Trinidad geology on table: Project "Digitization of the Kugler Archives: Link between archive and collection"

Project collaborators: Sadie Samsoondar and Michael Knappertsbusch

Project completed

In the project "Digitization of the Kugler Archives: Limk between archive and collection" we currently investigate the geological legacy of Hans Georg Kugler (1893-1986), a former petroleum geologist on the island of Trinidad, Venezuela and other areas in the Caribbean and renowned as the "father on the geology of Trinidad". During his 45 years of petroleum exploration, Kugler has assembled a considerable collection of rocks and fossils from Trinidad for reference purposes on describing the stratigraphy of Trinidad, which he has sent in batches to the Natural History Museum in Basel, and which form one of several paleontological core-collections of the Museum. Next to these collections and after his retirement Kugler has left begind a huge archive about the geology of Trinidad and Venezuela including reports, geological and topographic maps, spot-maps, geological sections, well-logs, correspondence with members of his professional network, foto-, diapositive- and areal photography collections illustrating the sedimentological, paleontological, structural and surface aspects of Trinidad's geology in many ways. This archive comprises over 80 archival boxes, next to the collection of field maps at various scales, and an vast professional working-library on the paleontology, micropaleontology and geology of Trinidad and other Caribbean areas. This legacy forms a unique entity, which surpasses a simple one-to-one specimen documentation in collections, but provides the means to learn not only about the geological history of Trinidad, but also to witness the development of scientific practices in field geology, stratigraphy, mapping, and evolution of scientific concepts in the 1920ies through 1960ies. Next to this the archive is a highly interesting piece of history about the development of petroleum industry in Trinidad and Venezuela. By recording, studying and documentating theses scientific treasures we intend to make this archive better available to the scientific community and to re-discover many still unresolved scientific questions about the paleontological and geological history of Trinidad.


Selected readings and links:

The Micropaleontological collections at the Natural History Museum in Basel

Samsoondar, S. and Knappertsbusch, M. (2023). The Legacy of Hans G. Kugler: A window into the past and path forward for Trinidad's Geology. Oral presentation (by Samsoondar, S.), held on 13 February 2023 at GSTT & AAPG Young Professionals Trinidad & Tobage Chapter, Technical session, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, West Indies. Abstract. Link GSTT activity.

Samsoondar, S. and Knappertsbusch, M. (2022). Celebrating 129 years of Hans G. Kugler: Remembering his first visit to Trinidad. The Hammer, September 1st 2022, Q3 issue 2022, pp. 8-13.

Von Ascheraden, A. (2022). Was Trinidads Erdöl mit Basel zu tun hat. bz basel, Zeitung für die Region Basel, No. 230, 190. Jahrgang, 3. Oktober 2022, page 16.

Etter, W., Knappertsbusch, M., and Costeur, L. (2018). Basel: The Natural History Museum Basel (NMB). Chapter 4 (pp. 27-38) in: Beck, L.A. and Joger, U. (eds.), Paleontological collections of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The History of Life of Fossil Organisms at Museums and Universities. Natural History Collections.

Gisler, M. (2014). Fossilien auf Trinidad: Hans Gottfried Kugler (1893-1986). In "Swiss Gang" Pioniere der Erdölexploration, pp. 68-83. Herausgegeben vom Verein für wirtschaftshistorische Studien, R+A Print GmbH, 8752-Näfels.

Schlesinger, A.M. (2009). Hans Kugler, geologist. In Schlesinger, A.M. (ed.): Trinidad & Tobago Icons in Science & Technology, vol. II, p. 29-30.

Knappertsbusch, M. (2007). Erinnerungen an den Basler Oelgeologen Hans G. Kugler (1893-1986). Text zur Vitrinenausstellung vom 19. April 2007 bis 3. Juli 2007 im Naturhistorischen Museum Basel. 4-Seiten, pdf-Datei (2.6 MB).

Carr-Brown, B. (2007). The Contribution of Trinidad Micropaleontology to global E&P. In: Trinidad and Tobago: Celebrating a Century of Commercial Oil Production. Official Centenary publication of the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs. Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, pp. 158-167.