John Bicknell Auden

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John Bicknell Auden (14 December 1903 – 21 January 1991[1]) was an English geologist and explorer, and an official with the World Health Organization. He worked for many years with the Geological Survey of India. Auden's Col is named after him.

Auden was born in York, the second son of George Augustus Auden and older brother of W. H. Auden. He was educated at St Edmund's School, Hindhead, a Surrey prep school, Marlborough College, and Cambridge. In 1926 he joined the Geological Survey of India, where he remained until he retired in the early 1950s.

His exploration and mapping (with three other climbers) of the high Karakoram region of the Himalayas was the subject of Eric Shipton's Blank on the Map (1938). In 1940 he was elected president of the Geological Institute of Presidency College, Calcutta. In 1945-51, he was engaged in investigating all the major dam sites, hydro electric projects, irrigation works and water supply schemes of India.

In 1960 he joined the World Health Organization, where he worked until 1970. After retiring he lived in London, where he served for two years as vice-president of the Geological Society of London.

He was married twice, first to Margaret Marshall (the marriage ended in divorce), then, in 1940, to Sheila Bonnerjee, a granddaughter of Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, first president and founder of the Indian National Congress; they had two daughters. He was a convert to Roman Catholicism.[2]


  • Auden, J. B. (1933) On the age of certain Himalayan granites. Rec. Geol. Surv. India, 66(4), 461-471.
  • Auden, J. B. (1933). Vindhyan sedimentation in the Son Valley, Mirzapur district. Office of the Geological survey of India.
  • Gilbert, L. B., & Auden, J. B. (1933). Note on a Glacier In the Arwa valley. British Garhwal. Rec, Geological Survey of India, 66(3), 214-278.
  • Auden, J. B. (1934) The geology of the Krol belt. Rec. Geol. Surv. India, 67(4):357-454.
  • Auden, J. B. (1935) Traverses in the Himalaya. Rec. Geol. Surv. India, 69(2):123-167.
  • Auden, J. B. (1935). The snout of the Biafo glacier in Baltistan. Rec. Geol. Surv. India, 68(4), 400-413.
  • Auden, J. B., & Ghosh, A. M. N. (1935). Preliminary Account of the Earthquake of the 15th January, 1934, in Bihar and Nepal. Records of the Geological Survey of India, 68(2).
  • Auden, J.B. (1937). Snout of the Gangotri glacier, Tehri Garhwal. Records of Geological Survey of India, 72/2:135-140.
  • Auden, J.B. (1937) The Structure of the Himalaya in Garhwal. Records geol. Survey of India Vol. 71, p. 407— 433.
  • Shipton, E., Spender, M., & Auden, J. B. (1938). The Shaksgam Expedition, 1937. Geographical Journal, 313-336.
  • Auden, J. B. (1938). Resumé of geological results, Shaksgam Expedition, 1937. Himal. J, 10, 40-48.
  • Wadia, D. N., & Auden, J. B. (1939). Geology and structure of Northern India. Mem. Geol. Surv. India, 73, 118-137.
  • Dunn, J. A., Auden, J. B., & Ghosh, A. M. N. (1939). Earthquake effects. Memoir Geological Survey of India, 73, 27-48.
  • Auden, J. B. (1942). A Geological Investigation of Tunnel Alignments for the Jumna Hydro-Electric Scheme.
  • Auden, J. B. (1941). An excursion to Gangotri. Himalayan Journal, 7, 96-102.
  • Auden, J. B. (1942). Note on the Kalagarh Landslide-Mussoorie-Dehradun Motor Road. Rec. Geol. Surv. Ind, 77.
  • Auden, J. B. (1948). Notes on earthquakes in relation to Damodar Valley Projects.
  • Auden, J. B. (1949). A geological discussion on the Satpura hypothesis and Garo-Rajmahal gap. In Proc. Natl. Inst. Sci. of India (Vol. 15, p. 55).
  • Auden, J. B. (1949). Note on the earthquake tremors at Shahkot, Sheikhupura district, Punjab, of September 1943. Records Geol. Surv. India, 78, 135-140.
  • Auden, J. B. (1949). Note on the earthquake tremors at Shahkot, Sheikhupura district, Punjab, of September 1943. Records Geol. Surv. India, 78, 135-140.
  • Auden, J. B. (1950). Some factors concerning the transport of sediments of rivers. In Proc. Nat. Inst. Sci. India (Vol. 16, No. 6).
  • Taylor, G. C, Jr., and Auden, J. B. (1952) All-India exploratory well drilling programme and location of exploratory wells: India Geol. Survey rept., 13
  • Auden, J. B. (1952). Some geological and chemical aspects of the Rajasthan salt problem. Bull. Nat. Inst. Sci. Ind, 1, 53-67.
  • Auden, J. B., & Saha, A. K. (1952). Geological notes on central Nepal. Records of the Geological survey of India, 82, 354-357.
  • Auden, J. B. (1954). Erosional patterns and fracture zones in Peninsular India. Geological Magazine, 91(02), 89-101.
  • Auden, J. B. (1959). Earthquakes in relation to the Damodar Valley Project. In Proc. Symp. Earthquake Engg (Vol. 1).
  • Auden, J. B. (1960). Note on gypsum near Lachhmanjhula and Sahasradhara, Uttar Pradesh. Rec. Geol. Surv. Ind., 86 (2).
  • Auden, J. B. (1972). Review of the tectonic map of India published by ONGC. J. Geol. Soc. India, 13, 101-107.
  • Auden, J. B. (1972). Discussion of KG Cox, The Karroo volcanic cycle: Geol. Soc. London Jour, 128, 334.
  • Auden, J. B. (1972). Seismicity and reservoirs. Comments Earth Sci., Geophys, 2, 149-150.
  • Auden, J. B. (1975). Seismicity associated with the Koyna reservoir, Maharashtra.
  • Auden, J. B. (1981). India's former crustal neighbours. Indian National Science Academy.
  • Auden, J. B. (1999). Dykes in western India. A discussion of their relationships with the Deccan Traps. Memoirs of the Geological Society of India (2):277-318.


  2. Boris Berkhoff, "Obituary: John Auden", The Independent, 26 January 1991


  • Dr. J. B. Auden commemorative volume: Symposium on the Geological and Engineering Problems of River Valley Projects, by John Bicknell Auden, V. S. Krishnaswamy, P. N. Mehta, G. Pant, S. N. Sondhi and G. N. Jaitle (Calcutta, 1972).
  • (Unsigned), "Dr John Auden", The Times, 24 January 1991.
  • Boris Berkhoff, "Obituary: John Auden", The Independent, 26 January 1991.
  • W. L. Webb, "The brothers Auden", The Guardian, 26 January 1991.