Famous 19th Century Geologists

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 1 
Charles Darwin
(Naturalist known for His Contributions to Evolutionary Biology)
Charles Darwin
10
Birthdate: February 12, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Mount House, Shrewsbury, England
Died: April 19, 1882

Widely regarded as one of the most influential personalities in the history of mankind, Charles Darwin was an English biologist, naturalist, and geologist. He is credited with publishing the Theory of Evolution, which explains the evolution of life from a unicellular organism to human beings. A prolific writer, Charles Darwin also wrote important books on plants and barnacles.

 2 
John Muir
(Naturalist)
John Muir
4
Birthdate: April 21, 1838
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dunbar
Died: December 24, 1914

John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, botanist, zoologist, and author. Nicknamed Father of the National Parks and John of the Mountains, Muir was an influential proponent of the preservation of wilderness in the US. He is credited with co-founding the American conservation organization, The Sierra Club. Muir is considered a hero by many environmentalists around the world.

 3 
Alfred Wegener
(German Climatologist and Geophysicist Known for His 'Continental Drift Theory')
Alfred Wegener
4
Birthdate: November 1, 1880
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: November 1, 1930

In the early 1900s, meteorologist Alfred Wegener did not find too many takers for his theory that all the continents of the world had initially been a single mass named Pangaea and that continental drift had caused them to split apart. Wegener died on his fourth expedition in Greenland.

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 4 
Louis Agassiz
(Geologist)
Louis Agassiz
4
Birthdate: May 28, 1807
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Montier
Died: December 14, 1873

Louis Agassiz was a biologist and geologist. He was famous as a scholar of Earth's natural history. Born in Switzerland, he completed his education in Europe and emigrated to USA. He was appointed a professor of zoology and geology at Harvard University. He later founded the Museum of Comparative Zoology at the Lawrence Scientific School.  

 5 
John Wesley Powell
(Explorer, Geologist)
John Wesley Powell
4
Birthdate: March 24, 1834
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mount Morris
Died: September 23, 1902

John Wesley Powell was a geologist and explorer of the American West. He undertook a series of adventures as a young man and later joined the military. He is best known for the three-month-long geographic expedition he undertook down the Green and Colorado rivers. He was made the director of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1881.  

 6 
Douglas Mawson
(Explorer, Geologist)
Douglas Mawson
4
Birthdate: May 5, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Shipley
Died: October 14, 1958

Douglas Mawson was an Australian Antarctic explorer, geologist, and academic. Counted among the most important leaders of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, Mawson was honored with a knighthood in 1914. Best remembered for his contribution to Australian geology, Mawson was featured on the Australian one-hundred-dollar note from 1984 to 1996.

 7 
William Buckland
(English Theologian, Palaeontologist, and Geologist Who Wrote the First Full Account of a Dinosaur Fossil)
William Buckland
4
Birthdate: March 12, 1784
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Axminster, Devon, England
Died: August 14, 1856

William Buckland was an English theologian, palaeontologist, and geologist. He is best remembered for his service as the Dean of Westminster. He is credited with writing the first full account of a dinosaur fossil, which he named Megalosaurus. William Buckland pioneered the usage of fossilized faeces to reconstruct ecosystems. Buckland was the recipient of the prestigious Copley Medal.

 8 
Vladimir Vernadsky
(Russian Mineralogist and One of the Founders of Geochemistry, Radiogeology and Biogeochemistry)
Vladimir Vernadsky
3
Birthdate: March 12, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: January 6, 1945

Vladimir Vernadsky was a geochemist and mineralogist who is widely regarded as one of the founders of radiogeology, biogeochemistry, and geochemistry. He is also credited with founding the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Vernadsky is best remembered for his book, The Biosphere, which discusses Eduard Suess' work. He won the prestigious Stalin Prize in 1943.

 9 
Conrad Schlumberger
(Geophysicist)
Conrad Schlumberger
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1878
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guebwiller, France
Died: May 9, 1936

Along with his brother, Marcel Schlumberger, Conrad Schlumberger formed one of the most well-known geophysicist duos of Germany. A pioneer in petroleum production, he co-established Schlumberger Ltd., one of the world’s largest oil-field service companies, with Marcel. Their technique of oil exploration offered a cheap alternative than the existing coring methods.

 10 
Clarence King
(US Geologist and Mountaineer Who Was the 1st Director of the US Geological Survey)
Clarence King
3
Birthdate: January 6, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Died: December 24, 1901

US geologist, mining engineer, and mountaineer Clarence King was the 1st director of the US Geological Survey. While preparing his report, Systematic Geology, he found the first US glaciers. Mostly known for his exploration of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, he penned the iconic work Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada.

 11 
Arthur Holmes
(English Geologist Who Pioneered the Usage of Radiometric Dating of Minerals)
Arthur Holmes
3
Birthdate: January 14, 1890
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gateshead
Died: September 20, 1965

Arthur Holmes was an English geologist who pioneered the usage of radiometric dating of minerals. He was the first earth scientist to fully understand the thermal and mechanical implications of mantle convection. Arthur Holmes is also remembered for his advocacy of the theory of continental drift. Holmes was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Penrose Medal.

 12 
Henry Fairfield Osborn
(Geologist, Paleontologist)
Henry Fairfield Osborn
3
Birthdate: August 8, 1857
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Fairfield
Died: September 6, 1935

Henry Fairfield Osborn was an American geologist, paleontologist, and eugenics advocate. He is best remembered for his association with the American Museum of Natural History where he served as the president for 25 years. Osborn is also remembered for developing his own evolutionary theory which he called the Dawn Man Theory.

 13 
Roderick Murchison
5
Birthdate: February 22, 1792
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Muir of Ord, Scotland
Died: October 22, 1871
 14 
Henry Schoolcraft
(American Geologist, Geographer, and Ethnologist Who is Known for His Studies of Native American Cultures)
Henry Schoolcraft
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1793
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Guilderland, New York, United States
Died: December 10, 1864

Henry Schoolcraft was an American geologist, geographer, and ethnologist. He is best remembered for his studies of Native American cultures. Henry Schoolcraft is also credited with founding The Journal of Education, America's first journal on public education.

 15 
Gideon Mantell
(British Geologist and Palaeontologist)
Gideon Mantell
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1790
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lewes, Sussex, England
Died: November 10, 1852

Gideon Mantell was a British geologist, obstetrician, and palaeontologist. Mantell's attempt to reconstruct the structure of Iguanodon started the scientific study of dinosaurs. He is also credited with discovering the first fossil teeth of Iguanodon. Subsequently, Gideon Mantell went on to discover and identify much of the skeleton of Iguanodon.

 16 
William Morris Davis
(American Geographer, Geologist. Meteorologist, and Geomorphologist)
William Morris Davis
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 5, 1934

William Morris Davis was an American geologist, geographer, meteorologist, and geomorphologist. Often referred to as the father of American geography, Davis is credited with founding the Association of American Geographers. He is also remembered for his association with the Geological Society of America, where he served as the president. In 1919, he was awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Gold Medal.

 17 
Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld
3
Birthdate: November 18, 1832
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Helsinki, Finland
Died: August 12, 1901

Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld was a Finland-Swedish geologist, aristocrat, Arctic explorer, and mineralogist. He is best remembered for leading the Vega Expedition of 1878–1880, the first Arctic expedition to steer through the Northeast Passage. The expedition is regarded as one of the greatest achievements in Swedish science history.    

 18 
Franz Nopcsa von Felso-Szilvas
(Geologist, Paleontologist and Albanologist)
Franz Nopcsa von Felso-Szilvas
3
Birthdate: May 3, 1877
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Deva, Romania
Died: April 25, 1933
 19 
Birbal Sahni
(Palaeobotanist)
Birbal Sahni
3
Birthdate: 1891 AD
Birthplace: Saharanpur district
Died: April 10, 1949

Birbal Sahni was a pioneer of palaeobotanical research in India. The founder of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, he also taught botany at BHU and Lucknow University. He was also interested in music and tennis, and loved collecting coins. He was a Fellow of The Royal Society, too.

 20 
Eugène Dubois
(Curator, Geologist, Physician, Anthropologist, Paleontologist, Archaeologist, Prehistorian, Paleoanthropologist)
Eugène Dubois
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1858
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Eijsden
Died: December 16, 1940
 21 
Florence Bascom
(The First Woman to Become a Geologist in the US)
Florence Bascom
5
Birthdate: July 14, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 18, 1945

The first female geologist from the US, Florence Bascom had both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin and was the second American woman to get a PhD in geology. She was also the first female assistant geologist at the US Geological Survey.

 22 
Eduard Suess
(Paleontologist, Politician, University teacher, Scientist, Geologist)
Eduard Suess
3
Birthdate: August 20, 1831
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London
Died: April 26, 1914
 23 
Vasily Dokuchaev
(Russian Ecologist and Geologist Who Conducted Path-Breaking Research on Soil Science)
Vasily Dokuchaev
3
Birthdate: March 1, 1846
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milyukovo, Russia
Died: November 8, 1903

Russian ecologist, geomorphologist, and soil scientist Vasily Dokuchaev initially taught at the University of St. Petersburg and was later associated with the Novo-Aleksandr Institute of Agriculture and Forestry. He developed a soil classification system that explained the 5 factors for soil formation. The city of Dokuchaievsk in Ukraine is named after him.

 24 
Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg
(German Scientist & Comparative Anatomist)
Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg
3
Birthdate: April 19, 1795
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Delitzsch, Saxony, Germany
Died: June 27, 1876

Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg was a German zoologist, naturalist, geologist, microscopist, and comparative anatomist. Regarded as one of the most popular and productive scientists of his generation, Ehrenberg was honored with several prestigious awards including the first Leeuwenhoek Medal in 1877.

 25 
James Dwight Dana
(US Mineralogist and Geologist Who Conducted Pioneering Research on Volcanoes, Corals, Continents, and Mountains)
James Dwight Dana
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1813
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Utica, New York, United States
Died: April 14, 1895

Copley Medal-winning US geologist and mineralogist James Dwight Dana is remembered for his path-breaking studies on topics such as mountain building, marine life, coral reefs, volcanic activity, and continents. A System of Mineralogy and Manual of Mineralogy are 2 of his iconic works, the latter of which became a standard text.

 26 
Hugh Miller
(Geologist)
Hugh Miller
3
Birthdate: October 10, 1802
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cromarty, Scotland
Died: December 24, 1856
 27 
Abraham Gottlob Werner
(German Geologist Who Established the 'Neptunist School')
Abraham Gottlob Werner
3
Birthdate: September 25, 1749
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prussia
Died: June 30, 1817

German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner is known as the founder of the Neptunist school that stated that all rocks an aqueous origin. He also rejected uniformitarianism of geological evolution. He also coined the term geognosy. Not too fond of reading mail, he learned of his membership of the Académie des Sciences from a journal.

 28 
Robert Bruce Foote
(British Geologist and Archaeologist Who Conducted Pioneering Research on the Prehistory of India)
Robert Bruce Foote
3
Birthdate: September 22, 1834
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cheltenham,England
Died: December 29, 1912

British geologist and archaeologist Robert Bruce Foote is remembered for his pioneering contribution to the study of the prehistory of India. He was in his early 20s when he joined the Geological Survey of India and soon made many discoveries, including that of the first Paleolithic hand axe in India.

 29 
Joseph Thomson
(British Geologist and Explorer Who Made Pioneering Explorations of Eastern Africa)
Joseph Thomson
2
Birthdate: February 14, 1858
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Penpont, Scotland,England
Died: August 2, 1895

British explorer and geologist Joseph Thomson was the first European to enter a large part of eastern Africa. His exploration eventually led to the mass colonization of Africa, known as the Scramble for Africa. He secured British mining and trade rights in Africa. Thomson’s gazelle is a type of east-African gazelle named after him.

 30 
Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden
(US Geologist Who Made Pioneering Research on the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains)
Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden
2
Birthdate: September 7, 1829
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 22, 1887

US geologist Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden is remembered for his ground-breaking research on the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. He also served as a Union Army surgeon during the American Civil War and taught geology at the University of Pennsylvania. He also played a major role in the formation of the Yellowstone National Park.

 31 
John Milne
(British Geologist and Mining Engineer Who Developed the Modern Seismograph)
John Milne
2
Birthdate: December 30, 1850
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: July 31, 1913

John Milne was a British mining engineer and geologist. He is credited with co-founding the Seismological Society of Japan which raised money for the invention of seismographs. John Milne and his team went on to invent the horizontal pendulum seismograph which allowed him to detect various kinds of earthquake waves.

 32 
John Joly
(Irish Physicist Known for His Development of Radiotherapy in the Treatment of Cancer)
John Joly
2
Birthdate: November 1, 1857
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Holywood, Ireland
Died: December 8, 1933

Irish physicist and geologist John Joly created headlines when he estimated the age of the Earth at a 100 million years back in 1898. The University of Dublin professor of geology also made developments in the extraction of radium and its application in the treatment of cancer.

 33 
Edgeworth David
(Welsh Australian Antarctic Explorer and Geologist)
Edgeworth David
2
Birthdate: January 28, 1858
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: near Cardiff or Saint Fagan’s rectory, Wales
Died: August 28, 1934

Edgeworth David was a Welsh Australian Antarctic explorer and geologist. A household name during his lifetime, David is best remembered for discovering the Hunter Valley, a region of New South Wales. He also led the first expedition to the South Magnetic Pole. Edgeworth David also played an important role in the First World War.

 34 
John Stevens Henslow
(British Priest, Botanist and Geologist Best Remembered as Friend and Mentor to His Pupil 'Charles Darwin')
John Stevens Henslow
3
Birthdate: February 6, 1796
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rochester, Kent, England
Died: May 16, 1861

John Stevens Henslow was not just a priest but also revolutionized the teaching methods of botany at Cambridge University. One of his students was legendary naturalist Charles Darwin. He also co-founded the Cambridge Philosophical Society and explored various regions, such as the Isle of Man, as a geologist.

 35 
Henry De la Beche
(English Palaeontologist and Geologist)
Henry De la Beche
2
Birthdate: February 10, 1796
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 13, 1855

Henry De la Beche was an English palaeontologist and geologist. He is best remembered for his association with the Geological Survey of Great Britain, where he served as the first director. He was also associated with the Palaeontographical Society, where he was the first president. Henry De la Beche helped develop early geological survey methods.

 36 
James Croll
(Geographer, Geologist)
James Croll
0
Birthdate: January 2, 1821
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Little Whitefield, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: December 15, 1890
 37 
Walther Penck
(German Geomorphologist and Geologist Who Is Remembered for His Work on 'Landform Evolution')
Walther Penck
2
Birthdate: August 30, 1888
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: September 29, 1923
German geomorphologist and geologist Walther Penck, the son of geographer Albrecht Penck, is remembered for his extensive research on landform evolution. He orimarily criticized and modified the Davisian cycle of erosion and taught at the universities of Constantinople and Leipzig. A volcano in northwestern Argentina has been named after him.
 38 
Joseph LeConte
(US Physician, Geologist, and Professor Who Mostly Studied the Geology of California)
Joseph LeConte
0
Birthdate: February 26, 1823
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liberty County, Georgia
Died: July 6, 1901

US physician and geologist Joseph LeConte was associated with the University of California, Berkeley as a professor. A noted conservationist of the California region, too, he is remembered for his studies on the mountain ranges of the West, most prominently in and around Yosemite National Park.

 39 
Edward Forbes
(Naturalist)
Edward Forbes
2
Birthdate: February 12, 1815
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Douglas, Isle of Man
Died: November 18, 1854
 40 
Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin
(US Geologist and Educator Who Suggested the Planetesimal Hypothesis)
Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin
2
Birthdate: September 25, 1843
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mattoon, Illinois, United States
Died: November 15, 1928

US geologist Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin proposed the theory of planetesimal hypothesis. Initially the chief geologist of the Wisconsin Geological Survey, he later joined the US Geological Survey. An educator, too, he was associated with the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was also the founder-editor of The Journal of Geology.

 41 
Stanisław Staszic
(Polish Priest, Philosopher, Geologist, Scholar, Poet and Writer)
Stanisław Staszic
2
Birthdate: November 6, 1755
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pila, Poland
Died: January 20, 1826

Stanisław Staszic was a Polish philosopher who played a leading role in the Polish Enlightenment. He was also a Catholic priest, geologist, writer, and translator. He supported many reforms in Poland and was the co-founder of the Warsaw Society of Friends of Learning. He later served as the minister of trade and industry in Congress Poland. 

 42 
Grove Karl Gilbert
(One of the Most Influential Geologists of His Time)
Grove Karl Gilbert
2
Birthdate: May 6, 1843
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rochester, New York, United States
Died: May 1, 1918

Grove Karl Gilbert was an American geologist. Over the course of his career, Gilbert helped understand landscape evolution, river incision, erosion, and sedimentation and is thus regarded as one of the most important figures of geomorphology. One of the most influential geologists of his time, Grove Karl Gilbert was honored with the Wollaston Medal and Charles P. Daly Medal.

 43 
Ignacy Domeyko
(Geologist)
Ignacy Domeyko
2
Birthdate: July 31, 1802
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nesvizh
Died: January 23, 1889

Ignacy Domeyko was a Polish geologist, educator, and mineralogist. He is credited with founding one of Chile's oldest public universities, the University of Santiago, Chile (Usach). After the Polish–Russian War 1830–31, he settled in Chile where he made significant contributions to the study of Chile's geology, geography, and mineralogy. Ignacy Domeyko’s observations helped shape Chile's labor movement.

 44 
James David Forbes
(Scottish Physicist and Glaciologist Known for His Research on Heat Conduction and Glaciers)
James David Forbes
2
Birthdate: April 20, 1809
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: December 31, 1868

Scottish physicist James David Forbes is best remembered for his research on glaciers and heat conduction and for his invention of the seismometer. A University of Edinburgh professor, he later won both the Rumford Medal and the Gold Medal of The Royal Society for his achievements.

 45 
John William Dawson
(Canadian Geologist Who Made Numerous Contributions to Paleobotany)
John William Dawson
2
Birthdate: October 13, 1820
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nova Scotia, Canada
Died: November 19, 1899

Canadian geologist John William Dawson began his career as the first superintendent of education of Nova Scotia. He also served as the principal of McGill University, where he taught, too. An expert in paleobotany, he discovered ancient plant species. He was knighted for his contribution to geology.

 46 
Otto Nordenskjöld
(Swedish Geologist and Explorer Known for His Expedition to the 'Antarctic')
Otto Nordenskjöld
2
Birthdate: December 6, 1869
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Småland, Sweden
Died: June 2, 1928

Otto Nordenskjöld was a Swedish and Finnish geologist, polar explorer, and geographer.  He is best remembered for leading the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901–1903, the first Swedish voyage to Antarctica. Otto Nordenskjöld also led mineralogical expeditions to Alaska, Patagonia, and the Klondike area. He also served as a professor at the University of Gothenburg.

 47 
Archibald Geikie
(Geologist)
Archibald Geikie
2
Birthdate: December 28, 1835
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: November 10, 1924
 48 
John Evans
(English Geologist and Archaeologist)
John Evans
2
Birthdate: November 17, 1823
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Burnham, England
Died: May 31, 1908

John Evans was an English geologist and archaeologist. He is best remembered for his service as the president of several prestigious institutions and societies, including the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Numismatic Society, the Geological Society of London, and the British Association for the Advancement of Science. John Evans also wrote papers on geological and archaeological subjects.

 49 
Erich von Drygalski
(German Geographer Famous for His Expedition to Unknown Parts of Antarctica Aboard the 'Vessel Gauss')
Erich von Drygalski
2
Birthdate: February 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Königsberg, Russia
Died: January 10, 1949

Erich von Drygalski was a German geographer, polar scientist, and geophysicist. He is best remembered for leading two expeditions to explore the unexplored area of Antarctica in the early 1890s with the help of the Society for Geoscience of Berlin. Erich von Drygalski also served as a professor of geophysics and geography in Berlin.

 50 
Henry Nicholas Ridley
(British Botanist, Geologist and Naturalist Known for Establishing the Rubber Industry in the 'Malay Peninsula')
Henry Nicholas Ridley
2
Birthdate: December 10, 1855
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harling, England
Died: October 24, 1956

English botanist Henry Nicholas Ridley is best remembered for his contribution to the cultivation of rubber in the Malay peninsula. His passion to achieve his goal earned him the nickname Mad Ridley. Of his written works, one of the most significant was the 5-volume Flora of the Malay Peninsula.