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both in the seas and in rivers, at the commencement of the sedimentary deposits, there could have been no detritus washed down and deposited. In a word, if it was not created at the same time with the solid parts of the earth, separated from those parts and gathered into seas, according 10 the Scripture representation, we must be content to remain in total ignorance of its origin.
2. The theory is equally deficient in respect to the origin or production of the atmosphere; ihe existence of which is in like manner taken for granted, without so much as a word of explanation. The eyes of the geologists would seem to have been constantly turned downwards, and so intently fixed on the phenomena of imbedded rocks and bones, as to take no further notice of the two principal instruments of those phenomena than to assume their presence and
to the utmost extent required by their hypotheses. If their theory is true, some explanation is at least desirable. If the material of the globe was originally thrown off from some nebular mass, and commenced its revolutions in a state of igneous fluidity, a state of the most intense heat, it occurs to ask, whether it brought its atmosphere with it? Whether such an atmosphere could endure and co-exist with such an incandescent mass in the midst of it? Or whether it was formed gradually by those second causes which are still at work, and by which all other changes are alleged to have been produced? And if so formed, is its volume still increasing? Was it, as gradually formed, endued with all its present properties, or has it been perfected by slow degrees by the same causes, and in connection with the changes which are alleged to have improved the constitution and condition of the earth?
3. It being thus apparent that the two elements by which, in the course of all but infinite periods of duration, the original crystalline rocks are supposed to have been decomposed, and their detritus to have been transported and deposited in the strata which now exist, are, as to their origin or mode of production, wholly overlooked by the Geologists, being neither accounted for, nor any room left to conceive how they came into being ; it becomes necessary in proceeding with their theory to do as they do, take it for granted that the ocean and the atmosphere were present to perform the functions assigned to them.
The next most obvious inquiry then, relates to the origin or production of the quantity and variety of materials which compose the stratified portion of the earth's crust. The theory teaches that these materials were derived from the granite or crystalline rock which constituted the solid surface prior to the commencement of the sedimentary or stratified formations. That rock we are told was, by exposure to the atmosphere and to the action of water, gradually, though the process was inconceivably slow, worn down, transported over the beds of the ancient seas, and there spread out and deposited in layers of mud, sand, and gravel.
Now it is apparent that if such a process took place, it would naturally prevail simultaneously all over the globe; the rocks which rose above the surface of the seas being every where alike exposed to the atmosphere, and
the ocean beds being every where alike capable of receiving the detritus. The stratum first deposited would therefore be co-extensive with the depressed portions of the original granite surface, leaving the more elevated portions, those which extended above the surface level of the sea, and the mountain ridges, still exposed. After the deposit of the first stratum, therefore, or the formation of the lowest portion of it to the depth of a few inches, the only resource left for the supply of materials for the remainder of that stratum and for all the formations above it, was those granitic surfaces which still appeased above the sea level. Now the entire series of sedimentary formations is estimated by some to be about five miles, and by others more, up to ten miles in thickness. They were extended, especially the lower beds, comprising three to four-fifths of the depth of the whole mass, over a very large proportion, perhaps threefourths of the area of the present continents and islands. To what extent or depth they prevail over the area occupied by the present seas, must be matter of conjecture. But enough is known to render it safe to say, that the geologists may exhaust the vocabulary of their own and other languages in representing to us how the primitive rocks were worn down and transported as it were atom by atom, and spread out over areas thousands of miles square
in continuous and homogeneous beds, till masses miles in thickness were accumulated : but when they have explained the process, and confirmed it by their construction of geological facts, and assigned to it ages and periods of duration, which words cannot even faintly indicate, the supply of materials for these vast formations, unless the lowest part of the first stratum be excepted, will remain as entirely unaccounted for, on their theory, as are the atmosphere and the waters of the ocean. For no further supply of matter could be derived from the surfaces covered by the earliest deposit, and so far as there is any evidence from geology or from any other source, those primitive rocks which were originally elevated above the sea level, and exposed to the action of air and water, and which remain so to the present day, co