Lyell wrote the Principles of Geology. Principles of Geology being an attempt to explain the former changes of the Earth’s surface. Published in three volumes in 1830–33. It established Lyell’s credentials as an important geological theorist and popularised the doctrine of uniformitarianism. The central argument in Principleswas that “the present is the key to the past”: that geological remains from the distant past can, and should, be explained by reference to geological processes now in operation.
Lyell’s interpretation of geologic change as the steady accumulation of minute changes over enormously long spans of time was also a central theme in the Principles, and a powerful influence on the young Charles Darwin, who was given Volume 1. Darwin found rock formations which gave him a revolutionary insight into the geological history of the island. Darwin received Volume 2, which rejected the idea of organic evolution, proposing “Centres of Creation” to explain diversity and territory of species.
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