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Скачать бесплатно! Научная работа на тему TREASURES OF TIMAN AND URALS. Аудитория: ученые, педагоги, деятели науки, работники образования, студенты (18-50). Minsk, Belarus. Research paper. Agreement.

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Опубликовано в библиотеке: 2018-09-07

by Academician Dmitry RUNDKVIST, Academician-Secretary, Department of Geology, Geophysics, Geochemistry and Mining, RAS;

Academician Nikolai YUSHKIN, Director of the Komi Institute of Geology, Komi Research Center, RAS Ural Branch

In his address to a general meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences on the results of research and organizational activities from 1997 to 2000, RAS President Academician Yuri Osipov pointed to one major achievement of Academic science to the benefit of the nation in practical terms. And he specified: "Comprehensive research work carried out over many years by the Institute of Geology of the Urals Branch of RAS (Syktyvkar) and by geological R&D bodies has helped create a new branch of the economy in the Komi Republic, the mining industry. The output of Timan deposits of bauxites is already up to 1 min tons, shipped to aluminum plants of the Urals and the West."

Indeed, the economy of Komi is picking up. This republic (area, 416,800 sq km, population, 1,122,000) lies in European Russia's northeast, taking in the northern Urals. Its economic uptrend phenomenon is eliciting broad interest. For one, the young mining industry, a booming industry. Its record is impressive: bauxite mines commissioned in the Timan mountains; barites and manganese mined in the polar Urals; gold, quartz and ornamental stone recovered in the subpolar Urals... Deposits of titanium, chromium, rare metals, diamonds and other minerals to be tapped soon. Yes, an

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impressive list against a backdrop of stagnating ore-mining complexes in many other regions of Russia.

The mineral and raw - material resources - their extraction and dressing - is the economic backbone of the Timan-Northern Urals region which comprises the Republic of Komi, the Nenets Autonomous Region, the southeast of the Archangel Region, the western, mountainous part of the Tyumen Region (Yamal-Nenets and Khanty-Mansi National Regions), the north of the Perm Region, the northwest of the Kirov Region, The effective and balanced march of the economy of this vast area is one of the chief results of the joint effort on the part of the institutes of the Komi Research Center of the Ural Branch of the RAS. The Komi Institute of Geology has done its bit too.


European Russia's northeast and, in particular, the Republic of Komi are an area offering new sources of valuable and low-cost natural reserves needed in densely populated central regions. Attracting manpower and materiel, it has developed a composite economic and demographic infrastructure of its own. We mean the Kola Peninsula, Taimyr, Siberia's northeast, and other territories. But there is one distinctive feature peculiar to the exploration of the European North, and this is the active involvement of the aboriginal population.

This area was settled as far back as the Paleolitic, or 25 thousand years ago. The original settlers were nomads trekking from the Middle Urals. During the harshest glacial periods, for instance, 22- 18 thousand years ago, they moved south, to warmer climes, and came back with the receding glaciers. The traces of our forefathers' migrations can be seen in the relics of stone tools and pottery, which means they were deft in the art of stonecutting and stone-masonry. At least just as good as our contemporaries are.

The official reference point of geological surveying in the area dates from the document of anno 1213 which tells us of the discovery of a copper deposit on the Tsilma, a tributary of the Pechora. Salt production was started there in the 12th century - both from natural and artificial brines; and in the 16th and 17th centuries the Seregovo saltworks were the most advanced in

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Europe. Iron ore mining dates back to the 15th century and perhaps even earlier than that. Abrasive stone quarries were opened there in the 17th century.

In 2000 Russia marked the tricentennial of the Geological Service founded by Peter the Great: he instituted the Prikaz. (Office) of Mining with a staff of 12 under Alexei Likhachev, a nobleman. The job of this institution was to prospect for ore and build ore mines. However, the first state-sponsored geological surveys had started two centuries before, in the Pechora-Vychegda district.

Here it would be in place to recall a field party which Grand Prince Ivan III of Moscow sent in 1491 to the river Pechora to prospect for ore. This is what we learn from the chronicles: "On ore. That same autumn on the 20th day of October there came to Moscow Andrei Petrov as well as Vassily Ivanov, son to Boltin, whom the Grand Prince... had sent to the Pechora to look for silver ores. And they found silver and copper ores in the Grand Prince's patrimony on the stream Tsilma, short of the Kosma River." This event is the official birthday of the mining and metallurgical industry in the state of Muscovy Russia had just broken free from the Tatar-Mongolian yoke; the following year Columbus was to discover America... Local people who knew of the whereabouts of ore deposits helped Russia's first government expedition to find copper and silver ores. And gold too. The Russian historian and member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences Nikolai Karamzin (1766-1826) says the first ever Russian gold coin - or, rather, the first coin from Russian gold - was minted in 1497. It was the Tsilma gold. Ivan III presented this very coin, with the image of St. Nicholas on, to his daughter Feodosia.

The latter half of the 17th century saw particularly intensive work in geological prospecting. At that time the voivoda (town governor) of Pustozersk*, Ivan Neyelov, received a "mandate" to prospect for ores and metals, and check on what local ore experts happened to find. Pustozersk evolved into the hub of his activity. It is from this point that parties set out for the islands of Novaya Zemlya and Vaigach, to the Tsilma, the Northern Timan, the river Pai-Hoi, and to the mainland tundra. And it is thither, to Pustozersk, that they came back with ever new finds. Logs of many prospectors from Pustozersk have survived with accounts of how they searched for silver, for some mysterious "white stone", semi-precious stones, and mica as far north as the polar Urals.

The first oil wells were sunk in those times. In 1697 Czar Peter I had an Ukhta oil sample sent to Holland for assay; and a few decades later, in 1745, Fyodor Pryadunov built the first oil refinery at Ukhta.

This is but a prologue to our geological history in rough outline. Real work was begun and continued by expeditions sent by the Academy of Sciences in 1780 to 1917. They were led by eminent scientists of the day, such as Ivan Lepekhin, Alexander Schrenck, Alexander Kaiserling, Pavel Kruzenstern, Yevgraf Fyodorov, Feodosy Chernyshev, Alexander Chernov and many others.

The Academy carried out its research activities in close cooperation with the geological service; and the Geological Committee of Russia often provided the wherewithal. From 1903 to 1914 this body was headed by Feodosy Chernyshev, an Academy's member, known for his exploration of the Timan.

In the first two or three decades of the 20th century scientists teamed up in large expeditions such as the Northern Expedition of the Supreme National Economic Council under Academician Alexander Karpinsky, President of the Academy). Gone were the times of lone-wolf explorations.

The permanent geological service of the Timan-Northern Urals region was born in 1929 as a large party of 125 explorers arrived in Ukhta to prospect for minerals, fuel deposits above all, in the Pechora area.

Unfortunately the notorious system of the GULAG of the OGPU- NKVD* became implicated in the work to build a mining-and-raw material complex. The Ukhta-based trust set up for the purpose comprised two divisions - Ukhtaizhemlag (its labor camps used to explore and develop the largest part of the Komi Republic) and the Vorkutlag (with labor camps for the work in the northeast). These two divisions of the Ukhta trust accomplished a job of work in the discovery and extraction of mineral deposits.

But the GULAG, contrary to the now current opinion, did not have a monopoly of the exploration job. Set up in 1931 were two "civilian" bodies - the Northern Geological Authority in Archangel and the Northern Base of the Academy of Sciences. In 1939 this academic base gave rise to the Syktyvkar Group which, in turn, in 1949 became the Komi Base of the USSR Academy of Sciences, subsequently reorganized into the Komi Affiliate of the USSR Academy of Sciences. The Komi Institute of Geology was established within its framework in 1958. Let us stress: it was in the 1930s that commercial deposits of gas and Vorkuta coal were discovered.


A new stage was ushered in the early 1930s as a research team of the Science Academy under Alexander Karpinsky conceptualized development prospects for the Pechora

* In the 15th to 18th centuries, a town in the lower reaches of the Pechora; today, a territory within the Nenets Autonomous Region . -Ed.

* OGPU-NKVD - Soviet secret police in the 1920s and 1930s. GULAG - Chief Directorate in charge of corrective labor camps. - Tr.

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land. This work played an important part for the economic advancement of the Timan-Northern Urals region. In 1933 Academician Karpinsky made an inspection tour on board the steamship Vozhd {Leader) all the way from Archangel to Syktyvkar. In spite of his advanced age, this outstanding scientist examined geological objects in person - outcrops, mineral deposits, quarries, mines and other sites of interest.

The Academy's research team had the flower of our science among its members: Professor V. Vasilyev, Deputy President of the Council for Productive Forces (USSR Academy of Sciences) - he participated in many other expeditions and commissions involved with the exploration of the Komi land, and in the winter of 1940 was with Academician Alexander Fersman's expedition to Ukhta; geologists M. Edemsky and N. Kulik; geophysicist P. Gorshkov; power engineer A. Shishov; chemists V. Smirnov and V. Tolmachev; zoologist S. Kertseli; geologist and mining engineer Ye. Barbot-de-Marki, and also geobotanist A. Tolmachev, who has done so much in studying the plant life of the North and organizing research work there.

While in Syktyvkar, Academician Karpinsky held many business meetings and took part in conferences of the local bodies of government. Meanwhile a large group of scientists continued its tour of the North. It visited Chibyu (Ukhta), where oil prospecting was in progress, and went to other places - a coal mine on the Vorkuta; to the village of Ust-Voyu (the coal deposit site); to the town of Naryan-Mar... From there the group made a sea voyage to Archangel, where it had a meeting with the authorities of the Northern Territory (which, up until 1936, included the Komi Autonomous Region too). The expedition ended its journey in Leningrad.

As a matter of fact, other research teams made frequent trips to this northern land. They amassed a wealth of material which was considered by the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences at its full-scale meeting on 10 and 11 February 1935, with Academician Karpinsky in the chair. It endorsed a long-term development program for the Pechora area in 1935-1947-1950, and also set short-term targets for the immediate future. These plans were incorporated in government decisions and played a major

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role in outlining the economic development strategy for the republic. The main targets recommended by the academic team were materialized, some of them ahead of time (for instance, a railway was to be built to Ukhta by 1950, but it was open to traffic already in 1940 on a stretch to Kotlas; and in December 1941, commissioned as far as Vorkuta).


The mining of useful minerals, coal and oil deposits in the first place, was stepped up during the Great Patriotic War of 1941- 1945. Geological surveying expanded too. This work was continued with war's end, after 1945, when our country badly needed raw materials and fuel for its economic rehabilitation.

With the abolition of GULAG in 1953, geological surveying became a monopoly of specialized services operating on an industrial and regional level. Geologists were exploring ever new regions, in the mainland tundra too. They discovered titanium deposits, this country's largest, in the Timan district. The decade of 1960 to 1970 can rightly be called a time of great discoveries, when dozens of major oil and gas pools, including a giant deposit of gas- condensate, were found. The just commissioned railways carried trainloads of oil and gas from Komi to the Russia heartland.

Geological exploration continued in the 1980s and 1990s as well. Bauxites, gold, platinum and other minerals were discovered, and titanium and chromium deposits tapped.

Dozens of thousands of geologists were involved in the effort to build up Komi's raw-material base. It would be hardly possible to name even the best of the lot, the most outstanding and lucky. Yet one name deserves special mention. One whose work, talent and creative abandon made him a leading light. This is Professor Alexander Chernov, a man who stood behind the discovery of many essential deposits, behind the exploration of the Pechora coal basin. Prof. Chernov was the head of the Northern Base of the USSR Academy of Sciences, and then guided geological research at the Komi Base and at the Komi Affiliate of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In this capacity he directed and coordinated research-and-development work in the Komi

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republic and beyond. The efforts of his research school are materialized in fundamental results. Prof. Chernov validated the existence of the Pechora Coal Basin. The discovery of the Vorkuta and Intin coal deposits is credited to his pupils, Georgi Chemov and Yelizaveta Soshkina. Prof. Chernov and his school proved that the Timan-Pechora oil and gas province was a real thing; they insisted that geological prospecting be extended from Ukhta towards the Urals and farther north, where new oil and gas deposits were found as a result. Their forecasts were essential in the discovery of diamonds, gold, bauxites and other minerals. Prof. Chernov summed up data on the geology and mineral resources of the region in his monograph Productive Forces of the Komi ASSR, published in 1953. This work mapped out the geological research strategy for many years ahead.


The Komi Institute of Geology was established in Syktyvkar in 1958 at Alexander Chernov's initiative on the basis of the Geological Department of the Komi Affiliate of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Today it is the leading research center in the Timan- Northern Urals region, which coordinates and supervises a range of research areas. Every year it sends 25 to 30 teams out in the field to prospect for useful minerals, and tackle prognostication and related problems.

In the last two decades major specialized bodies took charge of most of the prospecting job. One such body was instituted by Vladimir Dedeyev, a bright, multidimensional geologist, to take care of fuel deposits. Another one is a laboratory involved with the technology of mineral raws, it is headed by Igor Burtsev. We should mention two other laboratories - of regional mineralogy under Academician Nikolai Yushkin, and of diamond mineralogy under Alexander Makeyev. These research bodies are working to solve many problems confronted by the Komi Institute of Geology - from studying the laws accounting for the formation and distribution of mineral wealth, to the economic and technological assessment of deposits. Analysis of the raw material base of individual regions and of the republic at large is an important part of this activity.

While carrying out comprehensive work in mineralogy, the Komi Institute of Geology zeroes in on specific areas and projects, and sees to their practical side. By way of example we can mention the discovery and commercial extraction of new deposits of mineral raws, optical fluorite for one; it thus became possible to design innovative devices and appliances that played a large part in the past for strengthening our country's defense capability and for promoting scientific and technological progress.

A team of oil prospectors has predicted an oil and gas-bearing basin on the Mezen, not inferred before; 84 percent of its reserve is concentrated in the Pre-Paleozoic deposits. Parametric drilling was started within this basin on most payable areas.

Our experts are keeping tabs on the condition of resources, including their geological and economic status. Research findings have been rehashed and published in separate monographs - on oil, gas, fossil fuels, oil shales, chromites, bauxites, subterranean waters, and so forth. Innovative extraction technologies are being developed, based chiefly on physical principles and excluding or minimizing the chemical component of mining. The most important result of these studies is materialized in integral technological procedures for the processing of coal, high-viscosity oil, titanium ore, rock salt and other minerals.

The A.A. Chernov Museum of Geology organized at the Institute is playing an important role in key areas of resource problem solving. It has in its custody over 300 thousand samples in more than 400 specialized collections. Our Institute is taking care of the geological section of the Komi-Expo exhibition which has been on display in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and in other districts, and also in Finland and Hungary.

The Komi Institute of Geology is coordinating geological and mineral prospecting work throughout the Timan-Northern Urals region. It is providing guidance and scientific backing for various programs and projects. It is taking part in the work of ministries and other bodies of government, and in geological conferences, seminars and symposia (every year 5 to 7 meetings of this kind are held in the republic). Plenary geological conferences are convened on a regular basis, every five years (since 1942). They cast up a balance of achievement and map out research strategies for the next five years. Lately such conferences have been elevated to the status of congresses. The last, 13th Geological Congress of the Republic of Komi met in 1999.

Would-be geologists are getting their education at Syktyvkar State University, at its Department of Geology. Its faculty is staffed with professors and instructors from our Komi Institute of Geology. They attend to all aspects of professional training, including practicals. Our Institute of Geology is running postgraduate and doctorate courses.


This is Russia's unique territory combine as it does every kind of mineral resources - fuels, ores, non-metalliferrous minerals. Commercial reserves for the most part. Komi owes such diversity of mineral wealth to the specific features of its geological structure.

Two old mountain systems, the Urals and the Timan, are the backbone of its geology. It happened as a result of long and complex tectonic events that plutonic rocks, hundreds of millions and even billions of years

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old, were lifted to the surface layers. These rocks include products of in-depth magmatism, volcanicity and tectomagmatic reworking as well as hydrothermal systems. It is in this kind of "kitchen" that nature has cooked minerals and ores.

Lying in between these two mountain systems, the Timan and the Urals, are immense and deep basins (depressions) where, over many geological periods, marine or fluvial sediments were accumulating. Together with the relics of old organisms, they formed sedimentary rocks. These, now going deep under, now rising to the terrestrial surface, were acted upon by various factors: heat, high pressures, and solutions of different composition. As a result, sedimentary rocks have changed beyond recognition. A different spectrum of minerals has taken form here, in sedimentary basins - limestone, gypsum, sands, bauxites, titanium ores, among others.

Yet it is hydrocarbons, the energy sources, that constitute the chief wealth of the sedimentary basins. This is the basis of the mineral- raw material complex. Today the Republic of Komi is mining over 10 mm tons of oil condensate (it was 17 to 20 mln tons before the economic crisis), about 4 bln m 3 of natural gas (against 30 bln m 3 in the pre-crisis times), 20 to 22 mln tons of coal, including 10 mln tons of coking coal (against 30 mln tons). Geologically, these fuels have quite favorable prospects for the future: the explored reserves can keep up steady extraction for dozens and hundreds of years ahead.

Fuel reserves are the past and present of the republic, while its mineral and non-metallic reserves are its future. Their development is just beginning; the Timan-Northem Urals region is now in the same condition as the Kola Peninsula was at the turn of the 12th century: a clean slate for an economic edifice of the future. It is highly important as to who is going to be its designer (economist, industrialist), and what strategies and technologies he is going to choose.

The presence of large deposits of ferrous metals presages a metallurgic future for the republic. The fabulous deposits of titanium at Yarega and Pizhma, making up as good as three quarters of Russia's reserves of this metal, are being developed. Apart from pure titanium, we are getting titanium dyes, water glass and rare elements.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia has lost its chromium

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and manganese deposits. This raw material base is to be restored through deposits available in the polar Urals. The total reserve of chromium ore there tops 600 mln tons, or about the same amount left in the "near abroad". The recently discovered deposits of manganese ore (not available elsewhere in this country) are of quality grade - so much so, that they are extracted and processed already at the surveying stage. Now what concerns nonferrous and light metals: aluminum ores, the bauxites, are most suitable for development. Two bauxite-rich sites have been discovered in the Timan area - one in the south, and the other in the middle of this mountain system. The mid-Timan district is of particular significance, for it offers ultrahigh-grade bauxites (otherwise known as laterite bauxites), making up a third of Russia's bauxite reserves. Ground has been broken for a mine, and plans are underway for alumina and, possibly, aluminium production.

Also found in the Timan and in the Urals are numerous shows of copper, complex metals, nickel, cobalt, tin, antimony, bismuth, arsenic, mercury, molybdenum, tungsten, beryllium, tantalium, niobium, rubidium and many other precious metals. Although these look to be paying deposits, a good deal of extra research and evaluation work is needed. As to the deposits of noble metals, their development is well underway, even though they were discovered quite recently. Gold-digging was started in 1979 - as much as three tons of this precious metal has already been mined, together with several puds (Russian pud equal to 16 kg) of associated platinoids. Several gold-placer sites have been surveyed in Komi, and various types of primary gold-ore deposits found. So this region has good outlooks for becoming a major gold producer in this country.

The Timan-Northern Urals region is very rich in non-metalliferrous minerals. Here major deposits of rock and potash salt have been explored; the same holds for phosphorites, sodium carbonate, native sulfur, barites, rock crystal and technological quartz. There are also large reserves of zeolites, glauconite, building stone, clay (China clay too) and loam as well as a great variety of precious and ornamental stone. Gem diamonds are mined in the Timan's old placer deposits, and search is in progress for native, primary deposits. This region boasts of immense stores of fresh and mineral water, now realized in commercial outlets, at long last. Add to this the reserves of industrial water, actually a hydraulic ore and a potential source of many metals and useful components.

A great deal has been accomplished, especially in the past 60-70 years. And yet we can hardly say that the geology of the Timan- Northern Urals region has been studied well enough. Far from it. Medium-scale geological surveys encompass but 80 percent of the territory, and large-scale surveys - a little over 10 percent. Most of these surveys, dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, are not on a par with modern standards. At best, about 10 percent of the potential resources of mineral raws has been explored, and about 1 percent developed. Which means there are tempting prospects ahead.


Several factors are of crucial significance for effective research and development of the region's natural wealth, and this is above all steady and constructive cooperation among local authorities, science and production. A good deal also depends on the scientific-economic analysis of the resource base and on the current and strategic planning based on such analysis. It is not much to say that the groundwork of strategic economic planning on a regional level goes back to Academician Karpinsky and his team we have told you about.

One major government research structure that has made a significant contribution toward mustering productive forces and in mapping out economic strategies for transition to a market economy and further development in the 21st century is the Commission on Productive Forces (KEPS in Russian) operating under the auspices of the Komi Republic's head. This government commission is led by Academician Nikolai Yushkin and two noted economists, Professors V. Vitya-zev and V. Lazhentsev, who is a RAS corresponding member. It was set up in 1992 at the initiative of a group of scientists and statesmen with the aim of cushioning the negative consequences of the carry-over period in the economy by making the best use of the rich natural resources of Komi and of its productive forces.

Important government decisions have been adopted on the basis of KEPS documents, and a large volume of work done in expert examination and coordination. The KEPS commission has provided guidance for research bodies and other institutions in building up a database on the present state and potential of natural productive forces. Even given the uncertaincies of many aspects of the future, this database allows to forecast well enough the economic advancement trends.

The current development program provides for replenishment of the utilized reserves - and not only that: it envisages their 1.4-fold increment (not counting in the new-found deposits). That is why the work of prospecting for all kinds of minerals is pushing ahead, with the focus on minerals which Russia has lost with the breakup of the Soviet Union- namely, manganese, chromium and copper. Plus diamonds, gold, rare metals, technical and chemical raws, construction materials... Output of oil, coal and natural gas will be going up with the assimilation of innovative technologies and processes.

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The annual capacity of the Timan-based bauxite mine will rise to 2.55 mln tons by the year 2003 after a railway, now under construction, has been commissioned. The next target is to boost the output of bauxites to 4 and even 6 min tons a year.

Alumina-processing and aluminum-producing mills are slated for construction, along with a string of associated enterprises for the output of a range of aluminum products. Some-thing like 10,000 will be employed in this industrial complex.

In another development, the Yarega oil-and-gas deposit is to give rise to a large complex of mining and chemical industries for heavy oil and tita-

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Fuel resources of the European North.

nium ore - this ore will be processed into titanium condensate for metallurgical refining.

Scheduled for construction at the Seregovo deposit of rock salt is an enterprise with an annual rated capacity of 360 thousand tons of high-grade salt.

Output of barite, manganese, optical and technological quartz, gold, vitreous and molding sands, building stone, facing stone, semiprecious stones and other materials will grow space, and so will the enterprises involved.

The further development of Komi's industrial complex will revitalize the economy of the region. But will the growth of the ore-mining industry not turn the vestal land into a barren waste and wreck the age-old life styles, customs and traditions? Now let us look at Japan, the United Arab Emirates and the Scandinavian countries where the explosive growth of industries wrought no havoc - on the contrary, it gave nature a new lease on life, it instilled noble attitudes in man and prodded him to become more conscious of his cultural values. The Komi people is just as aware of its mission in the well-being of our common home. Therefore the focus of the development strategy will be on enhancing the degree of processing and the specific cost of raw material products. Accordingly, basic and applied science is oriented to these tasks, including research scientists of the Komi Institute of Geology (Komi Research Center, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences)... Since the Phanerozoic (570 years ago) the territory east of the Timan has repeatedly changed its position, becoming now a sea floor, now a sea coast. It was part of the continent now and then. These changes produced a vast lens between the Timan and the Urals with a complex structure made up of different sedimentary rocks. Considering the evolution and structure of the continental part of the Timan-Pechora basin, we must say that it does not end in the present shoreline. In the east, the Urals is continued by the archipelago Novaya Zemlya. In the west, the Timan ridge extends to the peninsula Kanin and stretches along the Kola coast all the way to Norway. The sedimentary rocks of the Timan-Pechora basin are found in the north and northwest on the bottom of the Barents Sea, in what is known as the Barents Sea sedimentary basin. It extends as far as Spitsbergen and the Franz Joseph Land on the oceanic floor.

As we see it, the Timan-Pechora and the Barents Sea sedimentary basins are part of one giant sedimentary megabasin. This means that just as big deposits of oil, gas and minerals available in the Komi Republic and the Nenets Autonomous Region may be found on the shelf of the Barents Sea. Tentative surveys confirm this possibility. The mineral wealth of the European North will add to Russia' might.

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