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In 1830-33, Charles Lyell laid the foundations of evolutionary biology with Principles of Geology, a pioneering book that Charles Darwin took with him on the Beagle. Volume 1 discusses the effects on the Earth's crust of climate change, running water, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, and supports James Hutton's theory of uniformitarianism, now a guiding principle of geology. Volume 2 (1832) focuses on plants and animals, their distribution, diffusion, migrations and adaptation to changing habitats, and considers the theories of Lamarck, while Volume 3 periodises sedimentary and volcanic rock formations and considers the marine fossil record. The books are generously illustrated and thoroughly indexed. Lyell writes with infectious enthusiasm, conveying the excitement of his fieldwork and discoveries in this landmark book, which remains of interest to geologists and historians of science alike.
Volume I: 1. Geology defined; 2. Oriental cosmogony; 3. Arabian writers of the tenth century; 4. Werner's application of geology to the art of mining; 5. Review of the causes which have retarded the progress of geology; 6. Proofs that the climate of the northern hemisphere was formerly hotter; 7. On the causes of vicissitudes in climate; 8. Geological proofs that the geographical features of the northern hemisphere were such as would give rise to an extremely hot climate; 9. Theory of the progressive development of organic life considered; 10. Division of the subject into changes of the organic and inorganic world; 11. Action of running water, continued; 12. Difference between the transporting power of springs and rivers; 13. Reproductive effects of running water; 14. Oceanic Δs; 15. Destroying and transporting effects of tides and currents; 16. Action of tides and currents, continued; 17. Reproductive effects of tides and currents; 18. Division of igneous agents into the volcano and the earthquake; 19. History of the volcanic eruptions in the district of Naples; 20. Dimensions and structure of the cone of Vesuvius; 21. External physiognomy of Etna; 22. Volcanic Archipelagos; 23. Earthquakes and their effects; 24. Earthquake in Calabria, February 5th, 1783; 25. Earthquakes of the eighteenth century, continued; 26. Magnitude of the subterranean changes produced by earthquakes at great depths below the surface; Volume II: Preface; 1. Changes of the organic world; 2. Recapitulation of the arguments; 3. Variability of a species; 4. Consideration of the question whether species have a real existence; 5. Laws which regulate the geographical distribution of species; 6. Geographical distribution of animals; 7. Geographical distribution and migration of fish; 8. Theories respecting the original introduction of species; 9. The circumstances which constitute the stations of animals are changeable; 10. Influence of organic causes in changing the habitations of species; 11. Theory of the successive extinction of species; 12. Effects produced by the powers of vitality; 13. Effects produced by the action of animals and vegetable life; 14. Imbedding of organic remains in alluvium and the ruins caused by landslips; 15. Imbedding of organic remains in subaqueous deposits; 16. Imbedding of the remains of man and his works in subaqueous strata; 17. Imbedding of aquatic species in subaqueous strata; 18. Formation of coral reefs; Volume III: 1. Connexion between the subjects treated of in the former parts of this work and those to be discussed in the present volume; 2. Arrangement of the materials composing the earth's crust; 3. Different circumstances under which the secondary and tertiary formations may have originated; 4. Chronological relations of mineral masses the first object in geological classification; 5. Classification of tertiary formations in chronological order; 6. Newer Pliocene formations; 7. Marine and volcanic formations at the base of Etna; 8. Speculations on the origin of the Val del Bove on Etna; 9. Origin of the newer Pliocene strata of Sicily; 10. Tertiary formations of Campania; 11. Newer Pliocene freshwater formations; 12. Geological monuments of the older Pliocene period; 13. Crag of Norfolk and Suffolk; 14. Volcanic rocks of the older Pliocene period; 15. Miocene period; 16. Miocene alluviums; 17. Eocene period; 18. Marine formations of the Eocene period; 19. Volcanic rocks of the Eocene period; 20. Eocene formations, continued; 21. Denudation of secondary strata during the deposition of the English Eocene formations; 22. Denudation of the Valley of the Weald, continued; 23. Secondary formations; 24. On the relative antiquity of different mountain-chains; 25. On the rocks usually termed 'primary'; 26. On the stratified rocks usually called 'primary'.