Who is Charles Lyell?

1023 WordsJun 15, 20185 Pages
Charles Lyell Charles Lyell was a British lawyer and one the smartest geologist known in his time. He was known as the author of the Principles of Geology, which helped popularize the theories and concepts of uniformitarianism. The Principles of Geology was the first book written by Lyell and explained the changes of the earth’s surface. He used the research and information in the book as his proof to determine that the earth was over 6,000 years old. The central argument in his book was “the present is the key to the past”, this meant that to find out what happened in the past you had to look at what was happening now. It explained that changes which happened in the past, were happening in the present, and will happen in the future.…show more content…
Lyell’s geological interests were ranged from volcanoes and geological dynamics through stratigraphy, palaeontology, and glaciology to prehistoric archaeology and paleoanthropology. Although he is best known for popularizing uniformitarianism, Lyell also had interests in earthquakes such a faults, fissures, stratigraphic displacements and depressions. Lyell’s work on volcanoes was largely studied and he focused on the two named Vesuvius and Etna. He felt strongly that volcanoes built up gradually. Lyell’s most important work was in the field of Stratigraphy. From May 1828 to February 1829, Lyell traveled with Roderick Impey Murchison to the volcano district in the south of France and Italy. It was during this time that he concluded that the recent rock layers could be named and outlined according to the amount and proportion of marine shells encased within them. Lyell renamed what used to be known as the Tertiary period which had three parts which were Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary into what are now Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras. The change was gradually accepted worldwide. In glaciology, Lyell proposed that glaciers could be transported from erratics. He believed that ice breaks off and floats during the melting period or global warming and carries debris with it. Lyell believed that the accumulation of the angular particles that cover the world was a deposit settled from mountain flood water. Lyell’s observational methods and
Open Document