Landscapes Below: Mapping and the New Science of Geology
View of John MacCulloch's Map of Scotland (1836) mounted on the wall. In foreground case is William Smith's A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales (1815).
A Map That Was Sixteen Years In The Making
A new exhibition is bringing together everything from the geology guide that Darwin packed for his voyage on the Beagle to a box of diamonds - all in order to celebrate the art of geological map making. And I met the curator of the rock and map display to find out more.
24 November 2017 – 29 March 2018
During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the new science of geology flourished throughout Britain. This was a consequence of England, Scotland, and Wales containing unusually wide range of geological formations, making them an ideal place to study the Earth. There was a proliferation of geological surveys undertaken and a new awareness of geo-landscape.
Throughout the eighteenth century, natural philosophers struggled to fully grasp the Earth's strata and structure. Older strata sat below new formations, but the dramatic distortions of the Earth's crust led to confusion about how the layers actually stacked together. First, Geologists' sought to understand the fornces that shaped the visible landscape. They then worked to uncover how the Earth's layers ascended.
Maps were central to the development of Geology. Major breakthroughs, gradual developments, and arguments are played out across the maps in this exhibition. Landscapes Below explores map-making, and how these new visions of British landscape influences our understanding of the Earth. The exhibition runs 24 November 2017 until 29 March 2018 at the Milstein Exhibition Centre, University of Cambridge.