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2 How Erratic Blocks Caught the Eye of Science

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Chapter Summary

A modern in the current meaning scientific approach to the Findling phenomenon is ascertainable around 1740. The blocks of nonlocal types of rock, some weighing tons, scattered about the landscape were the point of departure for considerations that ultimately led to the discovery of the ice ages. This applied to the Alpine region as well as to the North German Lowlands. Initially, various rival theories sought to explain their origin: eruptions and mudflows; drift and glacial theories. By about 1800 all the approaches that scholars would be discussing in the following decades to explain the origin and distribution of Findlinge had been formulated in outline. Despite all the objections, the great deluge of mud and boulders was the dominant theory at the beginning of the 19th century. Nevertheless, the debate remained open.

Keywords:drift theory; eratic blocks; eruption theory; glacial theory; ice ages; mudflow theory

10.1163/9789004241701_003
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