Aleksandr Chekanovskii

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chekanovskii, Aleksandr Lavrent’evich


Born Feb. 12 (24), 1833, in the city of Kremenets, in what is now Ternopol’ Oblast, Ukrainian SSR; died Oct. 18 (30), 1876, in St. Petersburg. Explorer of Central Siberia.

A Pole by nationality, Chekanovskii was exiled to Siberia for his participation in the Polish Uprising of 1863–64. Commissioned by the Siberian division of the Russian Geographic Society, Chekanovskii conducted geological investigations of the southern part of Irkutsk Province from 1869 to 1871. He provided the first reliable data on the geology of the region of the Nizhniaia Tunguska River in 1873 and of the lower course of the Lena and, particularly, the Olenek in 1874 and 1875. Chekanovskii discovered deposits of hard coal and granite along the Nizhniaia Tunguska.

In 1876, Chekanovskii was permitted to go to St. Petersburg, where he began an analysis of the data he had gathered on the geography, geology, and paleontology of the places he had visited. His botanical and zoological collections have been described in the works of a number of scientists. The ridge Chekanovskii discovered between the Lena and Olenek rivers was named after him, and many fossil plants—especially of the Jurassic—have been named in his honor.


Geologicheskoe issledovanie v Irkutskoi gubernii. Irkutsk, 1874.
Dnevnik ekspeditsii po rekam Nizhnei Tunguske, Oleneku i Lene v 1873–1875 godakh. St. Petersburg, 1896.


A. L. Chekanovskii: Sb. neopublikovannykh materialov. Edited by S. V. Obruchev. Irkutsk, 1962.
Kleopov, I. L. Aleksandr Lavrent’evich Chekanovskii, 1833–1876. Leningrad, 1972.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.