Within the half-century after Guettard's epoch-making journey of 1751, geologists came to see the Auvergne region of France as a place of unusual interest for field investigation. This paper reports on an effort to catalogue instances of scientific travel in Auvergne up to the end of the eighteenth century, before observers during the first decade of the nineteenth century (such as von Buch, d'Aubuisson and Ramond) validated the establishment of Auvergne as an iconic place for geologists. In addition to those who ventured into Auvergne to investigate its geology, a significant number of the eighteenth-century observers were residents of Auvergne; these are tabulated separately from those journeying from elsewhere. Published results of Auvergne observations accomplished by 1800 suggest that the Auvergne geological phenomena were already becoming fixed as part of the geological traveller's canonical itinerary.
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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.