This issue of the Mineralogical Almanac is about the extraordinary
complex of pegmatites and hydrothermalites of the Kukisvumchorr deposit
in the Khibiny alkaline massif, Kola Peninsula, which has no analogues
anywhere in the world. The workings and dumps of the famous Kirovskii
apatite mine, which covers the area of only a few square kilometers,
yielded more than 200 mineral species. One half of these minerals are
represented by rare and extremely rare species. The main section of the
issue describes the mineral diversity of the Kukisvumchorr deposit and
characterizes the most interesting minerals. A large number of
pegmatites and hydrothermalites are described in detail. Special
attention is paid to the brightest events in the history of the
discovery, study, and development of the deposit. Publication of this
section was preceded by long and tedious work in libraries and archives.
Illustrations to the issue include color and black-and-white photos of
mineral specimens, pictures and drawings of pegmatite veins, crystal
drawings, geological schemes, and historical photographic documents.
The authors of the issue have been intensely studying the
Kukisvumchorr pegmatites and hydrothermalites for many years. Igor Pekov,
an acknowledged expert in the mineralogy of alkaline rocks, spent more
than 10 years studying this object, discovered 6 new minerals in this
depopsit, and published more than 40 scientific papers on Kukisvumchorr.
Alexander Podlesnyi, an amateur mineralogist and high-level mineral
collector, has been working at the Kirovskii Mine since 1977. For almost
a quarter of a century, he has been putting together a detailed
systematic collection of minerals and mineral assemblages, meticulously
exploring all newly uncovered pegmatites and hydrothermal veins. Due to
his enthusiastic efforts, rich and unique mineralogical material from
operating mines has been preserved and made available for research. This
issue is the result of the collaborative work of both authors. We hope
it will attract attention of professional and amateur mineralogists and
also the readers who are interested in history of geosciences and mining
Acknowledgements. Many thanks extended to Terry E. Huizing
(Cincinnati, Ohio) - Representative of Mineralogical Almanac in United
States of America and Canada and our friends Irena and Eric Rook
(Tucson, Arizona) and Irina and Gregory Abramov (Denver, Colorado) for
their continuing help and support of our publishing activity.
The Khibiny alkaline massif at the Kola Peninsula is one of the most
amazing mineralogical objects over the world. The number of mineral
species known at Khibiny is close to 450, with more than 70 of them were
first discovered here. Due to the unceasing attention of researchers,
the number of publications on this remarkable massif is very large.
Nevertheless, every year results in new exciting discoveries.
The giant apatite deposits of Khibiny have been developed for seventy
five years. The economic development of the massif was started in 1929,
when the first mine was opened at the Kukisvumchorr deposit, on southern
part of Mountain Kukisvumchorr. This first mine in the Soviet Union
situated above the Arctic Circle was originally named Apatitovyi Mine
and then was renamed Kirovskii Mine in 1935. The Kirovskii Mine was the
only working industrial source of apatite in Khibiny for more than
The underground working and quarries of the Kirovskii Mine have
uncovered hundreds of pegmatites and hydrothermal bodies with diverse
mineralization and continue to operate to date. The pegmatite-hydrothermalite
complex of the Kukisvumchorr deposit is distinctly unusual even against
the background of the unique mineralogy of the Khibiny massif. To date
212 mineral species have been found at the Kirovskii Mine. 19 of those
species were first discovered here, and 39 species occur in Khibiny only
at this particular locality. The most interesting specimens, including
16 new minerals, were found at deep levels of the deposit during the
last quarter of the 20th century.
The close vicinity of the active tectonic zone of the large
Kukisvumchorr Fault resulted in the high intensity of the hydrothermal
processes at this deposit. As a consequence, pegmatites in this zone
have many large open cavities, which are quite atypical of Khibiny.
These cavities contain wonderful crystals of a large number of minerals.
The late formations of the Kukisvumchorr deposit are represented by
potassium, strontium, barium, rare-earth, titanium, and niobium
mineralization with zeolites, micas, and sulfides. Carbonates are the
second most abundant class (after silicates) at this deposit. Due to
intense mining at deep levels, we have an opportunity to study
unaltered, unaffected by weathering, assemblages of high-alkaline
minerals, which are unstable under atmospheric conditions.
The Kirovskii Mine is a real mineralogical reserve, a source of rare
museum-quality specimens, such as the world-best crystals of amicite,
belovite-(La), kalborsite, lemmleinite-Ba, mckelveyite, nabaphite,
natroxalate, pyatenkoite-(Y), and rasvumite. The individuals of canasite
and Na-komarovite are unique in size. Among the collected specimens, we
can see wonderful large crystals of barytocalcite, belovite-(Ce),
burbankite, cancrisilite, carbocernaite, donnayite, eudialyte, ewaldite,
fersmanite, hilairite, labuntsovite-group minerals, natrolite, natron,
nepheline, pirssonite, pyrophanite, sodalite, trona, villiaumite, and
vinogradovite. We also should note the small crystals and groups of
bonshtedtite, calcio-ancylite-(Ce), delindeite, elpidite, epididymite,
eudidymite, gobbinsite, mackinawite, merlinoite, neighborite,
paranatrolite, sitinakite, zeophyllite in cavities, impressive
spherulites of cafetite and tobermorite, abundant large segregations of
delhayelite, djerfisherite, fenaksite, goetzenite, magnesium
astrophyllite, shortite, rare specimens of manganokukisvumite, mongolite,
murunskite, nafertisite, and nordite-(La). Such minerals as bussenite,
isolueshite, kalifersite, kukisvumite, kukharenkoite-(La), shirokshinite,
and tuliokite have not yet been found anywhere else in the world.
Some minerals and assemblages from the Kukisvumchorr deposit were
described in detail earlier. However general mineralogical reviews on
Kukisvumchorr are still absent, whereas this unique deposit definitely
deserves it. For the recent several years, we conducted extensive
research on this object and accumulated a significant amount of new
data, which became an incentive for writing this issue.
The main section of the issue consists of mineral descriptions. The
primary attention is paid to the occurrences, assemblages, and mineral
morphology. The purpose and size of this issue does not allow us to
include all analytical data (X-ray, spectroscopic, optical, etc.) and to
address all features of mineral compositions. However, tables of
chemical compositions (312 analyses, incl. 180 new ones made by the
electron microprobe) are provided for 165 minerals. Goniometric
measurements of the perfect crystals of a number of minerals were
performed using a GD-1 goniometer by one of the authors (I.P.), and
crystals were drawn from these data. Another important constituent of
the issue is photography, which is inevitable in a story about such an
remarkable object. The color photographs were made by N.A. Pekova and
M.B. Leybov. The black-and-white images were obtained by one of the
authors (I.P.) using JEOL T-100 scanning electron microscope in the
laboratory of the Fersman Mineralogical Museum of Russian Academy of
The section on pegmatites and hydrothermalites is mainly based on our
field observations. Photography in underground mine was performed by N.A.
The issue also has a special section on the history of discovery and
development of the Kukisvumchorr deposit. It is based on the archival
documents of 1920-1950s, including a number of rare photographs, which
were kindly provided by organizations and individuals. Many of these
documents have been published for the first time.
So, start your journey to one of the most extraordinary mineralogical
objects of Russia — Kukisvumchorr Deposit in Khibiny.