George Poulett Scrope was born in London in 1797, is the second son of J. Poulett Thomson, Esq., of Waverley Abbey, Surrey, the head of the eminent mercantile firm of Thomson, Bonar, and Co., of London and Petersburg, and was educated at Harrow and St. John's College, Cambridge. During his undergraduateship he passed the winter of 1816–17 at Naples, with a part of his family, where he was struck by the phenomena of the neighbouring volcano, then in almost permanent though moderate activity. Returning to Naples in 1819, he renewed his study of Vesuvius and the volcanic territory of the Campagna; and, in the spring of 1820, made the tour of Sicily, visiting Etna and the Lipari isles. Having by these opportunities been led to take much interest in the phenomena of volcanos—at that era much misunderstood and undervalued by the rising schools of geology, both in England and on the Continent, where the doctrines of Werner were still in the ascendant—Mr. Thomson (who, on his marriage in 1821, had assumed the surname of Scrope) passed the summer of that year in a close study of the extinct volcanos of Central France, and collected there, the materials for the volume, published by him some, years later (in 1827), “On the Geology and Extinct Volcanos of Central France”—a work which has been ever since generally accepted as the best authority as to this interesting district.