Bogdanov, Aleksei Alekseevich

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(b. Sukhumi, Russia, 25 February 1907; d. Moscow. U.S.S.R., 18 September 1971)

geology, tectonics.

Soon after Alcksei’s birth the family moved to Geneva, where they lived until 1916. His father, Aleksei Alekseevich, studied and worked at the University of Geneva, After returning to Russia in early 1916, he was an engineer-chemist in the oil industry. Bogdanov’s mother, Tatiiana Gennadievna Kartsova, studied and worked at the University of Geneva and at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. A physician bacteriologist, at the beginning of World War I she went to the Serbian front and from there was transferred to the Caucasus in 1916. She died of typhus in 1919. In 1929 Bogdanov married Irina Vladimirovna Gudkevich; they had two sons, Nikola and Aleksei.

Bogdanov was first educated at home, then at a secondary school in Yaroslavl’, from which he graduated in 1925. He next studied at the geological prospecting faculty of the Moscow Academy of Mines until 1931. While a student, Bogdanov spent the summers on field expeditions. In 1941 he received his candidate degree, and in 1945 his doctorate.

In 1935 Bogdanov started teaching at the Moscow Geological Prospecting Institute: first as an assistant, then assistant professor and professor 11946). He taught general geology, geotcetonics. geological mapping, and structural geology. In 1951 he transferred to Moscow State University, where he lectured on the geology of the U.S.S.R. Under his supervision a great number of young geologists received their doctorates.

Bogdanov’s early geological investigations were done under the guidance of such prominent Soviet geologists as A. I). Arkhangel’skii and N. S. Shatskii. His contact with them helped to form his interest in sedimentary rocks, their stratigraphy. and especially tectonic structures.

During the 1930’s and in the early 1940 s Bogdanov’s investigations dealt with the geological structure of regions that appeared to contain oil and gas deposits. These works contributed to the knowledge of tectonics of the regions studied, particularly the salt domes of the northern Caspian area.

In the first half of the 1940’s Bogdanov headed a large expedition working in the southern Urals that found several gas- and oil-bearing geological structures. Later, for some years he supervised geological investigations in the Carpathians. During his later life Bogdanov and a large group of geologists studied the geology of central Kazakhstan. All of this work contributed much to knowledge of the stratigraphy, magmatism. and tectonics of the Soviet Union.

Though almost all of Bogdanov’s regional geological investigations were applied in character, they also served as the basis for a number of important theoretical conclusions. Bogdanov revealed the peculiarities of the tectonic structure of the southeastern part of the Russian platform (the Hast European platform) and elucidated the history of formation of oil-bearing structures developed there. Being profoundly interested in the boundaries of the East European platform, and having analyzed the latest data, Bogdanov concluded that it stretches much further west than had been assumed and extends at an acute angle up to the (Julf of Bristol in England.

Bogdanov noted the expediency of distinguishing in the history of each platform the stage of its eraIonization, that is, the beginning of the platform proper, Pursuing this idea, he suggested two stages in a platform’s development. The first, the avlakogene, is characterized by the existence of vast salients of the basement (shields) separated by deep, grabenlike basins (avlakogenes or aulacogenes). Thesecond is syneclises or plates during formation of which the avlakogenes are involved in general subsidence; this results in the formation of syneclises and anleclises, structures peculiar to all platforms. Bogdanov’s concept of the relationship of the platform to its fold framework aroused appreciable scientific interest. He also showed that marginal depressions are tectonic elements arising in boundary areas between platforms and between other depressions attributed to geosynelinal structures.

During his trips abroad to participate in international geological congresses, and to keep abreast of the compilation of maps in many countries, Bogdanov always went on excursions to geologically interesting regions. He visited most of Europe, southern Asia. North Africa, and the Americas. The geological excursions in these areas provided material that enabled him to compile regional tectonic essays in which he amended the previous, or suggested quite new. treatment of the tectonic structures of these territories.

Bogdanov’s interest in tectonics led him to take an active part in Shutskii’s compilation of the tectonic map of the Soviet Union. It was published, on a scale of 1:4, 000, 000, in 1953 and was twice republished (1956, 1961) with supplementary data.

At the Twentieth International Geological Congress, held in Mexico City in 1956, Bogdanov presented the tectonic map of the U.S.S.R. It was unanimously approved, and the congress passed a resolution organizing the Subeommission on the Tectonic Map of the World. Bogdanov was elected its secretary general and enlisted the cooperation of a great number of geologists from around the world.

In the process of preparing the tectonic maps it became necessary to unify plotted images. Since not all geologists drew and understood particular structures in the same way, Bogdanov had to prepare the uniform legend that was unanimously approved and subsequently used in compilation of all international tectonic maps.

Through Bogdanov’s efforts the tectonic map of Europe was published in fifteen sheets (1964). He then began to work on a tectonic map of Earth. He died before completing it.

While studying Earth’s crust structure, especially in relation to the compilation of tectonic maps, Bogdanov suggested the principles of distinguishing the major structural elements, their zonation, and the periodization of Earth’s tectonic history. His interpretation of peculiarities of the Paleozoic folding in the U.S.S.R. is a striking example of such an analysis.

Bogdanov was a corresponding member of the German Academy of Sciences m Berlin (1962): a foreign member of the geological societies of Belgium, France. Czechoslovakia, and Sweden: an honorary member of the Geological-Mineralogical Society of the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences; and an honorary doctor of the University of Paris (Sorbonne). He was also awarded a gold medal by Charles University (Prague) and the Leopold von Buch gold medal by Göttingcn University.

For many years Bogdanov suffered from heart disease but, being a man of striking energy, surprising capacity for work, and exceptional cheerfulness, he paid no attention to the state of his health. After conducting field investigations under the climatically severe conditions of semidesert Kazakhstan, he died in Moscow of a ruptured aorta.


I. Original Works. Rukovodstvo k prakticheskim zaniatiiam po kursu obschei geologii (Instructions for practical studies on general geology). 2nd ed., M. M. Zhukov, ed. (Moscow. 1946), written with M. M. Zhukov, E. V. Milanovskii, and V. N. Pavlinov: “Paleozoiskie toktonicheskie struktury iuzhnoi chasti Karagandinskoi oblasti i Chu-Ralkhashskogo vodorazdela” (Paleozoic tectonic structures of the southern part of Karaganda Province and Chu-Balkhash water parting), in Tektonika SSSR, i (Moscow and Leningrad. 1948), 79–144: “La carte tectoniquc de I’URSS,” in Relaciones entre la teclónica y la sedimentación. I (Mexico City, 1957). 267–287; Tektonicheskaia karta SSSR i sopredel’nykh stran v masshtuhe 1:5000000 (Tectonic map of the U.S.S.R. and contiguous countries, scale 1: 5, 000, 000), compiled by Bogdanov and N. S. Shatskii. explanatory note edited by Shatskii (Moscow. 1957), also translated into Chinese. edited by Fzhan Wen-yu (Peking, 1958); “Traits fondamentaux de la tectonique de I’URSS,” in Revue de géographie physique et géologie dynammique, 2nd set., 1 , fasc. 3 (1957), 134–165; Problem vztahu Kaledonske a variské tektogeneze v centrálnim Kazachstámu (Prague, 1961); “Über einige allgemeine Fragen der Tektonik alter Tafeln am Beispiel der östeuropäischen Tafel,” in Geologie, 1 no. 9 (1965), 1017–1038; Die tektonische und territoriale Gliederung der Palaozoiden Zcntralkazachstans und des Ti-an-Schan anlässlich der 200. Jahr-Feier der Bergakademie in Freiberg, 1 (Freiberg, 1966), 33–83; “Époques techniques et ehronologiques de la subdivision et périodes de I’histoire tectonique de la craute terrestre,” in Bulletin de la Société géologique de France, 7 (1969), 717–728; and Tektonika platform i skladclutykh oblastei (Tectonics of platforms and folded areas; Moscow, 1976).

II Secondary Literature. “A. A. Bogdanov (k 60 letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia” (To the sixtieth birthday of A. A. Bogdanov), in Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, ser. 4, Geologiia. 1967, no. 1; V. E. Khain, “A. A. Bogdanov i problemi tektoniki Evropi” (A. A. Bogdanov and the problems of European tectonics), in Biulletin Moskovskoga obshchestva ispitatelei prirodi, 77 , otd. geol., 47 , no. 5 (1972) 17–24: E. E. Milanovskii, “Rol Alekseia Alekseeveha Bogdanova v razvitii geologicheskogo faculteta Moskovskogo universiteta” (A. A. Bogdanov’s role in the development of the Geological Faculty of Moscow State University), in Vestnik Moskovskoga universiteta, ser. geol., no. 2, (1977), 3–8; V. A. Varsanofiev, G. S. Vartanian, and E. A. Kuznetsov, “Pamiati Alekseia Alekseevicha Bogdanova. (Geolog, 1907–1971)” (To the memory of Aleksei Alekseevich Bogdanov. [Geologist, 1907–1971 ]), in Biulletin Moskovskoga obshchestva ispitatelei prirodi, 77 , otd, geol., 47 , no. 5 (1972), 5–16: and la. A. Zaitsev, “Idei A. A. Bogdanova v izuchenii geologii Kazakhstana” (The ideas of A. A. Bogdanov in the resourcing of the geology of Kazakhstan). ibid., 25–29.

V. V. Tikhomirov