In the early days, Werner’s concept of universal lithologic continuity had considerable effect on the correlations of beds in the United States with those in Europe. Some of these correlations were of course erroneous, but this concept had a direct and, later, an indirect effect on the correlation of formations within the United States and the placement of boundaries between systems. The influence of William Smith’s work on stratigraphic paleontology and its emphasis on correlation by fossils later discredited most of the teachings of Werner. George Cuvier’s theory of cataclysms, though long ago rejected as a widespread operational concept, still...

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