Uniformitarianism vs Catastrophism

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Uniformitarianism vs. Catastrophism Uniformitarianism and catastrophism are the two theories that are said to shape the Earth’s surface. Before James Hutton wrote his book about uniformitarianism, called Theory of the Earth, in 1788, nobody even considered that something other than catastrophism shaped the Earth’s surface. This was because they could see catastrophic change but they could not see gradual change. After Hutton published his book, people started to debate that the Earth was a lot older than they previously thought. Charles Lyell, a British geologist, reintroduced the idea of uniformitarianism when he published a series of books called Principles of Geology. Only then did people start to seriously consider that uniformitarianism was the way in which the earth was shaped. During the late 20th century, scientists began to challenge uniformitarianism. They believed that catastrophes do, at times, play a major part in shaping the Earth. Today we realize that neither uniformitarianism nor catastrophism completely explains what shapes the Earth. Though uniformitarianism and catastrophism are both the principles that are said to shape the Earth, there are some major differences. Catastrophism is the principle that states that geological change happens suddenly. This is what people originally thought shaped the Earth, which made the Earth seem not as old as it actually is. An example of catastrophism is an earthquake. This is an example of catastrophism because it shows a sudden change. Uniformitarianism is the principle that states the geological processes that happened earlier in history can be explained by the geological processes that are happening gradually today. This principle is what people began to consider shaped the Earth. An example of uniformitarianism is when rock wears away and erodes. This is an example because of the gradual nature of the
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