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common theory represents, hundreds, and perhaps thousands of years were employed in their burial, and they were during that period exposed to the action of destructive agents, sufficiently powerful, as is held, to disintegrate solid rocks and convert them into the strata? Six, eight, or ten of the layers were sometimes formed, not improbably, in half the number of years. The rapidity with which they were deposited in those instances was, at least, such, that if it were the ordinary rate, sixteen or eighteen hundred years would be ample for the deposition of the whole series.
The condition of the fossilized animal relics indicates also that the strata in which they are entombed were deposited with rapidity. The perfect preservation, in many localities, of the forms of fish, shows that they were covered by the strata in which they are imbedded before decomposition had begun, or they had been exposed to mutilation by other fish.
"The perfect condition in which the impressions of fish are found in the rock of Monte Bolca, and their extraordinary abundance, seem to show that the catastrophe which destroyed them was a sudden one, such as might have been brought about by the evolution of some of the noxious gases exhaled from volcanoes. I have myself observed the speedy extinction of life which takes place when carbonic acid is introduced into a vessel in which fish of several dif ferent kinds are collected; the first operation of the gas causing them to leap out of the water with convulsive energy, but in a few seconds, all muscular energy being suspended, all the fish without any further effort sinking lifeless to the bottom of the tub."—Daubney's Description of Active and Extinct Volcanoes, p. 146.
The skeletons of those of considerable size are often unmutilated, and dispersed through strata that cover extensive areas. That would naturally happen, if the clay or lime that enveloped them was thrown down in a few hours, or even a few days; but could not, had scores, and, perhaps, hundreds of years, as the common theory represents, been occupied in their deposition. Do dead fish now float in the ocean, or welter at the bottom, months and years without decay, and without mutilation by the living? Do their skeletons long remain unbroken, if exposed to the dash of breakers, and the wear of powerful waves, currents, and tides? If not, why should it any more, in contravention of the most certain physical laws, be supposed that they did then?
The condition in which the solid parts of testaceous and other similar animals are found, indicates with equal clearness that they were rapidly inclosed in the mass in which they are imbedded. Shells and corals, in infinite numbers, are found wholly unbroken.
"The old fresh-water and sea-bottoms present us with the occurrence of animal remains so preserved, and amid such substances, that the sudden influx of waters charged with much fine matter in mechanical suspension may have destroyed multitudes of aqueous animals in some given area. At least their remains are so entangled amid this matter as to lead to this inference. That fixed creatures or others of slow movements could thus readily be overwhelmed, would be expected under such conditions at all geological periods. When, for-example, in the vicinity of Bradford, the Apiocrinites of that locality is found rooted upon a subjacent calcareous bed, one of the oolitic series, and entangled in a seam of clay, its parts sometimes beautifully preserved, it may be inferred that it was destroyed by an influx of mud from which it could not escape. In like manner, also, the preservation of long uninjured stems of various encrinites found amid the Silurian and other older deposits, on the surfaces of limestone and other rocks, and having had a covering of fine sediment, would appear to be explained. Sometimes, as in the Lias of Golden Cope, near Lyme Regis, multitudes of belemnites, some with even the ink-bag of these molluscs preserved, so form a seam of organic remains, that the observer is led to infer a sudden destruction of thousands of them over a moderate area. Ammonites are also sometimes found in great numbers, distributed in a depth of only a few inches, over areas of a square mile or more, as if suddenly destroyed. ... It sometimes happens that the shells of molluscs show that when their animals were entombed, the space occupied by their bodies prevented the entrance of the sediment which enveloped them. . . . Multitudes of examples are found in certain areas and deposits where the presence of the animals in their shells should seem required. When we consider the probable voracity of numerous creatures in fresh and sea waters, and the multitudes of scavenger animals consuming decayed animal matters at all geological times, the discovery of certain aqueous reptiles preserved entire amid rocks, even with the contents of their intestines preserved, leads us to infer that their entombment, if not also their death, was sudden. And this appears the more probable when we find, as often happens, that in the same deposits the same kinds of aqueous reptiles are dismembered, as if by predaceous animals feeding upon them. While, at times, in the lias of Western England, the skeletons' of Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri, are so well preserved, that all or nearly all the bones are in their proper places; at others the bones of these reptiles are dispersed, though not always far removed from the place where the animals died. In fact the appearances presented are precisely those of decomposition having been so far advanced, that the scavenger animals could feed upon the carcases, and drag the bones short distances, so as somewhat to scatter them."—Be La Beetle's Geological Observer, pp. 515, 516.
The preservation of such multitudes of animals of all orders unmutilated, which admits of no solution, except on the supposition that they were suddenly destroyed and immediately buried, thus indicates decisively that the strata in which they are enveloped were deposited with rapidity. Is there any reason to believe that the unfossiliferous strata were not constructed with equal expedition? None whatever. All their features indicate that they had their origin in the same causes, and were formed under the same conditions.
But were these agents of sufficient energy to transfer those substances to the surface in the period that is represented in Genesis, to have passed between the creation and the modification of the earth's surface at the flood? Was that period as adequate, as any greater one? Is it clear that the requisite materials existed within the globe at every point where they were needed, to be ejected for the construction of the strata? What is the proof of it? Is it clear that where those substances were deposited, expulsive forces must have been generated and thrown them out in vast masses on the surface? Give the proof of it. By what supposition in respect to Lake Superior, can this be illustrated?
These facts show that the materials of the strata may have thus been ejected from the interior of the earth: are there any considerations which indicate that they were in fact derived from that quarter? What is the first? Are volcanic rocks found in almost every part of the globe? Mention some of the principal countries. Have igneous rocks been driven up to the surface in still more numerous places? Do these facts show that such agents have been at work in the depths of the planet in every considerable region, as might have ejected the materials of the strata, and spread them by the waters of the ocean wherever they are found? What is the next fact by which this is corroborated? Can the distribution of the different substances of which the strata consist into separate layers and groups, be accounted for on any other supposition, than that they were separated