Aleksei Pavlov

Pavlov, Aleksei Petrovich


Born Nov. 19 (Dec. 1), 1854, in Moscow; died Sept. 9, 1929, in Bad Tölz, Germany; buried in Moscow. Soviet geologist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1916; corresponding member, 1905). Graduated in 1879 from the natural science department of the physics and mathematics faculty of Moscow University. Professor at Moscow University from 1886.

Pavlov’s main works concern stratigraphy, paleontology, geology of the Quaternary, tectonics, geomorphology, engineering geology, and the history of geology. He wrote major works on the stratigraphy of Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous deposits in the Volga Region and the central part of European Russia, as well as on the stratigraphy of the Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene systems of the Lower Volga Region.

Pavlov conducted paleontological research on Mesozoic mol-lusks, mainly ammonites and Belemnites, approaching the study of fossil fauna as a paleontologist and evolutionist. In his monographs about Aucella and the aucellines of Cretaceous deposits in European Russia (1907) and about Jurassic Belemnites, Pavlov gave examples of a concretely worked-out genetic classification. He first advanced the theory of the three-stage glaciation of the Eastern European Plain, and he proposed the first outline of the plain’s Quaternary history. Pavlov identified two new types of continental deposits: diluvium and proluvium. He also wrote geomorphologic works on the origin of plains topography.

Pavlov first established the presence of a number of dislocations in the Volga Region, including the latitudinal dislocation along the northern border of the Zhiguli Hills and the Astrakhan-Saratov and Don-Medveditsa dislocation systems. He distinguished syneclises, the sections of ancient platforms that are most mobile and inclined to downwarping. Research led Pavlov to conclude that petroleum deposits probably existed in the Samarskaia Luka (Samara Bend) region.

Pavlov also authored a series of works on landslides in the Volga Region. He shed light on the formational condition and the mechanism of landslide displacements, worked out a classification system, and pointed to the major ways of combating landslides.

Of great interest are Pavlov’s popular science books, including The Sea Bottom (1898), Rivers and People (1925), and Volcanoes and Earthquakes, Seas and Rivers (1948), as well as works on teaching natural science in secondary schools.

Pavlov was vice-president of the Moscow Society of Naturalists from 1916 and a member of a number of Russsian and foreign scientific societies, including the Geological Society of London and the French Geological Society. In 1926 the French Geological Society awarded Pavlov the Gaudry Gold Medal.


“Geneticheskie tipy materikovykh obrazovanii lednikovoi i posleled-nikovoi epokhi.” Izvestiia Geologicheskogo komiteta, 1888, vol. 7, no. 7.
Le Crétacé inférieur de la Russie et sa faune. Moscow, 1901.
“Enchainement des aucelles et aucellines du crétacé russe.” Nouveaux Méroires de la Société des naturalistes de Moscou, 1907, vol. 17, no. 1.
Iurskie i nizhnemelovye Cephalopoda Severnoi Sibiri. St. Petersburg, 1914.
Neogenovye i posletretichnye otlozheniia Iuzhnoi i Vostochnoi Evropy: Sravnitel’naia stratigrafiia presnovodnykh otlozhenii. Moscow, 1925.
Opolzni Simbirskogo i Saratovskogo Povolzh’ia. Moscow, 1903.
Geologicheskii ocherk okrestnostei Moskvy, 5th ed. Moscow, 1946.


Varsanof’eva, V. A. Aleksei Petrovich Pavlov i ego rol’ v razvitii geologii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1947. (With list of Pavlov’s works.)
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