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Theory of the earth, with proofs and illustrations.
Edinburgh, Cadell et al, 1795, [vol III:] London, Geological Society, 1899 - 3 vols, 8vo (216 x 130 mm), I: pp viii 620, with four folding engraved plates; II: viii 567 [1], with two folding engraved plates; III: xvi 278, XIII [-XIV], with illustrations in text; some marginal spotting to plates, a very good copy, the first two vols in contemporary calf, gilt fillets on sides, rebacked, the third volume uncut in original wrappers, with the ex-libris of Kenneth E Hill (bought from Jeremy Norman) in all vols.First edition of Hutton's classic treatise on geology, the foundation work of modern geology; with the rare third volume. 'Hutton counters the Catastrophe Theory that the earth's form derived largely from major catastrophic events with the Uniformitarian principle that the geological forces slowly changing the earth's crust are operating in the present in the same manner that they operated in the past. Based on this principle and extensive observations of the Scottish countryside, including the many angular unconformities where one series of strata rests on the upturned edges of another, he concludes that the widespread layered strata were deposited as sediments of an earlier sea but then were raised above the level of the sea and distorted from their relatively horizontal layerings into their present configurations by major convulsions of the earth's crust due largely to the internal heat of the earth. Unstratified rocks, including mineral veins, whinstone in dykes, porphyry, and granite, are seen as having been injected into the crust from below while in a molten condition. Thus both aqueous processes and subterranean (for instance, volcanic) processes due to the earth's internal heat are recognized as important in the development of the earth's crustal rocks. Periods dominated by deposition alternate with violent upheavals, with a continual modification of the surface through the pounding of waves, river and stream erosion, chemical and mechanical disintegration, and, at the ocean bottom, through the consolidation of deposited sediments by subterranean heat. All combines to suggest an eternal geological cycle, with no evidence of a beginning or an end' (Parkinson).Parkinson devoted five separate entries of this work; apart from the one above, they cover his theory of the igneous origin of granite, and that it is intruded into older overlying strata; that granite erratics were transported by glaciers; that valleys are for the most part created by rivers and streams, and that volcanoes are manifestations of internal magmas breaking through to the earth's surface.James Hutton (1726-1797) was a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. 'Hutton left an unfinished manuscript containing six chapters totalling 267 pages, evidently intended for inclusion in an additional volume of the Theory. These chapters, published as volume III in 1899 [by Sir Archibald Geikie, president of the Geological Society], are of considerable interest, for they contain accounts of several of his later geological journeys' (DSB).Horblit 52a; Norman 1131; Parkinson p 224-5; PMM 247
      [Bookseller: WP Watson Antiquarian Books]
Last Found On: 2017-02-28           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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