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The Laboratory of Underwater Volcanism at the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology under the RAS FEB was established in 1967; since 1971 it is headed by Gennady Avdeiko, Dr. Sc. (Geol. & Miner.), laureate of the award of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, chief research officer of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Professor of the Chair of Geography, Geology and Geophysics of Kamchatka State University. Correspondent Lyudmila Yurchuk told about his scientific achievements in the newspaper FE Scientist.

According to Gennady Avdeiko, he was inspired to start research of the World Ocean in 1975 in Kamchatka, where he was on a pre-diploma probation in Penzhinsky District. A year later Avdeiko graduated from the Department of Geology and Prospecting, Moscow Institute of Geology and Prospecting, having specialized in the "search and prospecting of mineral deposits", after which he was assigned to the Kamchatka Expedition of the Council for Research of Production Forces of the USSR AS and continued to develop the topic of his diploma paper dedicated to the Early Cretaceous deposits. In 1965 he defended his candidate's thesis, almost completed his thesis for degree of doctor dedicated to spilites (underwater volcanic rocks), when the Volcanologist project was launched.

It was the first time in world history that underwater volcanoes of island arcs were studied on board the ship named The Volcanologist. Later on, such practice was adopted by American and German specialists, but the world fame went to the pioneers. Avdeiko published more than 160 scientific works that made part of The International Geological and Geophysical Atlas of the Pacific Ocean. The collective monograph The Underwater Volcanism and Zonality of Kamchatka Island Arc, released in 1992 by the Nauka Publishing House, became a bestseller and was translated into English.

Avdeiko played a significant role in designing and construction of the Volcanologist, it was, indeed, his creation. On board the ship he visited all gulfs and bays around Kamchatka and the Kurile Islands, studied volcanic masses and areas in the South China, New Guinea and Bering seas, in Kermadec, Solomon, Mariana, Idzu-Bonina, Aleutian island arcs, along the littoral area of New Zealand, in the Philippine Sea, around the Magellan Mountains, in the Central American Trench and the "hot point" of Socorro. Proceeding from the results of these research works dedicated to the underwater volcanism of island arcs, he defended his doctoral thesis. The guyot of the Magellan

Research vessel THE VOLCANOLOGIST.

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Mountains was named in honor of The Volcanologist, New Zealand specialists gave the name of the ship to an active volcano in the island arc.

Gennady Avdeiko and his colleagues equipped the ship with measuring equipment and devices designed and manufactured directly at the laboratory, since underwater research equipment was poorly developed in the Soviet Union. In 1970, Avdeiko was sent to the research ship Vityaz owned by the Institute of Oceanology to inspect its scientific equipment and get acquainted with scientific studies carried out there. The same year designing of The Volcanologist was initiated, and seven years later the ship was launched. Gennady Avdeiko organized an engineering team, each member of which acted as a designer, fitter, drawer and a mechanic. The ship was well equipped, including its scientific deck equipment and eight laboratories organized on its board.

The seismoprofile and magnetic surveying were usually carried out at night, outboard operations were conducted during day light hours (dragging, deposit sampling with bottom pipes and dippers, water sampling with bathometers). Later, on the initiative and under control of Lyudmila Chertkova, a set of gear for continuous gashydrochemical studies was mounted on board the ship. In other words, scientists could pump water on the go and made it pass through analytical devices. They were completed and tested during the first trip in February 1977. Gennady Avdeiko headed the trip, the team was recruited under the assistance of the marine steamship organization. It was then that Avdeiko was awarded the prize of the USSR Council of Ministers for designing and furnishing the ship with scientific equipment. It was the first and only specialized scientific vessel studying underwater volcanoes (1,136 t displacement, length 55.65 m, width 9.3 m).

The first real discovery was made during the second trip: measurements of heat currents made it possible to form a map of a thermal field on the continental slope of Western Kamchatka (subduction zone) and obtain data on its tectonic activity. Later on, unknown regularities of geological development of the sea bottom near Kamchatka and the Kurils were discovered, scientists thoroughly studied seismically active faults. Based on the data on the underwater volcanoes of the Kamchatka island arc, a catalog and a database were made up. Regularities of spatial and structural distribution of volcanoes, peculiarities of transverse and longitudinal petrogeochemical, mineralogical and isotope zoning were identified, specialists studied zonal distribution of inclusions in lavas and developed a model of magma formation under island arcs. They systematized underwater vulcanism of the World Ocean, differentiated fourgeotectonic types of vulcanism and determined their displacement in geological history. Scientists identified the main phases of tectonic development of the Kuril-Kamchatka island-arc system, geodynamic parameters of volcanic manifestations and mapped out a volcanic and tectonic zoning. The results of scientific expeditions on board the research ship The Volcanologist are still of high scientific value. Their data served as a basis for many monographs, well known both in our country and abroad.

Discoveries were made in different ways, not all of them at first attempt. Sometimes, scientists proposed one hypothesis, and the results were distinctly different. Here is an example cited by Gennady Avdeiko: "In one of our trips we received a message-a volcano is erupting near Paramushir. Following the coordinates, we discovered an abnormal water torch. We measured geochemical parameters, made a chemical analysis of water, measured water temperature with a very sensitive temperature sensor registering micro abnormalities of temperature. When we passed over the mountain, the temperature was changing up and down (as it was found out later, the temperature sensor touched the ledges, which was the reason of temperature changes). We processed the data, and according to all estimates we found 'smoker'. An article dedicated to this discovery was published consequently. In the meantime I induced the Institute of Oceanology to organize an expedition there equipped with deepwater manned vehicles. Two ships were assigned to the expedition: Their Dmitry Mendeleev with employees of the institute and our Volcanologist set to the designated point. The deepwater vessel Paisis was lowered to the depth of more than 700 m. Nothing was found there. Two more launchings were made. The same result. It was decided to send me. I went down right above the mountain.

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What luck! Bubbling water everywhere, the landscape like in the valley of geysers. I soon realized that the bubbles were produced by faults in the ocean crust, not by 'smokers'. But this discovery was no worse, even though my scientific hypothesis did not prove true. This is how gashydrates were found in this area."

In 1991, due to the lack of funds, The Volcanologist was leased to businessmen. The 41st trip of the ship was its last scientific expedition, even though by that time a scientific project to be implemented together with the Hawaiian vol-canological observatory had already been approved. The trips on board The Volcanologist were a real expeditional school for many volcanologists from Kamchatka and their Russian, New Zealand, Vietnamese, Danish and North American colleagues.

The works of Gennady Avdeiko and his team have a significant applied value, since underwater volcanic activity is associated with the formation of mineral resources. They determined regularities of their manifestations in active volcanic zones, in particular, analyzed conditions of formation of polymetallic sulphide and ferromanganese ores. Volcano-tectonic and seismo-tectonic zoning of Kamchatka subduction area can be used to adjust the level of seismic and tsunami safety of the region. And the most important thing is that we know regularities of manifestations of volcanism in different geotectonic structures.

Recently, Gennady Avdeiko has been studying regularities of geotectonic evolution and volcanism of the Kuril-Kamchatka island arc, peculiarities of volcanism and manifestations of magma formation. In the late 1960s, the idea of geological structure of the Earth evolution changed drastically, and Avdeiko together with his scientific team, enthusiasts of underwater volcanism, also made a contribution to identification of developmental regularities of our planet, manifestations of volcanism and mineral resources in the volcanically active areas. Today, he is engaged in analyzing data on the whole of the Pacific ring. In fact, he is no longer studying underwater volcanism, but determines general regularities of transition from one to another island arc, problems of geodynamics in subduction zones, interrelation of tectonic and volcanic processes, and geodynamic conditions of magma formation in these zones.

L. Yurchuk, "Kamchatka Is My Heart", The FE Scientist newspaper, No. 1, 2012

Prepared by Olga ARTYUKHINA


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