Portrait of the British geologist James Hutton.

Portrait of the British geologist James Hutton.

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Portrait of British geologist James Hutton, 1726- 1797. After training in law and medicine Hutton turned to farming. He ran a business extracting ammonium chloride from soot, and this provided him with sufficient income to pursue science. He considered the erosive action of rivers to have been a major influence on continental topography, & that sediments washed into the sea accumulated & formed new rocks by the effect of geothermal heat. He is considered the father of geology, partly because he proposed that the forces now slowly operating to change the earth's surface had been operating at the same rate through the past; thus the earth was older than scripture maintained.

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Keywords: geologist, hutton, igneous rock formation theory, james, portraits, surname h

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