Harsh oil: finding petroleum in early twentieth century Western Australia
Published:January 01, 2017
Francesco Gerali, Jenny Gregory, 2017. "Harsh oil: finding petroleum in early twentieth century Western Australia", History of Geoscience: Celebrating 50 Years of INHIGEO, W. Mayer, R. M. Clary, L. F. Azuela, T. S. Mota, S. Wołkowicz
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Before becoming a science, an art or a form of investment, oil prospecting needed the mental vision of the discoverers of new oil fields in unexplored areas. According to Pratt, the minds of such men made the discovery of new wells possible, mostly in terrains that were not considered favourable such as in Australia. This paper is the initial outcome of an investigation into the first oil explorations in the SW of Australia in the early twentieth century. Following a review of the relevant literature, the paper provides an overview of the early global development of the oil industry, exploring expectations of oil resources in Australia in the context of international oil developments. This provides the background to an analysis of early oil exploration in Western Australia (WA), based on analysis of contemporary geological literature, unpublished government documents and newspaper reports. The result is not the tale of an epic quest for oil in Australia, but rather a story of sceptical scientists, visionary investors and a government that saw oil as an asset that would speed up Australia’s transition from a British colony into an independent political and economic power.
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History of Geoscience: Celebrating 50 Years of INHIGEO
The study of the Earth’s origin, its composition, the processes that changed and shaped it over time and the fossils preserved in rocks, have occupied enquiring minds from ancient times. The contributions in this volume trace the history of ideas and the research of scholars in a wide range of geological disciplines that have paved the way to our present-day understanding and knowledge of the physical nature of our planet and the diversity of life that inhabited it.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Commission on the History of Geology, the book features contributions that give insights into its establishment and progress. In other sections authors reflect on the value of studying the history of the geosciences and provide accounts of early investigations in fields as diverse as tectonics, volcanology, geomorphology, vertebrate palaeontology and petroleum geology. Other papers discuss the establishment of geological surveys, the contribution of women to geology and biographical sketches of noted scholars in various fields of geoscience.