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3.

A BRIEF HISTORY
OF GEOSCIENCES
Pre- Geology Concepts on
the Theory of the Earth

PERIODS of THOUGHTS
Pre-Classic Period
Classic Period (Greeks)
Arabic (Islamic) Period
Pre-Renaissance Period
Renaissance Period
Modern Period

PRE-CLASSIC PERIOD
Generally related to primitive and religious

beliefs of the Early Greeks and Hindus on the


Origin and Development of the Earth
Related to Mythology and Legends
Early Catastrophism, related to human
behavior on ethics and morality
The surface of the Earth is destroyed every
time the people became immoral

THE CLASSIC PERIOD

Based mainly on Philosophical Argumentation:


Natural Philosophy
Aristotle vs. Democritus: today's lingering/long
time controversy
Theophrastus Book of Stones
Aristotle Four elements of the Earth
Ptolemeus: The Earth as Center of the Universe
Natural Observations by Herodotus and Plinius

DEMOCRITUS VS ARISTOTLE
Atomist vs Aristotelians
Democritus

: There are no rules in the


earth processes: a random chaotic
movements of atoms. Rules or Law of
Nature are invented by Man Followers
are called Atomists.
Aristotle : There are certain laws of
nature (Sunatullah); it is mans duty to
discover the rules or laws of nature
Followers are called Aristotelians.

LINGERING ARISTOTELIANS VS
ATOMISTS CONTROVERSIES

During the modern history of geosciences until


today this controversies have persisted
The controversy mainly concerns of global
parallelism and periodicity of events
Present day the Aristotelians appear to have the
upper hand: Sequence Stratigraphy
However, on the other hand atomists have their
ideas in using fractals and statistical methods

ARISTOTELES NATURAL
PHILOSOPHY

Four elements of earth processes:

1.

Fire
Earth
Water
Wind

2.
3.
4.

Endogenic and Exogenic Forces


Recognized

The Four
Elements
of the
Earth
(Museum
Geologi
Bandung)

THEOPHRASTUS BOOK OF
STONES

classification of rocks and minerals is


given
Fossils are included in the classification as
stones
Fossils are not recognized of organic
remains, but as imitation of nature by
plastic forces

Ptolomeous: Earth as the


Center of the Universe

The Greeks already knew the earth as a sphere,


stars are considered fixed on 7 spheric shells
rotating at different speed
Ptolemeus (Alexandria) established the earth
as the center of the univers(Geocentric)
The radius of the Earth was measured using sun
shadows at noon at two different places.
Another Greek Philosopher pre-dated Ptolemeus
establishing the sun as the center of the
universe as heliocentric

Arabic/Islamic Period

Arab Muslims continued the Greeks Natural


Philosophy, while in Europe the Greek writings are
burned;
Greek Books were translated into Arabic (most
famous is the Almagest)
Theory of organic evolution was already proposed
by Arab Philosophers
Abu Sina (Avicenna) contributed most to the earth
sciences

Abu Sina (Avicenna)

Abu Sina (Avicenna): already understood


erosion as a powerful force reshaping the earth,
forming valleys and mountains
Proposed for the first time the theory of
orogenesis or mountain building
Abu Sina recognized the difference between
soil and bedrock as well as recognizing fossils
as organic remains, and interpreted marine
transgressions in the past

PRE-RENNAISSANCE PERIOD

The Natural Philosophy in the Middle Ages in


Europe is dominated by the Church
Bisshop Usher famous age-dating of the
Earth: 2006 BC, September 9, 9 oclock am
Several theories based on biblical studies are
called Sacred Theory of the Earth
Origin of fossils were controversial, but later
recognized as remains from the flood of Noah
(deluge)
Present day Scientific Creationism also
based on literal translation of the bible: PreNoah and Post-Noah Geologic Period

GEOLOGIC PRINCIPLES
ESTABLISHED PRE-RENNAISSANCE

CROSS-CUTTING PRINCIPLE (Agricola, 16th


Century): veins, dykes etc were known to cut
across the country rock: the rocks cutting
across a country rock are younger than the
country.
STENOS PRINCIPLES
of STRATIGRAPHY (Steno, 17th Century):
1.
2.
3.

Superposition
Lateral Continuity
Original Horizontality

STENOS PRINCIPLES (1669)


Superposition of Strata
Original Lateral Continuity of

Strata
Original Horizontality of Strata
Collorary: Vertical Accumulation of
Strata

1
LAW OF SUPERPOSITION
(STENO, 1669)

Modified statement:
Law of Superposition:
The youngest strata are at top in an
undisturbed sequence (Anthony,
1955, p. 83

2
HORIZONTAL LATERAL
CONTINUITY
(Steno, 1669)
Modified statement:
Law of Original Continuity:
The original continuity of water-laid sedimentary
strata is terminated only by pinching out against
the basin of deposition, at the time of their
deposition.
(Anthony, loc.op.cit, p.83)

3
ORIGINAL HORIZONTALITY
(STENO, 1669)
Statement of Principle: Dipping beds were once
horizontal (Woodford, 1935, p.3)
Modified Statement: Law of horizontality:
Sedimentary strata are laid down nearly
horizontally and essentially parallel to the
surface upon which they accumulate. (Anthony,
loc op cit., p.83)

RENNAISSANCE PERIOD

Rationalism:
Bouffons Theory of Cosmogeny
Werners Geognosy: Doctrine of Geological
Succession
Empiricism: (Francis Bacon, Newton)
Huttons
Theory
of
the
Earth:
Uniformintarianism
Descartes Minerals Map
Strachey and W.Smith: Fossil Identification of
Strata
Soulavie: Principle of Faunal Succession
evolution

EMPIRICISM VS RATIONALISM
Rationalism:

based
intuition
or
rationalization of previous theories , using
deduction to explain a natural phenomenon
Empiricism:
based
entirely
on
observations of natural phenomena or
laboratory experiments and an explanation
is induced solely from observation

Scientists vs Scholars

Scientists use observation data (visual or


instrumental) to formulate theories, natural
laws, rules, formulas etc., called the scientific
method. Natural Science is called science
Scholars use textual data or written records;
such as inscriptions, scripts, dairies, books, to
give a (new) explanation, called scholarly
method such as in history, religions, laws, and
to some extent also the so-called social
sciences

BUFFONS COSMOGENY

Buffon proposed the origin of the earth and the


planets from a portion of the sun pulled by a
passing star to form the solar system
The earth history consists of 7 periods: each
period represents a particular process,
The earth is 90.000 yrs old, and another 30.000
yrs until it is ice-cold
Buffon already envisioned the separation of
Europe

Werners Geognosy:
Doctrine of Geological Succession
Earth

processes are universal and


synchronous.
All rocks are formed as a sedimentary
process; including granites, gneisses and
basalts.
All strata are in its original position: the
oldest rock were deposited on highest
ocean bottom.

STRATA IDENTIFIED BY FOSSILS


(SMITH, 1816)
Modified Statement:
Strata can be distinguished by their
characteristic fossils (Woodford, 1935,
op.cit, p.5-6; Schenk, 1940, p. 1754-1755)

LAW OF FAUNAL SUCCESSION


(ABBE GIRAUD-SOULAVIE, 1777)
Statement of principle:
Fossil differs according to their geologic ages
(stratigraphic position); fossils in lower formations
are unlike those in higher beds. Fossil floras and
faunas succeed one another in a definite and
determinable order (Anthony, 1955, p.89)

UNIFORMITARIANISM (HUTTON,
1785)
Statement of principle: Amid all the revolutions of
the globe, the economy of nature has been
uniform ... and her laws are the only things that
have resisted the general movement. The rivers and
the rocks, the seas and the continents have been
changed in all their parts; but the laws which direct
these changes, and the rules to which they are
subject, have remained invariably the same.
(Playfair, Illustrations of Huttonian Theory of the
Earth, 1802, p.421, quoted by Woodford, op.cit.,
p.6).
Modified Statement:

to the past.

The present is the key

THE GREAT CONTROVERSY AT THE BIRTH OF


MODERN GEOLOGY

GEOLOGICAL
GEOLOGICAL CYCLES
CYCLES VS
VS

GEOLOGICAL
GEOLOGICAL SUCCESSION
SUCCESSION

James
James Hutton
Hutton proposed
proposed cyclic
cyclic geological
geological
processes,
processes, based
based on
on unconformities
unconformities

present
present day
day processes
processes were
were repeated
repeated in
in
the
the past
past

Werner:
Werner: Geologic
Geologic history
history consists
consists aa
succession
succession of
of geological
geological processes,
processes,
based
based on
on mineralogy
mineralogy

The Great Controversy

AT THE BIRTH OF MODERN GEOLOGY

UNIFORMITARIANISM VS CATASTROPHISM
James Hutton (Scotland): vs Cuvier,
Lyell (1797-1875) Gradualism vs Actualism

EVOLUTION VS CATASTROPHISM
Lamarck (1744-1829) Evolution by Adaptation
Cuvier (1769-1832): Catastrophism: New Creation after Extinction
Darwin: Evolution by Mutation and Natural Selection

PLUTONISM VS NEPTUNISM
The Granite Problem

The Great Controversy


In Modern Geology
1. Geosyncline vs. Continental Drift
( birth of Plate Tectonics)
2. Lithostratigraphy vs. Chronostratigraphy
( birth of Sequence Stratigraphy)

Werners Doctrine of Geologic


Successions