The Department was founded in 1945 with the name “Department of northern countries”. For the first 10 years it focused on the development of northern territories, physical and socioeconomic aspects. In late 50-ties the Department faced problems of cryology, which were actively studied by A.I. Popov. In 60-ties, with the organization of glaciology research group, headed by G.K. Tushinsky, the Department reached the complexity of the cryospheric studies, well-known for decades.
In different years Department is headed by:
1945 – 1964 - corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, professor V.G. Bogorov,
1964 – 1993 – honored scientist of Russian Federation, professor A.I. Popov,
Since 1990 the Department is headed by Honored scientist of Russian Federation, professor emeritus of the Lomonosov Moscow State University V.N. Konishchev.
Teaching and research staff
Profile of graduates
– Cryolithology and glaciology
Alumni of the Department apply their knowledge in science, engineering, ecology. They work (and attract students) in institutes and centers of RAS: Institute of Geography RAS, Sergeev Institute of Environmental Geoscience RAS, Institute of Physical-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil RAS, Centre on the problems of ecology and productivity of forests (CEPF). Our graduates work in major oil and gas companies – Rosneft, Gazprom, Total; project and research surveying companies, such as Fundamentproekt, PNIIIS.
Basics of permafrost research and glaciology, Cryolithology, Avalanches and sills, Physics and mechanics of frozen ground and ice, Engineering glaciology, Cold regions engineering, Geoecology of cryolithozone, Changing climate and evolution of cryolithozone, Cryological forecast for engineering and development of territories, The glacial areas of the world, World snow cover, Latest deposits of the North, Geoinformation systems in cryolithology and glaciology, Mass and energy exchange of glaciers.
Laboratory of ice studies focuses on massive ground ice and ice physics. Is headed by N.A. Shpolyanskaya.
Fields of Research
The Department study ice in the whole cryosphere – snow cover, glaciers, frozen ground. We study cryogenesis, evolution of Arctic cryosphere, also on shelf, the effects of climate change and economic development on reliability of constructions and buildings, geoecological assessment of the role of natural and technogenic factors in evolution of northern landscapes, regional changes of nival-glacial systems under development of mountain territories.
Main accomplished research
The Department developed conceptual rules for assessment and prediction of cryo-ecological conditions under development of crylithozone in terms of (a) landscape resistance to negative cryogenic processes, (b) type and (c) intensity the technogenic load; detected main lithocryogenic and biotic factors of landscape resistance to cryogenic processes in different environmental conditions; provided a procedure of their comparison in order to calculate integral indexes with further ranking by sensitivity to development, and to make GIS-maps then. In collaboration with different institutions, the Department made the Massive ground ice database.
The Department studied water potential of Caucasus on the reference glacier Djankuat and avalanche risk near Elbrus Mountain.
We studied differences and similarities in formation of “alpine” and “siberian” types of glaciers. First established, that they have no qualitative differences, existing differences (the role of infiltration-congelation ice in their composition) have quantitative nature.
Future research activities
The department develops new methods and techniques of cryogenesis interpretation, avalanche and sill danger and risk assessment, geoecological studies of plains and mountains, glacier mass-balance calculation, mapping of cryosphere.
Each year associate professor V.I. Grebenets in collaboration with D. Streletsky from George Washington University rule the International student field course on permafrost. During 1 month students visit Krasnoyarsk, Igarka and Norilsk, listen lectures, make presentations, do different fieldwork on two Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) sites - at Norilsk and the Igarka Geocryological Laboratory.
Our students are active members of PYRN (Permafrost Young Researchers Network), in which they share best practices, information about conferences, field courses, jobs.
Major publications (2000 – 2010)
Konishchev V.N. Climate warming and permafrost // Geography-Environment-Sustainability. 2009. ¹ 01 (02). PP 4-19.
Rosembaum G.E., Shpolyanskaya N.A. Late Cainozoic history of the Arctic cryolithozone and tendencies of future development – M.: Scientific World. 2000. ISBN 5-89176-095-9
Rogov V.V. Basics of cryogenesis (textbook) – N.: Academic publishing “Geo”. 2009. ISBN 978-5-9747-0164-1.
Mudrov J.V. Permafrost phenomena in mountain and plain cryolithozone, General terms and definitions. Illustrated encyclopedic handbook – M.: Scientific World. 2007. ISBN 978-589-176-401-9
Shpolyanskaya N.A. Permafrost and global climate changes – Institute of computer studies, Regular and Chaotic Dynamics. 2010. ISBN 978-5-93972-864-5
Badu Y.B. Cryolithology – M.: KDU. 2010. ISBN 978-5-98227-732-9
Volodicheva N.A. Life, devoted to mountains. On the 100th anniversary of George Kazimirovich Tushinsky – M.: MSU. 2009. ISBN 978-5-89575-162-6
Tumel’ N., Zotova L. Geoecology of Cryolithozone: textbook. – M.: Faculty of Geography, MSU. 2014. ISBN 978-5-906592-27-9