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Posts Tagged "Today in Geohistory"

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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History of Geology

July 30, 1920: Marie Tharp, the Woman who discovered the Backbone of Earth

HEEZEN_1971_Marie_Tharp

Marie Tharp was born July 30, 1920 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Already in early years she followed her father, a soil surveyor for the United States Department of Agriculture, into the field. However she also loved to read and wanted to study literature at St. John’s College in Annapolis, but at the time women were not [...]

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History of Geology

The Teeth of the Moon Wolf

ABEL_1938_MoonWolf

July 20, 1969 marks the landing of “the Eagle” on the moon – and despite the crew didn´t encounter any moon-monsters, there is in fact some Silly Science between the moon and fossil beasts. According to an ancient Norse myth Mánagarmr, or Hati (translated into “the enemy“), was a terrifying wolf, born from the unholy [...]

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History of Geology

July 18, 1635: Robert Hooke – The Last Virtuoso of Silly Science

HOOKE_1705_Discourses_Earthquakes

“So, naturalists observe, a flea Hath smaller that on him prey; And these have smaller still to bite ‘em; And so proceed ad infinitum. Thus every poet, in his kind, Is bit by him that comes behind.” Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) June 2, 1676 the Duke’s Company performed the spectacle “The Virtuoso” in the Dorset Garden [...]

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