The notion of metamorphism (but not the noun itself) was originated by Hutton, two centuries ago. It took about 100 years for the old Neptunian concept of "terrains primitifs" to be definitively abandoned, in France, and replaced by the new one of transformations imposed by the rising temperature. During the first half of the 20th century, zoneographic systems were developed. In the French Massif central, that one of Jung and Roques was almost exclusively used, for more than twenty years. Such a theory has been invalidated by a great amount of field observations and with the aid of new working methods. The search of solutions to the problems arising from observations of reverse metamorphic series and of leptyno-amphibolic complexes largely helped to advance ideas on metamorphism. To day, metamorphism appears as intimately linked to tectogenesis. Both of them permit to dissipate the energy brought upwards from the interior of the Earth to particular regions of the lithosphere, according to the theory of plate tectonics.

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