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Obruchev V.A.

Obruchev V.A. Vladimir Aphanasyevich Obruchev (1863 - 1956), the researcher of Altai

Vladimir Aphanasyevich Obruchev has a special place among the scientist of the past, who made their mark in history of Siberia and Central Asia study. He was an academician, geologist, geographer, traveler and writer.

He was born on October 10th, 1863 on the riverside of Volga in Rzhevsky uyezd of former Tverskaya province in the family of a serviceman. In 1881 Obruchev brilliantly passed examinations to the Institute of Mining. When he finished the institute, he decided to research the geology of Asia. Obruchev made three journeys to Transcaspian region (1886-1888) and after that his expedition went to Siberia and Asia (1888 - 1900).
His works, which he did in his researches of geology of these places, made the young scientist one of the greatest scientist-travelers of Russia. He was awarded a few times by Russian Geographic Society and Paris Academy of Sciences. During his expedition in 1905, Obruchev came to East Kazakhstan. He crossed Semipalatinsk region from North-West to South-East, made his researches in the branches of Tarbagatay, Manrack mountain ridges, Zayssan kettle, delta of Black Irtysh, and visited Zayssan. The most interesting thing for Obruchev was crossing Kalbynsky mountain ridge. Geological and geographic structure of Kalba was very interesting for the scientist.

In June 1911 Obruchev came again to Ust-Kamenogorsk, which was described as “a big village with only a few stone houses on the Central Square” in his diary. In the town he met with E.P. Mikhaelis, who was a political exile. Obruchev wrote about this meeting: “When his exile ended, he didn’t come back to Ural, but stayed here and took part in the town’s self-government and Siberian periodical press. I’ve visited this old man, who is still so spry and cheerful, in his little house and I stayed there for two hours”. Vladimir Aphanasyevich made his geological researches on Kalbynsky mountain ridge and gold fields located there for the whole summer. In the area of Akzhal village he collected more than 3 hundred types of rocks, made a topographic map and collected the material for his geological work.

After Akzhal Obruchev went to Boko valley, where he surveyed two Khotimsky mines and after that he went to the valleys of Kyzyl-Su and Massagul, where he studied Kazangunkur mine. He found paintings of late Stone Age on the stones of two graves in Kazangunkur and in the mine working he found instruments of labor and quartz grinders of the same age. Obruchev in his books draw attention of archeologists to desirability of Kalbynsky mountain ridge’s study in archeological way, as the place, which was inhabited by people of the Stone Age. Besides, the scientist visited such mines, as “Doubay”, “Udali”, “Davnoozhidaemi”, “Voznesenski” etc.

Work on Kalbynsky mountain ridge arouse his interest in geology of Altai. He made a conclusion that the notion about Altai as a place of ancient mountain system was wrong. Travels of 1914 and 1936 were devoted to study of Altai. The scientist visited Abay village, crossed Kholsun mountain ridge, which was little-studied at that time and through the Zyryanovsky mine he went to the Irtysh River. Survey of tectonics and relief of Altai mountain ridges showed that its modern relief made not by folding, but by faulting. His conclusion about tectonics of Altai Obruchev wrote in his article “Altai etudes”, which was published in 1915.

The routes and result of his travels were described in details in his book “My travels to Siberia” that was published in 1948. Observations that Obruchev made in Altai helped him “to mark out a new branch of tectonic science – neotectonic, which was the result of the latest achievements of the Earth crust study”. And his study of “Udalyi” mine in 1911 became a basis of his novel “Mine Ubogiy”.

Vladimir Aphanasyevich wrote more than one thousand books, articles and significant works about geology and geography. The materials of his book will never lose its significance. V.A. Obruchev was decorated by 5 Lenin orders, order of Labour Red Flag and a number of medals. He was a Hero of Socialistic Labour.

He died in 1956.

Translated by Yuliya Visloguzova, 2nd year translation major student, KAFU