BBC News (March 26, 2023) – In the 1700s, geologist James Hutton discovered a rock formation in Scotland that transformed how we think about time. Through studying the rocky headland of Siccar Point, Hutton identified the existence of ‘deep time’ – proving that Earth is millions, not thousands, of years old.
James Hutton (1726–1797), a Scottish farmer and naturalist, is known as the founder of modern geology. He was a great observer of the world around him. More importantly, he made carefully reasoned geological arguments. Hutton came to believe that the Earth was perpetually being formed; for example, molten material is forced up into mountains, eroded, and then eroded sediments are washed away.
He recognized that the history of the Earth could be determined by understanding how processes such as erosion and sedimentation work in the present day. His ideas and approach to studying the Earth established geology as a proper science.