Notable Oxfordshire geologists

"Oxfordshire, as a place, is highly significant in the development of geology and the Earth sciences. The rocks, fossils and landforms have been studied by the likes of Plot, Philips, Baden-Powell, McKerrow, Buckland and Sweeting.  Influential, early geologists like William Smith and Charles Lapworth were born and grew-up here."  

Robert Plot  (1640-1696)

Robert Plot’s Natural History of Oxfordshire, first published in 1677, contained descriptions and illustrations of a wide range of Oxfordshire fossils, rocks and minerals.  It also included the first known illustration of a dinosaur bone, thought by Plot to be the bone of a giant.

Edward Llwyd  (1660-1709)

LLwyd (Lhuyd) attended grammar school in Oswestry and came up to Jesus College, Oxford in 1682. In 1684, he was appointed assistant to Robert Plot, the Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum and replaced him as Keeper in 1690; he held this post until 1709.

William Smith  (1769-1839)

William 'Strata' Smith was an English geologist, credited with creating the first nationwide geological map.  William Smith, the 'the father of English geology' was born in Churchill, Oxfordshire on March 23 1769.

William Buckland  (1784-1856)

William Buckland was one of the most eminent geologists of his time.  He was the University of Oxford's first Reader in Geology and is famous for describing the first dinosaur: Megalosaurus bucklandii.  He died in 1856 at Islip, Oxfordshire.

John Phillips  (1800-1874)

John Phillips, nephew of William Smith,  published the first global geologic time scale based on the correlation of fossils in rock strata, thereby helping to standardise terminology.  

Charles Lapworth  (1842-1920)

Charles Lapworth was born in Faringdon, Oxfordshire in 1842.  He pioneered faunal analysis using index fossils and identified the Ordovician period.

William J Arkell  (1904-1958)

One of the most influential geologists of the twentieth century. He was regarded as the leading authority on the Jurassic Period of his time.

Lawrence Wager  (1904-1965)

Lawrence Rickard Wager, commonly known as Bill Wager was a British geologist, mountaineer and particularly celebrated for his work on the Skaergaard intrusion in Greenland, and for his attempt on Mount Everest in 1933.  Bill Wager was the first president of Oxford Geology Group.

W. Stuart McKerrow  (1922-2004)

W. Stuart McKerrow, known to many generations of Oxford geologists as “Mac” was a leading palaeoecologist and an early member of the Oxford Geology Group.

Marjorie Sweeting  (1920-1994)

Marjorie Sweeting was an Oxford-based geomorphologist specialising in karst phenomena. She was a lecturer and reader at the University of Oxford 1954-1987.

She died in Oxford on 31 December 1994.