The age of the Earth and the invention of geological time

  title={The age of the Earth and the invention of geological time},
  author={Joe D. Burchfield},
  journal={Geological Society, London, Special Publications},
  pages={137 - 143}
  • J. Burchfield
  • Published 1998
  • Geology
  • Geological Society, London, Special Publications
Abstract During Charles Lyell’s lifetime the concept of geological time was gradually rendered meaningful through the construction of a heuristic geological timescale, the development of quantitative methods to calculate the duration of that scale, and the acceptance of a quantitatively determinable limit to the age of the Earth. This paper describes a few episodes in the process of ‘inventing’ the concept of geological time, episodes chosen primarily for their relevance to the work of Lyell. 
Dating: an analytical task
Dating of archeological and geological materials is an important task in the fields of history, anthropology, archeology, geology, paleontology, etc. which can be achieved from a variety of sources
Governing through the climate : climate change, the anthropocene, and global governmentality
The concept of anthropogenic climate change is now understood in the discipline of International Relations (IR) as an urgent environmental problem enveloping the globe. It underlies recent claims
Dinosaurs in Iowa. Or: On Reading Fossils
Abstract: In light of current debates over the so-called Anthropocene, “Dinosaurs in Iowa” revisits the early days of geology as a science and proposes that the humanities reconsider Charles Lyell’s
Geology as an Historical Science: Its Perception within Science and the Education System
For much of the 20th century, geology has largely been ignored as a pre-college science subject in many English-speaking nations. In this paper, we examine some of the historical based influences
Climatic Consequences of Long-term Global Salination of Ocean
The long-term salination of two major osmolyte systems, the ocean and the inner environment of vertebrates has been compared and it is assumed that unless mitigative measures of global proportion will be implemented, biodiversity of life on Earth will be endangered by the salinity of oceans and the shrinkage of the fresh water resources.
Electrochemical dating: a review
The suitability of electrochemical methods for dating archaeological materials is discussed on the basis of the general requirements for defining ‘electrochemical clocks’. Solid state
Using time by students and teachers: obstacles and explanatory register in coupling biology-geology
In this paper , we shall discuss, theoretically, obstacles and explanatory register to understand how to build a problem in science, especially when using time in coupling geology and biology. We
Secularity and the Limits of Reason in Swinburne's “Hymn to Proserpine” and “Hymn of Man”
As the philosopher Charles Taylor argues, some experiences of the secular have surprisingly little to do with the “self-sufficient power of reason” that Kant celebrates in “What Is Enlightenment?”
Reassessing religious experience in a scientific age: early approaches to religious pluralism
In this thesis I am investigating the religious ideas of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, H. P. Blavatsky and Annie Besant as examples of early approaches to religious pluralism. In this context, the term


Lord Kelvin and the Age of the Earth.
Burchfield charts the enormous impact made by Lord Kelvin's application of thermodynamic laws to the question of the earth's age and the heated debate his ideas sparked among British Victorian
Principles of Geology
One of the key works in the nineteenth-century battle between science and Scripture, Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology (1830-33) sought to explain the geological state of the modern Earth by
Geological Time and Psychological Time
The ‘flow’ of time from the future to the past through a dimensionless present is a dramatic feature of our experience. In this paper I argue that the flow of time has found its way into the practice
On the comparative value of certain geological ages (or groups of formations) considered as items of geological time
  • A. Ramsay
  • Geology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London
  • 1874
There are several methods by which attempts have been made to estimate the value of minor portions of geological time, one of which is founded on calculations of the probable age of deltas, deduced
Geochronology, Time Scales, and Global Stratigraphic Correlation - The last decade has witnessed significant advances in analytic techniques and methodologic approaches to understanding earth
Growth of a prehistoric time scale
GROWTH OF A PREHISTORIC TIME SCALE, William B. N. Berry, 158 pp., $5.75, W. H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco, California, 1968. The application of the principle of evolution through natural
Basin and Range
The first of John McPhee's works in his series on geology and geologists, "Basin and Range "is a book of journeys through ancient terrains, always in juxtaposition with travels in the modern world--a
Darwin and the Dilemma of Geological Time
J T.JE WHO CAN READ Sir Charles Lyell's grand work on the Principles of 11 Geology, which the future historian will recognize as having produced a revolution in natural science, yet does not admit
The Geological Survey of Great Britain as a Research School, 1839–1855
Early in 1847 Leonard Horner, factory inspector and president of the Geological Society of London, delivered the customary address on. the scientific accomplishments of the preceding year. With good