Instructions for geological travellers
The history of geological travels usually focuses on the study of individuals or groups of travellers, but it should also consider in detail some essential aspects of the meaning of geological travel, such as the beginnings of this particular kind of scientific travel, the emergence of a ‘conscious’ geological traveller, the concept of ‘field’ and fieldwork for a geologist and finally the first attempts to codify the style and the method of a geological travel. The aim of this paper is to look at possible answers to some of these questions by presenting a short outline, based on some significant examples in the historical development of a particular kind of scientific literature still little known and open to further investigation: the instructions for geological travellers, including writing by those people, generally scientists, who wanted to organize their experiences to instruct others on how to undertake geological observations methodically. From the early eighteenth century, these texts may be found within private diaries or official reports, in journals or periodicals, scholarly monographs or textbooks, and also as articles, pamphlets, booklets or even books on their own, especially in the late nineteenth century.
Figures & Tables
In the last four centuries geologists have traversed the globe, searching for economically important materials or simply to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. Geologists have often been at the vanguard of scientific exploration.
The microscopist Robert Hooke explored the Isle of Wight, and Charles Darwin the Cape Verde islands and parts of South America. The volcanic wonders of Italy and central France attracted native and foreign visitors including Lyell and Murchison. The Tyrrell brothers faced great hardship in northern Canada, as did the actor and mineralogist Charles Lewis Giesecke in Greenland. The development of Sydney, Australia depended on finding limestone for building. French geologists relied on camels in the Sahara, and Grenville Cole trusted his tricycle to carry him across Europe.
Four Centuries of Geological Travel: The Search for Knowledge on Foot, Bicycle, Sledge and Camel focuses on the complexities of geological exploration and will be of particular interest to Earth scientists, historians of science and to the general reader interested in science.