Plate Tectonics and People

Bernard Brunhes

Print Print

Photo de Bernard Brunhes

Bernard Brunhes


Biographic Information

Antoine Joseph Bernard Brunhes was born on July 3, 1867, in Toulouse, France.  He studied physics at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris.  From 1893 to 1895, he taught physics and electrical engineering at Ecole centrale de Lille.  On September 29, 1896, he married Marie Renardet.  They had four children.  In 1897, he was appointed a professor at Dijon.  From November 1, 1900, to 1910, he held the double role of Professor at the Faculty of Clermont-Ferrand and Director of the Observatory of the Puy de Dome.  On May 10, 1910, Bernard Brunhes died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Contributions to plate tectonic theory and/or geophysics

On November 1, 1900, Bernard Brunhes took an appointment as the Director of the Observatory of the Puy de Dome.  The Puy de Dome Observatory was established in 1876 as a meteorological observatory and continues its operations today.  While serving as director, Brunhes took the opportunity to expand upon the work of Giuseppe Folgheraiter.  In 1894, Folgheraiter released his study showing the alignment of magnetic fields in baked pottery and bricks.  Brunhes used this knowledge of magnetic alignment as he studied the clays that were baked during lava flows in the surrounding areas.  He sampled the clays from Beaumont (the Montijoli volcano), village of Boissejour (the Gravenoire volcano), and at Pontfarein.


                                    Maps of the Region of Brunhes' Studies