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Three foreign experts including Prof. Frederic Herman from Swiss University of Lausanne visited our institute

2014/5/22 18:11:01

At the invitation of Researcher Chen Jie, Postdoctor Reza Sohbati from Danish University of Aarhus visited China from June 25 to July 12. Prof. Frederic Herman from Swiss University of Lausanne and Postdoctor Pierre Valla from Zurich Federal Polytechnic University visited China from July 1 to July 12. Reza Sohbati arrived in Beijing on June 25. During his stay in Beijing, he and Liu Jinfeng together looked for and bought field rock cutters, small drilling machines and other field sampling tools (steel chisels, earmuffs, goggles, etc.) from the market of Beijing and discussed the field work plan and indoor sample pretreatment process. On June 27, he made an academic report on the latest progress of optically stimulated luminescence dating of rocks, titled: “OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dating the rock surfaces” in the institute.

In July, apricot turned yellow and watermelon became sweet in Xinjiang. Groups of visitors came to the foot of the ice-covered mountains of the Pamir plateau, including innocent tourists, violent terrorists, and brave adventurers exploring the secrets of Pamir evolution: Prof. Frederic Herman, Dr. Pierre Valla, Dr. Reza Sohbati, and Researcher Chen Jie, Associate Researcher Liu Jinfeng, Research Assistant Li Tao, Postdoctor Tan Jintang, doctoral student Liu Langtao and postgraduate Luo Ming of the Institute of Geology, China Earthquake Administration.

From July 2 to July 11, 2013, these people exploring the secrets of the nature carried out strict field sampling work in order to disclose the tectonics, geomorphic evolution history and erosion mechanism of the Kongur normal fault. Researcher Chen Jie has taken thermochronological samples from this area many times. According to the original plan, this field study would focus on some supplementary work of sampling. However, before the field work, we obtained high-resolution temperature measurement data from the diversion tunnel of the Bulunkou Hydropower Station under construction by chance. After Researcher Chen Jie discussed with two experienced experts at thermochronology, the work emphasis of the field work was temporarily shifted to the acquisition of tunnel samples which can correct the apparent denudation rate, constrain key thermodynamic parameters of luminescence chronology and reconstruct a topographic change history.

Every day, we worked alternately at high and low temperature. In the morning, we walked around the Gaizi River and Kongur Mountain against rain and wind to collect samples of the elevation profile. In the afternoon, we sweated profusely and were barebacked at maximum ambient temperature of 60℃to collect bedrock samples with detailed temperature measurement record in the tunnel where rocks rolled down from time to time. In the evening, we returned to the campsite, enjoyed the sumptuous field meal cooked by Researcher Chen Jie, sorted data and discussed the work of the next day. In the night, we had to fight a battle of wits and courage against black dogs which have strong national emotion, to protect the safety of the two foreign guests. All these added colors to our field study.  

In addition to basic sampling work, in the face of diversified geological and geomorphologic phenomena, the two experienced foreign experts often engaged in heated discussion with Chinese counterparts, such as: erosion history on the two banks of the Gaizi river and genesis of the Gaizi river valley and proposed for future possible work based on their rich experience in the aspect of 3D simulation of thermochronology. Researcher Chen Jie also introduced fault distribution of the Kongur – Gaizi River area and the activity history of debris flows to foreign guests based on his knowledge accumulated from long-term work. We were discussing with each other while observing. The small debris flows we encountered on the way also made us realize debris flows may not be the products of precipitation. In the magical Pamir, cloudless clear sky may also trigger debris flows and provides a new angle of view at the genesis of the terrain and landform of this area.

During the field work from July 2 to July 11, Liu Jinfeng, Reza Sohbati and Luo Ming selected four glacial boulder sites with known cosmogenic nuclide age in the Tashkurghan valley, collected luminescence dating samples of exposed surface and buried surface of rocks and underlying sediment, analyzed the influence of glacial sediment formation process of this area on luminescence dating, discussed field sampling strategy and obtained first-hand field information for indoor data analysis. The time of this field study was not long, but we collected many valuable samples. In nearly ten days’ field work, the researchers collected nearly 60 luminescence low-temperature thermochronological bedrock samples and 31 rock luminescence exposure age samples, with a total weight of nearly 800kg, including 36 bedrock samples of the tunnel from which it is almost impossible to collect samples again. The excavation temperature ranges from ambient temperature to 96oC. After returning to Beijing, Chinese researchers completed processing of the first batch of thermochronological samples with the vigorous and generous help of Researcher He Changrong and Dr. Yao Lu at the Institute of Geology and in reliance on the hard work of drilling machines. At present, Chinese and foreign researchers are making concerted efforts, as if a magnificent picture scroll of geomorphic evolution of the Kongur Mountains and Gaizi river appear vividly……. Chinese and foreign scholars are working together and striving to crack the secrets of the plateau.