The 366 daily episodes in 2014 were chronological snapshots of earth history, beginning with the Precambrian in January and on to the Cenozoic in December. You can find them all in the index in the right sidebar. In 2015, the daily episodes for each month were assembled into monthly packages, and a few new episodes were posted. Now, the blog/podcast is on a weekly schedule with diverse topics, and the Facebook Page showcases photos on Mineral Monday and Fossil Friday. Thanks for your interest!

Friday, August 1, 2014

August 1. The Permian begins

Permian rocks of Russia (brown).
From Atlas SSSR (1984)
Much of the Permian System of rocks was originally mistakenly assigned to the Carboniferous by the British geologist Roderick Murchison, who proposed the name Permian in 1841. The original rocks were from the Perm region, part of a large structural basin called the Volga-Ural Basin on the western flank of the Ural Mountains. Murchison’s studies were supported by Czar Nicholas I, and he named the system for the medieval kingdom of Permia.

Murchison did his Russian field work with the French paleontologist, Édouard de Verneuil. One of their goals was to try to understand the differences between the Old Red Sandstone, of Devonian age and common in Britain and other parts of Europe, and the New Red Sandstone – clearly younger, as it was stratigraphically higher than the Old Red Sandstone. Much of the upper part of the New Red Sandstone was assigned to the Triassic, but that left the lower portion, which ultimately was put into the Permian system.

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We have two geological birthdays today. Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck, was born August 1, 1744, at Bazantin, France. He was one of the first proponents of evolution as a natural process, and although his theory that acquired characteristics could be passed on genetically has largely been rejected, molecular biology today accepts the possibility that DNA and genes can be altered by environmental factors and influence inheritance.

It’s also Henry Darwin Rogers’ birthday, born August 1, 1808, in Philadelphia. He’s probably most noted for seminal work on the geology of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

—Richard I. Gibson

Murchison in Russia-1
Murchison in Russia-2 

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