How the Earth works – that is, how the continents and oceans form and evolve, how mountain belts grow, why magma pours out onto Earth’s surface, how erosional degradation of continents takes place – is an age-old geological question. These processes take place on such a grand scale, over such broad time spans, that it is difficult for mortals such as us to truly grasp them in our ken. Because of this vast time/space scale, our understanding of how the Earth works requires the collective observations made over centuries by many scientists with varied specialties in order to compile enough ‘foundational’ data to allow us to form an accurate picture of how our Earth works.
A concerted effort to understand the workings of Earth and the organized science of geology, as we know it, began in the 18th century with the studies of James Hutton. It took approximately 250 years for geologists to accrue enough observations and ideas to finally arrive, in the 1960’s, at a broadly accepted, unifying model for how the Earth works – plate tectonics. Some of the figures who made global observations concerning the ‘fit of continents’ are presented in the Early Thinkers section of this website. In this section, we outline the lives and contributions of the major figures who drove the collection of observations and germination of ideas in the Appalachian-Caledonide system, between ca. 1700 and the 1960’s. These geologists built the geological foundation upon which the plate tectonic theory was erected.
James Hutton, the Father of Modern Geology, was born on June 3, 1726 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He grew up during the period known as the Scottish Enlightenment, 1730-1790. This was a time of intense intellectual activity-a unique period in history, one of optimism, improvement and discoveries in industry, commerce, agriculture, science, and arts. Hutton studied medicine and chemistry at the Universities of Edinburgh, Paris, and Leiden in the Netherlands.
Hutton grew up during this period and made considerable contribution to our understanding of Earth processes and the immensity of time. He was an agriculturalist, physician and an outstanding natural philosopher who was in 1783 was a joint founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He inherited two lowland farms in the early 1750s and set about making improvements, introducing farming practices from other parts of Britain, studying agriculture as a scientific discipline. He was involved, between 1767 and 1774, with the construction of the Forth and Clyde canal. His interest in geology developed much earlier-from 1752 when he went to Norfolk to study innovative farming. He travelled extensively in England between 1752 and 1754 always noting the geology.
From 1764 he made extensive tours of Scotland, always with a geologic purpose. He had a remarkable knowledge of the rocks of Britain (particularly in Scotland) and their distribution. Hutton had great skill in knowing what to look for and where to look for it.
It is Hutton’s geological work which. has endured, and on which his fame justly rests. His “Theory of the Earth” presented to the Royal Society of England in 1785 describes the dynamic cyclic earth processes over vast spans of time: one formed by a continuous cycle in which rocks and soil are washed into the sea, compacted into bedrock, forced up to the surface by volcanic processes, and eventually worn away into sediment once again. Hutton cited as evidence at the cliff at Siccar Point, where the juxtaposition of vertical layers of gray shale and overlying horizontal layers of red sandstone can be seen. The boundary between the two rock types at Siccar Point is now called the Hutton Unconformity.
Another of Hutton’s key concepts was the Theory of Uniformitarianism which expresses the belief that geological forces at work in the present day are the same as those that operated in the past.
Hutton showed us how to read the “testimony of rocks” and in doing so revealed the marvel of deep time- a necessary forerunner of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Hugh Baron, BGS, Edinburgh
Extracted from: Wikipedia & Scottish Men of Science
Sir William Edmond Logan was a highly accomplished and renowned 19th century Canadian geologist. Remarkably, he was self-trained and did not embark on his main career as a geologist until age 44. From a long list of accomplishments, he is most recognized as the organizer and first director of the Geological Survey of Canada.
William Logan was born in Montreal, Quebec (1798), the third son of a financially well-off baker and property owner. He was sent to Edinburgh, Scotland to complete high school, and subsequently enrolled in Edinburgh University in 1816. Although academically able, he left university after one year in order to work in his uncle’s counting house in London, where he learned business and managerial skills.
In 1831 Logan moved to another of his uncle’s business interests, the Forest Copper Works, a copper smelting and coal mining establishment near Swansea, Wales. As co-manager, Logan realized that the smelters required a continuous supply of coal, which could only be achieved with the help of accurate maps of coal reserves. Utilizing both surface and subsurface observations, he mapped the coal seams as well as the general succession of rocks in south Wales. The resulting maps and cross sections were so successful that their quality was recognized by the Geological Survey of Great Britain, which adopted and published them. Also, while mapping, Logan established an ‘in situ’ origin for the coal seams and presented these findings to the Geological Society, London in 1840; this deduction, alone, placed him among the trailblazers of geological science.
Following the death of his uncle in 1838, Logan resigned his position, but remained in Wales. At this time, the Canadian parliament allocated funds for a geological survey of the nation. William applied for the position of provincial geologist, and on the strength of his being native Canadian, his skillful mapping in Wales, and outstanding support from friends in Canada and from British geologists such as Sedgwick and Murchison, Logan became the first director of the Geological Survey of Canada (1842). His task was to provide “a full and scientific description of the country’s rocks, soils, and minerals, to prepare maps, diagrams, and drawings, and to collect specimens to illustrate the occurrences.”
Logan’s new position mainly involved active geological mapping, managerial skills to engage and organize capable assistants, both in the field and in the laboratory, and political finesse in order to justify continuation of the survey to legislators. He established a museum in Montreal to house collections of the survey and to educate the public and legislators as to the practical benefits of the survey. He undertook field work in the Maritime provinces, and the present-day provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
By the 1850’s, Logan’s skills as a geologist gained recognition, as he began reaping the first of multiple awards; he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (1851), awarded the French Cross of the Legion of Honor (1855), the Wollaston Medal (1856). His greatest honor was being knighted by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle (1856). In addition, in 1843 his assistants named the highest peak in the western Chic Choc range, Quebec, in his honor, Mt. Logan. This mountain is not to be confused with the highest peak in Canada, Mt. Logan in the Yukon, also named in his honor.
Although Logan’s contributions to geological literature are not extensive, his published work culminated with the 1863 volume Geology of Canada, a massive 983 p. tome, which long served as a basic reference for geological work. Sir William also published the first geological map of Canada (1869; although dated 1866 on map), although this same map was part of an earlier atlas (1864).
In the context of the Appalachian Mountains, Logan is known for first recognizing an important structural zone near the western edge of the range, between mildly deformed sedimentary rocks from more complexly deformed, allochthonous sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. This structural zone, was subsequently traced northeasterly into Newfoundland, and southerly into the northeast U.S. and is now known as Logan’s Line. Logan also applied the name ‘Laurentian’ to the crystalline rocks north of Ottawa, a name that eventually evolved into the paleogeographic term for Paleozoic North America.
Sir William Logan retired from the survey in 1869 and took up residence with his sister in Lldechryd, Wales, returning to Canada several times before his death in 1875.
William Barton (1804 – 1882) and Henry Darwin (1808 – 1866) Rodgers were highly respected 19th American scientists with a variety of individual achievements, but who are known amongst geologists for their collaborative studies on the geology of the central Appalachian mountain chain.
They were the 2nd and 3rd sons, respectively, of parents who had immigrated from Ireland. Their father practiced medicine and later was a professor of natural philosophy and mathematics. Both brothers were born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, William in 1804, Henry in 1808, and were educated in Baltimore public schools, where they had moved in 1813; they moved again in 1819 to Williamsburg, Virginia, where their father took a faculty position at the College of William and Mary. Both brothers attended the college, but apparently neither received a degree there. Following their father’s death (1828), William succeeded his father as professor of natural philosophy and mathematics, whereas Henry became a faculty member at Dickinson College. Henry left Dickinson for England, where among other interests, he became intrigued by geology. On his return to the U.S. (1833), Henry’s enthusiasm for geology prompted William to begin studies in this field. William, now a professor at the University of Virginia, soon lobbied the Virginia legislature to start a geological survey and he was appointed state geologist in 1835. During this time, Henry had earned a Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania (1834) and became professor of mineralogy and geology there in 1835. He was also asked to lead a geological survey of New Jersey (1835), following which the state of Pennsylvania appointed him state geologist (1836).
It was at this time that the brothers started collaborative studies that would span the years of 1835-1842. One important contribution was that they determined the sedimentary rock succession in the Appalachians of Pennsylvania and the Virginias. However, they are most recognized for their remarkably accurate descriptions and illustrations of folds of the Valley and Ridge province – including their length, regularity, parallelism (even through bends in trend), consistent asymmetry, and relation to thrust faults. Although they produced multiple reports and maps during this time, their studies were best summarized in their classic paper On the physical structure of the Appalachian chain, as exemplifying the laws which have regulated the elevation of great mountain chains, generally, in the 1843 Association of American Geologists and Naturalists Reports. In addition to extraordinary structural observations and descriptions, this paper outlined their ideas on the origin of mountains. They argued that the consistency of the Valley and Ridge province could not have resulted from vertical forces beneath each individual fold, but had to reflect a regular system of forces acting tangentially across the folded belt. They visualized the causative forces to be the result of catastrophic volcanic explosions to the southeast, which rumpled the sedimentary rocks like a rug held at one edge.
Although their explanation of mountain building was not generally accepted, their clear observations and generalization of facts greatly influenced structural geologists around the Atlantic. To this day, fold and thrust structure like that of the Valley and Ridge in the central Appalachians is considered “Appalachian”.
Funding for geological surveys was dependent on politics, and thus was inherently unstable; because of this issue, their most active years of Appalachian studies were finished by 1842. William continued on at the University of Virginia until 1853, when he moved to Boston and was a founder and first president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Henry provided services as a coal expert until 1857, when he became a professor of natural history and geology at Glasgow University. Henry passed away in Glasgow in 1866 and was buried in Edinburgh. William died abruptly during a speech at the MIT commencement program of 1882; reportedly, his last words were “bituminous coal”. Because of his affiliation with Virginia, the highest peak in the state, Mt. Rogers was named in honor of William.
Alexander Murray was a colorful Scottish geologist and explorer who is known best for his geological studies as the first director of the Geological Survey of Newfoundland.
Murray was born in Crieff, Scotland in 1810 and was educated at the Royal Navy Academy. Murray joined the Royal Navy (1824) and with little prospect for advancement during peacetime, he retired as a lieutenant (1835). He immigrated to Upper Canada in 1836, only to return to Scotland in 1841 due to an economic depression. While in Scotland, he made the acquaintance of William E. Logan (another IAT Pioneer) who offered Murray a job at the newly formed Geological Survey of Canada. Murray lacked geological training, but took to learning all he could; he taught himself surveying and with the sponsorship of Logan, Alex was appointed as an assistant with the Geological Survey of Great Britain (1842-1843).
In 1843, Alex returned to Canada to start his position as assistant provincial geologist to Logan. During his tenure with Logan, Murray almost single-handedly mapped the geology of Upper Canada (modern southern Ontario). In 1850, Logan noted “if I were deprived of Mr. Murray whose duties are of a nature similar to my own & who is competent to explore separately, the Survey [of Canada] would take nearly twice the time without him . . . “.
At age 54 (1864), Murray embarked on a new career; at the invitation of the government of Newfoundland, he accepted the position as the first director of the Geological Survey of Newfoundland. Murray, and later (1867) with his assistant J.P. Howley, ambitiously undertook the first accurate survey of Newfoundland, producing both topographic and geologic maps of the island. He severely injured his leg (1866) and was crippled for life, yet continued field work until 1880. Murray produced the first geological map of Newfoundland (1873), only to have to cover the cost of printing with personal funds. This map, as well as his reports with Howley, demonstrated the rich resources that lay in the interior of the island and were an important factor in the building of a trans-island railway in 1881; the railway served to open up this previously unknown part of the island to economic development. Although responsible for many maps and reports, the main publications for which Murray is recognized are the Geological Map of Newfoundland and the Geological Survey of Newfoundland, a 536 p. compendium of survey reports by Murray and Howley.
Alexander Murray was distinguished for his achievements in surveying and geology by Queen Victoria, when she appointed him to the Order of St. Michael and St. George (1875). In addition, he was admitted to the Royal Society of Canada (1882). In 1883 Murray’s health declined and he returned to Scotland, where he passed away in Crieff (1884).
The memory of Murray and his achievements live on at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where the Earth Sciences department is housed in the Alexander Murray building and the undergraduate student society is named the Alexander Murray Geological Club.
James Hall was one of the most prominent North American scientists of the 19th century. He attained this status through multiple achievements, most notable including founder and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1856), charter member of the National Academy of Sciences (1863), co-founder and first president of the Geological Society of America (1889), and first president of the International Geological Congress (1875). Internationally, he was the best -known American geologist of his time. He is known primarily as a paleontologist, but of more relevance in the context of the IAT, he is most widely recognized for his theory of the origin of mountains.
Hall was born in Hingham, Massachusetts (1811), the oldest of four children in a family of limited means; however, he benefitted from the tutelage of a gifted public-school teacher. He obtained both his undergraduate (with honors, 1832) and Master’s (1833) degrees from the Rensselaer School (now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; subsequently, he was made full professor of geology at the school (1836). His most recognized studies were completed under the auspices of the New York Geological Survey, with which he started a lifetime association in 1836.
Hall was a prolific research scientist, but of particular interest here is his theory of the origin of mountains. He first presented the theory in his 1857 presidential address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Originally, publication of his theory was buried as parts of larger studies, including a report to the Iowa Survey (1858) and in part 6 of the Paleontology of New York (1859); it was not until 1883 that his theory was the focus of a paper, Contributions to the geological history of the North American Continent published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science Proceedings for the 31st annual meeting in Montreal.
Hall’s theory was based on observations he made in New York as well as during a variety of trips west, into the Midwest. He observed that undeformed sedimentary rocks that extended from western New York into the Midwest are relatively thin compared to the deformed Appalachian rocks of eastern New York even though both formed during the same early Paleozoic time span and were deposited in shallow water. He reasoned that there must be some relationship between the greater thickness of shallow water sedimentary rocks in the Appalachians and their deformed nature. The Appalachian region, he deduced, must have subsided more than areas to the west and he suggested that the greater subsidence resulted from gradual yielding of the crust beneath the weight of the sediments. Along the axis of the subsiding area, the sedimentary rocks were folded, faulted, and in places, intruded by igneous rocks. Subsequently, uplift and erosion produced the mountain belt.
This explanation was criticized as ‘a theory of the origin of mountains with the origin of mountains left out’ by James Dana, another IAT Geological Pioneer, for it did not directly address how the mountains were uplifted. However, Hall’s fundamental observation that sedimentary rocks were thicker in the orogen than on the adjacent continent proved to be the basis of the geosynclinal theory that predominated tectonic reasoning for the ensuing 100+ years and has found explanation in modern plate tectonics. In light of plate tectonics, we now recognize the easterly thickening wedge of early Paleozoic sedimentary rocks represents the passive continental margin of ancient North America, which was subsequently the site of collision (orogenesis) with oceanic elements, volcanic arcs, and eventually Gondwana, thus causing uplift and forming the Appalachian mountains.
James Hall is also renowned for his masterwork 13 volume monograph, The Paleontology of New York. A residence hall at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute bears his name, Hall Hall.
James Dwight Dana was an outstanding North American scientist of the 19th century who made important contributions to the fields of geology, mineralogy, volcanology, and zoology; in addition, he was a pioneer in the study of mountain-building and the origin and structure of the continents and oceans. He was a world traveler, undertaking studies in the Mediterranean Sea as well as scientific trips to the Pacific Ocean. These voyages imbued him with a global perspective and sharpened his ability of grand scale geological synthesis. Dana is also noted as the author of popular text books on mineralogy and geology. His Manual of Geology (1862) was considered the ‘Bible of geology’ and occupied space on the bookshelf of virtually every North American geologist for more than four decades. As well, Dana served as editor in chief of the venerable American Journal of Science.
Dana was born in Utica, New York (1813), the oldest of ten children of a hardware merchant and his wife. Following his public schooling in Utica, he attended Yale University, where he studied under the noted Benjamin Silliman, Sr. and graduated in 1833. He was appointed Silliman Professor of Natural History and Geology at Yale in 1850, where he remained until his retirement in 1890.
We elected James Dana to the IAT Pioneers of Appalachian Geology on the basis of his contributions to the study of mountain-building. He was a contemporary of another IAT Pioneer, James Hall, who had proposed a theory for the origin of mountains. Although he agreed with Hall’s basic observation that sedimentary deposits thickened from the continent interior eastward, into the Appalachian orogen. Hall believed that the weight of the thicker sediments caused down-warping and orogenesis. Dana appraised Hall’s weak interpretation as ‘a theory of the origin of mountains with the origin of mountains left out’. Influenced by observations he made on his travels, particularly to the Pacific Ocean, Dana envisaged fundamental differences between continents and ocean basins, and he believed that cooling of the Earth led to crustal compression. Greatest yielding to such compression was between the continents and oceans along down-warped belts that accumulated greater thicknesses of sediment than on the adjacent continent. Thus, in contrast to Hall, James Dana viewed the downward bending of the crust as due to outside forces, rather than the weight of accumulated sediments. Dana coined the term ‘geosyncline’ for these down-warped belts. Subsequently, geosynclines were destroyed by the very same compression responsible for their beginnings. He summarized these ideas in a paper “On some results of the earth’s contraction from cooling including a discussion of the origin of mountains and the nature of the earth’s interior” published in the American Journal of Science (1873). The concept of the geosyncline dominated thought on global tectonics for the ensuing century. Because the concept of the geosyncline is based on Appalachian observations, the Appalachian system is considered the type geosyncline.
In his later career, Dana became involved in a local stratigraphic problem in the Taconic mountains of western New England. In conjunction with the work of others, Dana demonstrated that this Taconic sequence, including metamorphosed rocks, was Cambrian-Ordovician and not Precambrian, as others thought. Determining the age of these rocks fixed the date of the first important epoch of orogenic disturbance in the Appalachian Mountains, termed the Taconic Revolution, and also helped disavow the general idea that metamorphic rocks are Precambrian.
James Dana’s views on the structure of the Earth and the origin of mountains were surprisingly modern, anticipating some general tenets of plate tectonics. Dana was a broad-thinking, disciplined, scientist as well as a devout Christian; commonly, his religious ideas influenced his scientific writings. Of the many honors and awards conferred upon him during his career, he was perhaps most gratified by the remark of former President Thiers of France that he had been much strengthened in his faith by the writings of “Monsieur Dana, a professor at New Haven.”
Born John William to a Scottish bookseller and his family in Pictou Nova Scotia, William was the benefactor of learned acquaintances early in his life and later at university in Edinburgh that helped guide his geological path in life. He met Sir Charles Lyell early in his adulthood, and impressed the senior scientist with his insights into the geological correlations of the Carboniferous and Permian sequences of Atlantic Canada with those in Europe. Lyell and Dawson had an abiding loyalty and friendship throughout their lives, and Lyell remained a deep influence on Dawson’s thinking. Dawson authored what to many is still considered the best work of its kind on the geology of Atlantic Canada, ‘Acadian Geology’, first published in 1855 and updated continuously until shortly before his death. He consulted actively with colleagues in Britain and the United States, and drew parallels with the fossil and geological records on both sides of the Atlantic. His observations are summed in his acceptance speech as President of the British Academy of Sciences, published by the Geological Society of London in 1888: ‘On the Eozoic and Palaeozoic rocks of the Atlantic coast of Canada, in comparison with those of western Europe and of the interior of America’. The correlations and comparisons that he drew make all the more sense to us now with the hindsight of plate tectonic theory.
A deeply religious man, he is often wrongly labelled a creationist because of his reticence in accepting that humans evolved from primates as proposed by Darwin. He was a proponent of ‘Deep Time’, but also recognized stasis in the fossil record that would not be addressed by evolutionary theory until well into the Twentieth Century. His proposition that the fossil record extended much farther back into deep time than anyone was willing to accept hinged on his identification of stromatolite-like structures that he named Eozoon canadense. His identification has since been repudiated as inorganic structures, but ironically, stromatolites are now widely accepted as the earliest record of fossil life.
A lasting legacy of Dawson’s work is his lifelong investigation of the cliffs at Joggins, Nova Scotia, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, in 1852, he and Sir Charles Lyell discovered tetrapod remains in the standing Coal Age tree fossils, their work being described by Darwin in his Origin of Species. Dawson considered his ground-breaking work on Devonian plants both his opus and his greatest disappointment, as his treatise was refused publication by the Royal Society after the society’s rare admittance into their ranks of a ‘colonial’. Undaunted, Dawson persevered, working more closely with his less class-conscious colleagues in the United States. Dawson was recognized early on by his peers south of the 49th parallel, becoming president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1857. Twenty-nine years later, the British Association followed suit and elected him president, the first time that the positions would be held by the same individual. Dawson was instrumental in forming the Royal Society of Canada, was knighted in 1884, and for 38 years held the position of Principal at McGill University, Montreal, where he is widely credited with its rise to an international school of learning.
John Calder, with input from Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
Bailey Willis was a highly regarded American geologist whose work encompassed a wide and varied spectrum of interests over the course of a long lifetime. His principal profession was that of field geologist and theoretician with special interests in structural geology and seismology; in our context of the Appalachians, he is best remembered for his structural studies in the Valley and Ridge province of the southern Appalachians.
Willis was born in the Hudson River valley near Cornwall, New York in 1857. His father, a poet and publisher, passed away when he was 10 and his mother sent him to Germany for his high school education. He returned to the U.S. to earn undergraduate degrees in mining engineering (1878) and civil engineering (1879) from Columbia University. His geological career started in 1879, when Clarence King, then organizing the newly formed U.S. Geological Survey, recommended Willis to Raphael Pumpelly. Pumpelly was engaged in geological surveys for the Northern Pacific Railway, and hired Willis as a field geologist, mainly tracing coal beds in Washington Territory.
In 1884, Willis joined the U.S. Geological Survey, where Major J.W. Powell gave him his first assignment – to assess reports of coal on a Sioux reservation; during this project, it is said that he diplomatically overcame the opposition of a leader who claimed to have killed George Custer. Bailey rose to director of the Appalachian division of the USGS in 1889. He undertook detailed mapping of portions of the southern Appalachians and utilized his laboratory to model the structures revealed by his mapping. In the lab, he layered various thicknesses of different materials in a box, loaded the layers with shot to replicate the weight of overlying strata, and horizontally compressed the layers with a screw mechanism. His models realistically reproduced folds and faults that he had mapped in the field. Combined, his field observations and models of structures led to a new concept of deformation and of the sequence of events in the geological history of the region. He published these results in a now classic USGS annual report (1893) entitled “Mechanics of Appalachian Structure”. This study brought him national and international acclaim as a world class leader in structural geology.
Bailey Willis also made significant inroads into stratigraphy by publishing on the necessity for standard procedures in stratigraphic classification (1901); his ideas presaged those of the Stratigraphic Code, which was formulated some 60 years later. In addition, he published the impressive volume Index to the stratigraphy of North America (1911). Maps were yet another form of Willis’s myriad contributions – he published the first geological map of North America (1906) and soon after Paleogeographic Maps of North America (1909).
Interspersed with these ‘domestic’ studies, he made time to globetrot. Willis led an expedition across northern China (1903-1904), which resulted in a four-volume report and folio that is regarded as an important early contribution to Chinese geology. From 1910-1914 he served as a consulting geologist to the Argentine government, exploring for mineral resources and assessing the irrigation potential of northern Patagonia.
Soon after his return from South America, Bailey resigned his position at the USGS and accepted an invitation to become professor and chair at the Dept. of Geology, Stanford University. He retired from Stanford in 1922, but he was far from ending his career. Living in California stimulated Willis to learn all he could about active faults and seismology. From 1921-1926 he served as president of the Seismological Society of America, during which time he compiled a Fault map of California (with H. Wood, 1922) and published on the seismic hazards and risk of the state. During this time, he also authored a textbook, Geological Structures (1923), with new editions in 1929 and 1934. Notably, he was also one of the most outspoken opponents of continental drift, a popular notion of the times.
Willis accrued numerous honors during his career, including election to the National Academy of Sciences (1920), presidency of the Geological Society of America (1929), award of the legion of honor, Belgium (1936), the Penrose Medal of the Geological Society of America (1944), and Distinguished Lecturer of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (1945).
Bailey Willis passed away in Palo Alto, California in February, 1949. It is difficult to include all of his adventures and accomplishments in such a short biography; however, it is clear that Willis was a remarkably energetic, productive, and effective scientist. The north face of Mt. Rainier is named the Willis Wall in his honor; he pioneered this new route to the summit in 1896.
Anna Isabel Jonas was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey in 1881. She grew to be a small woman; only 4 feet 11 inches and 100 pounds but her ideas had huge impact on our understanding of the creation of the Central and Southern Appalachian Ranges. Anna began her formal education at Friends Central School in Philadelphia and received her undergraduate education as well as graduate education at Bryn Mawr College, finishing her A.B. degree in 1904, her A.M. degree in 1905 and Ph.D. in 1912. She taught in the Geological laboratories in 1905 and 1906 and was an assistant curator in the Bryn Mawr Geological Museum from 1908 to 1909.
Anna’s college mentor was Florence Bascom, the first woman to receive the Ph.D at Johns Hopkins. Bascom’s first teaching job (1884-5) en route to her Ph.D. at Hopkins was at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, teaching native American and African American students at Bryn Mawr. R.V. Dietrich revealed in his 1977 memorial to Anna that she brought forward Bascom’s gift by underwriting all the expenses of a medical education for the son of a black messenger at the U.S. Geological Survey.
Anna was associated with the U.S.G.S from 1930 to her retirement in 1954, and also contributed to the Maryland and Pennsylvania Geological Surveys from 1919 to 1937. In 1938 Anna married George W. Stose, an outstanding U.S.G.S. stratigrapher. She spent her most productive years in the Central and Southern Appalachians as a field geologist for the Virginia Geological Survey based in Charlottesville from 1926 to 1945. During this tenure she applied newly developed alpine tectonic models, learned in French and German while at Bryn Mawr, to explain complex geological structures and meta¬morphic history gleaned by careful microscopic study of Appalachian crystalline rocks.
Anna’s major breakthroughs came in her 1927 Society of America Bulletin paper “Geological Reconnaissance in the Piedmont of Virginia”, followed by the publication of the Virginia State Map of 1928, then “Structure of the Metamorphic belt of the Central Appalachians” by the Geological Society in 1939 and “Structure of the Metamorphic Belt of the Southern Appalachians” published in the American Journal of Science in 1932. Anna was almost solely responsible for delineating the complex geology of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge on the 1928 Virginia State Geologic map which was the first and only version to have serial cross sections printed in color on the map. The alpine overthrust structures portrayed in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont Rocks on these cross sections were too far ahead of their time for central and southern Appalachian geologists to accept in 1928. However later seismic profiling stimulated by the need for energy resources have shown she was largely correct.
“It seems very likely that Anna Isabel Jonas Stose observed and recorded more exposures of more rock units in the crystalline Appalachians than any other geologist has or probably will in the future. Moreover, she gave all subsequent Appalachian geologists a basic picture to modify and perfect.” R.V. Dietrich, 1977, Memorial to Anna I. Jonas Stose, 1881 -1974, Geological Society of America Bulletin, v.6 p. 1-6.
William Sinclair Henika
German structural geologist Hans Cloos was born on November 8th, 1885 in Magdeburg, Germany and died in Germany in 1951.
Following World War 1, he began a study of granites and their interior structure. In 1919 he became professor of geology at the University of Breslau. In 1926 Cloos left Breslau to become professor of geology at the University of Bonn. He made research trips to explore Scandinavia, England, and North America which resulted in his work “Construction and movement of the mountains of North America, Scandinavia and Central Europe”(1928).
Professor Hans Cloos made pioneering studies of rock deformation, including granite tectonics. He employed scaled analogue models to study the physical mechanics of faulting and folding and how continents developed their structure.
In 1948 the Geological Society of America presented him its highest award, the Penrose Medal. His many publications are pioneering work on granite tectonics and the formation of continents.
Walter Anderson, Modified from Wikipedia
Ernst Cloos was born on May 17, 1898 in Saarbrucken, Germany. He attended the University of Freiburg, Germany and transferred to the University of Breslau, but he also spent a short period at the University of Gottingen. In1923 Cloos graduated with a Ph.D. in geology. In 1930 he travelled to the U.S. to study the Sierra Nevada batholith in California with a grant from the German Government. In1932 he was offered a position at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore Maryland. He remained there for the rest of his career. He served as department chair from 1952 to 1963 and single-handedly rebuilt the department. He also served as director of the Maryland Geological Survey in 1962 and 1963. Ernst Cloos retired in 1968 to professor emeritus, but remained active until his death on May 28, 1974.
Ernst Cloos established a stellar reputation in geology based upon his meticulous attention to detail and concentration on the processes of deformation, rather than just the regional relations. He carried out his field research and stratigraphic studies employing petro-fabrics and using the tools of thin-sections, the “equal area net”, petrography, and petrology. He developed new methods to evaluate strain in rocks using oolites that is now widely applied and unsurpassed for accuracy. He studied boudinage in a paper of the same name with the same methodical manner using examples from the central Appalachians as well as cleavage, lineation and slicken side development.
He is an author of at least 65 scientific publications in international professional volumes and government reports. Many of these papers are seminal works on the structure and tectonics of the Appalachians as well as experimental structural investigations. He was a member of the U.S. Academy of Science and Letters and awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Johns Hopkins University as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Walter Anderson / National Academy of Science,1980