The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Desor, Edward

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DESOR, Edward, a Swiss geologist and naturalist, born at Friedrichsdorf, Hesse-Homburg, Feb. 11, 1811. He studied law at Giessen and Heidelberg, was compromised in the republican movements of 1832-'3, and escaped to Paris. Here his attention was drawn to geology; he made excursions with Élie de Beaumont, and in 1837 met Agassiz at a meeting of naturalists in Neufchâtel, and with Gressli and Vogt became his active collaborator, contributing the essays for vol. iii. of his Monographie d'echinodermes vivants et fossiles (Neufchâtel, 1842). He also published Excursions et sejours dans les glaciers et les hautes régions des Alpes de M. Agassiz et de ses compagnons de voyage (Neufchâtel, 1844). After spending a few years in the north of Europe, especially in Scandinavia, investigating the erratic phenomena peculiar to that region, he accompanied Agassiz in 1847 to the United States, found employment in the coast survey, and made with Whitney, Foster, and Rogers a geological survey of the mineral district of Lake Superior. Returning to Neufchâtel in 1852, he investigated with Gressli the orography of the Jura for industrial purposes, and was appointed professor of geology. He published subsequently Geologische Beschreibung der neufchateler Jura (with Gressli); Synopsis des échinides fossiles (Paris, 1857-'9); and De l'orographie des Alpes dans ses rapports avec la géologie (Neufchâtel, 1862). Having been made a citizen of the community of Ponts, he was elected a member of the cantonal grand council, of which he became president. In the winter of 1863 he visited Algeria and the Sahara, and published Aus Sahara und Atlas (Leipsic, 1865). The discovery of the lake dwellings induced him to pursue the study of archæology, and the results of his researches are given in Les palafittes, ou constructions lacustres du lac de Neufchâtel (Paris, 1865; German, Leipsic, 1866). The most important of his recent publications is Échinologie helvétique (Paris, 1869-'7l), prepared in conjunction with Loriol.