Waldemar Lindgren

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Lindgren, Waldemar


Born Feb. 14, 1860, in Sweden; died Nov. 3, 1939, in Brighton, Mass. American geologist and researcher of ore deposits.

In 1883, Lindgren graduated from the Academy of Mines in Freiberg. In 1883 he emigrated to Chile and in 1884 to the United States. From 1898 he was an associate professor at Stanford University. He joined the US Geological Survey in 1884, where he was chief geologist from 1911. From 1912, Lindgren was professor of economic geology and chairman of the department of geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was chairman of the geology and geography department of the US National Research Council (1927).

Lindgren participated in geological research connected with the operations of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company. From 1884 he studied ore deposits in the United States, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Italy, Australia, Mexico, Chile, and Bolivia. Much of Lindgren’s scientific work is devoted to the geology of ore deposits, and his most important works are related to the elaboration (in 1903) of a genetic classification of mineral deposits. The classification was based on the physicochemical parameters (pressure, temperature) that regulate mineral deposit formation.

Using his classification, Lindgren established the following groups of mineral deposits: (1) those formed on the earth’s surface through mechanical processes of the concentration of the mineral mass under moderate pressure and temperature; (2) those formed on the bottom of surface bodies of water under moderate temperature and variable pressure; and (3) those formed in rock under various temperature and pressure conditions. In the last group, Lindgren distinguished mineral concentrations formed contemporaneously with enclosing rock (syngenetic) and deposits originating after the formation of the rock (epigenetic) from magma, magmatic water solutions, and water solutions not related to the magma.

Lindgren was a member of the US National Academy of Sciences (president from 1924), an honorary member of academies and scholarly societies in a number of countries, and president of the International Geologic Congress in 1933. He was awarded the Penrose Gold Medal of the Geological Society of America in 1933.


In Russian translation:
Mineral’nye mestorozhdeniia, vols. 1–3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934–35.


Graton, L. C. “Life and Scientific Work of Waldemar Lindgren.” In Ore Deposits of Western States: Lindgren Volume. New York, 1933.
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