Geikie’s field researches and their geological controversies
Published:January 01, 2019
Robert W. H. Butler, Stephen J. Matthews, Richard K. Morgan, 2019. "Geikie’s field researches and their geological controversies", Aspects of the Life and Works of Archibald Geikie, J. Betterton, J. Craig, J. R. Mendum, R. Neller, J. Tanner
Download citation file:
Archibald Geikie’s (1835–1924) field research led to better understanding of geological relationships and, ultimately, Earth processes. We consider three pieces of research in Scotland, from his early work on Skye through to the execution and impact of his 1860 expedition to the NW Highlands with Murchison, returning to Skye to consider arguments with Judd on igneous relationships. We describe the field locations and place modern interpretations in their historical context. We discuss how methods and approaches for building interpretations in the field were modified and improved through debates. Reliance on a few ‘critical outcrops’ served to anchor interpretation at the expense of understanding more complex exposures. Similar bias appears to have arisen from using simple exploratory transects which were only mitigated by proper mapping approaches. Significant misunderstandings between protagonists appear to have arisen through the reliance of text description rather than diagrammatic illustrations. The vitriolic nature of debate seems to have anchored misinterpretations, obscured interpretational uncertainty and promoted false-reasoning by inhibiting inclusive scientific engagement.
Figures & Tables
Aspects of the Life and Works of Archibald Geikie
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
Sir Archibald Geikie (1835–1924) was one of the most distinguished and influential geologists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was Director-General of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, President of the Geological Society of London, President of the British Association, Trustee of the British Museum and President of the Royal Society. He was also an accomplished writer, a masterful lecturer and a talented artist who published over 200 scientific papers, books and articles.
The papers in this volume examine aspects of Geikie’s life and works, including his family history, his personal and professional relationships, his art, and his contributions as a field geologist and administrator. Together, they provide a deeper understanding of his life, his career and his contribution to the development of Geology as a scientific discipline. Much of the research is based on primary sources, including previously unpublished manuscripts, donated in part by members of the family to the Haslemere Educational Museum, UK.