geology

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. Louis Agassiz studied medicine at the universities of Zurich, Heidelberg, and Munich, but educated himself also in nature sciences and botany. To his early mentors…
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William Buckland and the Dinosaurs

William Buckland and the Dinosaurs

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. Buckland grew up in Axminster, Devon, UK, and spent a lot his his childhood days together with his father, a rector, hiking and collecting ammonites and several other shells they found along the way. Buckland received most of his formal education at St Mary’s College…
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Alfred Wegener and the Continental Drift

Alfred Wegener and the Continental Drift

On January 06, 1912, German geologist Alfred Wegener presented his theory of continental drift for the first time in public at a meeting of the Geological Society (‘Geologische Vereinigung’) at Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. Alfred Wegener was born in Berlin, Germany, as the youngest of five children to his father, Richard Wegener, a theologian and teacher of classical languages at the Berlinisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster. In 1886 his family purchased a former…
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Emil Wiechert and the Inner Structure of the Earth

Emil Wiechert and the Inner Structure of the Earth

On December 26, 1861, German geophysicist Emil Johann Wiechert was born. Wiechert made many contributions to both fields, including presenting the first verifiable model of a layered structure of the Earth and being among the first to discover the electron. He invented the “inverted pendulum” seismograph, (an improvement still incorporated in today’s instruments), with which he was able to detect some of the Earth‘s inner structure. He suggested the Earth has an inner,…
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Hans Cloos and the Granite Tectonics

Hans Cloos and the Granite Tectonics

On November 8, 1885, German structural geologist Hans Cloos was born. Cloos became known throughout Europe as the author of a textbook (1936) and the extensive monograph Gespräch mit der Erde (1947), whose clear language and self-drawn illustrations made geology comprehensible to the general public. He was a pioneer in the study of granite tectonics (the deformation of crystalline rocks) and in model studies of rock deformation. “The earth is large and…
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Sir Richard John Griffith and the Geological Map of Ireland

Sir Richard John Griffith and the Geological Map of Ireland

On September 20, 1784, Irish geologist and mining engineer Sir Richard John Griffith was born. Griffith sometimes has been called the “father of Irish geology.” He completed the first complete geological map of Ireland and was author of the valuation of Ireland – known ever since as Griffith‘s Valuation. Education and First Work Experience Richard John Griffith was born in Hume Street, Dublin, Ireland, the son of Richard Griffith M.P. of Millicent…
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Laurence Gould’s geological Exploration of Antarctica

Laurence Gould’s geological Exploration of Antarctica

On August 22, 1896, American geologist, educator, and polar explorer Laurence McKinley Gould was born. Gould was the first geologist to reach the interior of the Antarctic continent. He travelled to the Queen Maud Mountains, making geological and glaciological surveys. Laurence Gould was born in Lacota, Michigan. After completing high school in South Haven, Michigan in 1914 he began teaching while saving money for college. He managed to enroll at the University of Michigan two…
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Eduard Suess and the Study of Tectonics

Eduard Suess and the Study of Tectonics

On August 20, 1831, Austrian geologist Eduard Suess was born. Suess was an expert on the geography of the Alps and helped lay the basis for paleogeography and tectonics, i.e. the study of the architecture and evolution of the Earth‘s outer rocky shell. He is responsible for hypothesising two major former geographical features, the supercontinent Gondwana (proposed in 1861) and the Tethys Ocean. Eduard Suess was born in London into the large family…
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Georg Wüst and the Motion of Water Masses

Georg Wüst and the Motion of Water Masses

On June 15, 1890, German oceanographer Georg Adolf Otto Wüst was born. Wüst’s pioneering work on the Atlantic Ocean provided a new view of the motions of water masses between the northern and southern hemispheres and the first evidence of the concentration of water mass spreading in western boundary currents. He developed the first essentially complete understanding of the physical structure and deep circulation of the Atlantic Ocean. Georg Wüst studied geography and oceanography at the…
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