What Stories Do Rocks Tell?
ES2903  The Story in the Rock

As rivers flow over the surface of Earth, they cut canyons in some places and deposit sediments in other places. Geologists assume that rivers flowing in the past behaved in the same ways as rivers that flow today. This is an example of one of the most basic principles of geology. It is called the principle of uniformitarianism.

The principal of uniformitarianism states that the processes affecting Earth today are the same ones that affected it in the past. For another example, at an active volcano we can observe lava cooling to form layers of basalt. Therefore, any time we see layers of basalt, we can assume that they formed from cooling lava.

Jerry Sintz, BLM
The Colorado River erodes canyons and deposits sediments near Moab, Utah.

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