Clarence Dutton

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Clarence Dutton
Clarence Dutton NOAA.jpg
Clarence Dutton
BornMay 15, 1841
DiedJanuary 4, 1912 (aged 70)
Nationality United States
Alma mater Yale College
Known for Isostasy, Grand Canyon geology
Scientific career
Fields Geologist

Clarence Edward Dutton (May 15, 1841 January 4, 1912) was an American geologist and US Army officer. Dutton was born in Wallingford, Connecticut on May 15, 1841. He graduated from Yale College in 1860 and took postgraduate courses there until 1862, when he enlisted in the 21st Connecticut Volunteer Infantry; he fought at Fredericksburg, Suffolk, Nashville and Petersburg.

Americans citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Geology The study of the composition, structure, physical properties, and history of Earths components, and the processes by which they are shaped.

Geology is an earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Geology can also include the study of the solid features of any terrestrial planet or natural satellite such as Mars or the Moon. Modern geology significantly overlaps all other earth sciences, including hydrology and the atmospheric sciences, and so is treated as one major aspect of integrated earth system science and planetary science.

Wallingford, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

Wallingford is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 45,135 at the 2010 census. The urban center of the town is the Wallingford Center census-designated place, with a population of 18,209 at the 2010 census. The community was named after Wallingford, in England.


In 1875, he began work as a geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.[ dubious ] Working chiefly in the Colorado Plateau region, he wrote several classic papers, including geological studies of the high plateaus of Utah (1879–80), the Cenozoic history of the Grand Canyon district (1882), and the Charleston, South Carolina, earthquake of 1886. As head of the division of volcanic geology at the USGS, he studied volcanism in Hawaii, California, and Oregon; his studies of basaltic lava flows in Hawaii led him to introduce the native Hawaiian language terms "ʻaʻā" and "pāhoehoe" for cool, clinkery lava flows and smooth, billowy lava flows respectively.[ dubious ] He helped coordinate the scientific response to a large earthquake in the Mexican state of Sonora in 1887. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1884.

United States Geological Survey Scientific agency of the United States government

The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology, geography, geology, and hydrology. The USGS is a fact-finding research organization with no regulatory responsibility.

Colorado Plateau plateau in the southwestern United States

The Colorado Plateau, also known as the Colorado Plateau Province, is a physiographic and desert region of the Intermontane Plateaus, roughly centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. This province covers an area of 336, 700 km2 (130,000 mi2) within western Colorado, northwestern New Mexico, southern and eastern Utah, and northern Arizona. About 90% of the area is drained by the Colorado River and its main tributaries: the Green, San Juan, and Little Colorado. Most of the remainder of the plateau is drained by the Rio Grande and its tributaries.

Utah A state of the United States of America

Utah is a state in the western United States. It became the 45th state admitted to the U.S. on January 4, 1896. Utah is the 13th-largest by area, 30th-most-populous, and 11th-least-densely populated of the 50 United States. Utah has a population of more than 3 million according to the Census estimate for July 1, 2016. Urban development is mostly concentrated in two areas: the Wasatch Front in the north-central part of the state, which contains approximately 2.5 million people; and Washington County in Southern Utah, with over 160,000 residents. Utah is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast.

In 1886, Dutton led a USGS party to Crater Lake, Oregon. His team carried a half-ton survey boat, the Cleetwood, up the steep mountain slope and lowered it 2,000 feet (610 m) into the lake. From the Cleetwood, Dutton used piano wire with lead weights to measure the depth of the lake at 168 different points. The survey team determined the lake was 1,996 feet (608 m) deep. The currently-accepted maximum depth figure, measured by sonar, is 1,943 feet (592 m). [1]

Crater Lake caldera lake in south-central Oregon and main feature of Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is a crater lake in south-central Oregon in the western United States. It is the main feature of Crater Lake National Park and is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. The lake partly fills a nearly 2,148-foot (655 m)-deep caldera that was formed around 7,700 years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. There are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake; the evaporation is compensated for by rain and snowfall at a rate such that the total amount of water is replaced every 250 years. With a depth of 1,949 feet (594 m), the lake is the deepest in the United States. In the world, it ranks ninth for maximum depth, and third for mean (average) depth.

Oregon State of the United States of America

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region on the West Coast of the United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. The parallel 42° north delineates the southern boundary with California and Nevada. Oregon is one of only three states of the contiguous United States to have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.

Piano wire

Piano wire, or "music wire", is a specialized type of wire made to become springs or to be used as piano strings. It is made from tempered high-carbon steel, also known as spring steel, which replaced iron as the material starting in 1834.

In 1889, Dutton proposed the term "isostasy" for the concept of a general balance within the Earth's crust, with lighter weight blocks coming to stand higher than adjacent blocks with higher density, an idea first expressed by Pratt and Airy in the 1850s.

Isostasy is the state of gravitational equilibrium between Earth's crust and mantle such that the crust "floats" at an elevation that depends on its thickness and density.

Dutton was a close associate of John Wesley Powell, G.K. Gilbert, and William Henry Holmes at the USGS. He was an energetic and effective field geologist: in 1875-1877 Dutton's field party mapped 12,000 square miles (31,000 km2) of the high plateaus of southern Utah, an area of rugged topography and poor access.

John Wesley Powell American geologist

John Wesley Powell was a U.S. soldier, geologist, explorer of the American West, professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and director of major scientific and cultural institutions. He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers, including the first official U.S. government-sponsored passage through the Grand Canyon.

William Henry Holmes American academic, painter and illustrator

William Henry Holmes — known as W.H. Holmes — was an American explorer, anthropologist, archaeologist, artist, scientific illustrator, cartographer, mountain climber, geologist and museum curator and director.

Dutton had a distinctive flair for literary description, and is best remembered today for his colorful (and sometimes flamboyant) descriptions of the geology and scenery of the Grand Canyon region of Arizona. "Dutton first taught the world to look at that country and see it as it was... Dutton is almost as much the genius loci of the Grand Canyon as Muir is of Yosemite" -- Wallace Stegner, Beyond the Hundredth Meridian.

Grand Canyon A steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Genius loci phrase

In classical Roman religion, a genius loci was the protective spirit of a place. It was often depicted in religious iconography as a figure holding attributes such as a cornucopia, patera or snake. Many Roman altars found throughout the Western Roman Empire were dedicated to a particular genius loci. The Roman imperial cults of the Emperor and the imperial house developed in part in connections with the sacrifices made by neighborhood associations (vici) to the local genius. These 265 local districts had their cult organised around the Lares Compitales, which the emperor Augustus transformed into Lares Augusti along with the Genius Augusti. The Emperor's genius is then regarded as the genius loci of the Roman Empire as a whole.

In 1891 he retired from the USGS to serve as commander of the arsenal of San Antonio, Texas; then as ordnance officer of the department of Texas. After retiring from the Army in 1901, he returned to the study of geology. Dutton spent his last years at the home of his son in Englewood, New Jersey.

Notable publications

Related Research Articles

Kīlauea Active volcano in Hawaii

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Yellowstone Caldera volcanic caldera in Yellowstone National Park in the United States

The Yellowstone Caldera is a volcanic caldera and supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park in the Western United States, sometimes referred to as the Yellowstone Supervolcano. The caldera and most of the park are located in the northwest corner of Wyoming. The major features of the caldera measure about 34 by 45 miles.

Wallace Stegner American historian, writer, and environmentalist

Wallace Earle Stegner was an American novelist, short story writer, environmentalist, and historian, often called "The Dean of Western Writers". He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 and the U.S. National Book Award in 1977.

Geology of the United States regional geology

The richly textured landscape of the United States is a product of the dueling forces of plate tectonics, weathering and erosion. Over the 4.5 billion-year history of our Earth, tectonic upheavals and colliding plates have raised great mountain ranges while the forces of erosion and weathering worked to tear them down. Even after many millions of years, records of Earth's great upheavals remain imprinted as textural variations and surface patterns that define distinctive landscapes or provinces.

Geology of the Grand Canyon area

The geology of the Grand Canyon area includes one of the most complete and studied sequences of rock on Earth. The nearly 40 major sedimentary rock layers exposed in the Grand Canyon and in the Grand Canyon National Park area range in age from about 200 million to nearly 2 billion years old. Most were deposited in warm, shallow seas and near ancient, long-gone sea shores in western North America. Both marine and terrestrial sediments are represented, including lithified sand dunes from an extinct desert. There are at least 14 known unconformities in the geologic record found in the Grand Canyon.

The exposed geology of the Bryce Canyon area in Utah shows a record of deposition that covers the last part of the Cretaceous Period and the first half of the Cenozoic era in that part of North America. The ancient depositional environment of the region around what is now Bryce Canyon National Park varied from the warm shallow sea in which the Dakota Sandstone and the Tropic Shale were deposited to the cool streams and lakes that contributed sediment to the colorful Claron Formation that dominates the park's amphitheaters.

Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase refers to an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, through Zion National Park, and into the Grand Canyon National Park.

Columbia Plateau plateau in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho in the United States

The Columbia Plateau or Columbia Basin is a geographic region located almost entirely in Eastern Washington and north-central Oregon—with the eastern edge spilling over into Northern Idaho The area is characterized by its mostly semi-arid climate —with some areas falling under the desert (BWk) and mediterranean classifications—resulting in a shrub-steppe environment.

The Pink Cliffs are a series of highly dissected cliffs on the Colorado Plateau in Garfield, Iron, and Kane counties in southwestern Utah, United States. Contrary to the implication of the name, the cliffs are not a single set of rock formations, but actually a geological formation that manifests itself in multiple sets of rock formations.

Grove Karl Gilbert American geologist

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History of the Grand Canyon area

The known human history of the Grand Canyon area stretches back 10,500 years, when the first evidence of human presence in the area is found. Native Americans have inhabited the Grand Canyon and the area now covered by Grand Canyon National Park for at least the last 4,000 of those years. Ancestral Pueblo peoples, first as the Basketmaker culture and later as the more familiar Pueblo people, developed from the Desert Culture as they became less nomadic and more dependent on agriculture. A similar culture, the Cinchona, also lived in the canyon area. Drought in the late 13th century likely caused both groups to move on. Other people followed, including the Paiute, Cerbat, and the Navajo, only to be later forced onto reservations by the United States Government.

Chinle Formation formation

The Chinle Formation is an Upper Triassic continental geologic formation of fluvial, lacustrine, and palustrine to eolian deposits spread across the U.S. states of Nevada, Utah, northern Arizona, western New Mexico, and western Colorado. The Chinle is controversially considered to be synonymous to the Dockum Group of eastern Colorado and New Mexico, western Texas, the Oklahoma panhandle, and southwestern Kansas. The Chinle is sometimes colloquially named as a formation within the Dockum Group in New Mexico and in Texas. The Chinle Formation is part of the Colorado Plateau, Basin and Range, and the southern section of the Interior Plains.

Uinta Basin basin in northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado in the United States

The Uinta Basin is a physiographic section of the larger Colorado Plateaus province, which in turn is part of the larger Intermontane Plateaus physiographic division. It is also a geologic structural basin in eastern Utah, east of the Wasatch Mountains and south of the Uinta Mountains. The Uinta Basin is fed by creeks and rivers flowing south from the Uinta Mountains. Many of the principal rivers flow into the Duchesne River which feeds the Green River—a tributary of the Colorado River. The Uinta Mountains forms the northern border of the Uinta Basin. They contain the highest point in Utah, Kings Peak, with a summit 13,528 feet above sea level. The climate of the Uinta Basin is semi-arid, with occasionally severe winter cold.

Dallas Lynn Peck American geologist

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Almon Harris Thompson American geologist

Almon Harris Thompson, also known as A. H. Thompson, was an American topographer, geologist, explorer, educator and Civil War veteran. Often called "The Professor" or simply "Prof", Thompson is perhaps best known for being second in command of John Wesley Powell's Second Geographical Expedition (1871–1875), a federally funded scientific expedition that retraced the route of Powell's original expedition in order to further explore and map the drainages and canyons of the Green and Colorado Rivers in what is now southern Utah and northern Arizona. Thompson's diary of the expedition was originally published in the Utah Historical Quarterly in 1939. Through his work on the Powell expeditions and later as a geographer at the U.S. Geological Survey, he was responsible for naming many geographic locations in the Western United States. Thompson is also known for being a founding member of the National Geographic Society.

Redwall Limestone

Redwall Limestone is a resistant cliff-forming unit that forms prominent, red-stained cliffs that range in height from 500 feet (150 m) to 800 feet (240 m), and date to the Mississippian age.

2018 lower Puna eruption volcanic event on the island of Hawaiʻi, on Kīlauea volcanos East Rift Zone

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Further reading