It wasn’t built in a day

Our station was founded in early 1948 and has more than 50 years of history! Actually we will celebrate our 65th Anniversary at the end of April this year.

The industrial exploration of the Kola Peninsula began in the 1920’s and a lot of scientists from all over Russia, including Moscow University, came to help in the exploration of the natural resources with which the Arctic is rich. But during the World War II industrialization of the region had to stop because the Kola Peninsula was the most northern region of tactical and military activity. A lot of towns within the region now have the status of “hero-town” which means that they faced the strongest attacks. Some people just ask me whether we have a lot of art museums and exhibitions in my area. And I usually say – No! Because almost all our museums and exhibitions are devoted to war period or natural resources exploration and you can find these kind of museums in every town and settlement within the Murmansk region.

In far post-war years there was a faculty in Moscow State University with more than a romantic name “Polar Countries”. The head of this Faculty (A.I.Popov) came to the idea that the study of avalanche conditions in the area of Arctic and Subarctic is extremely important due to the growing industrialization. At that time the young outstanding scientist George K.Tushinsky took up this idea. Later on he became the best-known expert on glaciology and a professor at the Faculty who founded several field stations. Thus, in 1948 by the decision of the Council of Ministers of RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) the Khibiny education and scientific station was officially established. Originally our station was built with only one small building, which used to be a post office in times past. Later the station was moved to the huge territory of the former mine workers settlement near the slope of the Yuksporr Mountain, where it is situated today. The station has grown considerably in the past years with us now having more than 3 buildings, sauna, field site (with weather sensors) and a lovely arctic landscape.


The first and foremost task of the station was to host field training courses for students. The scientific orientation of the station became introduced at a much later date when the first director of the station was appointed. I should also mention that the research being carried out at the station was always connected to practical matters and has an applied nature. Thus, any kind of scientific investigations were closely connected to the main, town-planning and mine enterprise “APATIT”. If you will rummage through our archive (which is huge, believe me), you will most likely find documents, papers, raw data, maps, photographs, field journals etc. on:

–         stratigraphy of mountain snow cover

–         soils and vegetation in Khibiny

–         slushflows and avalanches

–         meteorological conditions of Khibiny

–         relict glaciers

–         hydrological conditions in the mountains

The scientists from the station and Faculty of Geography were the first people who helped APATIT (local mining enterprise) to investigate snow conditions, slushflows, avalanches so as to prevent accidents and losses of newly established mining fields.


The interesting fact is that there were 4 different expeditions organized to investigate this amazing Arctic mountain – Khibiny and they were dedicated to the International Geophysical Year (1957-1959). And today more than 50 years later, we are still investigating this amazing place of the world to get closer to understanding of the Arctic during the International Polar Year and in the period of changing climate.


I would like to acknowledge all those great people and scientists who contributed a lot to the station’s development. The list of names is huge and I won’t post it but I want to let them know that we all appreciate everything they have done.


Happy 65th Anniversary, Khibiny station! Hurray!

Yours faithfully retrospective Yulia


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