Prof. Sir Archibald Geikie

1835 - 1924

Geologist, specialising in volcanic geology and the microscopic examination of rocks. Born in Edinburgh and educated at the High School and University there, Geikie joined the United Kingdom Geological Survey (1855) and went on to lead the survey in Scotland (1867). He worked with life-long friend Sir Roderick Murchison (1792 - 1871) to produce a geological map of Scotland, published in 1862. His Scenery of Scotland, which followed in 1865, explained the development of Scotland's landscape. Murchison established a Chair of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Edinburgh in 1870, and Geikie was its first occupant, serving until 1881. His younger brother, James Geikie (1839 - 1914), succeeded him at the University. Geikie was then appointed Director-General of the Geological Survey a role he retained until 1901. Early in his career he was involved in fieldwork leading to the mapping of Berwickshire, the Lothians and Fife, and Geikie later produced two geological monographs on Fife. He took a detailed interest in British volcanism, publishing an important and well-received paper entitled The History of Volcanic Action during the Tertiary Period in the British Isles. Geikie served as President of the Geological Society (1891-2), Joint Secretary of the Royal Society (1903-8) and its President (1909). He was knighted in 1891, awarded an honorary degree by the University of Glasgow in 1901 and the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in 1905.

He died at his home in Haslemere (Surrey), where he lies buried in St. Bartholomew's churchyard. The local museum there has a significant collection of his papers, geological specimens and personal effects. Named after him are the mineral Geikielite, Geikie Gorge in Western Australia, Geikie Peak in the USA, Geikie Land, Geikie Glacier, Geikie Point, Geikie Inlet and Geikie Ridge in Antarctica, together with Dorsa Geikie, a ridge on the Moon.

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