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In the nineteenth century, geology emerged as a distinct academic discipline. It pointed the way towards the theory of evolution, as scientists including Gideon Mantell, Adam Sedgwick, Charles Lyell and Roderick Murchison began to use the evidence of minerals, rock formations and fossils to demonstrate that the Earth was older by millions of years than the conventional, Bible-based wisdom had supposed. They argued convincingly that the climate, flora and fauna of the distant past could be deduced from geological evidence. Volcanic activity, the formation of mountains, and the action of glaciers and rivers, tides and ocean currents also became better understood. This series includes landmark publications by pioneers of the modern earth sciences, who advanced the scientific understanding of our planet and the processes by which it is constantly re-shaped.

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