Siccar Point, Scotland – Horizontal red sandstone bedding overlaying vertically bedded greywacke. (Source: Dave Souza at Wikipedia)

by Brendan

Yesterday I came across a documentary about some of the Scottish scientists who were instrumental in the development of geology as the science we now know. Presented by Iain Stewart, a Scottish geology professor, the first episode traces the early work of James Hutton. Hutton was one of the first proponents of deep time, as well as developing theories on plutonism and uniformitarianism.Deep time is the foundation of the geologic timescale, which shows that the Earth is very old, much older than the biblical timescale that was prominent in Hutton’s time. Plutonism is the process by which rocks are formed by the cooling of molten magma, either in volcanoes or sub-surface intrusions. Uniformitarianism is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes operate now that operating in the past, meaning the processes the when (or Hutton) observe, such as erosion, have always occurred. Stewart takes on a journey to visit a number of sites around Scotland that were integral in the development of these theories by Hutton, so there is plenty of rocks to look at.

Now the best bit about documentary is that is available freely on YouTube, so anyone can watch if they are interested. There is another two episodes in the series but I haven’t watched them yet, they can be found on YouTube as well.