Report of the Geological Survey of Ohio. Vol. I., Geology and Paleontology. Part I., Geology; Part II., Paleontology. Published by authority of the Legislature of Ohio. Columbus, 1873.
These two octavo volumes, which together form the first volume of the final report on the survey of Ohio, mark an important advance in the scientific knowledge of the character, history, and resources of our country. Since the survey was undertaken in 1869, three preliminary reports have appeared, giving the progress of discovery and labor for each year, and containing much valuable and interesting information. But here we have the beginning of the end, the first installment of a series which is to comprise some six volumes, and which will be a model in many respects for similar works in years to come.
As long ago as 1836 an attempt was made to have a geological survey in Ohio, and two annual reports of progress were published under the direction of Prof. W. W. Mather and Dr. S. P. Hildreth, together with several other gentlemen since eminent in geological study. The panic of 1837, however, caused the abandonment of the work by the Legislature, a mistaken economy which much retarded and impaired the development of the resources of the State. It was not until 1869 that the enterprise was resumed, and placed in the hands of the very able corps of gentlemen who have so well performed their work.
At the head of the survey was placed Dr. John S. Newberry, whose ability has found full scope, and whose reputation has gathered new laurels in this honorable service to his own State. Associated with him are gentlemen of high standing and capacity, Profs. E. B. Andrews, Edward Orton, and J. H. Klippart, as assistant geologists, and Dr. T. G. Wormly as chemist; while the work of paleontology has been divided between Dr. Newberry and Prof. F. B. Meek, so well and widely known in this especial department.
The second volume, soon to appear, will be composed, like the first, of two separate parts, on geology and paleontology; the third volume will treat of the economic geology of Ohio; and the fourth, of its agriculture, botany, and zoology. Part I. of the first volume has some of the mechanical defects that generally appear in public documents issued by State printers; but Part II. is a fine specimen of a book. A very large edition was voted by the Legislature, for the purpose of making the work familiar to the people of the State; and Dr. Newberry has been most successful in his endeavor to render the subjects treated of plain to all intelligent readers, so that these reports may be not only a treasure-house for students of science, but a means of information and instruction for the people at large.
The first part, on geology simply, forms an octavo of 680 pages. It opens with some general discussions, which properly introduce such a volume, and then passes on to the local details by counties. To any but specialists in geology, the general chapters in the First Section will possess the chief amount of interest; but there are doubtless many professional students of the science who could derive great benefit from these unpretending but masterly pages. After a brief sketch of the history of the survey, Dr. Newberry gives four chapters treating respectively of the physical geography of Ohio, of its geological relations to the rest of the country, and of its geological structure through the Silurian and Devonian formations.
Those who are acquainted with Dr. Newberry's cast of mind and method of treatment, will recognize these chapters as eminently characteristic, in the wide range and striking power of their generalizations, and the clearness of statement which pervades them. The second chapter, on the Physical Geography of Ohio, is in reality a brief but admirable summary of the physical geography of North America. Its discussion of the important question of the relation of forests to rainfall should be read by every intelligent man. With few exceptions, all students of science are agreed as to the destructive effects produced upon climate by the removal of woods from a country. This lesson cannot be too soon or too earnestly pressed upon the attention of our people and our