Ilmen Preserve

Il’men’ Preserve


(full name, V. I. Lenin Il’men’ Preserve), a preserve on the eastern slopes of the Southern Urals, in Cheliabinsk Oblast, northeast of the city of Miass. Area, 32,100 hectares (ha). The preserve includes the Il’men’ Mountains (over a distance of 55 km), the Kosaia Gora Range, and numerous lakes (Argaiash, Malyi Kisegach, Bol’shoe Miassovo, and Bol’-shoi Tatkul’). It was established as a mineralogical preserve in 1920 by a decree of the Council of Peoples’ Commissars, signed by V I. Lenin. In 1935 it was made an integrated preserve for purposes of maintaining the complex of rocks and minerals of exceptionally diverse composition, as well as flora and fauna typical of the Southern Urals. The preserve was named for V. I. Lenin in 1940.

The Il’men’ Mountains are a large, asymmetric anticline composed of gneisses and metamorphic schists, which are thought to be from the Devonian period and which were breached during the Carboniferous period by a complex of intrusive igneous rock. The igneous rock consists mainly of unique alkaline nepheline syenites (miascites), alkaline syenites, various rocks of the granite group, and numerous vein pegmatites of complex and diverse mineralogical composition. The Il’men Mountains have played an important role in the history of Russian geological science, since it was there that new types of rocks, miascites, were first discovered and studied and that classical research on radioactive minerals, alkaline rock, and pegmatites was conducted (V. I. Vernadskii, A. E. Fersman, A. N. Zavaritskii, and D. S. Belian-kin). Since the 18th century about 180 minerals, 13 of which were discovered in the Il’men’ Mountains, have been discovered in pegmatite veins that have no analogues in the world’s other deposits. A scientific base with laboratories and a nature museum of the Southern Urals have been established in the Il’men’ Preserve; mines that are natural mineralogical museums are being preserved.

The main vegetation consists of pine and birch forests. There are areas with steppe vegetation. Common animals include elk, roe, blue hare, capercaillie, black grouse, hazel hen, and waterfowl. The sika has been acclimatized. The beaver, which was previously depleted, has been restored.

The preserve is open for excursions and serves as a base for practical geological, geographic, and biological training of students from various higher educational institutions in the USSR.


Zavaritskii, A. N. Geologicheskii i petrograficheskii ocherk IVmenskogo mineralogicheskogo zapovednika i ego kopei. Moscow, 1939.
Vasnetsov, V. A. “Il’menskii zapovednik im. V. I. Lenina.” In Zapoved-niki SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow, 1951.
Zapovedniki Sovetskogo Soiuza. Edited by A. G. Bannikov. Moscow, 1969.