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Rare Geology Book: Cuvier, Georges & Brongniart, Alex.; Description Geologique des Environs de Paris, Troisieme édition, 1835, text-atlas

$1,250.00

Rare Geology Book: Cuvier, Georges & Brongniart, Alex.; Description Geologique des Environs de Paris, Troisieme édition, 1835, text-atlas

$1,250.00
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Book 131-D
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Cuvier, Georges & Brongniart, Alex.; Description Geologique des Environs de Paris, Troisieme édition dans laquelle on a inséré la descriptions d'un grand nombre de lieux de l'Allemagne, de la Suisse, de l'Italie etc., qui présentent des terrains analogues à ceux du Bassin de Paris. Par M. Alex. Brongiart. Paris, Edmond D'Oocagne, 1835.  Quarto text, small folio atlas. Text, pp. 686, 1 page ad. Atlas, pp. half title, verso ads, title, folded hand-colored map, folded b/w plate of profiles, 16 plates (1 hand colored).

The set is complete and in a modern calf with marbled boards. Binding is tight and clean, ink spot on outer edge of one page, map and plates are clean. In very good condition.

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Cuvier (1769-1832) was a French comparative anatomist, zoologist, geologist and paleontologist at the College de France and later at the Jardin des Plantes. His studies covered a wide range of paleontology, paleogeography and stratigraphy and he is noted for pioneering the theory of catastrophism or "revolutions of the globe" in which most of the existing life was destroyed. His above work was a major contribution to the stratigraphy of the Paris basin, a cornerstone work in stratigraphy thus in the history of geology. One of the most important events in the early development of both stratigraphy and biostratigraphy was the publication of Cuvier & Brongniart's "Essai". The work was originally published in 1808 as a paper in Journal des Mines and Annales des Museum, volume II, as "Essai sur la geography mineralogique des environs de Paris". That paper was expanded, maps added and published as a separate work in 1811. Corrections and additions were made and a second edition of the work with the title "Description Geologique des Environs de Paris" was published in 1822 to be followed in 1835 by the above third edition. 

The authors devote much of the work to the study of the Cretaceous Chalk and overlying rocks in the Paris Basin.  In describing the rocks of the Paris Basin; some of the first use of sophisticated stratigraphic terminology is evident. Brongniart authors the part "Description des vegetaux fossiles du terrain de sediment superieur...". The work is the first French publication which adopted the methods used by William Smith in England ten years previously, to determine the respective ages of the rocks by means of fossils contained in them. The authors' stratigraphic table shows numerous formations where only two were previously known. Their formations are separated on the basis of "chemical nature", "kind of stratification" and most importantly by "the fossils found there". They were the first to note the gradual disappearance of fossils characteristic of one bed; in overlying beds, and their gradual replacement by new fossils. The term stage was first used in the classic stratigraphic sense is describing different deposits, one of which was divided into two distinct lateral equivalents. (what are now termed facies). The first description and use of the term disconformity was used by Cuvier and Brongniart, and a geological cause was given for the break between two formations which represented "a long space of time". One can continue describing the stratigraphic foundations laid by this work and still not overstate its importance. Geikie in his "Founders of Geology" devotes an entire chapter to this publication and in conclusion writes "For these distinguished labours they deserve an honoured place among the founders of geology". The work is a cornerstone in the science of geology.

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