(b. Kalmar, Sweden, 14 February 1860;d. Brookline, Massachusetts, 3 November 1939),
The leading contributor in his generation to the science of ore deposition, Lindgren stressed the dominance of igneous processes in ore formation, developed a still-useful classification of the metaso-matic processes in fissure veins, and was one of the first to identify contact-metamorphic ore bodies in North America. He pioneered in the application of the petrographic microscope to the study of ores and their constituent minerals. The unified study of the geology and ore deposits of extensive regions, which he inaugurated, led to important ideas concerning metallogenetic epochs and laid the foundations for modern concepts of metallogenetic provinces.
The son of Johan Magnus Lindgren, a judge of a provincial court, and Emma Bergman Lindgren, whose ancestors had been important in the history of Sweden for more than three centuries, Waldemar Lindgren displayed a keen interest in mines and minerals when he was young. Encouraged by his parents, he entered the Royal Mining Academy at Freiberg, Saxony, at the age of eighteen. Graduating in 1882 with the degree of mining engineer, he remained there for postgraduate studies in metallurgy and chemistry until, in June 1883, he sailed for America with the hope of participating in the mining and geological activity then flourishing in the western United States. Letters from professors at Freiberg introduced him to Raphael Pumpelly and George F. Becker, and in November 1884 he began an association with the U.S. Geological Survey that continued for thirty-one years.
At first Lindgren was assigned to field work that took him from one western mining district to another; then, in 1905, he became head of the section in the Division of Mineral Resources devoted to the non-ferrous metals, and in 1908 he was made chief of the Division of Metalliferous Geology. Appointed chief geologist of the Survey in 1911, he resigned from that post in 1912 to become William Barton Rogers professor of geology and head of the department of geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There he served with great distinction, well past the normal retirement age of seventy, until he became professor emeritus in 1933.
A founder of Economic Geology in 1905, Lindgren continued as an associate editor of that journal for the rest of his life. While he was chairman of the Division of Geology and Geography of the National Research Council in 1927 and 1928, he established the Annotated Bibliography of Economic Geology and subsequently supervised the abstracting of an enormous volume of current literature, foreign as well as American. He also found time to serve as consulting geologist for mining companies in Canada, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, and Australia. In 1886 he married Ottolina Allstrim of Goteborg, Sweden, who was his inseparable companion until her death in 1929, They had no children.
Lindgren was a member, fellow, or corresponding member of many scientific societies in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, England, and the Soviet Union. He was president of the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America in 1920, of the Society of Economic Geologists in 1922, and of the Geological Society of America in 1924. The latter society awarded him its Penrose Medal in 1933, and the Geological Society of London bestowed its Wollaston Medal upon him in 1937. The American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers made Lindgren an honorary life member in 1931, and in 1933 he was honorary chairman of the Sixteenth International Geological Congress,
I. Original Works. A “classified list” of Lindgren’s scientific writings prior to 1933 (228 titles) accompanies the biographical sketch by L. C Graton (see below). Many of these writings are in the geologic atlases, annual reports, professional papers, and bulletins of the U.S. Geological Survey; others are contributions to technical journals. To Graton’s bibliography should be added 12 titles published in 1933-1938. Among the latter, two are of prime importance: “Differentiation and Ore Deposition, Cordilleran Region of the United States,” in Ore Deposits of the Western Slates (New York, 1933), pp. 152-180; and “Succession of Minerals and Temperature of Formation in Ore Deposits of Magmatic Affiliations,” in Technical Publications, American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, no. 713, also in Transactions of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, 126 (1937), 356-376. Notable also is Lindgren’s Mineral Deposits(New York, 1913), with rev. and enl. eds. in 1919, 1928, and 1933, which was the standard textbook in economic geology for at least a third of a century.
A considerable file of Lindgren’s personal records, correspondence, and memorabilia is in the archives of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the library of the department of earth and planetary sciences is named for him.
II. Secondary Literature. The most inclusive and perceptive article about Lindgren is L. C Graton’s “Life and Scientific Works of Waldemar Lindgren,” in Ore Deposits of the Western States, Lindgren Volume (New York, 1933), pp. xiii-xxxii. Among the several obituaries published soon after his death are those by Hans Schnei-derholm in Zentralblatt für Minera logic, Abt. A, no. 3 (1940), 65-69; and M. J. Buerger, in American Mineralogist, 25(1940), 184-188.
Kirtley F. Mather
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"Lindgren, Waldemar." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 21, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/lindgren-waldemar
"Lindgren, Waldemar." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved January 21, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/lindgren-waldemar