PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration from Thomas Burnet's "The Sacred Theory of the Earth" 1684. In it he postulates how the "perfect" featureless earth of the creation is transformed by waters unleashed from below the crust, the 'great deep' of scripture, to bring the flood. In it, the continents are rent apart. The fourth phase is our current planet - to Burnet a broken and shattered planet. The theory was invoked to explain, amongst other things the similarity in 'fitting' outlines between the continents which scientists as early as Bacon had noted but dismissed as merely a curiosity. We now know that continents floating apart on the mantle is real.
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