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geologist and observer of nature, was of opinion, that a great catastrophe had taken place after the birth of the primitive rocks, and before that of the other classes of formation. Mr. Greenough holds deserved authority in geological matters; and his excellent work, we believe, first aroused geologists from their cosmological slumbers, by shewing them that many doubts might be reasonably entertained on questions which had gained acceptance with too pliant a credulity; and that all was not so finally settled as geologists (“ good easy men !") had been led to suppose. This author, in reference to Dolomieu's opinion, observes : “ Without assenting to every part of this doctrine, I cannot but consider the almost universal occurrence of conglomerate and grauwacke on the confines of what are called primitive rocks as one of the most important and striking facts yet established in geology: it seems to prove, that, at the epoch at which these beds were formed, a deluge took place.” This, Mr. Greenough supposes to have been more ancient than the deluge described in Scripture, and to which last was to be ascribed the “present outline of the earth ;” but it may be very properly asked, in the words of Mr. Young, whose excellent work on the Geology of Yorkshire is now before us, "Why may we not regard it as the very same? The beds alluded to seem to mark the extent to which the primeval strata were dissolved by the deluge."* This excellent author mentions a remarkable break and dislocation at Peak, where a dreadful convulsion seems to have occurred, and where the quantity of subsidence is estimated at not less than three hundred feet. “Life,” says M. Cuvier, “ has been often disturbed on this earth by terrible events : calamities, which at their commencement have, perhaps, moved and overturned, to a great depth, the entire outer crust of the globe; but which, since these first commotions, have uniformly acted at a less depth, and less generally. Numberless living beings have been the victims of these catastrophes ; some have been de
A Geological Survey, &c.--4to. 1828, p. 346.
stroyed by sudden inundations, others have been laid dry in consequence of being instantaneously elevated. Their races even have become extinct, and have left no memorial of them, except some small fragments which the naturalist can scarcely recognize. Such are the conclusions which necessarily result from the objects that we meet with at every step of our inquiry, and which we can always verify from examples drawn from almost every country. Every part of the globe bears the impress of these great and terrible events so distinctly, that they must be visible to all who are qualified to read their history in the remains which they have left behind.” The force of these truths demands our ready assent; we only contend that there is no evidence whatever in the facts presented to us, of more than one general and mighty deluge, though there be sufficient proof of local catastrophes, both referrable to the primeval history of the globe, and to postdiluvian times. Modern geologists have, at length, consented to ascribe to the Noachic deluge, the formation which they designate by the term diluvium, for “by such an agency,” say they, “alone can these phenomena be accounted for:” though it be qualified thus, “there appears ample evidence of the frequent occurrence of similar catastrophes, the consequence of inundations more or less extensive :—that to which we refer was, therefore, the last of these revolutions.” This is a specimen of “geological logic.” We consider the Noachic deluge universal and general, and therefore independent of “inundations more or less extensive;" an expression which can only be considered as applicable to local catastrophes, however extended they may be considered. At Castle Rising, near to Lynn Regis, in Norfolk, where the sea is making rapid encroachments on the land, in sinking a short time ago for water, there were found at a depth of six hundred feet, horns perfectly straight, supposed to be those of the unicorn: these were two feet long, an inch in circumference, and hollow; the medullary substance seemed to be petrified. In prosecuting these discoveries, there were further found, at a depth
of six hundred and forty feet, numerous oysters with the shells half open ; and at a depth of six hundred and sixty feet from the surface, a large oak tree was met with; it was black, and of a hard texture. According to M. de la Beche, the depth of diluvium in Jamaica, is about eight hundred feet; and in Switzerland it has been estimated at more than six hundred feet. This diluvium is composed of the detritus of rocks, with clay, sand, gravel and other ruin. Diluvial formations contain the organic spoils of mammiferæ, both ruminantia and carnivora, in great abundance. Respecting this diluvium, Dr. Buckland, from the numerous interesting facts which he has accumulated, and presented in his valuable work, titled RELIQUIÆ DILUVIANÆ, comes to the following conclusions : “All these facts, whether considered collectively or separately, present such a conformity of proofs tending to establish the universality of a recent inundation of the earth, as no difficulties or objections that have hitherto arisen, are in any way sufficient to overrule ;” and “which, without the admission of a universal deluge, it seems not easy, nay utterly impossible, to explain.” As to the chronology of this epocha, Professor Buckland states it to be that of Holy Writ. Our author seems to have shaken the creed of Baron Cuvier, who gives way to the facts substantiated by Dr. Buckland;"Je reviens,” says M. Cuvier, “donc à
— l'idée que Je n' avois osé embrasser autrefois ; celle que ces dépôts des brèches osseuses ont été formés aux dépens de la population contemporaire des rhinocéros et des éléphans fossiles,”—“les brèches osseuses paroissent aujourd’hui sous un point de vue d'un intérêt tout nouveau,” &c. &c. An admission which is very creditable to the candour and integrity of this distinguished naturalist. We have only further to adduce the opinion of Mr. Greenough, in reference to the same interesting question : “The order of things,” he observes, “immediately preceding the deluge, resembled the present order, and was suddenly interrupted by a general flood, which swept away the quadrupeds from the continents, tore up the solid rocks, and reduced the surface to a
state of ruin : but this disorder was of short duration. The mutilated earth did not cease to be a planet; animals and plants similar to those which had perished, once more adorned its surface; and nature again submitted to the regular system of laws which has continued uninterrupted to the present day.” It is of considerable importance in the present inquiry to notice the opinion of the Baron Humboldt on the temperature of the globe. The primitive world, he observes, unveils to us a distribution of organic forms which is in opposition to the present existing state of climates. Various have been the hypotheses propounded for the solution of the problem,-as the advance of a comet, a change in the obliquity of the
ecliptic, the increase of solar intensity, and the like. But these opinions have been insufficient to satisfy all parties. Humboldt leaves the axis of the rotation of the earth just as it now is, nor does he venture to reduce the intensity of the solar heat. He conceives that there exist in each planet, independently of its relations to a central body, and of its astronomical position, numerous causes of the developement of heat; such as the chemical processes of oxidation, precipitation, and changes of capacity in bodies; an augmentation of the electro-magnetic intensity, or the communication between the internal and external parts of the globe, through the medium, for instance, of volcanoes. Tbis ingenious view may certainly serve to explain some local phenomena which are independent of the transport of the debris of rocks and organic wreck, by the waters of the deluge. The diamond, both in India and the Brazils, as well as the precious stones of Ceylon, are found in diluvial gravel.
Alluvium is a term employed to express those comparatively modern accumulations of sand, earth, &c., resulting from causes now in common and constant operation. Dr. Fleming, a distinguished naturalist, in opposition to the hypotheses advanced by Baron Cuvier and Dr. Buckland, is inclined to attribute the extinction of such early quadrupeds as are sometimes found blended, as it were fortuitously, with more recent species, in alluvium, not to the deluge, but to the destructive influence of the chase.
As the security of the full complement of animals was guaranteed in the ark, “to keep seed alive
the face of all the earth,” it would seem that none were finally extinguished except incongruous and monstrous forms, or such whose variation of structure can be accounted for, very satisfactorily, on the principles of diversity of clime, and a change of density in the atmosphere at the deluge, with a corresponding one in its thermometric and atmometric character. In reference to the first of these, we may compare, for instance, the Asiatic with the African elephant; the gavial or crocodile of the Ganges with the crocodile of the Nile and the cayman
of South America.