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Cartographica Helvetica


Jan T. Kozák and Rudolf Dušek:

Seismological maps – an example of thematic cartography

Cartographica Helvetica 27 (2003) 27–35


Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have affected mankind for as long as humanity exists. The presentation of the circumstances in early seismological maps was strongly influenced by the desire for illustrative representations. The depiction of the correct topographic situation remained secondary. Up until the end of the 18th century, maps were not considered as tools for further investigations or as a means to a deeper understanding of geo-tectonic, seismic or volcanic processes. An important impetus to the development of the methods in thematic cartography was the devastating earthquake in Lisbon in 1755. The revival of the natural sciences in the 19th century and the resulting immense amount of observations and data offered the possibility of deciphering geophysical phenomena and hidden processes on a large scale. An important means to this purpose are maps with geological contents, especially seismic maps, which reveal the correlations between tectonics, volcanism, earthquakes and the ensuing dangers and accompanying measures.

Bibliographic note

  • Edited version of: Europäische Karten des 16. bis 19. Jahrhunderts mit makroseismischen und Erdbeben-Informationen. In: 8. Kartographiehistorisches Colloquium Bern 1996. Vorträge und Berichte. Ed. Wolfgang Scharfe. Murten, 2000. (Cartographica Helvetica Sonderheft 16). pp. 45–54.

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