Dictionary of Geotourism

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anze Chen, Young Ng, Erkuang Zhang, Mingzhong Tian

Neptunism

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_1738

Neptunism was a theory of geology popular from the end of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century that opposed the theory of plutonism. The major proponent was Professor Abraham Werner (1749–1817), who worked at the Mining Academy in Freiberg (Saxony), Germany. The theory stated that during the early stage of the formation of Earth, its surface was completely covered by an ‘original ocean’. All rocks were created by crystallization of dissolved materials in seawater. A thick layer of granite, known as the ‘original rock layer’, formed first, followed by metamorphic rocks covering the original granite. Later, flooding occurred throughout the world, and mountains composed of early crystallized rocks were eroded to form sedimentary rocks, known as the ‘transition layer’. The basalts within the sedimentary layers were interpreted as ash left by the burning of coal seams. Volcanoes were considered to be the result of the burning of underground coal and sulphur....

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