In 1742, Pierre Martel (1706â1767), an engineer and geographer living in Geneva, visited the valley of Chamonix in the Alps of Savoy. Two years later he published an account of his journey. He reported that the inhabitants of that valley attributed the dispersal of erratic boulders to the glaciers, saying that they had once extended much farther. Later similar explanations were reported from other regions of the Alps. In 1815 the carpenter and chamois hunter Jean-Pierre Perraudin (1767â1858) explained erratic boulders in the Val de Bagnes in the Swiss canton of Valais as being due to glaciers previously extending further. An unknown woodcutter from Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland advocated a similar idea in a discussion with the Swiss-German geologist Jean de Charpentier (1786â1855) in 1834. Comparable explanations are also known from the Val de Ferret in the Valais and the Seeland in western Switzerland and in Goethe's scientific work. Such explanations could also be found in other parts of the world. When the Bavarian naturalist Ernst von Bibra (1806â1878) visited the Chilean Andes in 1849â1850, the natives attributed fossil moraines to the former action of glaciers.
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