Famous 19th Century Geologists

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 1 John Muir

John Muir
Famous As: Naturalist
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.

 2 Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin
Famous As: Naturalist known for His Contributions to Evolutionary Biology
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.

 3 Alfred Wegener

Alfred Wegener
Famous As: Polar Researcher
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

Louis Agassiz
Famous As: Geologist
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

John Wesley Powell
Famous As: Explorer, Geologist
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

Douglas Mawson
Famous As: Explorer, Geologist
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 Matthew Fontaine Maury

Matthew Fontaine Maury
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: January 14, 1806
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Spotsylvania County, Virginia, United States
Died: February 1, 1873

American astronomer, naval officer, oceanographer and author Matthew Fontaine Maury, who first served the United States Navy and then the Confederacy States Navy, made significant contributions in oceanography. His book Physical Geography of the Sea is counted among the first comprehensive books on oceanography. Navies and merchant marines across the world adopted his uniform system of recording oceanographic data.

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 8 Milutin Milanković

Milutin Milanković
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: May 28, 1879
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dalj, Croatia
Died: December 12, 1958

 9 William Buckland

William Buckland
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: March 12, 1784
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Axminster, Devon, England
Died: August 14, 1856

 10 Patrick Geddes

Patrick Geddes
Famous As: Biologist
Birthdate: October 2, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ballater, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Died: April 17, 1932

Apart from being a sociologist and biologist, Patrick Geddes was known for his impeccable sense of town planning. While he initially taught botany in Dundee, he later turned to sociology and conducted studies in India, Mexico, and other countries. He was eventually knighted for his achievements.

 11 Conrad Schlumberger

Conrad Schlumberger
Famous As: Geophysicist
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.

 12 Vladimir Vernadsky

Vladimir Vernadsky
Famous As: Mineralogist
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.

 13 Karl Terzaghi

Karl Terzaghi
Famous As: Mechanical engineer
Birthdate: October 2, 1883
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: October 25, 1963

The pioneer of soil mechanics, Karl Terzaghi was the son of an army lieutenant-colonel and studied in a military boarding school, where he developed his passion for geography. He eventually graduated as a mechanical engineer. He later also taught at MIT and penned iconic works such as Erdbaumechanik.

 14 Arthur Holmes

Arthur Holmes
Famous As: Geophysicist, Geologist
Birthdate: January 14, 1890
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gateshead
Died: September 20, 1965

 15 Francis Beaufort

Francis Beaufort
Famous As: Former Hydrographer known for Beaufort cipher, Beaufort scale
Birthdate: May 27, 1774
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Navan, Ireland
Died: December 17, 1857

Irish-born Francis Beaufort grew up to be a British Royal Navy admiral. He also went down in history as the inventor of the Beaufort wind force scale, which was meant for observing wind force at sea. His personal diaries, written in Beaufort cipher, reveal an incestuous relationship with his sister.

 16 Clarence King

Clarence King
Famous As: Clarence Rivers King
Birthdate: January 6, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Died: December 24, 1901

 17 Henry Fairfield Osborn

Henry Fairfield Osborn
Famous As: Geologist, Paleontologist
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.

 18 Gideon Mantell

Gideon Mantell
Famous As: Obstetrician
Birthdate: February 3, 1790
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lewes, England
Died: November 10, 1852

 19 William Morris Davis

William Morris Davis
Famous As: Geographer, Geologist, Meteorologist
Birthdate: February 12, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 5, 1934

 20 Roderick Murchison

Roderick Murchison
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: February 22, 1792
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Muir of Ord, Scotland
Died: October 22, 1871

 21 Henry Schoolcraft

Henry Schoolcraft
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: March 28, 1793
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Guilderland, New York, United States
Died: December 10, 1864

 22 Franz Nopcsa von Felso-Szilvas

Franz Nopcsa von Felso-Szilvas
Famous As: Geologist, Paleontologist and Albanologist
Birthdate: May 3, 1877
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Deva, Romania
Died: April 25, 1933

 23 Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld

Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld
Famous As: Geologist
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.    

 24 Birbal Sahni

Birbal Sahni
Famous As: Palaeobotanist
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.

 25 Eugène Dubois

Eugène Dubois
Famous As: Curator, Geologist, Physician, Anthropologist, Paleontologist, Archaeologist, Prehistorian, Paleoanthropologist
Birthdate: January 28, 1858
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Eijsden
Died: December 16, 1940

 26 Eduard Suess

Eduard Suess
Famous As: Paleontologist, Politician, University teacher, Scientist, Geologist
Birthdate: August 20, 1831
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London
Died: April 26, 1914

 27 Otto Schmidt

Otto Schmidt
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: September 30, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mahilyow, Belarus
Died: September 7, 1956

 28 Florence Bascom

Florence Bascom
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: July 14, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 18, 1945

 29 Vasily Dokuchaev

Vasily Dokuchaev
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: March 1, 1846
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milyukovo, Russia
Died: November 8, 1903

 30 Hugh Miller

Hugh Miller
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: October 10, 1802
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cromarty, Scotland
Died: December 24, 1856

 31 Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg

Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: April 19, 1795
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Delitzsch, Germany
Died: June 27, 1876

 32 Joseph Leidy

Joseph Leidy
Famous As: Paleontologist
Birthdate: September 9, 1823
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: April 30, 1891

Joseph Leidy was an American parasitologist, paleontologist, and anatomist. He is credited with writing an influential and important book titled Extinct Fauna of Dakota and Nebraska which housed several previously unknown and not described species. He also served as a professor at many educational institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College.

 33 James Dwight Dana

James Dwight Dana
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: February 12, 1813
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Utica, New York, United States
Died: April 14, 1895

 34 José Bonifácio de Andrada

José Bonifácio de Andrada
Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: June 13, 1763
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Santos, State of São Paulo, Brazil
Died: April 6, 1838

José Bonifácio de Andrada was a Brazilian statesman. He was also a naturalist, mineralist, and professor. He was a significant proponent of Brazilian independence and also spearheaded the abolition project in Brazil. He was of the opinion that a new national capital should be created in Brazil's underdeveloped interior. As a naturalist, he discovered four new minerals. 

 35 Abraham Gottlob Werner

Abraham Gottlob Werner
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: September 25, 1749
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prussia
Died: June 30, 1817

 36 Ralph Alger Bagnold

Ralph Alger Bagnold
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: April 3, 1896
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Plymouth, England
Died: May 28, 1990

 37 John Stevens Henslow

John Stevens Henslow
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: February 6, 1796
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rochester, 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.

 38 Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden

Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: September 7, 1829
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 22, 1887

 39 Joseph Thomson

Joseph Thomson
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: February 14, 1858
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Penpont, Scotland,England
Died: August 2, 1895

 40 John Joly

John Joly
Famous As: Physicist
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.

 41 Edgeworth David

Edgeworth David
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: January 28, 1858
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: near Cardiff or Saint Fagan’s rectory, Wales
Died: August 28, 1934

 42 John Milne

John Milne
Famous As: Geologist
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.

 43 Walther Penck

Walther Penck
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: August 30, 1888
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: September 29, 1923

 44 Henry De la Beche

Henry De la Beche
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: February 10, 1796
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 13, 1855

 45 James Croll

James Croll
Famous As: Geographer, Geologist
Birthdate: January 2, 1821
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Little Whitefield, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: December 15, 1890

 46 Robert Bruce Foote

Robert Bruce Foote
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: September 22, 1834
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cheltenham,England
Died: December 29, 1912

 47 Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin

Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: September 25, 1843
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mattoon, Illinois, United States
Died: November 15, 1928

 48 Edward Forbes

Edward Forbes
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: February 12, 1815
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Douglas, Isle of Man
Died: November 18, 1854

 49 Stanisław Staszic

Stanisław Staszic
Famous As: Philosopher
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. 

 50 Joseph LeConte

Joseph LeConte
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: February 26, 1823
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liberty County, Georgia
Died: July 6, 1901