consult our maps and itinerary and finalise our travel plans for the next day.

Setting up Base Camp in the Selenga Delta. Image thanks to Anson Mackay.

Setting up Base Camp in the Selenga Delta. Image thanks to Anson Mackay.

For more information of the different sites that we sampled and the terrain that we covered, keep posted. We covered a fair distance, reaching as South as the Mongolian border. We saw quite a variation in the landscape and vegetation so more updates soon…

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