Friday, November 13, 2009

Lyell was a closeted catastrophist?

A recent (re?)-discovery by fellow Yeehow JEO:

Not so fresh geofroth, but insightful nevertheless:

Our historical figure states thusly...

"The power which running water may exert, in the lapse of ages, in widening and deepening a valley, does not so much depend on the volume and velocity of the stream usually flowing in it, as on the number and magnitude of the obstructions which have, at different periods, opposed its free passage."

which follows upon...

"It is evident, therefore, that when we are speculating on the excavating force which running water may have exerted in a particular valley, the most important question is not the volume of the existing stream, nor the present levels of the river-channel, nor the size of the gravel, but the probability of a a succession of floods, at some period since the time when some of the land in question may have been first elevated..."

Who is our extrafluvial catastrophist?

None other than Charles Lyell!

Lyell, C., 1830, The Principles of Geology, vol. i. John Murray, London.
The first quote is from page 192, and refers directly to floods resulting from breached obstructions as key to forming valleys. The second quote is from page 188.

Posted via email from Fresh Geologic Froth

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