Southeastern Section–56th Annual Meeting (29–30 March 2007)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


VAN RIPER, A. Bowdoin, Department of Social and International Studies, Southern Polytechnic State University, 1100 South Marietta Parkway, Marietta, GA 30060,

Few leading geologists in mid-Victorian Britain derived their primary income directly from their scientific work. Fewer still derived significant income from paid geological consulting work. David T. Ansted (1814-1880) was an exception to both patterns. Though virtually forgotten today, Ansted was well known in his time not only as a professor, lecturer, and author on geological subjects but also as a paid consultant on mining and mineral exploration. His reputation was sufficient that, in the early 1850s, he was hired by potential investors to survey promising coal fields along the New River in what is now southern West Virginia. His survey, which revealed rich deposits of bituminous coal, set the stage for a post-Civil-War mining boom in the area. Ansted profited doubly from his work in West Virginia: He became a prominent local landowner and, in time, the namesake of a new town that grew up to service the mining industry. Ansted's involvement with West Virginia coal, and the similar work of British consultants in the gold mines of North Carolina, are one current in the complex, two-way flow of geological knowledge across the Atlantic.