British geoscientists

On these pages, you will find out about the history of British geology, told through the lives and work of the scientists themselves. Together, these provide a fascinating story of the birth of geology as a science.

Britain has a reasonable claim to be the home of modern geology — many worldwide geological time spans are named after British places or ancient British tribes, as the key rock sequences were first described here by British Geoscientists.

The Devonian period is an obvious example, while the Silurian period was named after an ancient Welsh tribe called the Silures and the Cambrian period after Cambria, the old name for Wales.

The first geological map of England and Wales was the work of one man — William 'Strata' Smith, whose pioneering work to correlate and chart rock layers across the country was truly groundbreaking. His geological map, published in 1815, provided a firm foundation for the research that has followed.

Follow the links in the menu to find out more about British geoscientists.

Learn more about geologists at war or the Cornish geologist Ben Peach who spent 40 years surveying the Highlands of Scotland.