Archibald Geikie’s role in the establishment of the scottish oil shale industry

Jonathan Craig, John R. Underhill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Archibald Geikie played a fundamental, but largely unrecognized, role in the establishment of the Scottish oil shale industry by providing James ‘Paraffin’ Young with the critical information about the location, thickness and probable geographical extent of organic-rich shales during their field visit in 1858. Young subsequently used the observations to determine where to buy leases for commercial oil shale extraction and production before any competitors emerged. Geikie acquired his critical knowledge of the area whilst preparing the first map and memoir of the Edinburgh area published in 1859 and 1861, respectively. In 1866, Young’s Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Company Limited opened the Addiewell works, the largest oil shale works in the world at the time. By the late 1860s, there were over 120 works distilling oil in Scotland, mostly from the shales of the Lothians. Eventually, more than 22 million gallons of crude oil a year were produced in the Midland Valley in an industry that employed c. 40 000 people. Although the Scottish oil shale industry eventually closed in the 1960s, Geikie’s legacy lives on through a better understanding of the geology of the Midland Valley and the renewed interest in extracting oil and gas from the shales buried beneath.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAspects of the Life and Works of Archibald Geikie
PublisherGeological Society of London
Pages379-399
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781786204028
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameGeological Society Special Publication
Volume480
ISSN (Print)0305-8719
ISSN (Electronic)2041-4927

Fingerprint

Oil shale
oil shale
industry
Paraffins
Industry
valley
oil
Mineral oils
Geology
crude oil
Crude oil
geology
Gases
gas
young
Oils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Geology

Cite this

Craig, J., & Underhill, J. R. (2019). Archibald Geikie’s role in the establishment of the scottish oil shale industry. In Aspects of the Life and Works of Archibald Geikie (pp. 379-399). (Geological Society Special Publication; Vol. 480). Geological Society of London. https://doi.org/10.1144/SP480-2018-55
Craig, Jonathan ; Underhill, John R. / Archibald Geikie’s role in the establishment of the scottish oil shale industry. Aspects of the Life and Works of Archibald Geikie. Geological Society of London, 2019. pp. 379-399 (Geological Society Special Publication).
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Craig, J & Underhill, JR 2019, Archibald Geikie’s role in the establishment of the scottish oil shale industry. in Aspects of the Life and Works of Archibald Geikie. Geological Society Special Publication, vol. 480, Geological Society of London, pp. 379-399. https://doi.org/10.1144/SP480-2018-55

Archibald Geikie’s role in the establishment of the scottish oil shale industry. / Craig, Jonathan; Underhill, John R.

Aspects of the Life and Works of Archibald Geikie. Geological Society of London, 2019. p. 379-399 (Geological Society Special Publication; Vol. 480).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Craig J, Underhill JR. Archibald Geikie’s role in the establishment of the scottish oil shale industry. In Aspects of the Life and Works of Archibald Geikie. Geological Society of London. 2019. p. 379-399. (Geological Society Special Publication). https://doi.org/10.1144/SP480-2018-55