Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/273

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SKETCH OF SIR ARCHIBALD GEIKIE.

distribution of races, national history, industrial and commercial progress, and national temperament and character. Prof. Geikie found in the United States an emphatic confirmation of his theory in one of the most impressive features of our geology, which he records, in 1887, in a review of Newberry and Macomb's Survey of the Upper Colorado. "The whole of this Colorado basin or plateau is justly regarded as the most magnificent example on the face of the globe of how much the land may have its features altered by the action of running water."

The method based upon this theory prevails in Prof. Geikie's Physical Geology, which is described by Dr. Jukes as "an example of the treatment of geographical questions from the point of view of the geologist." The author is actuated, the reviewer continues, "by the conviction of the necessity for a broader and more vivid presentation of the action and reaction upon one another of the various forces acting and reacting upon the surface of the globe than is usually found in works on physical geography, in order to convey a just idea of the character and significance of the features which it presents."

The subject is again presented in the presidential address at the Edinburgh meeting of the British Association in 1892, the special topic of which was the commemoration of the centenary of Hutton's theory and uniformitarianism, and in which special stress is laid on Hutton and Playfair's recognition of the fact that existing inequalities in topographical detail "are only varying and local accidents in the progress of the one great process of the degradation of the land."

This breadth of view concerning the methods and purposes of geological study marks those of the author's addresses of which that was the principal subject. In the opening lecture before the class in geology of the University of Edinburgh, delivered in 1871, he advises his hearers, "Let us turn from the lessons of the lecture-room to the lessons of the crags and ravines, appealing constantly to Nature for the explanation and verification of what is taught."

The introduction to his Class Book of Geology, published in 1886, concludes with the words: "Geology is essentially a science of observation. The facts with which it deals should, as far as possible, be verified by our own personal examination. We should lose no opportunity of seeing with our own eyes the actual progress of the changes which it investigates, and the proofs which it adduces of similar changes in the far past. To do this will lead us to the banks of rivers and lakes, and to the shores of the sea. We can hardly take any country walk, indeed, in which, with duly observant eye, we may not detect either some geological operation in actual progress, or the evidence of one which has now