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History of Geology

History of Geology

What rocks tell and how we came to understand it

  • All Good Things must End...

    All Good Things must End...

    By David Bressan | December 15, 2014 |

    Eventually everybody has to face change and his personal Chicxulub and so will the History of Geology blog end as part of the Scientific American Network. I'm very grateful to the Scientific American Staff and the many bloggers in the network for the support, opportunities and especially the fun offered in these past three years. […]

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  • How it all ends…

    How it all ends…

    By David Bressan | December 7, 2014 |

    " Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice. […]

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  • Geological Treasures in Ancient Egypt

    Geological Treasures in Ancient Egypt

    By David Bressan | November 26, 2014 |

    November 26, 1922 archaeologist Howard Carter (1874-1939) entered the tomb of Tutankhamun , pharaoh in ancient Egypt from 1332 to 1323 BC. The grave was filled with precious jewelry, including a breastplate decorated with a scarab, made from a greenish-yellow gemstone. […]

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  • Radioactivity and Earth´s Age

    Radioactivity and Earth´s Age

    By David Bressan | November 21, 2014 |

    For a long time the apparent discrepancy between the age of earth and the age of the cosmos posed a great problem to geologists and astronomers alike. Geologists had calculated, using methods like erosion or sedimentation rates , ages for earth spanning from just three million to 15 billion years. […]

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  • Earth’s Age and the Cosmic Calendar

    Earth’s Age and the Cosmic Calendar

    By David Bressan | November 13, 2014 |

    During the 19th century geologists realized that earth was quite older than previously believed, however this discovery posed an even greater question: what about the universe? Did earth (like some fundamental creationists believed and still believe) predate the cosmos, were earth and the cosmos created at the same time or came earth later? […]

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  • Medieval Witch Hunts Influenced by Climate Change

    Medieval Witch Hunts Influenced by Climate Change

    By David Bressan | November 3, 2014 |

    August 3, 1562 a devastating thunderstorm hit central Europe, damaging buildings, killing animals and destroying crops and vineyards. The havoc caused by this natural disaster was so great, so unprecedented, that soon an unnatural origin for the storm was proposed. […]

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  • The (Zombie-)Toad-in-the-Hole

    The (Zombie-)Toad-in-the-Hole

    By David Bressan | October 31, 2014 |

    May 8, 1733 two workers, Anders Halfwarder and Olof Sigräfwer , excitedly reported to superintendent Johan Gråberg , who was inspecting the quarry of Nybro near the village of Wamlingebo (Gotland, Sweden), a very strange discovery. While cutting large blocks of sandstone (of the 419Ma old Silurian Hamra-formation ), Halfwarder spotted a frog sitting in the middle of a large boulder he just cut in two. […]

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  • Of Dragons and Geology

    Of Dragons and Geology

    By David Bressan | October 27, 2014 |

    Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1672-1733) was a Swiss physician, but also quite interested in travels and natural sciences. He published his observations on the culture and natural world of the Alps as " Itinera per Helvetiae alpinas regiones facta annis 1702-1711 ". […]

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  • Geologizing in the Realm of the Beast

    Geologizing in the Realm of the Beast

    By David Bressan | October 21, 2014 |

    September 8, 1762 the young son of the Yolle 's, herding the flock of sheep, disappeared near the village of Laval in the province of Dauphiné (France). Only the poor remains of the boy, partially eaten by a mysterious creature, were recovered. […]

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  • The Strange Medical Case of the Radioactive Landslide

    The Strange Medical Case of the Radioactive Landslide

    By David Bressan | October 16, 2014 |

    The landslide of Köfels (named after a small village in Tyrol) is one of the largest recognized landslides in the Alps - large enough to dam up a 92 meters (300 feet) deep prehistoric lake and divide in two the valley of Ötz . Wood fragments discovered during the construction of a gallery in the landslide deposits were dated to an age of 8.710+/-150 years BP (ca. […]

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