Earth Features and Their Meaning

Earth Features and Their Meaning

Earth Features and Their Meaning

Earth Features and Their Meaning

Excerpt

The series of readings contained in the present volume give in somewhat expanded form the substance of a course of illustrated lectures which has now for several years been delivered each semester at the University of Michigan. The keynote of the course may be found in the dominant characteristics of the different earth features and the geological processes which have been betrayed in the shaping of them. Such a geological examination of landscape is replete with fascinating revelations, and it lends to the study of Nature a deep meaning which cannot but enhance the enjoyment of her varied aspects.

That there is a real place for such a cultural study of geology within the University is believed to be shown by the increasing number of students who have elected the work. Even more than in former years the American travels afar by car or steamship, and the earth's surface features in all their manifold diversity are thus one after the other unrolled before him. The thousands who each year cross the Atlantic to roam over European countries may by historical, literary, or artistic studies prepare themselves to derive an exquisite pleasure as they visit places identified with past achievement of one form or another. Yet the Channel coast, the gorge of the Rhine, the glaciers of Switzerland, and the wild scenery of Norway or Scotland have each their fascinating story to tell of a history far more remote and varied. To read this history, the runic characters in which it is written must first of all be mastered; for in every landscape there are strong individual lines of character such as the pen artist would skillfully extract for an outline sketch. Such character profiles are often many times repeated in each landscape, and in them we have a key to the historical record.

An object of the present readings has thus been to enable the student to himself pick out in each landscape these more significant lines and so read directly from Nature. In the landscapes which . . .

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