THEORY OF THE EARTH
WITH PROOFS AND ILLUSTRATIONS.
By JAMES HUTTON, M.D. & F.R.S.E.
IN FOUR PARTS.
Farther Induction of Facts and Observations,
respecting the Geological Part of
Facts in Confirmation of the Theory of Elevating Land above the Surface of the Sea.
The same Subject continued, with Examples from different Countries.
Facts in confirmation of the Theory, respecting those Operations which re-dissolve the Surface of the Earth.
The same Subject continued, in giving still farther Views of the Dissolution of the Earth.
Facts in confirmation of the Theory respecting the Operations of the Earth employed in forming Soil for Plants.
A View of the Economy of Nature, and necessity of Wasting the Surface of the Earth, in serving the purposes of this World.
The same Subject continued, in giving a View of the Operations of Air and Water upon the Surface of the Land.
The present Form of the Surface of the Earth explained, with a View of the Operation of Time upon our Land.
The Theory Illustrated, with a View of the Summits of the Alps.
The Theory Illustrated, with a View of the Valleys of the Alps.
Facts and Opinions concerning the Natural Construction of Mountains and Valleys.
The Theory Illustrated, by adducing Examples from the different Quarters of the Globe.
The same Subject continued.
Summary of the Doctrine which has been now Illustrated.
FARTHER INDUCTION OF FACTS
RESPECTING THE GEOLOGICAL PART
By the present theory, the earth on which we dwell is represented as having been formed originally in horizontal strata at the bottom of the ocean; hence it should appear, that the land, in having been raised from the sea, and thus placed upon a higher level, had been of a different shape and condition from that in which we find it at the present time. This is a proposition now to be considered.
In whatever order and disposition the hard and solid parts of the land were at the time of its emerging from the surface of the sea, no provision would have then been made for conducting the rivers of the earth; therefore, the water from the heavens, moving from the summits of the land to the shores, must have formed for themselves those beds or channels in which the rivers run at present; beds which have successively changed their places over immense extents of plains that have often been both destroyed and formed again; and beds which run between the skirts of hills that have correspondent angles, for no other reason but because the river has hollowed out its way between them.
In this view of things, the form of our land must be considered as having been determined by three different causes, all of which have operated, more or less, in producing the present state of those things which we examine. First, There is a regular stratification of the materials, from whence we know the original structure, shape, and situation of the subject. Secondly, There are the operations of the mineral region, some of which have had regular effects upon the strata, as we find in the veins or contractions of the consolidated masses; others have had more irregular effects, but which may still be distinguished by means of our knowing the original state and structure of those masses. Lastly, There are operations proper to the surface of this globe, by which the form of the habitable earth may be affected; operations of which we understand both the causes and the effects, and, therefore, of which we may form principles for judging of the past, as well as of the future. Such are the operations of the fun and atmosphere, of the wind and water, of the rivers and the tides.
It is the joint operation and result of those three different causes that are to be perceived in the general appearances of this earth, and not the effects of any one alone; although, in particular places of the earth, the operation peculiar to each of these may be considered by itself, in abstracting those of the others, more or less. Thus there are several views in which the subject is to be examined, in order to find facts with which the result of the theory may be compared, and by which confirmation may be procured to our reasoning, as well as explanation of the phenomena in question.
Facts in confirmation of the Theory of Elevating
Land above the Surface of the Sea.
The first object now to be examined, in confirmation of the theory, is that change of posture and of shape which is so frequently found in mountainous countries, among the strata which had been originally almost plain and horizontal. Here it is also that an opportunity is presented of having sections of those objects, by which the internal construction of the earth is to be known. It is our business to lay before the reader examples of this kind, examples which are clearly described, and which may be examined at pleasure.
No person has had better opportunities of examining the structure of mountains than M. de Saussure, and no body more capable of taking those comprehensive views that are so necessary for the proper execution of such a task. We shall therefore give some examples from this author, who has every where described nature with a fidelity which even inconsistency with his system could not warp. Speaking of the general situation of the beds of the Saleve, (p. 179.)
«Dans quelques endroits, et même presque partout, les couches descendent tout droit du haut de la montagne jusques à son pied: mais au dessus de Collonge le sommet arrondi en dos d'âne présente des couches qui descendent de part et d'autre, au sud-est vers les Alpes, et au nord-ouest vers notre vallée; avec cette difference, que celles qui descendent vers les Alpes parviennent jusques au bas; au lieu que celles qui nous regardent sont coupées à pic, à une grande hauteur.
«Ces deux inclinaisons ne sont pas les seules que l'on observe dans le bancs du mont Saleve, ils en ont encore une troisième; ils sont relevés vers le milieu de la longueur de la montagne, et descendent de là vers ses extrémités. Cette pente, qui sur le Grand Saleve n'est pas bien sensible, devient très remarquable au Petit Saleve, et même très rapide à son extrémité. Les dernières couches au nord au dessus d'Étrembières descendent vers le nord-nord-est, sous un angle de 40 au 50 degrés.
«On verra, dans le cours de cet ouvrage, combien le montagnes calcaires ont fréquemment cette forme.
«§ 235. Outre ces grandes couches qui constituent le corps de la montagne, et qui peuvent en général être mises dans la classe des couches horizontales, on en trouve d'autres dont l'inclinaison est absolument différente. Elles sont situés au bas de Grande Saleve du coté qui regarde notre vallée; on les voit appliquées contre les tranches inférieures des bancs horizontaux ou très-inclinées en appui contre la montagne.
«Ces couches s'élèvent en quelques endroits, par