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Home » Publications » Elements of Geology » Chapter 8

historical
 

Elements of Geology

 

The Student's Series


 

Written by Sir Charles Lyell, Bart., F.R.S., (1871)

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Sponsors
Chapter VIII

CHRONOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF ROCKS.


Aqueous, Plutonic, volcanic, and metamorphic Rocks considered chronologically. — Terms Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary; Palæozoic, Mesozoic, and Cainozoic explained. — On the different Ages of the aqueous Rocks. — Three principal Tests of relative Age: Superposition, Mineral Character, and Fossils. — Change of Mineral Character and Fossils in the same continuous Formation. — Proofs that distinct Species of Animals and Plants have lived at successive Periods. — Distinct Provinces of indigenous Species. — Great Extent of single Provinces. — Similar Laws prevailed at successive Geological Periods. — Relative Importance of mineral and palæontological Characters. — Test of Age by included Fragments. — Frequent Absence of Strata of intervening Periods. — Tabular Views of fossiliferous Strata.

Chronology of Rocks.— In the first chapter it was stated that the four great classes of rocks, the aqueous, the volcanic, the Plutonic, and the metamorphic, would each be considered not only in reference to their mineral characters, and mode of origin, but also to their relative age. In regard to the aqueous rocks, we have already seen that they are stratified, that some are calcareous, others argillaceous or siliceous, some made up of sand, others of pebbles; that some contain fresh-water, others marine fossils, and so forth; but the student has still to learn which rocks, exhibiting some or all of these characters, have originated at one period of the earth’s history, and which at another.

To determine this point in reference to the fossiliferous formations is more easy than in any other class, and it is therefore the most convenient and natural method to begin by establishing a chronology for these strata, and then to refer as far as possible to the same divisions, the several groups of Plutonic, volcanic, and metamorphic rocks. Such a system of classification is not only recommended by its greater clearness and facility of application, but is also best fitted to strike the imagination by bringing into one view the contemporaneous revolutions of the inorganic and organic creations of former times. For the sedimentary formations are most readily distinguished by the different species of fossil animals and plants which they inclose, and of which one assemblage after another has flourished and then disappeared from the earth in succession.

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In the present work, therefore, the four great classes of rocks, the aqueous, Plutonic, volcanic, and metamorphic, will form four parallel, or nearly parallel, columns in one chronological table. They will be considered as four sets of monuments relating to four contemporaneous, or nearly contemporaneous, series of events. I shall endeavour, in a subsequent chapter on the Plutonic rocks, to explain the manner in which certain masses belonging to each of the four classes of rocks may have originated simultaneously at every geological period, and how the earth’s crust may have been continually remodelled, above and below, by aqueous and igneous causes, from times indefinitely remote. In the same manner as aqueous and fossiliferous strata are now formed in certain seas or lakes, while in other places volcanic rocks break out at the surface, and are connected with reservoirs of melted matter at vast depths in the bowels of the earth, so, at every era of the past, fossiliferous deposits and superficial igneous rocks were in progress contemporaneously with others of subterranean and Plutonic origin, and some sedimentary strata were exposed to heat, and made to assume a crystalline or metamorphic structure.

It can by no means be taken for granted, that during all these changes the solid crust of the earth has been increasing in thickness. It has been shown, that so far as aqueous action is concerned, the gain by fresh deposits, and the loss by denudation, must at each period have been equal (see above, Chap. VI, p. 96); and in like manner, in the inferior portion of the earth’s crust, the acquisition of new crystalline rocks, at each successive era, may merely have counterbalanced the loss sustained by the melting of materials previously consolidated. As to the relative antiquity of the crystalline foundations of the earth’s crust, when compared to the fossiliferous and volcanic rocks which they support, I have already stated, in the first chapter, that to pronounce an opinion on this matter is as difficult as at once to decide which of the two, whether the foundations or superstructure of an ancient city built on wooden piles may be the oldest. We have seen that, to answer this question, we must first be prepared to say whether the work of decay and restoration had gone on most rapidly above or below; whether the average duration of the piles has exceeded that of the buildings, or the contrary. So also in regard to the relative age of the superior and inferior portions of the earth’s crust; we can not hazard even a conjecture on this point, until we know whether, upon an average, the power of water above, or that of heat below, is most efficacious in giving new forms to solid matter.

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The early geologists gave to all the crystalline and non-fossiliferous rocks the name of Primitive or Primary, under the idea that they were formed anterior to the appearance of life upon the earth, while the aqueous or fossiliferous strata were termed Secondary, and alluviums or other superficial deposits, Tertiary. The meaning of these terms, has, however, been gradually modified with advancing knowledge, and they are now used to designate three great chronological divisions under which all geological formations can be classed, each of them being characterised by the presence of distinctive groups of organic remains rather than by any mechanical peculiarities of the strata themselves. If, therefore, we retain the term “primary,” it must not be held to designate a set of crystalline rocks some of which have been proved to be even of Tertiary age, but must be applied to all rocks older than the secondary formations. Some geologists, to avoid misapprehension, have introduced the term Palæozoic for primary, from palaion, “ancient,” and zoon, “an organic being,” still retaining the terms secondary and tertiary; Mr. Phillips, for the sake of uniformity, has proposed Mesozoic, for secondary, from mesos, “middle,” etc.; and Cainozoic, for tertiary, from kainos, “recent,” etc.; but the terms primary, secondary, and tertiary have the claim of priority in their favour, and are of corresponding value.

It may perhaps be suggested that some metamorphic strata, and some granites, may be anterior in date to the oldest of the primary fossiliferous rocks. This opinion is doubtless true, and will be discussed in future chapters; but I may here observe, that when we arrange the four classes of rocks in four parallel columns in one table of chronology, it is by no means assumed that these columns are all of equal length; one may begin at an earlier period than the rest, and another may come down to a later point of time, and we may not be yet acquainted with the most ancient of the primary fossiliferous beds, or with the newest of the hypogene.

For reasons already stated, I proceed first to treat of the aqueous or fossiliferous formations considered in chronological order or in relation to the different periods at which they have been deposited.

There are three principal tests by which we determine the age of a given set of strata; first, superposition; secondly, mineral character; and, thirdly, organic remains. Some aid can occasionally be derived from a fourth kind of proof, namely, the fact of one deposit including in it fragments of a pre-existing rock, by which the relative ages of the two may, even in the absence of all other evidence, be determined.

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Superposition.—The first and principal test of the age of one aqueous deposit, as compared to another, is relative position. It has been already stated, that, where strata are horizontal, the bed which lies uppermost is the newest of the whole, and that which lies at the bottom the most ancient. So, of a series of sedimentary formations, they are like volumes of history, in which each writer has recorded the annals of his own times, and then laid down the book, with the last written page uppermost, upon the volume in which the events of the era immediately preceding were commemorated. In this manner a lofty pile of chronicles is at length accumulated; and they are so arranged as to indicate, by their position alone, the order in which the events recorded in them have occurred.

In regard to the crust of the earth, however, there are some regions where, as the student has already been informed, the beds have been disturbed, and sometimes extensively thrown over and turned upside down. (See p. 73, p. 87.) But an experienced geologist can rarely be deceived by these exceptional cases. When he finds that the strata are fractured, curved, inclined, or vertical, he knows that the original order of superposition must be doubtful, and he then endeavours to find sections in some neighbouring district where the strata are horizontal, or only slightly inclined. Here, the true order of sequence of the entire series of deposits being ascertained, a key is furnished for settling the chronology of those strata where the displacement is extreme.

Mineral Character.—The same rocks may often be observed to retain for miles, or even hundreds of miles, the same mineral peculiarities, if we follow the planes of stratification, or trace the beds, if they be undisturbed, in a horizontal direction. But if we pursue them vertically, or in any direction transverse to the planes of stratification, this uniformity ceases almost immediately. In that case we can scarcely ever penetrate a stratified mass for a few hundred yards without beholding a succession of extremely dissimilar rocks, some of fine, others of coarse grain, some of mechanical, others of chemical origin; some calcareous, others argillaceous, and others siliceous. These phenomena lead to the conclusion that rivers and currents have dispersed the same sediment over wide areas at one period, but at successive periods have been charged, in the same region, with very different kinds of matter. The first observers were so astonished at the vast spaces over which they were able to follow the same homogeneous rocks in a horizontal direction, that they came hastily to the opinion, that the whole

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globe had been environed by a succession of distinct aqueous formations, disposed round the nucleus of the planet, like the concentric coats of an onion. But, although, in fact, some formations may be continuous over districts as large as half of Europe, or even more, yet most of them either terminate wholly within narrower limits, or soon change their lithological character. Sometimes they thin out gradually, as if the supply of sediment had failed in that direction, or they come abruptly to an end, as if we had arrived at the borders of the ancient sea or lake which served as their receptacle. It no less frequently happens that they vary in mineral aspect and composition, as we pursue them horizontally. For example, we trace a limestone for a hundred miles, until it becomes more arenaceous, and finally passes into sand, or sandstone. We may then follow this sandstone, already proved by its continuity to be of the same age, throughout another district a hundred miles or more in length.

Organic Remains.—This character must be used as a criterion of the age of a formation, or of the contemporaneous origin of two deposits in distant places, under very much the same restrictions as the test of mineral composition.

First, the same fossils may be traced over wide regions, if we examine strata in the direction of their planes, although by no means for indefinite distances. Secondly, while the same fossils prevail in a particular set of strata for hundreds of miles in a horizontal direction, we seldom meet with the same remains for many fathoms, and very rarely for several hundred yards, in a vertical line, or a line transverse to the strata. This fact has now been verified in almost all parts of the globe, and has led to a conviction that at successive periods of the past, the same area of land and water has been inhabited by species of animals and plants even more distinct than those which now people the antipodes, or which now co-exist in the arctic, temperate, and tropical zones. It appears that from the remotest periods there has been ever a coming in of new organic forms, and an extinction of those which pre-existed on the earth; some species having endured for a longer, others for a shorter, time; while none have ever reappeared after once dying out. The law which has governed the succession of species, whether we adopt or reject the theory of transmutation, seems to be expressed in the verse of the poet:—

Natura il fece, e poi ruppe la stampa. Ariosto.
Nature made him, and then broke the die.

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And this circumstance it is, which confers on fossils their highest value as chronological tests, giving to each of them, in the eyes of the geologist, that authority which belongs to contemporary medals in history.

The same can not be said of each peculiar variety of rock; for some of these, as red marl and red sandstone, for example, may occur at once at the top, bottom, and middle of the entire sedimentary series; exhibiting in each position so perfect an identity of mineral aspect as to be undistinguishable. Such exact repetitions, however, of the same mixtures of sediment have not often been produced, at distant periods, in precisely the same parts of the globe; and even where this has happened, we are seldom in any danger of confounding together the monuments of remote eras, when we have studied their imbedded fossils and their relative position.

Zoological Provinces.—It was remarked that the same species of organic remains can not be traced horizontally, or in the direction of the planes of stratifications for indefinite distances. This might have been expected from analogy; for when we inquire into the present distribution of living beings, we find that the habitable surface of the sea and land may be divided into a considerable number of distinct provinces, each peopled by a peculiar assemblage of animals and plants. In the “Principles of Geology,” I have endeavoured to point out the extent and probable origin of these separate divisions; and it was shown that climate is only one of many causes on which they depend, and that difference of longitude as well as latitude is generally accompanied by a dissimilarity of indigenous species.

As different seas, therefore, and lakes are inhabited, at the same period, by different aquatic animals and plants, and as the lands adjoining these may be peopled by distinct terrestrial species, it follows that distinct fossils will be imbedded in contemporaneous deposits. If it were otherwise—if the same species abounded in every climate, or in every part of the globe where, so far as we can discover, a corresponding temperature and other conditions favourable to their existence are found—the identification of mineral masses of the same age, by means of their included organic contents, would be a matter of still greater certainty.

Nevertheless, the extent of some single zoological provinces, especially those of marine animals, is very great; and our geological researches have proved that the same laws prevailed at remote periods; for the fossils are often identical throughout wide spaces, and in detached deposits, consisting of rocks varying entirely in their mineral nature.

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The doctrine here laid down will be more readily understood, if we reflect on what is now going on in the Mediterranean. That entire sea may be considered as one zoological province; for although certain species of testacea and zoophytes may be very local, and each region has probably some species peculiar to it, still a considerable number are common to the whole Mediterranean. If, therefore, at some future period, the bed of this inland sea should be converted into land, the geologist might be enabled, by reference to organic remains, to prove the contemporaneous origin of various mineral masses scattered over a space equal in area to half of Europe.

Deposits, for example, are well known to be now in progress in this sea in the deltas of the Po, Rhone, Nile, and other rivers, which differ as greatly from each other in the nature of their sediment as does the composition of the mountains which their drain. There are also other quarters of the Mediterranean, as off the coast of Campania, or near the base of Etna, in Sicily, or in the Grecian Archipelago, where another class of rocks is now forming; where showers of volcanic ashes occasionally fall into the sea, and streams of lava overflow its bottom; and where, in the intervals between volcanic eruptions, beds of sand and clay are frequently derived from the waste of cliffs, or the turbid waters of rivers. Limestones, moreover, such as the Italian travertins, are here and there precipitated from the waters of mineral springs, some of which rise up from the bottom of the sea. In all these detached formations, so diversified in their lithological characters, the remains of the same shells, corals, crustacea, and fish are becoming inclosed; or, at least, a sufficient number must be common to the different localities to enable the zoologist to refer them all to one contemporaneous assemblage of species.

There are, however, certain combinations of geographical circumstances which cause distinct provinces of animals and plants to be separated from each other by very narrow limits; and hence it must happen that strata will be sometimes formed in contiguous regions, differing widely both in mineral contents and organic remains. Thus, for example, the testacea, zoophytes, and fish of the Red Sea are, as a group, extremely distinct from those inhabiting the adjoining parts of the Mediterranean, although the two seas are separated only by the narrow isthmus of Suez. Calcareous formations have accumulated on a great scale in the Red Sea in modern times, and fossil shells of existing species are well preserved therein; and we know that at the mouth of the Nile large

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deposits of mud are amassed, including the remains of Mediterranean species. It follows, therefore, that if at some future period the bed of the Red Sea should be laid dry, the geologist might experience great difficulties in endeavouring to ascertain the relative age of these formations, which, although dissimilar both in organic and mineral characters, were of synchronous origin.

But, on the other hand, we must not forget that the north-western shores of the Arabian Gulf, the plains of Egypt, and the Isthmus of Suez, are all parts of one province of terrestrial species. Small streams, therefore, occasional land- floods, and those winds which drift clouds of sand along the deserts, might carry down into the Red Sea the same shells of fluviatile and land testacea which the Nile is sweeping into its delta, together with some remains of terrestrial plants and the bones of quadrupeds, whereby the groups of strata before alluded to might, notwithstanding the discrepancy of their mineral composition and marine organic fossils, be shown to have belonged to the same epoch.

Yet, while rivers may thus carry down the same fluviatile and terrestrial spoils into two or more seas inhabited by different marine species, it will much more frequently happen that the coexistence of terrestrial species of distinct zoological and botanical provinces will be proved by the identity of the marine beings which inhabited the intervening space. Thus, for example, the land quadrupeds and shells of the valley of the Mississippi, of central America, and of the West India islands differ very considerably, yet their remains are all washed down by rivers flowing from these three zoological provinces into the Gulf of Mexico.

In some parts of the globe, at the present period, the line of demarkation between distinct provinces of animals and plants is not very strongly marked, especially where the change is determined by temperature, as it is in seas extending from the temperate to the tropical zone, or from the temperate to the arctic regions. Here a gradual passage takes place from one set of species to another. In like manner the geologist, in studying particular formations of remote periods, has sometimes been able to trace the gradation from one ancient province to another, by observing carefully the fossils of all the intermediate places. His success in thus acquiring a knowledge of the zoological or botanical geography of very distant eras has been mainly owing to this circumstance, that the mineral character has no tendency to be affected by climate. A large river may convey yellow or red mud into some part of the ocean, where

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it may be dispersed by a current over an area several hundred leagues in length, so as to pass from the tropics into the temperate zone. If the bottom of the sea be afterwards upraised, the organic remains imbedded in such yellow or red strata may indicate the different animals or plants which once inhabited at the same time the temperate and equatorial regions.

It may be true, as a general rule, that groups of the same species of animals and plants may extend over wider areas than deposits of homogeneous composition; and if so, palæontological characters will be of more importance in geological classification than the test of mineral composition; but it is idle to discuss the relative value of these tests, as the aid of both is indispensable, and it fortunately happens, that where the one criterion fails, we can often avail ourselves of the other.

Test by included Fragments of older Rocks.—It was stated, that proof may sometimes be obtained of the relative date of two formations by fragments of an older rock being included in a newer one. This evidence may sometimes be of great use, where a geologist is at a loss to determine the relative age of two formations from want of clear sections exhibiting their true order of position, or because the strata of each group are vertical. In such cases we sometimes discover that the more modern rock has been in part derived from the degradation of the older. Thus, for example, we may find chalk in one part of a country, and in another strata of clay, sand, and pebbles. If some of these pebbles consist of that peculiar flint, of which layers more or less continuous are characteristic of the chalk, and which include fossil shells, sponges, and foraminifera of cretaceous species, we may confidently infer that the chalk was the oldest of the two formations.

Chronological Groups.—The number of groups into which the fossiliferous strata may be separated are more or less numerous, according to the views of classification which different geologists entertain; but when we have adopted a certain system of arrangement, we immediately find that a few only of the entire series of groups occur one upon the other in any single section or district.

The thinning out of individual strata was before described (p. 42). But let the diagram (Fig. 84) represent seven fossiliferous groups, instead of as many strata. It will then be seen that in the middle all the superimposed formations are present; but in consequence of some of them thinning out, No. 2 and No. 5 are absent at one extremity of the section, and No. 4 at the other.

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Fig. 84: Seven fossiliferous groups.

In another diagram (Fig. 85), a real section of the geological formations in the neighbourhood of Bristol and the Mendip Hills is presented to the reader, as laid down on a true scale by Professor Ramsay, where the newer groups 1, 2, 3, 4 rest unconformably on the formations 5, 6, 7 and 8. At the southern end of the line of section we meet with the beds No. 3 (the New Red Sandstone) resting immediately on Nos. 7 and 8, while farther north as at Dundry Hill in Somersetshire, we behold eight groups superimposed one upon the other, comprising all the strata from the inferior Oolite, No. 1, to the coal and carboniferous limestone. The limited horizontal extension of the groups 1 and 2 is owing to denudation, as these formations end abruptly, and have left outlying patches to attest the fact of their having originally covered a much wider area.

Section South of Bristol.

In order, therefore, to establish a chronological succession of fossiliferous groups, a geologist must begin with a single section in which several sets of strata lie one upon the other. He must then trace these formations, by attention to their mineral character and fossils, continuously, as far as possible, from the starting-point. As often as he meets with new groups, he must ascertain by superposition their age relatively to those first examined, and thus learn how to intercalate them in a tabular arrangement of the whole.

By this means the German, French, and English geologists

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have determined the succession of strata throughout a great part of Europe, and have adopted pretty generally the following groups, almost all of which have their representatives in the British Islands.



Abridged General Table of Fossiliferous Strata.

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TABULAR VIEW OF THE FOSSILIFEROUS STRATA,
SHOWING THE ORDER OF SUPERPOSITION OR CHRONOLOGICAL SUCCESSION OF THE PRINCIPAL GROUPS DESCRIBED IN THIS WORK.



POST-TERTIARY
EXAMPLES
POST-
TERTIARY
1.
RECENT
Shells and mammals, all of living species.
British
Clyde marine strata, with canoes (p. 146).
Foreign
Danish kitchen middens (p. 146).
Lacustrine mud, with remains of Swiss lake-dwellings (p. 148).
Marine strata inclosing Temple of Serapis, at Puzzuoli (p. 146).
2.
POST-
PLIOCENE.
Shells, recent mammalia in part extinct.
British
Loam of Brixham cave, with flint implements and bones of extinct and living quadrupeds (p. 157)
Drift near Salisbury, with bones of mammoth, Spermophilus, and stone implements (p. 161).
Glacial drift of Scotland, with marine shells and remains of mammoth (p. 176.
Erratics of Pagham and Selsey Bill (p. 182).
Glacial drift of Wales, with marine fossil shells, about 1400 feet high, on Moel Tryfaen (p. 181).
Foreign
Dordogne caves of the reindeer period (p. 150).
Older valley-gravels of Amiens, with flint implements and bones of extinct mammalia (p. 152).
Loess of Rhine (p. 154).
Ancient Nile-mud forming river-terraces (p. 154).
Loam and breccia of Liege caverns, with human remains (pp. 156, 157).
Australian cave breccias, with bones of extinct marsupials (p. 158).
Glacial drift of Northern Europe (p. 166, p. 174).

TERTIARY OR CAINOZOIC
PLIOCENE 3.
NEWER
PLIOCENE.
The shells almost all of living species.
British
Bridlington beds, marine Arctic fauna (p. 189).
Glacial boulder formation of Norfolk cliffs (p. 190).
Forest-bed of Norfolk cliffs, with bones of Elephas meridionalis, etc. (p. 191).
Chillesford and Aldeby beds, with marine shells, chiefly Arctic (p. 192).
Norwich crag (p. 193).
Foreign
Eastern base of Mount Etna, with marine shells (p. 204).
Sicilian calcareous and tufaceous strata (p. 205, 206).
Lacustrine strata of Upper Val d’Arno (p. 207).
Madeira leaf-bed and land-shells (p. 532).
4.
OLDER
PLIOCENE.
Extinct species of
shells forming a
large minority.
British
Red crag of Suffolk, marine shells, some of northern forms (p. 194, 195).
White or coralline crag of Suffolk (p. 197).
Foreign
Antwerp crag (p. 204).
Subapennine marls and sands (p. 208).

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EXAMPLES
MIOCENE 5.
UPPER
MIOCENE.
Majority of the
shells extinct.
British
Wanting.
Foreign
Faluns of Touraine (p. 211).
Faluns, proper, of Bordeaux (p. 214).
Fresh-water strata of Gers (p. 215).
Swiss Oeningen beds, rich in plants and insects (pp. 215-23).
Marine Molasse, Switzerland (p. 223).
Bolderberg beds of Belgium (p. 224).
Vienna basin (p. 224).
Beds of the Superga, near Turin (p. 226).
Deposit at Pikermé, near Athens (p. 226).
Strata of the Siwâlik hills, India (p. 226).
Marine strata of the Atlantic border in the United States (p. 227).
Volcanic tuff and limestone of Madeira, the Canaries, and the Azores ().
6.
LOWER
MIOCENE.
Nearly all the
shells extinct.
British
Hempstead beds, marine and fresh-water strata (p. 244).
Lignites and clays of Bovey Tracey (p. 245).
Isle of Mull leaf-bed, volcanic tuff (p. 247).
Foreign
Calcaire de la Beauce, etc. (p. 230).
Grès de Fontainebleau (p. 230).
Lacustrine strata of the Limagne d’Auvergne, and the Cantal (p. 233).
Mayence basin (p. 242).
Radaboj beds of Croatia (p. 242).
Brown coal of Germany (p. 244).
Lower Molasse of Switzerland, fresh-water and brackish (p. 235-9).
Rupelmonde, Kleynspawen, and Tongrian beds of Belgium (p. 241, 242).
Nebraska beds, United States (p. 248).
Lower Miocene beds of Italy (p. 244).
Miocene flora of North Greenland (p. 239).
EOCENE 7.
UPPER
EOCENE.
British
Bembridge fluvio-marine strata (p. 252).
Osborne or St. Helen’s series (p. 255).
Headon series, with marine and fresh-water shells (p. 255).
Barton sands and clays (p. 258).
Foreign
Gypsum of Montmartre, fresh-water with Palæotherium (p. 270).
Calcaire silicieux, or Travertin inférieur (p. 273),
Grès de Beauchamp, or Sables moyens (p. 273).
8.
MIDDLE
EOCENE.
British
Bracklesham beds and Bagshot sands (p. 259).
White clays of Alum Bay and Bournemouth (p. 262).
Foreign
Calcaire grossier, miliolitic limestone (p. 274).
Soissonnais sands, or Lits coquilliers, with Nummulites planulata (p. 275).
Claiborne beds of the United States, with Orbitoides and Zeuglodon (p. 279).
Nummulitic formation of Europe, Asia, etc. (p. 277).
9.
LOWER
EOCENE.
British
London clay proper (p. 263).
Woolwich and Reading series, fluvio-marine (p. 267).
Thanet sands (p. 269).
Foreign
Argile de Londres, near Dunkirk (p. 252).
Argile plastique (p. 276).
Sables de Bracheux (p. 276).

SECONDARY OR MESOZOIC.
CRETACEOUS 10.
UPPER
CRETACEOUS.
British
Upper white chalk, with flints (p. 290).
Lower white chalk, without flints (p. 298).
Chalk marl (p. 298).
Chloritic series (or Upper Greensand), fire-stone of Surrey (p. 298).
Gault (p. 300).
Blackdown beds (p. 301).

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EXAMPLES
CRETACEOUS 10.
UPPER
CRETACEOUS.
Foreign
Maetricht beds and Faxoe chalk (p. 233).
Pisolitic limestone of France (p. 285).
White chalk of France, Sweden, and Russia (p. 286, 287).
Planer-kalk of Saxony (p. 293).
Sands and clays of Aix-la-Chapelle (p. 302).
Hippurite limestone of South of France (p. 305).
New Jersey, U.S., sands and marls (p. 307).
11.
LOWER
CRETACEOUS or
NEOCOMIAN.
British
Sands of Folkestone, Sandgate, and Hythe (p. 308).
Atherfield clay, with Perna mulleti (p. 309).
Punfield marine beds, with Vicarya lujana (p. 318).
Speeton clay of Flamborough Head and Tealby (p. 311).
Weald clay of Surrey, Kent, and Sussex, fresh-water, with Cypris (p. 313-5).
Hastings sands (p. 316-8).
Foreign
Neocomian of Neufchatel, and Hils conglomerate of North Germany (p. 312).
Wealden beds of Hanover (p. 319).
OOLITE 12.
UPPER OOLITE.
British
Upper Purbeck beds, fresh-water (p. 323).
Middle Purbeck, with numerous marsupial quadrupeds, etc. (p. 324).
Lower Purbeck, fresh-water, with intercalated dirt-bed (p. 330).
Portland stone and sand. (p. 334).
Kimmeridge clay (p. 335).
Foreign
Marnes à gryphées virgules of Argonne (p. 336).
Lithographic-stone of Solenhofen, with Archæopteryx (p. 337).
13.
MIDDLE OOLITE.
British
Coral rag of Berkshire, Wilts, and Yorkshire (p. 339).
Oxford clay, with belemnites and Ammonite (p. 340).
Kelloway rock of Wilts and Yorkshire (p. 341).
Foreign
Nerinæan limestone of the Jura (p. 339).
14.
LOWER OOLITE.
British
Cornbrash and forest marble (p. 341).
Great or Bath oolite of Bradford (p. 342).
Stonesfield slate, with marsupials and Araucaria (p. 345).
Fuller’s earth of Bath (p. 348).
Inferior oolite (p. 349).
LIAS 15.
LIAS.
Upper Lias, argillaceous, with Ammonites striatulus (p. 353).
Shale and limestone, with Ammonites bifrons (p. 353).
Middle Lias or Marlstone series, with zones containing characteristic Ammonites (p. 353).
Lower Lias, also with zones characterised by peculiar Ammonites (p. 356).
TRIAS 16.
UPPER TRIAS.
British
Rhætic, Penarth or Avicula contorta beds (beds of passage) (p. 366).
Keuper or Upper New Red sandstone, etc. (p. 369).
Red shales of Cheshire and Lancashire, with rock-salt (p. 371).
Dolomite conglomerate of Bristol (p. 373).
Foreign
Keuper beds of Germany (p. 375).
St. Cassian or Hallstadt beds, with rich marine fauna (p. 376).
Coal-field of Richmond, Virginia (p. 382).
Chatham coal-field, North Carolina (p. 383).
17.
MIDDLE TRIAS.
British
Wanting.
Foreign
Muschelkalk of Germany (p. 378).
18.
LOWER TRIAS.
British
Bunter or Lower New Red sandstone of Lancashire and Cheshire (p. 372).
Foreign
Bunter-sandstein of Germany (p. 380).
Red sandstone of Connecticut Valley, with footprints of birds and reptiles (p. 381).

[ 135 ]

PRIMARY OR PALÆOZOIC
EXAMPLES
PERMIAN 19.
PERMIAN.
British
Upper Permian of St. Bees’ Head, Cumberland (p. 386).
Middle Permian, magnesian limestone, and marl-slate of Durham and Yorkshire, with Protosaurus (p. 387).
Lower Permian sandstones and breccias of Penrith and Dumfriesshire, intercalated (p. 390).
Foreign
Dark-coloured shales of Thuringia (p. 392).
Zechstein or Dolomitic limestone (p. 392).
Mergel-schiefer or Kupfer-schiefer (p. 392).
Rothliegendes of Thuringia, with Psaronius (p. 392).
Magnesian limestones, etc., of Russia (p. 393).
CARBONIFEROUS 20.
UPPER CARBONIFEROUS.
British
Coal-measures of South Wales, with underclays inclosing Stigmaria (p. 397).
Coal-measures of north and central England (p. 395).
Millstone grit (p. 395).
Yoredale series of Yorkshire (p. 395).
Coal-field of Kilkenny with Labyrinthodont (p. 407).
Foreign
Coal-field of Saarbruck, with Archegosaurus (p. 406).
Carboniferous strata of South Joggins, Nova Scotia (p. 409).
Pennsylvania coal-field (p. 403).
21.
LOWER CARBONIFEROUS.
British
Mountain limestone of Wales and South of England (p. 430).
Same in Ireland (p. 437437).
Carboniferous limestone of Scotland alternating with coal-bearing sandstones (p. 396).
Erect trees in volcanic ash in the Island of Arran (p. 546).
Foreign
Mountain limestone of Belgium (p. 436).
DEVONIAN or
OLD RED SANDSTONE
22.
UPPER
DEVONIAN.
British
Yellow sandstone of Dura Den, with Holoptychius, etc. (p. 440); and of Ireland with Anodon Jukesii (p. 441).
Sandstones of Forfarshire and Perthshire, with Holoptychius, etc. (p. 442).
Pilton group of North Devon (p. 449).
Petherwyn group of Cornwall, with Clymenia and Cypridina (p. 451).
Foreign
Clymenien-kalk and Cypridinen-schiefer of Germany (p. 450)
23.
MIDDLE
DEVONIAN.
British
Bituminous schists of Gamrie, Caithness, etc., with numerous fish (p. 443).
Ilfracombe beds with peculiar trilobites and corals (p. 450).
Limestones of Torquay, with broad-winged Spirifers (p. 451).
Foreign
Eifel limestone, with underlying schists containing Calceola (p. 453).
Devonian strata of Russia (p. 454).
24.
LOWER
DEVONIAN.
British
Arbroath paving-stones, with Cephalaspis and Pterygotus (p. 446).
Lower sandstones of Forfarshire, with Pterygotus (p. 446).
Sandstones and slates of the Foreland and Linton (p. 454).
Foreign
Oriskany sandstone of Western Canada and New York (p. 456).
Sandstones of Gaspe, with Cephalaspis (p. 455 ).

[ 136 ]

EXAMPLES
SILURIAN 25.
UPPER SILURIAN
British
Upper Ludlow formation, Downton sandstone, with bone-bed (p. 459).
Lower Ludlow formation, with oldest known fish remains (p. 461).
Wenlock limestone and shale (p. 465).
Woolhope limestone and grit (p. 467).
Tarannon shales (p. 468).
Beds of passage between Upper and Lower Silurian:
Upper Llandovery, or May-hill sandstone, with Pentamerus oblongus, etc. (p. 468).
Lower Llandovery slates (p. 469).
Foreign
Niagara limestone, with Calymene, Homalonotus, etc. (p. 479).
Clinton group of America, with Pentamerus oblongus, etc. (p. 479).
Silurian strata of Russia, with Pentamerus (p. 477).
26.
LOWER SILURIAN.
British
Bala and Caradoc beds (p. 470).
Llandeilo flags (p. 473).
Arenig or Stiper-stones group (Lower Llandeilo of Murchison) (p. 475).
Foreign
Ungulite or Obolus grit of Russia (p. 477).
Trenton limestone, and other Lower Silurian groups of North America (p. 479).
Lower Silurian of Sweden (p. 477).
CAMBRIAN 27.
UPPER CAMBRIAN.
British
Tremadoc slates (p. 483).
Lingula flags, with Lingula Davisii (p. 484).
Foreign
"Primordial" zone of Bohemia in part, with trilobites of the genera Paradoxides, etc. (p. 487).
Alum schists of Sweden and Norway (p. 489).
Potsdam sandstone, with Dikelocephalus and Obolella (p. 489).
28.
LOWER CAMBRIAN.
British
Menevian beds of Wales, with Paradoxides Davidis, etc. (p. 484).
Longmynd group, comprising the Harlech grits and Llanberis slates (p. 485).
Foreign
Lower portion of Barrande’s "Primordial" zone in Bohemia (p. 486).
Fucoid sandstones of Sweden (p. 489).
Huronian series of Canada? (p. 490).
LAURENTIAN 29.
UPPER LAURENTIAN.
British
Fundamental gneiss of the Hebrides? (p. 493).
Hypersthene rocks of Skye? (p. 491).
Foreign
Labradorite series north of the river St. Lawrence in Canada (p. 491).
Adirondack mountains of New York (p. 491).
30.
LOWER LAURENTIAN.
British
Wanting?
Foreign
Beds of gneiss and quartzite, with interstratified limestones, in one of which, 1000 feet thick, occurs a foraminifer, Eozoon Canadense, the oldest known fossil (p. 491).

historical
 

Elements of Geology

 

The Student's Series


 

Written by Sir Charles Lyell, Bart., F.R.S., (1871)

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