Early Geologists in Louisiana


  • Hubert C. Skinner


Louisiana was one of the first areas in America distant from the Atlantic Ocean to attract the attention of travellers and other observers who made geological commentaries on the regions they visited. The great Mississippi River and reports about the potential of the river for trade and access to the immense interior of North America formed the basis for this attraction. Before the year 1900, more than forty individuals did important geological work or made significant observations about the geology of the state of Louisiana. In 1899, Gilbert D. Harris and Arthur C. Veatch reviewed the contributions of many of these observers in some detail. Among the early contributors, the work of five men can be considered to be major in its significance to the knowledge of Louisiana geology. These are, in chronological order, John L. Riddell, Sir Charles Lyell, Raymond Thomassy, Eugene W. Hilgard, and Gilbert D. Harris.