Talk:Hesperian

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Catastrophic?[edit]

"characterized by widespread volcanic activity and catastrophic flooding" - can something be a catastrophe if there is no-one around to be adversely affected by it? (AFAWK.) I thought that 'catastrophe' specifically meant 'bad' rather than just 'had a significant effect', but perhaps geologists use it differently. --86.150.60.188 (talk) 07:57, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

In geology the word usually means sudden and rapid as opposed to slow and gradual (i.e., happening in a geologic instant rather than over very long periods of time). I think the use goes back to the early days of the science when the primary debate was catastrophism vs. gradualism. Schaffman (talk) 10:22, 8 August 2011 (UTC)