R.T. Hill (1858–1941) and “The geology and physical geography of Jamaica: Study of a type of Antillean development” (1899)
Published:April 01, 2010
Stephen K. Donovan, 2010. "R.T. Hill (1858–1941) and “The geology and physical geography of Jamaica: Study of a type of Antillean development” (1899)", Jamaican Rock Stars, 1823–1971: The Geologists Who Explored Jamaica, Stephen K. Donovan, Lawrence J. Chubb, John B. Williams
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Robert Thomas Hill Jr. (1858–1941) was called both the “Father of Texas Geology” and the “Father of Antillean and Isthmian Geology” in his own lifetime. Hill was the preeminent field geologist of his day and the first American to play a prominent role in Caribbean crustal studies. Hill's working life included spells with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and various geological speculations which failed to make his fortune. His Antillean research spanned a brief period, from the mid-1890s to ~1900, and was supported by the fortune of Alexander Agassiz, who commissioned Hill to search for evidence of foundered continental connections and changes of sea level. Hill's major Caribbean surveys included the Isthmus of Panama and the principal islands of the Greater Antilles, and major reports were published on these areas. Hill visited Jamaica in 1896 and 1897, and made over 800 miles of geological traverses. His geological base map was that of Sawkins, whose survey Hill criticized for its failure to determine the correct geological succession of the island, a shortcoming that he corrected. Based on this research, Hill determined the geological history of Jamaica for the first time, an interpretation that remains modern in concept.