The emergence of the mobilist paradigm in Soviet geology and M. A. Kamaletdinov’s thrust-nappe theory

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The paper reviews the history of the development of mobilist views in Soviet geology. In 1912, A. Wegener put forth the continental drift hypothesis that formed the basis for the new global tectonics, developed by J. T. Wilson, W. J. Morgan, X. Le Pichon and others in the 1960s. Meanwhile, another mobilist theory, a thrust-nappe theory authored by M. A. Kamaletdinov, began to be developed in the USSR during the same period. The birth of this theory was associated with the studies of the Urals folding where, after a long period of rejecting the existence of thrust structures, the Karatau thrust was mapped by Kamaletdinov. Subsequent studies encompassed the entire South Urals; the views on tectonics were revisited and the pivotal role of thrusts was demonstrated everywhere. It was established that thrust-nappe structures are characteristic for the lithosphere in general. Mineral resources were shown to be genetically related to allochthons that create the necessary conditions for the genesis of mineral resources and their concentration as deposits. The wealth of data allowed to create a new theory according to which the nappes are the main structural elements of the Earth’s crust and their movements determine the main geological phenomena and processes such as folding, orogeny, sedimentation, magmatism, metamorphism, and seismicity as well as formation of essential mineral resources. The thrust-nappe theory was the first to consistently explain the geological phenomena in their causal relationships, based on the mobilist views, and – together with plate tectonics – has played an important role in the establishment of the idea of mobilism.


Recommended bibliographic description

, , , , The emergence of the mobilist paradigm in Soviet geology and M. A. Kamaletdinov’s thrust-nappe theory, Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki [Studies in History of Science and Technology], , p.  21-37

    © Studies in the History of Science and Technology: Quarterly scientific journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2015)
    ISSN 0205-9606. Индекс 70143