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Stories by David Bressan

Evolution

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
Evolution

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
Evolution

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
The Sciences

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
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