The Great Plume! The valley within the mountains that's just brimming with essence. And with researchers now able to freely travel there comes the pathway to new things. The Great Plume is designed to be a hub for activities, the first of which to be introduced being Excavation.
In Excavation, which is certainly not some sort of social experiment at all, you are pitted against all of your fellow researchers in making one of two choices: do you help out, or do you act on your own? Two rounds occur per day, allowing you to net items as rewards based on how many researchers picked what options.
Essence is a new item type within a completely new item category: reagents. Stock up on essence through the Great Plume, as it'll prove invaluable to you in the future. From now until the end of April 24th, you'll be able to acquire Glacier Essence. All of that activity in Wintry Glacier resulted in such a wonderful rush of this chilly essence. You can expect similar events to happen after every change of the seasons from now on.
As time goes by, Excavation's item pool will increase with more resources and types of essence. You'll notice there's a list of guaranteed rewards, which will rotate on occasion. Who knows, maybe that old fissure is hiding some secrets you didn't see coming.