Pyotr Chikhachov

Pyotr Chikhachov

Pyotr Alexandrovich Chikhachev (August 16, 1812 – October 13, 1890) was a Russian naturalist and geologist who was admitted into the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1876 as an honorary member. He authored geographical and geological descriptions of the Altai, Xinjiang (1845), and Asia Minor (1853-1869). One of the Altai mountain ranges is named after him.


He was born in the Large Gatchina palace - summer residence of being a widow empress Maria Feodorovna. His father was Alexander Peter Chikhachev, a retired colonel of the Preobrazhensky regiment. Getting home education in Tsarskoe Selo, under the direction of lyceum professors, Chikhachev finish his education abroad, listening the lectures of famous geologists and mineralogists of that time, and then worked in Paris. Not preparing to the scientific career and being not a professional scientist, Chikhachev, possessing a good money and by brilliant scientific preparation, could completely give himself up to the appetence early revealed in him - scientific expeditions and researches. They gave essential scientific results, due to observation of their author and careful treatment of the scientific material collected during expeditions, to which Chikhachev attracted prominent specialists of different fields of sciense.

Getting scientific education abroad, printing all his scientific works on French or German languages and living mostly in Paris, Chikhachev can not be fully considered as Russian scientist, but Russian science is under an obligation for his essential exploration of geology and geography of Altai.

Expeditions and research

Independent scientific activity of Chikhachev began in 1841, when he published geological description of mountain of Monte Gargano in South Italy and environs of city of Nice. In 1842 he published geological description of south provinces of the Neapolitan kingdom.

In the same year 1842 he take a charge of a large expedition on Altai. He has reached sources of the rivers of Abakan, Chui and Tchulyshman. Travelling across Southern Altai, Chikhachev has reached into territories yet not been discovered by anyone. He investigated also Sayanskie mountains, about which not only in the Western Europe, but also in Russia the most fantastic stories told. In Northern Altai he has found the richest in the world coal deposits, which he denominated as the Kuznetsk Coal Basin. He also studied culture, a life, customs of various nomadic and settled tribes of this region, has shown economic life and born of political life of altai people. The great russian painter

Already in 1845, he published a voluminous work about Altai , entitled: "Voyage scientifique dans l'Altai oriental et les parties adjacentes de la frontiere de Chine" and presented a report on Siberian explorations and results of research of the collected material.

After finishing this campaign, Chikhachev soon began comprehensive research of Asia Minor, to which he devoted 20 years of his life. After the Altaian trip, he became the attache of the Russian embassy in Constantinople. He took advantage of his 2-year stay there for the study of Turkish, and then, leaving the diplomatic service, undertook during 1847 - 1863 the row of expeditions on Asia Minor, during which he made a wide scientific researches and collections. Results are published by Chikhachev in enormous 8-languid work: "Asie Mineure; description physique, statistique et archeologique de cette contree". This work, embracing geography, geology, climatology, zoology, botany and paleontology of Asia Minor, represents the classical work executed by Chikhachev in cooperation with numerous experts on different branches of natural sciences.

After completing Asian Minor researches Chikhachev finished with great travels and expeditions, having reached already limits of an old age, but did not stop scientific employment. In early 1878, in the age of 71 years, he has visited Algeria and Tunis and in 1880 has published the description of this travel under the title: "Espagne, Algerie et Tunisia".


In 1890 he published a little natural-scientific articles of the various maintenance, under the title: "Etudes de Geographie et d'Histoire naturelle". These clauses represent fragments from conceived by Chikhachev large scientific work "About deserts of globe" which he has not time to finish, died in 1890 from a pneumonia. Besides geographical and is natural-historical works, Chikhachev has published a number of political clauses on east question. In encouragement of travellers across Asia Chikhachev has left to the Parisian Academy of sciences the sum of 100 thousand francs.


His publications include: "Voyage scientifique dans l'Altai oriental et les parties adjacentes de la frontiere de Chine" (with atlas, 1845); "Asie Mineure; description physique, statistique et archeologique de cette contree" (4 vols. with 3 atlases, 1853-69); "Le Bosphore et Constantinople" (1864, another ed. 1877); "Considerations geologiques sur les lies Oceaniques" (1878); and "Espagne, Algerie et Tunisia" (1880).

External links

* [ Russian article]
* [,25,1102,1775&crypt= another Russian article]

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