Emmons, Ebenezer; Report of the North Carolina Geological Survey Agriculture of the Eastern Counties. Together With Descriptions of the Fossils of the Marl Beds. Henry D. Turner, Raleigh, 1858. Octavo, pp. xvi, 314, errata, 257 text figures.
The work is complete and in the original brown stamped cloth with gilt titles. The binding is tight and clean, gilt titles bright. Univ. Chicago book plate on paste down and perforated stamp on title page. Text has light toning. In very good condition.
Ebenezer Emmons, (1799-1864) a prominent American geologist noted for his studies of the geology of New York and the naming of the Adirondack Mountains.
At a young age he encountered the geologist Amos Eaton at Williams College and followed him to the new Rensselaer Institute, where he studied geology. Upon completion of his studies, Emmons accepted teaching positions at both Williams College in Massachusetts and the Albany Medical College.
In 1836, he joined the newly formed Geological Survey of New York State and was assigned district 2, which encompassed the upper northeast corner of the state including the Adirondack Mountains. During his field work Emmons found evidence in the highly deformed strata that suggested beds older than the Potsdam of Silurian age and which was considered by James Hall to be the oldest rocks. Emmons strata contained very primitive fossils, and he called this older system of rocks the Taconic system. In 1842, Emmons published his volume 2 in the Geology of New York series, where he made his case for the Taconic system. This was the advent of the famous “Taconic Debate” in American geology. Jules Marcou, the French geologist who followed Louis Agassiz to the United States, now considered Emmons to be the supreme stratigrapher in America and the first anywhere to find evidence of primordial life forms in American rocks. He strongly supported Emmon’s Taconic system. But James Hall, the head of the New York survey did not support Emmons and was convinced the Taconic formations were “post-Potsdam,”.Future studies proved that Emmons was right. But Emmons was ostracized and forced to resign and moved to North Carolina, where he headed up the Geological Survey in that state. In this new position Emmons produced several reports on the geology, mineral resources and fossils of North Carolina. Much of his work was focused on the eastern part of the state. In 1858 he produced a lengthy volume on the geology and agriculture of the eastern counties centering around soils, fertilizers, marls, and especially fossils found in the marls. He died there in 1863. During the Civil War much of the work of Emmons and his assistants was lost, including personal papers, cabinets of minerals and fossils, manuscript geological maps, and written manuscripts sufficient for several volumes.