Famous American Geologists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite American Geologists

 1 John Muir

John Muir
4
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 Robert Ballard

Robert Ballard
4
Famous As: Deep Sea Explorer
Birthdate: June 30, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States

 3 Harrison Schmitt

Harrison Schmitt
4
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: July 3, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Santa Rita, New Mexico, United States
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 4 David A. Johnston

David A. Johnston
4
Famous As: Volcanologist
Birthdate: December 18, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 18, 1980

 5 Louis Agassiz

Louis Agassiz
4
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.  

 6 John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell
4
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.  

 7 Eugene Merle Shoemaker

Eugene Merle Shoemaker
4
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: April 28, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: July 18, 1997

Best known for discovering the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet, with his wife, Carolyn, and David H. Levy, Eugene Merle Shoemaker was an American astrogeologist who had also worked with the U.S. Geological Survey. He had been part of NASA’s lunar exploration missions. Following his death, his ashes were transported to the Moon.

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 8 Matthew Fontaine Maury

Matthew Fontaine Maury
4
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.

 9 Kathryn D. Sullivan

Kathryn D. Sullivan
4
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: October 3, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paterson, New Jersey, United States

 10 Harry Glicken

Harry Glicken
4
Famous As: volcanologist
Birthdate: March 7, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Died: June 3, 1991

 11 Charles Francis Richter

Charles Francis Richter
5
Famous As: Seismologist
Birthdate: April 26, 1900
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: near Hamilton, Ohio
Died: September 30, 1985

 12 George de Mohrenschildt

George de Mohrenschildt
4
Famous As: Geologist, known for having befriended Lee Harvey Oswald in the summer of 1962
Birthdate: April 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mazyr, Belarus
Died: March 29, 1977

 13 Harry Hammond Hess

Harry Hammond Hess
3
Famous As: Geologist, Officer
Birthdate: May 24, 1906
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City
Died: August 25, 1969

 14 Karl Terzaghi

Karl Terzaghi
3
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.

 15 Walter Alvarez

Walter Alvarez
3
Famous As: Geologist widely known for the theory that dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid impact
Birthdate: October 3, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States

 16 Marie Tharp

Marie Tharp
3
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: July 30, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States
Died: August 23, 2006

 17 Clarence King

Clarence King
3
Famous As: Clarence Rivers King
Birthdate: January 6, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Died: December 24, 1901

 18 Henry Fairfield Osborn

Henry Fairfield Osborn
3
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.

 19 Marcia McNutt

Marcia McNutt
3
Famous As: Geophysicist
Birthdate: February 19, 1952
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

 20 William Morris Davis

William Morris Davis
3
Famous As: Geographer, Geologist, Meteorologist
Birthdate: February 12, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 5, 1934

 21 Henry Schoolcraft

Henry Schoolcraft
3
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: March 28, 1793
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Guilderland, New York, United States
Died: December 10, 1864

 22 M. King Hubbert

M. King Hubbert
3
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: October 5, 1903
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Saba, Texas, United States
Died: October 11, 1989

 23 Walter Munk

Walter Munk
3
Famous As: Oceanographer
Birthdate: October 19, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 8, 2019

 24 Stephen Henry Schneider

Stephen Henry Schneider
3
Famous As: Climatologist
Birthdate: February 11, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: July 19, 2010

 25 Florence Bascom

Florence Bascom
3
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: July 14, 1862
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 18, 1945

 26 Joseph Leidy

Joseph Leidy
5
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.

 27 James Dwight Dana

James Dwight Dana
3
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: February 12, 1813
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Utica, New York, United States
Died: April 14, 1895

 28 Maurice Ewing

Maurice Ewing
2
Famous As: Geophysicist
Birthdate: May 12, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lockney, Texas, United States
Died: May 4, 1974

 29 Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden

Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden
2
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: September 7, 1829
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 22, 1887

 30 Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin

Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin
2
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: September 25, 1843
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mattoon, Illinois, United States
Died: November 15, 1928

 31 Joseph LeConte

Joseph LeConte
0
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: February 26, 1823
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liberty County, Georgia
Died: July 6, 1901

 32 Charles Steen

Charles Steen
0
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: December 1, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Texas, United States
Died: January 1, 2006

 33 Grove Karl Gilbert

Grove Karl Gilbert
2
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: May 6, 1843
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rochester, New York, United States
Died: May 1, 1918

 34 Robert S. Dietz

Robert S. Dietz
2
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: September 14, 1914
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westfield, New Jersey, United States
Died: May 19, 1995

 35 William Henry Holmes

William Henry Holmes
2
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: December 1, 1846
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harrison County, Ohio, United States
Died: April 20, 1933

 36 Arthur Casagrande

Arthur Casagrande
0
Famous As: Civil engineer, Geotechnician
Birthdate: August 28, 1902
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ajdovščina, Slovenia
Died: September 6, 1981

Arthur Casagrande was an American civil engineer best remembered for making significant contributions to the fields of geotechnical engineering and engineering geology during its infancy. Casagrande is also credited with influencing teaching programs at prestigious institutions like Harvard University during the 1930s. Several awards, such as the Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award, have been named in his honor.

 37 Charles Thomas Jackson

Charles Thomas Jackson
2
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: June 21, 1805
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 28, 1880

 38 Clarence Dutton

Clarence Dutton
2
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: May 15, 1841
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wallingford, Connecticut, United States
Died: January 4, 1912

 39 William John McGee

William John McGee
2
Famous As: Geologist, Anthropologist, & Ethnologist
Birthdate: April 17, 1853
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Farley, Iowa, United States
Died: September 4, 1912

 40 Athelstan Spilhaus

Athelstan Spilhaus
2
Famous As: Oceonographer
Birthdate: November 25, 1911
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa
Died: March 30, 1998

 41 Bruce C. Heezen

Bruce C. Heezen
0
Famous As: Geologist, Oceanographer
Birthdate: April 11, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vinton, Iowa, United States
Died: June 21, 1977

 42 James Hall

James Hall
0
Famous As: Geologist, Paleontologist
Birthdate: September 12, 1811
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hingham, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 7, 1898

Best known for his contribution to the geosynclinal theory of mountain building, paleontologist and geologist James Hall had also taught at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and worked at the Geological Survey of New York. The National Academy of Sciences member had also penned works such as The Paleontology of New York.

 43 Matilda Coxe Stevenson

Matilda Coxe Stevenson
1
Famous As: Ethnologist
Birthdate: May 12, 1849
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: San Augustine, Texas, United States
Died: June 24, 1915

 44 Raphael Pumpelly

Raphael Pumpelly
1
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: September 8, 1837
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Owego, New York, United States
Died: August 10, 1923

 45 David S. McKay

David S. McKay
1
Famous As: Astrobiology
Birthdate: September 25, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Titusville, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 20, 2013

David S. McKay was an astrobiologist who provided geology training to the first men to walk on the moon during the Apollo program in the 1960s. He worked as chief scientist for astrobiology at the Johnson Space Center. He extensively studied lunar dust and wrote over 200 papers on the topic. The asteroid 6111 Davemckay is named in his honor.  

 46 Laurence McKinley Gould

Laurence McKinley Gould
1
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: August 22, 1896
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Michigan, United States
Died: June 21, 1995

 47 Nathaniel Shaler

Nathaniel Shaler
1
Famous As: Paleontologist
Birthdate: February 20, 1841
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newport, Kentucky, United States
Died: April 10, 1906

Nathaniel Shaler was an American geologist and paleontologist. He is best remembered for his writings on the scientific and theological implications of the theory of evolution. Shaler is also remembered for his association with Harvard University where he served as Dean of Sciences. He was also regarded as one of the most popular teachers in the university.

 48 Curtis F. Marbut

Curtis F. Marbut
1
Famous As: Soil Scientist
Birthdate: 1863 AD
Birthplace: Vernona, Missouri, United States
Died: 1935 AD

 49 Amadeus William Grabau

Amadeus William Grabau
1
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: January 9, 1870
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cedarburg, Wisconsin, United States
Died: March 20, 1946

Born to German immigrants in New York, Amadeus William Grabau had initially apprenticed as a bookbinder and later studied geology at MIT and Harvard. His research on stratigraphy and paleoecology in China earned him the title of the father of Chinese geology. He has also worked for the Japanese Army.

 50 Brent Dalrymple

Brent Dalrymple
0
Famous As: Geologist
Birthdate: May 9, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Alhambra, California