MESHING ALL OF GEOLOGY WITH THE HISTORY OF LIFE: THE “SYNOPTIC VIEW OF THE LEADING PHENOMENA OF GEOLOGY*,” 1836 (WILLIAM BUCKLAND AND THOMAS WEBSTER)
While cross-sections had been published together with maps (Smith, Cuvier and Brongniart, Maclure, e.g.), and plates of fossils published to accompany stratigraphic (cross-) sections (notably by William Smith), the synoptic view presented by Buckland and Webster was a tour-de-force illustrating all of geologic time as set out by rocks and fossils. Buckland’s Treatise was one of the most popular 19th-century books on natural history, widely distributed and influential, and Plate 1 in particular illustrated life’s progression through geologic time. A version of this figure, including a key rather than the 17-page explanation, appeared in Heinrich Berghaus’ 1840s monumental Physikalischer Atlas. This version today is noted as a pioneering work in graphical illustration.
[subtitled:] *”Besides 120 figures of Plants and Animals, this Plate represents 30 kinds of Sedimentary Deposits, and 8 varieties of Unstratified Rocks; it also shows the dispositions of intruded Dykes, Metalliferous Veins, and Faults”
[title on Plate:] “Ideal Section of a Portion of the Earth’s Crust, intended to show The Order of Deposition of the Stratified Rocks, with their relation to The Unstratified Rocks, Composed by Thomas Webster, F.G.S. &c. The Plants and Animals Selected and Arranged by Dr. Buckland and Engraved by Joseph Fisher.”