Report on the lands of the arid region of the United States, with a more detailed account of the lands of Utah

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Harvard Common Press, 1983 - Science - 195 pages
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About the author (1983)

Powell was born in western New York. His family later moved to Ohio and then to Wisconsin, where he began his adult life as a teacher. For about nine years, he taught and took time to study at colleges in Ohio and Illinois. When the Civil War began, he enlisted and quickly rose to the rank of major, laying out roads and designing bridges. Powell was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh and lost his right arm. Because of these events, for the remainder of his life he was referred to as Major Powell or One-arm Powell. After the war, he organized several expeditions down the Colorado River, which heretofore had not come under scientific study. It was during these trips and others that he formulated the concept of base level and antecedent streams. Although his ideas and observations are noteworthy, Powell was not a prolific writer, and his writings were not scholarly in style. Powell became the president of the U.S. Geological Survey, a position from which he lobbied congressmen and senators for funding for topographic mapping and technical reports. He was a strong proponent of developing the American West on a sound and realistic foundation. Powell died in Maine during the summer of 1902.

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