James Hall, a baronet from East Lothian and an alumnus of Edinburgh University, is considered to be the founder of experimental geology. After his friend James Hutton's death, he set out to prove Hutton's theory that the interior of the Earth was hot. He carried out over 500 experiments, many at some personal risk. He melted basalt in an iron furnace and proved that it resumed its original form on cooling. By heating limestone in a sealed gun barrel he showed that it did not decompose if heated under pressure. He also investigated folding in rocks, and simulated tidal waves - such as those caused by earthquakes - with charges of gunpowder.