ABOUT GLACIOLOGY GEORGIA
As the Caucasus is located among the Alps and mountainous systems of continental Asia, this region undoubtedly arouses great interest of scientists by theoretical and practical point of view, moreover, that in the recent years substantial differences between the regime and dynamics of the glaciers of marine and continental regions have been revealed, which increases the interest to the Caucasus; that’s why the quantitative data acquired there are important not only in regional, but also in continental scale too.
Particular attention draws the assessment of the morphology and distribution scale of the old glaciations of the Caucasus.
Research of the glaciers on the south slope of Caucasus in Georgia has a long history. A great Georgian scientist Vakhushti Bagrationi gives the first scientific reports still in the beginning of the 18th century [“There are big mountains, which have the Caucasus to the North from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea, the height of which is of one day walking and the highest of it is permanently frosty, the length of the ice is of k-l arm, and in summer it breaks and, if a man stays there, he cannot endure the cold even for a little time; and under it the rivers flow, and the ice is green and red, as a rock due to its age” (Vakhusti, Description of the Kingdom of Georgia, 1941)].
After almost hundred years the foreign scientists began to describe the glaciers of Georgia. Information about the glaciers of Georgia can be found in the works of W. H. Abich (1865), G. Radde (1873), N. Dinik (1884), I. Rashevskii (1904), etc. This information is related to the individual glaciers and mostly is of descriptive nature. However, their findings greatly assist us in determining the dynamics of the individual glaciers.
In the years of 1880-1910 the topographical surveying of the Greater Caucasus was carried out. On the basis of the created maps K. I. Podozerskiy (1911) compiled the first detailed catalogue of the glaciers, which still has not lost its importance, but it must be mentioned, that the errors were made during its compilation. A. L. Reinhardt (1916, 1917) noted these errors further, who compiled the new catalogue for many glacial basins of the investigated region and defined the location of the snow line. The research conducted by A. Reinhardt is of high quality and more reliable by its scientific value in comparison with its previous researchers.
Interesting researches were conducted by F. Rutkovskaia (1936) in connection with the 2nd International Polar Year. In 1932-1933 the glaciations of the Enguri River was studied and the dynamics (in the one-year period) of the individual glaciers were identified.
In 1959 P. A. Ivankov gave us the total number and area of glaciers of the study area based on the new topographic maps and the aeroimages of 1946. In the same year P. Kovalev (1961) described in details the glaciers and carried out their labeling.
Much work has been conducted by D. Tsereteli for the study of the glaciers of Georgia, who in 1937 together with Al. Aslanikashvili surveyed several glaciers and in 1963 gave us the dynamics of the glaciers during the period of 1937-1960.
Particularly should be mentioned the great and versatile work, which was done by the Glaciological Laboratory of Vakhushti Bagrationi Institute of Geography, the multiannual work of which is summarized in the 1975 year’s edition of the Catalogue of Glaciers, as well as by the Hydrographical Division of the Hydro-Meteorological Department, which published the work about the Glaciers of the Greater Caucasus (Editors: V. Tsomaia and E. Drobishev, 1970).
It should be also noted the many years research of various glaciers in the major river basins by R. Gobejishvili. It can be considered his honor that after the 1990s the glaciological studies have not been stopped in Georgia.
L. Maruashvili, D. Ukleba. T. Kikalishvili, G. Kurdghelaidze, D. Tabidze, R. Khazaradze, O. Nikolaishvili, V. Tsomaia, O. Drobishev, R. Shengelia, R. Gobejishvili, K. Mgeladze, T. Lashkhi, Sh. Inashvili, N. Golodovskaya, L. Serebryannii, A. Orlov, O. Nadareishvili, N. Zakarashvili, A. Rekhviashvili, O. Samadbegishvili, S. Javakhishvili and others studied the glaciers of Georgia according to the river basins. Glacial-geomorphological works were being carried out from 1968 (R. Gobejishvili). The largest glaciers of the different river basins were surveyed by the photo-theodolite method, such as: Zopkhito-Laboda, Kirtisho, Brili, Chasakhtomi, Edena, Khvargula, Boko, Buba, Tbilisa, Adishi, Chalaati, Dolra, Kvishi, Ladevali, Shkhara, Namkvani, Koruldashi, Marukhi, Klichi and the cirque type glaciers of the Klichi basin.
Since 30s of the 20th Century until now the observation on the western, central and eastern Caucasus glaciers has a nearly continuous nature. Researchers of the Vakhushti Bagrationi Institute of Geography are still conducting the constant monitoring of the glaciers of Svaneti, Abkhazeti, Racha and Khevi’s Caucasus.