Geology Reference
In-Depth Information
family and friends, and no doubt he had the 'gorgeous time'
anticipated. Although he lived for many years with recurring
bouts of malaria, indirectly it may have saved his life as he was
excused having to fight in the First World War. Even today
malaria kills more than two million people a year, and is the
greatest killer the world has ever known, so in 1911 Holmes was
very lucky to survive.
The cost of the 1911 expedition was £15,995 13s 1d, adding to
the financial burden already incurred by Memba Minerals, who
ceased trading in 1913. The detailed accounts Holmes kept
during the trip show that he made a profit on the venture of
£89 7s 3d, almost one and a half times his scholarship allowance
for a whole year, so in that respect he achieved his objective. But
the most important outcome of the trip was that Holmes recog-
nised that in order to understand the evolution of the Earth it
was necessary to organize the rocks in a coherent and chrono-
logical fashion - and that the only way to do that was to date
them. At the youthful age of twenty-one Holmes dreamt of
developing a geological time scale and transforming geology
forever; a vision that was to dominate his life for the next fifty
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