The last half century has been characterized by a remarkable development of scientific thought and a succession of fundamental scientific discoveries. In all phases of science signal advances have been made. The advances in chemistry and physics have perhaps been the most significant. Because of its intimate relation to these sciences, mineralogy has also made much progress. Indeed, advances in one science have not infrequently led to notable achievements in the others..
Fifty years ago students of mineralogy were largely concerned with determining the crystallographic features and the chemical composition of minerals. Particular attention was also given to the modes of occurrence and the description of important mineral localities. As optical i n struments were still in the developmental stage, the investigation of the optical properties of crystals and minerals was naturally rather limited. In that period mineralogy was often characterized as a descriptive science.
Today, however, mineralogy is to be counted among the exact sciences. In many respects mineralogy may be regarded as the application of certain phases of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and geology to the study of crystals and minerals. In addition to the external features and modes of occurrence, the precise determination of the physical, optical, and chemical properties and of the internal structure of individual minerals is now stressed. Then, too, the relationships of these properties to those of similarly constituted minerals and chemical substances are carefully investigated and interpreted.
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Published in celebration of the Geological Society of America’s 50th anniversary, this 578-page volume presents the progress in geology from 1888 to 1938. Written to serve as a comprehensive summary, both for the generalist and the specialist, it explores the fundamental fields of geology, including physiography, glacial geology, oceanography, invertebrate paleontology, vertebrate paleontology, prehistoric archeology, paleobotany, stratigraphy, sedimentation, structural geology, pre-Cambrian, mineralogy, petrology, volcanology, geochemistry, general geophysics, seismology, ore deposits, petroleum geology, exploratory geophysics, and engineering geology.