, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 173–184 | Cite as

Geosites of International Significance in the UNESCO WHS Lena Pillars Nature Park (Sakha Republic, Russia)

  • Ivan Ya. Gogin
  • Marina S. VdovetsEmail author
Original Article


The Lena Pillars Nature Park belonging to the Sakha Republic (Yakutiya) is situated in the southeastern Siberian Platform on the right bank of the middle Lena River. The park is mainly known for the almost continuous chain of fancy pillar-like carbonate weathering outliers spreading along the right bank of the Lena River and banks of its tributaries Botoma and Sinyaya. However, the main reason of the ultimate importance of the park is that it represents a pivotal evidence of relatively rapid evolutionary development and growth of the skeleton and soft-bodied fauna and algae diversity, which took place about 541–509 Ma ago. This event is well known in the scientific world as the "Cambrian Explosion". The International Union of Nature Conservation included it into the list of key evolutionary events in the Earth's history. Numerous geosites of different types and significance levels are located in the park, and six of them are of international importance. They are highly representative in terms of stratigraphy, paleontology, paleoecology, and geomorphology. Stratigraphic geosites demonstrate nearly a continuous record of the Upper Ediacaran–Middle Cambrian deposits. Before the 1990s, stratotypes of the Lower Cambrian stages were used for standardization of the Lower Cambrian in the International Stratigraphic Chart. Paleontological geosites are mainly represented by fossil localities of the Early Cambrian, characterized by high level of preservation and diversity. Sinsk localities of the Early Cambrian biota are listed among the Cambrian Lagerstättens. Many geosites are objects of paleoecological investigations because their deposits were formed in synchronously existing parts of a former single paleobasin (inner lagoon, transitional reef, and outer abyssal) with different physical and chemical parameters. Geomorphologic sites represent different types of permafrost karst, as well as weathering outliers of columnar shape, the so-called Lena Pillars. The scientific and aesthetic value of the Lena Pillars Nature Park is globally recognized, and in 2012 it was inscribed into UNESCO WHL based on the criteria vii and viii.


Russia Siberian Platform Nature park “Cambrian Explosion” Geosites Global stratotypes 



The authors are grateful to Acad. A.Yu. Rozanov and Dr. A.Yu. Zhuravlev for their valuable consultations. They also express their gratitude to anonymous referees for their constructive comments that have contributed to improve the manuscript.


  1. Astashkin VA, Varlamov AI, Gubina NK et al. (1984) Geology and perspectives of reef systems oil-gas-drainage of the Cambrian of the Siberian Platform. SNIIGGIMS, Novosibirsk: 181Google Scholar
  2. Bakhturov SF, Evtushenko VM, Pereladov VS (1987) Kuonama bituminous carbonate shale limestone formation/Inst. Geol. and Geophys. SB AS USSR, Novosibirsk: 152Google Scholar
  3. Butterfield NJ (1994) Burgess shale-type fossils from a Lower Cambrian shallow-shelf sequence in Northwestern Canada. Nature 369(6480):477–479Google Scholar
  4. Conway Morris S, Peel JS, Higgins AK et al (1987) A Burgess shale-like fauna from the Lower Cambrian of North Greenland. Nature 326(6109):181–183Google Scholar
  5. Geyer G, Shergold J (2000) The quest for internationally recognized divisions of Cambrian time Episodes 23 (3): 189–195Google Scholar
  6. Gradstein F, Ogg J, Schmitz and Ogg G A (2012) geologic time scale, Oxford: 1144Google Scholar
  7. Ivantsov AYu, Zhuravlev et al. (2005) Unique Sinsk Localities of Early Cambrian Organisms (Siberian Platform). Trans. PIN RAS 284. Nauka, Moscow: 143 (in Russian with English summary).Google Scholar
  8. Kunitsky VV (2008) Carbonate karst in permafrost. Science and engineering in Yakutia 2:96–100 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  9. Pisarchik YaK., Minaeva MA., Rusetskaya GA (1975) Cambrian paleogeography of the Siberian Platform. Trans. VSEGEI, Nov. ser. 215: 195 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  10. Savitskiy VY, Astashkin VA (1979) Cambrian reef systems of Western Yakutia. International Geology Review 21(10):1117–1126Google Scholar
  11. Savitsky VE, Evtushenko VM, Egorova LI et al. (1972) The Cambrian of the Siberian Platform (Yudoma- Olenektype section. Kuonamka complex). Trans. SNIIGGiMS, v. 130: 199 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  12. Spector VV, Tolstykhin ON (2004) The Lena Pillars. Science and Engineering in Yakutia 1:101–106 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  13. Rozanov AYu and Sokolov BS (Eds.) (1984) Stage Subdivisions of the Lower Cambrian Stratigraphy. AS USSR Nauka, Moscow: 183 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  14. Varlamov AI, Rozanov, AYu (Eds.) (2008) The Cambrian System of the Siberian Platform. Part 1: The Aldan- Lena Region. PIN RAS, Moscow, Novosibirsk: 300 (in Russian & English)Google Scholar
  15. Zhuravlev AXu, Repina LH (eds.) (1990) International Symposium on the Cambrian System 3ed Guide on Aldan and Lena rivers. Siberian Platform. Inst. Geol. and Geophys SB AS USSR., SNIIGGIMS, Novosibirsk: 115Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Russian Geological Research Institute (VSEGEI)Saint-PetersburgRussia

Personalised recommendations