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Hall, James

James Hall, 1811–98, American geologist and paleontologist, b. Hingham, Mass., grad. Rensselaer School (later Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), 1832. An authority on stratigraphy and invertebrate paleontology, he joined the New York state geological survey in 1836 and in 1839 became state geologist for New York. He wrote Paleontology of New York (8 vol. in 13, 1847–94), a monumental report on the paleontology of the state; his work formed the basis for the later geological histories of North America. He also served briefly as state geologist for Iowa and Wisconsin and was director (1866–94) of the New York State Museum at Albany.

See studies by R. C. Randall (1964) and J. M. Clarke (1921, repr. 1973).

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Hall, James

Hall, James (1811–98) American geologist, palaeontologist, and member of the US Geological Survey. A uniformitarian, he made detailed observations of the stratigraphy of the Appalachians. He proposed that the sediments were laid down in a trough, which subsided under their weight, before final uplift and erosion. He opposed catastrophist and contractionist hypotheses of mountain formation. See CATASTROPHISM; and CONTRACTING EARTH HYPOTHESIS.

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Hall, James

Hall, James (1761–1832) Scottish geologist and physicist who was the pioneer of experimental petrology. He was able to demonstrate (1800) that a basalt melt will crystallize if cooled slowly, thus giving important support to plutonist theory.

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