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Download e-book for iPad: Charles Darwin as Geologist: The Rede Lecture, Given at the by Archibald Geikie

By Archibald Geikie

ISBN-10: 0511702221

ISBN-13: 9780511702228

ISBN-10: 1108002579

ISBN-13: 9781108002578

In the course of his recognized Beagle voyage, Darwin accumulated rocks, fossils and different geological specimens. No earlier geologist had collected this kind of targeted set of knowledge. He pointed out raised shores and is still of marine organisms excessive above the ocean, figuring out their value as facts of the rebellion of landmasses. He additionally witnessed an earthquake and volcanic eruptions, concluding that either are regarding events of molten rock deep within the Earth. during this 1909 lecture, Sir Archibald Geikie, then President of the Royal Society, outlines Darwin's geological findings and explains how those underpinned his constructing rules. We research of Darwin's concept of coral reef formation, and his fascination with the actions of earthworms. ultimately the lecture considers the significance of Darwin's geological reports in formulating his thought of evolution by means of ordinary choice, resulting in his masterpiece at the beginning of Species.

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He was consequently on his guard against being deceived by artificial accumulations of shells, 28 CHARLES DARWIN and he gives the criteria by which he discriminated between them and natural deposits —criteria which any field-geologist would accept as sufficient. Until therefore the evidence has been sifted on the ground by a witness as capable and as unbiassed as Darwin himself, I shall continue to retain my belief in the trustworthiness and importance of the observations and conclusions of the great naturalist as to the upheaval of those parts of South America which he had himself the opportunity of examining.

But he now brought to their prosecution a wealth of biological experience and an ingeniously 4r-2 52 CHARLES DARWIN devised system of measurement which gave to his results a precision not always attainable in experimental geology. His volume thus holds an altogether unique place among modern contributions to the problems of denudation. It shows no lessening in his marvellous patience, his scrupulous aim at accuracy and his masterly power of rising from the minutest details into the broadest generalisations.

Darwin AS GEOLOGIST 33 offered a new suggestion which appeared to remove all the difficulties that were then known. He showed how on the simple hypothesis of a slow subsidence of the bed of the ocean, fringing-reefs of coral along a coast-line could be converted into barrier-reefe with a lagoonchannel between them and the shore, and further, how, where the land was insular and continued to sink along with the surrounding sea-floor, while at the same time the polypifers, in their accumulation of calcareous material, kept pace with the downward movement, the barrier-reef would become an atoll or ring of coral-rock enclosing a lagoon beneath which the last peak of land might in the end disappear.

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Charles Darwin as Geologist: The Rede Lecture, Given at the Darwin Centennial Commemoration on 24 June 1909 by Archibald Geikie


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