Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM


?ENGÖR, A.M. Celãl, Avrasya Yerbilimleri Enstitüsü, İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, and Maden Fakültesi, Jeoloji Bölümü, Ayazağa, İstanbul, 34469, Turkey,

Geology in the United States began by imitating what was being done in Europe and it remained so until the twentieth century except with the Rogers brothers and among a group of people who were not trained geologists. They were soldiers. These people headed and, in the post-Civil War Surveys, also formed the leaders of research teams within the four great surveys of the American West. Among these people was ‘Captain’ Clarence Edward Dutton (1841-1912) who worked in the Powell Survey. Dutton’s best-known work is his mapping of what he called the ‘High Plateaus of Utah’ during which he became aware of the importance of vertical tectonics the style of which he thought incompatible with the then reigning contraction theory. Dutton’s problem was not with horizontal motions: he knew ample examples of structures from the southern Appalachians that clearly were formed by horizontal shortening. His main problem was to explain how was it that at elevations exceeding 2.5 km, mostly flat-lying sedimentary layers existed. It was Major Powell who had brought him into this fairy-land of geology in 1875, in which the forms and modes of occurrence of geological structures Dutton found 'somewhat peculiar, especially when brought into comparison with displacements found in other regions.' In 1874, Dutton had already come out against the contraction theory, simply because the amount of contraction to be obtained by a cooling of the earth was not sufficient to generate the shortening observed in the mountain ranges. In 1876, after he had been out West, he followed up his earlier paper by a new attack: that new paper contains so many of our current interpretations concerning deformation and metamorphism which many today think novel, that it is astonishing how little influence it had, both in America and in Europe. The only reason I can see for this is that ‘the Captain’ overshot the capacity of most geologists (including the ‘grand’ ivy league professors) with his physical, chemical and geological arguments combined. Clarence Dutton’s term and concept of isostasy have been universally used, but not his other, more original ideas on tectonics, much to the detriment of geology, until Argand resurrected some of them in a form that would have shocked even Dutton himself.