This paper is dedicated to Andrey Borisovich Vistelius for his contribution to the development of the mathematical geosciences and to his formulation of the term ‘mathematical geology’.
The mathematical geosciences as a scientific subdiscipline were independently developed in several countries. J. C. Griffiths, W. C. Krumbein, and A. B. Vistelius are the most commonly recognized founders of mathematical geology. The term ‘mathematical geology’ is generally attributed to Vistelius. He began applying mathematical algorithms to solve practical geological problems in the 1940s. This new discipline was explicitly defined in his standard work Principles of Mathematical Geology published in Russian in 1980 and translated into English in 1992. Vistelius’ definition is focused on two main aspects: (1) Mathematical models developed and applied in geology in a broad sense must be conceptual, that is, they must be based on geoscientific ideas of the studied object; (2) Suitable mathematical models have to be probabilistic because most geological properties and events show a stochastic character. Modern definitions of the term ‘mathematical geosciences’ remain similar to Vistelius’ version.