Horace Bénédict de Saussure

Saussure, Horace Bénédict de


Born Feb. 17, 1740, in Conches, near Geneva; died Jan. 22,1799, in Geneva. Swiss naturalist, the first scientist to investigate the geological structure of the Alps. Professor of natural philosophy at Geneva (1762–86).

Saussure, whose work marked the beginning of the science of descriptive geology, described in detail the occurrence of alpine rocks and the conditions responsible for their formation. He cited the Alps as evidence confirming P. S. Pallas’ theory that strata in the central portion of mountain regions are more steeply inclined than outlying strata. Saussure also did research in meteorology, glaciology, and botany. His name has been given to the finegrained mineral aggregate saussurite.


Voyages dans les Alpes, vols. 1–4. Geneva-Neuchätel, 1779–96.


Belousov, V. V. “O. B. Sossiur—pervyi issledovatel’ stroeniia Al’p.” Priroda, 1940, no. 1.