Investigations of the snow cover at the end of the winter 1990/1991 were carried out in several areas in West Spitsbergen, namely, Lomonosovfonna, Kongsvegen, Fridtjovbreen, Amundsenisen and that north of the Hornsund Fjord. The physical properties and chemical nature of precipitation and the snow cover were determined. The studies revealed high variation in the precipitation and the thickness of the snow cover: 317 mm w.e. (water equivalent) in the Hornsund area, 659 mm w.e. at Lomonosovfonna, 1076 mm w.e. at Fridtjovbreen and 1716 mm w.e. at Amundsenisen. The salt loads deposited in the snow cover in different parts of West Spitsbergen were also calculated (2.8 t/km2 at Lomonosovfonna, 15.8 t/km2 at Kongsvegen and 43.2 t/km2 at Amundsenisen). An intensive process of demineralisation during the conversion of snow to firn was revealed, reaching as much as 90% during the first summer. An attempt to determine the anthropogenic element content using the pH values for the precipitation and snow cover was also made. A distinct correlation between the physico-chemical characteristic of snow layer and falling snow was found. On the basis of the quality of the precipitation and snow cover, West Spitsbergen has been classified into following provinces: (1) northern situated within Arctic High (Lomonosovfonna and Kongsvegen), (2) southern ndergoing mainly moving air masses from the Arctic High and Greenland Low (Amundsenisen and Hornsund region).
Trace metal composition of snowpack, snow-melt filter residues and top-soils were determined along transects through industrial towns in the Usa River Basin: Inta, Usinsk and Vorkuta. Elevated concentrations of deposition elements and pH in snow and soils associated with alkaline coal ash within 25-40 km of Vorkuta and Inta were found. Atmospheric deposition in the vicinity of Vorkuta and Inta, added significantly to the soil contaminant loading as a result of ash fallout. The element concentrations in soils within 20-30 km of Vorkuta do not reflect current deposition rates, but instead, reflect an historical pollution legacy, when coal mining activity peaked in the 1960s. There is little evidence of anthropogenic metal deposition around the gas and oil town of Usinsk.