Field of Science

A geologist riddle #20

A new riddle - this following engraving shows a particular place visited during an expedition, the leader of this particular expedition coined also a term that today all geologists and anthropologist know well - who was this leader?

P.S. try also your keen sense of deduction on this georiddle...


  1. I'm going to guess that that's the Fitz Roy Massif, thus the leader (scientifically, anyhow) is Charles Darwin, and the term is "evolution".

  2. There is a resemblance to the Fitz Roy Massif- however these peaks are on the opposite continent, the leader was a classic geologist and he named a very important feature of this continent

  3. David Livingstone in Africa or Basedow in Australia.

  4. Hi,
    The geologist is Prof. J. W. Gregory, the term is « Rift Valley ». He visited East Africa in 1892-93 and later.

    The Geographical Journal, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Jul., 1920), pp. 13-41
    (extract from p.14-15)
    For this type of valley I suggested the term Rift Valley, not implying that the whole valley was formed by the two sides being simply pulled apart, but as a breach due to a subsidence between two series of rents. The term " rift" seems to me wider than " rent." Rents are one variety of rifts. Originally the term "rift" may have meant a space formed by splitting; but according to the New English Dictionary, its use for a split, crack, or rent is now somewhat rare. That dictionary gives as its second definition of rift, " a cleft, fissure, or chasm in the earth." When Scott in ' The Lady of'the Lake' (316), says of the hills of Skye: " The grisly gulfs and slaty rifts Which seam its shiver'd head," and when Bryant sings of "The rifted crags that hold The gathered ice of winter," and Shelley in ' Arethusa' speaks of " Up through the rifts Of the mountain clifts," they do not mean gaps made by the rocks having been rent asunder. Certainly Ruskin does not when referring (' Modern Painters,' 4, ch. v., xix., 27) to rifts made by glaciers; and the term is accepted in a general sense by J. Wright (' English Dialect D)ict.,' I904, vol. 5, p. I06) in his definition of rift--"A cleft in a rock; a long deep fissure." Hence it seems that the term "rift valley " does not necessarily mean clefts formed by rocks being torn apart as by landslips or earthquakes, and is justifiable for valleys due to subsidence between a pair of rents. The term seemed more appropriate than "trough valley," which moreover is used (in the sense of " trogthal ") for a valley rendered trough-shaped by glacial action.

  5. Just an other precision : the picture shows "The Lewis Glacier" on the Mount Kenya.

  6. Correct! have you got the text passage from the original paper?

  7. On close inspection of the picture you can see the end moraine along the tongue of the glacier.


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