Jaggar,Thomas Augustus, Jr.

Jaggar,Thomas Augustus, Jr., 1871–1953, American geologist and volcanologist, b. Philadelphia, Ph.D. Harvard, 1897. One of the team of U.S. scientists (1902) who surveyed the eruptions in the West Indies of Soufrière and Mt. Pelée, he became head of the geology department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1906–12). He investigated volcanic and seismic activity in Italy, Central America, Japan, Hawaii, and the Aleutian Islands, and on a trip to Hawaii (1909) decided to establish the first American volcano observatory, at Kilauea. Construction began in 1912 on the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory; Jaggar retired as director in 1940. In 1916 what is now Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was established; Jaggar had advocated for it, and the observatory became part of it. In 1927–28 he led a National Geographic Society study of Aleutian Islands volcanoes. For this expedition he invented an amphibious vehicle, for exploring inaccessible beaches; his design was later adapted for use as a landing craft during World War II. In 1933 Jaggar used a Bosch-Omori seismograph to make the first accurate prediction of a tsunami. After his retirement, he was a research associate with the Univ. of Hawaii until his death.

See his autobiography (1956); J. Dvorak, The Last Volcano (2015).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Geology and Oceanography: Biographies