The International scientific conference (Schools) on Marine Geology has been held every two years for the past 40 years. The first such meeting, which was an all-union one at that time, was organized in the autumn of 1974 in Gelendzhik, a town located on the Black Sea shore. The history of the school is closely connected with the development of marine geology as a new science in the study of the World Ocean. In the terminal 1960s to the initial 1970s, the discoveries in this field acquired an avalanche-like character. Precisely during that period, new large research vessels belonging to the Institute of Oceanology started to make their cruises to all the realms of the World Ocean. This period was marked by detailed studies of the bottom topography of the ocean, which were almost unknown at that time, the discovery of the global system of mid-oceanic ridges, and investigation of practically all the types of sediments up to the maximal ocean depths of 11 023 m discovered during the R/V Vityaz expedition.
Simultaneously, studies of the particulate matter in the ocean water column and aerosols over the ocean were initiated. In 1968, deep-sea drilling in the ocean and studies of the oceanic bottom with manned submersibles were first undertaken. The hydrothermal activity at the sea and ocean bottom was discovered in 1977. This breakthrough in the geological studies of the sea and ocean bottom accompanied by rapid development of oceanology as a whole resulted in cardinal transformations of the geological paradigms reflected in the appearance of lithospheric plate tectonics and new no less revolutionary concepts in practically all the fields of geology: stratigraphy, geochemistry, sedimentology, and others. New directions of the earth sciences appeared at that time: paleooceanology, the concept of particulate matter in the ocean, lithology, the geochemistry of the lithospheric plates, and others. Scientific periodicals failed to follow the new discoveries of great scientific importance.
This required the organization of ad hoc meetings dedicated to prompt discussion of new data. In this connection, it was decided to organize a series of regular meetings, each lasting at least seven days, where leading domestic (and, later, foreign) scientists could present reviewing reports on the most crucial problems of marine geology with their subsequent discussion in different sections. Meetings of such duration could be conducted at that time only under the heading "school." This explains the paradox: for many years, this was a school in which leading scientists (academicians, corresponding members of the USSR Academy of Sciences, and doctors and candidates of geological sciences) took part. For all these years, Academician Alexandr Petrovich Lisitzin has been the scientific leader and permanent chairperson of the school. In the period from 1974 to 1998, the all-union schools (1–12) were held in Gelendzhik at the Southern Branch of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the RAS. In addition to the scientific reports, these meetings were accompanied by field trips to geological Upper Cretaceous and flysch sections of the northwestern Caucasus, familiarization visits to the submersible Argus, and other scientific events.
Many leading Russian scientists took part in the school activities in different years: academicians A.L. Knipper, A.L. Yanshin, V.E. Khain, A.S. Monin, I.P. Gerasimov, V.V. Menner, Yu.M. Pushcharovsky, E.E. Milanovskii, A.N. Dmitrievskii; corresponding members of the USSR Academy of Sciences P.L. Bezrukov, L.P. Zonenshain, N.B. Vassoevich, A.A. Geodekyan, N.A. Bogdanov, Yu.G. Leonov, B.A. Sokolov; and others. Since 1990, the school has acquired the status of an international meeting. At some of them, up to 50 foreign scientists from 20 countries took part. Many of them presented requested lectures: G. Arrenius, K.O. Emery, S. Honjo, M. Edmond, and A. Malakhov (USA); B. Hay (USA--Germany); P. Wassman (Norway); V. Ittekot, J. Thiede, D. Futterer, H. Kassens, R. Stein, H. Bauch, and J. Harff (Germany); E. Bonatti (Italy); J. Martin, J. Francheauto, G. Shemeni, and M. Secret (France); Gao Lyang (China); W. Tufar (Austria); R. Surl (Great Britain); H. Aoki (Japan); O. Gandji (India); S. Ramusa-Cuszewski (Poland); and others. With the beginning of perestroika, the activity of the school was transferred to the Institute of Oceanology of the RAS (Moscow). The themes of the meeting present now in the 12 sections comprised almost all the recent aspects of marine geology:
1. Marine geology of the Arctic and Antarctic regions, the results of German-Russian investigations
2. Oil and gas in the seas and oceans
3. Paleooceanology, paleoecology, biostratigraphy, cross correlation of marine and land deposits
4. Hydrotherms and ores on the bottoms of the seas and oceans
5. P.L. Bezrukov Memorial Symposium “Mineral resources and mineralogy of the seas and oceans”
6. Nanotechnologies and mass and energy fluxes (atmo-, cryo-, hydro-, litho-, sedimentospheres)
7. Biogeochemical processes in the seas and oceans
8. Sea floor geophysics and geomorphology
9. N.A. Aibulatov Memorial Symposium “Geoecology, pollution of the World Ocean, new methods of four-dimensional monitoring”
10. L.P. Zonenshain Memorial Symposium “Lithosphere plate tectonics”
11. White Sea System, 4-D investigations
12. Caspian Sea System, 4-D investigations
From 250 to 300 scientific reports were submitted to each meeting, i.e., approximately 4000 reports over the entire history of the School; 350–500 of them were requested reports presented by outstanding domestic geologists. By the beginning of the meeting, the program and two-volume bilingual (Russian and English) abstracts are issued.