Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, & Technology
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22. Building with Basalt in the Velay, 1825

A series of plates representing the most extraordinary and interesting basaltic mountains, caverns and causeways, in the known world : Fifty engravings.
London: Published by the Proprietor [J. Manson], 1825.

This is a curious publication, consisting of geological plates that seem to have been previously issued in the late eighteenth century. Several are recognizable as plates that appeared in various issues of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London; others may have been printed as broadsides; many have no known source. In 1825 a London publisher selected fifty such prints to reissue, without any text, for reasons unknown. But the result is a glorious visual tribute to columnar basalt. There are plates of the Giant’s Causeway (one of which is used to illustrate the introduction to Section VI), of basaltic regions in Italy (one of which is used to illustrate the introduction to Section VIII), and of the Auvergne-Velay-Vivarais region of south-central France.

The plate displayed shows a view of Mezieres in the Velay region of France, where the basalt columns are so abundant that the local populace uses them for building stones.