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Related to Plutonism: volcanism


Pertaining to the processes associated with pluton formation.
The theory that the earth formed by solidification of a molten mass.
A disease caused by exposure to plutonium, manifested in experimental animals by graying of the hair, liver degeneration, and tumor formation.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a theory popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries assigning a major role to internal forces in the geological history of the earth.

Plutonism, as a definite system of views, was introduced by J. Hutton (1788, 1795). According to Hutton, external forces, such as water and organisms, help to alter the relief, breaking down rock and accumulating as stratified sediments on the sea bottom. The marine sediments, in sinking into the deeper zones of the earth’s crust, are crystallized and compacted, collected into folds, and broken by faults. This is followed by convulsive uplifting, usually accompanied by the intrusion of molten masses that harden to form igneous rock (granites).

Having returned to the surface, the rock is again subjected to decomposition and redeposition, and the circulation of matter commences again. Thus, the plutonism of Hutton was an important component in the hypothesis of the cyclical change in the earth’s crust. This hypothesis derived from Hutton’s one-sided notion of the constancy of geological forces in terms of their type, speed of action, and strength of manifestation.

Plutonism was in direct opposition to neptunism, which rejected any significance of internal geological factors. In the early 19th century, the volcanic origin of basalts was proved, as was the role of the internal energy of the earth in volcanic processes and earthquakes. These developments contributed to the general rejection of neptunism. Some members of the plutonist school ascribed decisive significance to volcanic phenomena in the history of the earth’s surface, as did such representatives of the school of volcanism and catastrophism as A. von Humboldt and L. von Buch. The volcanists and plutonists maintained views that differed significantly, but they were united in their recognition of the major role of the inner forces in the earth’s history. This conclusion remains valid up to the present.


Belousov, V. V. “‘Teoriia Zemli’ Dzhemsa Gettona (k 150-letiiu so dnia opublikovaniia).” Priroda, 1938, nos. 7–8.
Tikhomirov, V. V., and V. E. Khain. Kratkii ocherk istorii geologii Moscow, 1956.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the Kingston arc-backarc system, slab break-off and the termination of continental subduction is interpreted to have occurred in the mid-Silurian between 432 [+ or -] 2 Ma, the youngest age of arc volcanism, and 428 [+ or -] 1 Ma, the oldest age of post-collision plutonism in the Saint George Batholith.
"Cuba" is one of the many dispersed fragments that resulted from the "plutonism" of the neobaroque.
The Earth in transformation: Neptunism and Plutonism
In the study area, most foliated felsic intrusions are assigned to the McKiel Lake Granite, which, in addition to exposures in the type area at McKiel Lake, includes a large body on the south side of the Catamaran Brook Fault that was probably originally (prior to Silurian-Devonian plutonism) contiguous with foliated granite in the upper part of Burnthill Brook (Fig.
Evidence for a pulse of 1.45 Ga anorthosite-mangerite-charnockitegranite (AMCG) plutonism in Lithuania: implications for the Mesoproterozoic evolution of the East European Craton.
Peyrovan, H., (1992) Petrographic, petrologic and geochemical studies of intrusive rocks north of Abhar and the association of plutonism in the area with mineralization, MSc thesis, Tarbiyat Moalem University.
11a, b) have been oblitered by subsequent erosion and profuse Permo-Triassic plutonism (Colanguil batholith; Llambias and Sato, 1990, 1995; Sato et al., 1990) and volcanism (Choiyoi Group; Sato and Llambias, 1993; Llambias et al., 2003).
Exposed crustal cross sections provide a direct view of continental crust, and are a major source of insight into variations in lithologic and geochemical composition, structural style, metamorphism, plutonism, and rheology.