James Geikie

James Geikie books and biography

James Geikie

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James Geikie (23 August 1839–1915) was a Scottish geologist and younger brother of Sir Archibald Geikie, he was born in Edinburgh. He was educated at the high school and University of Edinburgh. He served on the Geological Survey from 1862 until 1882, when be succeeded his brother as Murchison professor of geology and mineralogy at the University of Edinburgh. He took as his special subject of investigation the origin of surface-features, and the part played in their formation by glacial action. His views are embodied in his chief work, The Great Ice Age and its Relation to the Antiquity of Man (1874; 3rd ed., 1894). He was elected F.R.S. in 1875. Geikie became the leader of the school that upholds the all important action of land-ice, as against those geologists who assign chief importance to the work of pack ice and icebergs. Continuing this line of investigation in his Prehistoric Europe (1881), he maintained the hypothesis of five inter-Glacial periods in Great Britain, and argued that the palaeolithic deposits of the Pleistocene period were not post- but inter- or pre-Glacial. His Fragments of Earth Lore: Sketches and Addresses, Geological and Geographical (1893) and Earth Sculpture (1898) are mainly concerned with the same subject. His Outlines of Geology (1886), a standard textbook of its subject, reached its third edition in 1896; and in 1905 he published an important manual on structural and field geology. In 1887 he displayed another side of his activity in a volume of Songs and Lyrics by H. Heine and other German Poets, done into English Verse. From 1888 he was honorary editor of the Scottish Geographical Magazine.

John Muir (1838-1914) named a glacier in Alaska after Geikie.


  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopdia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

1913. Mountains, Their Origin,Growth and Decay.

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Antiquity Of Man In Europe

Structural And Field Geology

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