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Scientists of the Khibiny

The first to give the names of mountains and rivers of the Khibiny massif was academician Alexander Fersman. It was him who perpetuated the name of the Finnish scientist Wilhelm Ramsay by giving his name as a tribute to the pass between Poachvumchorr and Tahtarvumchorr. Being the participant of the Finland's expeditions, Wilhelm Ramsay explored the Khibiny and the entire Kola Peninsula since the end of 19 century. Name «Ramsay's pass» had appeared in 1920 and in 1997 on the top there was established the memorial plate to remind the contributions of the scientists to the exploration of the Khibiny.

Academician Alexander Fersman

Wilhelm Ramsay was not a discoverer of the Khibiny mountains but considered to be a pioneer. The first mention about massif has been found on the map of the Russian Academy of sciences dated 1745. At that time the Khibiny were indicated as unknown mountains located to the south of the Imandra Lake. The lake was shown on the map as early as in 1611 that confirms travelling of the people to the Kola Peninsula at that time. If Russians got to Imandra, they surely notice the snowy Lappish tundra. Nevertheless, official discoverers of the mountains were mining engineer Nikolay Shirokshin and academician Alexander Middendorf. The scientists had been to the Khibiny in 1834 and 1840, this was just the time that the Khibiny rock massif was discovered.

The predecessors of Wilhelm Ramsay were Russian and French travelers Nikolay Kudryavtsev, and Charles Rabot. However, Alexander Fersman emphasized the role of Wilhelm Ramsay and its works as a classics of scientific reporting and the basis of future exploration of the Khibiny. Wilhelm Ramsay was the first to start geological, petrographical and mineralogical studies. One of the minerals found in the Khibiny had been named after him - ramsayite.

Achievements of Wilhelm Ramsay in exploration of the Khibiny mountains

The first steps of Wilhelm Ramsay in exploration of the Khibiny dates back to 1887 when he was a part of Finland's expedition for study of the inner areas of Lapland. The geologist was not official leader of the scientists group but later on this trip was closely connected with his name. Since that trip Wilhelm Ramsay had started his many years work as a scientist of geology in Lappish tundra. This work last 40 years till the death of Wilhelm Ramsay.

During the exploration trip in 1887 Wilhelm Ramsay and his colleague had crossed the Kola peninsula from Kola settlement to Cape of Svyatoi Nos, passing through Kil'din, Voronye, Lovozero and Ponoi. Deviating from a route to the north and south the scientists managed to compile the more precise map of the area, to explore the «gaps» in the central part of the peninsula. At that time Lovozerskie mountains that hadn't been known before were discovered.

The Khibiny rock massif was greeted Wilhelm Ramsay near Umbozero when he ascended on the top of Lovozero tundra and Luyavrurt. But he didn't stay for a long time there. Only in 1891 and 1982 a group of scientists under leadership of Wilhelm Ramsay had spent two field seasons having studied thoroughly the territory, relief and soil composition. Wilhelm Ramsay's true partners helped him a lot - specialist in petrography Viktor Gakman, geodetic engineer and also an astronomer Alfred Petrelius and flora scientist Osvald Chil'man. All of them had left his mark in the history of the Khibiny giving their names to mountains and rivers.

Alexander Fersman gave name after Alfred Petrelius to three natural sites at once: river, mountain and pass. It is Alfred Petrelius who compiled a map of the Khibiny relief. Thanks to him the Kola river feeders to Imandra and Umozerolakes were discovered.

Viktor Gakman together with Wilhelm Ramsay had collected in the Khibiny minerals and rocks. After expedition he analysed obtained materials in the Heidelberg University in Germany. As a result he had found new minerals, unknown before to scientists. It was the Khibiny massif where the first deposits of sphen, loparite, lovenite, eudyalite, murmanite and astrophyllite were discovered. The river that flows in the middle of Yuksporr montain was named after Viktor Gakman.

Alexander Fersman gave name Chil'man to the mountain in memory of Scandinavian plant scientist. The mountain is located in the western part of the rock massif, although the scientist studied the flora in the east of the peninsula. It is Osvald Chil'man who discovered Keivs upland.

There is official evidence of Wilhelm Ramsay's discovery of the main treasure of the Khibiny. His works don't say anything about apatite ore. Nevertheless academician Alexander Fersman compiled his map of minerals where he showed the circular structure of the mountains based on the map of Wilhelm Ramsay. This data has been submitted to the multi-volume edition «Geological exploration of USSR». Without outcomes of the Finnish scientist work apatite deposits were undiscovered for a long time. Alexander Fersman said that the task of his studies is a full exploration of the Khibiny mountains based on works of Wilhelm Ramsay.

During the time of Wilhelm Ramsay apatite ore had no such value for industry and agriculture. Low level of industrial development and special geographic conditions did not allow to make a real evaluation of the mineral and its use. Therefore, the scientists had only academic interest to mineral.

Finnish geologist paid tribute to his predecessors. He gave names to the peaks of the Khibiny mountains as Charles Rabot, Alexander Middendorf and Nikolay Kudryavtsev.

Exploration of the Kola peninsula of Wilhelm Ramsay can be found in 18 published research papers and monographies. All the works have been published in German language as well. But none of them had been published in Russian.

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