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Alaska Russia Lost World


Background - Historical Overview of Relevant Research in N.E. Russia (Anadyr-Koryak Subregion - AKSR)

In 1912–1913, P.I. Polevoi was first to engage in stratigraphic research of the Cretaceous in the AKSR, although systematic investigations in this direction commenced only in the 1930s with the participation of V.A. Obruchev, B.V. Khvatov, N.M. Markin, M.P. Kudryavtsev, M.I. Bushuev, B.F. D'yakov, M.F. Dvali, B.N. Yelisseev, V.N. Saks and others. Significant works of that period are those of S.N. Naumova (study of coals), V.I. Bodylevskii, E.V. Liverovskaya, N.S. Voronets (experts in ammonites and inoceramids), A.N. Kryshtofovich and E.N. Kara-Murza (investigations of fossil plants).

During the Second World War and soon afterwards, geological and prospecting works organized by the Mining Geology Department of "Glavsevmorput’" were aimed at discovering coal deposits in the East Arctic (Bushuev, 1954), and A.F. Efimova, V.A. Zimin and A.D. Popov, and researchers from "Dal'stroi", studied fossil plants in the first years after the war. In Northeastern Russia, systematic geological surveying and mapping at a range of scales was initiated in the 1950s, and geologists of the SVTGU (Northeastern Regional Geological Survey), NIIGA (Scientific Research Institute of Arctic Geology), AN SSSR (USSR Academy of Sciences), association "Aerogeologiya," and VSEGEI (All-Union Geological Institute) have carried out specialized biostratigraphic investigations since the 1970s.

Works by M.A Pergament, V.N. Vereshchagin, V.P. Pokhialainen, L.A. Ankudinov, E.L. Lebedev, G.P. Avdeiko, M.S. Markov, A.D. Devyatilova, G.P. Terekhova, V.I. Koporulin, V.F. Belyi, and S.V. Shchepetov constitute important contributions to the investigation of Cretaceous stratigraphy and marine fossils in the Penzhina Bay area (Northwest Kamchatka), where A.N. Kryshtofovich, A.F. Efimova, M.O. Borsuk, V.A. Vakhrameev and L.Yu. Budantsev made detailed studies of the plant fossils. Data on Late Cretaceous floras from this area was summarized in a monograph by Herman and Lebedev (1991).

The Cretaceous stratigraphy and paleontology of the middle reaches of the Anadyr River were studied by A.N. Kryshtofovich, V.F. Belyi, O.P. Dundo, E.B. Nevretdinov, G.P. Terekhova and other scientists, although of prime significance are works of 1975–1976 by A.D. Devyatilova and G.G. Filippova. Fossil mollusks and plants collected by these researchers have also been studied by T.D. Zonova and G.P. Terekhova and palynological samples by B.V. Belaya. Subsequently, the same deposits were investigated by E.L. Lebedev in 1978, L.A. Ankudinov and V.V. Lebedev in 1982–1983, S.V. Shchepetov, A.I. Alabushev and A.B. Herman (since 1988), A.I. Dvoryankin, V.L. Samsonenko and N.I. Filatova (the initial 1990s), A. Ahlberg, P.M. Rees, M.I. Raikevich, R.A. Spicer and A.B. Herman in 1997. The most complete data on the Cretaceous Grebenka flora and paleoenvironment are published in two books (Shchepetov et al., 1992; Filippova and Abramova, 1993) and one paper (Spicer et al., 2002).

The Cretaceous–Paleogene stratigraphy and paleontology of the Ugol'naya Bay and Amaam Lagoon areas are described in works by V.V. Vasil'ev, M.P. Kudryavtsev, V.I. Bodylevskii, and M.I. Bushuev, and since the 1960s in works by B.D. Trunov, V.A. Zakharov, G.P. Terekhova, V.I. Volobueva, O.P. Dundo, M.A. Pergament, A. B. Herman, L.B. Golovneva, L.A. Nesov, B.A. Sal'nikov, V.N. Grigor'ev, A.D. Kazimirov, V.P. Pokhialainen, and others. Fossil floras from these areas are described in publications by A.F. Efimova, V.A Vakhrameev, M.A. Akhmet'ev, L.Yu. Budantsev, E.L. Lebedev, N.D. Vasilevskaya, L.N. Abramova, L.B. Golovneva, A.B. Herman, and M.G. Moiseeva.

I.A. Sklyar, G.A. Kibanov, V.G. Kal'yanov, V.A. Kitaev, V.A. Zakharov, V.G. Reshetov, V.D. Trunov, and G.P. Terekhova studied Cretaceous deposits of the Pekul'nei Ridge. G.G. Filippova (Filippova, 2010) and H. Craggs (2005) investigated the Late Cretaceous flora from this area. The Senonian deposits of the Pekul'neiskoe Lake region were the research focus for K.S. Ageev, G.P. Terekhova, L.A. Nesov, and plant remains from these deposits have been identified by A.F. Efimova, G.G. Filippova, and described by L.B. Golovneva (1994a) from the perspective of systematics. At different times, Yu.B. Gladenkov, I.M. Rusakov, T.V. Zvizda, V.I. Volobueva and L.L. Krasnyi studied the Maastrichtian deposits of the Khatyrka River basin; V.N. Vereshchagin and G.P. Terekhova determined marine mollusks here, N.D. Vasilevskaya and G.G. Filippova fossil plants and M.Ya. Serova foraminifers.

The Senonian–Danian deposits and fossils of the Rarytkin Ridge were studied by P.I. Polevoi, B.P. Yelisseev, E.N. Kostylev, O.P. Dundo, V.I. Volobueva, and G.P. Terekhova. The last two researchers published the most complete data. A.N. Kryshtofovich, E.N. Kara-Murza, T.N. Baikovskaya, N.D. Vassilevskaya, L.N. Abramova, A.G. Ablaev, M.O. Borsuk, L.Yu. Budantsev and V.A. Vakhrameev analyzed fossil plants from these deposits, and the relevant flora is described in the most comprehensive manner in a monograph by Lena Golovneva (1994a).

It is necessary to mention also a series of publications, in which the Albian - Paleocene floras of Northeastern Asia and of the AKSR, in particular, are analyzed in comparison with concurrent floras from other regions of the Northern hemisphere. These are works by Budantsev (1983), Vakhrameev (1966, 1991), Vakhrameev and Akhmetiev (1977), Herman (1994, 1999a, 1999b, 2002, 2011a), Golovneva (1994a, 1998), Golovneva and Herman (1998), Krassilov (1975, 1985), Samylina (1974, 1988), Kirichkova and Samylina (1978).

As a result, a vast amount of data on biostratigraphy and paleontology of the AKSR has been collected over more than half a century. However, since the mid-1980s progress in research of paleobotany and phytostratigraphy of the AKSR has been less effective than concurrent achievements in the Cretaceous marine biostratigraphy. The latter derived and evaluated geological survey and stratigraphic correlations through the biostratigraphic zonations of marine mollusks, many groups of which had been studied in detail and systematically described. In contrast available data on taphofloras were less detailed and frequently based on preliminary determinations.

Detailed studies of Cretaceous floras of the AKSR have, however, appeared recently (Herman and Lebedev, 1991; Shchepetov et al., 1992; Filippova and Abramova, 1993; Golovneva, 1994a). The first phytostratigraphic scheme based on phases in the evolution of the Late Cretaceous flora was suggested for the AKSR by Herman (1993, 1999a), and Golovneva (1994a, 1994b) enhanced the resolution of the scheme within the Maastrichtian.



Photograph of the Grebenka River
Camp Grebenka
Novaya Siber cliffs
Photo of Russian helicopter
Novaya Sibir outcrop and ice pack
Floating the Grebenka River
Braided river from the air in N.E. Russia