Geology & Earth Science

Croll, James | Climate and Time in Their Geological Relations

  • First edition, first impression of this key early work of climatology. A very attractive copy in a handsome binding and rare on the market, with only one appearing in recent auction records, at Swann Galleries in 2012.

    Following a peripatetic youth, in 1859 the self-educated Scotsman James Croll (1821-1890) settled into an appointment at the Andersonian University in Glasgow, which provided him access to the University Library and the leisure to pursue scientific research. Croll was particularly interested in glaciation and climate, and published a series of papers during the 1860s “that had a profound impact on physical geography” (ODNB).

    He postulated a global climatic feedback system that took into account factors such as the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit, the precession of the equinoxes, ocean currents and thermohaline density, and global wind patterns. “Such a system accounted for cyclic global climate patterns, explaining both the occurrence of glaciations and intervening equable periods such as the Carboniferous. Indeed, Croll believed that if enough land ice formed, the earth's centre of gravity could shift, making the ensuing climatic changes even more severe. Croll's various theories proved influential at the time, attracting the attention, and often the approbation, of Charles Darwin, Archibald and James Geikie, Sir Charles Lyell, A. R. Wallace, and Thomson, among others” (ODNB).

    Climate and Time in Their Geological Relations was the culmination of this series of papers and was itself highly regarded within the scientific community. The year after publication he became FRS as well as an LLD of St Andrews, and “over the years he also won three funds' awards from the Geological Society of London” (ODNB).

  • ...A Theory of Secular Changes of the Earth's Climate. London: Daldy, Ibister, & Co., 1875.

    Octavo (214 x 137 mm). Contemporary half calf, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, marbled sides, endpapers, and edges. Colour frontispiece and 7 plates of which 1 is folding. Bookplate. Binding lightly rubbed at the extremities, tiny puncture affecting a few contents leaves, and the associated impression (rather than puncture) affecting the title and first few leaves of text. Contents clean and fresh. An excellent copy.