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In 1769 in a little town in Oxfordshire, England, a child with the very ordinary name of William Smith was born into the poor family of a village blacksmith. He received rudimentary village schooling but mostly he roamed his uncle's farm collecting the fossils that were so abundant in the rocks of the Cotswold hills 在 When he grew older William Smith taught himself surveying from books he bought with his small savings and at the age of eighteen he was apprenticed to a surveyor of the local parish. He then proceeded to teach himself geology and when he was twentyfour在he went to work for the company that was excavating the Somerset Coal Canal in the south of England.
This was before the steam locomotive, and canal building was at its height 在The companies building the canals to transport coal needed surveyors to help them find the coal deposits worth mining as well as to determine the best courses for the canals. This job gave Smith an opportunity to study the fresh rock outcrops created by the newly dug canal. He later worked on similar jobs across the length and breadth of England all the while studying the newly revealed strata and collecting all the fossils he could find 在 Smith used mail coaches to travel as much as 10000 miles per year 在 In 1815 he published the first modern geological map “A Map of the Strata of England and Wales with a Part of Scotland”, a map so meticulously researched that it can still be used today.
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In 1831 when Smith was finally recognized by the Geological Society of London as the “father of English geology”, it was not only for his maps but also for something even more important 在 Ever since people had begun to catalog the strata in particular outcrops, there had been the hope that these could somehow be used to calculate geological time 在 But as more and more accumulations of strata were cataloged in more and more places, it became clear that the seque...
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This note was uploaded on 09/17/2013 for the course LANGUAGE 13DL208 taught by Professor Wang during the Fall '13 term at East China Normal University.
- Fall '13