Utah Historical Quarterly Volume 15, Number 1-4, 1947

Page 170

GEOLOGICAL N O T E S BY MAJOR P O W E L L Major Powell kept a second journal during his first exploration of the Colorado River canyons. This small notebook contains geological notes and sections, and various tables of data mostly of an astronomical nature. The journal commences with observations at the mouth of the Uinta River and thus corresponds with the first notebook containing the actual diary of the second lap of the exploration. The geological notes given in the following pages indicate the type of information which the Major recorded. His brief notes on the various rock formations and the fossils picked up occasionally during the course of the work show rather clearly that the observations were carefully made, and while the men were engaged in the work of portaging or foraging for food, he was busy at his scientific activities. The selection of notes reproduced here is but an abstract of a much larger body of data. Powell's book numbered by him " 2 " may be described as follows: There are four pages of almost illegible notes in a handwriting other than that of the Major. These pages are loose but clipped together and carry a note in pencil that they are not a part of the journal. The notes refer to the work of the expedition but they are of almost no value. The next section contains ten pages of geological notes which were duplicated and amplified later by Major Powell. Then there follows thirty blank pages in the notebook. The journal proper starts with two pages of figures and twenty-nine pages of geological notes, followed by astronomical readings which are commenced on the last page of the book and then work back. The notes selected are the twenty-nine pages enlarged upon by Major Powell, probably upon his return to civilization after his emergence from the canyons. The scientific importance of these notes may be open to question. The recognition of certain fossils in some of the rock formations and the recognition of other geological features certainly gave the Major an approximate idea of the geological sequence exposed in the canyons. The brief report Powell prepared a few months thereafter for Bell's New Tracks in North America clearly shows that he had a comprehensive and understanding interpretation of the canyons, their mode of occurrence and the sequence of strata cut by the river and its tributaries. The notes are so meager, however, that they represent but a sketchy sum-

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