Say my name!

It appears that our station has no acronyms that are popular in the scientific world. Thanks to the INTERACT team, now we are just simply called KHIBINY. So, what does this great Sami name mean? First, we have a huge Moscow State University named after the outstanding Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov. It’s one of the oldest universities in Russia and it was established in 1755. Second, this University has more than 40 faculties including the Faculty of Geography. Along with numerous departments the Faculty has field training and scientific stations (5) located in different parts of Russia, from Elbrus to Khibiny. The early residents of Kola Peninsula (northerners) had some very specific dialects and they used the word “khiben” to describe the highlands, which is the namesake of our mountain range, Khibiny. The Sami language is beautiful and sounds like the strong northern wind blowing in the arctic tundra. Have you ever heard Sami lullabies? You should listen to. It’s a mysterious call of the wild. Sami language is very descriptive, there is nothing secret or hidden in there.

The most common mountain names within the Khibiny massif ends in “chorr” like Lovchorr (The strong mountain), Aikuaivenchorr (The mountain with a head of God’s Mother), Portamchorr (The Mountain of good provender) etc. “Chorr” in Sami language means “mountain”. Likewise, we have beautiful river valleys in KhibinyMountains as Kuniyokk (Ash), Tuliyokk (Reindeer skin). The word “Yokk” in Sami means “river”. I can list a lot of amazing names but you should come to Khibiny and check them yourself.

Sami reindeer herdsman, photo by S.Konyaev

I think it was a strategic and logic decision many years ago to choose snow and water-snow flows and other related issues as a main scientific topic for our station. Do you know that Sami people have over 200 words to describe the word “snow”? Let’s try to list at least few synonyms of “snow” in English or in Russian: firn, graupel…What’s next?


Take care and keep warm everyone,

Yulia (not Sami but Greek name which is not that bad too)

2 thoughts on “Say my name!

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