Uncovering Strata: An Investigation into the Graphic Innovations of Geologist Henry T. De la Beche
An historical investigation into the types of illustrations in the Golden Age of Geology (1788-1840) revealed the nature and progression of graphic representation at the dawning of geology as a science. Exhaustive sampling of geology texts published in the period of focus proceeded until saturation was achieved. Qualitative analysis and evaluation of early illustrations were accomplished with Edward R. Tufte's theory of graphic design. Hypothesis testing around a correlation coefficient revealed significance at the 99% confidence level for relationships between publication year and number of included graphics, and publication year and the graphic density of texts. Henry T. De la Beche emerged as an important geologist who made numerous innovative graphic contributions in the Golden Age of Geology. De la Beche promoted colliding theory graphics, or the accurate portrayal of the earth's sections and scenes that would remain valuable for future generations of geologists. He was apparently the first geologist to utilize the small multiple format. De la Beche also designed and drew scientific caricatures that encapsulated the theoretical debates of the day, as well as the social, cultural, and historical influences on the emerging theories of geology. These scientific caricatures have emerged as instructional graphics with significant classroom potential for teaching the nature of science. De la Beche also drew the first portrayal of a scene from deep time, Duria antiquior, which became the first innovative classroom geology teaching graphic. Through his introduction and development of several important genres of visual explanation, De la Beche emerged as the Father of Visual Geology Education.
Advisor:Nina Lam; Earl Cheek; Margaret Stewart; James Stockard; James Wandersee
School:Louisiana State University in Shreveport
School Location:USA - Louisiana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:curriculum and instruction
Date of Publication:03/21/2003