The physical models were open to question and, in retrospect, were naive. It became quite clear that many areas of the Earth had alternated between being land and being covered by seas, that there had been extensive slow sedimentation, that the mountains had not been created in situ as is but rather had a long history of slow deformation, and that long periods of erosion had shaped the Earth everywhere.By the early 1800's it was generally accepted that the Earth had a long history. The uniformatarians (Hutton 1788, Lyell 1830) pictured the Earth as being indefinitely old.

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The account in Genesis is replete with miracles that do not stand up under rational analysis.

This did not matter; the theological perspective did not require physical rationalization.

The story of this great change in the conception of the history of Earth is not a simple one.

The chronicle of this great change can be broken into five periods; ran from AD 1600-1700.

It was not ruled out, per se, but it was not necessary. In the new science, however, rational explanation was desirable. In 1640 Ussher produced his famous calculation that the Earth was created in 4004 BC.

In 1637 Descartes produced a cosmogony that was highly influential for more than a century. It was not in their estimates of the age of the Earth - Descartes retained the biblical date.

Many authors choose to present the history of a complex subject by breaking it up into major threads and following the history of each thread separately.

I have chosen instead to provide a chronology of significant works and their authors with a view to providing a sense of how perspectives on Geology changed over time.

These cosmogonies were part of the new emphasis of science in seeking rational explanations of the features of the world. This period was marked by a great deal of field geology rather than grand cosmogonies.

It became clear that there had been significant changes in the Earth's topography over time and that these changes could neither be accounted for by natural processes operating during the brief nor by the postulated Noachian flood.

If, in the year AD 1600, you had asked an educated European how old the planet Earth was and to recount its history he would have said that it was about 6000 years old and that its ancient history was given by the biblical account in Genesis.