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Arnold Henry Guyot

Arnold Henry Guyot
Born September 28, 1807
Boudevilliers, Switzerland
Died February 8, 1884
Citizenship American
Nationality Swiss
Fields geology
Influences Louis Agassiz
Australia map compiled by Arnold Henry Guyot and Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard

Arnold Henry Guyot (September 28, 1807 – February 8, 1884), Swiss-American geologist and geographer, was born at Boudevilliers, near Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

He studied at the college of Neuchâtel and in Berlin,Germany, where he began a lifelong friendship with Louis Agassiz. He was professor of history and physical geography at the short-lived Neuchâtel Academy from 1839 to 1848, when he removed, at Agassiz's instance, to the United States, settling in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For several years he was a lecturer for the Massachusetts State Board of Education, and he was professor of geology and physical geography at Princeton from 1854 until death. Today, the building housing the Department of Geosciences at Princeton is named Guyot Hall in his honor.

He ranked high as a geologist and meteorologist. As early as 1838, he undertook, at Agassiz's suggestion, the study of glaciers, and was the first to announce, in a paper submitted to the Geological Society of France, certain important observations relating to glacial motion and structure. Among other things he noted the more rapid flow of the center than of the sides, and the more rapid flow of the top than of the bottom of glaciers; described the laminated or ribboned structure of the glacial ice, and ascribed the movement of glaciers to a gradual molecular displacement rather than to a sliding of the ice mass as held by de Saussure. He subsequently collected important data concerning erratic boulders.

His extensive meteorological observations in America led to the establishment of the United States Weather Bureau, and his Meteorological and Physical Tables (1852, revised ed. 1884) were long standard. His graded series of text-books and wall-maps were important aids in the extension and popularization of geological study in America. In addition to text-books, his principal publications were:

  • Earth and Man, Lectures on Comparative Physical Geography in its Relation to the History of Mankind (translated by Professor CC Felton, 1849)
  • A Memoir of Louis Agassiz (1883)
  • Creation, or the Biblical Cosmogony in the Light of Modern Science (1884).
  • Johnson’s Universal Cyclopaedia (1872) - Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard, Arnold Henry Guyot

He is the namesake of several geographical features, including Guyot Glacier in Alaska, Mount Guyot in North Carolina, and a different Mount Guyot in New Hampshire.

See also


  • James Dwight Dana's Memoir in the Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Science, vol. ii. (Washington, 1886).

External links

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.


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