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a. The doctrine that major changes in the earth's crust result from sudden catastrophes, such as the impact of a large meteor, rather than from gradual evolutionary processes.
b. The doctrine that changes in the earth's fauna and flora result from major catastrophic events that cause the die-off of many organisms and are followed by the appearance of new types of organisms.
2. The prediction or expectation of cataclysmic upheaval, as in political or social developments.
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.
1. (Geological Science) an old doctrine, now discarded, that the earth was created and has subsequently been shaped by sudden divine acts which have no logical connection with each other rather than by gradual evolutionary processes
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
the theory that geological changes have been caused by sudden upheaval rather than by gradual and continuing processes. Cf. uniformitarianism. — catastrophist, n.See also: Geology
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.