Editing Geological Survey under Sir Archibald Geikie, 1882–1901

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Meanwhile Geikie had authorized the preparation of a memoir on the Silurian Rocks of Britain. It should be kept in mind that he never recognized the necessity for using the term Ordovician, but, in this respect, remained a steadfast upholder of the regime of Murchison. Only the first volume of this memoir has been published; it contains a description of the Ordovician and Silurian of the South of Scotland, by Peach and Horne, and made its appearance in 1899. Lapworth in 1878 and subsequent years, by a succession of classic researches, had shown how thoroughly unsatisfactory was the original survey of the Ordovician and Silurian of the Southern Uplands. About the year 1888 Peach and Horne started the revision. They began with the Moffat Sheet (16) and the Loch Doon Sheet (8), which, though surveyed, had not been published because the maps were not believed to be in a fit state. They were issued in 1889 and 1893. Thereafter, at odd times, especially during the autumn and spring seasons, when work was impossible on their Highland ground, they gradually extended their search and made an exhaustive examination of most, or nearly all, of the important field exposures, adding notes and lines to the original six-inch maps. Peach did the palaeontology and drew the sections; Horne wrote the text, and the memoir rapidly took shape in their hands. For the petrology they had the invaluable assistance of Teall, who had examined the igneous rocks in their Company. The memoir is a work of distinction which does great credit to the authors, especially when we consider the circumstances under which it was produced. New editions of the one-inch maps, however, were not prepared at this date, but most of them have now been published, showing the result of Peach and Horne’s revision..
 
Meanwhile Geikie had authorized the preparation of a memoir on the Silurian Rocks of Britain. It should be kept in mind that he never recognized the necessity for using the term Ordovician, but, in this respect, remained a steadfast upholder of the regime of Murchison. Only the first volume of this memoir has been published; it contains a description of the Ordovician and Silurian of the South of Scotland, by Peach and Horne, and made its appearance in 1899. Lapworth in 1878 and subsequent years, by a succession of classic researches, had shown how thoroughly unsatisfactory was the original survey of the Ordovician and Silurian of the Southern Uplands. About the year 1888 Peach and Horne started the revision. They began with the Moffat Sheet (16) and the Loch Doon Sheet (8), which, though surveyed, had not been published because the maps were not believed to be in a fit state. They were issued in 1889 and 1893. Thereafter, at odd times, especially during the autumn and spring seasons, when work was impossible on their Highland ground, they gradually extended their search and made an exhaustive examination of most, or nearly all, of the important field exposures, adding notes and lines to the original six-inch maps. Peach did the palaeontology and drew the sections; Horne wrote the text, and the memoir rapidly took shape in their hands. For the petrology they had the invaluable assistance of Teall, who had examined the igneous rocks in their Company. The memoir is a work of distinction which does great credit to the authors, especially when we consider the circumstances under which it was produced. New editions of the one-inch maps, however, were not prepared at this date, but most of them have now been published, showing the result of Peach and Horne’s revision..
  
No attempt has been made by subsequent Directors to continue this series of stratigraphical memoirs. As some of them absorbed the principal share of the energies of their authors for nearly twenty years, they involve too great a draft on the bank of time. Moreover, they interfere seriously with, the progress of the routine field surveys, which are the essential work of a Geological Survey. Comprehensive regional memoirs, however, are still in favour; and among these we may mention ‘The North-west Highlands,’ ‘Geology of the Isle of Man,’ ‘Geology of Anglesey,’ ‘Tertiary Igneous Rocks of Skye,’ ‘Tertiary Rocks of Mull,.’
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No attempt has been made by !subsequent Directors to continue this series of stratigraphical memoirs. As some of them absorbed the principal share of the energies of their authors for nearly twenty years, they involve too great a draft on the bank of time. Moreover, they interfere seriously with, the progress of the routine field surveys, which are the essential work of a Geological Survey. Comprehensive regional memoirs, however, are still in favour; and among these we may mention ‘The North-west Highlands,’ ‘Geology of the Isle of Man,’ ‘Geology of Anglesey,’ ‘Tertiary Igneous Rocks of Skye,’ ‘Tertiary Rocks of Mull,.’
  
 
Although. Geikie himself never wrote a stratigraphical memoir he acted as editor of the ‘Geology of the Northwest Highlands of Scotland,’ a task in which all his literary skill and judgment proved to be necessary. For many years he diligently collected notes, sections and photographs of the extinct volcanoes of Great Britain, and, as he travelled extensively through the Kingdom, he had many opportunities of making observations. Nothing escaped his quick eye and his facile pen, and he levied contributions from all his staff. The results appeared in his two monumental volumes on’ The Ancient Volcanoes of Great Britain,’ published by Macmillan in 1897. He had previously given a condensed account of the subject In his Presidential Addresses to the Geological Society of London in 1891 and 1892. These served as a sort of rehearsal. This book was probably intended by Geikie to be his chief contribution to British geology and it is characterized by all his literary polish and deft handling of the subject. The work, however, marks the close of an epoch rather than the beginning of a new one. A school of geologists was rising that in a few years revolutionized the study of British volcanoes. The first fruits of their activity were probably Harker’s descriptions of Skye, Rum and Eigg. This was followed by Peach’s work on the Pentlands and Arthur’s Seat, Bailey’s on East Lothian and the Campsies, and, somewhat later, the work of Clough and his assistants in Mull. Scrupulously thorough six-inch mapping and full petrographical investigation supported by intensive chemical research mark the output of this school. No department of British geology has made greater progress during the last thirty years than the study of volcanic structuires and igneous rocks.
 
Although. Geikie himself never wrote a stratigraphical memoir he acted as editor of the ‘Geology of the Northwest Highlands of Scotland,’ a task in which all his literary skill and judgment proved to be necessary. For many years he diligently collected notes, sections and photographs of the extinct volcanoes of Great Britain, and, as he travelled extensively through the Kingdom, he had many opportunities of making observations. Nothing escaped his quick eye and his facile pen, and he levied contributions from all his staff. The results appeared in his two monumental volumes on’ The Ancient Volcanoes of Great Britain,’ published by Macmillan in 1897. He had previously given a condensed account of the subject In his Presidential Addresses to the Geological Society of London in 1891 and 1892. These served as a sort of rehearsal. This book was probably intended by Geikie to be his chief contribution to British geology and it is characterized by all his literary polish and deft handling of the subject. The work, however, marks the close of an epoch rather than the beginning of a new one. A school of geologists was rising that in a few years revolutionized the study of British volcanoes. The first fruits of their activity were probably Harker’s descriptions of Skye, Rum and Eigg. This was followed by Peach’s work on the Pentlands and Arthur’s Seat, Bailey’s on East Lothian and the Campsies, and, somewhat later, the work of Clough and his assistants in Mull. Scrupulously thorough six-inch mapping and full petrographical investigation supported by intensive chemical research mark the output of this school. No department of British geology has made greater progress during the last thirty years than the study of volcanic structuires and igneous rocks.

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