“Geology” (from The Young People’s Mirror, March 1849; p. 36)
It has been suggested, that all the phenomena of the surface of the earth (for to the depth that man penetrates is to be regarded as surface,) are occasioned by the oblique and eccentric motions of the earth as a planet, and of its varied reactions in connexion with the forces which produce the motions. The different distance in the perihelion and aphelion, which points progress round the ecliptic in every 20,900 years, is one of the chief causes—the difference of reaction at the two distances being effected by the mobile waters; and the greatest, and therefore most accumulating, being in the hemisphere over which the perihelion is acting. At present, and for 6000 years, the perihelion has been vertical over the southern hemisphere; and to this cause is ascribed the vast preponderance of water in the southern hemisphere and the draining of the northern hermisphere at and since that epoch. Another general cause of variable obliquity of the ecliptic, by which the tropics are at present narrowing at the rate of 52 seconds in a century—a motion which, it is supposed, may be accelerated at times by the other cause, and by the variable disposition of the dry land.
A bat has been found in limestone; opposums in slate; Guinea-pigs, rabbits, rats, and beavers, in limestone; the sloth (one, fourteen feet long,) in South America, and in limestone caves. Bears, dogs, foxes, and wolves, in diluvial soils and caves; hyænas and tigers, in limestone caves and marl; the teeth of horses, elephants, rhinoceroses, hyænas, bears, wolves, tigers, &c. are found in masses in diluvial soils; oxen, in peat-bogs in several countries; deer and elks, in peat-bogs and marl-pits; (one, six feet high and nine feet long, was found in the Isle of Man, in marl, covered with sand, then peat, and then the vegetable soil.) Rhinoceroses are found in every part of Europe and in the arctic circle; the hippopotamus is found in England, France, and Germany.
Elephants, and animals much larger than elephants, called mammoths, have been found in Europe, America, and Siberia. One found near Abingdon—now at Oxford—is sixteen feet high, and its bones were mixed with those of other large animals: another was found in Siberia, in the ice, quite perfect in its flesh, skin, hair, and eyes, with a long mane and tail of stiff black bristles; others have been found in Hudson’s Bay. The gigantic mastodon is found in North America and Siberia. The gigantic tapir—twelve feet high and eighteen feet long—has been found in different ports [sic] of Europe. Whales are found in Essex, in London clay, and in Bath limestone.
The fossil or organic remains in strata are always the same kind in similar strata, and generally have characters of simplicity of structure, proportioned to the age or depth of the stratum. According to Kirwan, petrifactions, or fossil remains, are found in marl, chalk, limestone, or clay; seldom in sandstone, and rarely in gypsum; never in gneiss, granite, basalt, or shorle; but sometimes in pyrites and ores. They are impregnated with the species of earth in which they are formed. Those in slate or clay are compressed and flattened.
In the oldest limestones are found worms, tubipores, millepores, belimnites, ammonites, nautilites.
In argillaceous schists of primary formation are found the same, and corallites, echinites, fishes, leaves, reeds, palms, &c.
In the lowest secondary sandstone are found the preceding, with orthoceratites and pectinites.
In the secondary limestone, below coal are found the same, with griphites, ostracites, buccinites, &c.