On 20 August 2019, we lost a renowned Russian geophysicist, seismologist and volcanologist, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical sciences, Professor of Geophysics Academician Sergey Alexandrovich Fedotov.
Sergey Fedotov was born 19 March 1931 in Leningrad, USSR. After graduating from the Department of Geology at the Lomonosov Moscow State University in 1953, Sergey Fedotov was accepted to the graduate program at the Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth (IPE) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and since then his scientific career and research were closely tied to Russian geophysics.
Field work in the Kuril Islands defined the professional trajectory of Sergey Fedotov – his entire life was dedicated to studying the volcanic activity and seismicity of the Kuril-Kamchatka trench. He went from a graduate student at IPE to leading the IPE Pacific seismic team in 1959 – 1970, to head of laboratory of Pacific belt seismicity at IPE in 1969 – 1993, to director of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Far East branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IVS FEB RAS) in 1971 – 2004. The outstanding results of research in seismic hazards of the Kamchatka region and the study of mechanisms of volcanic activity gave Sergey Fedotov acclaim in national and global scientific communities. In 1992 he was elected a full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). In 1979 – 1983 he served as president of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior. He was a member of the presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, head of the scientific council of volcanology and seismology RAS and held the office of the head of the Earthquake prediction council at IVS FEB RAS and the Kamchatka branch of the RAS Geophysical Survey. In 1978 Sergey Fedotov founded the Volcanology and Seismology journal and remained its editor-in-chief for many years.
Research in Kamchatka seismicity allowed Fedotov to create a proprietary technique for long-term seismic hazard prediction which is being actively developed in the works of his like-minded colleagues and mentees. Sergey Fedotov introduced the concept of seismic cycle in seismology. It was due to his pronounced expert opinion and citizen activism that a nuclear power plant was not built in the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky region. Fedotov was the author of about 400 scientific papers, patents, and monographs.
His professional enthusiasm and enormous advocacy efforts that Fedotov made to ensure seismic safety of the population and human made structures of Kamchatka through scientific justification of emergency measures to increase safety of residential and industrial buildings in the most seismically hazardous region of Russia are well known in the academic community and at the highest levels of political authority. Successful resolution of these problems is directly connected to the economic development of Kamchatka and national security. Fedotov’s contributions to public safety on the federal level were granted multiple national awards.
The memory of Sergey A. Fedotov will remain a highlight page in the history of global and national geophysics.
Alexey Zavyalov, RAS, Moscow