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Charles Lyell

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Charles Lyell (1797-1875)

Charles Lyell (1797–1875) was a British geologist who believed that natural (not divine) events and processes were responsible for the Earth's geologic formations. Lyell's book, Principles of Geology (1830-1833) influenced many of his contemporaries, and gave wide public support to the principle of uniformitarianism. Charles Darwin reportedly took a copy of Lyell's book aboard the H.M.S. Beagle during his historic expedition to the Galapagos Islands. Uniformitarianism claims that uniform rates of erosion and deposition, acting over vast periods of time, have formed features such as mountains, canyons, and strata.

Charles Lyell was one of the early geologists who estimated that the earth was possibly millions of years old. His views were in stark contrast to catastrophism, or the catastrophic origin of these characteristics during events like the Biblical flood of Noah.



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