Les cinquantes premières années des Eclogae geologicae Helvetiae: au service des géologues suisses et de la géologie

Schaer, Jean-Paul

In: Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 2007, vol. 100, no. 1, p. 5-22

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    Abstract.: The late founding of the Société géologique Suisse (Swiss Geological Society) in 1882 and then in 1888, the first publication of its bulletin, the Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae, are partly related to the federative structure of Switzerland at the time, the vitality of local scientific societies, as well as numerous geological activities that the Société helvétique des sciences naturelles (Helvetic Society of Natural Sciences, SHSN) maintained within the country. The latter, through the intermediary of its Geological Commission and with the help of a handful of collaborators, edited remarkable regional monographs (Beiträge zur Geologischen Karte der Schweiz / Matériaux pour la Carte Géologique de la Suisse / "Materials" for the Geological Map of Switzerland). It was the formal organization of the geological excursions within the framework of the SHNS, as well as the desire to involve the whole of the geological community to participate in reviews for an international readership, which finally led to the origin of the Société géologique Suisse (Swiss Geological Society), open to everyone, and the publication of the Eclogae. In its beginnings, this journal, led by a group of Swiss geologists from the French part of Switzerland, distinguished itself through the will to unite all national organizations active in the discipline, overcoming linguistic differences within the country and local regionalisms. Nevertheless, the important Swiss geological contributions of this period, the comprehensive reviews, and papers that brought forth new ideas, continued to appear in the Matériaux annd in local journals. These latter were particularly active in Geneva and Lausanne (with Schardt and Renevier and to a certain extent A. and E. Favre), in Zurich (with Heim), and in Bale (with Buxtorf). These were the journals that published the noteworthy works of Schardt on the Prealps, and Buxtorf on the décollement zone in the Jura Mountains. It was also these local journals and Matériaux that published the majority of results acquired during the construction of the tunnels in the Jura and the Alps (Simplon). Whereas the Geological Commission and local societies edited the important manuscripts, the Ecolgae (mostly in French) published more minor (but certainly interesting) field excursion proceedings and local geological data. These notes were very often taken from publications by local societies. The Eclogae distinguished itself by the publication of the Revue géologique Suisse (Geological Review of Switzerland), which was remarkable in its analysis of all geological published work related to Switzerland and neighbouring countries. After World War II, important changes affected the Eclogae, these included: a) the abandonment of the publication of the Geological Review of Switzerland; b) the abandonment of mineralogical and petrological notes theen published in the new Bulletin suisse de Minéralogie et Pétrographie (Swiss Bulletin of Mineralogy and Petrology); c) the introduction of notes by the Sociéte Suisse de paléontologie (Swiss Paleontological Society); d) the nomination of Dr. Auguste Tobler as editor and the publication of the Eclogae by Birkhäuser in Bale, replacing Birdel in Lausanne; e) the publication of important Swiss regional studies, as well as excellent short notes pertaining as much to Switzerland as countries overseas. Theses changes reinforced the position of the Eclogae within the national geological community as well as for expatriate geologists, who were growing in number. The importance given to structural geology and micropaleontology, two disciplines undergoing rapid development, notably increased the international attention given to the Eclogae, which was reputed for its careful editing and graphics, a quality particularly appreciated by those working in these fields