Backlund Oleg (Helgar) Oskarovich
Russian geologist, son
Born in Dorpat, graduated from St. Petersburg University, worked
in the Geological Museum.
In 1899–1901, Backlund, while still a student intern, took part
faculty headed by
expedition "degree measurement" in Svalbard.
Later, together with geologist I.P.
Tolmachev participated in the expedition to the river Piasina.
In 1909, Backlund led an expedition to the Polar Urals and the
Kara Tundra, organized by the Academy of Sciences and the Irgograd
Regional Educational Institute, for a comprehensive natural history
study of this area.
In addition to leading the expedition to the Polar Urals,
geological surveys were assigned to Backlund.
The expedition included the future academician biologist V.N.
Arriving on the steamer to Obdorsk (now Salekhard), the
expedition members on May 22, 1909 (old style) set off on deer to
the headwaters of the Khanem River, the left tributary of the Sobi
Out on the watershed north of the Pai-Yer mountain, they went
north along the Ural range, reached Lake Shchuchye, the Khuta-Saurey
mountain, the foot of the Minisei mountain, and then reached the
mouth of the Kara river.
Then, the expedition followed the southeast along the coast of
the Baydaratskaya Bay, and then south, along the foothills of the
Polar Urals, crossed the Shchuchyu and Longgot-Yugan rivers, reached
the Malaya Ob river, and finally, on 9 September 1909, returned to
The work of the expedition proceeded in difficult conditions of
mountain and lowland tundra.
Scientific information about this area was extremely scarce.
The first here, on the way from Obdorsk to the Ural Mountains,
traveled in 1771 to the satellite
The expedition under the command of Backlund received valuable
geological, botanical and zoological materials that shed light on
the natural conditions of the investigated territory.
There were also collected Nenets religious objects, wooden idols,
found at the foot of the mountain Minisey and in other places.
Backlund, studying the geological structure and terrain, noted
the upland terraces on the tops of the mountains of the Polar Urals,
found traces of Quaternary glaciation.
On the basis of a menzul survey, Grigoriev made a map of the
investigated area on a scale of 2 versts in one inch (1: 84000) with
contours over 10 sazhen planes.
The preliminary results of the expedition were highlighted in the
Backlund reports from 1910-1911.
The research conducted by Backlund in 1911 was marked by the
Minor Gold Medal of the Russian Geographical Society.
Despite the great value of the collected materials, all of them
could not be processed in due time because of the outbreak of World
Shortly after returning from the Ural expedition, Backlund
traveled to South America, where he studied petrography and the
geological structure of the Andes.
In 1916 he conducted a search for a meteorite in the vicinity of
Nikolsk-Ussuriysk, made a scientific report to the Society for the
Study of the Amur Territory.
In 1918, Backlund went on a long trip to Finland and Sweden.
Not recognizing the Soviet power, he did not return to Russia,
remaining at home of the ancestors of Sweden, worked in the
geological institutions of Sweden, Germany, became an academician of
the Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Backlund devoted much of his time to teaching work at the
University of Uppsala, educated many students, made the university
equipped with modern optical equipment and left a memory of himself
as a professor of the highest rank.
It so happened that the satellites on the expedition to the Polar
Urals Backlund and Sukachev, becoming venerable academics, met again
four decades later in Sweden.
This happened in 1950 at the VIII International Botanical
Congress, held in Uppsala.
Backlund, who learned of the arrival of an old friend from the
newspapers, went to the hotel to Sukachev, who led a delegation of
Two academicians, no longer compatriots, but citizens of
different states, recalled the past days, their youth and wanderings
in the Polar Urals.
The scientific achievements of Backlund were awarded the Small
Gold Medal of the IRGO, the Danish, German and Austrian medals.
He is Honorary Member and Corresponding Member of 15 foreign
academies of science and scientific societies.
He died in Uppsala.
Islands in the Yenisei Gulf of the
Named in the 1920s.
Glacier in the southern part
of the Land Ulafa, the island of Western Spitsbergen.