geology

Beno Gutenberg and the Earth’s Interior

Beno Gutenberg and the Earth’s Interior

On June 4, 1889, German-American seismologist Beno Gutenberg was born. Gutenberg is noted for his analyses of earthquake waves and the information they furnish about the physical properties of the Earth’s interior. He was a colleague and mentor of Charles Francis Richter at the California Institute of Technology and Richter’s collaborator in developing the Richter magnitude scale for measuring an earthquake’s magnitude. Beno Gutenberg was born in Darmstadt, Germany, the son of…
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Clair Cameron Patterson and the exact Age of the Earth

Clair Cameron Patterson and the exact Age of the Earth

On June 2, 1922, American geochemist Clair Cameron Patterson was born. Patterson developed the uranium–lead dating method into lead–lead dating and, by using lead isotopic data from the Canyon Diablo meteorite, he calculated an age for the Earth of 4.55 billion years; a figure far more accurate than those that existed at the time and one that has remained largely unchanged since 1956. Clair Patterson was born in Mitchellville, Iowa, near Des…
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James David Forbes and the Conduction of Heat

James David Forbes and the Conduction of Heat

On April 20, 1809, Scottish physicist and glaciologist James David Forbes was born. Forbes worked extensively on the conduction of heat and seismology. He conducted experiments on the temperature of the Earth at different depths and in different soils near Edinburgh. Later he investigated the laws of heat conduction in bars and invented the seismometer. James David Forbes was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the fourth son of Sir William Forbes, 7th Baronet,…
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Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

On January 27, 1888, Swiss-Norwegian geochemist, mineralogist and petrologist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt was born. Goldschmidt is considered (together with Vladimir Vernadsky) to be the founder of modern geochemistry and crystal chemistry, as well as the developer of the Goldschmidt Classification of elements. Goldschmidt was born in Zürich, Switzerland, into a family of Jewish parents, Heinrich Jacob Goldschmidt, a distinguished physical chemist, who held professorships at Amsterdam, Heidelberg, and Oslo, and Amelie Koehne.…
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The Nimrod Expedition

The Nimrod Expedition

On January 16, 1907, Australian geologists Tannatt William Edgeworth David and Douglas Mawson together with Scottish physician Alistair Mackay, being part of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907–09, otherwise known as the Nimrod Expedition, led by Ernest Shackleton, reached the magnetic southpole. The major goal of the famous Nimrod Expedition was to be the first to reach the South Pole. Even though this goal was not fulfilled completely, the expedition’s southern march reached a…
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Arthur Holmes and the Age of the Earth

Arthur Holmes and the Age of the Earth

On January 14, 1890, British geologist Arthur Holmes was born. Holmes pioneered the use of radiometric dating of minerals and was the first earth scientist to grasp the mechanical and thermal implications of mantle convection, which led eventually to the acceptance of plate tectonics. Arthur Holmes was born in Hepburn, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the son of David Holmes, a cabinet-maker, and his wife, Emily Dickinson. As a child he lived in Low Fell,…
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Vasily Dokuchaev and Soil Science

Vasily Dokuchaev and Soil Science

On October 26, 1903, (Julian Calendar) Russian Geologist and Geographer Vasily Dokuchaev passed away. Dokuchaev is commonly regarded as the father of Soil science, the study of soils in its natural setting. He developed soil science in Russia, and was, perhaps the first person to make wide geographical investigations of different soil types. The very early concepts of soil were developed by the German chemist Justus von Liebig. After several years, soil became…
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The German Continental Deep Drilling Programme

The German Continental Deep Drilling Programme

On October 12, 1994, the German Continental Deep Drilling Programme near Windischeschenbach, Bavaria, ended at a depth of 9,101 metres in the Earth’s continental crust, on of the deepest drilling projects in the world. The German Continental Deep Drilling Programme began in 1987 with an advance borehole, reaching its target depth of 4.000 meters in April 1989. The drilling results were then used as parameters for the main borehole. For instance the…
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Nicholas Shackleton and Paleoclimatology

Nicholas Shackleton and Paleoclimatology

On June 23, 1937, English geologist and paleoclimatologist Nicholas Shackleton was born. Shackleton was the son of the distinguished field geologist Robert Millner Shackleton and great-nephew of the explorer Ernest Shackleton. He helped identify carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and studied the ancient climate changes of the Quaternary period, the last 1.8 million years, during which there were periods building up massive ice sheets and mountain ice caps alternating with warm weather when…
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Daniel Barringer and the Barringer Crater

Daniel Barringer and the Barringer Crater

On May 25, 1860, American geologist Daniel Moreau Barringer was born. Barringer is best known as the first person to prove the existence of an impact crater on the Earth, the Meteor Crater in Arizona. The site has been renamed the Barringer Crater in his honor, although this name is mainly used in the scientific community. After graduating from Princeton University in 1879 at the age of 19, Daniel Barringer went on to become president…
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