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Joseph Carne

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Joseph Carne (1782-1858) was a British geologist and industrialist.

1782 April 17th. Born at Truro, Cornwall, the eldest son of William Carne, a banker, and was educated at the Wesleyan school, Keynsham, near Bristol. His younger brother was John Carne.

On 23 March 1808 he married Mary Thomas, the daughter of William Thomas of Kidwelly, M.D., physician at Haverfordwest. After his marriage he lived for a short time at Penzance, and in 1810 or 1811 he removed to Rivière House, on being appointed manager of the Cornish Copper Co's smelting works at Hayle. His good business habits and quickness at figures well fitted him for this situation.

From an early age Carne showed an interest in mineralogy and geology. He was in the habit of walking round to the copper mines, and collecting specimens of the rarer ores, which the miners were glad to sell at low prices, thereby forming the nucleus of his mineralogical collection.

Carne was a close observer, and paid special attention to the granitic veins of St. Michael's Mount, and the vein-like lines of porphyritic rocks provincially termed elvans. In 1816 and 1818 Carne communicated to the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall his investigation 'On Elvan Courses', in which he established their general characters and fixed the probable dates of their intrusion into the granite masses and the clay-slates. The Granite of the Western part of Cornwall and the Geology of the Scilly Isles were additional communications made to the local geological society.

After studying the formation of mineral veins, in 1818 he sent a paper to the Geological Society of Cornwall entitled 'On the relative Age of the Veins of Cornwall'. The celebrated Werner was drawn by it into Cornwall, and he visited the mines of the county in company with Carne. This inquiry led, some years after, to the formation of a fund by subscription, which enabled William Jory Henwood to devote all his leisure, for many years, to personal observations in every mining field in Cornwall. These inquiries led to Carne being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 28 May 1818.

1820 Carne left Hayle, and went to Penzance to become a partner in his father's bank (Batten, Carne, & Carne).

1821 he published his paper 'On the Mineral Productions and the Geology of the Parish of St. Just'. This work led to the collection of Cornish minerals in the possession of Charles Campbell Ross, formerly M.P. for St. Ives.

Carne's paper 'On the Pseudo-morphous Minerals of Cornwall' was calculated to throw light on the mysterious changes which occur in minerals. In connection with this subject Carne also examined most of the varieties of tin ore which have been found in veins, and such as are peculiar to the deposits in stream works.

1820s Formation of Trevenan, Carne and Wood

In 1846 a paper was read by Carne 'On the Remains of a Submarine Forest in the North-eastern part of the Mount's Bay'.

1848 Left the business of Sandys, Carne and Vivian

1851 Presented a 'Notice of a Raised Beach lately discovered in Zennor' will be found in the pages of the Transactions of the Cornwall Geological Society, vol. vii.

Carne also wrote on the history of copper mining, and on the improvements made in its metallurgy—on the discovery of ancient coins—on the formation of the blown sands of the north coasts of the county, and contributed a paper to the Statistical Society of London entitled Statistics of the Tin Mines in Cornwall and of the Consumption of Tin in Great Britain.

Carne was an honorary member of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. In 1837 he was picked for sheriff of the county. For many years he was the treasurer of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall and due to his extensive knowledge of the laws of mines and minerals, and his intimate acquaintance with local usages, he was referred to in most cases of difficulty.

Wesleyan chapels in West Cornwall sought Carne's assistance and advice. He took charge of Sunday schools, and kept a large stock of books for the teachers.

1858 October 12th. Died at Penzance

His daughter, Elizabeth Catherine Thomas Carne was also a noted geologist.


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