Scientific Papers.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Sir Archibald Geikie

Introductory Note

SIR ARCHIBALD GEIKIE was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1835, and educated at the university in that city. He became a member of the Geological Survey of Scotland, of which, in 1867, he was made director; and from 1871 to 1882 was Murchison professor of geology and mineralogy in his own university. At the latter date he resigned to take up the general directorship of the Geological Survey of the United Kingdom, which he held till 1901. He has been an extremely productive investigator, and his achievements have brought him many distinctions from learned societies at home and abroad, including the honor of knighthood, the presidency of the British Association, and the secretaryship of the Royal Society.

Among his more important writings may be mentioned “The Scenery of Scotland, Viewed in Connection With its Physical Geography” (1865), “Text-book of Geology” (1882), “Ancient Volcanoes of Britain” (1897), “Types of Scenery and Their Influence on Literature” (1898), and “Landscape in History” (1905).

The following paper on “Geographical Evolution,” published among his “Geological Sketches at Home and Abroad” (1882), might be entitled with less ambiguity “Geological Evolution,” since it is in this sense rather than in the broader modern signification that the word “geographical” is employed throughout the essay.

The interest in literature indicated by the names of several of Geikie’s books has not been without influence on his writings, for there are few scientific authors to-day who can command so fascinating a style. His power of exposition is shown by the skill with which, in the present paper, he maps out in comparatively few pages, the views of his school as to the geological history of the earth.