Share this entry

Share this page

catastrophism

Syllabification: ca·tas·tro·phism
Pronunciation: /kəˈtastrəˌfizəm
 
/

Definition of catastrophism in English:

noun

Geology
The theory that changes in the earth’s crust during geological history have resulted chiefly from sudden violent and unusual events. Often contrasted with uniformitarianism.
Example sentences
  • This catastrophism was, on the evidence available, an attractive idea, but there was no discussion of the source of the energy to bring these upheavals about, nor any explanation of why and where they occurred as they did.
  • He rejected any notion of regional or global catastrophism; earthquakes, volcanoes and floods in the past were no more frequent or powerful on average compared to those in the present.
  • The idea paved the way for the widespread acceptance of Alvarez's theory about the demise of the dinosaurs and heralded a return to the ideas of catastrophism.

Derivatives

catastrophist

1
noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • No geologic catastrophist, Rousseau tried to portray nature's ‘deep time‘: the very slow changes that accompany more visible seasonal variations.’
  • Most years - according to the coherent catastrophists - the Earth's orbit crosses that of the Taurid Complex at a point where there is little debris, resulting in a pre-Christmas spectacle and little else.
  • But they believed that much of the geological record was formed quickly and catastrophically, as the early nineteenth-century catastrophists had believed.

Definition of catastrophism in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtenəbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure