Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/275

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SKETCH OF SIR ARCHIBALD GEIKIE.

nomena of the United States, and of the vahie of the study of them for the contributions it affords to our general knowledge of the subject and the explanations it furnishes of phenomena in other countries.

Writing on the subject in 1875, he said the United States had certainly done noble work in the exploration and mapping of its vast empire. Having spoken commendatorily of the style in which the reports were prepared and distributed, he added, "But whatever be their external guise, these narratives are pervaded by an earnestness and enthusiasm, a consciousness of the magnitude of the scale on which the phenomena have been produced, and yet a sustained style of quiet description, which can not but strike the reader." In reviewing Hayden's Report at the end of 1883, he ascribes a singular fascination to American geology. "Its features are as a whole so massive and colossal, their infinite detail so subordinated to breadth of effect, their presentation of the great elements of geological structure so grand, yet so simple and so clearly legible, that they may serve as types for elucidating the rest of the world. The progress of sound geology would assuredly have been more rapid had the science made its first start in the far West of America, rather than among the crumpled and broken rocks of western Europe. Truths that have been gained on this side of the Atlantic by the laborious gathering together of a broken chain of evidence would have proclaimed themselves from thousands of plateaux, cañons, and mountain ranges, in language too plain to be mistaken. No European geologist can visit these Western regions without realizing more or less distinctly what an amount of time has been wasted over questions about which there should never have been any discussion at all. This impression is renewed by every new geological memoir which brings to us fresh revelations of the scenery and structure of the Western Territories."

On the occasion of his appointment as Director-General of the Geological Survey of Great Britain and Ireland, Prof. Geikie was presented in March, 1882, by past and present students of the geology class in the University of Edinburgh with an illuminated address, recording their sense of loss on his leaving the university; referring to the distinguished services he had rendered the science; recognizing the signal success with which he had maintained the reputation of the Scottish school of geology, and of Edinburgh; and expressing the sympathy and affection with which they regarded him. Prof. Geikie responded in similar spirit, and said that he believed he was the first in Scotland, if not in Britain, to organize a practical class for the study of mineralogy and the microscopic investigation of rocks. He had tried always to make the cultivation of field geology a prominent part