geology

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 was born in Coburg, Ontario as the son of a Scottish emigrant. He left Canada…
Gideon Mantell and the Iguanodon

Gideon Mantell and the Iguanodon

  On February 3, 1790, English obstetrician, geologist and palaeontologist Gideon Algernon Mantell was born. His attempts to reconstruct the structure and life of Iguanodon began the scientific study of dinosaurs. In 1822 he was responsible for the discovery of the first fossil teeth, and later much of the skeleton, of Iguanodon. Moreover, Mantell is also famous for his contributions on the Cretaceous of southern England. Well, the Cretaceous is…
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 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 Greek…
Nicolas Steno and the Principles of Modern Geology

Nicolas Steno and the Principles of Modern Geology

In January, 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. Nicolas Steno was born as Niels Stensen,…
John Milne and the History of Seismology

John Milne and the History of Seismology

On December 30, 1850, British geologist and mining engineer John Milne was born. He is best known for his invention of the horizontal pendulum seismograph (1894). Furthermore, he was one of the European scientists that helped organize the seismic survey of Japan in the last half of the 1800’s. John Milne grew up in Lancashire and received his undergraduate education at the Department of Applied Sciences, King College London. He…
Abraham Werner and the School of Neptunism

Abraham Werner and the School of Neptunism

Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817) On September 25, 1749, German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner was born. He is best known for his early theory about the stratification of the Earth’s crust. Moreover, he propounded an earth history that others labeled Neptunism that states that holding that all rocks have aqueous origins. While most tenets of Neptunism were eventually set aside, science is indebted to Werner for clearly demonstrating the chronological succession…
Deodat de Dolomieu and the Love for Rocks

Deodat de Dolomieu and the Love for Rocks

Déodat de Dolomieu (1750 – 1801) On June 23, 1750, French geologist Déodat Gratet de Dolomieu was born. He is best known for his field research in mineralogy. The mineral and the rock dolomite and the largest summital crater on the Piton de la Fournaise volcano were named after him. Déodat de Dolomieu grew up in the Alps of southeastern France and showed early interest in his surrounding nature. However, he…
The Hayden Geological Survey and the Yellowstone National Park

The Hayden Geological Survey and the Yellowstone National Park

The Annie, first boat ever launched on Yellowstone Lake Photo: William Henry Jackson On June 11, 1871, the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871 led by geologist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden began, which explored the region of northwestern Wyoming that later became Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden graduated from the Albany Medical College in 1853. There he got to know the state geologist of New York, who highly influenced him…
Georg Forster – Naturalist and Revolutionary

Georg Forster – Naturalist and Revolutionary

Forster and his father at Tahiti On November 27, 1754, German naturalist, ethnologist, travel writer, journalist, and revolutionary Georg Forster was born. At an early age, he accompanied his father on several scientific expeditions, including James Cook‘s second voyage to the Pacific. His most famous work ‘A Voyage Round the World’ is considered as the beginning of modern scientific travel literature, which also made him a member of the famous…
Charles Walcott and the Cambrian Explosion

Charles Walcott and the Cambrian Explosion

Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850-1927) 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. Today, most of us are aware of…
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