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The Rise of Geological Exploratory Trips

People’s exploration of the nature needs field investigation. In China, the first precedent is Xu Xiake, the geographer of Ming Dynasty in the 16th Century. He investigated more than 100 karst caves in the vast Karst area in Southwest China in detail and made scientific explanation for the cause of formation of the stalactites, stalagmites and so on. The field geological investigation in European began in the second half of the 18th Century. This is a great advance in the methods of geological researches. The field researches make people pay attention to the relationship between the terrain and the tectonics of vast areas and really start explaining the history of regional geology. The famous geological travelers of this period are J. Guettard and N. Desmarest of France, R.J. Mitchell of the UK, H.B. de Saussure of Switzerland, J. G. Lehmann and P. S. Pallas of Germany and so on. Guettard has made great contributions to the researches on volcanic geology, mineral distribution, fossils and terrain. The Map of Rocks and Minerals in France drawn by him is the first map in the world to indicate the mineral resources and the composition of rocks. Therefore he is known as “Father of Geological Survey”. Mitchell made a rational explanation for the reason of zonal distribution of rock strata on the surface of the earth and pointed out that it is the result of phenomenon that the top was flattened by denudation after the original horizontal strata folded. Desmarest made a long-term investigation on the volcanic geology in France and Italy, published a number of monographs on volcanic geology and draw a conclusion that the basalt is igneous rock. Saussure is the first geologist who systematically investigated the Alps. He made a number of observations on the structure, cause of formation of rocks and the fossils, published Voyages dans les Alpes (1779 -1796) and laid a solid foundation for the researches on the structure of the Alps. Pallas once led the team to carry out investigations and explorations in the Eastern Russian for a period of 6 years and made investigations to Southern Russian, the Urals and the Altai Mountains of Central Asia. In Discussion on Structures of Mountains (1777), he divided the structures of the mountains into primary zone, calcium zone and zone of illuviation and pointed out that the age of the rock stratum gradually becomes younger and the dip angle becomes smaller and smaller from the center to the lateral of the mountain.

Ministry of Land and Resources P.R. ChinaDepartment of Land and Resources of Hubei ProvincePeople’s Government of HuanggangHuanggang Municipal Bureau of Land and ResourcesGlobal Geoparks NetworkNational Geopark of China The Geological Museum of ChinaHong Kong UNESCO Global GeoparkShennongjia Global GeoparkTianzhushan Global Geopark

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