Joly, John; The Surface-History of the Earth. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1925.

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Joly, John; The Surface-History of the Earth. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1925. Quarto, pp. 192, frontispiece, folded colored map, 12 additional plates, 11 figures.

The work is complete and in the original black cloth with gilt titles. The binding is tight and very clean, the text, plates and map are near fine. In near fine condition.

John Joly (1857-1933) was an Irish geologist and chemist at Trinity College in Dublin. He is best remembered for his calculations of the age of the Earth by measuring the salt content of the oceans and determining how long it would take for the erosion of sodium and potassium bearing rocks to raise the salt levels of the ocean from a presumed initial zero to its present concentration. He published his research in the Royal Society of Dublin Transactions in 1898. Joly determined that the Earth was between 80 and 90 million years old. While Joly’s result was praised by some geologists and physicists, it was scorned by the followers of Darwin and Lyell’s uniformitarian geologists, who supported, and needed, a much older Earth.

Joly’s work “The Surface History of the Earth” is considered his best work. At the back of the book is his colored “Oro-Bathygraphical Chart of the World,” which shows the Earth’s major oceanic trenches and ridges. The features are based on  the measurements made by John Murray on the Challenger expedition. Although it was not known at the time, one can easily see tectonic plate boundaries butting up against North and South America and producing  the volcanic belts colored red on the map.