From the Yucatan we have flown over thousands of miles of highly prospective photographic terrain, amazing geology and the great human history of the mid-continent and eastern seaboard of the US (we have to save some things for later.... yes we will return!) and sped our way to Europe, where we begin our European odyssey in England. Ahhh England, this "Sceptered Isle.. . this precious stone set in the silver sea... This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."
The British can fairly boast a remarkably distinguished history of accomplishments in the realms of commercial, artistic and scientific exploration and discovery. Perhaps one of their lesser known accomplishments is the role that eighteenth and nineteenth century scientists played in the development and understanding of the geological sciences. The "Father of Geology" is now widely acknowledged to be one William Smith, whose first complete map of the geology of England, Wales and southern Scotland, literally changed the world forever. It was this map that laid out for the first time, a remarkably astute and compelling account of the variations that exist within the rock strata beneath our feet. Many of Smith's painstaking descriptions and definitions persist today, the foundation of knowledge he laid having proven itself again and again to have been an astoundingly resilient and insightful accomplishment. Much of modern geoscience today remains firmly rooted in Smith's early work.
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