||Sir William Edmond Logan
William Edmond Logan was born in Montreal on April 20, 1798. It wasn't until 1831, when he was managing a family copper smelting and coal mining establishment in Wales, that he became interested in geology. Logan found that the geological maps of the time were not detailed enough, so he made his own field observations and plotted them on existing topographical maps. A gifted and accurate mapper of great skill, he revolutionised geological mapping by introducing the convention of cross sections (representing hypothetical vertical slices of the earth's crust and layers).
In 1840, Logan solved the mystery of how coal is formed. During his field work in South Wales, he noticed that underneath each coal seam was a bed of clay containing fossilised plant roots called Stigmaria. From this information, he concluded that coal is somehow dependent on and derived from plant material. His theory was supported by evidence from around the world, by fossilised plant remains found within coal seams, and by studies of the coal itself.
A year later, Logan was appointed to the newly formed Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) to conduct the geological survey of what was then the Province of Canada. This became his life's work. He established the Geological Survey of Canada Museum in Montreal in 1857 to display his collection of geological specimens.
Specimens of plants, insects, mammals, birds and fish; observations of forests; and artifacts and anthropological information on native societies were added in 1877, broadening it into a museum of natural history. The Museum and the GSC relocated to Ottawa in 1881 in order to be more accessible to the public. In 1927, it was renamed the National Museum of Canada, and so it remains today, no longer a department of the GSC.
On June 22nd of 1875, Sir William Edmond Logan died in Wales.