From the Guajira Desert to the Apennines, and from Mediterranean Microplates to the Mexican Killer Asteroid: Honoring the Career of Walter Alvarez
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This volume pays tribute to the great career and extensive and varied scientific accomplishments of Walter Alvarez, on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 2020, with a series of papers related to the many topics he covered in the past 60 years: Tectonics of microplates, structural geology, paleomagnetics, Apennine sedimentary sequences, geoarchaeology and Roman volcanics, Big History, and most famously the discovery of evidence for a large asteroidal impact event at the Cretaceous–Tertiary (now Cretaceous–Paleogene) boundary site in Gubbio, Italy, 40 years ago, which started a debate about the connection between meteorite impact and mass extinction. The manuscripts in this special volume were written by many of Walter’s close collaborators and friends, who have worked with him over the years and participated in many projects he carried out. The papers highlight specific aspects of the research and/or provide a summary of the current advances in the field.
Digging deeper in human history: The role of mining natural resources in Big History
Published:June 21, 2022
Jesse E. Bos*, Paula Metallo*, 2022. "Digging deeper in human history: The role of mining natural resources in Big History", From the Guajira Desert to the Apennines, and from Mediterranean Microplates to the Mexican Killer Asteroid: Honoring the Career of Walter Alvarez, Christian Koeberl, Philippe Claeys, Alessandro Montanari
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This paper is focused on the “paths of human history” in relation to the geological occurrence patterns of the following natural resources: stone, copper, tin, iron, gold, and coal. The abundant occurrence of flint in the Near East has influenced toolmaking and maybe the moment when early men discovered how to control fire. The scarcity of tin stimulated an early long distance trade during the Bronze Age. The abundant occurrence of iron, on the other hand, offered tools for everyday agriculture and “democratized” weaponry. The scarcity of gold, plus its durability, made it perfect for money, and therefore mining of gold strongly influenced economic history. The use of coal revolutionized the use of energy and industrialization. From making knives to controlling fire, from developing world trade to stimulating agriculture and war, from creating a global economy to increasing, as well as highlighting, the great differences between haves and have nots, from forming societies to destroying environments, the role of ores and their occurrences were essential.