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Principles of Geology (Book I)

Or, The modern changes of the earth and its inhabitants considered as illustrative of geology

Sir Charles Lyell

BY SIR CHARLES LYELL, M.A. F.R.& VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE GEOLOGICAL SOCillETSI \1V LONDON; AUTHOR OF "A MANUAL Of ELEMENTARY GEOLOGY," "TRAVELS IN NORTH AMERICA," "A SECOND VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES," ETC. ETC. NEW AND ENTIRELY REVISED EDITION. Sllnatrafei NEW YOKE: D. APPLETON & CO., 346 & 348 BROADWAY. * " Vere scire est per causas scire." BACON. "The stony rocks are not primeval, but the daughters of Time." LINNAEUS, Syst. Nat. ed. 5, Stockholm, 1748, p. 219. " Amid all the revolutions of the globe, the economy of nature has been uniform, and her laws are the only things that have resisted the general movement. The rivers and the rocks, the seas and the continents have been changed in all their parts ; but the laws which direct those changes, and the rules to which they are subject, have remained invariably the same." PLAYFAIK, Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory, 374. " The inhabitants of the globe, like all the other parts of it, are subject to change. It is not only the individual that perishes, but whole species. " A change in the animal kingdom seems to be a part of the order of Nature, and is visible in instances to which human power cannot have extended." PLAYFAIR, Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory, 413. . PEEFACE TO THE NINTH EDITION. THE Principles of Geology in the first five editions embraced not only a view of the modern changes of the earth and its inhabitants, as set forth in the present work, but also some account of those monuments of analogous changes of ancient date, both in the organic and inorganic world, which it is the business of the geologist to interpret. The subject last mentioned, or " geology proper," constituted originally a fourth book, now omitted, the same having been enlarged into a separate treatise, first published in 1838, in one volume 12mo., and called " The Elements of Geology," afterwards recast in two volumes 12mo. in 1842, and again re-edited under the title of "Manual of Elementary Geology," in one volume 8vo. in 1851. The " Principles" and " Manual" thus divided, occupy, with one exception, to which I shall presently allude, very different ground. The " Principles" treat of such portions of the economy of existing nature, animate and inanimate, as are illustrative of Geology, so as to comprise an investigation of the permanent effects of causes now in action, which may serve as records to after ages of the present condition of the globe and its inhabitants. Such effects are the enduring monuments of the ever-varying state of the physical geography of the globe, the lasting signs of its destruction and renovation, and the memorials of the equally fluctuating condition of the organic world. They may be regarded, in short, as a symbolical language, in which the earth's autobiography is written. In the " Manual of Elementary Geology," on the other hand, I have treated briefly of the component materials of the earth's crust, their arrangement and relative position, and their organic contents, which, when deciphered by aid of the key supplied . VI PKEFACE. by the study of the modern changes above alluded to, reveal to us the annals of a grand succession of past events a series of revolutions which the solid exterior of the globe, and its living inhabitants, have experienced in times antecedent to the creation of man. In thus separating the two works, however, I have retained in the " Principles" (book i.) the discussion of some matters which might fairly be regarded as common to both treatises ; as for example, an historical sketch of the early progress of geology, followed by a series of preliminary essays to explain the facts and arguments which lead me to believe that the forces now operating upon and beneath the earth's surface may be the same, both in kind and degree, as those which at remote epochs have worked out geological changes. (See Analysis of Contents of this work, p. ix.) If I am asked whether the " Principles" or the " Manual" should be studied first, I feel much the same difficulty in answering the question as if a student should inquire whether he ought to take up first a treatise on Chemistry, or one on Natural Philosophy, subjects sufficiently distinct, yet inseparably connected. On the whole, while I have endeavored to make each of the two treatises, in their present form, quite independent of the other, I would recommend the reader to study first the modern changes of the earth and its inhabitants as they are discussed in the present volume, proceeding afterwards to the classification and interpretation of the monuments of more remote ages. CHARLES LYELL. 11 Harley Street, London, May 24, 1853. . Dates of the successive Editions of the "Principles" and "Elements'" (or Manual) of Geology, by the Author. Principles, 1st vol. in octavo, published in Jan. 1830. , 2d vol. do. do Jan. 1832. , 1st vol. 2d edition in octavo 1832. , 2d vol. 2d edition do Jan. 1833. , 3d vol. 1st edition do May, 1833. , New edition (called the 3d) of the whole work in 4 vols. 12mo May, 1834. , 4th edition, 4 vols. 12mo June, 1835. , 5th do. do. do Mar. 1837. Elements, 1st edition in one vol July, 1838. Principles, 6th do. 3 vols. 12mo June, 1840. Elements, 2d edition in 2 vols. 12mo , July, 1841. Principles, 7th edition in one vol. 8vo ; Feb. 1847. , 8th edition in one vol. 8vo May, 1850, Manual of Elementary Geology (or " Elements," 3d edition) in one vol. 8vo. Jan. 1851, Manual, 4th edition, one voL 8vo Jan. 1852 Principles, 9th edition, now published in one vol. 8vo. June, 1853 . ANALYSIS OF THE CONTENTS OF THE PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY. BOOK I. (CHAPTERS I. to XIII.) HISTOEICAL SKETCH OF THE PROGRESS OF GEOLOGY, WITH A SERIES OF ESSAYS TO SHOW THAT THE MONUMENTS OF THE ANCIENT STATE OF THE EARTH AND ITS INHABITANTS, WHICH THIS SCIENCE INTERPRETS, CAN ONLY BE UNDERSTOOD BY A PREVIOUS ACQUAINTANCE WITH TERRESTRIAL CHANGES NOW IN PROGRESS, BOTH IN THE ORGANIC) AND INORGANIC WORLDS. CHAPTEE I. Geology defined Its relation to other Sciences Page i CHAPTER II. Oriental and Egyptian Cosmogonies Doctrines of the Greeks and Komans bearing on Geology I CHAPTER III. Historical progress of Geology Arabian Writers Italian. French, German, and English geologists before the 19th century Physico-theological school .... 17 CHAPTER IV. Werner and Hutton Modern progress of the science 46 CHAPTEE V. Prepossessions in regard to the duration of past time, and other causes which have retarded the progress of Geology 61 CHAPTEE VI. Agreement of the ancient and modern course of nature considered Changes of climate 73 CHAPTERS VII. VIII. Causes of vicissitudes in climate, and their connection with changes in physical geography 92, 114 CHAPTEE IX. Theory of the progressive development of organic life at successive periods consideredModern origin of Man 130 . X CONTENTS. CHAPTER X. Supposed intensity of aqueous forces at remote periods Erratic blocks Deluges Page 153 CHAPTER XI. Supposed former intensity of the igneous forces Upheaval of land Volcanic action. 160 CHAPTER XII. Causes of the difference in texture of older and newer rocks Plutonic and Metamorphic action 175 CHAPTER XIII. Supposed alternate periods of repose and disorder Opposite doctrine, which refers geological phenomena to an uninterrupted series of changes in the organic and inorganic world, unattended with general catastrophes, or the development of paroxysmal forces 180 BOOK II. (CHAPTERS XIV. to XXXII.) OBSERVED CHANGES IN THE INORGANIC WORLD NOW IN PROGRESS: FIRST, THE EFFECTS OF AQUEOUS CAUSES, SUCH AS RIVERS, SPRINGS, GLACIERS, WAVES, TIDES, AND CURRENTS ; SECONDLY, OF IGNEOUS CAUSES, OR SUBTERRANEAN HEAT, AS EXHIBITED IN THE VOLCANO AND THE EARTHQUAKE. CHAPTER XIV. Aqueous causes Excavating and transporting power of rivers 198 * CHAPTER XV. Carrying power of river-ice Glaciers and Icebergs 219 CHAPTER XVI. Phenomena of springs , 232 CHAPTER XVII. Reproductive effects of rivers Deltas of lakes and inland seas 251 CHAPTER XVIII. Deltas of the Mississippi, Ganges, and other rivers exposed to tidal action. . . 263 CHAPTERS XIX. XX. XXI. Denuding, transporting, and depositing agency of the waves, tides, and currents Waste of sea-cliffs on the coast of England Delta of the Rhine Deposition of sediment under the influence of marine currents 290, 821, 837 CHAPTER XXII. Observed effects of igneous causes Regions of active volcanoes 344 CHAPTERS XXIII. XXIV. History of the volcanic eruptions of the district round Naples Structure of Vesuvius Herculaneum and Pompeii 860, 375 . CONTENTS. XI CHAPTER XXV. Etna Its eruptions Structure and antiquity of the cone ............. Page 398 CHAPTER XXVI. Volcanoes of Iceland, Mexico, the Canaries, and Grecian Archipelago Mud volcanoes ................................................................. 424 CHAPTER XXVII. Earthquakes and the permanent changes attending them .................. 451 CHAPTER XXVIII. Earthquake of 1783 in Calabria .......................................... 471 CHAPTER XXIX. land, and of the be Evidence of the same afforded by the Temple of Serapis near Naples . . . 493 Elevation and subsidence of dry bed of the sea during earthquakes les CHAPTER XXX. Elevation and subsidence of land in regions free from volcanoes and earthquakes Rising of land in Sweden .............................................. 519 CHAPTERS XXXI. XXXII. Causes of earthquakes and volcanoes Theory of central fluidity of the earth Chemical theory of volcanoes Causes of permanent upheaval and depression of land. BOOK III. (CHAPTERS XXXIII to L.) OBSERVED CHANGES OF THE ORGANIC WORLD NOW IN PROGRESS ; FIRST, NATURE AND GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OF SPECIES, AND THEORIES RESPECTING THEIR CREATION AND EXTINCTION ; SECONDLY, THE INFLUENCE OF ORGANIC BEINGS IN MODIFYING PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY ; THIRDLY, THE LAWS ACCORDING TO WHICH THEY ARE IMBEDDED IN VOLCANIC, FRESHWATER, AND MARINE DEPOSITS. CHAPTERS XXXIII. XXXIV, XXXV. XXXVI. Whether species have a real existence in nature Theory of transmutation of species Variability of species Phenomena of hybrids in animals and plants 566, 578, 591, 600 CHAPTER XXXVII. Laws which regulate the geographical distribution of species Distinct provinces of peculiar species of plants Their mode of diffusion 612 CHAPTER XXXVIII. Distinct provinces of peculiar species of animals Distribution and dispersion of quadrupeds, birds, and reptiles 629 CHAPTER XXXIX. Geographical distribution and migrations offish Of testacea Of zoophytes Of insects Geographical distribution and diffusion of the human race 646 CHAPTER XL. Theories respecting the original introduction of species Reciprocal influence of species on each other 665 . Xll CONTENTS. CHAPTEKS XLI. XLII. Extinction of species How every extension of the range of a species alters the condition of many others Effect of changes of climate Page 677, 689 CHAPTEK XLIII. Creation of species Whether the loss of certain animals and plants is compensated by the introduction of new species 701 CHAPTER XLIV. Modifications in physical geography caused by organic beings 708 CHAPTEK XLV. Imbedding of organic remains in peat, blown sand, and volcanic ejections. . . 718 CHAPTER XLVI. Imbedding of the same in alluvial deposits and in caves 780 CHAPTER XLVII. Imbedding of organic remains in aqueous deposits Terrestrial plants Insects, reptiles, birds, quadrupeds 742 CHAPTER XLVIII. Imbedding of the remains of man and his works 758 CHAPTER XLIX. Imbedding of aquatic animals and plants, both freshwater and marine, in aqueous deposits 765 CHAPTER L. Formation of coral reefs 775 LIST OF PLATES. DIRECTIONS TO THE BINDER. FRONTISPIECE, View of the Temple of Serapis at Puzzuoli in 1886, toface titlepage. PLATE 1. Map showing the Area in Europe which has been covered by "Water since the beginning of the Eocene Period toface p. 121 2. Boulders drifted by Ice on the Shores of the St. Lawrence. . 220 8. View looking up the Val del Bove, Etna ' 408 4. View of the Val del Bove, Etna, as seen from above 404 .