Elevation and SubsidenceJournal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle Round the World
Mixed media
Approx. 48 x 30 x 16 inches


Items included in Elevation and Subsidence:

  • Darwin, Charles. Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During The Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle Round the World. London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1890.- The first edition was published in 1839 in London by Henry Colburn.

  • Lyelll, Sir Charles. Principles of Geology of the Modern Changes of the Earth and Its Inhabitants: Volume I and Volume II. 11th ed. New York: D. Appleton and Company. 1872. - Darwin carried a copy of the first volume of this book, given to him by Captain Robert FitzRoy of the H.M.S. Beagle before leaving london. The book, first published in three volumes in 1830-1833, lays out Lyell’s theory of Uniformitarianism, essentialy that the present geologic state is key to the past; that the earth’s movements and changes are uniform over time.

  • The Holy Scriptures. According to the Masoretic Text, A New Translation. London: George Rutledge and Sons, Limited, 1917. – Darwin would have carried a copy of the bible with him on the Beagle. He intended to enter the clergy after his voyage, but his discoveries over the course of the trip altered his view and caused him to question the age and formation of the earth as it is explained in the bible   

  • Globe with red string and pins charting the route taken by the H.M.S. Beagle

  • Portrait of Charles Darwin, age 31, by George Richmond, 1840- Darwin boarded the H.M.S. Beagle in 1831, at the age of 22. The voyage was completed nearly 5 years later.

  • Quote from Darwin’s Journal of a Voyage Round the World, Chapter XV: Passage of the Cordillera, Proofs of the Gradual Elevation of the Cordillera.     

  • Map of the Columna Portillo de los Piuquenes, or the Portillo Pass in Chile and illustration of shells from the Voyage found at this site at an elevation of 11,883 feet above sea level- The evidence of sea creatures at such great heights greatly impressed upon Darwin the changes in the earth’s geological features that take place over time.

  • Fossilized shells similar to those Darwin would have witnessed during his travels.           

  • Map of the Cocos or Keeling Islands- Darwin’s studies of these islands during his journey helped to shape his theory about the formation of atolls, which he published as 'The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs', in 1842.

  • Two illustrations from the Journal showing Darwin’s theory of island and atoll formation. -His study of reefs ultimately led him to the conclusion that atolls were formed through the subsidence of the ocean floor and simultaneous growth and build up of coral formations.

  • Dead coral specimen

  • Illustration of the ruins at Concepcion, Chile after the earthquake of 1835: Detail from drawing by J.C. Wickham, first lieutenant on the H.M.S. Beagle- Darwin was present for this event. The drastic and sudden changed to the landscape after the event helped to form his understanding of the geological changes that the earth undergoes.

  • Petrified wood used as bookstand for Journal of Researches.