October 23 is (in)famous as supposed earth’s birthday – this date is mentioned in many textbooks retelling the life of Irish Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656).
May 8, 1733 two workers, Anders Halfwarder and Olof Sigräfwer, reported excited to superintendent Johan Gråberg, who was inspecting the quarry of Nybro near the village of Wamlingebo (Gotland, Sweden), a very strange discovery.
June 6, 1944 – in planning for D-Day – also geology was considered, as aerial photographs of the shores of Normandy were studied to find suitable landing sites for the invasion.
“There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: the American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars Trilogy.” Bart Simpson in “Bart the General” (1990) Geology played a role in many past conflicts, but can war – even if only a fictional future war – play a role in geological fieldwork?
“Suddenly I heard a noise as of thunder, which I thought to be that of a wave of the sea. The trees shook, and the earth was moved. I uncovered my face, and I saw that a serpent drew near……his body was as overlaid with gold, and his colour as that of true lazuli….… it [...]
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.
September 7, marks the anniversary of the publication of an important paper, “Magnetic Anomalies Over Oceanic Ridges” (1964) describes the discovery of parallel stripes of magnetized igneous rocks along the ocean floor.
“Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.” The Art of War, by Sun Tzù In 1863, after more than two years of Civil War, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia launches [...]
March 23, 1769 marks the birthday of pioneering stratigrapher William Smith, who is also credited with creating the first useful geological map, however like many other great accomplishments also Smith’s idea of depicting the distribution of rocks on a topographic map didn’t materialize out of nowhere.
It was during the first World War that the impact of human warfare on the landscape exponentially increased. Large armies equipped with the most advanced military technology- especially the high energy explosives evolved rapidly – devastated entire landscapes along the Western Front, stretching from the English Channel to the Swiss mountains.
“Every one has heard of the Ibis, the bird to which the ancient Egyptians paid religious worship; which they brought up in the interior of their temples, which they allowed to stray unharmed trough their cities, and whose murderer, even though involuntary, was pnished by death; which they embalmed with as much care as their [...]
Sometimes a geological map supports an intriguing idea not by showing the rocks that are there, but by showing the rocks that aren’t there anymore, eroded by a flood of biblical proportions.
The German lawyer, author, poet, politician and artist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (born August 28, 1749-1832) was also a mining engineer and quite interested in geology and paleontology.
In the Renaissance (1450-1600) architecture and pictorial arts, but also scientific disciplines like astronomy, physics and medicine, experienced a rebirth and important improvements – but what about geology?
“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble…” “Macbeth“ Act 4, Scene 1 For everybody who´s planning to boil a magical potion or plans a witches gathering for All Hallows’ Eve, this week I will present some geological ingredients for a perfect witch’s brew: 1.
“When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” “Macbeth“ Act 1, Scene 1 2. – The Thunderstone Already the Roman scholar Pliny describes them as “Idaei dactyli” (the fingers from the mountain Ida).
“Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” (“Batman” 1989) The night before December 6, belongs to the Krampus, a beast-like demon in the Alpine folklore – and strange marks can be found on some rocks in the Dolomites - resembling the imprints of an exceptional large cloven [...]
In 1820 the Italian engineer Count Giuseppe Marzari-Pencati (1779-1836) published a short article about the stratigraphic succession found near the small village of Predazzo.
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 [...]
In the late 18th century earth-sciences experienced a revolution. The principles of modern rock classification were introduced and sediments subdivided by the content of embedded fossils.