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Prof. James Murdoch Geikie


1839 - 1915

Geologist. Born in Edinburgh, the younger brother of Archibald Geikie (1835 - 1924). James Geikie was educated at the Royal High School and University in Edinburgh. He joined the Geological Survey of Scotland and was noted for his contribution to mapping the geology of the country. He wrote the standard work of the day on the glacial period, The Great Ice Age and its Relation to the Antiquity of Man (1874), which ran to three editions. He suggested that human habitation continued in Europe throughout the glacial period, which remains the current belief. Geikie succeeded his brother as the Murchison Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Edinburgh in 1882, a post which he held until 1914. He became Dean of the Faculty of Science in 1894. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1871 and served both as its Vice President and President. He received its Brisbane Medal in 1889 and was also awarded the Murchison Medal by the Geological Society of London in the same year. He was also a founder of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, served as its President 1904-10 and was awarded its Gold Medal in 1910.

He died at his home on Colinton Road in Edinburgh and lies buried in Morningside Cemetery. The Scots-American environmentalist John Muir (1838 - 1914) named a glacier in Alaska in Geikie's honour - the name now also applies to the nearby Geikie Inlet and Geikie Rock. His papers are held in the Library of the University of Edinburgh.


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