The Lake Baikal drilling project in the context of a global lake drilling initiative

Douglas F. Williams, Mikhail I. Kuzmin, Alexander A. Prokopenko, Eugene B. Karabanov, Galina K. Khursevich, Elena V. Bezrukova

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41 Scopus citations


Records of the tectonic and climatic evolution of continental interiors are important for understanding the dynamics of the Earth's climate system, evolutionary processes within the terrestrial biosphere, and human origins. Sediment drill cores recovered from Lake Baikal provide essential records not only for comparison with oceanic records of marine processes, but also benchmarks which can be used to help interpret other continental records including other lake archives scheduled to be drilled in the near future. Drilling of Lake Baikal made it possible for the first time to have a continental archive with the same scientific and chronostratigraphic integrity as marine records to address critical questions of the Quaternary and Pliocene. The Lake Baikal drilling project (BDP) rapidly progressed from piston coring and seismic reflection studies to conducting the first scientific drilling in 4 short years and to very deep drilling in over 8 years. BDP has taken advantage of the harsh Siberian winters by using the frozen surface of Lake Baikal as a drilling platform. The positioning of the drill sites was selected using seismic and piston coring surveys. By continuously improving the drilling operations and technology, BDP has achieved new core recovery and depth records over the last ten years and become the world's leader in pioneering the recovery of high-quality, extremely long lacustrine sediment sequences from deep water. The success of BDP came at a time of growing interest in lake drilling among members of the paleoclimate community with few recent large-scale coordination efforts to draw upon. At the organizational, technological and financial levels, some recent changes are favorable for the development of a global lake drilling initiative, which could become as successful and efficient as the ocean drilling program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - 2001

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Continental Scientific Drilling Facility tags

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