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Mineralogical Almanac  

Min Almanac_#9

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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.
Price: $45

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

Supporting organizations:
Institute of Mineralogy of Ural Branch RAS, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian Geological Society

 
Preface                                                                                                                                      Contents 

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 Mountains.
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.


Acknowledgements. 
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

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