Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Belt, Thomas (England 1832-1878)

Thomas Belt, though his life was rather short, was a well-known figure among the naturalists of his time. His early gold mining activities and geological investigations (and subsequent publications thereon) established him as an expert on mining operations by his early thirties. Subsequent travels impressed upon him the importance of the action of glaciers, and he soon became a vocal advocate of the notion that continental glaciation might have caused the extinction of various forms of Pleistocene animal life, including early man. In his greatest work, The Naturalist in Nicaragua, he reported evidence for glacial epochs having occurred in that country. This study, a leading masterpiece of natural history narrative, also contains innovative views on climatological phenomena and many observations on the habits and characteristics of tropical animal life--for example, on their devices of protective coloration.

Life Chronology

--born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in 1832.
--1850: made member of the Natural History Society of Northumberland
--1852-1860: works as miner in the gold fields in Australia; also makes geological observations
--1860: manages gold mines in Nova Scotia; after being seriously injured returns to England
--1861: publishes his Mineral Veins: an Enquiry into their Origin, Founded on a Study of the Auriferous Quartz Veins of Australia
--1863-1865: superintendent, gold company mines in Nova Scotia
--1867: publishes observations on rocks and fossils of the Lingula Flags, Wales, in Geological Magazine
--1868-1872: superintendent, Chonteles Gold mining company, Nicaragua
--1873-1876: makes several trips through Siberia and the steppes of southern Russia
--1874: publishes his The Naturalist in Nicaragua
--1878: travels to Colorado on business
--dies at Kansas City, on 21 September 1878.

For Additional Information, See:

--Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 5 (2004).
--Natural History Transactions of Northumberland, Durham, and Newcastle-on-Tyne, Vol. 7 (1880): 235-240.
--The Monthly Chronicle of North-Country Lore and Legend, Vol. 2 (1888): 262-263.
--Journal of Science, Ser. 3, Vol. 1 (1879): 143-144.

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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