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History of Geology

History of Geology

What rocks tell and how we came to understand it

Granite Wars – Episode II: A New Phase (-Diagram)

“Inside the globe [there] exist mysterious forces, whose effects become apparent on the surface. Eruptions of vapors, glowing lava and new volcanic rocks…[]” Alexander von Humboldt At the end of the 19th century and after the victory of “Plutonism” in the great Granite War, geologists accepted the idea that igneous rocks originate from deep inside [...]..

October 13, 2013 — David Bressan
Granite Wars – Episode I: Fire & Water

Granite Wars – Episode I: Fire & Water

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.

September 28, 2013 — David Bressan

September 26, 1997: The quake of Assisi

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...

September 26, 2013 — David Bressan
September 11, 1881: The landslide of Elm

September 11, 1881: The landslide of Elm

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...

September 11, 2013 — David Bressan
Geologizing Asses

Geologizing Asses

“Humanity’s genius is to have always had a sense of its weakness. The physical energy and strength, with which nature insufficiently endowed humans, is found in animals that help them to discover new territories.” “Home” (2009) A post dedicated to the forgotten heroes of early geology -  asses !...

September 6, 2013 — David Bressan
In Search of the Lost Land of Gold (and mummified baboons too)

In Search of the Lost Land of Gold (and mummified baboons too)

“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 [...]..

August 30, 2013 — David Bressan
August 21, 1986: The Lake Nyos Catastrophe

August 21, 1986: The Lake Nyos Catastrophe

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...

August 21, 2013 — David Bressan

Journeys to the Island(s) of Monsters

After some monster science* the “History of Geology” blog will be dedicated to “travelling geologists” – the first post will introduce us to a woman who visited (and survived) the “island(s) of monsters”: (*anyway Discovery Channel makes a much better job promoting silly science) “Outside the harbour of the country, neither very near it nor [...]..

August 8, 2013 — David Bressan

Darwin s Freak Show (or, why Darwin didn t kill Bigfoot)

Today geologist Charles Darwin is not remembered as great monster hunter, despite some Victorian paleontologists and geologists were interested in the topic, but after discussing how geologists tried to capture " Nessie ", it´s time to hunt for " Bigfoot ":Since ancient time people were fascinated by monsters - a term adopted for mythical creatures, but also real animals or humans with grotesque anatomical deformations...

July 28, 2013 — David Bressan

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