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The growing emphasis on fossils as diagnostic tool of stratigraphy was an innovation associated with Georges Cuvier and William Smith, although Rudwick termed Smith a geognost.In that sense, modern stratigraphy could be seen as the integration of paleontology and geognosy.The causal explanation via natural laws of terrestrial phenomena described by the sub-disciplines of natural history, and consciously distinct from the description and classification of those endeavors.
The study of the major features of Earth’s surface, primarily through fieldwork, such as mountains, rivers and volcanoes, with an emphasis on pictures and maps.
Antoine Lavoisier (1743–1794), the famous chemist, published a paper in 1793 addressing the formation of Secondary strata based on sea-level changes and shallow and deep water sediments.
It was an exercise in earth physics, but important to the development of the geognostic interpretation of the sedimentary formations.
The goal was to discover the one overarching cause of Earth’s phenomena, just as Newton had done for the cosmos with gravity. Sciences of the earth during the eighteenth century as described by Rudwick. Unlike the amateur intellectuals that pursued physical geography, geognosy grew out of the mining industry of northern Germany, which emphasized a three-dimensional understanding of rock bodies and structures.
Note the absence of familiar boundaries between geology, biology, physics, and chemistry, which were not recognized at the time. The centre of the discipline was the mining School at Freiberg.
Rudwick Of prime importance to geognosy was the definition and correlation of formations.