Thursday, 11 February 2016

18th February - 'Mr. Smith's Remarkable Maps'

Thursday 18th February 2016 
Mr Smith's Remarkable Maps
Tom Sharpe (University of Cardiff) 
The Studio, M Shed, Princes Rd, Bristol, 6.00pm
William Smith's great geological map of Britain, published 200 years ago, was fourteen years in the making and the first of its kind in the world. In the course of making it, Smith developed the fundamental principles of rock sequences - stratigraphy - and recognised the value of fossils in identifying strata. The groundwork for these discoveries took place in the area around Bath in the 1790s while Smith was surveying the route of the Somerset Coal Canal, but it was not until 1815 that a publisher was finally secured for his mould-breaking map and its accompanying Memoir. Smith's success was to be short-lived however, for within five years, his pioneering geological map was eclipsed by a more detailed collaborative effort by the many members of the Geological Society of London. Nevertheless, Smith's great map of 1815 has since become an icon of geology, and in 2015-16 the bicentenary of its publication is being marked by conferences, exhibitions, lectures and other events across the country.
Tom Sharpe spent over 35 years as a curator in the Department of Geology at the National Museum of Wales, where he looked after the world's largest collection of William Smith's 1815 maps. A renowned authority on early British geology, in this talk he looks at the development of the map and what it can tell us about geological history in the South West.
Free event - Everybody very welcome!

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