« ПретходнаНастави »
another, according to the subterraneous locality of their causes. Precisely the same that raised up the islands in the Grecian Archipelago, enumerated by Pliny; and, subsequently, Stromboli, Lipari, and Volcano in Italy. Instances of volcanic eruption at the bottom of the ocean, are, indeed, very easy to be enumerated. Ætna, for instance, exhibits proofs of it. “From numerous strata of marine deposits having been found above ancient beds of lava, and others also intermixed with isolated fragments of volcanic substances, theories have been frained to prove that the tires had commenced when their source was below the surface of the water."* No doubt. What other theory is adequate to explain the facts. ..
So in W. Maclure's account of the West-India Islands. “A bed of coral Madrepore limestone, with shells, lies horizontally on a bed of cinders, about 2 or 300 feet above the level of the sea, at Rousseau, in Dominica. Nor is it possible to account for denuded and thick strata, and beds of shell limestone and coral and Madrepore rocks any where, as well as at Barbadoes and other volcanic West-India Islands, on any other supposition. The imagination is, therefore, not tasked to extend the past causes of kuown facts beyond the limits of well known agency and reasonable probability.
The consequence of this upheaving of parts of the ocean bed, at various times and in various places, was the throwing of the ocean-waters with great force and violence over the adjacent regions, producing those numerous deluges, cataclysms and debacles, which first converted the primitive into the traumatic, psanmitic or transition series; filled the Alpine and other valleys with conglomerate, (nagel-flub) and rendered the granitic rigion fit for the habitat of future vegetation. To this cause is likewise owing the various gravitic peaks and high mountains, and the manifest marks of destructive subversion, so fatal to the original plants and the early animals of a former world. Deluges, whose very frequent occurrence in the instancy of the globe, and continued almost to modern days, are but imperfectly noted in the written memoranda of traditionary bistory; which mentions obscurely the deluges of Chronos, Atlas, Dionusos, Inacios, Ogyges, Deucalion, among the Greeks, those of Isis, Osiris, Sesostris, Oannes, Typhon, &c. among the Egyptians, of Xisuthros, among the Babylonians, &c. &c.
To the same cause is owing the granitic Alpine boulders of the calcareous Jura mountain; the boulders of the Baltic, those of Scotland noticed by Maculloch, the boulders of the
* Captain W. H. Smyth's Memoir on Sicily and its Islands, 4to. p. 1.11.
Ohio, brought from the primitive region to the north of that State, and all the effects of the American deluge noted by Dr. Hayden of Baltimore.
Partial deluges would also occur by the subsidence and ingulphing of dry land; such as we might expect, if the swallowing up of the island Atlantis were to be relied on; such as took place on the washing a way of a large part of the coast of South America, and the permanent lifting up from four to seven feet above its former level of 100 miles, of the coast of Valparaiso, November, 1822,* related by Mrs. Graham and others ; such as would take place by the subsidence of the land from Connemara in Ireland, to the Categat; such as separated England from France, Sicily from Italy ; such as so often takes place when the ocean leaves large vessels, during an earthquake, miles upon dry land.+ So many and so various causes of deluge, on a large and upon a small scale, rendered the earth utterly uninhabitable by the human family, until the thickening of the crust, by a constant addition of layers to it, from above and from below, and the ceasing of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in frequency, or the lessening of their mischievous activity by the vents afforded through the volcanic spiracles now existing, gave something like peace to the trembling earth.
It is manifest from this view of the subject, that without denying the Noachic or any other deluge, our opinion inclines rather to a succession of deluges, taking place through a series of unknown ages, subverting, changing and destroying whatever obstructed their course, rather than reposing on the very careless, though cominon opinions of that deluge, which I cannot reconcile to my own version of the Bible account of it; notwithstanding, however, Dr. Ure and Professor Silliman, after Mr. Penn and Mr. Townsend have undertaken, very inconsiderately, to establish and defend that erroneous interpretation. That such a succession of deluges as we indicate, have, in fact, taken place, we presume no geologist will hazard his reputation so far as tu dispute; for they are indisputably evidenced by the phenomena under his eye. And as the whole question involved to account for present appearances, is the greater or lesser number of these deluges, and the greater or lesser force employed to produce them, we need not recur to any other or further causes to explain the phenomena, than these wellknown and sufficient ones.
* Jour. Roy. Inst. for 1824, v. xvii. pp. 40-45. + See Professor Silliman's Outline, pp. 77–84.
Let us see if we cannot approximate to something like a catalogue of them. And first. The deluges that broke down the primitive formations into the psammitic—the grauwackes and conglomerates in various succession from the first grauwacke, and transition limestone (a mud-deposit) to the old red sandstone which closes the series. How numerous they were, it is impossible to say: the argillites would require one; the first grauwacke another: the first transition limestone another; the grauwackes and conglomerates succeeding it, at least another : the second transition limestone, the succeeding grauwackes, and the old red sandstone, three more. Iucluded in this series of deluges, is that which, after a long repose, submerged the ferns, coniferous and culmiferous plants, that now form the anthracite of Rhode Island, of Pennsylvania, of Wales, of Kilkenny, &c. &c.
It is doubtful whether the anthracite be the produce of the first, in order of time, of the families of plants; for the carbonic matter of vegetation must be called in to account for the graphite among the quartz rock in the close of the primitive or early part of the transition series, and for the black colour of the pasty, muddy transition limestone, which the blow-pipe and the lime-kiln so perfectly destroy. Indeed, the passage of anthracite into graphite at Rhode Island, is manifest. The deluges, within this period, must have been nearly co-extensive with the surface of the globe, for in what region is the transition series wanting? Bat it does not follow that they were what they could not have been, coetaneous.
On the old red sandstone usually rests the mountain, encrinal, or, as the English call it, the carboniferous limestone. This is a mass of rock composed of shells of several kinds, chiefly enerinites and corals, which in England reaches to 850 feet in thickness. The shells are quietly deposited, and cemented by a calcareous, half chrystalline paste. It must have taken many ages to form a deposit of this magnitude. Like the other series of general formations, this limestone is found in many other regions: we have traced it preceding the bituminous coal formation, in the forks of Susquehanna, a few miles above Northumberland, where the anthracite occupies the region of the north-east branch, and the bituminous coal is found in and upon the west branch of that river; the encrinal limestone between them.
The force competent to raise up to the surface, this immense mass of rock, must have produced a deluge of the most awful description. Upon this encrinal limestone came another deluge, and deposited a mill-stone grit, of 700 feet thick; then
came the succession of argillaccous and sandstone strata with layers of coal, (plants carbonized probably by water) that forin the deposits of the bituminous coal basins, or Werner's independent coal formation. How many successive deluges were necessary to form from fifty to one hundred layers or strata of a coal-field, has not yet been regularly considered. Nor how many, if any, were probably produced by the toad-stone, and whin-dykes that traverse so frequently and so extensively the coal-fields; raising upwards and throwing downwards the whole series of strata by the volcanic actions from below. We are not prepared to deny that these disruptions may have taken taken place, without any attendant cataciysm; but the question has not been considered.
Between the coal basins and the saliferous, gypsiferous red rock, intervenes the magnesian limestone, and the zechstein of the German mineralogists; assuredly a distinct deposit from the waters of another deluge; and the red conglomerate underneath it, may be fairly ascribed to a separate one.
Then comes the red rock or red marle, with its rock salt and gypsum ; found in England, in Poland, in Hungary, in Asia, near the gulph of Ormus; mountainous in Spain and in Africa. It is impossible to account for this without other deluges having taken place in three-quarters of the globe at least. Its geological position vicinous to the coal, is the same every where. In this country, the salt-springs arise in a stratum, most probably a member of the bituminous coal formation; but rock salt, in a solid mass, has no where yet been found. From the encrinal limestone to the upper surface of the saliferous, gypsiferous red rock; measures in England, about 3300 feet. .
The blue and white Lias, and the Colite formations, including the Oolite limestones, the Forrest and Cornbrash limestones, the Bradford and Kimmeridge clay, and thence to the top of the Purbeck limestone, constitute the mass of strata designated by the continental geologists, as the Jura limestone. In England, these extend from the Lias upwards in thickness about 2700 feet; and we may venture to ascribe them to at least six or eight distinct deluges, there being so many distinct strata deposited, no otherwise to be accounted for; especially when we consider the lizard tribe or saurian animals imbedded in the limestone and clay deposits of these waters.
The iron sand of 400 feet thick, the Weald clay of 300 feet, the green sand deposit of 500, will assuredly require three several deluges and intervals of repose; during which, the saurian animals do not appear to have lived, at least, in England.
Hitherto, the enumerated strata have been, or are likely to be found in the United States; and the last series probably in New Jersey and on the Eastern shore. We do not think that Mr. Vanuxem and Dr. Morton have clearly made out any part of a tertiary formation in that region, either from the nature of the deposits, or the fossile remains. From the hard chalk inclusive, the European strata are wanting in the United States. We journeyed last year through the Buhr-stone forination from the Oyeechee river in Georgia, through middle Florida, and to the sea-shore at St. Marks. In the cave where Arbut boot and Anbrister were confined, we picked up the only piece of hard chalk erer noticed in the United States.
But we have not yet finished with our succession of deluges. From the chalk to the diluvium, throughout the tertiary, about half a dozen other deluges have been at work, submerging many species of animals, whose foris no longer exist among those that live. All these straia, ofien confined in extent, but appearing always with corresponding characters, in very distant regions, must have been deposited in various parts of the earth under the same general laws of their formation. As the gravite of Richmond, in Virginia, is the same rock that is found at Auvergne, in central France, and Canton, in China-as the grauwacke and the old red sandstone of our transition series in the United States, has the same characters as the same rocks in Germany and England as the anthracite of RhodeIsland, of the Lehigh, of Wales and of Ireland, are the sameas the saliferous red rock of Northwych is the same with that of the mines of Wilitzka, of the bill at Cordova, in Spain, and the mountains described by Shaw and Hornemann, in Africa -- We must recognize the same laws of deposition, and the same order of succession as being found every where, opeating at corresponding periods of time. But as these strata and collections of strata, are not continuous all over the earth, but local, interrupted, confined in point of space, and separated from each other by intervening strata and formations of a different character, on the same plane, the probability is, that they never formed one continuous, synchronous deposit over the whole surface of the earth; but took place successively according as the causes that preceded and produced them, were ready to exert their force in effecting the results we see. That subsequent dislocations, from cataclysm or other causes, may have contributed to interrupt the continuity of strata, we are willing to admit, but the general feature that marks them, in every region of the globe, is confined locality, and successive, rather than simultaneous deposition. What geologist will hesitate to al