Born in Boston, Alfred C. Lane was educated at Harvard University and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1883. Between 1883 and 1885 he taught mathematics at Harvard, then studied at the University of Heidelberg until 1887 before returning to Harvard to earn his Doctor of Philosophy in 1888.
The following year he joined the Michigan State Geologic Survey as a petrographer, and he remained in that post into 1892 while also serving as an instructor at the Michigan College of Mines. He became assistant state geologist for Michigan in 1892, and from 1899 to 1909 he was the state geologist. Finally, he joined Tufts College in 1892, becoming the Pearson professor of geology and mineralogy.
He retired from the college in 1936 as professor emeritus.
While at Tufts, he served as vice president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Division of Geology in 1907. He received an honorary Doctor of Science from Tufts in 1913.
From 1922 and 1946 he was chairman for the Committee on the Measurement of Geologic Time for the National Research Council. Alfred Lane was appointed as consultant of science to the Library of Congress in 1929.
The first person to hold that post.
In 1931, he was president of the Geological Society of America. He was awarded the Ballou Medal by Tufts College in 1940 for "distinguished service to education and the nation". During his career, he authored 1,087 publications.
Member of committee, appointed by board overseers, to visit Harvard Observatory since 1924. Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (vice president section East 1907), Geological Society America (president 1931). Member National Research Council (commission on measurement of geologic time), American and Boston mineral societies, American Institute Mining and Metallurgical Engineers (president Boston Section 1918-1919), Harvard Engineering Society, Thomas Dudley Family Association (president tercentennial year), North.E. Historical and Genealogical Society.
Member Canadian Mining Institute.
Member Geological Society of Belgium. Member Massachusetts Civic League, Civil Liberties Union, committee of Moral and Social Welfare Suffolk North Conference, Boston Chapter United National Association Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi.
Club: 20th Century Associates.
Married Susanne Foster Lauriat, April. Children: Lauriat, Frederic Chapin, Harriet Page (Mistress C. Doctorate. Rouillard).