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!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 1. The Jurassic begins

The middle period of the Mesozoic Era, the Jurassic, was named for the Jura Mountains in the western Alps, near where France, Germany, and Switzerland come together. In the late 1790s, Alexander von Humboldt was examining rocks in the Jura Mountains, where the strata are mostly limestone in contrast to the abundant red beds of the underlying Triassic. Von Humboldt called the sequence the Jura-kalkstein, or Jura Limestone, in 1799, and by the 1820s French geologists were calling them the Terrains Jurassiques. The formal name Jurassic came from geologist Leopold von Buch in 1839.

In Britain, rocks of Jurassic age were being studied by William “Strata” Smith in the late 1790s. The Jurassic section in Britain was called the Lias and Oolitic Series for many years, following the usage of William Buckland and William Smith.   

The name Jura is from a Celtic root word for “forest.” 

While the Jurassic is known for its dinosaurs, we’ll talk about a lot of things besides dinosaurs during October. I hope you enjoy the month!

—Richard I. Gibson

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