Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

secondary, and tertiary strata, that, anterior to their upheaval, were spread over the areas, at the bottom of the sea, they now occupy. Their elements existed in the depths of the earth, therefore, at the period of the formation of the strata, and constituted probably but a small portion of the immeasurable storesthat were there treasured up. They prove, accordingly, that there was at that epoch an ample stock of them in the recesses of the earth for the formation of the strata. Nor have they been exhausted by the vast quantities that have been transferred to the surface. They continue to be thrown up by all the active volcanoes, and hold as large a place in the composition of their lavas, as in those that were ejected ages ago: and they continue still, there is every reason to suppose, to exist in exhaustless abundance in the interior . of the globe. That a large share of the volcanoes from which they were once emitted, have sunk into inactivity, is owing to the exhaustion of the combustible or chemical agents in which their fires had their origin; not to the want of silica, alumine, lime, soda, and potash, that were, it is to be presumed, the subjects on which their fires acted, rather than the direct cause itself of their combustion.

We have the most ample evidence, therefore, that sufficient stores of them were originally treasured up in the depths of the earth to furnish the materials of the sedimentary strata. There is enough of them there now—for aught that can be shown or rendered probable—to furnish a similar rocky covering to a score of such worlds as ours.

QUESTIONS.

What is the great question on which the conclusion in respect to the age of the world depends? What condition of the sources from which the materials of the strata were derived, would prove that a long series of ages was required for their formation? What condition would show that they might have been formed in a brief period? Is the structure of the earth in its present form, to be considered as having been expressly ordained by the Creator and for most important ends? Has this peculiar constitution and structure of the earth, exerted a great influence on the condition and life of man? Show how. Would a different arrangement even in a few leading features have made the earth a different world, to its population? Exemplify it in respect to the Alps. Show what effects would have followed, had the Himalaya been placed between Germany and Russia. What effects might have resulted, had Africa, instead of projecting to the South, stretched Westward and joined this continent? What change in navigation would have been produced, had this continent extended to the Southern Pole? Has the fact that the strata consist of such elements as they do, and are thrown up into such positions, exerted a vast influence on the condition and pursuits of the human race? Exemplify it in respect to Great Britain. Are these great features of the globe then, to be regarded as not merely casual, and of little significance; but as among the most essential in the constitution of the world, in order to fit it to be the residence of such a race of intelligences? Are they the work of causes that were especially fitted for their production? And does the fact that those causes have long since ceased to act, show that they were commissioned to produce but a limited effect, and that that effect has been accomplished?

What is the theory which Werner advanced respecting the formation of the strata? Is that now rejected? What is the theory now generally held? Is that also mistaken? If the materials of the strata then, were neither originally held in solution by the waters of the globe, nor drawn from the surface of granite continents by disintegration, and transported to the ocean by streams: from what other quarter must they have been derived? What then is the view of their origin which we are to maintain? If we show that the materials may have been thrown up from the interior of the earth, and with such rapidity that the strata may have been formed, betwixt the creation recorded in Genesis, and the deluge, or the second and third century after the event; will that be sufficient to vindicate the sacred record from the charge of being contradicted by the facts of the strata?

What then is the first consideration that proves that they might have been formed in that period? What are the chief substances of which the strata consist? Which of these enters most largely into the composition of rocks and strata? Does it exist in inexhaustible quantities in the interior of the earth? In what proportion does it enter into the composition of granite? What other elements are united with silica in that rock? In what proportion do they exist in volcanic rocks? Has granite, as well as the volcanic rocks, been thrown up from the interior of the earth? Is lime sometimes thrown up in masses? State instances. Is iron also ejected from the depths of the earth? Cite examples. Have we then proof that all the main elements of which the strata consist, are lodged in vast masses in the recesses of the earth?

What is the second consideration which proves that the strata may have been derived from that source? Enumerate the great classes of rocks that have thus been ejected from the depths of the globe?

What great ranges of mountains on this continent, consist mainly of these rocks? When were they thrown up; before, or subsequently to the deposition of the principal series of the strata? Do they show that immense masses of the elements of which they consist, must have been created by the Almighty in the deep regions of the earth, out of which they have been thrown to the surface? Do these elements continue to be ejected by all the volcanoes that are still active? Do these facts sufficiently prove that there originally were ample stores of them there to furnish materials for the construction of the strata?

CHAPTER XIV.

The Materials of the Strata; derivod from the Interior of the Earth.

There were chemical and mechanical agents also in existence and activity at that period, of sufficient power to transfer those materials from the depths of the earth to the surface, and unite them in the forms in which they now subsist in the strata. That such agents have existed and acted in the deep abysses of the earth where those substances were deposited, and with far greater energy and on a far larger scale than was requisite to that effect, is seen from the fact that it was by their action that all the mountains of the globe, and in a great degree the whole mass of the continents and islands, were raised from beneath the ocean to their present elevation. And the masses thus moved that lie beneath the line of the sea, are probably hundreds of times greater than those that rise above that line. The base of the mountains or bottoms of the columns that were upheaved, lie probably many times the distance below the surface that their summits stretch above it. The force that was exerted in upheaving them was, therefore, immea

« AnteriorContinuar »