Scientific expeditions in permafrost regions were carried out at Yakutia, Siberia in the middle of August, 1972 and at Barrow, Alaska and Tuktoyaktuk, Mackenzie Delta in the summers of 1974 and 1977. I Yakutia, Siberia Field observations were conducted on permafrost around Lake Surdakh, which is located 250km northeast from Yakutsk, Siberia. Lake Surdakh is an alas, which is a depression formed by a thermokarst development in which local deep thawing has taken place in permafrost masses accompanied by the melting of ground ice. The shape of the alas is nearly round and the diameter of Lake Surdakh is about 4km. The lake is surrounded from all sides by a larch forest. The height of the basin cliffs is about 20m. At some places along the cliffs underground ices are exposed. The top of the ices is 1.5m below the top of the cliffs and the ices sink into the ground in a wedge-like shape. Observations were made as to the exposed ice, the soil around the exposed ice and the forest above the ground, and also on the some alases in the vicinity. II Barrow and Tukutoyaktuk Field observations were conducted on high center polygons, pingos, ice wedges and exposed massive ground ice, all of which showed characteristic land feature of the tundra area composed of permafrost. a. High center polygon Spreading gregariously, high center polygons formed an orthogonal net pattern near Footprint Creek, 3km southwest of NARL, Barrow. Each mound was 5-10m in width and 50-100cm in height. A crack ran along the trough between two neighboring mounds. The surface at the raised center of a mound was covered with vegetations including willow, birch and crowberry. Core samples showed the structures of layers; namely, the upper layer of 5-10cm in thickness was composed of mixture of roots, organic material, and silt, while the layer underneath was composed almost of ice-richpeat, which had such an extremely high water content as amounts to 1000-2000%, the ice being uniformly contained not in the form of ice lenses. Meanwhile, as for the trough, its surface was covered with gramineae or formed puddles, while the layer above the depth of 40-50cm was composed of silty soil and contained distinct ice lenses, whereas the layer below this depth was composed of ice, which was polycrystalline with ice crystals several cm in length and almost stretching vertically. Polygons studied by the authors exemplified the type of ice-wedge polygons.
In the austral summer of 1911-1912, Lieutenant Shirase organized the first Japanese Antarctic Expedition and explored the eastern part of Ross Ice Shelf and a part of Edward VII Peninsula. After that, only a few bibliographical studies were conducted by some scholars and people who are interested in polar expeditions. Japan resumed its Antarctic activity on the occasion of the International Geophysical Year in 1957-1958. Since then, multi-disciplinary scientific investigations have been continued within the framework of international cooperation. The progress of the earth science research in the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition can be devided chronologically into four stages. In the first stage from 1957 to 1968, the research in earth science provided fundamental knowledge on the environment of the vast region around the Japanese Scientific Station ‘Syowa’ in Liitzow-Holm Bay, East Antarctica, through extensive studies conducted by oversnow traverses and field surveys in ice-free areas. General geology and geomorphology of the eastern Lutzow-Holm Bay area and the inland Yamato Mountains, surface features of the ice sheet from Syowa to South Pole, and some ice thickness profiles by seismic shooting gradually came to our knowledge through this stage. During the second stage in 1969-1975, the research programme became rather intensive, based on a systematic planning. The main research project was the Glaciological Research Programme in Mizuho Plateau. Glaciological oversnow traverses were carried out for the studies of mass budget in a local drainage basin of the ice sheet and the ice sheet dynamics. The drilling of the ice sheet was also conducted at the inland Mizuho Station. In addition, geological, geomorphological and geochemical studies were also made on a smaller scale. The finding of the “Yamato Meteorites” was one of the main results. In the third stage in 1976/1978, the main programme of the expedition was the upper atmosphere physics during the International Magnetospheric Studies. Therefore, earth science studies were done on a smaller scale, as a sort of supplementary investigation. In 1979, research activities entered into the fourth stage. The glaciology programme were combined together for the study of interaction in heat and mass transfer among the ice sheet, the atmosphere, and the surrounding ocean, in the international POLEX SOUTH programme. The earth science programmes, as one of the two major projects in this period, cover the integrated investigation of geology, solid earth geophysics, and marine geology and geomorphology. On the other hand, the research in South Victoria Land has been continued by Japanese parties since 1963/1964, with logistic support by the United States and New Zealand. The geochemistry had been the main research field, culminated in the international Dry Valley Drilling Project from 1973 to 1975. From 1976/1977 to 1978/1979 austral summer, a search for Antarctic meteorites became the main theme as the U.S.-Japan joint project, which terminated in successful results.
The Satsumon culture was in existence in Hokkaido from 9th to 13th century A.D. as a Pre-Ainu culture of Hokkaido. The Satsumon culture succeeded the Post-Jomon culture. The Satsumon culture was formed on the basic cultural elements of the Post-Jomon culture. Some cultural elements from Japanese culture of that time were added to them. The basic cultural elements of the Post-Jomon culture had their roots in late or the latest Jomon culture in northern Japan. So, the Satsumon culture can be regarded as one of the direct descendants of the late or the latest Jomon culture in the northern Japan. About two thousands years ago, rice cultivation began in Japan. At first, rice cultivation was practised in southwestern Japan and it gradually expanded to the east. Finally, it reached the southern Tohoku district, but it could not penetrate into northern Tohoku and Hokkaido. In the northern Tohoku and Hokkaido, people lived on fishing, gathering and hunting as was the case in the previous Jomon period. After the introduction of rice cultivation, the livelihood of people in Japan was separated into two different ways. In most parts of Japan, in southern Japan, people depended on rice cultivation and in the northern extremity of Japan, people lived on fishing, gathering and hunting.