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Stories by David Bressan

Geology and Generals: How Geology influenced the Battle of Gettysburg (Part II.)

“With regard to precipitous heights, if you are beforehand with your adversary, you should occupy the raised and sunny spots, and there wait for him to come up.” The Art of War, by Sun Tzù The battleground of Gettysburg was shaped by ancient tectonic movements, sediments transported by rivers and deposited in lakes and finally [...]..

July 3, 2014 — David Bressan
Star Wars Geology

Star Wars Geology

“There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: the American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars Trilogy.” Bart Simpson in “Bart the General” (1990) Geology played a role in many past conflicts, but can war – even if only a fictional future war – play a role in geological fieldwork?...

June 25, 2014 — David Bressan
Battlefield Earth – the Geological Legacy of War

Battlefield Earth – the Geological Legacy of War

It was during the first World War that the impact of human warfare on the landscape exponentially  increased. Large armies equipped with the most advanced military technology- especially the high energy explosives evolved rapidly – devastated entire landscapes along the Western Front, stretching from the English Channel to the Swiss mountains...

June 13, 2014 — David Bressan

June 6, 1944: The Geology of D-Day

June 6, 1944 – in planning for D-Day – also geology was considered, as aerial photographs of the shores of Normandy were studied to find suitable landing sites for the invasion...

June 6, 2014 — David Bressan
Cabinet of Curiosities #5: The Lost World

Cabinet of Curiosities #5: The Lost World

This Week Geohistory: May 23, 1707: Birthday of botanist Carl Linnaeus, his famous classification system for the natural world (the binomial nomenclature) included also minerals, as he himself was also interested in mining geology, and influenced later more famous geologists, like Abraham Gottlob Werner...

May 23, 2014 — David Bressan
Thomas Jefferson’s Patriotic Monsters

Thomas Jefferson’s Patriotic Monsters

In the late 18th century earth-sciences experienced a revolution. The principles of modern rock classification were introduced and sediments subdivided by the content of embedded fossils...

May 15, 2014 — David Bressan
Baron Cuvier and the Question How Mummies Could Evolve

Baron Cuvier and the Question How Mummies Could Evolve

“Every one has heard of the Ibis, the bird to which the ancient Egyptians paid religious worship; which they brought up in the interior of their temples, which they allowed to stray unharmed trough their cities, and whose murderer, even though involuntary, was pnished by death; which they embalmed with as much care as their [...]..

May 13, 2014 — David Bressan
The Expanding Earth

The Expanding Earth

The prevailing geological model of the early 19th century was characterized by an almost static earth, maybe slowly cooling and shrinking, until the molten interior would eventually be completely frozen and solidified...

May 12, 2014 — David Bressan
Cryptozoon – In Search of the “Hidden Life”

Cryptozoon – In Search of the “Hidden Life”

In the first edition of “On the Origin of Species” (1859) Darwin only briefly addresses the earliest known fossils, or better the lack thereof: “If the theory [of evolution] be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Cambrian stratum was deposited, long periods elapsed ...

May 1, 2014 — David Bressan
Happy Easter with a (fake) Dozen Dinosaur Eggs

Happy Easter with a (fake) Dozen Dinosaur Eggs

Roy Chapman Andrews was not only an intrepid explorer and palaeontologist, but also a gifted promoter. The Central Asiatic Expeditions were accompanied by cameras to document the entire work...

April 19, 2014 — David Bressan

How Colors Revolutionized Geological Mapmaking

The first maps used symbols to characterize single outcrops; later maps introduced shaded areas to display the distribution of specific rock-types, but due the high printing-costs these maps were printed only in black & white, making them hard to read...

April 13, 2014 — David Bressan

A Concise History of Geological Maps

March 23, 1769 marks the birthday of pioneering stratigrapher William Smith, who is also credited with creating the first useful geological map, however like many other great accomplishments also Smith’s idea of depicting the distribution of rocks on a topographic map didn’t materialize out of nowhere...

March 22, 2014 — David Bressan
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Dwindling Supply. Increasing Demand.

Dwindling Supply. Increasing Demand.

Solving the Water Crisis