The Natural History of Ooliths: Franz Ernst Brückmann's Treatise of 1721 and its Significance for the Understanding of Oolites

Robert Burne, John (Chris) Eade, Josef Paul

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Franz Brückmann wrote his treatise on oolites in 1721. We present here an English translation of his Latin text which describes the following topics; derivation of the name "oolith" and its synonyms; interpretation as accumulations of fish-eggs; classification as stones; occurrence and diversity; environments of deposition and processes of lithification; explanations for the large quantities of eggs found; evidence for their biological origin; evidence for their biological associations; the distinction between ooliths and pisoliths; and localities of occurrence. We provide a commentary on Brückmann's text, and then review the impact of his work by tracing the subsequent development of research on Oolites up to the early twentieth century. We conclude that Brückmann's treatise is best regarded as a review paper that provided a platform for later research. His most significant contribution was to view oolites as accumulations of petrified biological remains rather than as "sports of nature". Some of Brückmann's near contemporaries such as Da Costa and De Saussure doubted that fish eggs could lithify and, although conceding their sedimentary origin, preferred to regard them as mineral concretions. Major developments in the sciences of stratigraphy, palaeontology, microbiology, microscopy, comparative sedimentology, and petrology would be required before more significant advances could be made on Brückmann's interpretations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-114
    JournalHallesches Jahrbuch fur Geowissenschaften
    Volume34
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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