This unique addition to reference literature provides an introduction to the major concepts and contemporary issues that are essential for students of environmental science and environmental studies to know. With over 200 entries authored by world-class names like Anthony Brazel, John Day and Edward Keller, this text is divided into six sections: Environmental Science, Environments, Paradigms & Concepts, Processes & Dynamics, Scales & Techniques, and Environmental Issues.
Catastrophism is the theory that the Earth's geological and biological processes have been affected by sudden and violent events thus complementing uniformitarianism and gradualism that had succeeded more catastrophic views of the 19th century. Such catastrophic views, prompted by the French naturalist Baron Georges Cuvier (1769–1832), prevailed until the mid-19th century, assuming that catastrophic events had shaped the Earth but were succeeded by more uniformitarian ideas and by gradualism (that geologic change occurs slowly over long periods of time). Catatrophism was revived in the late 20th century because it was realized that events of great magnitude and low frequency can be very influential. It was originally developed, as neocatastrophism, in the mid-20th century, to account for sudden and massive extinction of life forms in palaeontology ...