The key to defining these concepts and comprehending the formation and structure of the landscapes around us was mapping. Early geologists observed rock exposures in the landscape, quarries and mines, collecting and comparing samples and fossils. Initially, they sketched their observations and interpretations in diagrammatic sections, panoramic views and on the maps of the day.
In the nineteenth century, the great national topographic surveys commenced in Europe and its empires and in America to provide a more rigorous base for plotting observations to create more accurate geological maps and figures. The earliest maps and figures were hand-coloured engravings. In the official surveys of the British Isles this technique persisted until 1900. Elsewhere colour printing of geological maps first appeared in the 1860s.
Major Events in Nineteenth Century Geology
|1807||Founding of the Geological Society of London.|
|1815||William Smith publishes the first geological map of England and Wales and adjacent parts of Scotland. His amazing story is described by John Morton in Strata: the Remarkable Story of William Smith and by Simon Winchester in The Map that Changed the World.|
|1830||Charles Lyell, publishes the influential Principles of Geology. He was working on the 12thedition when he died in 1875. The various revisions chart the development of Geological thought over this period.|
|1832||Henry De la Beche became "Geologist to the Trigonometrical Survey of Great Britain" (predecessor of the Ordnance Survey).|
|1835||The establishment of the Geological Survey of Great Britain and Ireland. De la Beche was its first director. It remained within the OS until 1845. Henry De la Beche, its first director had nurtured the embryonic Survey for several years within the Ordnance Survey.|
|1837||Louis Agassiz proposed the earth was subject to Ice Ages extending over continents.|
|1842||Richard Owen, the great palaeontologist, coined the word dinosaur (terrible lizard).|
|1852||The first dinosaur theme park constructed at Crystal Palace, South London. Wonderfully restored in 2005.|
|1859||Charles Darwin, who considered himself a geologist, published 'On the Origin of Species'.|
|1879||The establishment of the US Geological Survey.|
|1880||John Milne, geologist and mining engineer, invented the horizontal pendulum Wiki Reference|