Jevan Berrangé (1931–2018)

Dr Jevan Pierres Berrangé was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 2 September 1931. 

In 1958 Berrangé gained his MSc at the McGill University Montreal. He spent the summer months working as Party Leader on geological mapping and mineral exploration projects in Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec. His mapping of the Lake St John anorthosite complex formed the basis of his PHD at King’s College London. 

From 1955-63 Berrangé was Party Chief in charge of geological mapping, geochemical and mineral exploration surveys in Canada, USA and Greenland.  From 1964-65 he taught mineralogy-petrology, structural geology, photogeology and geological mapping at the University of Nigeria. He returned to the UK at the start of the Nigerian civil war. 

In 1966 Berrangé joined the British Institute of Geological Sciences. Working in the Overseas Division, Berrangé had its acronym (BIGSOD) printed on t-shirts for himself and all team members. For the rest of his career Berrangé worked on Technical Assistance projects in better-developing countries on behalf of the British Government. The countries included Guyana, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Jordan. 

Berrangé considered leading the Proyecto Precámbrico expeditions as the highlight of his career. The first project involved four expeditions, each lasting approximately 100 days, into tropical forest in southern Guyana. The team, including five Amerindian assistants, travelled circa 3,700km in total. The second was the first ever scientific topographic and geological mapping and mineral exploration of 220,000 sq kms of tropical forest in the lowlands of eastern Bolivia. 

Berrangé was awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s prestigious Busk Medal in 1984. This recognises his “leadership of Proyecto Precámbrico and other scientific expeditions”. In his acceptance speech, he paid tribute to the Amerindians of Guyana and Brazil. He acknowledges that without their expertise as canoeists and bushmen, the expeditions would not have been possible. He knew of “no better travelling companions”.

Berrangé’s publications included 26 geological and topographic maps, 40 scientific papers, survey reports and memoirs plus 20 preliminary reports, newspaper articles and discussion papers.

In retirement, Berrangé led un-supported open canoeing expeditions in Botswana and Canada. He continued to canoe on the rivers and estuaries of Devon and Cornwall until ill-health intervened. 

Jevan Berrangé died in Devon on 21 November 2018 at the age of 87. 

Berrangé’s travels resulted in large collection of artefacts. He donated many to RAMM.

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