16th century European earthquakes described in some contemporary woodcuts

Earthquake Information Bulletin (USGS)


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In the middle of the 15th century, shortly after Gutenberg’s invention of printing using individual lead type, the first illustrated broadsides (or broadsheets) began appearing in southern Germany.  Usually printed on one side of a sheet of paper, they consisted of a woodcut illustration, sometimes colored, either by hand or by stencil, and several columns of text, often in verse.  The appeal of the publications to the mass reader was often stimulated by sensationalism in word and picture, somewhat like that purveyed today’s tabloid press.  What follows are woodcuts and portions of the text from 16th to 17th century broadsheets that describe earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

This article is an excerpt from Deresiewicz, H., 1982, Some 16th century European earthquakes as depicted in contemporary sources: Bulletin Seismological Society of America, vol. 72, p 507-523.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title 16th century European earthquakes described in some contemporary woodcuts
Series title Earthquake Information Bulletin (USGS)
Volume 17
Issue 6
Year Published 1985
Language English
Publisher U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location Washington D.C.
Description 7 p.
First page 204
Last page 210
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N