Seminal geology map re-discovered
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March 23, 2015

A first edition copy of one of the most significant maps in the history of science has been re-discovered in time for an important anniversary.

William Smith’s 1815 depiction of the geology of England, Wales and part of Scotland is a seminal piece of work. The first map of its kind produced anywhere in the world, only about 70 copies are thought to exist today.

Now, the Geological Society has turned up another in its own archives, ready to celebrate the map’s bicentenary. Tucked away in a leather sleeve case, the mislaid artefact was last seen roughly 40 or 50 years ago.

Smith spent the better part of 15 years collecting the information needed to compile the map. It is said he covered about 10,000 miles a year on foot, on horse and in carriage, cataloguing the locations of all the formations that make up the geology of the three home nations.

An estimated 370 copies were produced. The outline of the geography and the strata were printed from copper plate engravings, but the detail was finished by hand with water colours.

You can read the full article at the BBC website.