4 facts about our World Geological Map

We have been studying and mapping the geology of the Earth’s surface for thousands of years. In fact, the oldest preserved Geological map we have is the Turin Paypyrus dating back to 1150BC which, in true Indiana Jones style, shows the location of building stone and gold deposits in Egypt.


Geology is the study of the materials of which the earth is made, the structure of those materials, and the processes acting upon them. It has an important part to play in the position of political boundaries (mountains, rivers, oceans), continent shape and distribution (volcanism, plate tectonics), biodiversity (rain shadows, atmospheric circulation), and humans every day livelihood (natural resources, climate, natural disasters).

Geological Map - William Smith



The world map we are all familiar with has been shaped entirely by the geology of Earth's history, and so actually, all maps reflect our planets geology.

However, specialist geological maps go one step further, they use colour to represent the rock strata that has developed over our planet’s existence. These geologic units are not only assigned a colour, but also an initial capital letter followed by one or two lowercased letters. The capital letter represents the age of the geologic unit. The lower-cased letters indicate the geologic unit's name or the type of rock of which it is comprised.

William 'Strata' Smith created the first geological map of Britain in 1837 after noticing that the rock formations he saw were predictable and could be mapped - see image.

4 Things you may not know about our World Geological Map:

Who needs the Natural History Museum?! From the comfort of your own home or office, you can enjoy an overview of all the mega-structures and most important geological groups that have resulted from 4.56 billion years of the Earth's turbulent history. Here are a few facts you may not know about this special map.


1. Our map utilises the fabulously-named Winkel Tripel projection.

This projection was designed by Oswald Winkel in 1921 with the aim of minimising the three areas of distortion faced by map makers: area, direction and distance. The result is a wonderfully spherical-looking map, which gives a graceful curve to the major oceans, highlighted by their geological contours. Our oceans take up a good 70% of the globe, so it's about time they got some attention.

2. It can be used to trace the contours of the different lithospheric plates, sub-plates and micro-plates.

These plates exist as a result of the relentless struggle between creation and destruction happening beneath our feet. Get to know your Chronostratigraphic units from your Large Igneous Provinces, your Abyssal Plains from your Mid-Oceanic Ridges. If this seems a bit specialist, it's because it is! It is also a fantastic example of the extraordinary beauty of mapped data.

3. Our world geology map utilises data developed by our Friends at the Commission for the Geological Map of the World.

They're pioneers in Geoscience and have been working on this for more than 25 years now!


4. Our map is a stunning and, indeed, very rare 12 colour lithographic print.

We love this age-old process for the unbeatable quality and surface detail it offers. Hand-mixed inks, spot UV varnish and exceptional attention to detail make every map unique.


If you've been inspired by the thought of having all of this geological history on your wall then you can look at the options available to you at this link.