Earth Fables

. . . mountains can be annihilated, land can be conveyed from place to place, peaks raised and lowered, and even more things can occur which at first we would be inclined to regard as fables.

β€”Georgius Agricola (Georg Bauer), “Father of Mineralogy.” [seen in Canada Rocks]

Georgius Agricola (1494-1555) is best known for his monumental De Re Metallica (On the Nature of Metals/Minerals), published in 1556. [Interestingly, the 1912 English translation was produced by (future) President and Mrs. Hoover.] Agricola applied scientific logic to the study of minerals and mining, and this resulted in a comprehensive understanding of minerals, mining, and even some basic geologic principles that were previously unknown. He was the first scientist to differentiate between igneous and sedimentary rocks, and as the quote above shows, understood that rocks that appear stationary and eternal are actually moving and changing all the time. He was also a physician and was very concerned about the health of mine workers. He advocated an 8-hour working day, opposed slavery, and was also a supporter of social programs for the poor. He was so far ahead of his time that De Re Metallica was the standard text on the subject for at least two centuries. Georgius Agricola was a remarkable man.

De Re Metallica, Book V
This figure from Book V of De Re Metallica shows a woodworker shredding sticks so they can catch fire easily in damp conditions, and a miner lighting a fire to heat a vein and running away from the noxious fumes.


2 comments on “Earth Fables

  1. Stefanie says:

    Very cool. For some reason I find the A, B, C labels on the picture to be rather amusing. πŸ™‚

  2. wil says:

    He does seem rather ahead of his time.

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