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Chamberlin, Thomas C. (1843–1928)

THOMAS C. CHAMBERLIN was an American glacial geologist and educator who, at the turn of the 20th century, challenged the generally accepted Laplacian theory that the Earth was formed by hot gases and was gradually becoming cooler. He suggested the plan-etesimal hypothesis, arguing that the planets were formed after a star passed near the Sun, pulling away material from both bodies that later condensed into the planets. Chamberlin was one of the first scientists to emphasize the role of carbon dioxide in regulating the Earths temperature, thus anticipating the current debates on global warming. Chamberlin also founded the Journal of Geology, acted as its editor for many years, and was the first director of the U.S. Geological Surveys Pleistocene Division (1881–1904).

Chamberlin was the first geologist ...

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