geology

Charles Francis Richter and the Richter Scale

Charles Francis Richter and the Richter Scale

On April 26, 1900, American seismologist and physicist Charles Francis Richter was born. Richter is most famous as the creator of the Richter magnitude scale, which, until the development of the moment magnitude scale in 1979, quantified the size of earthquakes. Inspired by Kiyoo Wadati‘s 1928 paper on shallow and deep earthquakes, Richter first used the scale in 1935 after developing it in collaboration with Beno Gutenberg; both worked at the California Institute of…
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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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Édouard Lartet –  a pioneer of Paleolithic archaeology

Édouard Lartet – a pioneer of Paleolithic archaeology

On April 15, 1801, French geologist and paleontologist Édouard Lartet was born. Lartet was a pioneer of Paleolithic archaeology, who is chiefly credited with discovering man’s earliest art and with establishing a date for the Upper Paleolithic Period of the Stone Age. His most striking discovery was a mammoth tooth, found in a cave, upon which was a drawing of a mammoth. This was clear proof that man lived at the same time as…
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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. Early Years 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…
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The Nimrod Expedition and the Magnetic South Pole

The Nimrod Expedition and the Magnetic South Pole

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. Early Years 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…
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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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William Scoresby and the Scientific Study of the Arctic

William Scoresby and the Scientific Study of the Arctic

On October 5, 1789, English Arctic explorer, scientist and clergyman William Scoresby was born. Scoresby pioneered in the scientific study of the Arctic and contributed to the knowledge of terrestrial magnetism. “Though a Greenland voyage is perhaps one of the most arduous of all maritime adventures, the mind of the commander of a whale-ship being very rarely free from anxiety ; yet, like all other occupations at sea, it affords occasional intervals of…
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Michael Servetus and the Pulmonary Circulation

Michael Servetus and the Pulmonary Circulation

On September 29, 1509, Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer, and Renaissance humanist Michael Servetus was born. Servetus was a polymath versed in many sciences: mathematics, astronomy and meteorology, geography, human anatomy, medicine and pharmacology, as well as jurisprudence, translation, poetry and the scholarly study of the Bible in its original languages. He was probably the first European to correctly describe the function of pulmonary circulation. Michael Servetus studied law in Toulouse. In 1531, he published…
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