Geology in Western Europe
THESE lands constitute a single geologic province, with their earth study concurrent, and the early writings in Latin.
The students in this area had the favoring conditions of broad stretches of thick sedimentaries, packed with fossils, and representing wide range of geologic time. This gave advantage and incentive for the development of stratigraphic and historical geology; and the German and French geologists built earth history on the solid basis of organic remains. It is probably just to say that paleontology had its birth in France.
Cosmic geology also had its birth in France and Germany. René Descartes (1596-1650) and G. W. Leibnitz (1646-1716) formulated the first rational hypothesis of the origin of our planetary system. For two centuries the "nebular" or "Laplacian" theory had quite universal acceptance. It is no discredit to their brilliant work that later discoveries in physics and astronomy have made their conception untenable.
Georg Bauer (1490-1555), Agricola was his Latin name, was a German physician and an accomplished chemist and mineralogist, whose work was so original and suggestive that he is regarded as the father of mineralogy and metallurgy. His "De Re Metallica," published in 1556, but completed earlier, has remained of such interest that in 1912 it was translated into readable English by a mining engineer, assisted by his wife, which engineer is now the President of the United States.
A young contemporary of Bauer was the earliest eminent nature student in France.
Bernard Palissy, "the Potter" (1510-1589), was a surveyor, artist and naturalist who
Figures & Tables
Written in 1931 by Herman LeRoy Fairchild, and with an introduction by Joseph Stanley-Brown, this definitive history of the Geological Society of America covers the first forty-three years of the Society. It contains sections devoted to an overview of early geological research, the Society's background, key players in the Society's creation and history, and information on the Society's membership, publications, meetings, constitution, and more.