TLW's Geologistscope™ (Geologist Historyscope)
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Jan. 9, 2017. Last Update: Mar. 22, 2017.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to geologist history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
In 1544 Bolognese physician-botanist Luca Ghini (1490-1556) creates the first known Herbarium (Hortus Siccus) in Pisa, gluing dried plants to cardboard; in 1554-8 he is succeeded by Italian physician-botanist Andrea Cesalpino (1519-1603), who is later called to be a prof. of medicine at the U. of Rome and physician to Pope Clement VIII, trying to figure out the circulation of the blood by explaining it as due to repeated evaporation and condensation, getting closer to the truth than anybody until William Harvey, pub. Quaestionum Peripateticarum in 1571; in 1593 he follows with Queaestionum Medicarum (2 vols.), which discusses the circulation of the blood but fails to form any clear picture. In 1596 he pub. De Metallicis (3 vols.) (Rome), a work on chemistry, mineralogy, and geology, showing a correct understanding of fossils, and anticipating some of the discoveries of Antoine Lavoisier and Rene Just Hauy.
In 1580 French Huguenot pottery maker Bernard (de) Palissy (1510-89) pub. Discours admirables, de la nature des eaux et fontaines, tant naturelles qu'artificielles, des metaux, des sels et salines, des pierres, des terres, du feu et des maux (Paris), which applies ancient Alexandrian principles of hydraulics, and incl. a theory of the origin of springs and underground waters, enunciating the modern theory of the origin of fossils.
In 1667 Danish scientist Steeno (Niels Steensen) (1638-87) of Copenhagen, who discovered the parotid salivary duct while studying anatomy in Amsterdam, then became court physician to grand duke Ferdinand II of Florence in 1665 publicly dissects a shark's head and proves that its mouth is full of teeth, not serpent tongues, then reveals that stones found in Malta are fossils of ancient shark teeth, founding the modern study of geology; he then advances the theory that land formations such as seabeds evolve via natural processes - living in the moment, priceless?
In 1696 English mathematician-theologian William Whiston (1667-1752) (student of Isaac Newton at Cambridge U.) pub. A New Theory of the Earth from its Original to the Consummation of All Things, which defends the Biblical account of Creation, with the soundbyte: "The Mosaic Creation is not a nice and philosophical account of the origin of all things; but a historical and true representation of the formation of our single Earth out of a confused Chaos, and of the successive and visible changes thereof each Day, till it became the habitation of mankind"; he claims that the Biblical Flood was caused by a comet hitting the Earth; too bad, he pushes Arianism, pissing-off most Christians, esp. Roman Catholics, but making fans of Isaac Newton and John Locke.
In 1776 Scottish geologist James Keir (1726-1820) suggests that rock formations such as Giant's Causeway in Ireland may have been caused by molten rock crystallizing as it cooled.
In 1783 taking advantage of the lengthening of human hair with humidity, Swiss geologist Horace-Benedict de Saussure (1740-99) invents the Hair Hygrometer, which is so reliable it is not replaced by an electrical version until the 1960s.
About 1783 English geologist (known for his black complexion) Rev. John Michell (1724-93) proposes the Cavendish Experiment to measure the gravitational constant, and first pub. the Schwarzschild Radius for a star, where gravity causes it become a "dark star" from which light cannot escape, later called a black hole; the experiment is performed in 1797-8 by British scientist Henry Cavendish.
In 1785 Scottish geologist James Hutton (1726-97) pub. Theory of the Earth; or An Investigation of the Laws Observable in the Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration of Land Upon the Globe, founding the modern science of geology with its presentation of the Bible-bashing principle of uniformitarianism, an Earth with "no vestige of a beginning - no prospect for an end"; too bad, it's too technical to obtain gen. acceptance until John Playfair popularizes it in 1802 - no end maybe, but it could have been created and had a beginning?
In 1786 Swiss mountaineer and French lt. gen. Franz Ludwig Pfyffer (1716-1802) constructs the first Relief Map, a 3-D model of the Lake Lucerne area after working on it for 24 years.
In the first decade of the 19th cent. Science makes great leaps in the concepts of Thematic Cartography, Statistical Graphing, and Data Visualization; coordinate paper is first used in pub. research (graph of barometric variations) by English industrial chemist Luke Howard (1772-1864), who makes comprehensive recordings of London weather in 1801-41. In 1801 the Pie Chart and Circle Graph is pub. London in "Statistical Breviary" by Scottish engineer-economist William Playfair (1759-1823), who in 1786 pub. "The Commercial and Political Atlas" in London, containing the first Bar Chart. In 1801 William "Strata" Smith (1769-1839) of England pub. "the map that changed the world", the first Geological Map (of England), founding the science of Stratigraphic Geology (Stratigraphy); too bad, the establishment ignores him, his work is plagiarized, and he ends up in debtors' prison.
In 1801 ("the Father of English Geology") William "Strata" Smith (1769-1839) of England pub. "the map that changed the world", the first Geological Map (of England), founding the science of Stratigraphic Geology (Stratigraphy); too bad, the establishment ignores him, his work is plagiarized, and he ends up in debtors' prison. In 1831 the Wollaston Medal, named after English chemist-physicist William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828) (made of palladium, a metal he discovered) is founded by the Geological Society of London; the first one goes to William "Strata" Smith (1769-1839), whose pub. of the first geological map in 1801 causes pres. Adam Sedegwick to call him "the Father of English Geology".
In 1802 Jean d'Aubuisson de Voisins (1762-1841) and Christian Leopold von Buch (1774-1853), students of German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817) reject their teacher's Neptunism (oceanic origin of rocks) in favor of the volcanic origin of basalt - you can't always give your kids what they love, but with Werner you can?
On Nov. 19, 1822 the Chilean Earthquake of 1822 is experienced by Scottish writer (recent widow) Maria, Lady Callcott (1785-1842), whose description of large land areas rising from the sea is later used by Charles Lyell to support his theory that mountains are formed by volcanoes and earthquakes, and backed up by Charles Darwin when George Greenough tries to ridicule her on sexist lines. In 1830-3 Scottish geologist Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) pub. The Principles of Geology, which expounds and expands James Hutton's uniformitarian theory, trashes the Bible-based catastrophist position, and flips the ultimate bird at Jehovah by dividing the geological system into Eocene, Miocene, and Pliocene - plumbing is a mercurial mistress? In July 1837 30-y.-o. Swiss naturalist Louis Jean Rodolphe Agassiz (1807-73) shocks the Swiss Society of Natural Sciences in Neuchatel, abandoning his prepared lecture on Brazilian fossil fish and announcing his new theory that a vast "ocean of ice" had once covered all of Europe and N Asia as far as the Caspian Sea, based on an expedition the previous summer with older friend Jean de Charpentier, where they had found evidence that glaciers move, carrying rocks with them, incl. one incident where Agassiz is lowered into an Alpine glacier too far and almost freezes in meltwater; too bad, the other scientists scoff at any implication that the Biblical Flood doesn't explain all.
In Feb. 1829 eccentric British amateur naturalist Francis Henry Egerton, 8th Earl of Bridgewater (b. 1756), known for giving dinner parties for dogs dies, leaving £8K to support a series of books "on the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, as manifested in the Creation", which become known as the Bridgewater Treatises; the first is by William Buckland (1784-1856), England's first official academic geologist (later dean of Westminster).
In 1836 New York State sponsors a natural history survey (ends 1842), which establishes U.S. geologists as a force; Maine sponsors a geologic survey (ends 1844).
In July 1837 30-y.-o. Swiss naturalist Louis Jean Rodolphe Agassiz (1807-73) shocks the Swiss Society of Natural Sciences in Neuchatel, abandoning his prepared lecture on Brazilian fossil fish and announcing his new theory that a vast "ocean of ice" had once covered all of Europe and N Asia as far as the Caspian Sea, based on an expedition the previous summer with older friend Jean de Charpentier, where they had found evidence that glaciers move, carrying rocks with them, incl. one incident where Agassiz is lowered into an Alpine glacier too far and almost freezes in meltwater; too bad, the other scientists scoff at any implication that the Biblical Flood doesn't explain all.
In 1906 Am. geologist Clarence Edward Dutton (1841-1912) pub. a theory, based on studies in Hawaii, Calif., and Ore. that volcanism is caused by radioactivity.
In 1912 German geophysicist Alfred Lothar Wegener (1880-1930) pub. The Origin of Continents and Oceans (Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane); proposes the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift, and the supercontinent Pangaea - Brazil fits neatly into the Gulf of Guinea in W Africa, so post fit ergo propter fit?
In 1966 Am. geophysicists Allan Verne Cox (1926-87), Richard Doell (1923-2008), and G. Brent Dalrymple (1937-) of Stanford U. determine that the Earth's magnetic field has undergone periodic reversals - it means it doesn't matter where you start, it all comes together, it all falls apart?
In 1967 English geophysicist Dan Peter McKenzie (1942-) and R.L. "Bob" Parker pub. a paper proposing the concept of Plate Tectonics, making it mathematically precise using Euler's Rotation (Fixed Point) Theorem, later breaing the Earth's lithosphere into seven plates: Africa, North Am., South Am., Eurasian, Australian, Antarctic, and Pacific.
On Dec. 27, 1984 Am. geologist Roberta "Robbie" Score finds the Martian meteorite labelled Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 while snowmobiling in the Antarctic; later it is claimed that fossil evidence of Martian life is found in it.