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Geologic Atlas of the Caucasus


Compiling of Geological GIS-Atlas of the Caucasus, Scale 1:1 000 000

Tech Area / Field

  • OBS-GEO/Geology/Other Basic Sciences
  • ENV-OTH/Other/Environment
  • OBS-NAT/Natural Resources and Earth Sciences/Other Basic Sciences

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Caucasian Institute of Raw Materials (CIRM), Georgia, Tbilisi

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Geological Sciences, Armenia, Yerevan


  • Consulting Economic Geologist, USA, CO, Littleton\nEcole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre, France, Strasbourg\nThe University of Utah / College of Mines and Earth Sciences, USA, UT, Salt Lake City

Project summary

The Caucasus is one of the most complicatedly-built regions of the Alphine-Himalayan fold-and-thrust belt; it occupies part of the territory of Russian Federation (Northern Caucasus) and South Caucasian states.

The Caucasian mountain-fold construction is generally considered to have been a result of the interaction of several microcontinents - fragments of the Afro-Arabian and Eurasian lithospheric plates. Endogenic activity during the Hercynian and Alpine cycles, especially along the boundaries of interacting microplates proved to be very productive - there were formed a number of large copper, gold-bearing, iron-ore, mercury and other deposits. Within the sedimentary basins, thick sequences of sedimentary rocks were deposited many of which represent raw materials for chemical and building industries. Some of sedimentary basins in the Caucasus contain rich oil and gas deposits.

The peculiarity of the social-economical and cultural development of the Caucasus is mainly conditioned by the multinational composition of population and the national economy based chiefly on the local mineral potential. The Caucasian states are facing social-economical and scientific-technical problems that are related to the increase of mineral resources for mining industry, determination of main regularities of the formation and spatial distribution of mineral deposits, and working out scientific principles of local prognosis and prospecting techniques of commercial reserves of metallic and non-metalling minerals, oil and gas, underground waters.

The main conditions under which productive forces of the region should be developed in the middle- and long-term perspective are also very similar in all the Caucasian states: progressive scantiness of energy and water resources; exhaustion of relatively easily-accessible mineral resources and necessity of working new deposits with more complex geological-technical conditions of exploitation; necessity of considerable increase of investments into geological-prospecting and mining activities; indispensable ecological trend accompanying all mining activities in the region.

All the above-mentioned features of the Caucasian economy demand non-standard methods and approaches of the management of social-economic development of the region which must be based on the common cartographic foundation.

The main objective of the proposed Project is the creation of a set of informative product - the Geological Atlas of the Caucasus on a 1:1000000 scale, covering territory of Georgia within the limits of sheets K-37, K-38, K-39, J-38 and J-39 that will promote the improvement of the economy management on interstate, regional and municipal level. The atlas is proposed to become the first milestone on the way of the creation of a regional specialized geoinformational system provided with full and reliable data bases of various cartographic information including, in the first place, data on natural resources.

The feasibility of the proposed work is substantiated by a relatively good knowledge of the geological structure of the region. The GIS-Atlas is supposed to include the following cartographic materials:

  1. topographic base maps;
  2. map of previous geological-geophysical studies;
  3. geological map;
  4. map of Quaternary sediments;
  5. maps of various kinds of mineral deposits (including thematic maps on uranium, non-ferrous and gold-bearing, non-metallic, and underground water deposits);
  6. mineragenetic map;
  7. map of anomalous magnetic field;
  8. gravimetric map;
  9. map of infrastructure of the mineral wealth utilization (including maps of recreational resources and map of geological heritage);
  10. ecological-geological map (including landscape map);
  11. maps of geological hazardous events (including maps of seismicity and seismic zonation, neotectonics, geomorphology, radiogeochemical anomalies, naturally- and technogenically-induced mass movements).

The project objectives are aimed to contribute to the solution of the common Caucasian problems of rational and careful use of natural wealth. In case of project realization there will be laid the scientific basis for the reanimation and, in some regions, development of mining industry. In the course of project implementation, the following tasks will be solved:
  1. development of data base structure and compilation of legends for the whole set of maps;
  2. compilation of maps: geological, Quaternary sediments, mineral deposits, ecological, geophisica;
  3. compilation of maps: mineragenic, geological hazardous events, and final completion of the GIS-Atlas.

The participating teams are staffed mainly with the highly trained specialists from the Caucasian Institute of Mineral Resources and Geological Institutes of Armenia and Georgia who for a long time have been working in such fields as geological mapping; working out new methods and techniques of exploration, prognosis and genesis of mineral deposits (both metallic and non-metallic); minerageny; seismicity and seismotectonics; study of ecological problems of the Caucasus. The information summarized in the GIS-Atlas will give possibilities:
  1. to evaluate and re-evaluate (with necessary periodicity) mineral potential and economic base of the Caucasus on the whole, and the separate states-Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russian Federation (North Caucasus);
  2. to facilitate the selection of main prospecting, exploratory and mining objects for investors and concessioners (with the creation of data bases and determination of advisable succession of their operation);
  3. to generate new original ideas for the development of fundamental sciences, progressive techniques of geological exploration, excavation and utilization of mineral resources.

Technique used for the compilation of the Atlas combines traditional geological and computer cartography. The first includes: collection, analysis and processing of information on geological structure; condition of mineral resource basis; ecological situation and natural hazardous geodynamic events; compilation of legends for maps; updated lithofacial and paleontological characteristics of stratified formations of the Caucasus; creation of author’s versions of maps comprising the Atlas; compilation of earthquake distribution map (map of epicenters); compilation of maps of natural and technologic landscapes; compilation of geomorphological map; creation of digital cartographic data base for author’s map versions; compilation of explanatory notes for constructed maps.

The computer cartography implies: preparation of necessary cartographic and textual materials; selection of maps for scanning; creation of digital geographical and projected (metric) coordinate grids in GIS for further georeferencing of scanned maps; georeferencing; building raster catalogue of scanned maps; developing logical structure of geodatabase for GIS Atlas; implementation of the structure of the geodatabase; i.e. creating an empty geodatabase with the correct structure for further data input; preparing legend and piding maps into thematic layers; digitizing basic topographic raster maps and inputting general geographical attributive data – creating digital topographical basemap of Caucasus scale 1: 1 000 000; calculating digital elevation model (DEM) of Caucasus based on vector contour data (for GIS use and for visualization of atlas maps); digitizing raster maps and entering attributive data; inputting spatial and attributive information on the basemap by visual detection from the maps and additional paper information sources that could not be scanned and georeferenced; checking and creating final version of geodatabase of geological atlas; working on thematic maps; creating final layouts of atlas maps; exporting maps to standard graphical formats for further publication (PostScript, PDF, EPS); building atlas GIS; creating a simplified user friendly search system and system for reporting attributive data.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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