Mikhail Tetiaev

Tetiaev, Mikhail Mikhailovich


Born Sept. 11 (23), 1882, in Nizhny Novgorod, now Gorky; died Nov. 11, 1956, in Leningrad. Soviet geologist and tectonics specialist.

After graduating from the University of Liege in 1912, Tetiaev became a staff member of the Geological Committee. He began his teaching career in 1920 at Leningrad University. In 1930 he became a professor at the Leningrad Institute of Mines.

Tetiaev’s principal works deal with theoretical problems of tectonics. He wrote the first textbook on geotectonics (1934). In a classification of tectonic movements that he proposed, he distinguished an oscillatory form of tectogenesis, a magmatic form, a folded form, and a microoscillatory form. Tetiaev believed that vertically directed movements play the primary role in tectogenesis, and he associated such movements with the hypothetical phenomena of the contraction and expansion of the matter of the earth. He regarded vertical oscillatory movements as capable of producing all the known forms of folding. Tetiaev developed ideas concerning the conditions of layer formation and proposed an original scheme for the geosynclinal process. He conducted regional investigations in such areas as the Baikal Region and Transbaikalia. Rejecting E. Suess’ and V. A. Obruchev’s notion of the “ancient crown of Asia,” he argued for a younger Caledonian age. For other regions, he supported an Alpine age for their geologic structures and adhered to the hypothesis of the development of overthrust nappes. In 1933, Tetiaev prepared one of the first tectonic diagrams of the USSR to divide the country into regions based on the identification of folded zones of different ages.

Tetiaev was awarded the Order of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals.


Osnovy geotektoniki, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.


Problemy tektoniki: Sb. st. (festschrift). (To the memory of M. M. Tetiaev.) Moscow, 1961.