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Mineralogical Almanac  

Main Events on the History of Research and Development.

In this chapter, main events in the history of geological research and mining development of the Lovozero Massif are presented chronologically. Special attention is paid to the history of mineralogical research and discovery at Lovozero, and a summary of new mineral discoveries is given separately at the end of the «Minerals discovered in the Lovozero Massif» chapter.

1887
On July 24, Expedition of the Societas pro Fauna et Flora Fennica discovered Lujavrurt Mountains (Lovozero Tundras) consisting of nepheline syenite. W. Ramsay made the first geological, petrographic, and mineralogical observations at the Lovozero Massif.

1890
O. Kihlman and J. Palmen published a preliminary report about the expedition of 1887. This was the first published work in which the Lujavrurt Mountainous Country was mentioned, and a brief description of the area was given.
W. Ramsay published «Geologische Beobachtungen auf der Halbinsel Kola. Nebst einem Anhange: Petrographische Beschreibung der Gesteine des Lujavr-urt». In this paper, he released the first geological data about the Lovozero Massif and future new minerals of lamprophyllite, loparite, and murmanite.

1893
W. Ramsay published a detailed description of eudialyte from Lovozero and Khibiny Massifs.

1894
A first part of the significant work «Das Nephelinsyenitgebiet auf der Halbinsel Kola» by W. Ramsay and V. Hackman, which was related primarily to the Lovozero and Khibiny Alkaline Massifs, was released. A first description of the new rocks of lujavrite and tawite was given.

1896
W. Ramsay described the new alkaline rock urtite, which he named after the place it was first found in the Lovozero Tundras (Lujavr-urt).
L.C. Boergstroem discovered hackmanite, a new variety of sodalite, which he found in the Lovozero collection of W. Ramsay.

1922
On August 23–27, A.E. Fersman and E.E. Kostyleva visited the Lovozero Massif for the first time.

1923
In August–September, the expedition led by A.E. Fersman (A.E. Fersman, N.N. Gutkova, E.E. Kostyleva, A.N. Labuntsov, E.M. Bonshtedt, B.M. Kupletsky) conducted mineralogical and reconnaissance geological-petrographic works at the Lovozero Massif.
E.E. Kostyleva discovered the new mineral ramsayite in Khibiny and Lovozero. It became evident later that it was the same mineral as lorenzenite from Greenland.
E.M. Bonshtedt discovered «neptunite» in the Tavaiok pegmatite. One year later, she identified it as mangan-neptunite.

1924
N.N. Gutkova conducted mineralogical studies on the Angvundaschorr and Alluaiv Mts.

1925
The mineralogical team of N.N. Gutkova explored the northwestern and western parts of the massif.
A first volume of «Khibiny and Lovozero Tundras» monograph edited by A.E. Fersman was released.
The construction of the road from the Pulozero Railway Station to the Lovozero Village began.

1926
The mineralogical team of N.N. Gutkova conducted final works at Lovozero. A central part of the massif was explored.

1928
A second volume of «Khibiny and Lovozero Tundras» monograph was released. In this monograph, N.N. Gutkova published the first list of Lovozero minerals which included 21 species.

1930
The team of the Academy of Sciences led by E.E. Kostyleva conducted first exploration works on zirconium (eudialyte) ore at Lovozero and collected 0.5 t of eudialyte-rich rock from the Sengischorr Mt. for technological tests.

1931
The party of the Leningrad Geological-Prospecting Trust conducted reconnaissance exploration works on eudialyte ore near the Vavnbed Mt.
The Lovozero Geochemical Team of the USSR Academy of Sciences led by V.V. Shcherbina worked in the southwestern part of the massif.

1932
The Northwestern Branch of the «Soyuzredmetgeorazvedka» Trust began exploration works on eudialyte ore in the Lovozero Massif (S.D. Pokrovsky).
N.I. Tikhomirov and S.D. Pokrovsky discovered a large ussingite pegmatite on the Malyi Punkaruaiv Mt. This was the world’s first discovery of the ussingite bedrock occurrence.

1933
The Kola Expedition of the USSR Academy of Sciences began a systematic study of Lovozero. O.A. Vorob’eva conducted the geological-petrographic works of the team, V.I. Gerasimovsky was in charge of the mineralogical study.
Soyuzredmetgeorazvedka continued systematic exploration works on eudialyte ore.
The party of the «Apatit» State Trust led by V.I. Vlodavets conducted exploration of the eudialyte ore in the southern part of the massif.

1934
In July – August, the team of O.A. Vorob’eva and V.I. Gerasimovsky and the party of S.D. Pokrovsky independently discovered loparite-rich lujavrite in different parts of the massif.
L.B. Antonov and V.I. Kotel’nikov conducted works of the «Apatit» Trust. After discovery of the loparite-bearing rocks on the Ninchurt Mt., geologists of the «Apatit» Trust switched to exploration for loparite.
O.A. Vorob’eva and V.I. Gerasimovsky discovered unusual poikilitic syenite enriched in dark-gray feldspar on the Mannepakhk Mt. V.I. Gerasimovsky identified this mineral 30 years later as nosean. The rock was called nosean syenite.
Systematic geodetic surveys commenced at the massif.
Chemist T.A. Burova performed the first analysis of loparite and loparite ore and confirmed high grades of niobium and rare earth elements.

1935
Soyuzredmetrazvedka conducted extensive exploration works on loparite ore at Lovozero. Loparite lujavrite was trenched along the periphery of the massif.
I.V. Zelenkov and K.G. Muzafarova discovered economic loparite urtite in the valley of the Elmaraiok River.
M.L. Zolotar’ and A.S. Sakharov conducted exploration works for murmanite as a possible source of tantalum and niobium in the southern part of the massif.
A.V. Vanidovskaya and S.D. Pokrovsky discovered remains of Devonian flora on the Selsurt Mt. This permitted age determination of the Lovozero Massif.

1936
N.K. Nefedov and I.V. Zelenkov discovered loparite malignite grading 20 percent loparite in the western part of the massif. L.E. Egel’ and A.A. Shchekoldin discovered similar rocks in the Second Cirque of Raslak on the Alluaiv Mt. This rock became the first exploitable loparite ore of Lovozero. Loparite uritite was traced by trenches on all slopes of the Lovozero Massif.
The team of V.I. El’tekov passed an adit in eudialyte of the Vavnbed Mt. They also continued exploration for eudialyte ore and its pilot mining.
V.I. Gerasimovsky discovered several occurrences of porphyry lujavrite enriched in an unknown mineral. In 1940, he described this mineral as lovozerite, and the rock was called lovozerite lujavrite. He also found a new mineral in sodalite syenite in the valley of the Chinglusuai River, which was described sunsequently in 1950 as lomonosovite.

1937
A collective monograph of «Minerals of the Khibiny and Lovozero Tundras» edited by A.E. Fersman was released.
Soyuzredmetrazvedka under the leadership of N.A. Eliseev completed a geological mapping survey of the Lovozero Massif at a scale of 1:25,000.
Feasibility study of the loparite deposit in the Second Cirque of Raslak on the Alluaiv Mt. commenced with passing of three adits. The team of L.E. Egel’ collected a technological sample of the loparite ore.
N.A. Eliseev and E.E. Fedorov began systematic study of the eudialyte deposits of Lovozero. This work was completed in 1938.
S.D. Pokrovsky conducted a geological mapping survey and exploration works in the northern part of Lovozero Tundras. He studied contacts of the massif and discovered a deposit of fire-proof sillimanite-cordierite schist.

1938
Soyuzredmetrazvedka downsized its activity at the Lovozero Massif. A detailed feasibility study was continued only for the loparite deposit on the Alluaiv Mt.
Geologists of Soyuzredmetrazvedka discovered a large pegmatite body in the northeastern part of the Karnasurt Mt. (now pegmatite No 61).

1939
On February 3, Narkom of the USSR Base Metal Industry created a Construction Department of «Alluaivstroi», which was entrusted the construction of the Alluaiv Mining Enterprise and a town for the inhabitants. L.E. Egel’ was appointed as a director of «Alluaivstroi».
A small mine was built in the Second Cirque of Raslak and an ore-dressing plant was built in the valley of Raslak. Small working camps were built near the Ilma Lake on the Alluaiv Mt. and on the 5th km of the Alluaiv-Lovozero Road.
V.I. Gerasimovsky found significant amounts of villiaumite in sodalite syenite in the valley of the Chinglusuai River. He showed that «elatolite» is a leaching hollow of this mineral.

1940
N.A. Eliseev completed compilation of the Geological and mineral map of Lovozero Tundras at a scale of 1:50,000.
August 18 is the «official birthday» of the Lovozero Mining Complex. The ore-dressing plant began to work.
I.V. Zelenkov and V.I. Gerasimovsky discovered 6 layers of loparite urtite in the lower zone of the differentiated complex in the southern part of the massif.

1941
In January, the ore-dressing plant released the first loparite concentrate.
On April 21, the USSR Sovnarkom issued Decision No 1081-447cc signed by Stalin about beginning of construction of the Alluaiv Niobium Enterprise. On April 30, Narkom of Base Metal Industry ordered to split «Alluaivstroi» into two parts, one of which was affiliated to NKVD system. A prison camp was built on Il’ma, where the first prisoners lived. It was planned to use them during continuing construction.
In the end of June and July, all works at Lovozero were terminated after the war broke out. People and equipment were evacuated.

1943
O.A. Vorob’eva defended her Doctor of Science thesis entitled «Lovozero Alkaline Massif: petrochemical characteristics in relation to niobium deposits».

1945
V.I. Gerasimovsky defended his Doctor of Science thesis entitled «Mineralogy of the Lovozero Alkaline Massif».

1946
M.P. Prosnyakov obtained funding for new exploration works at Lovozero. The Expedition No 1 of the All-Union «Soyuzspetsrazvedka» Trust of the USSR Ministry of Metallurgy began exploration works at the massif to identify the reserves of rare elements of Nb, Ta, REE, Th.
In May, the management of the Monchegorsk «Severonikel» Plant decided to restore a mine and a plant on the Alluaiv Mt. A new construction department of «Alluaivstroi», affilliated this time with «Severonikel», was organized.
The adits on the Alluaiv Mt. were opened and production of loparite again resumed. A new experimental ore-dressing plant was opened by the end of the year.
Detailed exploration works on loparite ore in the northern part of the Karnasurt Mt. commenced.
The petrographic team of the USSR Academy of Sciences headed by O.A. Vorob’eva resumed research at the Lovozero Massif.
Geologists of the Leningrad Mining Institute under the leadership of N.V. Ivanov began research works of the layered complex of lujavrite-foyaite-urtite.

1947
In the beginning of the year, mining of loparite on the Alluaiv Mt. was terminated because of the discovery of new, richer and more easily accessible ore on the Karnasurt Mt. The plant began to process the ore from Karnasurt.
In April, «Alluaivstroi» was transformed into Lovozero Complex Geological-Prospecting Expedition (CGPE) of the All-Union «Soyuzspetsrazvedka» Trust affiliated with the Ministry of the Base Metal Industry of the USSR. More active exploration works were focused on discovery of new reserves of loparite ore.
The Lujavrurt Exploration Party of the Lovozero CGPE headed by A.S. Sakharov was created to begin exploration works on thorium in veins and pegmatite of the massif. These works were conducted in July-September and their result was negative.
K.A. Vlasov organized Kola Expedition of the Institute of Geological Sciences of the USSR Academy of Sciences to study rocks and pegmatites of the Lovozero Massif. K.A. Vlasov, M.V. Kuz’menko, E.M. Es’kova, and L.S. Borodin participated in the first field work of that expedition.
Geologist S.I. Kozhanov discovered the hackmanite-natrolite pegmatite body on the Karnasurt Mt. (pegmatite No 62).
On December 16, the Council of Ministers of the USSR released a Decision «On measures of development of the Lovozero Massif», which stimulated intensive development of the mining industry of the region.

1948
In April, the construction of the Lovozero Mining Enterprise commenced. In the second half of the year, V.F. Igoshin was appointed as a director of construction. He then became a first director of the Lovozero GOK (Mining Complex).
Kola Expedition began extensive works, which continued until 1956. From 1948, students-mineralogists E.I. Semenov, I.P. Tikhonenkov, and others began to work here.
L.L. Shilin discovered high concentrations of beryllium in pegmatites in the northeastern part of the Karnasurt Mt.
E.I. Semenov discovered pegmatite clusters on the Lepkhe-Nel’m Mt.
The underground works commenced on the Karnasurt Mt., where two adits were driven.
It was decided to build the main living town on the 8th km of the road splitting from the Pulozero-Lovozero Road. The construction of the town, which received a temporary name «the 8th km», began in summer.

1949
Construction of living facilities in the old working town on Il’ma was totally terminated. On the 9th km, a first camp for prisoners was built. They worked at construction of the «8th km» town and the ore-dressing plant.

1950
The «8th km» town received official status as the working town after a decision of the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Council. It received name «Revda» after Revdozero Lake.

1951
On April 23, the Minister of Base Metal Industry issued Order No 167 about affiliation of the Lovozero GOK with the Main Administration of the Industry of Rare Metals.
Lovozero CGPE was disbanded.
Industrial mining of the loparite ore resumed at the Karnasurt Mine. In September, the ore-dressing plant released the first concentrate.

1952
V.I. Gerasimovsky published his monograph «Mineralogy of the Lovozero Alkaline Massif», which remained secret nearly to the present day.
Pegmatites of the northeastern part of the Karnasurt Mt. were sampled for gallium by the «Spetstsvetmetrazvedka» Trust after the recommendation of K.A. Vlasov.

1953
A monograph «Lovozero Pluton and its deposits» was published by N.A. Eliseev and E.E. Fedorov.

1954
I.V. Bussen and A.S. Sakharov began to work for the Lovozero Expedition in the Kola Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. They began intensive research of geology, petrology, and mineralogy of Lovozero. The main result of this work was publication of two monographs in 1967 and 1972.

1955
In March, Lovozero Expedition of the Geological-Prospecting Trust No1 was again organized.
The Lovozero Team of the Kola Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences led by I.V. Bussen began to study lovozerite lujavrite of the Elmaraiok River as a possible source of uranium and rare metal ore. The works were completed in 1957.

1956
The collective of the Institute of Geochemistry (GEOKHI) of the USSR Academy of Sciences led by V.I. Gerasimovsky began to study geochemistry of the Lovozero Massif. This work continued until 1965.
The Lovozero Expedition collected technological samples of eudialyte on the Vavnbed Mt. They discovered complex rare metal mineralization represented by zircon, pyrochlore, and ilmenite.

1957
Geologists of the Lovozero Expedition discovered the Umbozero Loparite Deposit in the western part of the Alluaiv Mt.

1958
Leningrad geophysicists studied the shape of the Lovozero and Khibiny Massifs in their deepest parts. The work was completed in 1960.

1959
K.A. Vlasov, M.V. Kuz’menko, and E.M. Es’kova published a book «Lovozero Alkaline Massif».
I.P. Tikhonenkov and R.P. Tikhonenkova studied a contact zone of the massif and its rare metal occurrences.
The Lovozero Expedition undertook an exploration of uranium in the massif under leadership of Ya.M. Feigin.

1963
The Lovozero Expedition of «Sevzapgeologiya» was transformed into Lovozero Party of the Murmansk Geological-Prospecting Expedition.

1966
V.I. Gerasimovsky and his colleagues published a monograph «Geochemistry of the Lovozero Alkaline Massif».
A monograph of K.A. Vlasov. M.V. Kuz’menko, and E.M. Es’kova was published in English.
A.S. Likhachev and F.A. Aleikin who worked for the Lovozero Party discovered the Revda Loparite Placer Deposit.

1967
I.V. Bussen and A.S. Sakharov published a «Geology of Lovozero Tundras» monograph.
Construction of the Umbozero Ore-dressing Plant began on the basis of the Umbozero Loparite Deposit on the western slope of the Alluaiv Mt.

1970
A.N. Mer’kov and A.P. Nedorezova, geologists of the Lovozero GOK, discovered the Yubileynaya Pegmatite Lode on the Karnasurt Mt.

1971
A.P. Khomyakov began systematic mineralogical studies at the Lovozero Massif.

1972
E.I. Semenov published a monograph «Mineralogy of the Lovozero Alkaline Massif».
I.V. Bussen and A.S. Sakharov published a monograph «Petrology of the Lovozero Alkaline Massif».
Geologists of «Sevzapgeologiya» under a leadership of S.D. Pokrovsky completed compilation of a new edition of the Geological Map of the Lovozero Massif at a scale of 1:50,000.

1974
The Lovozero Party began exploration works for apatite on the Kuivchorr Mt. This work was completed in 1977.
I.V. Bussen and co-authors published a paper «Main features of the mineralogy and geochemistry of hyperalkaline pegmatoid and hydrothermally altered rocks». This became the first publication about non-weathered hyperagpaitic rocks.

1978
The USSR Ministry of Geology and Administration of the Murmansk Oblast granted «protected monument of nature» status to the to the Yubileinaya Pegmatite.

1980
A team of «Soyuzkvartssamotsvety» headed by Yu.O. Lipovsky and Y.S. Kobyashev began intensive exploration and collection of the minerals of zircon, lorenzenite, murmanite, and others. The work continued in 1980–1982.

1983
L.N. Kogarko and co-authors published representative data about the age of the Lovozero Massif estimated as 362+17 Myr.
In December, the Umbozero Mining Enterprise began to work.

1986
Geologists of the Institute of Mineralogy and Geochemistry of Rare Elements (IMGRE) led by E.D. Osokin began geological and mineralogical-technological study of the eudialyte ore.

1990
The giant «Shkatulka» Pegmatite was discovered on the Alluaiv Mt.
A.P. Khomyakov published his monograph «Mineralogy of Hyperagpaitic Alkaline Rocks».

1991
T.N. Ifantopulo from IMGRE completed study of the uranium and rare metal pyrochlore mineralization related to contact metasomatite of the northern and northeastern parts of the massif.
The «Lujavr» State Enterprise, which was formed on the basis of the Lovozero Party, conducted exploration works on facing and decorative stones on the Flora Mt. During this work, M.F. Korobitsyn rediscovered an occurrence of narsarsukite, which was first found in 1945 by V.I. Gerasimovsky and subsequently lost.

A giant pegmatite body, which was later named «Shomiokitovoye» was discovered on the Alluaiv Mt.

1993
On March 10, Lovozero GOK was transformed into an open-type Joint Stock Company «Severnye Redkie Metally» (OAO «Sevredmet»).

1994
In January-March, all works at the Karnasurt and Umbozero Mines were terminated because of the difficult economic situation.
In June-September, OAO «Sevredmet» began experimental mining of the eudialyte ore in the northeastern part of the Alluaiv Mt. and development of technology for its enrichment.

1995
A.P. Khomyakov published a second, improved edition of the monograph «Mineralogy of Hyperagpaitic Alkaline Rocks» translated into English.

1996
An opposite flank of the «Shkatulka» Pegmatite was found. This permitted an accurate estimate of the dimensions of pegmatite, which appeared to be the world’s largest ussingite body.
I.V. Pekov discovered rich yttrium mineralization of a previously unknown type in the «Shomiokitovoye» Pegmatite. It consisted of segregations of shomiokite-(Y).

1999
In the beginning of the year, mining activity resumed at the Karnasurt and Umbozero Mines.

 

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