Dana, James Dwight

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Dana, James Dwight

James Dwight Dana, 1813–95, American geologist, mineralogist, and naturalist, b. Utica, N.Y., grad. Yale, 1833. His studies of the S Pacific, NW United States, Europe, and elsewhere led to changes in ideas on mountain building, volcanism, and the origin of the continents and oceans. In 1837, Dana published A System of Minerology, which is still a standard. He was the geologist and mineralogist on the U.S. expedition to the Antarctic regions and the South Seas commanded by Charles Wilkes (1838–42). Dana's reports, published in large volumes with elaborate plates and an atlas, included Zoophytes (1846), Geology (1849), and Crustacea (1852–55). One of his most important positions was as coeditor with Benjamin Silliman of the American Journal of Science, where his ideas greatly influenced the development of American geology. In 1846, he succeeded Silliman at Yale as professor of natural history and geology. His other writings include Manual of Geology (1862), Manual of Minerology (1843), Corals and Coral Islands (1872), and Characteristics of Volcanoes (1890).

See biography by D. C. Gilman (1899, repr. 1973).

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