Whitehurst, John; An Inquiry into the Original State and Formation of the Earth before the Deluge; deduced from facts and the Laws of Nature. To which is added an appendix, containing some general observations on the Strata in Derbyshire. With sections of them, representing their Arrangement, Affinities, and the Mutations they have suffered at different periods of time. Intended to illustrate the preceding inquiries, and as a Specimen of Subterraneous Geography. By John Whitehurst. London: Printed for the author, and W. Bent, by J. Cooper in Drury-Lane; and sold at G. Robinson's in Pater-Noster Row, 1778. Quarto, pp. half-title, title, 11 page list of subscribers, ii, 2, 199, 6 engraved plates on 4 sheets (one folding).
The work is complete and in a contemporary calf and marbled boards with gilt titles. spine edges and corners nicely restored, text and plates are very clean. In very good condition.
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An English clockmaker and geologist; Whitehurst (1713-1788) made major contributions to the earth sciences. In geology he is remembered as a pioneer who did work in Derbyshire in which he established for the first time the succession of the Carboniferous strata: limestone, Millstone grit (named by him), and coal measures. The first edition of his theory of the earth is found in the above work. He maintains that all fossil-bearing stratified rocks were once on the ocean floor and raised to their present position by catastrophic events. These events were caused by internal fire bursting out to meet a primordial ocean thus causing explosions which shattered the earth's crust. His theories were developed after studying the rocks and fossils in his native Derbyshire. His studies established Whitehurst as the first proponent of the principle of a worldwide orderly superposition of strata, each with its characteristic lithology and fossils - "the strata invariable follow each other" he said "as if it were in alphabetical order". The work is accompanied by some of the finest illustrations of geological sections of the time.