Haug, Gustave Emile

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Haug, Gustave Emile

(b. Drusenheim, Alsace, France, 19 July 1861; d. Paris, France, 28 August 1927)

stratigraphy, structural geology, paleontology.

Haug began his study of natural history at the University of Strasbourg. He received a doctorate from that institution in 1884 and remained there for three additional years as a préparateur.

In 1887 Alsace experienced increasing political turmoil, a situation which prompted Haug to seek a more suitable intellectual atmosphere for the continuation of his studies. He found it in the geology laboratory of the Faculté des Sciences of Paris, which he had visited briefly in 1883 and 1884. Thus began his brilliant career at the Sorbonne under the supervision of Edmond Hebert and Ernest Munier-Chalmas. His promotion was extraordinarily rapid: he started as lecturer in 1897, was appointed adjunct professor in 1900, and became full professor in 1911. As early as 1888 Haug had been an active associate of the French Geological Survey and in 1902, after receiving several awards, he became president of the French Geological Society. His appointment in 1917 as a member of the mineralogy section of the Institut de France, succeeding Alfred Lacroix, marked the apex of his fame.

Haug’s scientific activity was immense and diversified. His teaching was superb and effective, many of his students, such as the paleontologists Léon Pervinquiére and Jean Boussac, becoming famous geologists in their own right. One of Haug’s littleknown but important activities was completing the organization of the geological collection of the Sorbonne, which thus became a first-class reference for stratigraphic and paleontological studies. This admirable working tool was undoubtedly the background for Haug’s monumental Traité de géologie, two volumes totaling more than 2,000 pages (1907–1911). This thorough compendium of the geological knowledge of his time rapidly became one of the indispensable reference volumes of the profession. Haug’s contribution combined profound erudition with sweeping synthetic views in all fields of geology. Still of fundamental importance is Haug’s rule, which holds that when subsidence takes place in a geosyncline, a regression of the sea occurs over the adjacent epicontinental areas; conversely, when compression and folding begin in a geosyncline, there is a marine transgression over the epicontinental areas. Haug expressed in this law one of the fundamental relationships between tectonics and sedimentation throughout the geologic column.

Haug’s treatise had been preceded by a series of large analytical works dealing with fundamental aspects of paleontology, stratigraphy, and tectonics. In the first of these fields he wrote outstanding memoirs on ammonites. His study of the morphological evolution of these cephalopods led to the very accurate stratigraphic subdivision of certain portions of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic record.

In stratigraphy, Haug investigated in great detail the horizontal variability of facies and its paleogeographic interpretation. Through this approach he unraveled the sedimentary history of the Jurassic of the Rhone basin. Then he was led to a critical examination of the concept of geosyncline. More precision was introduced into the original definition, and the model was shown to be of general application throughout the geologic column. Unquestionably Haug’s memoir of 1900, Les géosynclinaux et les aires continentales, represents a turning point in the interpretation of the geological record through the combination of tectonics and paleogeography.

All the data collected by Haug during the detailed mapping he had undertaken since 1888 in the French Alps were published in numerous regional monographs, the two most remarkable of which deal with the stratigraphy and structure of the subalpine chains between Gap and Digne (1891) and with the structure of the high calcareous ranges of Savoy (1895). In 1903 Haug and C. W. Kilian discovered the great overthrusts of the Ubaye and Embrunais which confirmed the structure of the Western Alps as set forth by Marcel Bertrand and Pierre Termier. After an investigation of the structure of the Jura Mountains, Haug concentrated his attention on the structure of the northern calcareous ranges of Austria (near Salzburg in the Salzkammergut) and was among the first to unravel the structural pattern of the Dolomites. His revision of several quadrangle maps of southern France led to many contributions, the most outstanding of which is a memoir on the structure of Basse-Provence (1925–1930); the second part appeared posthumously.

Haug’s synthetic approach to stratigraphy and structural geology was not limited to Europe. He also took a great interest in the geology of the Sahara and of North Africa.


Haug’s writings include “Les chaînes subalpines entre Gap et Digne, contribution à l’histoire géologique des Alpes françaises,” Bulletin du Service de la carte géologique et des topographies souterraines, 3 , no. 21 (1891–1892); “Les ammonites du Permien et du Trias. Remarques sur leur classification,” in Bulletin de la Société géologique de France, 3rd ser., 22 (1894), 385–412; “Études sur la tectonique des hautes chaînes calcaires de la Savoie,” Bulletin du Service de la carte géologique et des topographies souterraines, 7 , no. 47 (1895–1896); “Études sur les goniatites,” Mémoires de la Société géologique de France, no. 18 (1898); “Les géosynclinaux et les aires continentales. Contribution à l’étude des transgressions et régressions marines,” in Bulletin de la Société géologique de France, 3rd ser., 28 (1900), 617–711; “Les grands charriages de l’Embrunais et de l’Ubaye,” in Comptes rendus du IX Congres international de géologie, I (Vienna, 1904), 493–506; “Sur les dislocations des environs de Mouthier-Haute Pierre (Doubs),” Bulletin du Service de la carte géologique et des topographies souterraines, 17 , no. 112 (1905–1906), written with C. W. Kilian; “Les nappes de charriage des Alpes calcaires septentrionales. Partie I. Introduction. Partie II. Alpes de Salzbourg,” in Bulletin de la Société géologique de France, 4th ser., 6 (1906), 359–422; Traité de géologie, 2 vols. (Paris, 1907–1911); “Les nappes de charriage des Alpes calcaires septentrionales. Partie III. Le Salzkammergut,” in Bulletin de la Société géologique de France, 4th ser., 12 (1912), 105–142; “La tectonique du massif de la Sainte-Baume,” ibid., 15 (1915), 113–190; “Contribution à une synthèse stratigraphique des Alpes occidentales,” ibid., 25 (1925), 97–244; and Les nappes de charriage de la Basse-Provence. Monographies tectoniques, 2 vols. (Paris, 1925–1930).

Information on Haug may be found in E. de Margerie, “Discours aux funérailles de Emile Haug,” in Notices et discours. Académie des sciences, 2nd ser., 1 (1937), 157–162.

Albert V. Carozzi

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