Vitaliano, Dorothy B. (L)
Dorothy B. Vitaliano (1916-2008) was a geologist who published Legends of the Earth in 1973 in which she discussed how catastrophic seismic or volcanic events were retained for posterity in the legends of the peoples who experienced them. She invented the term ‘geomythology’ to describe what she considered to be a distinct field of study.
Probably inspired by Vitaliano, Cindy Clendenon has promoted a new related field of study(c) that she calls ‘hydromythology’.
Vitaliano’s book included a chapter on Atlantis in which she expresses her opinion that there is nowhere in the Atlantic Ocean that Atlantis could have existed. Understandably, sceptics of an Atlantic Atlantis seized upon this statement, while those that adhere to the idea that it had been a large island in that ocean were understandably dismayed. Vitaliano also discussed the biblical Plagues of Egypt and their connection with the eruption of Thera in the second millennium BC.
Dorothy’s husband, Charles J. Vitaliano (1910-2000) was also a professor of geology and together they pursued the study of major geological events and their effect on ancient cultures.
There are two of Vitaliano’s papers that are available online(a)(b).