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 Vladimir Obruchev


Born:   October 10, 1863
Deceased:   June 19, 1956

geologist and science fiction writer

      

Vladimir Obruchev was born on October 10, 1863 to the family of a retired colonel and daughter of a German pastor. After finishing his secondary education in 1881, Vladimir was admitted to St. Petersburg Mining Institute and graduated from this institution in 1886.

In 1888 Obruchev went to Irkutsk, where got his first job as a first state geologist in Siberia. Most of his time the scientists spent in expeditions, where he studied stocks of mica and beautiful azure stone. In 1890 Vladimir Obruchev went northwards form Irkutsk to study gold fields, located near Vitim and Olekma rivers. After that, the researcher was invited by the Russian Geographical Society to join famous traveler Potanin in his journey to China and Southern Tibet.

In 1893 Obruchev left Beijing for loess territories of Northern China, and Potanin went to Szechuan. Loess, a fertile soil, which contains sand, clay and lime, covers huge territories in China. Obruchev suggested a theory, which explained loess formation. Later in 1893 the scientist returned to Suzhou and soon left for another trip, during which he wanted to study central part of the Gobi desert. Obruchev changed his mind, when he learnt that Potanin had a strong intention to return to Russia. Obruchev went to Nan Shan, a territory about which very little was known. The scientist rectified position of three already known mountain ridges and discovered four more ridges, as well as hard-coal deposits. During years of traveling, Vladimir got over 13625 kilometres, collected 7 000 geological samples and 1 200 ichnites and left no more “blank spots” in Central Asia.

The scientist returned to St. Petersburg, being worldwide famous. Many respected scientific institution awarded Obruchev and admitted him as a member. His fundamental book “central Asia, Northern China, Nan Shan” came off the press in 1900-1901. In 1895 Obruchev went to Siberia as a head of a mining group, in order to study territories near Trans-Siberian railway, which was being built at that time. The scientist spent three years studying Transbaikalia and returned to St. Petersburg.

In 1901 Vladimir Obruchev continued studying Lena gold-bearing territories and took a position of a director in Tomsk Technology Institute in order to open school of geology. The scientist started teaching students, but he never stopped his research expeditions. In 1912 Obruchev moved from Tomsk to Moscow and started his career as a science fiction writer. His first novel was called “Plutonia”. In 1920 Obruchev was elected professor of applied geology department in Moscow Mining Academy. Since that time, Vladimir Obruchev didn’t go in long trips, but regularly visited Caucasus’s Kislovodsk, where went on excursions to not very distant mountains. In 1936, when Obruchev was 73, he went to Altai in order to inspect mercury deposit and marble outcrops for Moscow tube.

Vladimir Obruchev was a talented writer – his “Sannikov Land”, “Plutonia”, biographies of Russian explorers of Asia found many readers across the world. Obruchev was the author of over a thousand scientific works on geology of Siberia. A mineral, obruchevite, was named after the scientist.


Tags: Russian writers Russian science Russian scientists Vladimir Obruchev  




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