The silent dedication of geologists

May 28, 2021 - 09:19

Vũ Quang Lân, head of the Northern Geological Mapping Division under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, has devoted 32 years of his life to geology.


Vũ Quang Lân, head of the Northern Geological Mapping Division under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

HÀ NỘI — Vũ Quang Lân, head of the Northern Geological Mapping Division under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, has devoted 32 years of his life to geology.

“The life of a geologist is always associated with many dangerous field trips but also unforgettable memories," Lân said.

He recalled when he and his colleagues had to take long field trips deeply into forests and high mountains to build geological maps and make mineral investigations in Cao Bằng Province, living far from their families.

It was the winter of 2007 and Lân and his colleagues had to walk about 35km from the People’s Committee of Xuân Trường Commune to Lũng Pù Village to build geological maps and make mineral investigations.

“It took us 10 hours to walk,” he added.

The village is located near the border. When the team was on the way, they had to carry out essential tools for the survey. They also had to carry rice, dried fish, pots and pans to make meals during the field trip and heavy blankets to keep warm when they slept overnight in the village.

“Due to the prolonged rain, the mountainous road was very difficult to walk on, so all of the team members had to keep their feet firmly on the slippery road,” he said.

However, when the team reached the village, the local residents did not allow the geologists to bring blankets into the village, he said.

“It is a traditional custom there. The custom does not allow people from other places to bring blankets into the village,” he said.

Therefore, the team faced a cold night without their blankets in the village, he said.

“We felt chilled to the bone and couldn't sleep,” he said.

The following day, they asked the head of the village for help and borrowed blankets from local residents.

On other field trips, some colleagues of Lân suffered from malaria after being bitten by mosquitoes, others were bitten by snakes and the team even had to carry the snake-bitten person on a stretcher, crossing dozens of kilometres to medical facilities for treatment.

Such a field trip could take several weeks to several months, Lân said.

Whenever geologists returned to the office, it was time to work silently and meticulously with rock samples to make geological discoveries, he said.

Trần Văn Thành, a colleague of Lân, said he remembered the field trip to Mù Cả Commune, Mường Tè District, Lai Châu Province in the summer of 2018 very well.

His team of 23 went to a primary school in the commune’s Phìn Khò Village. The school’s management board had allowed the team to stay there to conduct geological investigations in surrounding areas.

On the first night of the field trip, it rained very hard and flash floods were forecast, he said.

Immediately, the team had to move to the inter-sectoral station in the commune, he added.

The next morning, the entire school collapsed and was buried in soil and rocks, he said.

The commune was isolated due to heavy rains and landslides for several days, causing difficulties for their work, he said.

Several days later, when the national highway was re-opened after being blocked due to landslides, the team returned to Hà Nội, he said.

When the team were on the way to Hà Nội, they got a message notifying them that the station they had stayed in a few days ago had been buried by a landslide, he said.

"It's an unforgettable memory," he said.

The efforts to overcome difficulties and the willingness to accept unexpected situations have brought great achievements for the geology sector, contributing to clarifying many regional geological issues and identifying many promising mineral areas for further evaluation.

Over the past decade, the mapping division has implemented many scientific and technological research projects, making important contributions to the socio-economic development of the country.

These contributions include the discoveries of lead and zinc in Ách Pass, Yên Bái Province; fine art stone in Suối Giàng Commune, Yên Bái Province; wolfram in Vị Xuyên Town, Hà Giang Province; gold in Hứa Cuổi Village, Lai Châu Province; graphite in Chang Village, Lào Cai Province; as well as copper and gold in Sa Pa Town, Lào Cai Province.

Lân and his colleagues have finished one national-level science and technology project, one basic research project, eight research projects at the ministerial and provincial level and published 75 articles in international scientific journals as well as four monographs on geology and minerals.

He is also the core member of one international co-operation project.

Lân was awarded the certificates of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry; the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Party Committee of the Central Agencies’ Bloc for his contribution to the geological sector. — VNS

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