James hutton theory of the earth pdf

Scottish geologist, physician, chemical manufacturer, naturalist, and experimental agriculturalist. He originated the theory of uniformitarianism—a fundamental principle james hutton theory of the earth pdf geology— that explains the features of the Earth’s crust by means of natural processes over geologic time. Hutton’s work established geology as a science, and as a result he is referred to as the “Father of Modern Geology”.


Earth could be determined by understanding how processes such as erosion and sedimentation work in the present day. His theories of geology and geologic time, also called deep time, came to be included in theories which were called plutonism and uniformitarianism.

Some of his writings anticipated the Gaia hypothesis. Hutton was born in Edinburgh on 3 June 1726, OS one of five children of Sarah Balfour and William Hutton, a merchant who was Edinburgh City Treasurer. Hutton’s father died in 1729, when he was three. 14 he attended the University of Edinburgh as a “student of humanity”, studying the classics.

He was apprenticed to the lawyer George Chalmers WS when he was 17, but took more interest in chemical experiments than legal work. At the age of 18, he became a physician’s assistant, and attended lectures in medicine at the University of Edinburgh. After three years he went to the University of Paris to continue his studies, taking the degree of Doctor of Medicine at Leiden University in 1749 with a thesis on blood circulation.

After his degree Hutton returned to London, then in mid-1750 went back to Edinburgh and resumed chemical experiments with close friend, James Davie. Hutton owned and rented out properties in Edinburgh, employing a factor to manage this business.

Hutton inherited from his father the Berwickshire farms of Slighhouses, a lowland farm which had been in the family since 1713, and the hill farm of Nether Monynut. In the early 1750s he moved to Slighhouses and set about making improvements, introducing farming practices from other parts of Britain and experimenting with plant and animal husbandry.

He recorded his ideas and innovations in an unpublished treatise on The Elements of Agriculture. This developed his interest in meteorology and geology. In a 1753 letter he wrote that he had “become very fond of studying the surface of the earth, and was looking with anxious curiosity into every pit or ditch or bed of a river that fell in his way”.

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