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History of Geology

Episodes 2022; 45(4): 457-467

Published online December 1, 2022


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

The XIII International Geological Congress of 1922 in Brussels (Belgium): between wounds of the Great War and theory passed under silence

Philippe Le Vigouroux

Centre François Viète d'épistémologie et d'histoire des sciences et des techniques, Université de Nantes, UFR Sciences et Techniques, 2 rue de la Houssinière, BP 92208, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3, France

Correspondence to:E-mail: philippe.levigouroux@univ-nantes.fr

Received: March 18, 2022; Revised: July 18, 2022; Accepted: July 18, 2022

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


After a nine-year absence, the XIII session of the International Geological Congress, was held between August 10th to 19th in Brussels in 1922. The main aim of the geologists was the renewal of the by then well-established tradition of an international geological forum for discussion subsequent to the four-year long conflict of WWI that had deeply divided not only nations, but also scientific communities. Consequently, the conditions put in place by the IGC organizational committee for participation, the procedure of the congress symposia, council meetings and fieldtrips, selection and also exclusion of scientific themes and daily schedule of the event itself reflected this extraordinary and unprecedented situation. The shadow of these still open war wounds also weighed heavily on the decisions that were taken by the IGC council regarding international scientific cooperation and the future of the organization of geology as a scientific union.