From Ireland to Russia

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When von Humboldt went on field trips to look at rocks, he wore a top hat, a white cravat, and a black double-breasted frock coat that reached to his knees. He was imitated by, among others, Cuvier and von Buch. Agassiz was less formal, but in no particular did he resemble a scuffed-booted, blue-jeaned, twentieth-century field geologist when he set out with Charpentier to stroll through the valley of the upper Rhone. What Agassiz saw forever altered his life, as ice had co-working space rotterdam altered the valley. When he left, he had no remaining doubt of the truth of what Perraudin, Venetz, and Charpentier believed. Wandering the Swiss countryside low and high, he found further evidence everywhere he went-grooved rock, polished rock, moraines where ice had long been gone, boulders rounded off and set where water never could have shoved them. He visited similar landscapes in enough places to spread far in his imagination the contiguity they implied, and in one spark of intuition he saw the ice covering more than the valley, the canton, the nation. The idea of continental glaciation fell into place-a stunning moment of realization that ice many thousands of feet thick had been contiguous from Ireland to Russia. When the Helvetic Society met in Neuchatel in the summer of i837, Louis Agassiz-as its president-elect-addressed the savants. Instead of reading an expected discourse in paleontology, he outlined at great length the evidence and co-working space amsterdam chronology of glacial history as he had come to see it, announcing to the Society and to the world at large what would before long be known as the Ice Age. He called it the Epoque Glaciaire. By any name, at home or abroad, it did not overwhelm his colleagues. He was attacked far more than defended. Von Buch literally threw up his hands, and not without the perspectives of the future partly on his side, for Agassiz-like the “plate-tectonics boys,” as seen by Anita Harrishad not known where to stop.