Francis John Pettijohn

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Francis John Pettijohn (born June 20, 1904 in Waterford , Racine County , Wisconsin , † April 23, 1999 in Glen Arm , Maryland ) was an American sedimentologist whose books on sedimentary rocks , their properties and structure made a significant contribution to the development of sedimentology to have.


Pettijohn completed his academic training at the University of Minnesota ( BA 1924; MA 1925; Ph.D. 1930). The main research focus of his work was in the Precambrian of Minnesota . After receiving his doctorate, he went to Oberlin College in Ohio for two years, before moving to the University of Chicago after a year as a fellow at the University of California (1927–1928) . There he began a teaching program on sedimentary rocks with two sedimentological courses in 1929 and taught chemical microscopy . In 1946 he was made full professor and worked with Norman Bowen , J Harlen Bretz , Heinz A. Lowenstam and Hans Ramberg . For six years he was editor of the Journal of Geology , the geoscientific journal of the University of Chicago published since 1893.

From 1952 until his retirement in 1973 Pettijohn worked at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore , among others with Ernst Cloos (the brother of the German geologist Hans Cloos ), Hans Eugster , Steven M. Stanley and Aaron Waters , among his students was Paul Hoffman . Even after his retirement he was scientifically active, brought out new editions of his books and wrote geological articles.

Pettijohn was married and had three children with his wife Dorothy. After her death in 1989 he married Virginia Romberger († 1996).

Raymond Siever is one of his PhD students .


Right from the start of his scientific career, his main interest was in the field of sedimentology. He examined the sediments of the Precambrian in Ontario and the Ordovician of Minnesota and Wisconsin and later gave sedimentological lectures in Chicago. He spent nearly every summer mapping the Lake Superior area , working for the Michigan State Geological Survey , the United States Geological Survey, and the Geological Survey of Canada , among others . During the Second World War he supported exploration work in the ribbon iron ores of upper Michigan, in which he remained interested throughout his life. His regular field work convinced him that the theories of geologists must ultimately be measured against the findings in outcrops ( Only outcrops keep geologists honest ).

His sedimentological findings flowed into the Handbuch der Sediment petrologie ( A Manual of Sedimentary Petrology ), which he published in 1938 together with William C. Krumbein . The book became a worldwide standard work of sedimentology, as well as the 1949 published book on sedimentary rocks ( Sedimentary Rocks ). His description of the sediment-forming processes in the Archean ( Archean Sedimentation ), which he published in the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America in 1943 , was also well received.

Pettijohn was very productive during his time at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (1952–1973). The change from the Precambrian to the Paleozoic of the Appalachians gave him the opportunity to achieve clearer results with the methods of sedimentology he preferred than in the often metamorphic and overprinted rocks of the Precambrian, which he had previously studied. He published two more internationally recognized books ( Paleocurrents and Basin Analysis , 1963 and Sand and Sandstone , 1972), edited the third edition of Sedimentary Rocks (1976) and compiled a list of basic sedimentological knowledge ( Atlas and Glossary of Sedimentary Structures , 1964). 1988 appeared his reflections on life as a field geologist ( Memoirs of an Unrepentant Field Geologist ), which could look back on more than half a century of geological studies.


Pettijohn was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America , the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1960) and the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists , a member of the National Academy of Sciences and since 1963 an honorary member of the Society for Sedimentary Geology .

In addition, he has received several awards:

In his honor, the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists established the Francis J. Pettijohn Medal for Sedimentology , which is awarded for special contributions in the field of sedimentology.

In 1978 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.


  • A Manual of Sedimentary Petrology. 1938 with toilet Krumbein.
  • Sedimentary rocks. Harper Collins, 3rd edition 1983 (first 1949).
  • Paleocurrents and Basin Analysis. Springer Verlag 1963, 1977.
  • Sand and sandstone . 1972 ( 2nd edition 1987 in the Google book search).
  • Chemical Composition of Sandstones — Excluding Carbonate and Volcanic Sands. 1963.
  • Atlas and Glossary of Sedimentary Structures. Springer Verlag 1964.
  • Memoirs of an Unrepentant Field Geologist. University of Chicago Press, 1988 (autobiography).
  • Editor Studies of Appalachian Geology: Central and Southern. Wiley 1970.
  • Archean sedimentation (southern Canadian Shield). Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol. 54, 1943, pp. 925-972.
  • Editor A Century of Geology 1885–1985 at the Johns Hopkins University. 1988.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Paul Edwin Potter: Memorial to Francis J. Pettijohn, 1904–1999. (PDF; 52 kB) In: Geological Society of America Memorials. 2000, pp. 19-22 , accessed March 6, 2011 (Volume 31).
  2. a b SEPM Awards: Past Winners: Twenhofel Medalists. ( Memento of the original from March 23, 2013 on WebCite ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Internet presence of the SEPM @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Wollaston Medal . The Geological Society of London , archived from the original on August 19, 2010 ; accessed on January 23, 2016 (English, original website no longer available).
  4. ^ Geological Society of America - Awards and Medals - Penrose Medal. Retrieved January 31, 2011 .
  5. Sorby Medalist. Internet presence of the International Association of Sedimentologists
  6. ^ SEPM Awards: Francis J. Pettijohn Medal for Sedimentology. Internet presence of the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists (SEPM)
  7. JHU Honorary Degrees Awarded