Relative dating of geological features
The word is derived from the Greek γῆ, gê, meaning "earth" and λόγος, logos, meaning "speech".But according to another source, the word "Geology" comes from the Norwegian, Mikkel Pedersøn Escholt (1600–1699), who was a priest and scholar.The most significant advances in 20th century geology have been the development of the theory of plate tectonics in the 1960s, and the refinement of estimates of the planet's age.Plate tectonic theory arose out of two separate geological observations: seafloor spreading and continental drift. Today the Earth is known to be approximately 4.5 billion years old.Escholt first used the definition in his book titled, Geologica Norvegica (1657).William Smith (1769–1839) drew some of the first geological maps and began the process of ordering rock strata (layers) by examining the fossils contained in them.By the early 20th century, radiometric dating allowed the Earth's age to be estimated at two billion years.The awareness of this vast amount of time opened the door to new theories about the processes that shaped the planet.
Hutton published a two-volume version of his ideas in 1795 ( Vol. Sir Charles Lyell first published his famous book, Principles of Geology, in 1830.James Hutton is often viewed as the first modern geologist.In 1785 he presented a paper entitled Theory of the Earth to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.Much of 19th-century geology revolved around the question of the Earth's exact age.Estimates varied from a few 100,000 to billions of years.
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Geology can also refer generally to the study of the solid features of any celestial body (such as the geology of the Moon or Mars).