James Hutton FRSE (3 June 1726 – 26 March 1797) was a Scottish geologist, physician, chemical manufacturer, naturalist, and experimental agriculturalist. He originated the theory of uniformitarianism—a fundamental principle of geology—that explains the features of the Earth’s crust by means of natural processes over geologic time. Hutton’s work established geology as a science, and as a result he is referred to as the “Father of Modern Geology”.
Through observation and carefully reasoned geological arguments, Hutton came to believe that the Earth was perpetually being formed; he recognised that the history of Earth could be determined by understanding how processes such as erosion and sedimentation work in the present day. His theories of geology and geologic time, also called deep time, came to be included in theories which were called plutonism and uniformitarianism. Some of his writings anticipated the Gaia hypothesis.
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