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Two critical books in the history of loess investigation : "Charakteristik der Felsarten" by Karl Caesar von Leonhard and "Principles of Geology" by Charles Lyell

Title data

Hambach, Ulrich ; Smalley, Ian:
Two critical books in the history of loess investigation : "Charakteristik der Felsarten" by Karl Caesar von Leonhard and "Principles of Geology" by Charles Lyell.
In: Open Geosciences. Vol. 11 (2019) Issue 1 . - pp. 447-451.
ISSN 2391-5447
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/geo-2019-0032

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

The two critical books, launching the study and appreciation of loess, were ‘Charakteristik der Felsarten’ (CdF) by Karl Caesar von Leonhard, published in Heidelberg by Joseph Engelmann, in 1823-4, and ‘Principles of Geology’ (PoG) by Charles Lyell, published in London by John Murray in 1830-3. Each of these books was published in three volumes and in each case the third volume contained a short piece on loess (about 2-4 pages).

These two books are essentially the foundations of loess scholarship. In CdF Loess [Loefs] was first properly defined and described; section 89 in vol. 3 provided a short study of the nature and occurrence of loess, with a focus on the Rhine valley. In PoG there was a short section on loess in the Rhine valley; this was in vol.3 and represents the major dissemination of loess awareness around the world.

A copy of PoG3 (Principles of Geology vol. 3) reached Charles Darwin on the Beagle in Valparaiso in 1834; worldwide distribution.

Lyell and von Leonhard met in Heidelberg in 1832. Von Leonhard and Heinrich Georg Bronn (1800-1862) showed Lyell the local loess. These observations provided the basis for the loess section in PoG3. Lyell acknowledged the influence of his hosts when he added a list of loess scholars to PoG; by the 5th edition in 1837 the list comprised H.G. Bronn, Karl Caesar von Leonhard (1779-1862), Ami Boue (1794-1881), Voltz, Johann Jakob Noeggerath (1788-1877), J. Steininger, P. Merian, Rozet, C.F.H. von Meyer (1801-1869), Samuel Hibbert (1782-1848) and Leonard Horner (1785-1864); a useful list of loess pioneers. The loess is a type of ground that has only recently been established, and it seems, the peculiarity of the Rhine region, and of a very general but inconsistent spread.” H.G. Bronn 1830

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: First books on loess; Charakteristik der Felsarten; Principles of Geology; Karl Caesar von Leonhard; Charles Lyell
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Geomorphology
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Ecology and the Environmental Sciences
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Nonlinear Dynamics
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2019 09:52
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2019 09:52
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/53518