George Perkins Merrill

George Perkins Merrill (May 31, 1854 in Auburn, Maine – August 15, 1929 in Auburn, Maine)[1] was an American geologist, notable as the head curator from 1917 to 1929 of the Department of Geology, United States National Museum (now the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution).[2]

He was educated at the University of Maine (B.S., 1879; Ph.D., 1889), took a post-graduate courses of study and was assistant in chemistry at Wesleyan University, Connecticut (1879–1880), and subsequently studied at Johns Hopkins (1886–1887).

In 1881 he became assistant curator at the National Museum, Washington, D.C..[3] He also served as professor of geology and mineralogy at the Corcoran Scientific School of Columbian University (now George Washington University) from 1893 to 1916, and was appointed head curator of the department of geology at the National Museum in 1897. In 1922 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He wrote many periodical contributions, especially on meteorites.

In 1897 Merrill proposed the term Regolith for the loose outer layer of Earth, the Moon, Mars, etc. covering solid rock.

Merrill was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, Auburn, Maine. The grave marker is engraved:[1]

Search for truth is the noblest occupation of man its publication a duty

George P. Merrill
George P. Merrill, head curator of the National Museum, with the largest perfect crystal globe in the world, Washington, D.C. (cropped)
BornMay 31, 1854
DiedAugust 15, 1929 (aged 75)
Auburn, Maine
Alma materUniversity of Maine
Scientific career
InstitutionsColumbian University, National Museum of Natural History


His chief publications are:

  • Stones for Building and Decoration (1891; third edition, 1903[4])
  • A Treatise on Rocks, Rock-Weathering, and Soils (1897; second edition, 1906)[5]
  • The Non-Metallic Minerals (1904; second edition, 1910)[6]
  • The Fossil Forests of Arizona] (1911); 23 pages including illustrations[7]
  • The First Hundred Years of American Geology (1924)[8]


  1. ^ a b "George Perkins Merrill". Find A Grave. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  2. ^ "George P. Merrill". Smithsonian Institution Archives. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  3. ^ Merrill Gates (1906). "Men of mark in America; ideals of American life told in biographies of eminent living Americans (Volume 2)". p. 16.
  4. ^
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  8. ^ James F. Kemp (April 1925). "Review: The First Hundred Years of American Geology by George P. Merrill". The American Historical Review. 30 (3): 616–619. JSTOR 1835613.

Further reading

External links

Auburn, Maine

Auburn is a city in and the county seat of Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 23,055 at the 2010 census. Auburn and Lewiston (directly across the Androscoggin River from each other) are known locally as the Twin Cities or Lewiston–Auburn (L–A).

Augustin, Alabama

Augustin is an unincorporated community in Perry County, Alabama, United States. A post office operated under the name Augustin from 1883 to 1943. Geologist George Perkins Merrill described a meteorite held in the National Museum of Natural History that was found in a field in Augustin.

George Merrill

George Merrill may refer to:

George Merrill (Medal of Honor) (1847–1925), American Civil War soldier

George Merrill (gay activist) (1866–1928), lifelong companion of English poet and gay activist Edward Carpenter

George Merrill (songwriter) (born 1956), American songwriter

George Sargent Merrill (1837–1900), U.S. Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic

George W. Merrill (1837–1914), American politician and diplomat

George Edmands Merrill (1846–1908), American Baptist clergyman and educator

George F. Merrill (1847–1941), former member of the Wisconsin Legislature

George Perkins Merrill (1854–1929), American geologist

George Knox Merrill (1864–1927), American lichenologist

List of Wesleyan University people

This is a partial list of notable people affiliated with Wesleyan University. It includes alumni and faculty of the institution.

William Phipps Blake

William Phipps Blake (June 1, 1826 – May 22, 1910) was an American geologist, mining consultant, and educator. Among his best known contributions include being the first college trained chemist to work full-time for a United States chemical manufacturer (1850), and serving as a geologist with the Pacific Railroad Survey of the Far West (1853–1856), where he observed and detailed a theory on erosion by wind-blown sand on the geologic formations of southern California, one of his many scientific contributions. He started several western mining enterprises that were premature, including a mining magazine in the 1850s and the first school of mines in the Far West in 1864.

From the 1850s on he published over 200 articles, several books, and numerous newspaper and mining magazine columns or short pieces on mining and geology. He served throughout his long career as a mining consultant for mining corporations in every western state and several foreign countries, including Japan. He also served as special ambassador for the nascent science of geology while serving as the United States' principal geologic exhibit commissioner for what now would be called World Fairs, from Paris in 1867, through Vienna and the centennial at Philadelphia, back to Paris in 1878. He ended his long and distinguished career as head of the school of mines at the University of Arizona, 1895–1905, remaining in an active emeritus status until his death.

Yule Marble

Yule Marble is a marble of metamorphosed limestone found only in the Yule Creek Valley, in the West Elk Mountains of Colorado, 2.8 miles (4.5 km) southeast of the town of Marble, Colorado. First discovered in 1873—it is quarried underground at an elevation of 9,300 feet (2,800 m) above sea level—in contrast to most marble, which is quarried from an open pit and at much lower elevations.The localized geology created a marble that is 99.5% pure calcite, with a grain structure that gives a smooth texture, a homogeneous look, and a luminous surface. It is these qualities for which it was selected to clad the exterior of the Lincoln Memorial and a variety of other buildings throughout the United States, in spite of being more expensive than other marbles. The size of the deposits enables large blocks to be quarried, which is why the marble for the Tomb of the Unknowns, with its 56-long-ton (57 t) die block, was quarried from Yule Marble.Yule's quality comes at a high price due to the cost of quarrying in a high-altitude mountain environment. This challenge has caused the industry and the town of Marble to undergo many boom-and-bust periods since quarrying started in the mid-1880s, making the town emblematic of the economic fluctuations that beset a single-industry economy. Technology advancements in quarrying machinery and transportation have reduced, but not solved, the cost problem that afflicts the operation through the present.

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