Kossmat, Franz

Franz Kossmat (1871-1938), was the director of the Geological Survey of Saxony. He was a Professor of Mineralogy and Geology at the Graz University of Technology.

An English Translation of palaÖgeographie - Geologische Geschichte Der Meere Und FestlÄnder / paleography - Geologic History of the Seas and Continents (1924)
2012 0-7734-2604-3
Franz Kossmat’s rare 1924 edition of Palaögeographie (Geologische Geschicte der Meere und Festländer) [Paleogeography (Geographic History of the Seas and Continents), to be published here in a bilingual edition] is a remarkable book that hosts an early encounter between classical geology and plate tectonic theory. Kossmat generates an interesting critique of Wegener’s continental drift model while providing some intriguing theories of his own regarding continental motion. More importantly, Kossmat documented the interplay between transgressive and regressive marine phases in a unique graphical format that deserves to be better known. Kossmat’s theories in this regard are virtually unknown in the Anglophone world, as none of Kossmat’s books (nor any of his articles that I am aware of) have been translated into English. Kossmat is often portrayed as a opponent of continental drift (this explains lack of attention to his work), but the story is not so simple, because he did, unlike G.G. Simpson and other Anglophone geologists, accept both mantle convection plus an interesting and unusual version of continental mobility that has been an intriguing and unrecognized link to modern inertial interchange true polar wander theory. A publication of this translation is now timely as we approach the centenary of Wegener’s 1912 publication of the continental drift theory.