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Field expeditions in Mongolia

Goro Komatsu has worked in Mongolia with an intention to study landform evolution due to climatic change. The gained insights are applied to the study of Mars where climate induced geomorphic activities have been proposed.


Location map of field expeditions in Mongolia

1998 Expedition: Gobi-Altai

1. Study of paleolakes and their relationships with ancient human migration

2002 Expedition: Northern Mongolia

1. Paleohydrology of lake-drainage systems

2. Study of caves and ancient human occupation

Komatsu has conducted fieldwork in Mongolia in 1998 and 2002 in collaboration with the Joint Mongolian-Russian-American Archaeological Expedition (JMRAAE). The work in Mongolia focuses on paleoenvironments and ancient human migration/occupation in the regions. For example, the 1998 expedition visited a site where evidence of paleolakes is abundant (Photo 1).


Photo 1. Paleoshorelines in the Gobi-Altai

Water is essential to the survival of ancient humans and revealing where lakes existed in the past provides clues for understanding why Paleolithic and Neolithic humans came to the region. In northern Mongolia, large lakes appear to have experienced fluctuations frequently, most notably during the last Ice Age. The 2002 expedition has visited areas in search for clues on lake-level changes (Photo 2).


Photo 2. Paleoshorelines associated with Khovsgol Nuur in northern Mongolia

There were side projects in the expeditions. For example, cave systems were often used by prehistoric humans for a variety of reasons. Our preliminary investigation of caves in 2002 discovered many previously undocumented caves in northern Mongolia, but we also found that many of the caves seem unused by ancient humans (Photo 3).


Photo 3. A limestone cave in northern Mongolia (Hurtsyin Agui)


IRSPS, 2003: Last updated, July 7th, 2003

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