The German geologist Georg Hartung (1821–1891) and the geology of the Azores and Madeira islands
M. S. Pinto, A. Bouheiry, 2007. "The German geologist Georg Hartung (1821–1891) and the geology of the Azores and Madeira islands", Four Centuries of Geological Travel: The Search for Knowledge on Foot, Bicycle, Sledge and Camel, P. N. Wyse Jackson
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In 1853 and 1854, the German geologist G. Hartung (1821–1891) was living in Funchal, on the Portuguese island of Madeira. During this time Charles Lyell visited the archipelago to carry out the fieldwork that led the famous British geologist to write On the Geology of Some Parts of Madeira, published in the Quarterly Journal in 1854, and to make abundant references to the geology, morphology, palaeontology and living flora and fauna of the islands in the sixth edition of the Elements of Geology (1865) and in the 1868 edition of the Principles of Geology. Lyell was accompanied by Hartung during the visit to Madeira and to the Canary Islands. Hartung left on him a deep and lasting influence, so that Lyell wrote that his German colleague had ‘proved a most active fellow-labourer’. Lyell liked to talk to young geologists from whom he felt ‘old stagers’ had much to learn, and that was probably the case with Hartung.
Hartung visited the Azores archipelago in 1857 and in 1860 produced a book (Die Azoren in ihrer äusseren Erscheinung und nach ihrer geognostischen Natur) and an atlas with very fine plates of views of the volcanic landscape of S. Miguel Island. In 1864, he published Geologische Beschreibung der Inseln Madeira und Porto Santo on the geology of Madeira and Porto Santo that was the result of his ideas and field observations made from 1850 to 1854. Both books have palaeontological sections written by German-speaking authors. Betrachtungen über Erhebungskrater, ältere und neuere Eruptivmassen nebst einer Schilderung der geologischen Verhältnisse der Insel Gran Canaria, published in 1862, also refers to Madeira and the Azores.
Hartung's work on these archipelagos was important from both a geological and a historical point of view, and he became involved in the discussion of Leopold von Buch's ‘upheaval’ and Charles Lyell's ‘upbuilding’ theories.
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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.