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Worlds Before AdamThe Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Reform$
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Martin J. S. Rudwick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226731285

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226731308.001.0001

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The last revolution (1824–30)

The last revolution (1824–30)

(p.177) Chapter 13 The last revolution (1824–30)
Worlds Before Adam
University of Chicago Press

This chapter traces how the “diluvial” enigma was addressed and how the effects of the “geological deluge” were being defined more precisely, or else explained away. Cuvier's and Buckland's dating of the interface or boundary event that separated the present human world and the “former world” of the rest of geohistory—equating it with the Flood recorded in Genesis and other ancient records—was widely criticized by other geologists; but almost all of them agreed nonetheless that it had been some kind of natural physical event of exceptional intensity. Sedgwick affirmed the reality of the distinction between the two classes of Superficial deposits: the more recent “Alluvial” deposits were clearly the products of ordinary actual causes, whereas the older “Diluvial” deposits were surely not. He concluded that there really had been an exceptional diluvial event or period in the geologically recent past. Whether it was recent enough to be equated with the biblical Flood was something that Sedgwick was content to leave to future research to decide.

Keywords:   geological deluge, geohistory, Superficial deposits, alluvial deposits, diluvial deposits

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