Lithograph
Louis Agassiz (1807—1873).
Études sur les glaciers. . . . Dessinés d'après nature et lithographiés par Joseph Bettannier.
Neuchâtel: Jent & Gassman, à la Lithographie de H. Nicolet, 1840
Science, Industry and Business Library, The New York Public Library

 
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With this work, Agassiz became the founder of glacial geology. While observing various glaciers near Chamonix and in the Rhone Valley, including this one in Zermatt, Agassiz realized that the smooth rock faces must have been created by ice flow and not by water flow. Further research led him to the discovery that most of Europe, North Asia, and North America had once been covered by ice, during a period that he named the Ice Age. Although these events are now known to have been of much longer duration than Agassiz thought, his observations convinced naturalists such as Lyell and Darwin that it was just such an Ice Age that caused so many genetically related flora and fauna to be distributed in areas separated by vast land and water masses.


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