Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin – Geologist

Portrait of Charles LyellI had always known that as a naturalist, Darwin was also a geologist. Most geologists know that he was the first to propose the hypothesis that as tropical islands subside they turn into atolls (more on this later). And I always like to tell people that Darwin had a well-worn copy of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology along on the voyage. Principles, for all practical purposes, was the first geology “textbook”, and at the time of the Beagle’s departure it was hot off the presses (published in 1830). Lyell’s book illustrated how to “read the rocks” – interpreting what geology can tell us about the past. (This idea, often summarized as “the present is the key to the past”, was first proposed by James Hutton in 1780. Unfortunately, his book was virtually unreadable, so it took a while for the idea to sink in.) Later in the voyage, in a correspondence to W.D. Fox (noted in the diary footnotes), Darwin states “I am become a zealous disciple of Mr Lyells views, as known in his admirable book.” Furthermore, in his autobiography Darwin states:

“I had brought with me the first volume of Lyell’s Principles of Geology, which I studied attentively; and this book was of the highest service to me in many ways. The very first place which I examined, namely St. Jago in the Cape Verde islands, showed me clearly the wonderful superiority of Lyell’s manner of treating geology, compared with that of any other author, whose works I had with me or ever afterwards read.”

Charles Lyell:

What I did not know until reading Darwin’s Beagle Diaries is that he was selected for the Beagle trip because Captain Fitzroy wanted a geologist to help study South America, and that by far, the majority of the observations Darwin recorded on the trip were on geology. If his career had ended shortly after the voyage, Darwin would have almost certainly gone down in history as a geologist. This emphasis on geology is clear in the section of his autobiography on Santiago:

“The investigation of the geology of all the places visited was far more important [than its natural history], as reasoning here comes into play. On first examining a new district nothing can appear more hopeless than the chaos of rocks; but by recording the stratification and nature of the rocks and fossils at many points, always reasoning and predicting what will be found elsewhere, light soon begins to dawn on the district, and the structure of the whole becomes more or less intelligible.”

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Cambridge University Press Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary
Book (Cambridge University Press)

— ABC Local
She's spent the last 20 years working as a lecturer in horticulture at Charles Darwin University. "You've to like your work," says Mrs Hagan when asked why she kept working long after she could have put her feet up. "I like the students, the students ..

— The Australian Financial Review
.. the University of Wollongong, Macquarie University, University of Technology Sydney, the University of South Australia, Deakin University, Murdoch University, Charles Darwin University, Curtin University of Technology, Flinders University, Griffith ..

— ABC Online
Thought for more than 150 years to be a subspecies of sugar glider, researchers based at Charles Darwin University in Darwin have recently found it more closely resembles two other species of glider, and they speculate that it may even represent an ..

Books Britain The Voyage of the Beagle (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature)
Book (Books Britain)
Cambridge University Press Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary 1st Edition by Darwin, Charles published by Cambridge University Press Paperback
Book (Cambridge University Press)


The roller
ATHEISTS why dont you get it evolution is a joke?

Charles darwin was a POEt. he was making a parody of the ridiculous theories some scLientists come up with

POEt ? Ok, I call poe. Otherwise, you're trying to spell out 'POEL' and I have no clue what that means.

Sean B
Can you name any famous historical boats? e.g. great eastern, beagle ?

Say the boat and why it's famous

The Edmund Fitzgerald
It was a Great Lakes giant cargo ship that sank during a storm with all hands without even a distress call.

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