Journal cover Journal topic
History of Geo- and Space Sciences An open-access journal
Journal topic
Volume 6, issue 1
Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 6, 57-63, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hgss-6-57-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 6, 57-63, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hgss-6-57-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Review article 25 Jun 2015

Review article | 25 Jun 2015

Hermann Karsten, pioneer of geologic mapping in northwestern South America

K. R. Aalto K. R. Aalto
  • Department of Geology, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 95521, USA

Abstract. In the late 19th century, a regional map of Nueva Granada (present-day Colombia, Panama and parts of Venezuela and Ecuador) was published by German botanist and geologist Hermann Karsten (1817–1908). Karsten's work was incorporated by Agustín Codazzi (1793–1859), an Italian who emigrated to Venezuela and Colombia to serve as a government cartographer and geographer, in his popular Atlas geográfico e histórico de la Republica de Colombia (1889). Geologic mapping and most observations provided in this 1889 atlas were taken from Karsten's Géologie de l'ancienne Colombie bolivarienne: Vénézuela, Nouvelle-Grenade et Ecuador (1886), as cited by Manual Paz and/or Felipe Pérez, who edited this edition of the atlas. Karsten defined four epochs in Earth history: Primera – without life – primary crystalline rocks, Segunda – with only marine life – chiefly sedimentary rocks, Tercera – with terrestrial quadrupeds and fresh water life forms life – chiefly sedimentary rocks, and Cuarta – mankind appears, includes diluvial (glacigenic) and post-diluvial terranes. He noted that Colombia is composed of chiefly of Quaternary, Tertiary and Cretaceous plutonic, volcanic and sedimentary rocks, and that Earth's internal heat (calor central) accounted, by escape of inner gases, for volcanism, seismicity and uplift of mountains. Karsten's regional mapping and interpretation thus constitutes the primary source and ultimate pioneering geologic research.

Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
In the late 19th century, a regional geologic map of northwest South America was published by German botanist and geologist Hermann Karsten (1817–1908). Karsten’s work was incorporated by Agustín Codazzi (1793–1859) in his popular "Atlas geográfico e histórico de la Republica de Colombia" (1889). Geologic mapping and most interpretations provided in this 1889 atlas, however, were from Karsten's "Géologie de l'ancienne Colombie bolivarienne: Vénézuela, Nouvelle-Grenade et Ecuador" (1886).
In the late 19th century, a regional geologic map of northwest South America was published by...
Citation
Share