Credner, (Karl) Hermann Georg

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Credner, (Karl) Hermann Georg

(b. Gotha, Germany, 1 October 1841; d. Leipzig, Germany, 21 July 1913)


Credner was the son of K. F. H. Credner, a geologist and privy councillor. He studied mining engineering in Clausthal but soon changed his field to geology. He earned the Ph.D. at Göttingen in 1864 with a disseration on a paleontological problem.

He worked in North America—especially as an expert on gold mining—for about four years and published papers on the geology of the New York and New Brunswick areas. His shorter papers, mostly geographical, dealt with the area to the west of Lake Superior and with the copper deposits of the Keweenaw peninsula. By foot and on horseback he traversed great parts of Missouri, Illinois, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, as well as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He was encouraged in his work by J. D. Dana.

Soon after his return to Germany he succeeded C. F. Naumann in the chair of geology and paleontology at the University of Leipzig. Ferdinand Zirkel was appointed to the chair of mineralogy at the same time. Credner’s Leipzig lectures were the basis of his book Elemente der Geologie, which was the leading geology text in Germany for some thirty-five years. He was one of the first scientists to recognize the consequences of the European ice ages, while at the same time he approved F. P. W. von Richthofen’s interpretation of loess. He was director of the Geologische Landesanstalt; under his guidance a map of the Saxonian granulite mountains, on a scale of 1:100,000, was published, as were many other geological maps of Saxony. At the end of his career he was able to present a complete cumulative survey map of Saxony on the scale of 1: 250,000.

Credner did intensive work on Saxon Stegocephalia and was able to classify a series of them as being totally amphibian.

In addition to his academic service, Credner took part in most of the international geological congresses. He was thus personally known to geologists all over the world, who often solicited his advice.


In addition to the Elemente der Geologie (Leipzig, 1871), Credner published treatises, maps, and articles—see especially those in Leipzig journals, listed by Poggendorff.

P. Ramdohr