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Kola! 2017

Last Updated: 25th Aug 2017

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

This is a LIVE report, keep this page loaded for live updates - new images will appear as they are added.

Finally we're off on a Sukhoi Superjet from Moscow to Murmansk.

We are flying over the Kola Peninsula!

Landed at Murmansk! And yes, as you probably guessed the flight didn't take three minutes i am simply uploading photos later now that I have free time and internet!

Who would have guessed that Murmansk, a city above the Arctic Circle, would have a four floor modern shopping mall? Certainly not Casper...

Four hour drive from Murmansk to Kirovsk.

Somewhat concerned when arriving at hotel. Have they actually finished building it yet? Turns out this is an extension and remodelling and the inside is all good!

First stop! The Kirovsk mine...

We got to do some collecting on the dumps

There's a lot of abandoned soviet era buildings.

The rock here is an alkali pegmatite sometimes, as here, with eudialyte and titanite.

Graffiti on the old buildings.

Collectors collecting

Casper seems happy.

Starting the day with a briefing about the geology of the area by Kirill, our group leader and expert on geology of this region.

First today a tour of the polar botanical gardens here where they grow plants and trees for northern Russian cities. It occupies the whole mountain.

This mountain...

Over the river into the gardens.

Testing foreign and domestic species

For need in 1931. My fingers are freezing so apologies if I am slow with updates

Some kind of plant. Sorry, that's the best I can do.

An American bean species that escaped from the research station and clearly thrives in this difficult climate. Unlike me.

These flowers are used for landscaping towns and cities in the north.

Wild buckwheat

Eudialyte in an alluvial pebble on the path here...

Mammoth hill :)

In the greenhouse

A plant of some kind.

"Desert" greenhouse- just like being back in Tucson :)

We'll be back to rocks soon I promise, but until then here's a cactus!

At the mining museum in Kirovsk

Statue outside :)

Hunting through rocks in the gift shop

The mines here, run by Russian company Fosagro, are used to mine apatite for fertiliser production. This is a selection of their final products, mostly ammonium phosphate pellets.

The hall of fame about the history and important people related to these mines.

A 3D relief model of the Khibiny massif.

Geological map from 1926 derived from the work of Willheim Ramsay working under A.E. Fersman.

Fersman (on right) on a field trip in the area c.1930

Here's Fersman in the field a decade earlier (1921) - check out his field gear!

Kirill telling us everything about the history of the deposit.

5 volumes of books on apatite of Khibiny

An example of the rock type khibinite, which is a nepheline syenite.

Billiard balls in local stone

Mineral gallery

As the label says :)


More minerals.

Big 35cm wide piece.

More minerals!

Another rarity


Titanite and it's products.

Exploring the galleries.

Amethyst from the Tersky Coast.


Worldwide systematic gallery



This isn't local :)

Interesting Urals hematite.


Mining machine models.

Exhibition of photographs of Kola by Grigori Ilin

Bugs in amber? No :)

Dumps of minerals from Yuksporr mt.

Aegirine etc.

Pegmatite boulders

Large aegirines

Looking through the finds - so far we've found eudialyte, astrophyllite, djerfischite, annite, sodalite, delhaleyite, hydrodelhaleyite, ilmenite, serandite, natrolite, and more rarities that need further examination.

Some of the mining equipment is on display today - Miners day.

Back in the van, it's a bit wet out!

One of the mining company buildings !

Article has been viewed at least 4636 times.


what have you got there,Casper?

John Montgomery
23rd Aug 2017 10:00pm
Since when do you varnish your nails Jolyon ?(lol)


Paul De Bondt
24th Aug 2017 10:05am
This is way beyond cool :)
Thanks guys!

Michael Wood
24th Aug 2017 2:37pm
This is way beyond cool :)
Thanks guys!

Michael Wood
24th Aug 2017 2:40pm
Wonderful trip and report, I liked it a lot and I have had a lot of envy.

You say:
"Some kind of plant. Sorry, that's the best I can do.", jiji, It's my favorite plant, a wild carnation: Dianthus .....


Jose Miguel Sola Fdez.
24th Aug 2017 5:32pm
Just Amazing,I love Astrophyllite!!!!!!
Thanks a lot for the very interesting report.

Mario Lazzerini Denchi
24th Aug 2017 9:58pm
Wow! Great report so far. Joylon, is that your red hammer in the photo? I remember when you brought it on our collecting trip to the Upper New Street Quarry in NJ! I guess it's been around the world.

Gary Moldovany
24th Aug 2017 10:17pm
"Some kind of plant. Sorry, that's the best I can do." - It's a Dianthus superbus. Not that I am an expert in plants, but I have an iphone app - PlantNet - that works a bit like Shazam. Take a photo and it will search for a likely match...

Steve Sorrell
27th Aug 2017 5:27am

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