Torell Otto Martin

(05.06.1828 – 11.09.1900)

Swedish geologist, zoologist and polar explorer.

Born in Varberg.

In 1844 he entered the University of Lund to study and in 1853 received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. In 1860 he became an associate of zoology, and in 1866 - a freelance professor of zoology and geology at the University of Lund.

In 1856, Torell traveled to Switzerland to study the glaciers, and in 1857 he visited Iceland for the same purpose. The following year, he, along with N.A-E.Nordensheld and A. Quennerstedt, embarked on his first expedition to Svalbard, and spent the year 1859 on a research trip to Greenland.

During these trips, Torell came up with the idea of organizing a series of polar expeditions, and in 1861 he personally led the first of them, committed to Svalbard. The results of this expedition formed the basis for the subsequent scientific study of the polar regions. In addition to important observations in the field of geography, geology, zoology and botany, during the expedition preliminary temperature observations were made.

No less important were soil samples taken from a depth of 2500 m and containing a large number of life forms. Before that, samples taken from such depth contained only foraminifera. This discovery aroused great interest and gave impetus to subsequent research, in which many states participated.

Torell was the first Swedish explorer to adopt the glacial theory, according to which Scandinavia was covered with continental ice in the Ice Age. He even went further, claiming that continental glaciation from Scandinavia had spread to all regions east and south of the Baltic Sea, where erratic boulders are found.

In 1865 the Royal Dutch Society of Technical and Human Sciences appointed a prize for solving the question of the origin of alien rocks, which are found in separate blocks in northern Holland near Hondsruga. Torell in 1866 - 1867 presented his answer in two parts, for which the society awarded him a gold medal and 150 guilders. In his work, he detailed the erratic phenomenon in Northern Europe and proved that it was associated with the continental glaciation that affected the region in question.

In 1875, Torell presented his views to the German Geological Society, but they were coolly received by German geologists, who continued to adhere to Lyell's drift theory, which recognized icebergs, sea, river and lake ice as the main factor of boulder spacing. However, several years later, German scientists were still forced to recognize and accept the glacial theory.

In 1871, during his teaching activities at the University of Lund, Torell founded a new geological institution - the Swedish Geological Survey (“Geological Bureau”). As its head, he in every way contributed to its transformation into a significant scientific institute.

Torell was a member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Agriculture, and a member of many other Swedish and foreign academic societies.

He died in the town of Brannikka, Sweden.

Territory (Turret Land) in the south of the island of West Spitsbergen.

A glacier consisting of two glaciers (East and West) in the south-west of Torell.

Mountains on Geer Land, West Svalbard Islands. The coordinates are 77° 50.8'N   16° 58'E.

Cape (Ottoneset) in the inner part of Van Meyen-f horde on Geer's Land. Coordinates 77° 50.5'N   16° 49.5'E.

Valley on the east bank of Woodf f Jorda. The coordinates are 79° 30'N    14° 00'E.

The bay ends at the Van Mienfjord on the north coast of the Nathorst peninsula and the moraine on the shore of the bay . The coordinates are 77° 48'N   16° 30'E.


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