By Charles Lyell
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:August 2010
Original Publication Year:1830
Subjects: Geomorphology and Physical Geography , Evolutionary Biology
In 1830–33, Charles Lyell laid the foundations of evolutionary biology with Principles of Geology, a pioneering three-volume book that Charles Darwin took with him on the Beagle. Lyell championed the ideas of geologist James Hutton, who formulated one of the fundamental principles of modern geology – uniformitarianism. This proposed that natural processes always operate according to the same laws, allowing us to understand how features of the Earth's surface were produced by physical, chemical, and biological processes over long periods of time. Volume 1 consists of 26 chapters, a comprehensive index and woodcut illustrations of various mechanisms of geological change. Lyell begins with a definition of geology and then reviews ancient theories of the successive destruction and renovation of the world. He mentions James Hutton's ideas in chapter four, and goes on to discuss the effects of climate change, running water, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes on the Earth's crust.