James Hutton, British geologist

James Hutton, British geologist

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Credit: GARY BROWN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: James Hutton (1726-1797), British geologist, holding a sample of rock. After training in law and medicine, Hutton earned an independent income from his business interests and returned to his native Scotland in 1768 to pursue science. He is considered the father of geology for his uniformitarian theory of continuous geological change over millions of years. He proposed that river sediments, washed into the sea, formed new rocks through the effect of geothermal heat. These were then uplifted to form new continents. Hutton's views were attacked by religious figures as they disagreed with their view of a biblical Creation a few thousand years ago.

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