Tuesday, August 30, 2011

James Hutton.

James Hutton was an early geologist, He's even called the "Father of modern geology"

He was born in Scotland on the 14th of June in 1726. He was one of five children of a merchant who was Edinburgh City Treasurer, who sadly, died when James was still young.
James' mother insisted that he get and education at the Edinburgh High school, where he was mainly interested in Math and science. He then attended the University of Edinburgh when he was 14.

Hutton inherited from his father the Berwickshire farms of Slighhouses, a lowland farm which had been in the family since 1713, and the hill farm of Nether Monynut. In the early 1750s he moved to Slighhouses and set about making improvements, introducing farming practices from other parts of Britain and experimenting with plant and animal husbandry. He recorded his ideas and innovations in an unpublished treatise on The Elements of Agriculture.

This developed his interest in meteorology and geology. In a 1753 letter he wrote that he had "become very fond of studying the surface of the earth, and was looking with anxious curiosity into every pit or ditch or bed of a river that fell in his way”. Clearing and draining his farm provided ample opportunities. Playfair describes Hutton as having noticed that “a vast proportion of the present rocks are composed of materials afforded by the destruction of bodies, animal, vegetable and mineral, of more ancient formation”.

His theoretical ideas began to come together in 1760. While his farming activities continued, in 1764 he went on a geological tour of the north of Scotland with James Clerk Maxwell, ancestor of the famous James Clerk Maxwell.