GEOLINKS International Conference 2019, Book 1
CRITERIA FOR ASSESSING THE SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE OF PALEONTOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS ON THE EXAMPLE OF THE MINING MUSEUM (ST. PETERSBURG)
The mining museum in St. Petersburg keeps numerous paleontological collections and materials on stratigraphy and historical geology. The story of its accumulation started at the first half of XIX century with the beginning of the earliest geological study of the European part of Russia (including the Russian journey of R. Murchison). The museum paleontological and stratigraphical fond includes the collections of scientific expeditions, personal geological excursions of scientists, acquisitions of the buying or exchange from abroad, collections, the study of which have not been published by the authors. Among the authors of the collections are some world-known paleontologists and geologists like Ch. Pander, A. Keyserling, G. Helmersen, K. Eichwald et al.
It is obvious that the greatest value has collections containing originals to books and articles on paleontology. These materials are well known among paleontologists thanks to Museum cataloges and references to samples in publications. However, most of the paleontological collections, numbering more than one hundred thousand samples, is unknown and is not in demand among specialists. Attribution and cataloging of these collections require a comprehensive analysis of their structure, including the definition of criteria for assessing their scientific or educational significance. Experience with paleontological collections in the Mining Museum has shown that the following criteria determine the greatest scientific value of the collections.
First: the origin from the classical sections described in the geological literature, which may be stratotypes or be in stratotypic areas. These samples can serve as a reference in the study of paleontological species, first described by the materials from these sections, if necessary, among them can be selected neotypus. Secondly, the value of the collection can be determined by its origin from the lost sections. The study of such materials allows learning about the stratigraphic interval and faunistic characteristics of these deposits, which is especially important in the case of unique locations for the study area. Third: collections from hardly accessible regions. These are materials from areas where special paleontological and stratigraphic studies are not currently being carried out and which are difficult for specialists to visit for geographical or political reasons. Fourth: the value of paleontological collections may increase depending on how fully they characterize a particular geological formation (or geological region in which several formations are developed). From this point of view, the most valuable are the materials of long-term systematic studies. The proposed article considers the examples of the collections of the Mining Museum in Saint-Petersburg the most interesting from the point of view of all of the proposed criteria or their combinations.
paleontological collections, natural-science collections, paleontological museum, Mining Museum, geological heritage.