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Exploration and study of the Khibiny

High ridge of the Khibiny mountains or the Khibiny tundra scrape the sky in the area of Murmansk region. They are located in the center of the Kola peninsula and at a distance of more than 100 kilometers from the Barents sea and 80 kilometers of the White sea. Since early times the Khibiny were the mysterious area where no human has ever set foot here. Natural slopes and thick forests were full of animals - the only inhabitants of the mountains. They were wild and free until 20 century when people started exploring this solitary land.

Tietta - Kola first research station in Khibiny

At the beginning of the last century scientists became seriously interested in the Khibiny. There were several expeditions under the leadership of the famous researchers, Wilhelm Ramsay was one of them, as well as Viktor Gakman, specialist in petrography, Osvald Chil'man, plant biologist and their colleague Alfred Petrelius, geodetic engineer. Travelling over the Kola peninsula the explorers paid much attention to study of the new and inexperienced in the Khibiny area.

Their expeditions resulted in scientific reports that caused interest among scientists all over the world. These papers became a basis for many scientific discoveries. The Khibiny turned out to be so rich that discoveries are still made today. The names of the pioneers will stick in the memory forever, they are immortalized in the names of the rivers and mountains of the Kola peninsula. Travelers can have a rest in Ramsay gorge, weary traveler will drink clear as crystal water from the mountains, rock climber will win the Chil'man mountain and Petrelius pass.

Study of the Khibiny in mid of 20 century

1916 year marked the construction of the railway road that connected the Khibiny region and Saint-Petersburg. Railroad bed started in the port of Romanov-on-Murman with its unfrozen sea and run along the western part of the Khibiny till Petrozavodsk and former capital of Russia. Among the first passengers of this railway road were scientists Aleksander Fersman and Aleksander Karpinsky, the latter was in charge of the Russian academy of sciences and Aleksander Fersman, the young scientist who showed great promise. They arrived to the Kola peninsula to study the possible exploration of the Khibiny.

The area was going to be expanded for household purposes, mountain area was taken by the authorities. Cold land chained heart of young Aleksander Fersman, he was excited about exploration of the region. The first world war and then the Civil war in Russia intervenes his plans, but after the war he came back to the Khibiny mountains as a leader of the expedition. His companions were geologists N. Gutkov, A. Labuntsov, B. Kupletsky, Ye. Kostylyova and others.

Commemorative plaque - Station Tietta

Text on the memorial tablet says: : We were attracted not only by need to study the wonderful nature but to get hold of natural resources, subject it to the will of the Soviet man thus to breathe life into this desolated uninhabited land. Signature: Aleksander Yevgenyevich Fersman.

In 1920 members of the Academy of Sciences USSR have found unknown mineral substances at the foothill of the Khibiny. The discovery was accidental as the route was not planned. It was a commission that visited the north region to make assessment of the prospects for further exploration of the new territories. It was academician Aleksander Fersman who invited for a walk from Imandra railway station to the Khibiny mountains. Taking the lead he convinced his colleagues to have a look at the geology of the mountain area as he was sure it is rich. The scientist couldn't go wrong. Thereafter Aleksander Fersman wrote that geologist-enthusiasts almost without outfit, food and warm footwear started exploration of the new land.

In 1921 active ore mining of apatit began near Kukisvumchorr mountain. It was here where apatite deposit was found. A year later so called «apatite arc» was discovered, it was located through Apatite circus and Kukisvumchorr, Rasvumchorr and Poachvumchorr mountains. At first apatite deposits were not given much importance but in 1923 geologists thought over mineral production seriously.

1926 marked the beginning of mining of rich apatite deposit at foothill of Kukisvumchorr. Mining workers were arriving to the peninsula.

Commemorative plaque - Station Tietta

Text on the memorial tablet says: : In 1930-1945 the first scientific station of the Academy of sciences USSR «Tietta» was located here in the Kola peninsula, academician Aleksander Yevgenyevich Fersman was its organizer and leader.

In 1929 is the year of «Apatit» trust establishment for apatite mining in the Khibiny mountains. Aleksander Fersman helped to found Khibinogorsk town that became a center of mining industry in Murmansk region. Academician thought hard about giving name to the settlement. The options were Karpinsk, Tundrovy, Polyarny. But Khibinogorsk was the best suited to the severe town thus keeping its unity with the mountains. In 1934 the town was renamed to Kirovsk, the new town was located near Bolshoi Vudjavr lake.

New settlements and stations arose near Khibinogorsk, its names were the echo of the main treasury of the region: Titan, Apatity, Nephelinovye Peski and others.

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