Updated 24 June 2015

Chapter Leader: Dr. Iosif Volfson, Chair of Medical Geology Division, Russian Geological Society, st. 2-d Roshchenskaya, h.10, off. 211, Moscow, Russia, 115191

ROSGEO Website:

The IMGA Regional Division of Russia-N.I.S. was established in March 2006 at the annual meeting of the Russian Geological Society Medical Geology Division (MGD ROSGEO). The IMGA Regional Division of Russia-N.I.S. (IMGA RD Russia-N.I.S.) was founded by cooperation between the MGD ROSGEO and the IMGA council. Since 2005, MGD ROSGEO has maintained an organization to promote contact between the IMGA and the N.I.S. medical geology communities.


6-month report from Local Chapter Leader Dr. Iosif Volfson:

The most notable events happening in the life of IMGA Chapter N.I.S. for last 6 months were as follows.

A workshop on actual problems of geoecology with stress on medical geology research in Russia and N.I.S. held at Moscow Mining University on the 27th of February. IMGA and ROSGEO members lectured there. Russian speaking IMGA members can listen to them and watch at the 1st Geological Internet Chanel on YouTube (internet links see below).

  1. Iosif Volfson. Medical and environmental problems of geology and the bowel use.
  2. Igor Pechenkin. Objective monitoring at mining production
  3. Alexander Vercheba. Medical Geology as discipline in educational programmes of mining and geological universities and colleges.
  4. Igor Petrov. Arsenic in environment.

Iosif Volfson and his colleagues from Russian Geological Society have just finished research work related to medical and social aspects of territories of geological risks. In their opinion social and medical questionnaires in the regions affected with unfavourable geogenic as well technological processes is one of the most effective instruments to present the close association between economics, ecology and health to decision makers. A social and medical questionnaire survey was carried out among the population of regions of mining operations and activities in oil and gas in Siberia under his supervision. The results show that there is an apparent underestimation of geological factors affecting human health. Practical guidelines were compiled on the basis of the results of interdisciplinary research on the impact optimization of geological factors of technological and natural origin on human health for decision makers.

Iosif Volfson, Evgeny Farrakhov, and Alexander Vikulin of Russian Geological Society Medical Geology Division (MGD) work currently on the content of proposal for interdisciplinary research in medical geology in the territory of the Kamchatka peninsula of volcano and seismic activity. The target and tasks of the proposal were presented on the 23rd of April, 2015, at a preliminary hearing jointly organized by the headquarters of the Committee on Social Development of the Regional Kamchatka Parliament and Institute for Volcanism and Seismology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky). The further activities in the frames of the proposal will be later discussed with participation of members of regional government. The main idea of the proposal is to restart systematic medical and social investigations in the Kamchatka region. The previous phase of the research in ecology and health in this region was stopped more than ten years ago. We need at this juncture to appreciate the necessity to use the experience of our foreign colleagues who have been successfully working in the field of volcanism and health.


News from Medical Geology division of Russian Geological Society (ROSGEO)

The 5th Symposium “Biogenic-Abiogenic interactions in Natural and Anthropogenic Systems” with special conference on medical geology in its programme was held in Saint Petersburg State University on 20-22 of October, 2014. The Symposium brought together more than one hundred participants from many Russian scientific centres, universities, research laboratories as well as their colleagues from Spain, Germany, and Turkey. 

Russian Geological Society (ROSGEO) Medical Geology division in cooperation with the oldest scientific NGO Saint-Petersburg Society of Naturalists (established in 1868) successfully organized and held the conference on medical geology. Turkish scientists Gurhan Yalcin and Nurdane Ilbeyli from Akdeniz University (Antalya) participated in the medical geology conference together with their Russian colleagues. 

A 5-day bus tour and geological excursion around Scandinavia took place after the Symposium was over.  37 Russian scientists got a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the geological settings of Fennoscandia as well as deposits of mineral resources of Sweden. Dr. Yelena Panova, professor of geochemistry of Saint-Petersburg University, guided participants on the conducted tour.  They visited U-V-Re-Mo deposit in black shales Kvarntorp, copper deposit Kopparberg, granite and porphyry open-cast mine and terrific museum the Älavdalen Porphyry, the World Heritage Mining Area of the Great Copper Mountain in Falun – Falu Gruva and silver mining Sala silver Gruva – “the most precious  gem of the kingdom”. During the trip being in a comfortable bus excursionists listened to oral presentations of their colleagues related to different topics of  the 5th Symposium “Biogenic-Abiogenic interactions in Natural and Anthropogenic Systems”. In particular Dr. Iosif Volfson explained to colleagues about “moose disease” and the role of Swedish scientist and famous medical geologist Olle Selinus in solving this problem, which brought a lot of grief to the people of Sweden. Russian scientists spent a tremendous time in Sweden. 

10 medical geology talks were presented at the meeting; see the Members Section of the website for details.


Almost ten years have passed from that day, when IGCP project 454 on Medical Geology became known in Russia. This remarkable event took place on a warm day, May 3, 2002, during the impressive introductory lecture of Dr. Robert Finkelman (IMGA Co-Chair for geoscience then) on Medical Geology, at the Vernadsky State Geological Museum in Moscow. Today, we are proud to introduce the results of research carried out by scientists from the N.I.S. medical geology community within the framework of IMGA N.I.S. Regional Division, which recently confirmed its status in IMGA as the N.I.S Local Chapter. The upcoming symposium in Medical Geology within 34th IGC (Brisbane, August, 5-10, 2012) programme will give a response on many complicated questions considered by medical geology and main among them is, where to go further? N.I.S. scientists are going to present at this symposium. It is known that currently three abstracts of medical geologists of NIS have been submitted for presentation at the 34th IGC scientific programme.

Member, Scientific Discipline, Research Interests:

At the Session on Medical Geology held at 34IGC on the 10th of August 2012 N.I.S. Chapter Leader Iosif Volfson (right in the photo) was officially awarded the IMGA Board Certificate of Approval in recognition of the NIS Local Chapter from Colin Simpson (left) IUGS Convenor of the Medical Geology Session at the IGC.

Activities of NIS IMGA Chapter over the last six months:

The IMGA Regional Division of Russia-N.I.S. was established in March 2006 at the annual meeting of the Russian Geological Society Medical Geology Division (MGD ROSGEO). The IMGA Regional Divi-sion of Russia-N.I.S. (IMGA RD Russia-N.I.S.) was founded by cooperation between the MGD ROSGEO and the IMGA council. Since 2005, MGD ROSGEO has maintained an organization to promote contact between the IMGA and the N.I.S. medical geology communities.

IMGA RD RUSSIA – N.I.S. is a voluntary association of scientists – geologists, geochemists, mineralogists, geophysicists, physicians, chemists, biologists, microbiologists, medical scientists and others who study the effects on human health of geological processes, materials (minerals, ores, volcanic emissions, atmospheric dust, water and soils) and other natural effects. The purpose of IMGA RD RUSSIA – N.I.S. is to bring together specialists, scientists and practi-tioners working in different areas of knowledge, to unite their efforts, and to encourage collaboration in this rapidly developing field of the science. The main purpose of IMGA RD RUSSIA – N.I.S. activities is to support studies in the field of medical geology in the territory of the Russian Federation and Newly Independent States.

Report from Russia-NIS Regional Division

A new book published by ROSGEO / Russian Division of IMGA

russian book

Medical Geology: Current Status and Perspectives
Russian Geological Society (ROSGEO) Publisher. 1st Edition., 2010, 218 p., 58 illus., 27 in color., four chapters and 23 papers, softcover. In Russian with English abstracts.
Printed by GERS Ltd., 2010

Editor-in-Chief: Iosif F.Volfson
Associate Editors: Victor P. Orlov, Evgeny G. Farrakhov, Stanislav I.Golikov, Igor G. Pechenkin, Oxana L. Pikhur
Authors: Vladimir B. Adilov, Alexandr E. Bahur, Natalia B. Baranovskaya, Natalia M. Boeva, Georgy E. Сhernogoryuk, Natalia P. Chizhikova, Olga A. Denisova, Evgeny G. Farrakhov, Olga V. Frank-Kamenetskaya, Alexandr V. Gulynin, Ekaterina A. Ivanova, Murat Z. Kajtukov, E.V. Kalianov, Evgeny V. Kolonichenko, Elena V. Kremkova, Igor O. Krylov, Vladimir V. Kurennoy, Irina G. Lugovskaya, Talia Z. Lygina, Olga V. Menchinskaya, Victor P. Orlov, Igor G. Pechenkin, Igor M. Petrov, Oxana L. Pikhur, Yulia V. Plotkina, Vladimir A. Poljakov, Anatoly P. Pronin, Alexandr N. Razumov, Leonid P. Rikhvanov, Elena V. Rosseeva, Armen K.Saghatelyan, Lilit V.Sahakyan, Nickolai V. Sedov, Galina M. Semenova, Vladimir N. Shabalin, Svetlana N. Shatokhina, Leonid G. Sokolovsky, Alexei V. Starodubov, Vladimir L. Syvorotkin, Zukhra H. Uzdenova, Iosif F. Volfson, Tamara D. Zangiyeva, Galina M. Zenova

This book considers actual problems of medical geology of Russia. Health and geoscience professionals working in the field of Medical Geology present papers which are devoted to the different problems of multi-disciplinary areas of environment and health. The authors have explored different aspects of the Earth’s degassing via faults as main factors responsible for the climate change, concentration of elements, mineralization, permanently effect on  human being and environment and essentially influence evolution of the biosphere including humans. 

Current problems of the Russian SPA medicine and mineralogy and technology of healing natural mineral resources as well as the importance of the use of such minerals as clays and shungites in medical purposes are discussed in this book. New proposals on mechanisms of bio-inert interactions in regards of target and content of medical geology are also highlighted in this edition.

The ground of book is composed from materials of presentations of two Medical Geology conferences successfully held by ROSGEO in March and April, 2010. The first, on 10th March, was devoted to the 5th Anniversary of the establishment of the ROSGEO Medical Geology Division. Another event was a Round Table devoted to the problems of medical mineralogy, held at the Moscow Science House of the Russian Academy of Sciences on April, 7.

Some of works included in this edition were partly presented in the chapter Medical Geology in Russia and NIS of the book Medical Geology: A Regional Synthesis (Springer, 2010) as well as IMGA Medical Geology Newsletter. There are 23 papers composed in four chapters: medical geology fundamentals, medical geochemistry, medical radiogeoecology, and occupational and environmental safety of mining areas in this book. For those interested, the book can be bought. Contact Iosif Volfson for details, . Price of the book is 16.95 €.


First of all, on behalf of all members of IMGA RD NIS, let me thank the IMGA for the Recognition award for an IMGA Chapter for Exemplary Services in Medical Geology, the highest appreciation the medical geologists of the Commonwealth of Independent States (NIS) has ever had. We are also happy and proud for the great success in Bari.

In 2011 medical geologists from NIS participated in scientific conferences which brought together more than 300 scientists and practitioners in environmental safety from Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan (see Events section of this Newsletter for details of these conferences). It is worth saying that the medical geology community of NIS, scientists of Russia and Armenia and other NIS countries has entered into a new phase. This change is very attractive for the World Medical Geology Community as NIS scientists are becoming more open to IMGA initiatives.

The Center for Ecological Noosphere Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia was founded in 1989, specializing in environmental studies and geochemistry. The director is an IMGA member Dr. Armen K. Saghatelyan. At present, the Ecocenter conducts 9 budgetary-supported scientific pro-grams and numbers 77 employees, 50 of them being researchers (7 doctors of sciences and 14 candidates of sciences).

The structure of the Ecocenter comprises a number of problem-oriented laboratories and research teams conducting investigations in: environmental geochemistry; biogeochemical cycles; biomonitoring; radioecology; bioenergetics; assessment and mapping of landscapes and natural resources; geopathogenic zones; computer technologies, and databases in the field of environmental protection. The Ecocenter carries out interdisciplinary investigations in the field of human ecology. In particular, joint programs in co-operation with the National Institute of Health, the Armenian Institute of General Hygiene and Occupational Diseases have been developed. The Ecocenter`s laboratories provide atomic-absorption, spectral, emission, spectrophotometric, radiation, mass-spectrometric and chemical methods of analysis.

The researchers take an active part in international scientific conferences; lately they have submitted a number of reports to different forums. Currently, a joint research program, Environmental heavy metals, in cooperation with the Toxicological laboratory of West-Allis Hospital (USA) is being implemented. Since 2002, within the framework of cooperative scientific activities in the area of bioenergetics, the Ecocenter has collaborated with the UK ADAS Nutritional Sciences Research Unit. In cooperation with the American Society of Armenian Scientists and Engineers, a project, Energetic forests of Armenia, has been developed. In cooperation with the Danish Technological Institute, studies on lead contents in gasoline have been conducted. Within the framework of the NATO Science for Peace program, a grant was won for performing a regional project, cooperative river monitoring between Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the USA. In cooperation with WS Atkins Environment Firm (UK), Ecocenter participates in the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority's project, mapping and GIS of radioactive pollution in case of emergency on NPP site. In 2002, a grant was awarded by CRDF for the project, paleoecology and paleoradioecology in Lake Sevan (Armenia). The Eco-center's researchers take an active role in EuroMAB programs. They participated as experts in European Union INTAS program execution as well as in a number of UN programs. The Ecocenter is recognized worldwide. In particular, the information about it is included in theDirectory of Ecology and Conservation in Russia (Edinburgh 1998), World of Learning, (London 1999), European Directory of Environment and Health Organisation (UNED-UK 1999) and The Environment Encyclopedia and Directory 2001 (London). Since 1999,the Ecocenter has been a Collective Member of the Russian Ecological Academy. In 2002 the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Foundation awarded a grant to the Ecocenter for the topic, using insects of the Ararat Valley in bioindication. In July 2002, Ecocenter held an international workshop on ecotoxicological risk assessment of environmental pollution in the Caucasus, due to a NFSAT grant within the framework of International Risk Assessment Network.