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Whitman Cross
(1854-1949)

Charles Whitman Cross, an internationally known geologist, was born Sept 1, 1854 in Southampton, Massachusetts, the only child of Maria Elizabeth Mason (principal of the Williston Academy in Southampton) and Rev. Moses Kimball Cross. He grew up in Iowa, received his BS degree from Amherst College (as his father had done) in 1875 and his PhD in Geology from the University of Leipzig in 1880. He had a long and distinguished career with the U.S. Geological Survey from 1880 to 1935, and was an associate in petrology at the Smithsonian Institution from 1920 to 1949. Field mapping constituted one of his greatest contributions; he mapped seven quadrangles in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Geological Society of London, Washington Academy of Sciences, American Philosophical Society, the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia, a founder and first Secretary of the Geological Society of Washington in 1893-1895, and founder of the Petrologist's Club in Washington, DC (meetings were held in his home). Cross was one of the four geologists who developed the Cross-Iddings-Pirsson-Washington (CIPW) system of petrographic analysis -- a quantitative chemico-mineralogical classification and nomenclature of igneous rocks. Crossite was named in his honor in 1894. He died Chevy Chase, Maryland (near Washington) in 1949.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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