Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Hubert-André Dumont

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 5
Hubert-André Dumont

by Henry Matthias Brock


Belgian geologist, b. at Liège, 15 Feb., 1809; d. in the same city, 28 Feb., 1857. When only twenty years old he received the gold medal of the Academy of Brussels for his "Description géologique de la province de Liège". This memoir marked an important advance in stratigraphical geology. In 1835 he won a doctorate in mathematical and physical science and in the same year was appointed professor of geology and mineralogy at the University of Liège. He held this position until his death, serving also for a time as rector of the university. His native city has erected a statue in his honour. Dumont was a devout Catholic, and one of his sons entered the Society of Jesus. His principal achievement was his geological map of Belgium, the preparation of which engaged his attention for a number of years. The first edition was issued in 1849. Later and more complete editions followed, the last being "La carte geologique de la Belgique et des contriees voisines representant lea terrains qui se trouvent en dessous du limon hesbayen et du sable campinien au 800,000e".

Dumont's work, together with that of Gosselet on the palaeozoic rocks of Belgium, served as a foundation for a subsequent research in that region. The former in 1848 had divided the Terrain Ardennais into the Devillien, Revinien, and Salmien groups, the Terrain Rhenan into the Gedinnien, Coblentzien, and Ahrien groups, and the Terrain Anthraxifere into the Eifelien, Condrusien, and Houiller groups. This classification, though based on purely local characteristics, was an excellent one both from a lithological and a stratigraphical point of view. He did not, however, deem it necessary to make any extended comparison between the subdivisions which he had distinguished in Belgium and similar groups in other countries. It was his opinion that the same fauna never extended over the whole earth, so that extreme caution was necessary in establishing a parallel between widely separated rocks on the basis of fossils contained in them. Besides the works already mentioned, Dumont was the author of a number of papers characterized by careful observation and great clearness. Among them are: "Notice sur une nouvelle espèce de phosphate ferrique" (Bull. de l'Acad. de Belgique, V); Observations sur la constitution géologique des terrians tertiaires de l'Angleterre comparés à ceux de la Belgique" (Ibid., XIX); "Mémoire sur les terrians traisique et jurassique de la province de Luxemburg" (Mém. de l"Acad., XV). "Etude sur les terrians ardennais et rhénan de l'Ardenne, du Rhin, du Brabant, et du Condroz" (Ibid., XX-XXII).

Fayno, André Dumont, sa vie et ses travaux (Liège, 1858); D'Omalius D'Halloy, Notice sur André Dumont (Brussels, 1858); Zittel, History of Geology and Palaeontology (London, 1901); Kneller, Das Christentum u. die Vertreter der neuren Naturwissenschaft (Freiburg, 1904).

HENRY M. BROCK