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Posts Tagged "Today in Geohistory"

History of Geology

Geology and Generals: How Geology influenced the Gettysburg Campaign (Part I.)

BRESSAN_War_Geology_Gettysburg

“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 [...]

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History of Geology

June 6, 1944: The Geology of D-Day

Into the Jaws of Death, by Robert F. Sargent (1944)

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. The confluence of larger rivers with the English Channel between the harbors of Le Havre and Cherbourg created sandy shorelines were a landing with [...]

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History of Geology

Baron Cuvier and the Question How Mummies Could Evolve

Toth_Hunefer_Papyrus

“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 [...]

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History of Geology

William Buckland & The Noble Art of Coprology

BUCKLAND_1829_CoprolitesPlate

“Approach, approach, ingenuous youth, And learn this fundamental truth: The noble science of Geology is founded firmly in Coprology” P.B. Dunacn quoted in BUCKLAND, F. 1883  Coprolites, from the Greek “kopros” and “litos” (or dung-stone), can be regarded as a variety of ichnofossils (trace fossils), defined more precisely as fossilized, large biodepositional structures, documenting the [...]

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History of Geology

The Man who made Mountains

WILLIS_1891_Mechanics_Appalachian_wax_folds

U.S.G.S. engineer Bailey Willis († February 19, 1949) was known for his unorthodox approach to geological questions. Puzzled by the geological structures he discovered in mountain ranges, long before computer-models were available, he constructed a machine to simulate the mountain-forming process. In a box with a moveable piston he folded and crushed layers of beeswax [...]

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History of Geology

A.R. Wallace on Geology, Great Glaciers and the Speed of Evolution

CROLL_1875_Ice_Ages

“Very scanty acquaintance with practical geology, I’m exceedingly interested in all wider problems with which it deals” Alfred Russel Wallace (1896) When Charles Darwin published “The Origin of Species” in November 1859 geologists were still discussing the age of the earth. Deep time was an essential prerequisite to explain the recent biodiversity by gradual and [...]

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History of Geology

October 23, 4004 B.C.: Happy Birthday Earth!

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). In 1650 Ussher published a book with the title “Annales veteris testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti” (Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the earliest Beginning of the World), [...]

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History of Geology

September 26, 1997: The quake of Assisi

GIOTTO_1200_earthquake

In the early afternoon of September 26, 1997 a sequence of earthquakes hit the Italian province of Umbria. The two main quakes, with a magnitude of 5.6-5.8, were followed by a series of aftershocks -  one aftershock was so strong that it caused the partial collapse of the damaged roof of the basilica of St. [...]

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History of Geology

September 11, 1881: The landslide of Elm

1894_Rock_Fall_Elm_Map

For centuries the quarries in the slope of the “Tschingelberg” had provided valuable schist-plates and with the introduction of public school (and chalk boards) in the Swiss canton of Glarus the demand increased exponentially. Between the years 1861 to 1878 the mining was done by few people, but to satisfy the demand the local administration [...]

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History of Geology

August 21, 1986: The Lake Nyos Catastrophe

LOCKWOOD_1986_Cow_killed_by_Lake_Nyos_Gases

August 21, 1986 was a busy market day in the village of Lower Nyos (Cameroon) and most people that evening went to bed early. At 9:30 p.m. a strange sound, like a distant explosion, was heard and suddenly people and animals tumbled onto the ground. When the few survivors awoke the next morning, they discovered [...]

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