Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Shaler, Nathaniel Southgate

Reference work entry

BornNewport, Kentucky, USA, 20 February 1841

DiedCambridge, Massachusetts, USA, 10 April 1906

Nathaniel Shaler was a Harvard geology professor trained under Louis Agassiz. He was the first geologist to attempt photo-interpretation of the Moon. Shaler thought that the lunar craters are volcanic in origin. However, he came to several conclusions that have stood the test of time: (1) Smooth maria are more recently formed features. (2) Lunar rays diverging from the Farside, and seemingly incomplete maria walls at the Moon’s limb (including what would be named Mare Orientale), suggest that the Farside and Nearside are topographically similar. (3) The Moon presently is not geologically active. Today a lunar crater is named for Shaler.

Selected Reference

  1. Livingstone, D. (1987). Nathaniel Southgate Shaler and the Culture of American Science. University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth ScienceUniversity of Northern IowaCedar FallsUSA