Burri Marcel

Born in 1929, Marcel Burri attended school in France until the war. From 1941, he attended secondary school in Sion, obtaining his maturité in 1949. Undoubtedly attracted by Lausanne, he then came to study geology there, receiving his geology diploma in 1953. As an assistant and doctoral student, he obtained the degree of Doctor of Science in 1955.
This was followed by a few years spent in the ice and in the Far North. Indeed, Mr. Burri worked at the Institute of Oceanography in Gothenburg in 1956, then until 1958 at the Geological Survey of Greenland. It is perhaps from these icy years that he has kept his natural protections such as his imposing hair and his majestic beard.
Mr. Burri's teaching career began in 1958, when he was appointed head of work at the Geological Institute of Lausanne. He became a lecturer in 1963 and an extraordinary professor in 1967, before being appointed ordinary professor in 1978. His students constitute a very varied and heterogeneous public since they belong to our Faculty, to the EPFL and also to the Faculty of Letters with whom his pedagogical talents work wonders. Do not see this as a polite compliment, but rather as an expression of a truth obtained at first hand. Indeed, my eldest son is a letter-writer of the worst kind, allergic to everything scientific. This did not prevent him from saying to me one day after a course given by Mr. Burri, "I would never have thought that small stones could be so interesting. These heavy teaching duties did not prevent Mr. Burri from working on several geological fronts. He went on further missions to Greenland and then, probably to warm up, made several study trips to East Africa. In our country, he participated in the study of highway projects before going on a crusade against Cedra and radioactive waste repositories. In the peace of his office and in the field, he continued to work on the cartography of the Valais Alps, and was very interested in the geology of the Quartenaire.
Bernard Testa, Dean of the Faculty of Science.
Source: UNILausanne n°50, 1987





  • The landslide of Sierre: The hills from Finges to Grône, 2013
    Comments: Marcel Burri.
    Production and direction: Bernard Jeker.

Audio chronicle

  • Broadcast Impatience 16.08.2011: RTS la 1ère.

List of publications

From "Escher A., (2018), Tribute to Marcel Burri (1929-2018) - geologist, pedagogue, idealist and activist, Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 97 (2018), pp. 155-160." , PDF


  • Burri M., 1984. What to do with it? - Radioactive waste: an unsolved problem. Editions d'en bas, 120p.
  • Burri M., 1987. Les Roches, " Connaître la nature en Valais ". Éditions Pillet, 160p.

Geological maps of the Geological Atlas of Switzerland

  • Badoud E., Bonnard E. G., Burri M. & Vischer, A. 1959. Sheet n° 35*, St-Léonard. Explanatory note. Geological Atlas of Switzerland.
  • Badoux H., Burri M., Gabus J. H., Krummenacher D., Loup G. & Sublet P., 1971. Sheet n° 58, Dent de Morcles. Note explicative. Geological Atlas of Switzerland.
  • Burri M., Jemelin L., Oulianoff N., Ayrton S., Blanc P., Grasmuck K., Krummenacher D., Von Raumer J., Stalder P., Trumpy R. & Wutzler B., 1983. Leaf no. 77, Sembrancher. Explanatory note. Geological Atlas of Switzerland.
  • Burri M. & Marro C" 1993. Sheet n°91, Orsières. Explanatory note. Geological Atlas of Switzerland. Weidmann M., Homewood P., Morel R., Berchten J-D., Bûcher H., Burri M. & Cornioley J-D., 1993. Sheet n° 92, Châtel-St-Denis. Explanatory note. Geological Atlas of Switzerland.
  • Burri M., Frank E., Jeanbourquin P., Labhart T., Liszkay M. & Streckeisen A., 1994. Sheet No. 93, Brig. Explanatory note. Geological Atlas of Switzerland.
  • Burri M., Allimann M., Chessex R., Dal Plaz G. V., Della Valle G., Du Bois L., Gouffon Y., Guermani A., Hägen T., Krummenacher D. & Looser M-O., 1998. Sheet n " 101, Chanrion. Explanatory note. Geological Atlas of Switzerland.
  • Gabus J. H., Weidmann M., Bugnon P. C., Burri M., Sartori M. & Marthaler M., 2008. Sheet n° 111, Sierre. Explanatory note. Geological Atlas of Switzerland.
  • Sartori M., Burri M., Epard J-L., Masson H. & Pasquier J-B., 2011. Feuille n " 130, Sion. Notice explicative. Geological Atlas of Switzerland.


  • Burri M., 1955. Quaternary geology in the vicinity of Sierre. Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 66: 141-154.
  • Koczy F. F. & Burri M., 1958. Interpretation of some forms of the underwater terrain. From echograms of the Swedish Albatross expedition. Deep Sea Research 5 (1): 7-17.
  • Burri M., 1962. Quaternary deposits in the Rhone valley between St. Maurice and Lake Geneva. Bulletin de la Murithienne 78: 36-59. Burri M., 1962. Les sciences du quaternaire: un exemple de collaboration de plusieurs disciplines. Bulletin de la Murithienne 79: 14-29.
  • Burri M., 1963. The Quaternary of the Dranses: geological study of the quaternary sediments of the Thonon sheet at 1:50000 of the Geological Map of France. Mémoires de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 13: 229-262.
  • Ayrton S. & Burri M., 1963. Selective granitization of basal veins in the Qagssimiut area, SW Greenland. Eclogae geologicae Helvetiae 56: 809-816.
  • Bocksberger O-J. & Burri M., 1963. Archaeological excavations at the Petit-Chasseur in Sion: lithological study of a 1962 section. Bulletin de la Murithienne 80: 1-14.
  • Brossy C. & Burri M., 1965. Rapid method of granulometric analysis of silts. Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 69: 149-160.
  • Villaret P. & Burri M., 1965- Les découvertes palynologiques de Vidy et leur signification pour l'histoire du Lac Léman. Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 69: 1-18.
  • Ayrton S. & Burri M., 1967. The evolution of the Precambrian basement in the Qagssimiut area, Southern Greenland. Bulletin Grönlands Geologiske Undersogels 66. 92p.
  • Escher A. & Burri M., 1967. Stratigraphy and structural development of the Precambrian rocks in the area north-east of Disko Bugt, West Greenland. Grönlands Geologiske Undersogels Report 13: 1-28.
  • Burri F., Weidmann M. & Burri M., 1968. The gravels of Bioley-Orjulaz (Vaud). Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 70: 11-26.
  • Burri M., 1968. Geological studies of the sections of the new road of Mayens de Riddes. Bulletin de la Murithienne 85: 1-20.
  • Burri M., 1969. Carboniferous plant debris in the Dorénaz quarry. Bulletin de la Murithienne 86: 48-50.
  • Burri M., 1969. The Sion-Courmayeur zone between the Bagnes and Entremont valleys (Valais). Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae 62: 547-566.
  • Burri M., 1971. Military service as a geologist. Technische Mitteilungen für Sappeure, Pontoniere & Mineure 36: 66-70.
  • Burri M., 1972. The Valaisan formations in the Visp region. Eclogae geologicae Elelvetiae 72: 789-802.
  • Burri M., 1972. Respect for a tradition, tourist developments and geology. Bulletin de la Murithienne 89: 11-26.
  • Bersier A. & Burri M., 1972. The tectonic complications of Mont-Pèlerin. Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae 65: 21-26.
  • Burri M., 1974. Glacial history and prehistory of the Drances valleys (Valais). Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae 67: 135-154.
  • Burri M., 1975. On the structures of the outer coal zone in the Drances valleys (VS). Eclogae geologicae Helvetiae 68: 285-299.
  • Burri M., Colombi C. & Fontana A., 1975. The Pro Péra mudflow (Troistorrents, VS) of spring 1975. Bulletin de la Murithienne 92: 33-40.
  • Gruner E. & Burri M., 1976. Phenomena of instability in the Drances valleys (Valais). Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae 69: 75-83.
  • Burri M., 1977. On the extension of the last Rhodanian glaciers in the Lake Geneva basin. Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 223: 1-9.
  • Burri F. & Burri M., 1977. Post-glacial malacological faunas of Lausanne (St-Laurent). Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 227: 1-5.
  • Burri M., 1981. Geological structures in the Helvetic roots between the Rhone and Drance valleys. Bulletin de la Murithienne 98: 3-23.
  • Burri M., 1983a. Geological description of the Saint-Bernard front in the Bagnes and Entremont valleys (Valais). Bulletin du Laboratoire de Géologie de l'Université de Lausanne 270, 88 p.
  • Burri M., 1983b. The Great St. Bernard front from the Val d'Hérens to the Val d'Aosta. Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae 76:469-490.
  • Jeanbourquin P. & Burri M., 1991. The Lower Pennine metasediments in the Brig-Simplon area: lithostratigraphy, structure and geodynamic context in the Valaisan basin. Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae 84: 463-480.
  • Gouffon Y. & Burri M., 1997. The Pontis, Siviez-Mischabel and Mont Fort nappes in the valleys of Bagnes, Entremont (Valais, Switzerland) and Aosta (Italy). Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae 90: 29-41.
  • Burri M., 1997. Recent geology of Finges and its surroundings (VS). Bulletin de la Murithienne 115: 5-27.
  • Bezat-Grillet E., Bezat P.-A., Burri F. & Burri M., 1999. Le Duzillet: environmental sketch of plants, animals and people. Mémoire de la Société vaudoise des Sciences naturelles 19/3: 325-338.
  • Weidmann M., Parriaux A. & Burri M. 2017. New data on the geology of the Chiètres hills. Bulletin de bi Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 96: 31-47.