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History of mining - Atacama Region, Chile

Scientific discoveries

Mining 1830 - 1920

W. Griem, 2006 - 2021

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Text: Introduction
Intro Mining History

Ammonite de Burmeister
Spirifer de Darwin

Modelo de Chañarcillo de Henwood

 Introduction to mining history 1830 - 1920

español / deutsch / english

But not only technical progress is important. Great successes have also been achieved in the scientific field:

Scientific discoveries between 1830 and 1920:

The natural sciences succeeded in this time a veritable avalanche of discoveries and new knowledge. The sciences, in general, were in a state of radical change throughout this period. Mainly one moved away from a primarily descriptive science into an analyzing and modern science. Now models were designed (and discarded), theories developed, and the scientists discussed more complex contexts.

Many scientists have now also used the opportunity to travel to other areas to gain new insights. South America was a fascinating target in biology and geology and, of course, in the social sciences. This "new" continent offered early scientists an excellent opportunity to identify new species, fossils, or minerals. To discover and classify the unknown, to point out analogies to European specimens and observations, this was also the scientific goal.

 The English researchers such as LYELL (1830: LYELL Ch. Principles of Geology) and DARWIN: 1831-36 Darwin's expedition to South America. 1859 he published "On the Origin of Species," based on his research from previous years. 1871 Darwin publishes "The Descent of Man."

In 1873 Dana described the Geosynclinal Theory: An attempt to explain mountain formation geology in a universal model. He also ends the belief that catastrophic processes created mountains.

In 1897 Marie Curie described large parts of the phenomenon of radioactivity. Rutherford first succeeded in 1905 in carrying out an absolute age dating, which resulted in an earth age of more than 2 g. a. (2 billion) years. It should still be remembered that the vast majority of geoscientists had assumed that the values at that time were considerably lower. Einstein discovered the theory of relativity (E= m X c2) in 1905.

Alfred Wegener published the Continental Drift Theory in 1912. This new theory never found great affection in its time. But sixty years later, the old geosynclinal theory was superseded.

In Chile, especially in the Atacama region, the presence of some world-renowned scientists of that time should be emphasized. DARWIN, DOMEYKO, PHILIPPI, and GAY visited the region to get new impulses for their research. Not-so-well-known scientists such as HENWOOD (Geology of the Chañarcillo deposit) and many others also show a lively scientific activity in this region.


Literature and Links
Bibliographical reference

Muy interesante:
Historia de la ciencia "Timeline" (en inglés) - excelente!


DARWIN, CH. (1876): Geological observations on the volcanic islands and parts of South America visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. - 2. Edition,  Smith,  Elder & Co.; London.

Henwood, W.J. (1871):  On the Mining District of Chañarcillo in Chili. - Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall; 8:1, pp. 169-153.

Simonin (1867): La Vie Souterraine Du Les Mines et les Mineures" (Paris 1867)



Literature and links: List of bibliography:  Here
Bibliographical reference
● SIMONIN, L. (1869): Underground life, Mines y Miners. - 522 páginas, Translated by H.W. Bristol; London; Chapman & Hall; 1869. (Collection W. Griem) - see page with more links

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Published: 7.10.2017; updated: 7.10.2017, 15.7.2018, 28.02.2021
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