Rob Hope and Dr Davide Olivero (France) “ … And yet we cannot hope to describe all of the natural happenings of our world; and thus impossible it seems to be to explain all of these unexplainable things …” JL Alléon-Dulac, 1765, French naturalist (Opening Image). An ‘ammon horn’ sketch by… … Read More
William Bagshaw (UK) White Scar Cave takes its name from the limestone outcrops or “scars” that overlook the entrance. This part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is dominated by the ‘Three Peaks’ – Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent and Whernside. Their distinctive shapes are due to their geological structure, which consists of… … Read More
Stephen K Donovan (The Netherlands), David AT Harper (UK) and Roger W Portell (USA) In his latest book, Ted Nield (2014) reflects on building stones and what they tell the geologist about where they are. Once upon a time, building stones in Britain were derived locally and told the informed… … Read More
Luke Sattler (USA) This paper is about an unusual artefact from Wyoming that may have been used by prehistoric people. It has now been studied and the preliminary research results are complete. This ancient scraper is a bifacial, thinned, cortical flaked tool, which means that its flakes were struck from… … Read More
Blake Reher (USA) Throughout Roman times, amber was considered the ‘Gold of the North’. It was believed to have medicinal properties that cured arthritis, protected people from suffering mental illness, and healed sore throats. People also thought it had magical properties that gave the wearer bravery. Amber was also a… … Read More
Paul D Taylor (UK) People have collected fossils since prehistoric times. In pre-scientific times, a remarkable folklore developed about how fossils originated and their usefulness. Folklore refers to the beliefs – usually non-scientific – and customs of ordinary people. Before the true origin of fossils as the remains of once… … Read More
Ruel A Macaraeg (USA) In recent years, a number of ammonite pendants, similar to the one in Fig. 1, have been offered by tribal art dealers. As scientific objects, they offer the interest all fossils – a chance to study the tangible remains of ancient life. Being among the more… … Read More
Dr Robert Sturm (Austria) Ancient civilizations had a high demand for raw materials, like clay, diverse rocks and, most of all, metals. These were required for buildings, crafts, agriculture, their armed forces, financial concerns, art and culture. Clays and rocks produced by opencast mining primarily served for the production of… … Read More
The Geologists’ Association have extended their excellent series of geological guides by producing what some people (including me) would think at first was a slightly self-indulgent couple of volumes on ‘Devonshire Marbles’.
Rosalind Jones (France) “Time and tide wait for no man” and “truth is often stranger than fiction.” Both these sayings apply to Scotland, especially Argyll with its islands at ‘the edge of the world’. Here, historic stones – some truly associated with destiny, others more dubiously linked by legend –… … Read More
Dr Neale Monks (UK) While they can be found in many other parts of the British Isles, Scotland is uniquely associated with Palaeozoic fossil fishes. That Scotland’s fossil fishes are so well known is largely thanks to a remarkable man from Caithness, called Hugh Miller. Where scholars had dismissed the… … Read More
Trevor Devon (UK) Eleven members of the Hastings and District Geological Society (HDGS) assembled in front of the Canterbury Law Courts on a fine Sunday morning in June 2010 to meet up with our guide for the day, Geoff Downer. Geoff had previously given a talk to HDGS in the… … Read More
Stephen K Donovan and Cor F Winkler Prins (The Netherlands) “Darwin … devoted 1383 pages of notes to geological topics, compared with only 368 pages to biological topics.” – (Rhodes 1991, pp. 194-195) Like the writer, Johann Goethe, who inscribed himself in the guest book of Karlsbad – present day Karlovy Vary,… … Read More
Joan Corbacho and Consuelo Sendino (Spain) Ever since fossils first attracted the attention of mankind, they have been traded and, with the emergence of this commerce, so fossil fakes have appeared. The number of such fakes and their geographical origin has increased with time. On the one hand, this parallels… … Read More
Stephen K Donovan (The Netherlands) The two most significant geologists to visit Jamaica and study its geology between the two World Wars were both British: Charles Alfred Matley (1866-1947) and Charles Taylor Trechmann (1885-1964). Both had active research programmes in Jamaica and the Antilles in the 1920s and 1930s, mainly… … Read More
Back here in the United States, the blockbuster movie Jurassic World still plays in theatres, while presidential candidates hit the campaign trail. This confluence of events reminds me of a crazy idea I had back in 1992, a couple years after Michael Crichton published his novel. This tongue-in-cheek essay explores the idea to its full absurdity.
Martin I Simpson (UK) The details of how the nineteenth century Sussex surgeon and palaeontologist Gideon Mantell came to acquire, describe and announce to the world a new fossil herbivorous reptile, later to be christened Iguanodon and to be included in Owen’s Dinosauria, have been merged together to form one… … Read More
It appears that I was naive to assume the Tunguska explosion of 1908 had been adequately explained. It was a meteorite or, more probably, a comet that exploded above a remote area of Siberia. Wrong! This fascinating book shows that we still await an adequate scientific explanation and the jury is still out on what precisely the object was.
I like the GA guides. They are excellent resources for amateurs and professional geologists alike and I frequently browse mine, planning geological trips I will probably never take, because I live in geological unexciting London.
John L Morton certainly came to popular geological publishing by an interesting and circuitous route. Trained as a pilot, he flew Herons, Viscounts, Comets, Boeing 707s and Lockheed TriStars for British European Airways and subsequently published a book on aspects of flying for an airline.
Roderick Impey Murchison must have been a remarkable man. He was one of the first people to rigorously use the principles of stratigraphy discovered by William Smith, which allowed him to erect the Silurian system and to name about 123myrs of geological time.