An English Translation of palaÖgeographie - Geologische Geschichte Der Meere Und FestlÄnder / paleography - Geologic History of the Seas and Continents (1924)

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Awarded the Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship
Franz Kossmat’s rare 1924 edition of Palaögeographie (Geologische Geschicte der Meere und Festländer) [Paleogeography (Geographic History of the Seas and Continents), to be published here in a bilingual edition] is a remarkable book that hosts an early encounter between classical geology and plate tectonic theory. Kossmat generates an interesting critique of Wegener’s continental drift model while providing some intriguing theories of his own regarding continental motion. More importantly, Kossmat documented the interplay between transgressive and regressive marine phases in a unique graphical format that deserves to be better known. Kossmat’s theories in this regard are virtually unknown in the Anglophone world, as none of Kossmat’s books (nor any of his articles that I am aware of) have been translated into English. Kossmat is often portrayed as a opponent of continental drift (this explains lack of attention to his work), but the story is not so simple, because he did, unlike G.G. Simpson and other Anglophone geologists, accept both mantle convection plus an interesting and unusual version of continental mobility that has been an intriguing and unrecognized link to modern inertial interchange true polar wander theory. A publication of this translation is now timely as we approach the centenary of Wegener’s 1912 publication of the continental drift theory.


“… used the commonality of geological observations to paint a picture of the global history of water and land forms, tied to geological time through a rich description of fossil and geological evidence.” – Dr. J. Marvin Herndon, Transdyne Corporation

“It is upon the pioneering efforts of Kossmat and other workers, that slowly the continuation accumulation of data discordant with contemporary models that turned the tide.” –Prof. Eldridge M. Moores, University of California, Davis

Table of Contents

Editor’s Foreword by Mark A.S. McMenamin

Preface by Eldridge M. Moores

Preface by J. Marvin Herndon



The Precambrian (Archean and Algonkian): Preliminary Remarks on the Crystalline Basement


Precambrian Mountain Cores

Paleozoic Age





Mesozoic Era




Lower Cretaceous

Upper Cretaceous

Cenozoic Era


Early Tertiary Period (Eocene and Oligocene) in Europe and the Old Mediterranean Region

Early Tertiary Era (Miocene and Pliocene) of the Old World


Glacial Regions

Other Continental Regions

The Mammalian Fauna

Remarks Regarding Diluvial Marine Deposits

Concluding Remarks on Paleogeography

Problems of Palegeographic Synthesis

Figure Captions




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