A delineation of the strata of England and Wales with part of Scotland


A delineation of the strata of England and Wales with part of Scotland
The work of William Smith, Strata of England and Wales (1815) is the example par excellence of the new ability to tie rock units together across vast areas by observing their characteristic fossils. Smith coined the phrase “stratigraphy” to describe his approach, which is shown here in beautiful detail with common colors to infer the contiguous nature of these rocks from isolated outcrops. Although the various colors seen on Smith’s maps extend across entire regions, the rocks themselves could only be observed in a handful of places. And yet Smith, through his observations of common fossils in similar rock types, could infer that these rocks were spatially continuous; they shared a common history. Despite similarities in the approaches of Smith and that of Cuvier and Brongniart, important differences deserve some attention. Whereas Smith was only interested in the use of fossils as correlation tools, the latter two pursued the additional objective of detailing the environments of past worlds as revealed by the fossils present in the layers. A reproduction of the full map accompanies this case on the wall to the left (citation: Smith, William, and John Cary. William Smith 1815 Geological Map: a Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales…. [London]: Reproduced by the British Geological Survey, 2013. Call Number: Map Library G5751.C5 1815.S6 2013.)
Call Number (click link to view in library catalog)
F. 554.2 Sm6d
Smith, William
Full Title
A delineation of the strata of England and Wales, [cartographic material] with part of Scotland; exhibiting the collieries and mines, the marshes and fen land originally overflowed by the sea, and the varieties of soil according to the variations in the substrata, illustrated by the most descriptive names
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Bibliographic Citation
Smith, William. A delineation of the strata of England and Wales, with part of Scotland. London, 1815.