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Stories by David Bressan

Granite Wars – Episode II: A New Phase (-Diagram)

“Inside the globe [there] exist mysterious forces, whose effects become apparent on the surface. Eruptions of vapors, glowing lava and new volcanic rocks…[]” Alexander von Humboldt At the end of the 19th century and after the victory of “Plutonism” in the great Granite War, geologists accepted the idea that igneous rocks originate from deep inside [...]..

October 13, 2013 — David Bressan
Granite Wars – Episode I: Fire & Water

Granite Wars – Episode I: Fire & Water

In 1820 the Italian engineer Count Giuseppe Marzari-Pencati (1779-1836) published a short article about the stratigraphic succession found near the small village of Predazzo.

September 28, 2013 — David Bressan

September 26, 1997: The quake of Assisi

In the early afternoon of September 26, 1997 a sequence of earthquakes hit the Italian province of Umbria. The two main quakes, with a magnitude of 5.6-5.8, were followed by a series of aftershocks -  one aftershock was so strong that it caused the partial collapse of the damaged roof of the basilica of St...

September 26, 2013 — David Bressan
September 11, 1881: The landslide of Elm

September 11, 1881: The landslide of Elm

For centuries the quarries in the slope of the “Tschingelberg” had provided valuable schist-plates and with the introduction of public school (and chalk boards) in the Swiss canton of Glarus the demand increased exponentially...

September 11, 2013 — David Bressan
Geologizing Asses

Geologizing Asses

“Humanity’s genius is to have always had a sense of its weakness. The physical energy and strength, with which nature insufficiently endowed humans, is found in animals that help them to discover new territories.” “Home” (2009) A post dedicated to the forgotten heroes of early geology -  asses !...

September 6, 2013 — David Bressan
In Search of the Lost Land of Gold (and mummified baboons too)

In Search of the Lost Land of Gold (and mummified baboons too)

“Suddenly I heard a noise as of thunder, which I thought to be that of a wave of the sea. The trees shook, and the earth was moved. I uncovered my face, and I saw that a serpent drew near…[]…his body was as overlaid with gold, and his colour as that of true lazuli….[]… it [...]..

August 30, 2013 — David Bressan
August 21, 1986: The Lake Nyos Catastrophe

August 21, 1986: The Lake Nyos Catastrophe

August 21, 1986 was a busy market day in the village of Lower Nyos (Cameroon) and most people that evening went to bed early. At 9:30 p.m. a strange sound, like a distant explosion, was heard and suddenly people and animals tumbled onto the ground...

August 21, 2013 — David Bressan

Journeys to the Island(s) of Monsters

After some monster science* the “History of Geology” blog will be dedicated to “travelling geologists” – the first post will introduce us to a woman who visited (and survived) the “island(s) of monsters”: (*anyway Discovery Channel makes a much better job promoting silly science) “Outside the harbour of the country, neither very near it nor [...]..

August 8, 2013 — David Bressan

Darwin s Freak Show (or, why Darwin didn t kill Bigfoot)

Today geologist Charles Darwin is not remembered as great monster hunter, despite some Victorian paleontologists and geologists were interested in the topic, but after discussing how geologists tried to capture " Nessie ", it´s time to hunt for " Bigfoot ":Since ancient time people were fascinated by monsters - a term adopted for mythical creatures, but also real animals or humans with grotesque anatomical deformations...

July 28, 2013 — David Bressan

The Teeth of the Moon Wolf

July 20, 1969 marks the landing of "the Eagle" on the moon - and despite the crew didn´t encounter any moon-monsters, there is in fact some Silly Science between the moon and fossil beasts.According to an ancient Norse myth Mánagarmr , or Hati (translated into " the enemy "), was a terrifying wolf, born from the unholy union of the giantess Angrboda with the demonic Fenris ...

July 20, 2013 — David Bressan

8, July 1836: Darwin on St Helena and the Birth of a Volcano

The " HMS Beagle ", with on board amateur geologist Charles Darwin, arrived at the volcanic island of St Helena July 8, 1836, where it stayed until afternoon of July 14, afterwards proceeding its journey back to Great Britain.Since Van Diemen´s Land Darwin's written notes and observations had become very fragmentary - maybe because of the short stops by the Beagle , maybe due Darwin´s homesickness after four years on sea ...

July 8, 2013 — David Bressan

The Earth-shattering Loch Ness Monster that wasn't

" I have plenty of theories. " Mulder, F.W. in the “ The X-Files ” (1993)Summer is traditionally Silly Season, when newspapers publish strange stories about aliens and monsters again and again to bridge holiday time - and so will July on " History of Geology " be dedicated to frivolous science stories...In 2001 the Italian geologist Luigi Piccardi presented during the Earth Systems Processes meeting in Edinburgh a hypothesis explaining the supposed appearance of the sea/lake monster " Nessie " as a result of geologic forces.According to Piccardi's idea the historic description of the monster - appearing on the surface with great (earth)shakes and rumours - could be associated with bubbles emanating from the bottom of the Scottish lake of Loch Ness in response of seismic activity along the Great Glen fault system, passing below the lake.In an interview published June 28 in the Italian newspaper " La Repubblica " Piccardi explains:" There are various effects on the surface of the water that can be related to the activity of the fault..[] If we consider the terms used by Adamnan, the beast appears and disappears with great shakes...

June 30, 2013 — David Bressan

June 24, 1982: "The Jakarta Incident"

June 24, 1982 a Boing 747 flying from Singapore to Perth encountered a strange phenomenon in an altitude of 11.300m - a cloud of light surrounded the airplane, then suddenly all four engines lost power without apparent reason...

June 24, 2013 — David Bressan

Accretionary Wedge #57: I see (dead) Geologists

The latest Accretionary Wedge, the acclaimed gathering of the Geoblogosphere, is hosted this time by geologist Evelyn Mervine at her “ Georneys ” and she is asking if you “ do see geology in unexpected places?...

June 21, 2013 — David Bressan

May 12, 1931: Alfred Wegener's last Journey

March 1929 the German meteorologists Alfred Wegener , Johannes Georgi (1888-1972), Fritz Loewe (1895-1974) and Ernst Sorge (1899-1946) arrived to Greenland, searching a site for a coastal base camp - a starting point for an ambitious expedition to the inner ice sheet - they found it in the Kamarujuk Fjord .One year later 18 scientists, 25 Icelandic ponies and 98 tons of material were unload onto the unusual thick ice of the fjord - as the expedition couldn't reach the shore they had to wait 38 days, loosing precious time in the short Arctic summer...

May 12, 2013 — David Bressan

Introducing Scientific American Health & Medicine

Introducing Scientific American Health & Medicine