M. Nodia Institute of Geophysics is 75 Years Old


      Georgia, as well as the whole Caucasus, is quite complex region from geological point of view and is distinguished by high seismic activity. That’s why materials about seismic events (in particular, destructive earthquakes) in Georgia and adjacent regions  are known since ancient times. But such materials on the whole were descriptive. Since the beginning of XIX century the leading tendency becomes quantitative estimation of geophysical phenomena (determination of intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field, acceleration of gravity, basic parameters connected with meteorological events, etc.). In 1844, the first in the Caucasus and one of the first in Russia magneto-meteorological observatory was founded in Tbilisi and it played significant role in  development of geophysical science. Since its foundation the observatory was directed by famous, eminent scientists: A. Kupfer, A. Filadelfin, P. Morits, J. Abikh, I. Milbern, S. Glasek, etc. The Observatory was authoritative and powerful scientific centre, where geomagnetic, seismologic, meteorologic, gravimetric observations were conducted and received materials, as printed production, were sent to physical observatories of the world. Afterwards the observatory was transferred first to Karsani and then to Dusheti.

     Thus, a real opportunity of foundation of the institute with geophysical profile was prepared step by step and then was provided. In order to provide such organization with specialists, on the observatory’s initiative, in 1932 young personnel of the observatory (B. Balavadze, G. Tvaltvadze, V. Kebuladze, A. Tskhakaia) and scientific workers of the institute of mining and metallurgy (A. Bukhnikashvili and A. Abakelia) were sewnt to the so called short post-graduate course of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

      In 1933 (the first of November), in accordance with the resolution of the presidium of Transcaucasian branch and Georgian department of the Academy of sciences of the former USSR (October 26, 1933), Tbilisi Geophysical institute of Georgian department of Academy of Sciences of USSR was established, which was important event in development of Georgian science and culture.

       Establishment of institute of geophysics coincided with the period when the main object of the State was to determine and exploit natural resources of the country. It was necessary to enlarge the base of mineral resources and that’s why study of seismic conditions of the territory, prospection of mineral resources by geophysical methods acquired paramount importance. Georgia, due to its geological conditions, was a natural laboratory for development of geophysical investigations. The first director of the institute was professor P. Nikiforov, deputy directors were professors N. Muskhelishvili and M. Nodia, scientific secretary was A. Tskhakaia. It should be mentioned that theoretical and mathematical geophysics department of the institute was directed by professor N. Muskhelishvili. Seismic station of the observatory also belonged to the institute.

      In 1941, by the decree of Soviet of People’s Commissars of Georgian SSR, concerning the foundation of Academy of Sciences of GSSR, Institute of Physics and Geophysics was established on the basis of Institute of Geophysics and professor M. Nodia was appointed as its director.

       In 1950, December 1, Institute of Physics and Geophysics was divided into two institutes – Institute of Physics and Institute of Geophysics. Professor B. Balavadze was appointed as the director of Institute of Geophysics.

       In 1953 B. Balavadze went to Moscow for passing the doctoral  course  and professor A. Bukhnikashvili was appointed as the director of the institute. He directed it till 1972.

       In 1956 Dusheti magnetic observatory and cosmic rays station were  transferred to the possession of the institute. Dusheti geophysical observatory is included in the world net of geomagnetic observatories. Parameters of the Earth’s magnetic field are continuously obserwed there. Main value of observatory’s data is its continuity during more than 160 years, which is very important for  investigation of various problems in geophysics  on the planetary scale. From 2006, with  the help of Japanese scientists, observations are carried out with modern digital measuring instruments.

   Experimental cosmophysical complex of cosmic rays is incorporated in the world net of cosmic rays observatories as a control station. Data of cosmophysical observatory, together with analogous data of other countries, are included in the world’s data base and internet.

   In 1975  the Institute established Alazani anti-hail base in Village Ruispiri in the form of stationary expedition. In 1961, the first in the former USSR, anti-hail service was formed at the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, and it was preceded by investigations and experiments carried out by a group of scientist of Institute of Geophysics. In 1969, for elaboration and introduction of means of reduction hail processes, the leaders of the work professor A. Bukhnikashvili and A. Kartsivadze received State Prize of USSR in sciences and engineering. In 1985, together with other scientists, A. Kartsivadze received Prize of Soviet of Ministers of  USSR for above mentioned works. Also, A. Kartsivadze is a co-author of the scientific discovery concerning active crystallization of  overcooled water systems in atmosphere.

    Beginning from 1960 the Institute carried out investigations of tectonic processes in the area of big engineering construction by geophysical methods. From 1967 the department of the Earth’s crust dynamics is functioning  the Institute, which is now International geodynamical test area of Inguri HPS and where continuous geophysical monitoring of stress-deformation processes  in rocky  foundation of  high dam is being carried out under the guidance of professor V. Abashidze. On the basis of  mentioned  investigations, in 1996 Europe established in Georgia European centre “Geodynamic Risks of high Dams” under the guidance of professor Tamaz Chelidze.    In 1963 Caucasian zone centre of united seismic observations was formed at the institute, which was the coordinator of seismic observations in the Caucasus and due to joint efforts “Seismologikal Bulletin of the Caucasus” was published annually.

    In 1964 observatory of the Earth’s tides with its unique tunnel began functioning at the  Institute; continuous observations of changes of gravity, inclinations and deformations of  the Earth’s  surface are carried out there. The observatory was international centre of the socialist countries in unification of tilt measuring observations and was guided by the doctor of seiences K. Kartvelishvili.

    In the same years an experimental complex in physics of atmosphere was built by the Institute – thermal chamber, which is unique by its pover and possibilities in the former USSR and in which investigalions are being carried out in modeling atmosphere processes. For 1967 year the structure of the institute included  11 scientific departments:

1.                        department of the earth’s magnetism, under guiding of  N. Katsiashvili;

2.                        department of  earthquake physics – E. Bius;

3.                        department  of regional seismology with the net of seismic stations – Al. Tsakhaia;

4.                        department of seismology – G. Tvaltvadze;

5.                        deparment  of gravimetry – B. Balavadze;

6.                        department of geoelectricity – V. Kebuladze;

7.                        department of radiometry – I. Chkhenkeli;

8.                        department of rock physics – L. Chanturishvili;

9.                        department of atmosphere physics – A. Balabuev;

10.                    department of cloud physics and active action – A. Kartsivadze;

11.                    department of cosmic rays – V. Koiava.

        Total number of  workers of the institute was 227, among which 117 were scientific workers, out of  which 5 were doctors and 28 were candidates of science.

        In 1972-87 academician Beno Balavadze was the director of the institute; he still continues active scientific activities in spite his elderly age.

        In 1977 new seismological observatory  of the Institute – “Tbilisi” began functioning.

        In 1975 under the guidance of academician  M. Alexidze the department of computing geophysics was formed at the Institute, which stimulated introduction of  mathematical methods in geophysical investigations througrout the former USSR


        For this time 13 departments and 8 laboratories of the institute were united in four sectors (total number of workers was 377, among which 158 were scientists, 4 were doctors and 49 were candidates of science).

I.  Sector of geomagnetism and ionosphere (after 1975) – doctor of science A. Khantadze

1.                        department of geomagnetism – candidate of science A. Chkhetia;

2.                        laboratory of ionosphere – doctor of science A. Khantadze;

Dushety   geophysical observatory (department) – candidate of science V. Matsaberidze

II.                       Sector of radiometry and rocks – candidate of science  V. Kebuladze

1.  department of geoelectricity and electrometry -  candidate of science  V. Kebuladze;

2.  department of rock physics – doctor of science  T. Chelidze;

3.  department of radiometry – candidate of science Sh. Chkhenkeli;

Laboratory of engeneering geophysics – candidate of science D. Tsitsishvili.

III.                     Sector of  gravimetry – academician B. Balavadze

1.                        department of  gravimetry – candidate of science Kote Kartvelishvili;

2.                        laboratory of the Earth’s tides – candidate of science Karlo Kartvelishvili;

3.                        laboratory of slow movements of  the Earth’s crust – candidate of science V. Abashidze.   

IV.                    Sector of seismology and seismic prospecting – candidate of science D. Sikharulidze

1.                        department of earthquake physics – candidate of science  D. Sikharulidze;

2.                        department of  regional seismology – candidate  of science G. Murusidze.

         V.          Sector of atmosphere physics (candidate of science A. Kartsivadze)

         1.           department of  physics of clouds – cand. of science A. Kartsivadze;

         2.           department of diffusion and atmospheric pollution – doctor of science  A. Balabuev;

         3.           laboratory of modelling of atmosphere processes – candidate of science A. Okujava;

         4.           experimental testing ground (laboratory) of cloud physics and active effect – cand. of    

                        science B. Beritashvili.

         VI.          Sector of cosmophysics – cand. of science  M. Alania;

1.                      department of variations of cosmic rays – cand. of science  M. Alania;

2.            Laboratory of high energy cosmic rays – cand. of science L. Shatashvili;

          VII.        Laboratory of automatization and computer processing of geophysical data – doctor   

          of science M. Alexidze.

     In 1979, in order to intensify scientific  research concerning earthquake forecasting problems, the Government of Georgia decided to form at the institute experimental – methodic seismological expedition was founded in 1982 under the guidance of professor G. Shengelaia. In 1996, on the basis of experimental – methodic expedition, the National Service of Seismic Safety was founded by the order  of the president of Georgia. In 2006 this service was separated  from the institute and was named “Seismic Monitoring  Centre”; seismic observatory and national seismic net  passed to this centre.

     In 1985 Institute of Geophysics was the most numerous in its history: total number of the workers was 635, among which 14 were doctors of sciences, 76 were candidates of sciences, one was corresponding member of AS of GSSR.

     In 1987 general assembly of Institute elected academician M. Alexidze, one of the outstanding representastives of geophysical science of Georgia, as the institute’s director.

     In order to carry out fundamental and applied studies of ecological systems of the Black Sea, department of sea dynamics (leader professor A. Kordzadze) was established at the institute in 1989. This department is the only one in the Caucasus region, where, on the basis of mathematical  modeling and experimental data, physical and ecological processes in sea-land-atmosphere system are studied.

     In 1992 general of Institute scientists elected as the director of the institute Tamaz Chelidze – doctor of Sciences in Physics and Mathematics,  professor, corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences; he held this post till 2006 .

     In 1992, by the decree of government of Georgia, Institute of Geophysics of AS of Georgia was named after Mikheil Nodia – famous Georgian scientists, founder of geophysical science in Georgia, doctor of Physics and Mathematics, professor.

     By decree#58 (2004) of the government of Georgia M. Nodia Institute of Geophysics was placed under the authority of Ministry of Education and Sciences. Doctor Nugzar Ghlonti was elected as the director of the institute by the academic council.

     In 2007, on the basis of Cosmic Agency of Georgia, Cosmic Investigation Centre was founded  at the Institute of Geophysics under the guidance at academician J. Lominadze. Due to efforts of scientists of the centre Institute of Geophysics takes active part in the folloving projects of Ministry of Education and Sciences of Georgia and National scientific foundation  of Georgia: “Cosmic Odyssey” and “Astronomy for Schools”. Institute of Geophysics is regularly conducting important expeditions in Georgia for solving engineering, archaeological and ecological problems. In particular, territories for building Inguri HPS, Zhinvali dam and Khudoni dam were investigated geophysically.  In areas of big landslides (Duruji gorge, several villages of Ambrolauri district) geologic-geophysical conditions were studied, many  buried  archaeological monuments were discovered on the territory of  Armaztsikhe. Nature of heavy metal pollution was determined  in Marneuli district, water prospecting works were carried out in Bolnisi district, corrosion  conditions of  Azerbaijan – Georgia gas pipeline were investigated. On the basis of geomagnetic invensigations of Ureki and its adjacent territory hypothesis is suggested that variations of magnetic field may have positive effect on  human organism: if it is not accompanied by short – period pulsations and very low freqyency electromagnetic radiation. Periodical “Journal of Georgian Geophysical Society” (in English) was founded at the institute and its 22 volumes are already published and sent to many foreign countries; about 60 collections of works of the institute, 72 monographs, eight bibliographies of eminent scientists, 14 manuals, 50 bulletin, etc. were prepared and published. Scientists of the institute maintained 36 theses for a Doctor of Science  degree and 220 theses for a Candidates’s degree. Academic council, conferring a Doctor’s and a Candidate’s  degrees, was functioning at the institute during many years. Six scientists of the Institute were awarded “State Prize “ of Georgia, nine scientists were awarded by the “Order of Honour.” 20 scientists of the Institute  were sent on mission of prospection expedition to foreign countries in the seventies and eighties of the last century. Institute of Geophysics maintains close scientific contacts (joint themes, expeditions, lectures, scientific quidance, consultations, etc.) with many foreign scientific centres (in France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Great Britain, Greece, USA, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil). For the best work in geophysics the Georgian Geophysical Sosiety and the Institute of Geophysics founded academician Alexidze Prize and young scientists Prize. From 1993 emploees of the Institute took part in more than 30 international (INTAS, NATO, INCO-COPERNICUS, ISTC, IAEA, ISTU) and national grant projects.

     From 2007 M. Nodia Institute of Geophysics includes seven scientific sectors and one scientific centre:

1.                        Seismology and experimental geophysics (under the guidance of T. Chelidze)

2.                        Dynamics of geophysical fields and computational geophysics (T. Macharashvili)

3.                        Earth physics and geomagnetism (K. Kartvelishvili)

4.                        Applied geophysics (V. Chichinadze)

5.                        Solar-Earth connections (A. Gvelesiani)

6.                        Atmosphere physics (A. Amiranashvili)

7.                        Mathematical modelling of geophysical processes of sea and atmosphere (A. Kordzadze)

8.                         Centre of cosmic investigations (J. Lominadze)

In above mentioned scientific subdivisions scientific investigations in traditional directions are in progress: seismic zoning of the territory of Georgia, investigations of earthquake precursors, appliation of complexity and nonlinear dynamics theory to various geophysical processes modification of hazardous meteorological phenomena, perfection of prospecting and engineering geophysical methods,  mathematical modelling  of hydrothermodynamic and ecological processes in atmosphere and the Black Sea, investigation of  Space and Solar – Earth connections, ecological geophysics, archaeogeophysical investigations. Development of new trend – hydrogeophysics is envisaged.