P. Routhier (1916-2008)

Pierre Routhier, one of the founders of SGA in 1965, passed away on the 3rd November 2008.

Click here to view a list of significant publications by P. Routhier

He enrolled at the “Ecole normale supérieure (ENS)” in 1937 and presented his DES (Higher Studies Diploma) on the coalfields of Ségure and Durban (Aude, France) in May 1939, under the supervision of Louis Barrabé. Enrolled in the army, he served in a DCA battery. He went back to his activities in October 1940 and was received as major at the “Agrégation de Sciences naturelles” in 1941. 

He undertook several studies on greenstones belts in Corsica, and at Saint-Véran, and began research on the Saïda Mountains in Algeria. These studies were at the origin of his interest for mineral deposits.

At the end of the war he went to New Caledonia to direct a joint CNRS-ORSOM mission, which resulted in the publication of several geological maps at the 1:100000 scale and in setting up a geological survey in Noumea.

Upon his return from New Caledonia in 1949, he became assistant at the “Laboratory of structural and applied geology” of the Faculty of Sciences of Paris. He presented his Ph.D. thesis in 1952 (published in 1953) on the peridotite massifs of the west of the island. After his Ph.D., Pierre Routhier dedicated himself to the study of mineral deposits, in particular the chromite deposit at Tiébaghi, New Caledonia (1956).

In 1955 he was hired as “maître de conferences” and was in charge of structural, applied geology and ore deposit training. In 1961, after Barrabé’s death, he took over the direction of the Laboratory and undertook the development of an autonomous scientific discipline, known as Metallogeny, and now internationally acknowledged. He developed this new training program, which formed several hundreds of French and foreign students.

He travelled worldwide to study mineral deposits, and realized the need for a non-genetic classification of mineral deposits (1958). Together with André Bernard he developed the “syngenetic” school as opposed to the omnipresent “epigenetic” school.

In 1963 he published the seminal treaty “Les gîtes métallifères. Géologie et principes de recherche”, a milestone in the ore deposit literature.

In 1964 P. Routhier became President of the Société de Géologie de France and was one of the founders of SGA (1965). He started several research projects on the Pb-Zn ores of the Cévennes (France) and on massive sulfide deposits of Huelva (Spain).

In 1969 he wrote “Essai critique sur les méthodes de la géologie. De l’objet à la genèse”, where he introduced the concepts of consanguinity, heritage and sources of metals. In 1970, he became exploration director at the BRGM, concretizing his wish to apply his scientific knowledge to mineral exploration. In 1973 he returned to the Laboratory of applied geology and then, in 1976, as a Research Director at the CNRS, he created the research team “Metallogenic Provinces” and carried out studies on the meaning of metallogenic provinces, which were synthesized in his major textbook “Où sont les métaux pour l’avenir? Les provinces métallogéniques. Essai de métallogénie globale (1980)” (Where are the metals for the future? The metallogenic provinces. An essay onglobal metallogeny, 1984).

Adapted by M. Chiaradia and G. Beaudoin from a text of François Boyer, Colette Derré, Henri Rouvier, Jacques Thibiéroz written on 21.11.08.Published with a kind permission of the French magazine Géochronique and the authors

zum login
zum shop
online application form for new members
Login to renew membership
P. Routhier during fieldwork in Bosnia, 1970s.