The Age of Discovery has long passed. But we assure you, a lot of interesting things are happening in the world of geography: scientists publish fundamental works, researchers fill in the blanks on the map, new places appear that change the image of the country. We summed up some important results of 2019 in Russia in the field of geography.
1. The title "The Distinguished Geographer of the Russian Federation" was introduced in Russia
President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, approved the honorary title of “The Distinguished Geographer of the Russian Federation”. The decree came into force on the day of its signing, December 6th.
The honorary title "The Distinguished Geographer of the Russian Federation" is awarded to highly professional specialists in the field of geography for personal merits. Among them are the merits of geographical discoveries; in conducting scientific expeditions and research, as a result of which new and extremely important information in the field of geography was obtained; in creating geographical catalogs, atlases, popular science publications, reference books, including in the languages of the peoples of the Russian Federation; in the preparation and implementation of strategic planning documents to improve the system of deployment of productive forces in the Russian Federation; in popularizing the achievements of the geographical science of the Russian Federation and in training qualified personnel in geography.
The honorary title "The Distinguished Geographer of the Russian Federation" is awarded no earlier than 20 years after the start of professional activity and in the presence of awards, including those awarded by the Russian Geographical Society.
2. Five new islands have been officially discovered in the Arctic
The Hydrographic Service, as a part of the Complex Expedition of the Northern Fleet and the Russian Geographical Society to the Franz Josef Land archipelago, confirmed the discovery of five islands. They are located in Vize Bay on the Kara coast of the Severny Island of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago in the area of the Vylki glacier (Nansen). The area of objects varies from 900 to 54,500 square meters.
Over the past few years, specialists from the Northern Fleet Hydrographic Service have been actively using Earth remote sensing data to monitor coastline changes in the Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya archipelagos. With its help, in 2015–2018, more than 30 new islands, capes and bays were discovered. The information received is checked many times, and gets on the maps, manuals and sailing guides only after the necessary topographic and geodetic work on location.
The new islands of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago have been waiting for their official discovery for almost three years. They were discovered by Marina Migunova, an engineer of the oceanographic measurement service on the “Vizir” hydrographic vessel of the Northern Fleet. Topographic surveys were conducted on the new islands; they are described in detail and photographed.
3. Kuzbass became the official name of the Kemerovo region
President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, officially renamed the Kemerovo region. The corresponding decree was published on March 27th, 2019. Now the region is called "Kemerovo Region - Kuzbass" in honor of the abbreviated name of the Kuznetsk coal basin.
The initiative to rename the region belongs to the head of the region, Sergey Tsivilev. His offer was supported by more than 80% of the population.
The term "Kuzbass" was proposed by one of the first full-time members of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, Pyotr Alexandrovich Chikhachev. In his book "A Scientific Journey to Eastern Altai and Adjacent Provinces of China," he wrote: "I will name the region thus bordered the Kuznetsk basin, after the name of the city located in its southern part." Further in the same book, the scientist reported that the Kuznetsk basin "is the largest of all known coal reservoirs in the world, occupying a space 250 km long, 100 km wide."
4. The list of universities, in which geography has become a compulsory subject upon admission, has been expanded
In May 2019, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, instructed the Ministry of Education and Science, the Russian Geographical Society, and the Russian Union of Rectors to work on the issue of expanding the list of programs, upon admission to which, geography is one of the required exams. After that, the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia took into account the proposals of experts of the Russian Geographical Society, and made proposals to conduct tests on the subject of geography for admission to bachelor and specialist programs "Geography", "Cartography and Geoinformatics", "Hydrometeorology", "Applied Hydrometeorology", "Special Meteorology", "Military cartography"; as well as, depending on the content of the curriculum, to the programs "Oil and Gas Business", "Land Management and Cadasters", "Geodesy and Remote Sensing", "Economics", " Business ", "State or municipal management ", "Soil science", "Foreign Regional Studies ", "Russian Regional Studies ", "Political Science ", "International Relations", "Tourism Studies ".
According to experts, the appearance of a mandatory geography exam for a number of professions when entering a university should increase the knowledge of applicants about Russia and the world.
5. The Mendeleev Ridge has a continental basement
Scientists of the Lomonosov Moscow State University`s Faculty of Geology presented the Atlas of paleogeographic and paleotectonic maps of the Arctic region from the Jurassic to the present day, on which they worked for several years. The data obtained indicates the continental origin of the Mendeleev ridge - an elevation in the center of the Arctic Ocean. This may allow Russia to expand the boundaries of its Arctic shelf. According to the UN Convention, a coastal state may apply for shelf territory outside the 200-mile zone, if this territory is a continuation of the continent. The authors of the work plan to give the data to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
The results of the work are published in the journal Earth-Science Review.
6. Bashkir Yangan-Tau was the first in the country to join the UNESCO geopark network
On September 1st, 2019, in Indonesia, by unanimous decision of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council, Yangan-Tau Geopark was the first in Russia and throughout the post-Soviet space to join the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network. The department of the Russian Geographical Society in the Republic of Bashkortostan helped in determining the boundaries of the geopark and its potential, compiling a map of the geopark, in filing an application and providing expert justification for the project.
Geopark "Yangan-Tau" is located in the Salavat region of the Republic of Bashkortostan. There are more than 20 geological objects, of which three (Mechetlino section, Bolshaya Luka section, Yangan-Tau mountain) are international, 10 - national and 21 objects - of educational importance. Many plants and animals of the park are listed in the IUCN Red List, the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation and the Red Data Book of the Republic of Bashkortostan.
A geopark is a territory with a special protected status, where the geological history of the Earth, the processes of formation of local landscapes, the formation of rocks and mineral deposits, the technologies for their development, and the remains of prehistoric animals are clearly presented. This is a kind of open-air museum, the main exhibits of which are mountains, geological sections, paleontological remains, minerals caves, landscapes.
In 2019, the leadership of the Russian Geographical Society, realizing the importance of geoparks for the conservation of nature and the development of regions, added a new category - “Preservation of the Natural, Historical and Cultural Heritage of Russia, including as part of UNESCO programs” - among the nominations for initiative grants and grants from the regional branches of the Grant Contest of the Russian Geographical Society, .
Currently, the global network includes 147 geoparks in 41 countries
7. Pskov Churches included in the UNESCO World Heritage List
On July 7th, 2019, at the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Baku, ten Pskov churches were included in the List of World Heritage Sites. For more than 15 years, the region has sought recognition of the significance of Pskov architecture monuments throughout the world.
Churches and cathedrals harmoniously blend with the surrounding landscape. Under the influence of Byzantine and Novgorod traditions, the Pskov school of architecture reached its peak in the 15th – 16th centuries and became one of the most influential in the country. It had a significant impact on the formation of architectural styles in Russia over five centuries.
At present, 26 World Heritage Sites are located in the Russian Federation: 16 cultural objects (bearing the letter С - cultural in the World Heritage List) and 10 objects of natural (marked with the letter N - natural) heritage.
8. Commissioning of the railway bridge connecting the Crimean and Taman Peninsulas
On December 23rd, trains connecting mainland Russia with Crimea were launched; the second stage of the construction of the Crimean bridge was completed. Its length across the Kerch Strait is 19 km, which makes this engineering structure one of the largest in Russia and Europe. It consists of a highway and railway line that are parallel to each other. It is planned that passenger trains from 11 cities of Russia will go to the Crimean Peninsula.
This is the largest geographical object that appeared in Russia in 2019. The Crimean bridge, as well as the Chinese wall, is visible from space. Its appearance has changed the status of the whole region. Now Crimea is not a semi-exclave - a non-sovereign region, separated from the territory of the state by water - but a full part of it. The launch of the railway creates a stable year-round transport connection with the peninsula.
Data arrays collected by geographers, geologists, hydrographs, geomorphologists, ecologists, and other specialists in geographic specialties were used in designing this engineering miracle.