Werner, Abraham Gottlob

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Werner, Abraham Gottlob

(ä`brähäm gôt`lōp vĕr`nər), 1750–1817, German geologist. In 1775 he became inspector and teacher in the mining academy at Freiberg, which through his efforts became one of the leading schools in Germany. In the last part of the 18th cent. he was the most notable figure in the investigation of rocks and minerals; he called the new science geognosy and defined it as the study of the layers of mineral matter. He was the first to classify minerals systematically. According to his theory of neptunism, the earth was originally an ocean of water from which were precipitated the solid rocks now forming most of the dry land. Although much of his theory has been rejected, geology is indebted to him for the application of chronology to rock formations as well as for his precise definitions.

Werner, Abraham Gottlob

 

Born Sept. 25, 1750, in Wehrau, near Görlitz; died June 30, 1817, in Dresden. German geologist and mineralogist.

From 1771, Werner studied natural sciences at the University of Leipzig, and from 1775 he taught at the Freiberg Mining Academy. He developed a classification of rocks and minerals that proceeded from their external characteristics and considered their chemical composition. Werner was the head of the widespread, late 18th-century school of geological thought known as Neptunism, according to which all rocks (including volcanic ones) were formed as precipitations from water. Werner was the founder of a major geological school.

REFERENCE

Shafranovskii, I. I. A. G. Vernier: Znamenityi mineralog i geolog. Leningrad, 1968.
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