JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
This is one of the earliest depictions of what we know today as the Gulf Stream, and it appears one among many wonders in Fr. Athanasius Kircher's Mundus Subterraneus (1668). The map appears about a century before the first map to truly distinguish the Gulf Stream (the B. Franklin/Folger map of 1768-1785) and shows the remarkable activity that must have come with the acquisition of the data necessary to show on even this popular map. Given that teh data was necessarily spotty at this early period the Kircher effort was largely theoretical (and for what it was worth likened the currents to something similar to blood moving though the body, which at least used the work of William Harvey). (Eberhard Happel is on a similar wavelength as Kircher with the currents map, and published his map a few years later, though he was mainly a science popularizer who "relied" heavily upon the Kircher map and was nowhere near to being Kircher's intellectual rival, his map is still interesting given its very heavy lining and beauty.)
- The original of this map is available at the blog's bookstore, here.
This is a detail of the larger map (below) with a East-West orientation for bottom-to-top, making the northern North American coastline along the top of the map, with the European coast from Spain to Denmark, and then hopping over to the Nordic countries, and of course with England and Ireland, and lonely Iceland.