Item ID: 3573 John MICHELL.

A Founder of Seismology

“LV. Conjectures concerning the Cause, and Observations upon the Phaenomena of Earthquakes; particularly of that great Earthquake of the First of November, 1755, which proved so fatal to the City of Lisbon, and whose Effects were felt as far as Africa, and more or less throughout almost all Europe” in the Philosophical Transactions, Vol. LI, Part II. For the Year 1760, pp. 566-634. One folding engraved plate. 4to, antique calf, spine gilt, red & green morocco lettering pieces on spine. London: L. Davis & C. Reymers, 1761.

First appearance of the first modern work on seismology. Michell (1724-93), was a man of wonderful versatility who made important contributions to geology and astronomy. He held the Woodwardian chair of geology at Cambridge for several years before accepting the rectorship of a church near Leeds.

The enormous earthquake which destroyed Lisbon on 1 November 1755 stimulated the study of the causes of earthquakes. Michell was the first to free himself from the shackles of ancient views and traditions. He noted “the frequency of earthquakes in the neighbourhood of active volcanoes, and to their usual occurrence as accompaniments of volcanic eruptions…he made the great onward step in showing that successive waves would be generated in that crust, and would travel outwards, in constantly diminishing amplitude until they finally died away. It was the first time that this conception of earthquake motion had been laid before the world…we may yet rank him as the great pioneer of the modern science of Seismology.”–Geikie, The Founders of Geology, pp. 274-77.

Fine copy of the complete Part II of the Phil. Trans. for 1760.

❧ Adams, The Birth and Development of the Geological Sciences, pp. 414-20. D.S.B., IX, pp. 370-71.

Price: $2,000.00

Item ID: 3573

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