geology

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. An Early Interest in Geology Eduard Suess was born…
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Johan Gunnar Andersson and Chinese Archaeology

Johan Gunnar Andersson and Chinese Archaeology

On July 3, 1874, Swedish archaeologist, paleontologist and geologist Johan Gunnar Andersson was born. Andersson is closely associated with the beginnings of Chinese archaeology in the 1920s. He laid the foundation for the study of prehistoric China. In 1921, at a cave near there, on the basis of bits of quartz that he found in a limestone region, he predicted that a fossil man would be discovered. Six years later, the first…
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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. Youth and Education Georg Wüst was the son…
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William Joscelyn Arkell and the Jurassic Period

William Joscelyn Arkell and the Jurassic Period

On June 9, 1904, British geologist and paleontologist William Joscelyn Arkell was born. Arkell is regarded as the leading authority on the Jurassic Period during the middle part of the 20th century. His work includes the classification of Jurassic ammonites and an interpretation of the environments of that period. In 1946, his “Standard of the European Jurassic” advocated a commission formulate a code of rules for stratigraphical nomenclature. William Joscelyn Arkell –…
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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 – Early Years Beno Gutenberg was born in…
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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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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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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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