Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM
THE GEOLOGY OF RUSSIA IN EUROPE AND THE URAL MOUNTAINS (1845) BY RODERICK I. MURCHISON, EDOUARD DE VERNEUIL AND ALEXANDER VON KEYSERLING: A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF ITS COMPILATION AND IMPACT
In 1845 Roderick Murchison, together with Edouard de Verneuil and Alexander von Keyserling, published The Geology of Russia in Europe and the Ural Mountains, a quarto two volume set more than 1200 pages in length. Volume I (700 pp.), published by John Murray of London, sets forth the geology and is illustrated by two geologic maps, five plates containing cross-sections, twelve scenic lithographs, and eighty nine wood engravings in the text (Thackray, 1978). It comprises two parts written primarily by Murchison and seventeen appendices written by other experts. Volume I is organized stratigraphically and presents the evidence for the geologic systems portrayed on the impressively detailed and fundamentally accurate geologic map of Russia in Europe (Plate VI). Murchison relied on the work of earlier geologists to guide his travel routes and to fill in parts of the map he, or members of his team, did not personally visit, and he consistently credited those geologists for the assistance they provided. Volume II (512 pp.), published by P. Bertrand in Paris, comprises fossil descriptions and illustrations compiled by de Verneuil. Other contributors to Volume II included J. Morris, A.T. Brongniart, H.R. Goeppert, J. Lindley, A. d’Orbigny, R.I. Murchison, and L. Agassiz. Six hundred copies of the book were printed of which one hundred copies were commissioned by the government of Czar Nicholas I of Russia. The writing and printing of The Geology of Russia has a complicated history. For example, early copies of Volume I differ from later copies as Murchison continued to modify the text and map as a result of additional fieldwork. In addition to containing the first comprehensive geologic map of Russia in Europe, The Geology of Russia confirmed the existence of the Devonian System, established the Permian System, and documented the transition from Azoic rocks into the earliest strata containing fossils (assigned by Murchison to the Lower Silurian). The impact of this book spread quickly as seen in contemporary geologic maps published elsewhere in Europe and Russia.