There is a certain mythology that has grown up in geological circles around James Hutton (1726–1797), the Scottish physician widely regarded as the father of modern geology. The legend that passes along the corridors of academia makes a good story for geology students looking for a hero. You can find versions of the legend on the web by Googling “James Hutton Hadrian’s Wall”.

According to the story, James Hutton, using his keen observation skills, discovered that the earth was unimaginably old—much older than the 5,800 years he learned during his early Presbyterian upbringing….

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