IN CONTEXT

KEY FIGURE

James Hutton (1726–97)

BEFORE

1778 The Comte de Buffon, a French naturalist, suggests that Earth is at least 75,000 years old—far older than most people believed at the time.

1787 German geologist Abraham Werner proposes that Earth’s layers of rock formed from a great ocean that once covered the entire planet. His followers became known as Neptunists.

AFTER

1802 James Hutton’s theory of uniformitarianism reaches a wider audience when Scottish geologist John Playfair publishes Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth.

1830–33 Principles of Geology, by Scottish geologist Charles Lyell, supports and builds on the ...

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