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2 rocks are older as newer sediments the result of erosion and other continuous processes are deposited on the surface. Hutton concluded his paper with his now- famous and for him unusually succinct statement The result therefore of our present enquiry is that we find no vestige of a beginningno prospect of an end. Causes Now in Operation The first quarter of the nineteenth century was a turning point in the history of geology. It was then that factsas opposed to scripture became the basis of geological theory. Although many scientiststheologians tried to reconcile the new geology with biblical accounts it became increasingly clear Earth was not only much older than anyone previously thought but older than anyone had ever imagined not thousands of years old but millions. Hutton laid the foundations of modern geology and set the stage for Charles Lyell who codified the idea of uniformitarianism in his three-volume work Principles of Geology 1830-1833. The subtitle said it all An attempt to explain the former changes of the Earths surface by reference to causes now in operation. Principles had a profound effect on mid- nineteenth century science. It popularized the idea of slow but steady change what we would now call gradualism and convinced most geologists Earth was very old.