geology

Vladimir Vernadsky and the Biosphere

Vladimir Vernadsky and the Biosphere

On March 12 (February 28 according to the old calendar), 1863, Ukrainian and Soviet mineralogist and geochemist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky was born. He is considered one of the founders of geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and of radiogeology. He is most noted for his 1926 book “The Biosphere” in which he popularized the hypothesis that life is the geological force that shapes the Earth. “An organism is involved with the environment to which it is…
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John Murray and the Oceanography

John Murray and the Oceanography

On March 3, 1841, pioneering Scottish oceanographer, marine biologist and limnologist Sir John Murray was born. As one of its founders, coined the name oceanography. He studied ocean basins, deep-sea deposits, and coral-reef formation. As a marine scientist, he took part in the Challenger Expedition (1872–76), the first major oceanographic expedition of the world. John Murray – Early Years John Murray was born in Coburg, Ontario as the second son of Elizabeth Macfarlane…
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Andrija Mohorovičić and the Mohorovičić Discontinuity

Andrija Mohorovičić and the Mohorovičić Discontinuity

On January 23, 1857, Croatian meteorologist and seismologist Andrija Mohorovičić was born. He is best known for the eponymous Mohorovičić discontinuity, i.e. he boundary between the Earth’s crust and mantle discovered by him – and is considered a founder of modern seismology. Andrija Mohorovičić Background Andrija Mohorovičić proved to be a talented student from early age. By the age of 15, he spoke English, French and Italian and learned German, Czech, Latin and Ancient…
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Nicolas Steno and the Principles of Modern Geology

Nicolas Steno and the Principles of Modern Geology

In January 11,  1638, Danish Catholic bishop and scientist Nicolas Steno was born. He was both a pioneer in both anatomy and geology, and seriously questioned accepted knowledge of the natural world. Importantly he questioned explanations for tear production, the idea that fossils grew in the ground and explanations of rock formation. By some he is considered the founder of modern stratigraphy and modern geology. “Beautiful is what we see, More Beautiful is what we…
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Charles Walcott and the Cambrian Explosion

Charles Walcott and the Cambrian Explosion

On August 30, 1909, American paleontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott discovered the Burgess Shale Formation, located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. With its Cambrian fossils the Burgess Shale is one of the world’s most celebrated fossil fields. Walcott excavated repeatedly to collect more than 65,000 specimens from what is now known as the Walcott Quarry, named after him. “Nature has a habit of placing some of her most attractive treasures in places…
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The Mysterious Tunguska Event

The Mysterious Tunguska Event

On June 30, 1908, seismic stations all across Europe registered an enormously powerful shock wave, which originated from a location near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. The so-called Tunguska event ever since has challenged the fantasy of scientists, who related it to the impact of a meteor or comet fragment, or even have developed theories that speak of black holes, anti matter or less exotic geothermical…
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Athanasius Kircher – A Man in Search of Universal Knowledge

Athanasius Kircher – A Man in Search of Universal Knowledge

On May 2nd, 1601 (or 1602), German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher was born. He has published most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology, and medicine, and has been compared to Leonardo da Vinci for his enormous range of interests.[5] He is regarded as one of the founders of Egyptology for his (mostly fruitless) efforts in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, wrote an encyclopedia about China, studied volcanos and fossils, was one of the very…
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Charles Lyell and the Principles of Geology

Charles Lyell and the Principles of Geology

On November 14, 1797, Charles Lyell, British lawyer and the foremost geologist of his day, was born. Lyell was a close friend to Charles Darwin and is best known as the author of Principles of Geology, which popularized James Hutton‘s concepts of uniformitarianism – the idea that the earth was shaped by the same processes still in operation today. “The form of a coast, the configuration of the interior of a country,…
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Louis Agassiz and the Ice Ages

Louis Agassiz and the Ice Ages

On May 28, 1807, Swiss paleontologist, glaciologist, and geologist Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz was born, who is considered a prominent innovator in the study of the Earth‘s natural history. He was the first to scientifically propose that the Earth had been subject to a past ice age. “The time has come when scientific truth must cease to be the property of the few, when it must be woven into the common life…
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William Buckland’s Eccentricities and the Discovery of Megalosaurus

William Buckland’s Eccentricities and the Discovery of Megalosaurus

On March 12, 1784, English theologian, geologist and eccentric palaeontologist William Buckland was born, who wrote the first full account of a fossil dinosaur, which he named Megalosaurus. “Geology holds the keys of one of the kingdoms of nature; and it cannot be said that a science which extends our Knowledge, and by consequence our Power, over a third part of nature, holds a low place among intellectual employments.” — William Buckland, as…
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