(1831-1914) Austrian geologist who helped pave the way for the theories of continental drift. He suggested that there had once been a great supercontinent, made up of the present southern continents; this he named Gondwanaland, after a region of India.
Suess was born in London and studied at Prague. He was professor at Vienna from 1861, and served as a member of the Reichstag for 25 years.
As a paleontologist, Suess investigated the fossil mammals of the Danube Basin. He carried out research into the structure of the Alps, the tectonic geology of Italy, and seismology. The possibility of a former landbridge between N Africa and Europe caught his attention.
In his book The Face of the Earth 1885–1909, Suess analyzed the physical agencies contributing to the Earth’s geographical evolution. He offered an encyclopedic view of crustal movement, the structure and grouping of mountain chains, sunken continents, and the history of the oceans. He also made significant contributions to rewriting the structural geology of each continent.