Josiah Whitney

Josiah Dwight Whitney was an American geologist, professor of geology at Harvard University and chief of the California Geological Survey from 1860–1874. Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States at 14,505 feet and pictured above, was named after him by members of his survey. Whitney strongly believed that Yosemite Valley was created by a cataclysmic sinking of the valley floor. John Muir, who was exploring the Yosemite area during the same time, argued that the valley was carved by glacial action. (Whitney described Muir as an “ignoramus” and a “mere sheepherder.”) Whitney’s survey reports suppressed evidence of glaciers, and he never abandoned his viewpoint. Most scientists eventually dismissed Whitney’s hypothesis and accepted Muir’s.


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2 Responses to Josiah Whitney

  1. aldo leopold December 21, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

    haha nice one whitney. that’s what you get for messing with john motherfuckin muir.

  2. December 22, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    sheesh. i remember hiking mt whitney as a little kid. only made it up to around 12.5k level… then the altitude sickness hit the fam, and down we came.

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