Kubiena medal 2018
Maria Innokentievna Gerasimova can be counted among the first generation of soil micromorphologists in Russia that are known world-wide. She first published in the mid-1960’s, with focus on soil micromorphology, soil classification and pedogenesis. Her focus in soil micromorphology was the application of micromorphological techniques to answer pedogenetical research questions and issues of classification, in combination with the distribution of soils in the landscape.
This research resulted in more than 100 publications (articles and monographs). More than 70 publications are Scopus-listed, of which around 60 publications focus on soil micromorphology. Already in the 1980’s, Maria Gerasimova was a driving force for the translation of several Russian micromorphological publications into English. This made the Russian micromorphological knowledge public to a world-wide (non-Russian-speaking) audience.
Maria Gerasimova described very early the micromorphological properties in combination with genetic interpretations of a great variety of soils, including those less investigated, such as the Zheltozems (Alisols) of the Lenkoran and Sochi region, the Pre-Carpathian Pseudogleys (Stagnosols), the desert soils in Turkmenia (including Takyrs and their evolution), as well as the effects of diagenesis of soils under burial mounds, or the particular microstructures and features of secondary salinization of old irrigated soils. Another research topic was soddy-podzolic soils (Podzoluvisols – Albeluvisols – Retisols) with and without stagnic features. Maria Gerasimova discussed sequences of illuviation phenomena, breakdown of coatings in different ways and the separate migration of clay and iron oxides besides of modifications by agricultural activities. In the early 1980’s, Maria Gerasimova used micromorphology to show seasonal changes in the topsoils of Chernozems and effects of different land use systems on the microstructure of Chernozems. This is just to mention highlights of her extensive work in micromorphology.
Maria Gerasimova was the leading author of the seminal monograph “Soils of Russia and Adjacent Countries: Geography and Micromorphology”, the first book about micromorphology of soils of the whole USSR. The original publication, from 1992, was in written in Russian, and then edited by Rienk Miedema (Kubiëna Medal 2014) in English in 1996. This outstanding monograph combines her research focus and didactical ability in an excellent way. Mainly for publishing reasons, this book is still not sufficiently distributed and acknowledged by the communities in soil sciences and micromorphology.
Maria Gerasimova is undoubtedly an internationally recognized micromorphologist. She attended five International Working Meetings on Soil Micromorphology and was several times a member of the scientific committee of these meetings, let alone her other activities in the IUSS in the name of micromorphology.