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Stories by David Bressan

The Man who made Mountains

The Man who made Mountains

U.S.G.S. engineer Bailey Willis ( February 19, 1949) was known for his unorthodox approach to geological questions. Puzzled by the geological structures he discovered in mountain ranges, long before computer-models were available, he constructed a machine to simulate the mountain-forming process...

February 19, 2014 — David Bressan
Coming Next: Pompeii – a Geological Movie-Review

Coming Next: Pompeii – a Geological Movie-Review

A new disaster movie, retelling the fate of the ancient town of Pompeii, will be released soon. The filmmakers spent six years researching the volcanic disaster that destroyed the town to make it as historically accurate as possible – but what about the geology?...

February 16, 2014 — David Bressan
For Valentine’s Day: Love can move Mountains (sort of)

For Valentine’s Day: Love can move Mountains (sort of)

January 11, 1996 a single seismograph of the Geological Survey of Canada buried in a quiet wooded area on central Vancouver Island started to record an unusual strong seismic signal – slowly, but perpetually increasing in amplitude over time it was recorded only at this station – nearby station (located within a radius of 20km) [...]..

February 14, 2014 — David Bressan
Landslides in a Changing Climate

Landslides in a Changing Climate

A video showing the aftermath of a rockfall in South-Tyrol remembers us that even small mass movements can have disastrous – or even deadly – effects.

February 11, 2014 — David Bressan
Of Mountain Building and Dwarven Treasures

Of Mountain Building and Dwarven Treasures

Alpine-Type Fissures, fissures filled often with large and beautiful crystals of Quartz, Plagioclase, Rutile , Amphibole and even Gold, are – according to Alpine folklore the treasure chambers of dwarves – but how these treasures formed is even more fascinating than legends could figure out… Soon after the basic principles of the succession of rocks [...]..

February 8, 2014 — David Bressan

When Rock Classification is not hard anymore, thank Mohs Scale of Hardness

Talc – Gypsum – Calcite – Fluorite – Apatite – Feldspar – Quartz – Topaz – Corundum – Diamond - “Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness ” should be familiar to rock-hounds and earth-science students alike, as it lists common minerals in the order of relative hardness (talc as the softest and diamond as the hardest [...]..

January 29, 2014 — David Bressan
Cabinet of Curiosities #4: The Geekmas Edition

Cabinet of Curiosities #4: The Geekmas Edition

“We Geologists are Bearing gifts we traverse afar Field and fountain, moor and mountain Following yonder fossil star…”   Already the gifts by the three kings following the star in the first Christmas-night were connected to geology, as explored in this series of posts ( part 1 and part 2 ) on the EGU-Network...

December 24, 2013 — David Bressan
A little Christmas Dream

A little Christmas Dream

“A little Christmas Dream“, cartoon by Artist Georges du Maurier, published in Punch (1868), with what seems to be a creepy mammoth (image in public domain).

December 20, 2013 — David Bressan

You ever dance with the Devil’s Fossils…

“Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” (“Batman” 1989) The night before December 6, belongs to the Krampus, a beast-like demon in the Alpine folklore – and strange marks can be found on some rocks in the Dolomites - resembling the imprints of an exceptional large cloven [...]..

December 5, 2013 — David Bressan

Geologizing with Doctor Who

November 23, 1963 the first episode of the British science-fiction television programme “Doctor Who*” was broadcast. The series follows the adventures of the “Doctor“, last survivor of the Time Lords, an incredible advanced alien race once native to the planet Gallifrey...

November 23, 2013 — David Bressan
Cabinet of Curiosities #3:Awful Changes

Cabinet of Curiosities #3:Awful Changes

Cabinet of curiosities proudly presents… This Week Geohistory: November 15, 1835: the “RMS Beagle” arrives to Tahiti, where a geologizing Darwin tests his famous reef-evolution-theory November 14, 1797: Birthday of Sir Charles Lyell, he is best known for introducing uniformitarianism in geology, however he was also interested in the enigmatic origin of Loess, a windblown [...]..

November 16, 2013 — David Bressan
Cabinet of Curiosities #2: Apple pie for A.R. Wallace

Cabinet of Curiosities #2: Apple pie for A.R. Wallace

You can still enter the naming contest and now this week cabinet of curiosities – links for a lazy afternoon… This Week Geohistory: November 9, 1934:  Birthday of a collection of organic molecules called Carl E...

November 9, 2013 — David Bressan
A.R. Wallace on Geology, Great Glaciers and the Speed of Evolution

A.R. Wallace on Geology, Great Glaciers and the Speed of Evolution

“Very scanty acquaintance with practical geology, I’m exceedingly interested in all wider problems with which it deals” Alfred Russel Wallace (1896) When Charles Darwin published “The Origin of Species” in November 1859 geologists were still discussing the age of the earth...

November 8, 2013 — David Bressan
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble… Newton’s Philosopher’s Stone

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble… Newton’s Philosopher’s Stone

“the magisterium, our great work, the stone” “The Alchemist” Act 1. Scene 4 4. – The Philosopher’s Stone Today we remember Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) for his contributions to optics, mechanics and astronomy, but as a typical scholar of his time he was also interested in more obscure knowledge, like provided by alchemy...

October 30, 2013 — David Bressan
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble… The Thunderstone

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble… The Thunderstone

“When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” “Macbeth“  Act 1, Scene 1 2. – The Thunderstone Already the Roman scholar Pliny describes them as “Idaei dactyli” (the fingers from the mountain Ida)...

October 28, 2013 — David Bressan
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble… Geological Ingredients for a Perfect Potion

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble… Geological Ingredients for a Perfect Potion

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble…” “Macbeth“  Act 4, Scene 1 For everybody who´s planning to boil a magical potion or plans a witches gathering for All Hallows’ Eve, this week I will present some geological ingredients for a perfect witch’s brew: 1...

October 27, 2013 — David Bressan
October 23, 4004 B.C.: Happy Birthday Earth!

October 23, 4004 B.C.: Happy Birthday Earth!

October 23 is (in)famous as supposed earth’s birthday – this date is mentioned in many textbooks retelling the life of Irish Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656).

October 22, 2013 — David Bressan
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The Essential Guide to the Modern World

The Essential Guide to the Modern World