glacier logo   Debating Glacial Theory, 1841
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Charles Lyell CHARLES LYELL
English

You have adopted a rigorously steady-state uniformitarian approach to explanation in geology finding causes in present-day processes acting over long periods of time and believing that the number and intensity of these processes has never changed. You accept that land and sea have interchanged gradually many times in the past, and suggest processes that are consistent with this; you are suspicious of any theory of continental glaciations as non-uniformitarian.

On GoogleEarth Tour pay particular attention to:

  • Vadret da Tschierva
  • Norfolk Drift

Familiarize yourself with the following Episodes:

  • Alpine Drifting
  • Uniformitarian Drift

Read and summarize:

  • Extract from Principles of Geology
  • Extract from 1835 Edition
  • Presidential Address, 19 February 1836 (p.381-384)

Be aware:

  • Your brand of uniformitarianism, postulating a steady-state Earth, is subject to increasing criticism as an a priori assumption being imposed on the data (see Sedgwick in Episode "Alpine Revolutions"). There is nothing particularly nonuniformitarian, in the broader sense, in glaciations or even in "diluvial waves," if they are physically possible.