James Hall, known as the Father of Experimental Geology, was the eldest son of Sir John Hall of Dunglass and, as a young man, was attracted to geology and became a close friend of Dr James Hutton and his circle. He met Lavoisier in France and in 1788 addressed the Society on three occasions supporting his theory of combustion, perhaps the first in the country to support Lavoisier's new theory of chemistry. He supported Hutton's Theory of the Earth but, out of deference to Hutton, did not publish his results until Hutton had died. His fusion and cooling experiments demonstrated that lavas and whinstones, when melted and cooled rapidly, gave glasses and, when re-melted and cooled slowly, gave crystallites. He then fused limestone under pressure and crystallised it into a substance resembling marble showing that, heated under pressure, calcium carbonate does not dissociate. He also conducted experiments on the folding of strata by compression.
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presented by the sitter's son, John Hall, Esq., 1829
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