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Stanislav Kutuzov

Leonid Dmitrievich Dolgushin celebrating his 100 anniversary


Leonid D. Dolgushin is one of the most famous glaciologists not only in Russia but also abroad. He was born May 24, 1911 in the village Kulyushevo, in Udmurtia. In 1929 he graduated from the Pedagogical College in Sarapul, in 1937 from the Faculty of Geography of the Moscow Regional Pedagogical Institute, and in 1940 he post-graduated the Institute of Geography of Moscow State University. He went a long way from a teacher of rural school in the Urals to one of the most known glaciologists.

Field geological and geographical research, initiated by him in 1939 in the Urals, were interrupted by the war. In 1942-43 L. D.  Dolgushin fought in the north-western front as a commander of machine-gun company, and was awarded by the First-Class Order of the Patriotic War and the medal "For Valour".

After being wounded he was discharged, and from 1943 to 1946 he worked in the Institute of Mineral Resources as engineer and geologist, and was engaged in searching for deposits of tin and tungsten in the Sikhote-Alin and Trans-Baikal, and quartz in the Polar Urals, and worked on the creation and development of the Ural-Pechora coal and metallurgical base.

In 1946 he defended his thesis on the role of the modern processes of denudation in the modeling of the Polar Urals relief, and then came to the Institute of Geography of the USSR, where he worked until 1977.

From 1944 to 1963 in addition to the main work L. D.  Dolgushin served as Scientific Secretary of the Section of Geology and Geography of the Committee of the Stalin and Lenin Prize of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, he was a member of the Scientific Council of the Institute of Geography.

Apprentice of Gavrila Dmitrievich Richter, he was at the forefront of national glaciology and always worked in the most difficult, interesting and little-studied areas.

The Polar Urals in 1950, Leonid D. not only found more than forty previously unknown glaciers, but also explained their existence below the snow line. He named the new glaciers by the names of his teachers, predecessors, known geologists and geographers. But his colleagues glaciologists rightfully named one of the largest and most beautiful glaciers of the Urals by his name Dolgushin Glacier.

 In 1955, L. D.  Dolgushin participated in the highly-polar mission the “North-7”for the study of glaciers in the Arctic archipelagoes to identify possible use of the glaciers of the Arctic as landing strips for aircraft.

In 1955-1957 he participated in the First Soviet Antarctic expedition, and with three colleagues, was the world's first winterer in the center of the Antarctic continent, on the station Pionerskaja. In difficult conditions, he held detailed glaciological investigations on the ice dome in East Antarctica and in the vicinity of Mirny station. He developed an original technique of repeated aerial and morphological characteristics to determine the velocity the ice sheet edge for several hundred kilometers. Collected unique material allowed him to claim that the Antarctic ice sheet is much more active than previously believed.

In 1958-1959. by agreement between the Academies of Sciences of the USSR and China, Leonid Dolgushin led the expedition to study the ice and snow in Nan Shan mountains and the Central Tien Shan and trained the personal of Chinese glaciologists. On the basis of this expedition and students of Dolgushin the Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology was established.

The expedition discovered the scope and characteristics of glaciers in the Nan Shan and the Central Tien Shan, revealed a distinct central Asian glacial province, compiled the Inventory of glaciers and series of maps. The Chinese Government awarded Leonid Dmitrievich by the Medal of Sino-Soviet friendship. And Chinese scientists are still grateful for his assistance provided to them in the development of glaciological science in China.

Enormous scientific material was the basis for his doctoral dissertation, "Regional problems of glaciology research in the Urals, Central Asia and Antarctica," which Leonid Dolgushin defended in 1963.

In 1960 L. D.  Dolgushin led an expedition to Central Asia, that carried out field experiments on artificial melting of glaciers to increase the melt water runoff for irrigation.

Working in the Pamirs, he developed further his Antarctic glaciology complex technique of field research, which included detailed stationary observations, terrestrial and aerovisual routes, the use of aerospace materials and repeated phototheodolite survey.

In 1963 after the disastrous surge of Medvezhy Glacier in the Pamirs, Leonid Dolgushin pays special attention to studying the behaviour of surging glaciers and forecast their advance. Field studies and regular photomapping allowed him to follow the dynamics of the Medvezhy Glacier for a full cycle, as well as draw up detailed maps of the glacier at different stages. L. D.  Dolgushin fulfilled the forecast of the Medvezhy Glacier surge in 1973-1974 two years before the event that helped to avoid catastrophic consequences. Glaciologists around the world have recognized his great contribution to solving these problems. It was he who dedicated the publication «On the surging potential of polar ice streams" by well-known glaciologists B. McInnes, U. Radok, W. F. Budd, and I. N. Smith.

From 1977 to the present L. D.  Dolgushin works in the Earth Science Museum of MSU (Lomonosov Moscow State University). He has been involved in developing the principles and techniques of museum display of geographic features, created and introduced into the exposure range of stands on Antarctica, the Pamirs, Urals, surging glaciers, organized an exhibition of the 50th anniversary of the Glaciology in China, participated in and advised the work on the stands, "Desert Central Asia and Kazakhstan", "Arctic","The Southern Ocean", "Arctic Ocean", "Pacific Ocean","Russia", etc.

L. D.  Dolgushin has more than 150 scientific publications, including four monographs. They reflect different stages of his long years of scientific activity. We give only some of them.

1. The article "New data on the glaciation of the Urals", published in the journal Problems of Geography in 1949

2. The monograph "Some features of topography, climate and modern denudation in the Polar Urals," released in 1951

3. Articles "Geographical observations in Antarctica", "Glaciological observations in Antarctica,", "Modern Glaciation of the Nan Shan" published in 1958 and 1959.

4. The article "Natural zones of East Antarctica," appeared in 1961 in the first issue of "Data of Glaciological Studies"

5. Work "The general pattern of accumulation, geographical distribution and dynamics of snow cover in Antarctica in the sector 78-111° E," published in 1963 in the book "Study of glaciated areas."

6. Book "Surging Glaciers" (1982) and "The Nature of the Earth. Glaciers "(1989) written in collaboration with G. B. Osipova

7. Synopsis "Modern terrestrial glaciation" published in the "Data of Glaciological Studies" in 2000

Despite his age, Leonid Dolgushin is full of energy and desire to work and share his knowledge and experience with MSU students and schoolchildren. In March 2011 he successfully passed the recertification at the Earth Science Museum for the next 5 years. That is the whole life of Leonid Dmitrievich always where it is difficult, always ahead.

Colleagues from the Glaciological department of the Institute of Geography RAS heartily congratulate Leonid Dmitrievich with a glorious jubilee and wish him many more years of active life and productive work.



His address is:


Prof. Leonid Dolgushin

The Earth Science Museum at Moscow State University (The Museum ofNatural History)

Lomonosov Moscow State University,

GSP-1, Leninskie Gory,

Moscow, 119991,

Russian Federation

E-mail: [hidden email]

Stanislav Kutuzov
Research associate
Scientific secretary
Dept. of Glaciology, Institute of Geography
Russian Academy of Sciences
119017, Staromonetny per. 29, Moscow, Russia
Tel.: (903) 7090909
Tel.: (499) 1259011 (work)
Fax :(495) 9590033
e-mail: [hidden email]

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