Lühiülevaade professor Carl Schmidti kivimi- ja mineraalikollektsioonist TÜ ajaloo muuseumis


  • Sirje Sisask




Overview of professor Carl Schmidt’s rock collection

in the University of Tartu History Museum

Sirje Sisask, University of Tartu History Museum


Carl Ernst Heinrich Schmidt was born on the 13th of June 1822 in Miitavi (Jelgava in Latvia) to pharmacist parents. After graduating from a local high school, Mr Schmidt continued his studies in Germany until 1845 when he moved to Russia to work. In 1847 (on the 20th of February) Prof. Schmidt officially started working at The University of Tartu (Estonia). His scientific work was extremely diverse. Since the 1860s Prof Schmidt’s research was mainly focusing on analyzing the chemical components of earth/soils, minerals, fertilizers, water and other substances and objects. From that period Prof. Schmidt, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Tartu, also left behind his impressive rock collection which on the 20th of December 1995 was gathered from the Department of Chemistry and deposited in the museum of Tartu University History thanks to the initiative of docent Tullio Ilomets.

All together there are 1340 samples of rock in this collection. Out of all the samples in the collection, 89 of them have a year noted on their labels. The most common years on these labels are 1864 (23 times ) and 1855 (16 times). Years mentioned are mainly between 1855 and 1890 and it can therefore be assumed that most samples in the collection were gathered in the second half of the 19th century. Besides the date, the labels sometimes also include the name of the place where the sample was found. Most of the labels follow some kind of label format and are mainly handwritten on a normal piece of paper. As the collection is over 100 years old a lot of samples have also lost their labels or have been mixed up between the samples. Despite that, Prof. Schmidt’s collection is extremely interesting and has a very important scientific value. In 1996, 150 samples in the collection went through a determination of the chemical and mineral composition by a contemporary method of X-ray difractometric identification by Kalju Utsal. Prof. Schmidt used to bring most of his rock samples from his many expeditions overseas. Other scientists and co-operation with them also assisted Prof. Schmidt to have such a high number of rock samples in his collection. It has been proposed that Prof. Schmidt had a close professional relationship with Dr. Krantz from Bonn (Germany). Catalogues and letters sent by Dr. Krantz offer some more exciting information.


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