London, John Murray 1859
Thick quarto, 9.3 x 6ins, fine original blind stamped brown cloth by Edmonds & Remnants, London with their printed label, spine lettered gilt, upper cover gilt, pp.xix + (1)errata +592 + Figures of the principal Silurian fossils XLI plates with separate descriptive text + 32pp adverts dated January 1859, with the folding Geological Map of the Silurian Rocks in pocket at the end, engraved coloured frontispiece of Loch Assynt, tabular diagram on p.157, folding sketch map on p.522, numerous woodcuts in the text throughout, faint damp stain on last few leaves, printed bookplate on inner blank of booksellers Friedrich Klincksliek, 14 rue de Lille, Paris, a fine copy.
Dibner, Heralds of Science, 97. Geikie, The Founders of Geology, p.420. Zittel, History of Geology & Palaeontology, pp.432-438. DNB, XIII, 1214.
Third edition of a work which has become a landmark in geology. Murchison (1792-1871) had taken up the study of geology late in life and had become friendly with Charles Lyell and Adam Sedgwick. In 1831, following an attempt to resolve the problem of the structure of the Alps, Murchison turned to the classification of the greywacke rocks along the border of Wales; he believed they could be grouped into a definite order of succession. The result of this work was the establishment of the Silurian System under which were grouped for the first time a remarkable series of formations, each with distinctive organic remains older than and very different from those of other rocks of England. These researches were published in this book. The establishment of the Silurian System of grouping geological formations found elsewhere was followed by the introduction of the Devonian System and the application of both systems to the geology of the Rhineland, the Urals and the Highlands of Scotland.