The Father of Geology

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

Father of geology_HERO

The Scottish naturalist James Hutton (1726-1797) is known as the father of geology because of his attempts to formulate geological principles based on observations of rocks. A key site was Siccar Point, a sea cliff east of Edinburgh where horizontal layers of red sandstone rest on near-vertical folded layers of gray slate and sandstone. Hutton concluded that the gray rocks had been deposited horizontally, uplifted, folded, tilted, eroded, and again covered by the ocean, from which the overlying sandstone accumulated. He recognized that these processes must have taken a very long time. The boundary between the two rock sequences is called an unconformity.