Sopwith's geological models

  • Turner Susan
  • Dearman W. R. 
IAEG Symposium “Engineering Geological Mapping for Planning, Disign and Construction in Civil Engineering”, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 3–6 September 1979 Sopwith Exhibition


Thomas Sopwith (1803–1879) of Newastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England, was engineer and mineral surveyor in the coal mines of Newcastle and the lead mines of Alston Moor, County Durham. Self taught in geology and engraving, and with family connections in cabinet making, he designed and had made in the family workshops a series of small wooden models illustrating the simple geological structures which confronted the coal and lead miners underground. The models, and the drawings accompanying them, must be regarded as one of the earliest attempts at explaining simple geological structures in three-dimensions for the mining and civil engineer. As such, they have an important place in the early history of engineering geological mapping.


Coal Seam Mining District Mineral Vein Tlcl Engineering Geological Mapping 

Les maquettes géologiques de sopwith


Thomas Sopwith (1803–1879), de Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland (Angleterre), était ingénieur et géomètre dans les mines de charbon de Newcastle et dans les mines de plomb d'Alston Moor, comté de Durham. Autodidacte en géologie et en gravure, et ayant des relations de famille dans l'ébénisterie, il projeta et réalisa dans les ateliers familiaux une série de petites maquettes de bois représentant les structures géologiques simples auxquelles sont affrontés les mineurs du fond, dans les mines de charbon et les mines de plomb. Ces maquettes et les dessins qui les accompagnent doivent être regardés comme un des premiers essais de représentation de structures géologiques simples en trois dimensions, à l'usage de l'ingénieur des mines et de l'ingénieur civil. Comme tels, ils ont une place importante dans l'histoire des débuts de la cartographie géotechnique.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Engineering Geology 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Turner Susan
    • 1
  • Dearman W. R. 
    • 2
  1. 1.Hancock MuseumNewcastle upon TyneEngland
  2. 2.Engineering Geology UnitUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneEngland

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