Grove Karl Gilbert

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Gilbert, Grove Karl


Born May 6, 1843, in Rochester; died May 1, 1918, in Jackson, Michigan. American geologist and geomorphologist.

Gilbert graduated from the University of Rochester in 1862, becoming a member of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington in 1883. In 1893 and 1909 he was president of the American Geological Society.

Gilbert established the block structure of the Cordilleras. He was the first to identify the special form of intrusion to which he gave the name “laccolith.” He investigated the processes of river erosion and of the transport of detrital material by rivers, as well as the creation of landforms in relation to the structure of the earth’s crust, its movements, and the destructive action of water and wind. In his investigations of the mountains near Lake Bonneville, Gilbert identified two types of tectonic movement, which he called “orogenic” (breaks in the earth’s crust, or folding) and “epeirogenic” (slow vertical movements of large portions of the earth’s crust).


Report on the Geology of the Henry Mountains, 2nd ed. Washington, 1880.
Lake Bonneville. Washington, 1890.
An Introduction to Physical Geography, 2nd ed. New York, 1908. (With A. P. Brigham.)
Glaciers and Glaciation. Washington, 1910.