Baikal Drilling Project

Table of contents

Project leadersLinkages with other projects
Introduction and brief historyAccomplishments and expected results
Why is this research important? Project Management
Scientific ObjectivesFinancial Support
Operating Plan and eventsResources available
Planning meetingsFuture Directions
MethodologiesSelected Publications from BDP
ParticipantsComments to this page

Project leaders

Mikhail I. Kuzmin
Institute of Geochemistry, Irkutsk, Russia
E-mail M. Kuzmin in Irkutsk, Russia

Takayoshi Kawai
Japanese Association for Baikal International Research Program (JABIRP), National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan

Douglas F. Williams
Department of Geological Sciences, University of South Carolina
E-mail D. Williams in Columbia, SC

Introduction and Background

The Baikal Drilling Project is now a multi-national effort (Russia, Japan, Germany, USA) to extract the record of global climate change and tectonic evolution of the Lake Baikal sedimentary basin in the Late Neogene. Historically, the Baikal Drilling Project began in 1989 as a joint Russian-American scientific venture (Williams, 1992; Kuzmin and Williams, 1993). In numerous meetings over a 3 year period a mutual scientific program and leadership structure were worked out including a steering committee. These discussions led to several successful Russian and American coring-seismic expeditions (Lake Baikal Paleoclimate Project Members, 1992) which laid the framework for actual drilling. This effort also included new multichannel seismic profiling which indicated that sedimentary thickness exceeds 5-8 km in some parts of the Baikal basin (Hutchinson et al., 1993; Sholtz et al., 1993; Ager and Klitgord, 1995; Moore et al., in press). In January 1993, the BDP team, in cooperation with the NEDRA Drilling Enterprise of Yaroslavl, Russia, successfully deployed a light-weight drilling rig from a barge frozen into position over a topographic high in southern Baikal called the Buguldeika saddle. With this system, the first long (>100 m) hydraulic piston cores were successfully recovered from two holes in 354 m water depth.

Why is this research needed, important?

The climate of the Baikal region is characterized by a high degree of continentality. In addition, Lake Baikal has never been glaciated in its 20-25 million year history. The paleoclimate research at Lake Baikal is therefore important because offers unparalleled opportunities to recover a relatively high latitude record of the continental response to atmospheric forcing isolated from marine influences due to its mid-continent position. The sedimentary record of Baikal is also extremely long and continuous with sedimentation rates varying from 1 cm/ky to 1 m/ky. The Baikal record therefore offers exciting opportunities to study paleoclimate change on a variety of temporal scales and resolutions.

Scientific Objectives/Aims/Targets (arranged from near-term to long-term goals)

1. Develop and calibrate various proxies of paleoclimate change in Lake Baikal sediments.
2. Develop an accurate geochronology for Baikal sediments.
3. Develop models for the response of Lake Baikal to paleoclimate change over the last 30ky to 200ky.
4. Determine the relationship of this response to orbital forcing on Milankovitch timescales (BDP-93.
5. Recover sediments from the Academician Ridge to determine Baikal’s response to northern hemisphere glaciation in the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene (BDP-96).
6. Recover sediments to determine if sub-orbital responses exist in the Baikal record (BDP-97-98).
7. Recover sediments to determine how the Selenga River watershed of Baikal has developed with time (BDP-99).
8. Recover long sedimentary sequences to reveal important new information about the history and seismic stratigraphy of this rift sedimentary basin in response to the geologic history of the Baikal Rift Zone and uplift of the Tibetan Plateau.

Implementation Plan/Operating Plan/Project Strategy

1990-92 Russian-American coring and seismic expeditions to calibrate the sediment record of Baikal and to define future drilling targets; development of the Baikal hydraulic piston coring system by the Russian drilling enterprise (Nedra). January 1993 BDP-93 First deployment of the Baikal drilling rig from a barge frozen in southern Baikal (the Buguldeika saddle). Recovery of the first 100 m hydraulic piston cores with an average recovery of 90% and a complete composite hemipelagic section spanning the last 500,000 years admixed with fine-grained materials from the Selenga River drainage basin to the east of Lake Baikal. Magnetic susceptibility logging of holes 1 and 2 reveals excellent core-to-core correlation. Variations in spore-pollen, diatoms, biogenic silica, rock magnetic properties, clay mineralogy and organic carbon reveal a detailed record of how climate change impacted the Baikal limnological system including the adjacent watershed (Kuzmin et al., 1995; Williams et al., 1996). January 1996 BDP-96 Drilling has just been successfully completed on the Academician Ridge using an upgraded drilling system. Our target was a complete paleoclimatic record of the last 2.5 to 3 Ma to test models of Tibetan Plateau uplift and development of northern hemisphere glaciation.. As of 1 April 1996, BDP-96 core recovery is 192 m in hole one with a maximum subbottom depth attained of 250m for logging. Core recovery to a depth of 119m is 95%. Drilling in a second hole has recovered 100m of cores. BDP-96 cores will be magnetically logged in late April-early May 1996, and core descriptions and sampling are planned for early June. January 1997 BDP-97 The Nedra Drilling Enterprise is currently developing a 1000m coring system for future deep-water (900m) drill at site 7 in the northern basin. Site 7 contains an expanded section equivalent in time to BDP-93 at Buguldeika. The first season will be devoted to a high-resolution section down to 500m subbottom. January 1998 BDP-98 will complete drilling at the northern basin site down to a depth of 500-1000m subbottom. January 1999 For BDP-99 drilling is planned at site 13 on the Selenga Delta to a subbottom depth of 1 km in order to test models about lake level fluctuations and the development of the Selenga watershed which extends into northern Mongolia.

Planning meetings

BDP coordinating and planning meetings are held in Irkutsk twice a year, usually proceeding the drilling and after drilling in order to set priorities for sampling distribution and analysis. Usually detailed reports are not written but summary protocols signed by all parties are produced and available upon request. The next planning/coordination meetings of the BDP Steering Committee will occur in June 1996 in Irkutsk.

Methodologies. Need for a Multidisciplinary Approach

The size and depth of Lake Baikal as a natural field laboratory for global change research, and the logistical challenges of working in remote locations, demand a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary approach. A multidisciplinary approach is obviously necessary to exploit the rich potential of the Baikal sedimentary record as a natural archive of paleoclimatic and paleo-environmental changes. The BDP team developed new geochemical proxies (biogenic silica, organic matter indices), new environmental magnetic proxies and new palynological proxies. We are testing the level of sensitivity of Asian continental paleoclimate change to Milankovitch orbital forcing (Colman et al., 1995). We are resolving new evidence for climatic decoupling between Siberia and North America during the Pleistocene (Karabanov et al., submitted). We have found new evidence for large scale and rapid changes in lake level during the Pleistocene (Romashkin et al., 1995). Dramatic changes in the spore-pollen signals in the Baikal sediments are providing key evidence for the response of the terrestrial biosphere of Siberia to global climate changes (Fowell et al., 1995). We are resolving the record of paleo-pCO2 signals embedded in the organic carbon of Baikal sediments (Prokopenko et al., submitted). The environmental magnetic record contains a readily interpretable proxy record of late Quaternary climate change (Peck et al., 1994) and three independent means of dating the sediment (climate proxy, relative geomagnetic intensity and geomagnetic direction) (Peck et al., 1995).

Participating nations, groups or institutes

Russia
Institute of Geochemistry, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk
Limnological Institute, SB-RAS, Irkutsk
United Institute of Geology, Geochemistry and Mineralogy, SB-RAS, Novosibirsk
Institute of the Earth’s Crust, SB-RAS, Irkutsk
NEDRA Drilling Enterprise , Ministry of Geology, Yaroslavl

USA
University of South Carolina
University of Rhode Island
University of Massachusetts
University of Minnesota
University of Michigan
United States Geological Survey

Japan
Japanese Association for Baikal International Research Program (JABIRP)

Germany
Alfred Wegener Polar Institute, Potsdam
GFZ, Potsdam

Linkages with other projects

BDP is directly linked to the PAGES-PANASH project through the PEP-II Transect.

Output (accomplishments or expected results)

Objectives 1-4 have been accomplished and the results from which are now appearing in many publications and meeting symposia. For example, the BDP team have developed and calibrated various proxies of paleoclimate change in Lake Baikal sediments such as biogenic silica, magnetic and rock magnetic properties, etc.. We have also developed an accurate geochronology for Baikal sediments using AMS radiocarbon dating for the last 30,000 of Earth history and magnetic intensity patterns for the last 80,000 years. In addition preliminary thermoluminescence dating and uranium series dating are promising in the 0-500ky window. BDP-96 cores from Academician Ridge should yield the first unequivocal paleomagnetic chronology. We have also successfully demonstrated the response of Lake Baikal to paleoclimate change over the last 30ky to 200ky on Milankovitch frequencies. We have successfully obtained two hydraulic piston cored sections from the Academician Ridge to determine Baikal’s response to northern hemisphere glaciation in the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene (BDP-96). Plans are well developed to accomplish objective 6 and 7, namely to recover sediments from the northern basin site 7 to determine if sub-orbital responses exist in the Baikal record (BDP-97-98) and to recover sediments from the Selenga Delta site 13 to determine how the Selenga River watershed of Baikal has developed with time (BDP-99). Objective 8 - plans to recover long sedimentary sequences to reveal important new information about the history and seismic stratigraphy of this rift sedimentary basin in response to the geologic history of the Baikal Rift Zone and uplift of the Tibetan Plateau are dependent on successful completion of objective 5-7. All data from the BDP project will be maintained in a BDP database as well as submitted to the PAGES paleoclimate database.

Project Management/Guidance/Resources

The Baikal Drilling Project is managed and coordinated by a Steering Committee chaired by Prof. Mikhail I. Kuzmin, Director of the Institute of Geochemistry, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk, Russia. Other co-chairman are Dr. Takayoshi Kawai, Director, Japanese Association for Baikal International Research Program and Prof. Douglas F. Williams, University of South Carolina. Dr. Martin Melles of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Potsdam, Germany, is an observer to the committee. A. Goriglad, a financial official of Kuzmin’s institute, is in charge of BDP financial affairs, makes expenditures and keeps financial records on behalf of the BDP Steering Committee. This arrangement has worked very well. Financial reports are made on a regular basis. The Steering Committee meets twice a year, usually in Irkutsk, but in November 1995 the Steering Committee meeting coincided with the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in New Orleans, and in February 1996 the Steering Committee met in Tsukuba Japan at the VIIIth International Drilling Symposium. At such meetings the BDP-SC decides financial matters, and sets policies with regard to sampling, analytical and publication protocols. These BDP protocols are modeled closely with those of the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) and IGBP Past Global Changes (PAGES) program.

Financial Support

Principal Support for the 100m and 300m drilling in the Baikal Drilling Project from 1990-1996 has come from a consortium of institutions in four countries including the Russian Ministry of Science and Technology, Russian Ministry of Geology, the Science and Technology Agency of Japan (STA), the Japanese Association for Baikal International Research Program, the Continental Dynamics Program of the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Global Climate Change Program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust and the Alfred Wegener Institute, Potsdam. The planning and development for the 1000m drilling is currently supported by grants from the Science and Technology Agency of Japan to the Japanese Association for Baikal International Research Program and from RoscomNedra to the Nedra Drilling Enterprise. A proposal has been submitted to the new ICDP to support the acquisition of a new barge as a drilling platform and to support other drilling operations associated with 1000m drilling.

Resources available

After this winter’s drilling (BDP-96) on Academician Ridge, the Baikal hydraulic piston coring system is in principle available for drilling on other lake systems where a 300-400 ton barge is available and water depths do not exceed 380m.

Future Directions

A proposal has been submitted to ICDP for support of 1000m drilling which is currently supported by the Science and Technology Agency (STA) of Japan and RoscomNedra of Russia. We also hope to extend the results from Lake Baikal into the carbonate-bearing lacustrine system of Lake Khubsugul in Mongolia.

Selected Publications from BDP

  1. BDP - 93 Drilling Project Members, 1994, First Data of the First Drilling on Lake Baikal, Buguldeika Site, Southeastern Siberia: IPPCCE Newsletter, n. 8, p. 5-26.
  2. Colman, S.M., Karabanov, E.B., Williams, D.F., Hearn, P.P. Jr., King, J.W., Orem, W.H., Bradbury, J.P., Shanks, W.C. III, Jones, G.A., and Carter, S.J., 1992, Lake Baikal Paleoclimate Project, Southeastern Siberia: Initial Dating and Paleoenvironmental Results: IPPCCE Newsletter, n. 6, p. 30-39.
  3. Colman, S.M., V.M. Kuptsov, G.A. Jones, and S.J. Cater, Radiocarbon dating of Lake Baikal sediments - a progress report, Russian Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 34 (10-11), Special Issue: Scientific results of the Baikal Drilling Project, edited by M.I. Kuzmin and D.F. Williams, pp.55-63, Allerton Press, New York 1993b.
  4. Colman, S.M., Peck, J.A., Likhoshway, E.V., Granina, L.Z., Karabanov, E.B., Carter, S.J., King, J.W., and Williams, D.F., 1995. Continental climate response to orbital forcing: The diatom paleoproductivity record from Lake Baikal, Siberia, Nature, v. 378, pp. 769-771.
  5. Karabanov, E.B., Williams, D.F. and Prokopenko, submitted to Science. The link between insolation, North Atlantic circulation and intense glaciations in Siberia during interglacial periods of the late Pleistocene.
  6. Kuzmin, M.I., and BDP-93 Baikal Drilling Project Members, 1995. Preliminary results of the first scientific drilling on Lake Baikal, Buguldeika Site, southeastern Siberia. Russian Journal of Geology and Geophysics.
  7. Kuzmin, M.I., and D.F. Williams, eds., 1993. Scientific results of the Baikal Drilling Project, Russian Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 34 (3-11), Allerton Press, New York.
  8. Lake Baikal Paleoclimate Project Members, Initial results of U.S.-Soviet Paleoclimate study of Lake Baikal, EOS Transactions AGU , 73(43), 457-462, 1992.
  9. Peck, J.A., King, J.W., Colman, S.M. and Kravchinsky, V.A., An 84 kyr relative geomagnetic intensity record from the sediments of Lake Baikal, Siberia, Journal of Geophysical Research, in review.
  10. Peck, J.A., King, J.W., Colman, S.M., and Kravchinsky, V.A., 1994. A rock-magnetic record from Lake Baikal, Siberia: Evidence for Late Quaternary climate change, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 122, p. 221-238.
  11. Prokopenko, A.A., Williams, D.F. and Karabanov, E.B., submitted to Nature, The sedimentary record of paleo-pCO2 from Lake Baikal, Russia.
  12. Prokopenko, A., D.F. Williams, P. Koval, and E. Karabanov, The organic indexes in the surface sediments of Lake Baikal water system and the processes controlling their variation, in: International Project on Paleolimnology and Late Cenozoic Climate, No. 7, S. Horie and K. Toyoda, eds., pp. 49-55, 1993.
  13. Romashkin, P., Levine P., E. Karabanov, D. Williams, Application of sedimentary simulation modeling for Lake Baikal sedimentation history reconstruction, submitted to Journal of Exploration Geology.
  14. Williams, D.F., 1992. Historical overview of the Baikal Drilling Project. Interntl. Proj. on Paleolimnology and Late Cenozoic Climate no. 6, S. Horie and K. Toyoda, Eds., Tokyo, pp. 4-10.
  15. Williams, D.F. and BDP-93 Baikal Drilling Project Members, 1995. Preliminary results of the first scientific drilling on Lake Baikal, Buguldeika Site, southeastern Siberia. Quaternary International in press
Prepared by D.F. Williams and P.A. Romashkin, 9 April 1996

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