PSU Publishers in Geology Win International Competition

A publication project by PSU geologists “Sulphate Karst of Perm Krai” received the 1st degree diploma in “University Book-2023” Competition as the best publication in natural sciences.

The project data is based on years of research on sulfate karst of Perm krai, regarding its territory-based characteristics, its spread and development in the region.

Caves, lakes, rivers and other karst formations are unique natural attractions of Perm krai, some of them declared as protected natural areas. The Kungur Ice Cave is the oldest tourist cave in Russia. The Ordinskaya Cave is the longest underwater gypsum cave in the world, globally known as a center for underwater speleology.

The publishing project is led by Professor Nikolai Maksimovich, Deputy Director for Natural Science and Research Institute, PSU; Dr. Olga Kadebskaya, Head of the Kungur Stationary Laboratory, Mining Institute, Perm Federal Research Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, Ural Branch; Olga Meshcheryakova, Senior Researcher, Laboratory of Geology of Technogenic Processes, Natural Science and Research Institute, PSU.

“Compared to more common, world-known carbonate karst, the sulfate one has specific features associated primarily with the high solubility of gypsum and anhydrite. Ground and surface waters contain a large amount of calcium sulfate, which in some cases makes them unsuitable for water supply and creates inconveniences for the local population, explains Olga Meshcheryakova. – A serious problem in sulfate karst areas is the development of sinkholes that provide damage to buildings and structures, industrial enterprises, communications, as well as cause mortal cases. At the same time, gypsum and anhydrite are a valuable mineral and construction resource. Here we have about 270 objects of sulfate rocks in 20 administrative districts of Perm Territory.”

The international industry competition of educational and scientific publications “University Book” has been held since 2012. In 2023, 135 books by 415 authors have been presented in 20 nominations of the competition. The monograph by PSU scholars had previously received a grant by the Ministry of Education and Science of Perm Territory, with a further publication by Springer. The book addresses geologists, geographers, ecologists, karst explorers, speleologists, local historians, teachers and students in earth sciences, as well as a wide range of amateur researchers of karst and caves.

Book by PSU Geologists and Geographers to Be Published at Springer

The monograph by PSU scholars, titled “Sulphate Karst in Perm Region” will be published at one of the largest international publishing houses, Springer. The publication is included in the “Cave and Karst Systems of the World” book series, covering publications on karst-built natural sites of Brazil, Hungary, Madagascar, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, USA, Turkey, France, Croatia and South Africa.

The monograph “Sulphate Karst of the Perm Territory” was published in July, 2021, as a joint work of geologists and geographers of Perm State University (PSU). The publication have performed under support by the Government of the Perm Territory, as a part of a dedicated grant framework.

The research concentrates on sulfate karst, the character of its processing and distribution in the Perm region. The publication also contains an updated zone map of the territory, incorporating the use of GIS technologies, a detailed description of related areas describing the geological and hydrogeological conditions for the development of karst and karst phenomena.

Upon collaboration of the book authors and Springer editorial team, its new English language edition was announced for December, 2022. The publication is included in the Cave and Karst Systems of the World – to be the first among those publications on karst objects in Russia.

“Undoubtedly, the English version will allow a wide circle of international scholars to get acquainted with the results of our research. It will also increase the tourist attractiveness of the unique karst objects of the Perm Territory, such as the Kungur Ice and the Ordinskaya caves,” says Olga Meshcheryakova, Senior Researcher, Laboratory of Geology of Technogenic Processes, Natural Sciences Institute, PSU.

To remind, PSU scholars had already had a successful cooperation with Springer in 2019, as they published the “Dams and Reservoirs in Evaporites” monograph in collaboration with Professor Petar Milanovic, the University of Belgrade (Serbia).

Colombian at PSU: Are You Experienced?

Interested in studying in Russia? Want to hear the voice of a real person, speaking of her ups and downs while experiencing student life here? Looking for a piece of advice? Prior to her departure, Sara Fraija, PSU student from Republic of Colombia, MSci in Geography ‘2022, spent her last moments on campus, meeting us at the Press Office for a brief yet sincere interview.

– Hello, Sara, could you please mention your study experience prior to Perm State University?

– For five years, I studied physics at the National University of Colombia (Universidad Nacional de Colombia). At school, I was good at mathematics, I liked its directions and laws, and this determined my choice of a specialty for studying at a university in my homeland. In 2019, I came to Perm to study meteorology.

– Why did you choose PSU?

– PSU was on the list of universities recommended for study at

– Why Perm? For it is cheaper than in St. Petersburg or Moscow?

– I had to choose a direction, and the distribution was carried out by the state, which provided financial support for further studies.

– Was it a full-time, campus-based study?

– Yes, although it fell on difficult covid times, so part of our classes were online, almost half of the master’s course, for a whole year.

– What was your master’s thesis about?

– Here, at PSU, I studied the effects of föhn. This is a type of wind common of the Caucasus, the Alps, the Carpathians, the Himalayas, the Pamirs and, of course, the Andes – a fairly strong, gusty wind that becomes dry when crossing the mountain range and quickly heats up when descending.

For South America, the effects of föhn are of great importance: coffee, cocoa, corn grow are known to grow at quite warm temperatures, yet they die crossing that threshold. While in the Andes, the temperature drops caused by föhns can be 20’C degrees per day, and in Russia they reach even 40’C.

Föhns have a strong impact on living conditions and agriculture – from faster flowering of gardens to drought, dust, even avalanches, and a sharp cold pause after its decline. This is a very interesting phenomenon that might and should be studied using physics and mathematical calculations.

– What do you see yourself on your arrival back home, in Colombia?

– I would like to work as a meteorologist at the meteorological institute.

– How different is Perm or Urals in Russia from your native places, climatically? Yours must be very hot?

– Well, rather I would call our climate stable, there are no such dramatic changes in weather – daily/weekly, or mentioning seasons. We almost always have +20’C, sometimes +25’C, and even +30’C, least of all. The first winter here was the most difficult one, but when it got warmer, I got used to it.

– What was the most difficult thing while studying in Perm and Russia, overall?

– Probably a pandemic – the time when the local people disappeared, and even foreigners from our hostel went home. It was a little difficult, because for the first time I felt what loneliness is all about. It’s been hard, yet it’s been a good experience to pull myself together and gain strength.

– Did you miss something in Colombia?

– Well, until the second year I did miss everything: cuisine, family, relationships…

– And how did you cope with it? What did help?

– PSU Center for Psychological and Pedagogical Aid provided accompanied me with some practical bits of advice, like how to show initiative or meet friends. Hiking in the nature, seeing people and building communication did help. And, I was also lucky to play in the student theatre group named the Dressing Room; we started with small sketches and came up with a true play. As a result, we staged a modern comedy based on school essays and diary notes – revealing joy and high spirit regardless of their initial seriousness or imaginary drama, evoking understanding and love both among the actors and the audience (

– Let’s talk about everyday life, food, for instance. How did you find the local Permian or Russian cuisine? And, did you cook some Columbian dishes?

– Of your cuisine, I did like syrniki (cottage cheese cakes) most of all. I also enjoy your cottage cheese and kefir. Back home in Colombia they are quite expensive. From the sweet, I liked the Napoleon cake. Initially, I couldn’t cook myself, yet here I learned to make borscht or schi (cabbage soup), or the traditional Russian ‘olivier’ salad. The ingredients are affordable, parents helped me with accommodation, and the scholarship helped, too.

– What does your family do?

– My father is an engineer. My sister studied at a film school and is working in television.

– What things will you miss when you get home? What attracts you the most? Alternatively, are there any things that you don’t understand or don’t like about Russia?

– Here you can live and walk peacefully. At first, Russian people seem indifferent, but at the same time, they don’t judge you. It’s very cool. Among the negative points, perhaps, is the attitude to customers. While back home it is the client’s voice which matters, here in Russia it is often the shop owner who is on top.

– Did you manage to communicate with someone Hispanic?

– Yes, in the Spanish language club at Perm Regional Library. Also, my friend Nastya knows Spanish well. I met her at the University, she comes from a teachers’ family and works at PSU.

– Is there any piece of advice you could give other foreign students who intend to study in Russia?

– First, look for people and clubs of interest, for example, dance groups. This is also good because you can hear Russian language more often there. There is an opinion that Russians make little contact, but this is not so, avoid judging others. Make contacts and ‘switch’ on, that will help you find many good people.

– As I understand , you will be leaving us in just a couple of hours. Is there anything else you would like to share without fear of being rude or impolite, Sara? Anything we missed to ask?

– Well, living and studying abroad helps one to become a mature, grown-up person. You learn to take responsibility and get things done. In addition, life in a hostel can change a lot, especially mixing with the Russian students. There, you also learn understanding and patience, regarding others. Along the way, you tend to appreciate different people, show them respect and expect the same from them. It does help in real life. Do not lock yourself in your world or room, do not miss opportunities, overcome personal doubts and fears, communicate with others.

I’d like to say, that at first it was difficult for me to be friends with Russians, because they do not open up right away and are quite cautious. It may take several months before you call someone your true friend. In Colombia, on the contrary, making friends happens quickly and immediately. Now that I see it differently, as it is difficult to be friends with everyone at once. Leaving Russia, I can say made two real friends here. I hope to keep in touch with them, at least online.

– Thank you very much for your sincerity and the time you took to chat despite your soon departure, Sara. Good luck on your journey back home!

PSU Botanical Garden Re-Creates Permian Period

PSU Botanical Garden has opened a new Permian Period Park exposition, holding paleontological compositions telling about the life of the inhabitants of the Permian period.

Serving a study ground for students in Biology, Geology and Geography, museums of Perm State University, along with PSU Botanical Garden, cover a wide variety of climate zones and historical epochs, including the famous Permian period. The dedicated exhibition holds the models of animal species among the living descendants of ‘Permian’ plants and their original stone imprints.

The term of the Permian period was introduced 180 years ago by a known Scottish explorer Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792–1871). Marking the geographical locations of Russian cities, moving across Perm lands, Murchison described the fossil remains of unusual creatures and plants – labeling them with Perm, or Permian period – dominating the supercontinent of Pangaea 299 – 252 million years ago.  

“The unique character of the Permian period is that it served a turning point in the evolution of Earth, forming climatic zones of today. The mass extinction of animal and plant world provided boost for flowering plants, dinosaurs and mammals. To further promote the cultural and historical brand of the Permian geological period, we intend to complement the Garden exposition with full-size dynamic and static figures of the most famous Permian animal lizards,”

says Sergei Shumikhin, head of the Garden, associate professor of the Department of Botany and Plant Genetics, PSU.

Andrey Skvortsov, the author of the recent exposition from Vyatka Paleontological Museum, reconstructed the bottom of the sea reef and its extinct inhabitants – mollusks, fish and amphibians, as well as representatives of the invertebrate fauna. For that, he used installations by paleo-animalists, graphic images by scientists, and photographs of fossil finds.

Earlier in 2010, the “Plants of the Permian Geological Period” exhibition was created at PSU Botanical Garden, showing fossilized plant imprints along with their survived descendants of today. In 2017, the first exhibits of ancient land fauna were created. Now the collection contains about 50 species of fossil animals. The project was financially supported by a branch of PJSC RusHydro – the Kamskaya hydropower plant.

PSU Students Study New Zealand Geology, Win International Competition

PSU and Sergo Ordzhonikidze Russian State University for Geological Prospecting (MGRI) represented Russia in the SEG EVOLVE – 2021 International Geophysical Program. As a result, the Russian national team became the best in three categories – “Best Structural Maps”, “Best Resource Estimation” and “Best Economic Analysis”.

“We studied the oil and gas component of the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand’, 5.5km northwest of Cape Egmont. We were required to go through a full cycle – from prospecting to field development and scenarios for increasing production,” says Kristina Muryskina, a graduate of the Department of Geophysics, PSU.

3 students and 1 graduate of the Faculty of Geology, PSU, joined the Russian team, for the contest.  

The Taranaki Basin is an onshore-offshore Cretaceous rift basin on the West Coast of New Zealand. It covers approximately 100,000 km2 of which the majority is offshore. The most of New Zealand’s oil and gas production occurs here, with over 400 wells and approximately 20 oil and gas fields being drilled.

The PSU and MGRI team had to initially use 2D and 3D seismic data, well logging data and field data. The participants assessed the geological risks of the project and determined the initial flow rate of the wells.

The advantage of the program is the feedback from international colleagues, which allowed Russian students to learn from the experience of world-famous oil and gas industry experts. In the fall of 2021, PSU and MGRI teams successfully presented their results at the SEG Annual Meeting.

The Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) is a learned society dedicated to promoting the science and education of exploration geophysics. The Society fosters the expert and ethical practice of geophysics in the exploration and development of natural resources, in characterizing the near-surface, and in mitigating earth hazards.

While most SEG members are involved in exploration for petroleum, SEG members also are involved in application of geophysics methods to mineral exploration as well as environmental and engineering problems, archaeology, and other scientific endeavors. SEG EVOLVE is an educational program that aims to educate students on real production data.

Taranaki picture source: NASA

PSU Student from Columbia Wins Russian Language Contest

Fernando Castro (Columbia), 1st year student at the Faculty of Geology, PSU, took 3rd place at the Perm City Inter-University Olympiad in Russian as a Foreign Language.

In 2021, students from 9 countries and 6 Perm-based universities, entered the Olympiad. The contest tasks included a test, an written, and oral tasks. The winners of the Olympiad are:

1st place – Umaima Guidir, Morocco

2nd place – Wongai Chimamise, Zimbabwe

3rd place – Fernando Castro Eszibel Eloy, Colombia

To apply for the Olympics, contestants had to introduce themselves, talking about their age, studies and and hobbies, country of origin, future profession and future plans, as well as feedback about Perm.

The founders and organizers of the Olympiad were Perm Agrarian and Technological University; Perm City Youth Parliament; Perm Ethno-Centre Non-Profit Partnership; and Perm City Youth Palace. For the second year, the Olympiad takes place in online format. The has been supported by grant from Perm City Competition of Youth Initiatives Improving Inter-Ethnic Harmony.

Supporting the initiative, the grant competitors offer projects aimed at inter-university interaction of foreign students, improving inter-ethnic relations and international communication in Perm. Some projects regard social and cultural adaptation of foreign students, other aim to develop their creativity and individual progress, preventing inter-ethnic conflicts.

PSU Shares Research Experience in Serbia, Leads to Signing of Cooperation Memorandum

Olga Meshcheryakova, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Geology, Perm State University (PSU), has successfully completed a research internship “Environmental Technologies in Karst Areas” at the Faculty of Mining and Geology, University of Belgrade, Serbia.

The participation of PSU has been performed within the framework of the “Rational Subsoil Use” Perm Research and Educational Center – leading to signing of memorandum between two universities.

The internship included lectures and workshops, ‘field’ classes and elements of scientific tourism – allowing to study innovative approaches at solving environmental problems in karst regions. The study methods were aimed at protecting karst landscapes, caves and aquifers from pollution.

As a program participant, Olga Meshcheryakova is known for being keen in various fields of expertise – being an associate professor at the Department of Dynamic Geology and Hydrogeology, and a senior researcher at the Laboratory of Geology of Technogenic Processes, Natural Science Institute, PSU.

The studies in Serbia covered such topics, as the use of underground space for economic purposes, the interaction and prospects within speleology and spelestology. The study discussion acquired to better classification of speleological and spelestological sites on the global scale.

The visits to the Center for Karst Hydrogeology and various research labs helped to broaden the internship program. “During the field practice, we took water samples, measured hydro-chemical and physical parameters of karst waters, and studied karst surfaces,” recollects Olga Meshcheryakova.

Biljana Abolmasov, Dean of the Faculty of Geology and Mining at the University of Belgrade and Olga Meshcheryakova negotiated the signing of the memorandum of cooperation between the faculties. The document implies educational programs for students, joint participation in international grant competitions, as well as running the International Karst Conference at Perm State University in 2024.

PSU Scholar Wins $1000 Award at Conference in Iran

Polina Sairanova, a post-graduate student of the Faculty of Biology, and an engineer of the Hydro-Chemical Analysis Lab at the Faculty of Geology, PSU, has entered Top 10 winners of Youth Outstanding Paper Award (YOPA) by World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWAC).

The YOPA WASWAC Prize aims to encourage young scientists to research the problems of soil and water conservation in the world. The award consists of a WASWAC certification and a $ 1,000 royalty. WASWAC YOPA 2021 is provided by Beijing Datum Technology Development Company, China.

This year, the award was presented at the Third International Youth Forum on Soil and Water (IYFSWC), which took place in October 2021 at Tarbiat Modares University, Iran.

The Forum’s main theme became Soil and Water Conservation under Changing Environments. Participants from Iran, China, Russia and Italy reached the finals. Polina Sairanova became the participant to represent Russia, exclusively – presenting a report “Acid footprint in brown soils of the Middle Urals”.

Polina built her research on interpretation of the data acquired in the Basegi Reserve, Russia. Soil acidity indicators are known to be key parameters to define the direction and dynamics of soil processes – allowing to estimate the ecological state of natural objects.

10 top selected papers will be published in International Soil and Water Conservation Research (ISWCR) upon experts’ positive feedback and reviewers’ corrections.

The World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWAC) as the oldest worldwide academic society in the field of soil and water conservation. The aim of WASWAC is to promote the wise use of management practices that will improve and safeguard the quality of land and water resources so that they continue to meet the needs of agriculture, society and nature.

Forum pictures’ source (Iran).

Permian: A Reason to Celebrate International Science?

180 years ago, a known Scottish explorer Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792–1871) introduced the term of the Permian period. What does the word Perm mean in Scandinavian? How does Perm connect with the British Empire, and its railways? Can we travel back in time to experience the Permian bloom? 

In 1840-1841, Roderick Impey Murchison, accompanied by a French paleontologist Édouard de Verneuil, a German geologist Alexander Keyserling and a Russian geologist Nikolai Koksharov, Murchison made a huge journey across Russia, covering more than 20,000 km (12,400 mi).

Marking the geographical locations of Russian cities, travelling across the Perm lands, Murchison described unusual creatures and plants through their fossil remains – labeling them with Perm, or Permian period – dominating the supercontinent of Pangaea 299 – 252 million years ago.  

Roderick Murchison had no intention of becoming a geologist: after he retired from a military service, he became fond of fox hunting. Throughout his both profession and hobby he learned to correlate his  findings with terrestrial layers, exploring and describing their texture.

Geology as a science emerged in 19th century, at the start of the railway construction in Britain. The hills and rocks, regarded as obstacles, were torn down or cut through, revealing the hidden. Standing on a trade way to Syberia, the Urals and Perm experienced the same change, hence Murchison’s interest.

Linguists and ethnographers regard 3 main origins of the word ‘Perm’: 1). the land of Bjarma, mentioned in the Scandinavian sagas; 2). the Finnish word perämaa, i.e. “far land” (as indigenous  people belong to the same Finno-Ugric language group); 3). and the local Komi-Permian word “woods, forest”.

Several international, national and particularly local museums are proud to have Permian flora and fauna exhibits in their collection, to mention the Museum of Permian Antiquities, and museums of Perm State University (PSU), serving a study ground for the Faculties of Biology, Geology and Geography. 

The collection of PSU Botanical Garden includes species representing ancient taxa, widespread in the Permian period. “The dedicated ground holds living samples of ‘Permian’ plants,  decorated with stone imprints of the era,” says Sergei Shumikhin, head of the Garden, associate professor of the Department of Botany and Plant Genetics, PSU.

Promising Professions for Future? Discover the Faculty of Geology!

Choosing a faculty? Looking for job prospects after graduating the university? Which professions prove to be profitable for a centennial period? The graduates of the Faculty of Geology, PSU, have a solid answer, indeed: many have established themselves in large international companies like “LUKOIL”, “Eurasia” or  “Uralkali”, and more.

In a nutshell, you may choose to be a…

  • Geologist – studying the composition and structure of rocks for the purpose of prospecting and exploration of mineral deposits;
  • Petroleum geologist – searching for liquid (oil) and gaseous hydrocarbon deposits and evaluates the potential of existing deposits;
  • Geophysicist – exploring Earth and mineral deposits based on the physical properties of rocks. For the processing of geophysical data, actively uses geoinformation technologies;
  • Telemetry Data Interpreter Engineer – supervising mining operations. Carries out collection, systematization and analysis of the data array received from the deposits;
  • Hydrogeologist – dealing with the search and study of groundwater, assessment of their quality and protection issues;
  • Geological engineer – engaged in engineering and geological surveys in construction during the construction and reconstruction of buildings and structures, responsible for the stability of buildings;
  • Mining Geophysical Engineer – dealing with planning, organization and management of mining operations (design and creation of new mines, open pits, etc.).

Born in 1916, Perm University was meant to meet the needs of the local industries, based mostly on natural resources. The traditional areas of activity, typical of Perm territories, have long included the search and study of gold, platinum, diamonds, oil, hard coil, iron ore and copper,  potassium-magnesium salts and their effective use.   

Till present day, the Faculty has been growing as a leading center studying the structure and composition of rocks and minerals, soil, ground- and surface water, solid and liquid industrial waste. This allowed PSU to get a National Research University status, building a dozen scientific and educational labs and starting collaborations, on national and international levels.

Currently the Faculty cooperates with universities and organizations in China, Italy, UK, Germany, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Canada, the USA, South Africa, Japan, Norway, France, India, Laos, Switzerland, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Spain, Finland, New Zealand, Oman, Cameroon and Nigeria.

Apply to Perm State University today!

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