Czerski, Jan

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Czerski, Jan


(also Ivan Dement’evich Cherskii). Born May 3 (15), 1845, on the estate of Swolno, Drissa District, Vil’na Province; died June 25 (July 7), 1892. Geologist, paleontologist, and geographer; explorer of Siberia. By nationality, a Pole.

Czerski was conscripted into the army and sent to Omsk for his role in the Polish uprising of 1863–64. Under the influence of G. N. Potanin, he undertook geological and paleontological research in the Omsk region. In 1869 he was discharged from military service because of illness. In 1871 he moved to Irkutsk. From 1873 to 1876, Czerski studied the Saians, the Saian region, and the Angara region. Between 1877 and 1880, he investigated the geological structure of the shores of Lake Baikal. In 1881 and 1882, he explored the Selenga River basin and the Nizhniaia Tunguska River.

In 1878, Czerski introduced the concept of the evolution of relief. He proposed one of the first paleotectonic schemes for Siberia; Czerski’s scheme was used and further developed by E. Suess in his work The Face of the Earth.

In 1885, Czerski was pardoned and, at the invitation of the Imperial St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, moved to St. Petersburg. En route to the capital, he carried out geological research along the postal route from Irkutsk to the Urals, making excursions to the Padun Rapids of the Angara and to Minusinsk. In 1891, he went on an expedition to the region of the Kolyma and Indigirka rivers. He died on the lower Kolyma.

A mountain region (the Cherskii Range) in the Yakut ASSR and Magadan Oblast and the Cherskii Range in Transbaikalia have been named for Czerski.


O rezul’tatakh issledovaniia ozera Baikal. St. Petersburg, 1886. (Zapiski Russkogo geogr. ob-va, vol. 15, no. 3.)
“K geologii vnutrennei Azii.” Trudy Sankt-Peterburgskogo ob-va estestvoispytatelei, vol. 17, issue 2. St. Petersburg, 1886.


Obruchev, V. A. “Ivan Dement’evich Cherskii.” In Liudi russkoi nauki, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Revzin, G. I. Podvig zhizni Ivana Cherskogo. Moscow-Leningrad, 1952.
I. D. Cherskii: Neopublikovannye stat’i, pis’ma i dnevniki. Edited by S. V. Obruchev. Irkutsk, 1956.
Parmuzin, Iu. P. “Ivan Dement’evich Cherskii.” In the collection Otechestvennye fiziko-geografy i puteshestvenniki. Moscow, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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