Hutton James

Hut·ton

 (hŭt′n), James 1726-1797.
British geologist who proposed the theory, which became a foundation for modern geology, that the Earth is shaped by slow, uniformly acting processes including intrusion, erosion, and sedimentation.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Hut·ton

(hŭt′n), James 1726-1797.
Scottish geologist whose theories of rock and land formation laid the foundation for modern geology. He showed that, over long periods of time, the erosion of rocks produces sediments, which are transported by water, ice and air to locations at or near sea level. These sediments eventually become solidified into other rocks. He also showed that the Earth's heat causes igneous rocks to form and mountains to form through the upheaval of rock layers. Hutton demonstrated that the geologic processes that created the landforms on the Earth are ongoing.
Biography As a gentleman farmer in late 18th-century Scotland, James Hutton noticed that farmers' soil is carried away, ultimately to the oceans, by the wind and rain. Hutton was a religious man, and he imagined that a God who was benevolent would create a way to recreate this lost soil. He theorized that the soil must be replaced when older rocks are pushed upward, forming new mountains, which are then eroded by the weather into soil. Hutton proposed heat as the source of this mountain-building: as it built up inside the Earth, it forced rocks to move upward and created newer rocks from lava. He called this process Plutonism, in honor of Pluto, the Greek god of the underworld. Because the cycle of uplift and erosion had to take a very long time, Hutton concluded the Earth must be very old. It was not until the 20th century that geologists, using a technique called radiometric dating, demonstrated that the Earth is in fact over four billion years old. Because of his groundbreaking insights, Hutton is known as the father of geology.
The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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HUTTON James Still missed by wife Doreen, sons, daughters and grandchildren.