Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from A-E

Agassiz, Jean Louis Rodolphe

ice moved found studied

[agasee] (1807–73) Swiss–US naturalist and glaciologist: proposed former existence of an Ice Age.

Agassiz owed much of his scientific distinction to the chance of his birth in Switzerland. He studied medicine in Germany, but zoology was his keen interest. He studied under in Paris and then returned home and worked with enthusiasm on fossil fishes, becoming the world expert on them (his book describes over 1700 ancient species of fish).

Holidaying in his native Alps in 1836 and 1837, he formed the novel idea that glaciers are not static, but move. He found a hut on a glacier which had moved a mile over 12 years; he then drove a straight line of stakes across a glacier, and found they moved within a year. Finding rocks which had been moved or scoured, apparently by glaciers, he concluded that in the past, much of Northern Europe had been ice-covered. He postulated an ‘Ice Age’ in which major ice sheets had formed, moved and were now absent in some areas – a form of catastrophism, in contrast to the extreme uniformitarianism of . We now know that a series of ice ages has occurred.

In 1846 Agassiz was invited to the USA to lecture, enjoyed it and stayed to work at Harvard. He found evidence of past glaciation in North America; it too had undergone an Ice Age. His studies on fossil animals could have been used to support ideas on evolution, but in fact Agassiz was America’s main opponent to Darwin’s view that species had evolved.

Agazzari,Agostino [next] [back] Afrikaner Broederbond - THE AFRIKANER WEERSTANDSBEWEGING

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or