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Report on the start-up workshop

26 November - 8 December 2006


The start-up project workshop took place in Moscow and in the Central Caucasus. The workshop objectives were:

i. discussion of the project implementation plans, joint publications, collaboration between project participants

ii. inspection of the areas of future fieldwork

iii. meetings with end-users

Workshop location map is shown below (click on the map to enlarge).

Locations and itineraries of the start-up workshop on 26 November 8 December 2006.

Workshop participants

  • Professor Stephen Evans, NPD (University of Waterloo, Canada);
  • Dr Sergey Chernomorets, PPD; Dr Olga Tutubalina; Valery Drobyshev; Inna Krylenko; Marina Shakhmina (University Centre for Engineering Geodynamics and Monitoring, Moscow, Russia);
  • Dr Dmitry Petrakov, Partner country Co-Director (Department of Glaciology and Cryolithology, Faculty of Geography, Moscow State University).

Discussions with NATO country Co-Director Professor Oldrich Hungr (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada) were held trough electronic mail, as well as by phone after the workshop.

Olga Tutubalina, Sergey Chernomorets and Dmitry Petrakov before meeting at Moscow State University.

Meetings with end-users

  • Vladikavkaz. In the Main office of the Russian Ministry for Emergencies and Disaster Mitigation (Emercom) in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania meetings were held with Colonel Victor Kostarnov, the Acting Head of the office, and Vsevolod Adtseev, Head of the Monitoring and Forecast Centre of the same office. Evans, Chernomorets and Tutubalina accepted the invitation of the Emercom in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania to become members of the Advisory Committee on Prevention of Natural Disasters to Emercom. In the Subsoil Resources Management Territorial Agency (Sevosetinnedra) of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania meetings were held with Dr Alexander Polkvoy, the Head of the Agency and with his deputy Anatoly Misetov.
  • Pyatigorsk. Two meetings were arranged with Konstantin Nosov, General Director of the North Caucasian Engineering and Design Institute for Water Industry and Land Reclamation (Sevkavgiprovodkhoz).

There were more meetings aimed at widening the circle of potential end-users.


Meeting end-users. Vladikavkaz, Sevosetinnedra. Stephen Evans with Alexander Polkvoy and Anatoly Misetov (left), Alexander Polkvoy, Stephen Evans and Sergey Chernomorets (right). 1 December 2006.


Meeting end-users. Vladikavkaz, Emercom, with Viktor Kostarnov and Vsevolod Adtseev. 1 December 2006 (left). Pyatigorsk, Sevkavgiprovodkhoz Institute, with Konstantin Nosov. 3 December 2006 (right).

Field trips

A one-day field trip in the North Ossetia-Alania covered part of Fiagdon and Gizeldon/Genaldon river valleys. Participants saw part of the Genaldon glacier disaster zone; equipment, installed above the Genaldon river to monitor the state of the river channel. The trip also included a visit to the monument dedicated to those killed in the glacier disaster in 2002. During the three-day trip to Kabardino-Balkariya, Evans, Chernomorets and Tutubalina visited natural hazard sites in the Baksan River valley, including areas of glacial debris flows, snow avalanches and rock avalanches. They have also met Dr Mukhtar Khadzhiev, a representative of the Debris Flow Association in the Elbrus region of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic. Results of field trips will be used to plan field expedition in summer 2007. Transport for the field trips was kindly provided by the end-users (Sevosetinnedra and Sevkavgiprovodkhoz).


Field trip to the Gizeldon and Genaldon River valleys, North Ossetia: memorial dedicated to victims of the 2002 Kolka Glacier disaster (upper left); field team in the Genaldon River valley (upper right); Igor Vas'kov, Valery Drobyshev, and Stephen Evans observing snow avalanche sites (bottom left); Anatoly Misetov, Vsevolod Adtseev, Olga Tutubalina and Stephen Evans in the Gizeldon River valley (bottom right). 2 December 2006.


Field trip in the Baksan River valley, Kabardino-Balkariya: field car parked opposite the landslide site near Zajukovo village (upper left); headwaters of the Baksan River valley, view from slope of Mt Elbrus (upper right); Olga Tutubalina and Stephen Evans photographing the town of Tyrnyauz from the slopes of the Gerkhozhan-su River valley (bottom left); Stephen Evans and Olga Tutubalina on the debris flow fan of the Malyi Mukulan River (bottom right). 4-6 December 2006.

Project management

During the workshop we discussed preparation of project reports and financial documentation. Workshop participants exchanged materials on glacier hazard in the Caucasus and in the world, including field photographs, articles and monographs.

A further joint workshop with Prof Evans is planned for February 2007 in Moscow.

Student presentation

On 27 November 2006 students writing dissertations on the topics connected with this project made short presentations about their work for Prof Evans. This session took place at Moscow State University. It is planned to officially include the most active students in the Russian project teams.


Student presentation on 27 November 2006.

Project website

Before the start of the workshop Dr Sergey Chernomorets administered creation of the project website at Workshop participants discussed content which should be added to the website.

Publications, fieldwork and conferences

Joint article about the 2002 Kolka Glacier disaster has been finished during the workshop.

Three abstracts have been submitted to the 2nd Alexander von Humboldt International Conference on the Role of Geophysics in Natural Disaster Prevention (05 09 March 2007, Lima, Peru). Project teams will take part in the conference, and after the conference they plan a joint field trip to the sites of glacier disasters in Cordillera Blanca.

In summer 2007 a large field expedition is planned in the Central Caucasus. It is hoped that Evans will join this fieldwork in August-September 2007.

Project participants will also present at the 4th International Conference on Debris-Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Prediction, and Assessment (10-13 September 2007, Chengdu, China). Three articles have been already submitted to the organising Committee.

From no later than 18 September 2007 the Russian project participants will start their field training visit to Canada. The goal of this training is to learn state-of-the art field research and field survey techniques. Field part of the visit will take place in the area of Lake Melbern in the St Elias Mountains. At the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Russian participants will get familiar with state-of-the-art techniques for modelling rapid glacier/debris flows. The training visit will continue until 9 October 2007.

Russian participants are also co-organising an International Conference on Debris flows: disasters, risk, forecast, protection in Pyatigorsk, Russia, on 22-29 September 2008. Evans accepted the invitation to become a member of an International Advisory Committee of this conference; outcomes of the field trip to the Baksan River valley in December 2007 will be used for planning the conference field trip.

Another idea born during the start-up workshop was to organise a NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) on Glacier Hazards: Assessment and Risk Mitigation in September 2008.

Konstantin Nosov showing the conference hall of the Sevkavgiprovodkhoz Institute to workshop participants. It is planned to use this 250-seat hall for plenary sessions of the International Conference on Debris flows: disasters, risk, forecast, protection in 2008. Pyatigorsk, 4 December 2006.


In the end of the start-up workshop the participants prepared the Elbrus Memorandum which outlined future plans for collaboration.

Follow-up discussion with Prof Oldrich Hungr

Due to lecturing commitments, Prof Oldrich Hungr (the NATO Country Co-Director) was not able to take part in the workshop in person. However, a detailed post-workshop telephone discussion between Dr Tutubalina and Prof Hungr was arranged on 15 December 2006. The discussion included plans for further joint publications on glacier hazards. Prof Hungr has confirmed his readiness to meet Russian visitors in Vancouver in early October 2007. Participation of Prof Hungr in fieldwork and dates of his visit to Russia will be discussed later.

Moscow, December 2006.

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