Israel Russell

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Israel Russell
Israel Russell.jpg
Israel Russell circa 1900
Born (1852-12-10)December 10, 1852
Garrattsville, New York
Died May 1, 1906(1906-05-01) (aged 53)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Resting place Forest Hill Cemetery, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Nationality American
Education Hasbrooks Institute, Jersey City, NJ
Alma mater University of the City of New York, BS Civil Engineer(1872), MS (1875)
Spouse(s) Julia Augusta Olmsted
Children Ruth, Helen, Edith, and Ralph
Scientific career
Institutions Columbia School of Mines, United States Geological Survey, University of Michigan
Israel Russell and exploring party on Malaspina Glacier Moraine, approach route to Mount St Elias, Alaska, 1890

Israel Cook Russell, LL.D. (December 10, 1852 – May 1, 1906) was an American geologist and geographer who explored Alaska in the late 19th century.


He was born at Garrattsville, New York, on December 10, 1852. He received B.S. and C.E. degrees in 1872 from the University of the City of New York (now New York University), and later studied at the School of Mines, Columbia College, where he was assistant professor of geology from 1875-77.

In 1874 he accompanied one of the parties sent out by the United States government to observe the transit of Venus, and was stationed at Queenstown, New Zealand. On his return in 1875 he was appointed assistant in geology at the School of mines, and in 1878 he became assistant geologist on the United States geological and geographical survey west of the 100th meridian.

In 1880, he became a member of the United States Geological Survey. Between 1881 and 1885 he worked at the Mono Lake in east-central California. Originally employed for work with regard to suerveying and building the Bodie Railway connecting the Lake with Bodie, he stayed for four years and wrote the seminal work Quaternary History of Mono Valley, California (1884).[1] He represented the USGS in 1889 in an expedition sent to Alaska by the USC&GS to establish a portion of Alaska's eastern boundary. During the next two years, he explored, under the joint auspices of the USGS and the National Geographic Society, the slopes of Mount Saint Elias and the Yakutat Bay area.

In 1892 he became professor of geology at the University of Michigan. At the time of his death, he was President of the Geological Society of America.[2][3] In 1902, Marcus Baker of the USGS named Russell Fiord in Russell's honor. Russell glacier and Mount Russell in Alaska[4][5] as well as Mount Rainier's Russell Glacier,[6] Mount Russell (California), and the prehistoric Lake Russell in California's Mono Basin are also named for him.

Besides many contributions on geological subjects to various scientific periodicals, he published scientific memoirs, which were issued as annual reports of the Geological Survey, or as separate monographs.



  1. ^ John Hart: Storm over Mono: The Mono Lake Battle and the California Water Future. University of California Press, Berkeley 1996, ISBN 0-520-20121-3, pp 27/28 (online at the University of California Press E-Books Collection)
  2. ^ Fairchild, Herman LeRoy, 1932, The Geololgical Society of America 1888-1930, a Chapter in Earth Science History: New York, The Geological Society of America, 232 p.
  3. ^ Eckel, Edwin, 1982, GSA Memoir 155, The Geological Society of America — Life History of a Learned Society: Boulder, Colorado, Geological Society of America Memoir 155, 168 p., ISBN 0-8137-1155-X.
  4. ^ Baker, Marcus. Geographical Dictionary of Alaska; 1st es 1902, 2nd ed 1906
  5. ^ The art and science of natural discovery: Israel Cook Russell and the emergence of modern environmental exploration by Sylvestre, Patrick David
  6. ^ Majors, Harry M. (1975). Exploring Washington. Van Winkle Publishing Co. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-918664-00-6.

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