UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis
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Karstbase Bibliography Database

Gauchon, Christophe
Horace-bÉnÉdict de saussure (1740-1799), the summitter of mont-blanc who explored alpine caves

Horace-Bénédict de Saussure devoted his whole life to the study of the Western Alps and their geology. In his works, and especially in his “Travels in the Alps” (4 volumes, 1779-1796), he gave the description of a dozen of caves and karst phenomena located in the Alps of Savoy, in Jura, in Provence and in England. He was not alone taking an interested in caves, and he had an important letter-writing correspondence with various scientists who explored caves too in France. His explorations took part in a general thought about alpine geology: in the caves, Saussure measured temperatures, he observed speleothems (maybe the first mention of a flowstonefloor), he demonstrated the presence of former floods he couldn’t explain. In his scientific legacy, “agenda for observation and research”, he pointed out the necessity of an accurate investigation in caves for the improvement of geology.

Saussure, caves, flowstone-floor, Balme, Alpes, Jura, Savoie, Salève