FSBI "VNIIOkeangeologia"
Leading Research Institute in the field of marine geology

Department of the Geology and Mineral Resources of the Antarctic

Leichenkov German
Leichenkov German

Deputy Director General for Research (Antarctica)

Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences

The Antarctic Geology and Mineral Resources Department (AG&MRD) deals with study of geologic structure, evolution and minerageny of the Antarctic lithosphere, identification of fundamental regularities of lithospheric structure and evolution of the Antarctic area of the Earth and predictive estimate of the Antarctic resource potential. The department has practiced in works in the Antarctic Continent and its washing seas. The AG&MRD consists of 11 specialists (2 of them are DSc and 4 are CSs) obtaining wide theoretical knowledge and rich practical skills of geoscience and study of geology and prospects of regional mineral products.

Key areas of study:

  • geology of above-ice rock exposure (stratigraphy, petrology and petrochemistry of magnatic and metamorphic formations, formational analysis, geochronology and isotopic geochemistry, occurrence of mineral resopurces on the Antarctic land);

  • tectonic framework and deep structure of the Earth's crust, geodynamical evolution of the Antarctic lithosphere (subglacial relief, potential fields, nature of the foundation and structure of sedimentary cover of inland and marginal sedimentary basins, their formation history);

  • sequence stratigraphy of sedimentary cover of the South Ocean (structure features associated with Antarctic glacierization, oil-and-gas content prospects);

  • General evaluation of Antarctic mineral and raw materials potential.

Current projects:

  1. "Determination of structure, geologic evolution and mineral resources of Antarctic lithosphere" project, "Antarctic study and research" sub-programme of the Federal dedicated program "World ocean". 2008-2012

    1. reconstruction of geodynamic events of the Precambrian age formed the Antarctic lithosphere as a part of the Gondwanide supercontinent; Antarctic geologic history of within Gondwana during the Paleozoic and the Mesozoic; formation of the Antarctic continental margin and sedimentary basins associated with it in the course of Gondwana breakdown in the late Mesozoic age and the Cainozoic;
    2. reconstruction of Antarctic glacial (formation and fluctuation of the glacial sheet) and water circulation of the South ocean;
    3. morphology of the parent relief; detection and interpretation of tectonic nature of subglacial freshwater bodies; 
    4. assignation and genetic classification of main structural and minerogenic provinces; prospect evaluation of oil-and-gas content of sea sedimentary basins.
  1. "Antarctic tectonic map " project with the project of the International Polar Year (IPY) project 2007-2008 TEMPORE - Tectonic Map of the Earth's Polar Regions. 2007-2012
    1. development of the single tectonic legend for the Arctic Region and the Antarctic based on generalization of the widest geological and geophysical evidence and analysis of multiple literature data for the purpose of consistent representation of principal structural elements of the Earth's crust and geodynamic features of north region development in the standardized system of graphical symbols and basic terms;
    2. preparation of the Antarctic tectonic map (from the pole to 60º s.l.) in 1:10000000 scale and accompanying small-scale insets;
    3. preparation of accompanying text to PC card to cartographic products in the form of a booklet and advanced explanatory note representing the Antarctic tectonic structure.
  2. "Correlation of tectonic and magmatic processes and tectonic and stratigraphic structural model of the East Antarctic" project. 2008 - 2012
    1. formational analysis of structural and real complexes of rocks using complex geologic, petrological and isotopic-geochemical surveys;
    2. geochronology of metamorphosed infra- and supracrustal complexes, orogenic, activation and taphrogenic processes;
    3. main stahes of formation and main features of the isotopic structure of the continental crust of the East Antarctic;
    4. integrated geodynamic evolution model of the Pre-Cambrian foundation of the Antarctic shield and terrain analysis.
  3. International project "ADMAP- Antarctic Digital Magnetic Anomaly Map". 1998-2012
  4. Preparation of the Antarctic magnetic anomaly map based on data of magnetic studies conducted by native and foreign parties in the Antarctic.
  5. Antarctic gravity field map" project. 2006-2010
    1. preparation of the Antarctic magnetic gravity field map based on data of gravimetric studies conducted by native and foreign parties in the Antarctic.
  6. IPY project "History of geodynamic development, sedimentation and changes of the environment in the area of the Cooperation Sea - Kerguelen plateau, East Antarctic". 2007-2010
  7. to determine structural parameters, physical properties and interrelations of the rift-related continental and oceanic crust of the southern part area of the Kerguelen plateau;
  8. to establish the nature of theEarth's crust of the southern part of the Kerguelen plateau;
  9. to reveal impact of volcanicity and mersion of the Kerguelen plateau on the Antarctic environment and evolution of oceanic relationships;
  10. to reconstruct the history of breakdown of the East Gondwana and development of the Indian Ocean;
  11. to establish specific features of sedimentation due to antarctic glaciation and development of bottom currents.

Main scientific achievements:

Information databanks including materials of native and foreign geoscience have been established and continuously added and improved. Over 300 scientific papers in native and foreign publications (including 3 monographs and 2 collections of scientific articles) have been published for the last 10 years and over 70 scientific reports have been represented at international meetings. The department employees have taken part in preparation of eight maps published by the UNESCO Commission for World geologic map and prepared a package of geological-geophysical maps in the fundamental native Antarctic atlas as well as a range of geophysical maps within international projects. The AG&MRD specialists have developed the current concept of geologic structure and and evolution of the Earth's crust of the Antarctic which is in the basis of forecast of its mineral resources; a range of obtained findings is essential for solvation of global geologic problems; long-term national programs for geologic-geophysical study of the Antarctic have been prepared. The department activities facilitates improvement of priority of Russia in geological survey of the Antarctic and it is highly respected by the world scientific community.

Further study projects:

  • Geodynamic regimes of Earth's crust establishment of the Antarctic

  • Map of magmatic and metamorphic formations of the Antarctic

  • Igneous provinces (LIPs) in the Antarctic geological history

  • Stratigraphy and paleobathimetry of the South Ocean (international project)