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Posts Tagged "Life as geologist"

History of Geology

Radioactivity and Earth´s Age

JOYLE_1909_Radioactivity_Geology

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. Physicists and astronomers, based mostly on [...]

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History of Geology

Earth’s Age and the Cosmic Calendar

BRESSAN_Capo_Spartivento

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? Early geologists [...]

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History of Geology

A (Zombie) Toad-in-the-Hole?

GOSSE_1861_Toad_in_the_hole

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 [...]

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History of Geology

Of Dragons and Geology

SCHEUCHZER_1708_Itinera_alpine_Dragon_03

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“. In the introduction by the editor we read: “The name of Scheuchzer will be famous …[] [...]

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History of Geology

Geologizing in the Realm of the Beast

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. The pastor of Laval, named Raphaël, later described an encounter with this creature: “the [...]

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History of Geology

The Strange Medical Case of the Radioactive Landslide

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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 [...]

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History of Geology

Physician Paracelsus and early Medical Geology

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Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541), better known as Paracelsus, is considered one of the most important mystics and physicians of all times. Some myths even claim he got his medical knowledge from the devil himself; in fact he studied the subterranean realm of earth to understand its effects on human health – one [...]

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History of Geology

In Search Of… Darwin’s Cryptids

CUVIER_1812_Megatherium

First bones of this mysterious creature were discovered in 1787 near Rio Lujàn (Argentinia), collected and send to Spain two years later. Zoologist Juan Bautista Bru de Ramon (1740-1799) reconstructed the bones in 1795 as a mounted skeleton for the Real Gabinete de Historia Natural de Madrid, the royal cabinet of curiosities – the first [...]

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History of Geology

Book Review: Island on Fire

WITZE_2014_Laki_Cover

Island on Fire: The extraordinary story of Laki, the volcano that turned eighteenth-century Europe dark By Witze, A. & Kanipe, J. PROFILE-BOOKS 224 pages | Hardcover 1st edition | April 2014 ISBN 978-178125-0044   Volcanoes are no unusual sight on Iceland and yet the eruption that started June 8, 1783 in the southern district of [...]

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History of Geology

Alexander von Humboldt and the Hand-Beast

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The German naturalist F. W. H. Alexander von Humboldt (born September 14, 1769-1859) is remembered as great geographer and explorer (maybe his name is even the most common on topographic maps), but his early education focused on mining engineering (and economy, as wished by his mother) and he made some important contributions to geology, for [...]

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