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Chernyshev, Feodosy Nikolaevich

Chernyshev, Feodosy Nikolaevich

(b. Kiev, Russia, 12 September 1856; d. St. Peterburg, Russia, 2 January 1914),

geology, stratigraphy, paleontology

Chernyshev’s parents were teachers in secondary schools in Kiev. He attened the First Kiev Gymanasium and in 1872 entered the Cadet Corps of the naval College in St. Petersburg. Shortly before he was due to graduate from the Cadet Corps. Chernyshev left the Naval College for the St. Petersburg Mining Institute, from which he graduated in 1880.

In March 1882 Chernyshev was selected as junior geologist on the recently organized Geological Committee of Russia. He was assigned to make a geological survey of the territory on the western slope of the southern Urals. At that time material and financial support for field geologists was modest, and the conditions of work in unpopulated forest and mountain areas were very difficult. Chernyshev traveled for weeks with one worker on one horse, and a scanty supply of food. He conducted research on the Urals and central Russia. His fieldwork was accompanied by laboratory study of a wide range of geological and paleontological materials. Before Chernyshe’s research the upper Silurian deposits of the Urals were known (through Murchison and others) and noted on the geological map of the range. Chernyshev’s investigations showed that these deposits included layers with fauna characteristic of the lower and middle Devonian periods. He restudied collections of Devopnian deposits of European Russia, Siberia, western Europe, and America. The results of his research were of great significance for the clarification of the physical and geographical conditions of the Devonian period over a large part of the earth’s surface, from Western Europe to America. As the basis for the organization of these materials, Chernyshev worked out a new scheme of the stratigraphy of the Urals, showing the sequence of beds and deposits and the composition of the rock of which the Urals and its foothills are composed.

In 1885, for his scientific work in investigating the geological structure of the Urals and other territory of Russia, Chernyshev was selected as senior geologist of the Geological Committee, and his monographs were awarded prizes by the Academy of Sciences and the Mineralogical Society.

His discovery of the Devonian strata of the Urals led to the discovery of analogous deposits in the mountains of central Asia, the Altai, eastern Siberia, and a number of other areas of Russia.

In 1889–1890 Chernyshev led a geological expedition to the Timan ridge, under the most difficult conditions, through almost impassable swarmps and unpopulated areas. The field investigation was carried out by traveling in small boats and on foot through almost impassable swamps and unpopulated areas. The field investigation was carried out by traveling in small boats and on foot through swarms of midges and mosquitoes. A large amount of geological and paleontological material was collected, the treatment of which allowed Chernyshev to publish one of the most important monographs on the Urals and the Timan (1902).

In 1892 Chernyshev was commissioned to head a scientific group to study the geological structure of the Donets coal basin. Using the stratigraphical- paleontological method of research, Chernyshev and the group of geologists that he organized (L. I. Lutugin and others) produced a highly detailed analysis of the coal deposits of the coal deposits of the Donbas and made clear the posibility of their graphical representation on a one-verst energy in compiling a geological map of European Russia on the scale of 60 versts (40 miles)to 1 inch.

At the 1897 session of the International Geological Congress, which took place in St. Petersburg, Chernyshev was chosen secretary-general of the Congress. At the 1906 session in Mexico his monograph verkhnekamennougolnye brakhiopody Urala i Timana(“The Upper Coal Layers of Brachiopods of the Urals and the Timan”), published in 1902, won a prize.

Chernyshev contributed much to the science of the physical-geographical conditions of the Devonian period, which played an important role in the evolutionary development of life on the earth.

For his productive scientific activity in the field of research on the geological structure of major areas of Russia and the territories of other countries, Chernyshev was made adjunct of the Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg (Russia) in 1897, extraordinary academician in 1899, and academician in 1909.

In 1899 Chernyshev was selected as one of the scientific leaders of an expedition sent by the Russian and Swedish academies of science to measure the latitude of Spitsbergen. He conducted research on the geological structure of spitsbergen and vividly described its geology and glacial landscape.

In 1903 Chernyshev was made director of the Geological Committee of Russia. At this time he was also chosen director of the Mineralogical Museum of the Academy of Sciences. Chernyshev’s scientific works were not limited to stratigraphy, paleontologhy, and physical geology. He also wrote on mineralogy, petrography, ore deposits, and other areas of geological prospecting. Chernyshev was made honorary doctor by a number of foreign universities and was elected a member of many scientific societies in his native country and abroad. A mountain ridge in the northern Urals and a mountain range in the Amurregion are named for him.


1.Original Works. Chernyshev’s works include “Materialy k izucheniyu devonskikh otlozheny Rossii” (“Materials for the Study of the devonian Deposits of Russia”) in Trudy Geologicheskago komiteta (St. Petersburg), 1, no. 3 (1884), 1–82; “Fauna nizhnego devona zapadonogo skona Urala” (“Lower Devonian Fauna of the Western Slope of the Urals”), ibid., 3(1885), 1–107; Fanna srednego i verkhnego devona zapadnogo sklona urala” (“Middle and Upper Devnian Fauna of the Western Slope of the Urals”), ibid., 3, no. 3(1887), 1–208; “Obshchaya geologicheskaya karta Rosssii, list 139. Opisanie tsentralnoy chasti Urala i zapadnogo yego sklona” (“A General Geological Map of Russia, sheet 139. A description of the 3, no. 4 (1889), 1–393; “Fauna devona vostgochnog sklona the Urals”), ibid., 4, no. 3 (1893), 1–221; “Gelogicheskie raboty, prozvedennye v Donetskom basseyne v 1893 g. “(“Geological Work Done in the Donets Basin in 1893”), in Izvestiya Geologicheskago komiteta, 13 , no. 4–5 (1894), 117–127; Geologicheskay karta timanskogo kryazha, natrekh listakh(“Geological Map of he Timan Mountain Ridge, in Three Sheets"; St. Petersburg, 1900); and “Verkhnekamennougolnye brakhiopody Urala i Timana” (“The Upper Coal Brachipods of the Urals and the Timan”), in Trudy Geologicheskago komiteta, 16 , no. 2 (1902), 1–63.

II. Secondary Literature. On Chernyshev or his work, see K. I. Bogdanovich, “Pamyti Feodosia Nikolaevicha Chernyshova” (“Recollections of Feodosy Nikolaevich Chernyshev”), in izvestiya Geologicheskago komiteta, 33 , no. 1 (1914), 1–12; V. A. Feyder, Feodosy Nikolaevich chernyshev. Bibliograpfichesky ukazatel i materialy k biografdii (“feodosy Nikolaevich Chernyshev. Bibliography and Materials for a Biography"; Leningard, 1961); A. P. karpinsky, “Feodosy Nikolaevich Chernyshev,” in Izvestiya Akademii nauk, no. 3 (1914), 167–184; D. V. Nalivkin, “Feodosy Nikolaevich Chernyshev, “in Lyudin russkoy nauki (“People of Russian Science”), I (Moscow-Leningard, 1948), 108–114; and the article in Bolshaya Sovetskay Entsiklopedia (“Great Soviet Encyclopedia”), 2nd ed., XLVII (1957), 202–203.

G. D. Kurochkin

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