Geer Gerhard Jacob de

(02.10.1858 - 23.07.1943)


Swedish geologist and geographer, polar explorer. One of the pioneers of Quaternary geology. Among the greatest achievements of the early period are cited evidence of the isostatic uplift of the Scandinavian Peninsula, as well as work in the field of geomorphology of glacial deposits and paleogeography of the Baltic Sea in the Quaternary.

It comes from the famous Swedish aristocratic family of Brabant origin. His father and older brother held the post of Prime Minister of Sweden.

Born in Stockholm in the family of Baron Louis Gerhard de Geer, at that time the first Minister of Justice in the Government of Sweden, and Caroline de Geer, née Countess Wachtmeister. From 1869, he studied at an elementary school, and from 1873 - at the Stockholm Gymnasium. In 1877, de Geer enrolled at Uppsala University. In May 1879 he received a bachelor of arts degree.

In 1878, De Geer became an employee of the Swedish Geological Survey, initially freelance, then, from 1882, an assistant geologist, and from 1885 a full-time geologist. In 1897, he left his job in the geological service for the sake of being a professor of general and historical geology at Stockholm University.

In 1882, on the recommendation of Otto Torel, de Geer, as a geologist, participated in the Swedish expedition to Spitsbergen in the framework of the first international polar year. This was the beginning of many years of work on the study of the current glaciation of the Svalbard archipelago: from 1882 to 1910, he took part in six expeditions to Svalbard.

De Geer remained a lecturer at the Department of Geology at the University of Stockholm from 1897 to 1924. At university, he served as rector (1902–1910) and vice-chancellor from (1911–1924). In addition, de Geer was a member of the Swedish parliament from 1900 to 1905.

The pinnacle of de Geer’s scientific career can be considered as obtaining the post of President of the 10th International Geological Congress, held in Stockholm in 1910 first, he participated in the preparation of the congress as vice-chairman of the preparatory committee, and since May 1907 - as chairman of the executive committee. In the framework of the congress he gave a lecture which has become a classic “Geochronology of the last 12,000 years”. In addition, before the start of the congress, De Geer conducted an excursion for 65 delegates from 14 countries, during which an inspection of the Diksonfjord in Svalbard was conducted.

After 1924, de Geer focused solely on geochronological research and left the teaching job for the position of the head of the Institute of Geochronology at the University of Stockholm founded by him.

He died in Stockholm, buried in the cemetery Bromma.

Cape (Kapp De Geer) in the north-west of the Danish island, Svalbard. The coordinates are 79° 42'N  10° 45'E.

A small glacier ( De Geerfonna ) south of Lady Franklin Fjord Bay. The coordinates are 80° 00'N  19° 14'E.

Mountain ( De Geerfjellet ) in the head of the Bille-fjord. The coordinates are 78° 40'N   16° 30'E.

An ice-free valley and a river in it in the northeast of the Nordenskiöld Land. The coordinates are 78° 10'N  16° 00'E.

A small bay on the west bank of the Lomfjord in the east of the Ny-Friesland peninsula. The coordinates are 79° 40'N  17° 30'E.


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