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Upper Paleozoic material from Novaya Zemlya, sedimentological, paleontological and petroleum related studies (completed)

In 1921 Professor Olaf Holtedahl (University of Oslo) led a scientific expedition to Novaya Zemlya which was warmly supported by Professors Fridtjof Nansen, Johan Kiær and Waldemar C. Brøgger at a meeting of the Norwegian Academy of Science ("Videnskapsselskapet i Kristiania") in November 1919.

A wealth of important scientific information was collected during the 10 week long expedition, and 40 scientific reports ("Report of the Scientific Results of the Norwegian Expedition to Novaya Zemlya 1921", Vols. 1-40) and numerous smaller reports followed, see Holtedahl 1922 and 1924. Rich collections of paleontological material are available from this expedition, including Cambrian trilobites and brachiopods, Devonian corals and early fish, Carboniferous brachiopods, numerous Permo-Carboniferous brachiopods, bryozoans, corals and fusulinids, Jurassic/Cretaceous ammonites, belemnites and bivalves, as well as Quaternary sediments.

Lithological samples include Devonian agglomerates, black carbonates and sandstones, Permo-Carboniferous carbonates and shales, as well as magmatic rocks.

The catalogue prepared by the Natural History Museum lists 290 type and figured specimens of fossils, as well as 2856 reference specimens, 323 specimens of volcanic and metamorphic rocks and 385 sedimentary samples (Nakrem 1989).

The current project will focus on the more than 2.500 samples of Late Paleozoic age. Most of these samples were collected for palaeontological purposes and many remain undescribed. Since 2006 the whole collection has be re-catalogued after specialist visits from Russia and the US, which improved the quality of the data associated with each sample (e.g. age and locality according to modern Russian usage). 

Reports prepared

  • Nakrem, H.A. 2007. The 1921 O. Holtedahl Novaya Zemlya collection (illustrated atlas). Introduction: 26 pp. Atlas: 1047 pp. Novazem report 2007-1.
  • Davydov, V.I. 2008. Fusulinid biostratigraphic dating of Upper Paleozoic samples from Novaya Zemlya (The Holtedahl collection). Editor: Hans Arne Nakrem. 127 pp. incl. 39 plates. Novazem report 2008-1.
  • Van Koeverden, J.H. & Karlsen, D.A. 2008. Report on the Organic Geochemistry of 190 rock samples from Novaya Zemlya. 185 pp. Novazem report 2008-2.
Jurassic-Cretaceous ammonites from the Holtedahl collection
Group photo on board the "Blaafjeld" vessel
Permian samples from the Holtedahl collection
Heavy sledge with rock samples


  • Holtedahl, O. 1922. Brief account of the expedition. Report of the scientific results of the Norwegian expedition to Novaya Zemlya 1921 No. 1, 14 pp.
  • Holtedahl, O. 1924. On the rock formations of Novaya Zemlya. Report of the scientific results of the Norwegian expedition to Novaya Zemlya 1921 No. 22, 183 pp.
  • Nakrem, H. A. 1989. Catalogue of fossils and geological material from Novaya Zemlya, U.S.S.R. Contributions from the Paleontological Museum, University of Oslo 356, 75 pp.
  • Nakrem, H. A., Nilsson, Inger & Simonsen, Bjørn T. 1991. Moscovian (Carboniferous) microfossils (Bryozoa, Conodonta and Fusulinida) from Novaya Zemlya, Arctic U.S.S.R. Polar Research 9(1), 45-64.
  • Sobolev, N. N. & Nakrem, H. A. 1996. Middle Carboniferous - Lower Permian conodonts of Novaya Zemlya. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter 199, 128 pp. [Printed 1997]
Published Sep. 14, 2015 11:58 AM - Last modified Apr. 12, 2022 8:26 AM


Detailed list of participants