The birth of the geological map

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Science  16 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6219, pp. 230-232
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2330

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In 1815, William Smith, an English canal surveyor and land drainer, provided the young science of geology with the first true geological map of an entire country (see the first figure). Two hundred years on, Smith's map has become an icon of Earth science, and the basic principles he developed and applied are still used in interpreting rock sequences and making geological maps.