Created by: eng.Teodor Georgiev
Editors: Prof. DSc Dimitar Sinnyovski and eng.geologist Dimka Sinnyovska
Head of Department Museum curator
MUSEUM of “Geology and Paleontology”
The foundations of the Museum of “Geology and paleontology” are made with the creation of the Mining and Geology Institute in 1953, but the first fossil collections were inherited from the Department of Engineering Geology at the former Polytechnics with samples collected before the World War II. For five decades, museum collections are enriched with materials from around the world.
The official opening of the museum in 1961 is one of the most memorable events for the University. It soon become one of the largest specialized museums in the country, comparable with the Museum on “Paleontology and Historical Geology” at Sofia University and the National Museum of Natural Sciences. The main purpose of the museum collections is to facilitate the learning process of the students, giving them very clear idea about fossils and rocks. This is the largest and most representative hall for training in basic geological disciplines, visited during the lectures and seminars by students from all faculties of the university.
Until now, curators were eng. Verka Mihailova (1962-1984), Verginia Vucheva (1984-87) MSc.-eng. Tanya Ilieva (1987-98) and MSc.-eng. Dimka Sinnyovska (2000-present).
Samples of the museum fund are grouped into three main exhibition collections – “Paleontology”, “Historical Geology” and “Regional geology”. Exhibited are also smaller collections – “General Geology”, “Structural Geology”, “Quaternary Geology”, donors and monograph collections.
The paleontological collection is arranged in accordance with the study of major animal groups. In the exhibition showcases are exposed representative samples collected by students and professors during students practices, expeditions, research projects and field trips of national and international symposia and workshops.
The collection on “Historical Geology” includes representative samples of the evolution of the Earth crust and the organic world in geological history of the Earth, illustrated by palaeogeographic maps for distribution of continents and oceans through the Phanerozoic. There are examples of world famous facies and formations such as granite “rapakivi” from Finland, iridium boundary layer at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary from continental deposits in the USA, rare fossils from Germany, Russia (Crimea, Urals, Yakutia), Great Britain, the Alps, France, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Sweden, Filand, Algeria, Libia, Atlantic, the Middle East, Sahara, Korea, the Himalayas, USA, Caribbean, etc.
Collection of “Regional geology” includes samples only of the territory of Bulgaria, representing a natural geological museum with rocks of the whole Earth history. Here are exposed typical rocks and fossils demonstrating exceptional geodiversity of the country, and rare geological phenomena of global significance, such as the iridium layer at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary from Mesdra, Kladorub, Kozichino and Cape Kochan, samples from the world famous facies “ammonitico rosso”, nodules with ammonites of the “Black Jurassic” (Etropole Formation), Precambrian jaspilites and others. The exhibition showcases are illustrated with colored panels reflecting geological structure with appropriate graphics and photographs of type sections and outcrops of lithostratigraphic and chronostratigraphic units in different regions of the country.
Collection on “General Geology” represents the major rock-forming minerals, the main genetic types of rocks and their structures and textures.
Collection on “Structural Geology” contains samples representing deformation textures and structures of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Criteria of tectonic movements are illustrated by shearing fractures and rupture fractures, striations with grooves of friction, cataclasites, clays and tectonic breccias, stylolites, mylonites and scenic cracks. Presented different types cleavage, disharmonic and king-folds lineations of intersection between the primary bedding and cleavage, interference between fold generation structures, linear and planar parallelism, flow structures in igneous rocks and others.
Collection on “Quaternary geology” represents contemporary marine and continental formations, such as evaporites of the Dead Sea, travertine, stalactites, loess, salt lake, sea and desert sand, and the processes of weathering and eolic weathering and desert sunten of Sahara.
Collection of decorative rocks includes the most used construction materials – various kinds of limestone and marble, calcite, colorful breccia, kalk-schists, granite, gabbro.
The museum stores unique monographic collections of Carboniferous megaflora of prof. Yanaki Tenchov, Jurassic and Cretaceous belemnites of prof. Maria Vergilova, Paleogene molluscs of prof. Boris Strashimirov, tertiary flora of assoc. prof. Milorad Vatsev, Paleogene rock samples of assoc. prof. Sava Juranov, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous specimens of Radomir assoc. prof. Michael Moev, Paleogene samples from the Eastern Rhodopes of Verka Mihailova.
The richness of the Museum is complemented by the collection of modern samples from the region of the Caribbean, donated by eng. Ivan Valchanov, collections of Mesozoic and Cenozoic invertebrates, endowed by nature lovers Ivan Kadiev and Georgi Hristov of Pleven, samples of Bulgarian expeditions to Antarctica, the modern fauna from the Luanda Bay (Angola) of Dr. Detelin Dachev, the collection of teeth and vertebres from the Cretaceous and Paleogene sharks and reptiles of Morocco, donated by Minister Valentin Vassilev in 1999. The museum includes а small collection of “Upright Stones” – one of the most famous geological phenomena on the territory of Bulgaria and subject to global geoconservation and geotourism significance, representing the specific desert landscape of the area with original wild cactus from Beloslav and the most characteristic fossils – nummulites, discocyclina and ostrea oysters.
Enrichment of museum collections is continuously monitored by the academic staff of “Geology and Geoinformatics” Department, former and current students. In the Museum depository is submitted for storage and usage a unique collection of over 3,000 samples of Carboniferous and Permian megaflora of prof. Yanaki Tenchov.
Museum collections whose image was constructed by many professors, students and donors, is a real treasure of the University of Mining and Geology, which can not be measured in financial parameters. Its value lies in its intrinsic significance locked in the memories of several generations of geologists, made their first steps into the world of geology at the museum showcases, where yet to walk and future professionals in the field of Earth Sciences.
This present activity of the Museum reflects the development of collections outside the University. In the field campus in Lyutibrod village affiliate museum is developed with over 300 specimens exposed in the northern part of the Iskar Gorge. Currently being developed is museum collection for the new visitor center in the town of Belogradchik, which will represent the geology of the region of the numerous visitors of the Belogradchik rocks. After the campaign “The Wonders of Bulgaria” they became the symbol of the material heritage of the country. Categorical vote of the Bulgarian people in favor of the natural values preferred over the sites of historical and cultural value showed that the creation of new myths and legends for our historical past has no chance against the timeless natural beauty inherited from Mother Nature. In honor of this success Museum of “Geology and Paleontology” created a unique geological collection for the newly developed Geopark “Belogradchik rocks” that will soon receive the logo of UNESCO.