2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM


DIEMER, John A., Geography and Earth Sciences, UNC-Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223 and COLLIE, Michael, 23 New Causeway, Barkestone, Nottingham, NG13 OHA, England, jadiemer@email.uncc.edu

By the year 1844 Roderick Murchison had behind him two important geological campaigns in Wales and Russia. These resulted in the landmark books, The Silurian System and The Geology of Russia, that were crucial in establishing the Paleozoic portion of the geologic time scale. As a result of these, and many other geological initiatives elsewhere in Britain and Europe, he had developed a mature methodology to maximize his fieldwork results. Murchison’s methodology was well-suited to compiling geologic maps and cross-sections for large, little-known areas using modern stratigraphic nomenclature. His fieldwork methodology benefited greatly from his abundant energy, large purse, well-developed logistical and linguistic abilities, membership in scientific organizations throughout Europe, large circle of friends and acquaintances, and access to museums, libraries, mapmakers and booksellers. In 1844 Murchison was finishing the geologic map of Russia and in order to complete the Scandinavian portion he made a trip to Christiania (now Oslo). That trip provides an excellent example of his fieldwork methodology. This paper discusses the steps Murchison took in preparation of a geological expedition, the field gear he used, his practice of traveling with other geologists, and his habit of quickly publicizing his findings. The Norwegian example is not unique, rather Murchison used the same methodology throughout his career.