Public Release: 

EARTH -- Illustrating geology

Great images that transformed the field

American Geosciences Institute

Alexandria, VA - Smith, Steno and Wegener, among many others, are familiar names to any geoscientist. In their times, these scientists reshaped contemporary understanding of geology and paved the way for the field we know today. But it is not just the theories they articulated that greatly impacted the future of the discipline. It's also how they articulated them, synthesizing and displaying their ideas in maps, diagrams and illustrations that helped translate once-abstract concepts - such as sedimentary succession, deep time and tectonic plate motion - to reveal profound truths and microscopic details of how Earth works to a wider audience.

In the August issue of EARTH Magazine, explore some of geology's most historic images, and hear from experts about what made these depictions so valuable to the field and why they continue to be useful educational resources. From things as simple as the application of color to illustrated thin sections to projecting scenes in three dimensions to bring ancient fossil environments to life or demonstrate how continental plates fit together on a sphere, discover how geology was shaped by several pivotal images and provided a foundation for a young scientific discipline. Read the story at

The August Issue of EARTH Magazine is now available electronically through or by post as a double July/August issue. Also included are stories that share people's connection to geoscience, such as the story of how the fossil Editia Elegantis got its name, and the experiences to be had hiking through Zermatt, Switzerland, where Europe meets Africa in the iconic Alps. A professor also muses on his experiences teaching biology students about geology in the East African Rift Valley. Read these stories and much more in EARTH Magazine.


Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH Magazine online at: Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

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