Coal-fueled atmospheric engines met the need for new sources of mechanical power in 18th Century England and propelled the country into an industrial revolution. Coal exploitation prompted attendant mineral surveying, land drainage, and better transportation routes. John Strachey illustrated stratigraphic succession, bedding attitude, faulting, and unconformity in the Somersetshire coal field. William Smith recognized natural order and regularity in strata and their organic contents during his surveys and drainage work. Thus, their imaginative application of traditional colliers' lore was brought to contemporary scientific attention and put to work in a wider field.

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