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History of geological sciences in Lithuania

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Algimantas Grigelis
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Our earliest knowledge of Lithuania's geology derives from historical data on the use of natural mineral resources in the daily life of its population, such as building stones, clay, chalk, amber and salt-bearing mineral waters. The first scientific data on geognosy appeared at the beginning of the eighteenth century in the works of educated monks. From the middle of the eighteenth century natural philosophy was taught at the Vilnius Academy. The last quarter of the eighteenth century is notable for the completion of the first geological maps compiled from field observations. The Department of Mineralogy was established in the secularized Vilnius University in 1803. Studies of mineralogy flourished there until the university's closure in 1832. Geological surveying was carried out under the auspices of the Russian Mines Department, which paid particular attention to the exploration of sources of salt, iron ores and coal. A number of localities of likely useful minerals were investigated, but they were not of sufficient quality to be economically viable. By the mid-nineteenth century, the geological survey in Lithuania had resulted in the recognition of Devonian, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary sedimentary rocks. Quaternary sediments were reported in hilly areas and sandy soils and notable occurrences of boulders were recorded in low-lying areas. © 2017 The Author(s). Published by The Geological Society of London.