Ilmeny: Mineralogy of Pegmatites by Vladimir A. Popov and Valentina I. Popova
Mineralogical Almanac, volume 9,
2006. Famous Mineral Localities Series
156 ñòð., historical photos: 27, schemes and sections: 34, mineral drawings: 69, color photos of minerals: 120, soft cover.
The issue is devoted to the extraordinary Mineralogical Object: Ilmeny
Mountains in South Ural, Russia. Mineralogists call it “Mineralogical Paradize”
due to diversity of minerals found there. During almost two centuries of
investigation 227 minerals have been found there, and for 18 minerals Ilmeny
Mountains are the type locality.
The issue contains historical review,
geological and mineralogical description of Ilmeny pegmatites based both on
previous investigations as well as recent discoveries made by the authors
Editor: Dr. Igor V. Pekov
Institute of Mineralogy of Ural Branch RAS, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian Geological Society
The Ilmeny Mountains, which stretch over 50 km from the south to the
north along the right bank of River Miass (South Urals), are a world-famous
source of gemstones and outstanding specimens of rare-earth and radioactive
minerals. This is also the place where a new rock – miaskite – was first
described. The Ilmeny Mountains do not boast high altitudes; the absolute elevation
of Mt. Ilmen-Tau is only 747.3 m. This territory within 54°58´–55°30´ N and 60°05´–60°22´
E (total area of 300 km2), is located in the Chelyabinsk district of
Russia and officially affiliated with the borough of Miass with population of
170,000. Miass is crossed by the railroad passway connecting Europe and Asia
and by several automobile roads of different directions. The closest
international airport is located in Chelyabinsk, 100 km east of Miass.
This region of the South Urals is also known as «mineralogist’s Mecca»,
«mineralogical paradise», and the first mineralogical reserve in Russia. During
the period of foundation of the contemporary mineralogy (from 19th
to beginning of 20th century), Ilmeny minerals played an important
role in development of geosciences, chemistry, physiscs, and crystallography.
The minerals were studied by the most acknowledged scientists of that period.
Many new minerals (now familiar to every student) were discovered here:
ilmenite, ilmenorutile, monazite-(Ce), aeschynite-(Ce), chevkinite-(Ce),
samarskite-(Y), cancrinite, and chiolite. The recent discoveries include
makarochkinite, polyakovite-(Ce), potassicsadanagaite,
fluoro-magnesio-arfvedsonite, fluororichterite, fergusonite-beta-(Ce),
svyazhinite, and ushkovite. A new chemical element – samarium – was found in
Ilmeny samarskite. Samarskite was the mineral from which radium was extracted
for the first time in Russia.
Out of 270 minerals found in the Ilmeny Mountains so far, the majority of the
mineral species (up to 230) occur in pegmatites. There are granite, syenite,
ultramafite, and even «carbonatite» pegmatites, which form vein fields. We do
know any other territories with such a complex picture of pegmatite
development, which reflects a number of large-scale mineralization processes.
This is one of the main and universal scientific values of the Ilmeny
Founding Russia’s first mineralogical reserve in 1920 «for solving scientific and
practical tasks…», i.e. in fact for establishing an experimental base for
natural scientists, was an acknowledgement of the unique role of this territory
in the development of mineralogy and other branches of natural sciences. The
Ilmeny Mountains is one of the most visited regions in the South Urals, which
attracts both young nature lovers and gray-haired academicians. Several
universities and geological colleges organize here field trainings for their
students. In 1987, the Institute of Mineralogy (Ural Branch of Russian Academy
of Sciences) was founded on the basis of the Ilmeny mineralogical reserve. In
1998, a Geology Department was founded at the South Urals State University.
The literature on the Ilmeny Mountains is very abundant. To avoid overloading this
issue, here we only provide references to the most significant works and
reviews; in particular, «Minerals of the Ilmeny Reserve» (1949) and the series
«Mineralogy of the Urals» (1990, 1991, 2000), which contain an almost complete
bibliography for the earlier periods of study. A more specific attention is
paid to the publications of recent years.
This study was facilitated by many researchers of the Ilmeny reserve and Institute
of Mineralogy (Ural Division of Russian Academy of Sciences). We are very
grateful to the Director of the Institute of Mineralogy, Corresponding Member
of Russian Academy of Sciences, V.N. Anfilogov for help in completing this
manuscript. We thank the Head of the Laboratory of Regional Geology E.P.
Makagonov and researchers from the Institute of Mineralogy E.V. Belogub, A.G.
Bazhenov, S.N. Nikandrov, E.P. Shcherbakova, and V.A. Muftakhov for provided
materials and valuable discussions. We also thank the employees of the
analytical facilities L.F. Bazhenova, E.I. Churin, V.A. Kotlyarov, T.V.
Semenova, M.N. Malyarenok, P.V. Khvorov, and E.D. Zenovich for mineral
analyses. We thank E.I. Lekareva, L.B. Novokreshchenova, O.L. Zaushitsina, N.P.
Bragin, L.A. Butorina, L.A. Andreeva, O.S. Telenkov, E.A. Bazhenov, and V.N.
Korzhavina for help with illustration materials. We honor the memory of our
colleagues V.O. Polyakov and B.V. Chesnokov, whose materials and publications
were very useful in preparation of this issue. We express our heartfelt
gratitude to Academician V.A. Koroteyev, who invited us in 1973 to study the
mineralogy of Ilmeny pegmatites and supported the idea of this publication.
We extend our sincere gratitude to the following persons:
Fersman Mineralogical Museum RAS:
Margarita I. Novgorodova, Director of Museum; Mikhail
E. Generalov, Curator of Mineral Collection;
Natural History Museum of Humboldt University in Berlin:
Dr. Ralf T. Schmitt, Chief
Curator of Mineral Collection; Gesine Steiner, Curator;
Saint-Petersburg Mining Institute:
Vladimir S. Litvinenko, Rector; Zhanna A. Polyarnaya, Museum
Director; Elena E. Popova, Curator of Mineral Collection; Elena S. Svirina,
Head of the Department;
Vernadsky State Geological Museum RAS:
Mikhail N. Kandinov, Curator of Mineral
Collection; Irina P. Andreeva, Senior Scientist
Our special thanks are extended to Victor A. Koroteev, academician of RAS and Vsevolod N. Anfilogov,
correspondent-member of RAS