Geological Education

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Geological Education


(higher and secondary) has as its purpose the training of specialists in searching for and estimating the value of minerals and determining the laws governing their distribution in the earth’s crust and the laws of structure and development of the crust itself and of the earth as a whole. Geological education is closely linked with mining education.

As a separate sector of higher education geological education took shape in the second half of the 19th century when mining education was differentiated into mining, geological, and metallurgical education. Beginning in the 1860’s, the natural science divisions of the universities, which graduated geologists with a broad major field, began to play the leading role in providing scientific and pedagogical cadres with geological education. Geological education was carried on at mine engineering schools, mining and metallurgical schools, mining institutes, and also at universities.

In prerevolutionary Russia the center for providing mining engineers with geological education was the Higher Mining School (founded in St. Petersburg in 1773, now called the Leningrad Mining Institute), from which came such outstanding Russian geologists as A. P. Karpinskii, F. N. Chernyshev, I. V. Mushketov, E. S. Fedorov, V. A. Obruchev, and I. M. Gubkin. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century geologists were trained at all Russian universities, above all, at Moscow University, St. Petersburg University, and the universities of Kazan, Kiev, Kharkov, and Novorossiisk (Odessa). At the beginning of the 20th century geological research divisions were opened in mining departments at the St. Petersburg and Ekaterinoslav (today Dnepropetrovsk) mining institutes, the Tomsk Technological Institute, and the Novocherkassk Polytechnical Institute. However, the training of geological cadres in prerevolutionary Russia lagged significantly behind the needs of industry and agriculture and behind the development of geological science.

After the Great October Socialist Revolution, in connection with the development of the mining industry in the USSR, the number of geological research and mining-geological departments at mining, polytechnical, and industrial institutes increased. Special geological research institutions of higher learning were opened in Moscow (such as the S. Ordzhonikidze Moscow Institute of Geological Research [MGRI]), in Sverdlovsk, Baku, Tbilisi, and in other cities. Except for the MGRI these geological research institutes were later reorganized into departments of technical higher educational institutions. The centers of modern higher geological education are the Moscow Institute of Geological Research; the Leningrad, Sverdlovsk, and Dnepropetrovsk mining institutes; the Irkutsk, Tomsk, and Kazakh (in Alma-Ata) polytechnical institutes; and the universities in Moscow, Leningrad, and elsewhere. (Each of these higher educational institutions graduates about 200 specialists in geology each year.) The universities train academic and research geologists; the technical institutions of higher learning train geological engineers for practical work in geological teams and elsewhere. The higher educational institutions train geologists in day and evening sessions and by correspondence. The development of geological science and the extensive use of its achievements in the national economy of the country required the differentiation of geological education by specialty, and these specialties are in turn further subdivided.

Geologists are trained in such specialties as geological surveying and prospecting for mineral deposits, geology and estimating the value of deposits of ore minerals and nonmetallic minerals, geology and analyzing the value of petroleum and gas deposits (certain higher educational institutions have the specialties geology and analysis of deposits of rare and radioactive elements, geology and determining the worth of coal deposits), geochemistry, hydrogeology and engineering geology, and geophysical methods of prospecting for and analyzing mineral deposits. A number of higher educational institutions train specialists in marine geology and geophysics. Students in certain nongeological specialties also receive a certain amount of geological education. A number of special geological disciplines have been introduced into the curricula of such specialties as geography, geophysics, and pedology.

Geological education envisions broad general scientific, general technical, and specialized (theoretical and practical) training for future specialists. Among these special disciplines are dynamic and historical geology, paleontology, crystallography, mineralogy, petrography, geochemistry, structural geology, geological mapping, hydrogeology, engineering geology, and the geology of the USSR. During their period of study students take geological, geodetic, and other practical subjects and also go through industrial practice in field geological terms. The period of study is five years.

In 1970 more than 50 higher educational institutions in the USSR were training geologists. During the 1960’s higher educational institutions in the USSR graduated 3,500 geological specialists each year. In 1969, 38,000 students were studying at higher educational institutions in the geological specialties.

Geological technicians are trained at secondary specialized schools, for the most part in the same specialties as are found at higher educational institutions. The curricula for training geological technicians envision, in addition to general educational and general technical disciplines, the study of a complex of special geological disciplines in somewhat less depth than at higher educational institutions. The period of study is three years and six months (for those who have completed eight grades of secondary school) and two years and six months (for those who have graduated from secondary school). In 1969 the technicums graduated more than 4,000 specialists in various geological specialties. The largest geological research technicums are the following: Kiev, Novocherkassk, Staryi Oskol, Miass, Saratov, Irkutsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Is (in Sverdlovsk Oblast), and Semipalatinsk. (Each graduates 200-350 technicians a year.) At the Kiev, Staryi Oskol, Saratov, Semipalatinsk, Novocherkassk, Irkutsk, and other technicums there are correspondence divisions. In 1969 there were more than 20,000 students studying the geological specialties at 50 technicums, including the 13 specialized geological research technicums.

Skilled workers for geological analysis work are trained in the vocational and technical educational system (in 12 occupations including drillers, blasters, radiometrists, and geophysicists for analysis of boreholes). In 1970 there were 11 vocational and technical schools (more than 5,000 students) in the USSR that operated on the basis of enterprises of the Ministry of Geology of the USSR. In 1970 these schools graduated about 3,000 experts. In addition, other vocational and technical schools also trained qualified workers for the geological area.

Engineering-technical workers employed in geological organizations may improve their qualifications at special departments and schools associated with the Moscow Institute of Geological Research, the Leningrad Mining Institute, Moscow University, the Ivano-Frankovsk Institute of Oil and Gas, and certain other scientific research institutions. In 1969 there were more than 110,000 specialists with higher and secondary specialized geological education employed in different sectors of the national economy and science. The largest centers of geological education in the other socialist countries are, in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Charles University in Prague and the Higher Mining School in Ostrava; in the German Democratic Republic, the Freiberg Mining Academy and the University of Berlin; and in the Polish People’s Republic, the Kraków Mining Academy. National geological schools have also been established in the other socialist countries.

In the capitalist countries geological education is carried on primarily at the universities and at polytechnical (technological) institutes and higher technical or mining schools. In France geologists are trained by the Higher School of Mining Engineers, higher geological and polytechnical schools, an institute of prospecting and analyzing ore deposits in Nancy, and universities in Paris, Nancy, and Nice. In the Federal Republic of Germany they are trained at most of the universities, the Mining Academy in Clausthal, and the higher technical schools in Aachen, Braunschweig, and Stuttgart. In the United States geologists are trained by the leading universities and technical institutes, including Columbia University and the University of Chicago. In Italy they are trained at the universities of Rome, Milan, and Bologna and the polytechnical institute in Rome. In the Scandinavian countries they are trained at higher technical schools, while in Belgium they are trained at the mining institute in Mons. In Mexico the University of Mexico trains geologists, while in Japan it is done by the engineering faculties at the universities.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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