Jean-Étienne Guettard

Jean-Étienne Guettard (22 September 1715 – 7 January 1786), French naturalist and mineralogist, was born at Étampes, near Paris.

Jean-Étienne Guettard
Jean-Étienne Guettard.jpg
Jean-Étienne Guettard
Born22 September 1715
Died7 January 1786 (1786-01-08) (aged 70)
Scientific career
InfluencesRené Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur
Antoine de Jussieu
Author abbrev. (botany)Guett.

In boyhood, he gained a knowledge of plants from his grandfather, who was an apothecary, and later he qualified as a doctor in medicine. Pursuing the study of botany in various parts of France and other countries, he began to take notice of the relation between the distribution of plants and the soils and subsoils. In this way his attention came to be directed to minerals and rocks.

In 1746, he communicated to the Academy of Sciences in Paris a memoir on the distribution of minerals and rocks, and this was accompanied by a map on which he had recorded his observations. He thus, as remarked by W. D. Conybeare, "first carried into execution the idea, proposed by Martin Lister years before, of geological maps." In the course of his journeys he made a large collection of fossils and figured many of them, but he had no clear ideas about the sequence of strata.

He made observations also on the degradation of mountains by rain, rivers and sea; and he was the first to ascertain the existence of former volcanoes in the district of Auvergne.

In 1759, Guettard was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

He died in Paris on 7 January 1786.

His publications include:

See The Founders of Geology, by Sir A Geikie (1897).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ IPNI.  Guett.