NJG91-4-04
2011
The meaning of ‘metamorphic’ - Charles & Mary Lyell in Norway, 1837
91
4
pp. 247-275
978-82-92-39470-0

In July 1837 the Scottish geologist Charles Lyell and his wife Mary visited Norway, making extensive field trips in the vicinity of the capital Christiania (now Oslo), often accompanied by Baltazar M. Keilhau, professor of geology at the University of Christiania. They particularly focused on contact zones between (Palaeozoic) sedimentary rocks and large (Permian) intrusive bodies of granite and syenite, as well as dykes and sills. In 1833 Lyell had coined the term ‘metamorphic’ to denote sedimentary rocks changed by heat. Keilhau in contrast promoted a theory of metamorphosis in the cold state of sedimentary rocks into massive rock types such as granite, syenite and porphyry. In the field Lyell and Keilhau agreed on the observations but not on their interpretation. To Lyell the observations validated his own conceptions of metamorphic and plutonic rocks, and the results from Norway were notably incorporated in his textbook Elements of Geology (1838). During his visit he also collected fossils enabling him to publish a rough biostratigraphic correlation between Norwegian strata and the Silurian system recently established in Britain; and also made observations of erratic boulders, which he considered transported by ice floes. The present paper follows the Norwegian tour day by day, assessing the results, as well as the current state of preservation of Lyell’s Norwegian localities

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