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We have taken several views of the world in which we live, which are interesting and instructive There is one, however, which I regard as of very great importance, which I have not named.
What is it, Father ?
It is what is called Geology, or an account of the different strata, or layers of substance, of which the earth is composed.
But you cannot go far into the earth, Fa. ther, to know what they are.
Of course, I mean, so far as we can ascertain the materials of which it is formed. From unquestionable evidence, it appears that the earth has undergone an immense revolution : according to the Scriptures, the waters of the ocean have covered the whole earth, even the tops of the highest mountains. There are, indeed, many proofs, on the earth itself, that this has been the case. God has written, and in very plain characters, too, the truth of his word upon his works.
The Bible says, you know, that “ the foundations of the great deep were broken up."
Yes, and mountains doubtless became plains, and plains and vallies became moun. tains; and some islands were lost in the immeasurable ocean,
and others were formed.
You pointed out the common strata to me, the other day, when you showed me the brick and tile manufactory.
Do you recollect what they were ?
Yes, I think I do, Father; common soil, clay, sand, marl, chalk, and stony ground.
This uniformity, however, is by no means general: the strata varies in different pla
But whatever view we take of the earth, of its gravel, or marble, or coal, or chalk, or stone ; whether we go into the deep vallies, or ascend the highest moun. tains, we find shells, and sea-plants, and petrified fish of different kinds. The hills and the mines in foreign lands, as well as those of our own, present similar articles, and in greater abundance. The Alps, and the Apennines, the Pyrenees, and the vast mountains in South America, give evident proof that they have been visited by the ocean. Indeed, the productions of America have been found in a fossil state in Europe, and those of Africa in Germany.
some of them, Father ? fossil specimens of the mouse deer, a pative of America, have been found in
Can you Yes ;
Ireland ; and the crocodile, a native of the Nile, has been found in Germany. The traveller Humbolt met with vast quantities of sea shells on the Andes, 14,120 feet above the level of the sea.
This is indeed surprising, Father. No one could have carried them thither, I should suppose.
Certainly not; they are found in such immense quantities, that this could not have been the case. Geologists, or persons who have devoted their leisure to the examination of the internal structure of the globe, have found the peculiar productions of the four quarters of the world, in a fossil state, in one place.
Have they found any thing which does not now. exist, in their researches ?
Yes; the fossils of many animals now unknown, have been found, though it is possible that they may exist in some unexplored parts of the world.
of this kind have been discovered, Father ?
I think, more than thirty. I will mention two or three; there is the Irish Elk, a large species, which has been found in the quarries of England and Ireland, of the Isle of Man, and in those of France, and of Germany.
On the banks of the Ohio, in America,
there are found many remains of an animal called the Mastodon. It had tusks like an elephant, and appears to have been as large. I think you saw the bones of the Mammoth, when we were at Bristol, did you not ?
Yes, Father ; it must have been a prodigious creature.
Do you recollect its size, Frank?
No, Father ; but the man said that it was much larger than any elephant which had ever been seen.
It was, though I forget its exact dimensions. I have read of one, whose head weighed four hundred and fourteen pounds. Will
you tell me, Father, of some instances in which the earth itself has evidently been disturbed by the revolutions which it has undergone ? Instances are very numerous.
An eminent Geologist says,
66 That our whole country has been evidently convulsed. All the known strata, to the greatest depths that have been explored, have been more or less broken or displaced ; and in some instances, have been so lifted, that some of the lowest of them have been raised to the surface ; whilst portions of others, to a very considerable depth and extent, have been entirely carried away." I have actually visited some of our coal mines, at an immense depth in the earth, in which there
are what the miners call Faults ; which are nothing but immense disruptions of the strata.
Fetch me, Frank, the Supplement to the sixth volume of the Encyclopedia Brittannica: I folded one of the leaves down near a remarkable passage on this subject, the other day.
Here it is. “ Mount Meisner, in Hesse, six miles long and three broad, rises about 1 800 feet above its base, and 2100 above the level of the sea, overtopping all the neighboring hills, for forty or fisty miles round. The lowest part of the mountain consists of the same shell limestone and sandstone which exist in the adjacent country. Above these are, first, a bed of sand; then a bed of fossil wood, one hundred feet thick at some points; and the whole is covered. by a mass of basalt, five hundred feet. in height. On considering these facts, it is impossible to avoid concluding, that this mountain occupied, at one time, the bottom of a cavity, in the midst of higher lands. The vast mass of fossil wood could not all have grown there, but must have been transported by water from a more elevated surface, and lodged in what was then a hollo The basalt, which covers the wood, must also have flowed in a current from a higher site ; but the soil, over which both