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Portrait of Abraham Werner, German geologist

Portrait of Abraham Werner, German geologist

H423/0134

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Abraham Werner. Portrait of Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817), German geologist. Werner was one of the leading geological teachers of his time and many famous geologists studied under him from 1775 at Freiburg University. Werner founded the Neptunian theory of igneous rock formation. He believed that crystalline igneous rocks were formed by direct precipitation from sea water. These precipitated rocks formed part of a complex stratification system. The Neptunian theory was eventually displaced after one of the greatest scientific debates of its day by the Plutonian theory advocated by Hutton. In Hutton's theory igneous rocks were created by geothermal activity.

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