• Charles Lyell: The Man Who Unlocked the Earth's Sprawling History

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    • Keywords


      Lyell, geology, uniformitarianism.

    • Abstract


      Charles Lyell, born in 1797, and Scottish by birth was one among the last generation of British polymaths who contributed much to the development of geology as a scientific discipline. He laid the foundation of modern geology and outlined his geological vision supported by global examples in a treatisecalled the Principles of Geology. This book that became popular with the scholars and the reading public inspired many contemporary researchers, most prominently Charles Darwin to think in new ways about the evolutionary pathways of the Earth and its constituents. Lyell, a heretical thinker in geology in his time was given due recognition by the establishment as he was knighted in 1848 and made a baronet. His lasting legacy lies in providing scientific underpinnings to the study of Earth's history, centered on the foundational principle of uniformitarianism that views all the geological features of the Earth's surface as a product formed in a gradualistic manner, mediated through deep time. And, that the geologic processes acted in the same manner and intensity in the past as they do in the present, summarized in a maxim: ``the present is the key to the past".

    • Author Affiliations


      Rajendran C P1

      1. Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research Jakkur, Bengaluru 560064
    • Dates


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