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Lyell, Sir Charles

geology geological principle uniformitarianism

[liyl] (1797–1875) British geologist: established the principle of uniformitarianism in geology.

Lyell at first embarked on a legal career, but his interest in geology led in 1823 to his appointment as secretary of the Geological Society of London. During the first part of the 19th-c geology had made great advances in the collection of information, but most geologists still believed in one or more world-wide ‘catastrophes’ to account for the creation of what they found. Lyell was responsible for the general acceptance of the principle of uniformitarianism, the idea that rocks and geological formations are the result of the ordinary processes that go on every day, but acting over very long periods of time. This principle was first advocated in a general way by , but was much more convincingly illustrated and argued by Lyell. In 1830 he published his popular Principles of Geology , in which he applied his ideas in explaining many of the geological features that he had discovered on his extensive travels through Europe and America. This classic work greatly influenced in developing his theory of evolution, a concept which Lyell, strangely enough, never accepted.

Lyly, John (c. 1554–1606) - BIOGRAPHY, CRITICAL RECEPTION [next] [back] Lumbly, Carl (1952–)

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