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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Charles Sainte-Claire Deville

< Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)

Geologist, b. at St. Thomas, West Indies, 26 February, 1814; d. in Paris 10 October, 1876. Going to Paris at an early age, he entered the Ecole des Mines and studied there. His first work in the scientific field included a series of explorations in the Antilles, in which he gave special attention to seismic and volcanic phenomena. He returned in 1855, and three years later visited Vesuvius and Stromboli in pursuit of his volcanic studies. He evolved the theory that volcanic eruptions are due to the entrance of sea water into the fissures of the earth's crust; coming in contact with hot rocks, it produces the explosive and eruptive manifestations. This was confirmed in his mind by the fact that so many volcanoes are near the sea-coast. In 1857 he became a member of the Académie des Sciences of Paris. He was an assistant to Elie de Beaumont in the Collége de France, and succeeded him as professor in 1875. Previous to this (in 1872) he had been made Inspector General of the Meteorological Service. He established a chain of meteorologic stations through France and Algiers, and was first president of the observatory in Mountsouris, one of this chain. He replaced Dufrémy in the Académie des Sciences. He also did much work in chemistry, notably in the analysis of minerals and also in molecular physics. Since 1862 he had been an officer of the Legion of Honour. His works, including papers and notes in "Comptes Rendus" and in the "Annales de Chimie" are very numerous; the most important are the following: "Etudes géologiques sur les Iles de Ténériffe et de Fogo" (1846), not completed; "Voyage géoIogique aux Antilles et aux Iles de Ténériffe et de, Fogo" (1847); "Lettres à M. Elie de Baumont sur l'éruption du Vésuve"; "Comptes Rendus d l'Académie des Sciences" (1855); "Eruptions actuelles du volcan de Stromboli"; "Recherches sur les principaux phénomènes de metéorologie et de physique terrestre aux Antilles" (1861).

POGGFENDORFF, Biograph. lliterar. Handwörterbuch, III (1898), 2; VAPEREAU, Dict. univ. des contemporains, V (1st ed.); KNELLER, Das Christentum u. die Vertreter der neueren Naturwissenchaften (Freiburg, 1904), tr. KETTLE (St. Louis, 1911).