Deep time is the concept of geologic time. The philosophical concept of deep time was developed in the 18th century by Scottish geologist James Hutton (1726–1797); billion years.his "system of the habitable Earth" was a deistic mechanism keeping the world eternally suitable for humans. The modern concept shows huge changes over the age of the Earth which has been determined to be, after a long and complex history of developments, around 4.55
Hutton based his view of deep time on a form of geochemistry that had developed in Scotland and Scandinavia from the 1750s onward.As mathematician John Playfair, one of Hutton's friends and colleagues in the Scottish Enlightenment, remarked upon seeing the strata of the angular unconformity at Siccar Point with Hutton and James Hall in June 1788, "the mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time".
Early geologists such as Nicolas Steno (1638-1686) and Horace-Bénédict de Saussure (1740-1799) had developed ideas of geological strata forming from water through chemical processes, which Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749–1817) developed into a theory known as Neptunism, envisaging the slow crystallisation of minerals in the ancient oceans of the Earth to form rock. Hutton's innovative 1785 theory, based on Plutonism, visualised an endless cyclical process of rocks forming under the sea, being uplifted and tilted, then eroded to form new strata under the sea. In 1788 the sight of Hutton's Unconformity at Siccar Point convinced Playfair and Hall of this extremely slow cycle, and in that same year Hutton memorably wrote "we find no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end".
Other scientists such as Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) put forward ideas of past ages, and geologists such as Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) incorporated Werner's ideas into concepts of catastrophism; Sedgwick inspired his university student Charles Darwin to exclaim "What a capital hand is Sedgewick [sic] for drawing large cheques upon the Bank of Time!".In a competing theory, Charles Lyell in his Principles of Geology (1830–1833) developed Hutton's comprehension of endless deep time as a crucial scientific concept into uniformitarianism. As a young naturalist and geological theorist, Darwin studied the successive volumes of Lyell's book exhaustively during the Beagle survey voyage in the 1830s, before beginning to theorise about evolution.
Physicist Gregory Benford addresses the concept in Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia (1999), as does paleontologist and Nature editor Henry Gee in In Search of Deep Time: Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life (2001)Stephen Jay Gould's Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle (1987) also deals in large part with the evolution of the concept.
John McPhee discussed "deep time" at length with the layperson in mind in Basin and Range (1981), parts of which originally appeared in the New Yorker magazine.In Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle, Gould cited one of the metaphors McPhee used in explaining the concept of deep time:
Consider the Earth's history as the old measure of the English yard, the distance from the King's nose to the tip of his outstretched hand. One stroke of a nail file on his middle finger erases human history.
Concepts similar to geologic time were recognized in the 11th century by the Persian geologist and polymath Avicenna (Ibn Sina, 973–1037),and by the Chinese naturalist and polymath Shen Kuo (1031–1095).
The Roman Catholic theologian Thomas Berry (1914–2009) explored spiritual implications of the concept of deep time. Berry proposes that a deep understanding of the history and functioning of the evolving universe is a necessary inspiration and guide for our own effective functioning as individuals and as a species. This view has greatly influenced the development of deep ecology and ecophilosophy. The experiential nature of the experience of deep time has also greatly influenced the work of Joanna Macy.
H.G. Wells and Julian Huxley regarded the difficulties of coping with the concept of deep time as exaggerated:
"The use of different scales is simply a matter of practice", they said in The Science of Life (1929). "We very soon get used to maps, though they are constructed on scales down to a hundred-millionth of natural size. . . to grasp geological time all that is needed is to stick tight to some magnitude which shall be the unit on the new and magnified scale—a million years is probably the most convenient—to grasp its meaning once and for all by an effort of imagination, and then to think of all passage of geological time in terms of this unit."
Geology is an earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Geology can also include the study of the solid features of any terrestrial planet or natural satellite such as Mars or the Moon. Modern geology significantly overlaps all other earth sciences, including hydrology and the atmospheric sciences, and so is treated as one major aspect of integrated earth system science and planetary science.
The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that relates geological strata (stratigraphy) to time. It is used by geologists, paleontologists, and other Earth scientists to describe the timing and relationships of events that have occurred during Earth's history. The table of geologic time spans, presented here, agree with the nomenclature, dates and standard color codes set forth by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).
James Hutton was a Scottish geologist, physician, chemical manufacturer, naturalist, and experimental agriculturalist. He contributed to what was later called 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 helped to establish geology as a science, and as a result he is often referred to as the "Father of Modern Geology", though these principles were already in use by others including Buffon.
Uniformitarianism, also known as the Doctrine of Uniformity, is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in our present-day scientific observations have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe. It refers to invariance in the metaphysical principles underpinning science, such as the constancy of cause and effect throughout space-time, but has also been used to describe spatiotemporal invariance of physical laws. Though an unprovable postulate that cannot be verified using the scientific method, some consider that uniformitarianism should be a required first principle in scientific research. Other scientists disagree and consider that nature is not absolutely uniform, even though it does exhibit certain regularities.
Historical geology or paleogeology is a discipline that uses the principles and techniques of geology to reconstruct and understand the geological history of Earth. It focuses on geologic processes that change the Earth's surface and subsurface; and the use of stratigraphy, structural geology and paleontology to tell the sequence of these events. It also focuses on the evolution of plants and animals during different time periods in the geological timescale. The discovery of radioactivity and the development of several radiometric dating techniques in the first half of the 20th century provided a means of deriving absolute versus relative ages of geologic history.
The Old Red Sandstone is an assemblage of rocks in the North Atlantic region largely of Devonian age. It extends in the east across Great Britain, Ireland and Norway, and in the west along the northeastern seaboard of North America. It also extends northwards into Greenland and Svalbard. In Britain it is a lithostratigraphic unit to which stratigraphers accord supergroup status and which is of considerable importance to early paleontology. For convenience the short version of the term, ORS is often used in literature on the subject. The term was coined to distinguish the sequence from the younger New Red Sandstone which also occurs widely throughout Britain.
An unconformity is a buried erosional or non-depositional surface separating two rock masses or strata of different ages, indicating that sediment deposition was not continuous. In general, the older layer was exposed to erosion for an interval of time before deposition of the younger, but the term is used to describe any break in the sedimentary geologic record. The significance of angular unconformity was shown by James Hutton, who found examples of Hutton's Unconformity at Jedburgh in 1787 and at Siccar Point in 1788.
Flood geology is the attempt to interpret and reconcile geological features of the Earth in accordance with a literal belief in the global flood described in Genesis 6–8. In the early 19th century, diluvial geologists hypothesized that specific surface features were evidence of a worldwide flood which had followed earlier geological eras; after further investigation they agreed that these features resulted from local floods or glaciers. In the 20th century, young Earth creationists revived flood geology as an overarching concept in their opposition to evolution, assuming a recent six-day Creation and cataclysmic geological changes during the Biblical Deluge, and incorporating creationist explanations of the sequence of rock strata.
Sir James Hall of Dunglass, 4th Baronet FRS FRSE was a Scottish geologist and geophysicist. He was a Member of Parliament for St. Michael's borough 1807–1812.
Dunglass is a hamlet in East Lothian, Scotland, lying east of the Lammermuir Hills on the North Sea coast, within the parish of Oldhamstocks. It has a 15th-century collegiate church, now in the care of Historic Scotland. Dunglass is the birthplace of Sir James Hall, an 18th-century Scottish geologist and geophysicist. The name Dunglass comes from the Brittonic for "grey-green hill".
Of the many unconformities (gaps) observed in geological strata, the term Great Unconformity is frequently applied to either the unconformity observed by James Hutton in 1787 at Siccar Point in Scotland, or that observed by John Wesley Powell in the Grand Canyon in 1869. Both instances are exceptional examples of where the contacts between sedimentary strata and either sedimentary or crystalline strata of greatly different ages, origins, and structure represent periods of geologic time sufficiently long to raise great mountains and then erode them away.
Cockburnspath is a village in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It lies near the North Sea coast between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh. It is at the eastern extremity of the Southern Upland Way a long-distance footpath from the west to east coast of Scotland. It is also the termini of the Sir Walter Scott Way and the Berwickshire Coastal Path. At the nearby village of Cove, there is a small fishing harbour.
Siccar Point is a rocky promontory in the county of Berwickshire on the east coast of Scotland. It is famous in the history of geology for Hutton's Unconformity found in 1788, which James Hutton regarded as conclusive proof of his uniformitarian theory of geological development.
The geology of Scotland is unusually varied for a country of its size, with a large number of differing geological features. There are three main geographical sub-divisions: the Highlands and Islands is a diverse area which lies to the north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault; the Central Lowlands is a rift valley mainly comprising Palaeozoic formations; and the Southern Uplands, which lie south of the Southern Uplands Fault, are largely composed of Silurian deposits.
Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time is a 1987 history of geology by the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, in which the author offers a historical account of the conceptualization of Deep Time and uniformitarianism using the works of the English theologian Thomas Burnet, and the Scottish geologists James Hutton and Charles Lyell.
The history of geology is concerned with the development of the natural science of geology. Geology is the scientific study of the origin, history, and structure of the Earth.
Hutton's Unconformity is a name given to various notable geological sites in Scotland identified by the 18th-century Scottish geologist James Hutton as places where the junction between two types of rock formations can be seen. This geological phenomenon marks the location where rock formations created at different times and by different forces adjoin. For Hutton, such an unconformity provided evidence for his Plutonist theories of uniformitarianism and the age of the Earth.
A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes the Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that shape them. Geologists usually study geology, although backgrounds in physics, chemistry, biology, and other sciences are also useful. Field work is an important component of geology, although many subdisciplines incorporate laboratory work.
Scriptural geologists were a heterogeneous group of writers in the early nineteenth century, who claimed "the primacy of literalistic biblical exegesis" and a short Young Earth time-scale. Their views were marginalised and ignored by the scientific community of their time. They "had much the same relationship to 'philosophical' geologists as their indirect descendants, the twentieth-century creationists." Paul Wood describes them as "mostly Anglican evangelicals" with "no institutional focus and little sense of commonality". They generally lacked any background in geology, and had little influence even in church circles.
A geological contact is a boundary which separates one rock body from another. There are three different types of contacts, which are divided into primary contacts and secondary contacts. Primary contacts include depositional, unconformable, and intrusive contacts. Secondary contacts include those induced by tectonic activity such as fault contacts and shear zones.