Details

ISBN-10: 022675488X
ISBN-13: 9780226754888
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 11/23/2020
Dimensions: 14.60" L, 10.70" W, 1.20" H

Strata: William Smith’s Geological Maps

Introduction by: Douglas Palmer
Foreword by: Robert MacFarlane

Hardcover

Price: $65.00

Overview

Lavishly illustrated with full-color geological maps, tables of strata, geological cross-sections, photographs, and fossil illustrations from the archives of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the Geological Society, the London Natural History Museum, and others, Strata provides the first complete presentation of the revolutionary work of nineteenth-century geologist William Smith, the so-called father of English geology. It illustrates the story of his career, from apprentice to surveyor for hire and fossil collector, from his 1799 geological map of Bath and table of strata to his groundbreaking 1815 geological strata map, and from his imprisonment for debt to his detailed stratigraphical county maps.

This sumptuous volume begins with an introduction by Douglas Palmer that places Smith’s work in the context of earlier, concurrent, and subsequent ideas regarding the structure and natural processes of the earth, geographical mapping, and biostratigraphical theories. The book is then organized into four parts, each beginning with four sheets from Smith’s hand-colored, 1815 strata map, accompanied by related geological cross-sections and county maps, and followed by fossil illustrations by Smith contemporary James Sowerby, all organized by strata. Essays between each section explore the aims of Smith’s work and its application in the fields of mining, agriculture, cartography and hydrology. Strata concludes with reflections on Smith’s later years as an itinerant geologist and surveyor, plagiarism by a rival, receipt of the first Wollaston Medal in recognition of his achievements, and the influence of his geological mapping and biostratigraphical theories on the sciences–all of which culminated in the establishment of the modern geological timescale.

Featuring a foreword by Robert Macfarlane, Strata is a glorious testament to the lasting geological and illustrative genius of William Smith, a collection as colossal and awe-inspiring as the layers of the Earth themselves.

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Reviews
"Reading it, I longed for one of the cushions that archivists rest precious books on, with a string of beads to hold down the page. Yet 'reading it' isn't quite the right phrase. The experience is more like going to an exhibition, stopping to pore over a map, skipping over a diagram, going back to check labels, taking a breath before entering another room. Strata is far more than a coffee-table tome (why don't we have an English term for these large-format books, to match the French beaux livres?). While it nods to Smith's Regency period, the design is spacious, airy, and modern. . . . It is indeed defiant, like an exuberant fireworks display in dark times. . . . As Strata peels back layers of history and ideas as well as rock, many readers will stand, as Smith did, in awe at the worlds below, the body of Earth itself."–Jenny Uglow "New York Review of Books"
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Details

ISBN-10: 022675488X
ISBN-13: 9780226754888
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 11/23/2020
Dimensions: 14.60" L, 10.70" W, 1.20" H
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