Haroun Tazieff

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Haroun Tazieff (Warsaw, 11 May 1914 — Paris, 2 February 1998) was a French volcanologist and geologist. He was a famous cinematographer of volcanic eruptions and lava flows, and the author of several books about volcanoes.[1]

Born in Warsaw, Russian Empire, his father was a Tatar doctor, and his mother a Jewish chemist and doctor in political sciences. He lived in Brussels, Belgium, starting in 1917.

He received a degree in agronomy in Gembloux in 1938, and another degree in geology at University of Liège in 1944. He was later a "secrétaire d'État" in France, in charge of prevention of major risks.

The National Geographic film The Violent Earth followed Tazieff's expeditions to the volcanoes Mount Etna, Sicily in 1971 and Mount Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of Congo (then known as Zaire ) in 1972 in which he attempted, unsuccessfully, to descend into the active lava lake in order to collect samples (which he had achieved on a previous expedition in 1959).

He participated in the first explorations of the “Pierre Saint-Martin abyss” in the French Pyrenees. In 1952, he was filming the ascension of Marcel Loubens when the cable of the hoist broke and Loubens fell over 80 meters. He died 36 hours later and his body could be extracted from the cavern only in 1954.

Haroun Tazieff became famous in France after publishing the book “Le Gouffre de la Pierre Saint-Martin” (8 editions, first in 1952, Ed Arthaud, Grenoble).

Tazieff died in 1998 and was buried in Cimetière de Passy in the Parisian quarter of Passy.[1]