Geological deluge and biblical Flood (1819–24)

in Worlds Before Adam

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780226731285
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226731308 | DOI:
Geological deluge and biblical Flood (1819–24)

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This chapter discusses the research conducted by William Buckland. Buckland's famous inaugural lecture at Oxford focused on the problems of the Superficial deposits, interpreting them as the physical traces of the “geological deluge” that he identified as the biblical flood. His “diluvial” research was enhanced by the chance discovery of Kirkdale Cave in Yorkshire, with its rich haul of fossil bones. Buckland interpreted Kirkdale Cave sensationally as a former hyena den, and its fossil bones as relics of a vanished “antediluvial” ecosystem. Like Cuvier, he claimed that this megafauna had been wiped out by the sudden and geologically recent “deluge” that he equated with the biblical Flood. This diluvial theory was supported not only by Buckland's own earlier research on landforms and Superficial deposits, which he interpreted in terms of the same drastic event, but also by his exploration of new bone caves elsewhere in Britain.

Keywords: Willian Buckland; fossils; hyenas; deluge; floods; Kirkdale Cave

Chapter.  7579 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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