A Textbook of Geology

A Textbook of Geology

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A Textbook of Geology

A Textbook of Geology

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Excerpt

In the preparation of this book, I have departed somewhat widely from the prevailing order of treatment in current texts. Instead of beginning with the destruction of rocks, it has seemed more logical to give the student some knowledge of the rocks to be destroyed, and of their character and origin. Instead of treating clastic rocks first and igneous and other non-clastic rocks later, it has seemed more desirable to begin with those rocks from which clastics are largely derived, before dealing with the clastics themselves. Twenty years of experience as a teacher have convinced me that the average student admitted to courses in geology receives too little instruction in minerals, and although we generally recommend mineralogy as a desirable prerequisite, few teachers can insist upon a preparation in this subject on the part of the student. Yet without a knowledge of at least some minerals the study of rocks is impossible, and few geological phenomena can be adequately understood without at least a general knowledge of the rocks which they affect. Students who are preparing to make geology their life work, will in any case undertake a more extended study of minerals, and they will turn to the excellent textbooks in that science now available, and some of which are listed on page 51. But the great majority of students of geology come to this subject only with the desire to gain some knowledge of the world they live in, of the material of which it is composed, of the forces which have fashioned it, and of the laws which have governed its development. They may do so from a desire to master the secrets of nature for the material benefits to be derived from such a mastery, or for the power which such a knowledge will confer upon them; or they may undertake the study of the earth, because they wish to broaden their mental horizon and subject themselves to that stimulation of the intellect, that deepening of spiritual perceptions, and that awakening of dormant faculties, which others have found in a sympathetic understanding of, and love for, the out-door world, and which, in its fullest measure, is most frequently vouchsafed to the student of geology. From whatever motive the student approaches the subject, he should be made to realize that his desires can best be attained, if he keep in mind the maxim of La Rochefoucauld, "Pour bien savoir une chose il faut en savoir les détails." Detail does not appeal to the . . .

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