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Baron Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German explorer and naturalist. Humboldt's achievements were many and various throughout his 90-year life. A sporadic education gave him a desire to be a geologist. In 1796 he received an inheritance, and set off on expeditions of discovery. He navigated the Orinoco River, studied ocean currents (the Humboldt Current in the Pacific is named after him), he mapped American volcanoes and suggested their link with faults in the Earth's crust. He collected many botanical specimens, including thousands of new species. His final work was the encyclopaedic book Kosmos, a masterful study of geophysics.
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