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. Youth and Education Clair Patterson was born in Mitchellville,…
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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. “Every beginning is hard. At most stopping is sometimes even harder.” – Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, as quoted in [9] Victor Moritz Goldschmidt’s Early Years Goldschmidt was born in Zürich, Switzerland,…
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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. Arthur Holmes – 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…
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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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