Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Historic Geological Maps: WoGE #210 revisited

It seems that Irish Geological mapping is available in the same way as the British mapping, but my quick study of their website hasn't found an easy way to show it in Google Earth.

However I've found a nice resource: historical Geological maps of Ireland. A nice website provides a way of viewing both historic maps and memoirs. They are mostly 19th Century, when Ireland was part of the British Empire. The maps themselves seem to be hosted by the British Geological Survey as I guess they didn't hand them over to the new Irish state in the 1920's.

These seem to be a great resource for historians of Geology and also of Empire. The very way Irish place names on maps are spelt reflects the fact that English speaking outsiders were making the maps, garbling the local Gaelic names in the process. I plan to write a bit more about modern attempts to right this in a future post.

I have a very trivial use for these historic maps, which is to show a Geological map view of WoGE #210.

This makes me smile every time. The point of Geological maps is to show the detailed pattern of different rock types, with a kaleidoscope of different colours. The point of the Aran Isles is that there is one rock type that has barely moved since it was laid down, so there is one colour and very little to say. My theory is that the dip measurements were only added to prove that the guy making the map had actually been there and not just mapped it from the mainland, using binoculars.

Just to show that there has been progress in the last 100 years, I've put in a screen-shot from the current Irish Geological Survey's mapping. There are now two colours on the map of the Aran Isles.

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