Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/109

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75
HIS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE SEA

Trade Winds; and C. Wyville Thomson, who thought that Maury's theory was ambiguous, was an adherent to the Herschel theory, though his colleague Carpenter was of a different opinion still. "It is now known, however," writes Sir Willam A. Herdman,[1] "that the Gulf Stream is not an independent phenomenon, but is a part of the general system of surface circulation of the ocean, a system in which the currents, diverted to the east, as a result of the rotation of the earth in their course northwards from the equator, flow clockwise in the North Atlantic around a central, relatively calm area, the Sargasso Sea, in which seaweeds and other floating objects accumulate".

When one considers how science develops, one theory changing or giving place entirely to another as new and wider research is made, such criticisms as those above do not lessen at all the estimation of Maury's greatness as a pioneer scientist in a comparatively new field of investigation, nor do they at all rob him of the right to be called the world's first great oceanographer. This is the opinion of a recent authority on the science of the sea, who writes, "Marine meteorology may be said to date from the time of M. F. Maury, U. S. Navy, whose 'Physical Geography of the Sea', though out of date as to facts and somewhat fantastic as to theories, remains a model book of popular science, written by a man who was possessed of all the knowledge of his time, and afire with the enthusiasm of research".[2]

Maury's researches in oceanography led to his con-

  1. "Founders of Oceanography", p. 175.
  2. From "Chapter I, The Air" by Hugh Robert Mill and D. Wilson Barker in Science of the Sea, edited by G. Herbert Fowler for the Challenger Society, 1912, p. 3.