Obituary: Igor Pospelov


It is with deep regret that we learned from the Russian Geological Research Institute (VSEGEI) that our colleague and friend Dr Igor Pospelov, Secretary General of the CGMW Sub-Commission on Tectonic Maps, passed away in Moscow on Monday February 26 at the age of 77.

Igor Pospelov was a very well-known Russian geologist, a leader among active participants in a number of major international projects. He was born in Legnica (Poland) on February 20 1947 and was a Russian citizen. In 1970 he graduated from the Faculty of Geology of the Moscow State University with a doctorate in geology. His diploma thesis was entitled: “Geological composition of the southern slope of the Gissar Range in the South Tien Shan”, and in 1984 his dissertation for Doctor of Geological-Mineralogical Sciences was entitled: “Tectonic Composition and Evolutionary History of the Late Variscan Kalaykhumb-Sauksay Zone, North Pamirs”.

He was a specialist in palaeotectonic reconstructions of linear and mosaic Palaeozoic (mainly Variscan and Indosinian) fold belts based on structural geology, petrological and sedimentological characteristics of magmatic and sedimentary associations (including ophiolite complexes). He has applied his skills in a variety of geodynamic settings, from palaeo-ocean opening to continental collision or accretional processes.

His recent research has focused on: i) the Mesozoic Pacific continents of NE Russia: Palaeozoic Pacific continental margin; collisional processes in the growth of the NE part of Eurasia; contribution to the tectonic map of the Verkhoyansk-Kolyma domain (CGMW IGMA programme) and ii) on Late Variscan and Indosinian belts of Palaeo-Tethys II: evolution and palynspastic reconstructions of Palaeo-Tethys II and comparison of the evolution of the Palaeo-Tethys II ocean in its different parts (N Pamirs, W and E Kunlun Mts., Qinling Mts. etc.). He was author or co-author of more than 50 scientific publications on tectonics, formation and development of Variscan, Late Variscan and Indosinia collisional folding belts of the Southern Urals, Southern Tien Shan and Northern Pamirs, Southern Mongolia, Chinese Junggar and Kunlun, and the accretionary system of NE Yakutia; also on ocean floor relief and structure in the central part of the Atlantic Ocean.

Since the early 20’s, he worked as CGMW Secretary General of the Sub-Commission for Tectonic Maps and provided strong scientific support for the CGMW tectonic maps as co-author or expert. The following important maps were produced with his direct participation: the International Geological Map of Asia at 1:5 million scale (2013); the Tectonic Map of Northern Central Eastern Asia and Surrounding Areas at 1:2 million scale (2014); and the Tectonic Map of the Arctic at 1:5 million scale (2019). In 1970 he joined the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, and in 2007 he was the head of the Laboratory of Tectonic Maps of the RAS before joining VSEGEI in St Petersburg.

The brilliant memory of this outstanding polyglot (Russian, Chinese, English) scientist and wonderful person and friend will remain in our hearts forever.

Groupe TeMAR1
Igor Pospelov and the CGMW Temar Group in 2011 in Paris
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