Ehrenberg, C. G.

Mikrogeologie. Das Erden und Felsen schaffende Wirken des unsichtbar kleinen selbständigen Lebens auf der Erde.

Published 1854
Item ID 53429

(Excluding 9% VAT)

Leipzig, Leopold Voss, 1854. Folio (44.9 x 32.8 cm). Front wrapper, pasted on first blank, half-title, title page, dedication leaf, pp. [viii]-xxviii, [1]-374, half-title (to the plates), pp. [1]-31 (index); 41 fine, partly tinted and hand-coloured engraved plates (tissue-guarded) with (multiple) explanatory text leaves. Contemporary half calf over marbled boards. Gilt lines and title on spine. Marbled endpapers.

A massive work. Weighing over 6.3 kg (one stone) and sold for the majestic sum of 72 Thaler, it deals with the smallest of all plants and animals, which are the building blocks (or, rather, grains) of many mountain ranges. The fine plates, made with the aid of a microscope, mainly show diatoms, radiolarians, and foraminifers in an endless variety, but also a few small molluscs, serpulorbids and, for instance, living tardigrades. Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg (1795-1876) combined a near unsurpassed knowledge of zoology, comparative anatomy, geology, palaeontology and microscopy. Although perhaps better known for his work with Wilhelm Hemprich on the fauna of the Middle East and north-eastern Africa, this actually is his most important work. Here, he showed that many rock types actually consist of nothing but the skeletons of unicellular microorganisms. This made him the father of - as the title of this work reads - micro-geology. His Mikrogeologie, however, also contains a wealth of information on microorganisms in soil, fresh water and seawater from all over the globe. The additional first title page, pasted on the second blank, is probably a cut out of the original (yellow) wrapper. Scattered light foxing to the text, plates clean. Board edges rubbed, otherwise a fine copy of this very rare work. Nissen ZBI, 1245; Ward and Carozzi, 724-725 (text and atlas apart).

A rare, massive work on micro-organisms

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