John Muir’s “Studies in the Sierra,” here brought together for the first time in one volume, originally appeared in 1874 and 1875 as a series of seven articles in the Overland Monthly, which were later (1915 to 1921) reprinted in the Sierra Club Bulletin.
John Muir was the pioneer in recognizing the importance of glaciation in the origin of Yosemite Valley. He was just 30 years of age when, with his views, he challenged the opinions of eminent geologists who had already advanced other theories for the origin of the valley which completely ignored glaciation. It was not long before scientific men recognized the correctness of most of Muir’s conclusions. The importance of glaciation in the formation of Yosemite Valley has since been generally recognized, though there still exist some differences of opinion about the relative amount of stream erosion and glacial erosion which has been involved.
The Sierra Club has reprinted these studies in a single volume with a view to making them more widely known and emphasizing, somewhat belatedly, the important contributions which John Muir made to the problem of the origin of Yosemite Valley. It was unfortunate for his fame that John Muir did not, immediately following the appearance of these articles in the Overland Monthly, do this himself. With the passing of years these studies have become increasingly unavailable and, on this account, have not been as widely read as they merit; nor has the full credit that was Muir’s due always been given him.
The underlying facts which John Muir so painstakingly gathered and his cogent reasoning based on these observed facts are just as valuable and pertinent today as they were when these studies were first written. This volume will, therefore, prove of present interest to all those who wish to learn more about the origin of Yosemite Valley and its geologic features, as well as to those many who may wish to understand better the extraordinary, many-faceted figure of John Muir himself.
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