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(b. Starkenbach, Bohemia, 30 March 1836; d. Doöbling, near Vienna, Austria, 27 March 1895)

geology, economic geology.

Pošepný studied natural science at Prague and, in 1857–1859, mining geology at the School of Mines in Přibram, Bohemia. The lectures on ore deposits given by its director, Grimm, appear to have influenced Pošepný, especially toward his theory that ore deposits are characteristically confined to decomposed rocks. From 1859 to 1879 Pošepný held various positions that enabled him to become thoroughly acquainted with the mines on which he published monographs; some of them are, partly through his writings, still famous examples of type deposits.

From 1873 to 1879 Pošepný was a geologist at the Royal Imperial Ministry of Agriculture in Vienna. In 1876 he visited the United States, where he established close contacts with the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, especially with Rossiter W. Raymond, who was vital m the translation and publication of Pošepný’s major work, “The Genesis of Ore-Deposits.”

From 1879 to 1888 Pošepný taught mining geology at the School of Mines in Přibram. In 1882 he became associate professor and in 1887 full professor of special mining geology and analytical chemistry. In 1888 he retired in order to devote himself fully to the study of ore genesis. He visited ore deposits in Transylvania, Germany, Switzerland, the Ural Mountains, France, England, Sweden, Norway, Italy (including Sardinia), Greece, and Palestine.

The results of Pošepný’s scientific work were published in more than 100 papers on ore deposits and other geological topics. Much of his work appeared in the Archiv fur praktische Geologie (Vienna), which he founded in 1880. The summary of his system of ore genesis is his “Über die Genesis der Erzlagerstatten” (1895).

Pošepný’s scientific achievement and influence can be attributed to two main properties of his work: (1) his extensive and systematic observations, which led to the introduction of mining geology into the curricula of the schools of mines at Přibram and Leoben and into the investigations of ore deposits, both old and new; and (2) his genetic views, which remained controversial and which he shared largely with his friend and colleague Alfred Stelzner. These views are today essentially termed panepigenetic and do not differ in essence from those held by Pošepný’s teacher, Grimm. Both insisted on using genetic (interpretative) classifications, whereas their contemporary opponent, Groddeck, was the first to offer a geometric, observational classification of ore deposits in 1879, far ahead of his time, this being the modern approach since about 1860.

Pošepný’s relationship with the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgy led to publication of his major work in the United States in 1895, together with numerous comments and criticisms by American authorities, whereas the textbook by Groddeck was little known in the English-speaking world.


I. Original Works. Pošepný’s writings include Cu-Vorkommen der Perm-Formation in Böhmen (Ziva, Czecho slovakia, 1861); “Blei-und Galmei-Erzlagerstätte von Raibl, Karnten,” in Geologisches Jahrbuch (Vienna), 23 (1873), 317–424; Geologisch-Montanistische Studie der Erzlagerstatten von Rezbanya, Ungarn (Budapest, 1874); “Lateral-SecretionsThéorie zur Erklarung der Erzgang-fullung,” in Osterreichische Zeitschrift fur Bergwesen, 30 (1882), 607–609, 619–622; “Über die Adinolen von Pribram in Böhmen,” in Mineralogische und petrographische Mittheilungen, 10 (1889), 175–202; “Über die Entstehung der Blei-und Zinklagerstätten in auflöslichen Gesteinen,” in Berg-und Hüttenmännische Jahrbuch (Vienna), 42 (1894), 77–130; and “Ober die Genesis der Erzlagerstätten,” ibid., 43 (1895), 1–226, trans, into English as “The Genesis of Ore-Deposits,” in Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, 23 (1894), 197–369, 587–608, and 24 (1895), 942–1006.

II.Secondary Literature. See R. W. Raymond, “Biographical Notice of Franz Pošepný,” in Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, 25 (1896), 434–446; and the unsigned obituaries in Österrechische Zeitschrift fur Bergwesen, supp. 43 (1895), 40–42; and Zeitschrift fur praktische Geologie, 3 (1895), 261–262.

G. C. Amstutz