Article ID: CBB559354002

J.R. Logan and the origin of the tropical inselbergs known as nubbins (or knolls) (2022)


Pulau Ubin is located in the Johor Strait between the Malay Peninsula and Singapore Island. The topography shaped in a granitoid complex of Permo-Triassic age, comprises jungle covered and isolated blocky hills, a flat and marshy central valley floor, and a coastline in which grooved boulders are prominent. In papers published in 1847, 1849 and 1851 (but here reporting their content in modern terminology) J. B. Logan attributed the island landscape to deep differential chemical weathering, followed by exposure of the resulting bedrock morphology. This is characterized by massive blocks protruding between a saprolithic cover—in modern parlance a two-stage etch origin of a group of inselbergs of nubbin (or knoll) type covered by blocks and boulders derived from the breakdown of the outer shell or shells or sheet structures. The Pulau Ubin nubbins carry remnants of a saprolithic veneer and are of ‘wet’ type by contrast with the saprolith-free ‘dry’ forms of arid or seasonally arid climes. The conversion of nubbins to bornhardts in arid climes also is noted. Logan identified the crucial aspects of what is still a highly favoured hypothesis of inselberg origin based on field evidence from many parts of the world and articulated by Falconer in 1911. But there was in Logan’s time no agreed and appropriate technical terminology. Moreover, some of Logan’s reports such as that dated 1849 are disorganized and diffuse, but contain occasional insightful observations and deductions.

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Authors & Contributors
Clary, Renee M.
Camardi, Giovanni
Morey, G. B
Knight, David
Savaton, Pierre
Godard, Gaston
Earth Sciences History: Journal of the History of the Earth Sciences Society
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Biology and Philosophy
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Indian Journal of History of Science
Centre vendéen de recherches historiques
NUS Press
Leo S. Olschki Editore
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
Geological Society of America
Earth sciences
Natural history
Science education and teaching
Lyell, Charles
Wallace, Alfred Russel
Winchell, Newton Horace
Custer, George Armstrong
Buckland, William
Pervinquière, Léon
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
Early modern
Malay; Malaysia
United States
North America
Geological Society of London
Natural History Museum (London, England)
Museo di Storia Naturale dell'Universita di Firenze

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