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ICE, /' NUMBER,,/

FROM THE

PRIVATE LIBRARY

W. IF 1 .





THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



The RALPH D. REED LIBRARY

DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES, CALIF.



SPARKS



FROM A GEOLOGIST'S HAMMER



ALEXANDER WINCHELL, LL.D.

AUTHOR or " PREADAMITES," ETC. ETC., AND PROFESSOR OF GEOLOGY AND
PALEONTOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY or MICHIGAN



Das wichtigste Resultat des sinnigen physischen Forschens ist dieses, den
GEIST der Xitur zu ergreifen, welcher unter der Decke der Erscheinungen ver-
hullt liegt. A. v. HUMBOLDT

I think it wise sometimes to shut up shop and walk in the twilight, and look
up at the stars or down upon the sea. J. P. LESLEY



THIRD EDITION



CHICAGO

S. C. GRIGGS AND COMPANY

1887



COPYRIGHT, 1881,
BY S. C. GRIGGS AND COMPANY



Geology
Library



U/72/s



TO

LOTIE,

VOX, VITA, VIS.



8-12874



PEEFAOE.



THE present work consists of descriptions, essays and
discussions on such themes as may be conceived suited to
occupy the attention of a geologist who tries to contem-
plate his vocation in the whole breadth of its relations.
The themes range from descriptive and literary to scientific,
historical and philosophic, while the style of their treat-
ment is intended to suit the general reader. They present
the results of some of the collateral and recreative occu-
pations of science, rather than of its most serious and
characteristic efforts, and should possess, therefore, a gen-
eral interest. The scientist on his vacation becomes very
much like other people. He feels, thinks, imagines, and
enjoys, only with an intenser action in consequence oi
penetrating a little deeper into the nature, relations and
significance of things around him. In the intervals of his
serious work his attention is engaged by the subjects which
interest other men; and if his intelligence is many-sided,
he must feel that he has something to say on many topics.
His scientific habits, acquired under the rigorous exactions
of his profession, confer upon him a peculiar aptitude for
observation, and a safe facility in reaching conclusions.

For many reasons, indeed, it is desirable that men
engaged in science should turn their attention frequently
to the subjects which interest their fellow scientists and
fellow men. Such a course will save them personally from
entertaining narrow views of the world. It will also tend
to identify them with the society in which they move, and



PREFACE.

will conciliate toward them and the sciences which they
pursue the respect and consideration of those who have it
in their power to determine, to a large extent, the position
and influence which scientific men shall enjoy. This end,
which all scientific students must recognize as desirable,
will be further promoted by the employment of a style
inspired by that warmth and animation which the great
truths of science are so well adapted to impart, and which
even the inexpert are so capable of appreciating.

It is especially desirable that persons of the requisite
aptitudes should seek to possess themselves of a wide range
of scientific knowledge; since it is only by this means that
the connections of the sciences can be discovered, and their
relations to a system of universal truth adequately under-
stood. Only by such means can the jealousies and bigotries
which have sometimes defaced the pages of the history of
science be avoided. Most of all, it seems desirable to infuse
into scientific thought a more philosophic spii'it; since all
the great problems propounded by modern science are
essentially philosophic in character, and rapidly lead the
analytic mind into the domain of metempirical phenomena
and conceptions. It is hoped, therefore, that the meta-
physical turn which the author's thoughts have sometimes
taken will be recognized as sustaining most legitimate
relations to the system of science.

Some parts of the present work will be found conceived
in a spirit of playful irony, at which, it is hoped, no reader
will discover occasion for offense. Certain errors have
seemed to call for animadversion, but no word has been
recorded wherein has been inserted any intentional sting.

THE AUTHOR.
ANN AKBOR, September 6, 1881.



CONTENTS.



AESTHETIC.

PAQB

I. MONT BLANC AND THE MER DE GLACE, 13

II. ASCENT OF MONT BLANC, 59

III. THE BEAUTIFUL, 100

CHRONOLOGICAL.

IV. THE OLD AGE OF CONTINENTS, .... 122
V. OBLITERATED CONTINENTS, ..... 134

VI. A GRASP OF GEOLOGIC TIME, .... 152

CLIMATIC.

VII. GEOLOGICAL SEASONS, .._.._ 175

VIII; THE CLIMATE OF THE LAKE REGION, - . 200

IX. MAMMOTHS AND MASTODONS, ..... 234

HISTORICAL.

X. SALT ENTERPRISE IN MICHIGAN, ... 255
XI. A REMARKABLE MAORI MANUSCRIPT, . . .282

PHILOSOPHICAL.

XII. THE GENEALOGY OF SHIPS, .... 301

XIII. HUXLEY AND EVOLUTION, ..... 319

XIV. GROUNDS AND CONSEQUENCES OF EVOLUTION, - 332
XV. THE METAPHYSICS OF SCIENCE, . . . .358



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



1. MONT BLANC AS SEEN FROM GENEVA, . . Frontispiece.

See description, page 24.

PAGE

2. CLOCK IN THE CATHEDRAL AT STRASBOURG, 15

3. HOUSE OF GUTENBERG, THE INVENTOR OF PRINTING, 17

4. ERRATIC BLOCKS ON THE GLACIER OF THE AAR, . 18

The spot where Agassiz and his companions encamped
for investigation of the Glaciers.
From a photograph on glass by J. Levy et Cie., Paris.

5. DIFFICULT PASSAGE ON THE MER DE GLACE, 44

From aplwtograph on glass by J Levy et Cie., Paris.

6. ICE NEEDLES OF GLACIER DES Bois, THE LOWER PART

OF THE MER DE GLACE, 47

From a photograph on glass by J. Levy et Cie., Paris.

7. CHAMONIX AND MONT BLANC, FROM NEAR THE FOOT OF

THE GLACIER DES Bois, ...... 49

The Arve and the village of Charnonix, with the base
of the Montanvert, on the left. Beyond is the Gla-
cier des Bossons, descending from the summit of
Mont Blanc (not shown). To the right of Mont
Blanc is the Dome du Gouter, and next the Aiguille
du Gouter. In the valleys beyond the Glacier des
Bossons are the Glacier de Taconnay and the Glacier
de la Gria.

From a photograph by J. Levy et Cie., Paris.

8. GENERAL STRUCTURE OF THE ALPS, 54

From Studer's Geologic der Schweiz.

9. VIEW OF MONT BLANC FROM THE BREVENT, . . 66

From a pliotograph by J. Levy et Cie., Paris.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

10. SERACS NEAR THE JUNCTION OP GLACIERS DBS BOSSONS

AND DE TACONNAY, ON THE ASCENT OP MONT BLANC, 74
From a photograph by J. Levy et Cie., Paris.

11. INCIPIENT CREVASSES AT JUNCTION AND PLATEAU. AS-

CENT OP MONT BLANC, 75

From a photograph by <7. Levy et Cie., Paris.

12. CABINS OP THE GRANDS MULETS, WITH AIGUILLE DU

MIDI IN THE BACKGROUND (SEEN PROM ABOVE), . 77

From a photograph by J. Ldvy et Cie., Paris.

13. GRAND CREVASSE AT THE FARTHER BORDER OP THE

GRAND PLATEAU. ASCENT OF MONT BLANC, . . 83
From a pliotograph by J. Levy et Cie., Paris.

14. SUMMIT OP MONT BLANC, AS SEEN PROM THE GRAND

PLATEAU. ASCENT OP MONT BLANC, ... 85
From a photograph by J. Lemj et Cie., Paris.

15. A QUASI-COIN, SAID TO HAVE BEEN TAKEN PROM AN

ARTESIAN BORING IN MARSHALL COUNTY, ILLINOIS,

AT A DEPTH OP 114 FEET, 171

From a photograph furnished by J. W. Moffat.

16. THE HAIRY MAMMOTH RESTORED, . . . .235

From a restoration in the EstablisJiment of Prof. H. A.
Ward, RocJmter, N. T.

17. GRINDER OP THE AFRICAN ELEPHANT. PLAN OP ENAM-

EL PLATES ON THE CROWN, 249

18. GRINDER OF THE INDIAN ELEPHANT. PLAN OP ENAMEL

PLATES ON THE CROWN, ______ 249

19. GRINDER OF MAMMOTH. PLAN OP ENAMEL PLATES ON

THE CROWN, ..______ 249

20. GRINDER OP MASTODON. PERSPECTIVE VIEW FROM THE

_ 250



SPARKS FROM A GEOLOGIST'S HAMMER.



MONT BLANC AND THE HER DE GLACE.



r I ^HE Alps, towering a present reality before our eyes
-*- the glaciers, opening their dark crevasses at our feet,
and lifting their crystal pinnacles above our heads, these
are the scenes which the reader is invited to enjoy. I
do not propose to treat him to a dry description of a
range of mountains four thousand miles away. He will
go with me at once to the land bristling with rocky
" needles," and proud in its hoary mountain-tops, which
glisten with the ancient rime of a thousand years, the
land of Mont Blanc and the Jungfrau, of the Wetterhorn
and the Matterhorn and the Finsteraarhorn, and many
another sonorous mountain " horn."

We set out in the morning from Brussels another
Paris on a smaller scale, and passing within sight of the
historic field of Waterloo "the grave of France, the
deadly Waterloo" traverse the Grand Duchy of Lux-
embourg, wedged in among the greater nationalities like
an imperiled skiff in an ice-floe, and then run down
through those beautiful provinces of Alsace and Lorraine,
which to-day are weeping with heads bowed low, like lov-
ing daughters torn from an affectionate mother. At Metz

13



14 SPARKS FROM A GEOLOGIST'S HAMMER.

we view the vast and magnificent circumvallation of earth-
works from which arose in recent times that roar of can-
nonry which jarred the ears of the world. Winding
through the rugged region of the Vosges mountains, we
arrive at Strasbourg, where we spend the night. Here
we pay a visit of curiosity to the most famous clock in
the world, and gather some fragments of the Cathedral
tower, which rises over it, brought down by the missiles
from the German camp.

This celebrated astronomical clock was constructed by
Schwilgue", and completed in 1842. The globe beneath
shows the course of the stars; on the left is a piece of
mechanism exhibiting Christian chronology; on the right,
the geocentric opposition and conjunction of the sun and
moon; above it, a dial determining the intervening time;
still higher is shown the course of the moon. As noon
approaches, an angel on the first gallery strikes the quar-
ters on a bell in his hand; higher up, a skeleton, repre-
senting time, strikes the hour of twelve. Figures around
it strike the quarters, and represent man's progress
through boyhood, youth, manhood, and old age. Under
the first gallery, the symbolic deity of the day steps out
into a niche, : Apollo on Sunday, Diana on Monday, and
so on. In the highest niche, the Twelve Apostles move
around a figure of the Savior, bowing as they pass. On
the highest pinnacle of the side-tower is perched a cock,
which flaps its wings, stretches its neck, and crows, awak-
ening the echoes of the remotest nooks of the Cathedral.

Here in Strasbourg the art of printing was invented
in 1440, by Johann Gutenberg, and the house in which he
is said to have lived still remains standing. The art of
using reversed letters carved on wooden tablets had been




CLOCK IN THE CATHEDRAL AT STRASBOURG.
15



16 SPARKS FROM A GEOLOGIST'S HAMMER.

previously practiced, but Gutenberg first introduced mov-
able types. The Bible was the first book printed. It
appeared at Mayence in two folio volumes in 1456.

As we sweep around the city, on our departure, the
form of the grimy old Cathedral rises so grandly and
loftily above the Alsatian capital that it seems to hold
possession of the plain in a sort of solitude, that solitude
which those experience ' ' se loftiness of character finds
no companionship in the common herd of men. The total
altitude of the tower is 524 feet, this being the loftiest
building in Europe. St. Martin's, at Landshut, in Ger-
many, is 483 feet ; St. Peter's, at Rome, 455 feet ; St.
Paul's, in London, 340 feet.

At Basel, the rushing Rhine is turbid and cold with
the contributions of a hundred glacier torrents. As its
restless waters hasten from our presence, thought follows
them, spinning a thread of storied recollections from end
to end of the classic Rheingau. At Basel is a most ven-
erable cathedral, founded in 1010, the seat of the great
Council of 1431, convened to effect a reformation in the
church.

Leaving Basel we ascend the valley of the Aar, whose
roaring torrent babbles of a recollection of the mountain
and the glacier, and whose turbid waters and pebbled
borders proclaim our advent in the region of the Jura
Alps. The name of the river and of the two Aar glaciers
in which it takes its rise is memorable. It recalls the name
of the illustrious savant Agassiz, who in 1841 erected his
hut upon the glacier, and studied, with a few chosen com-
panions, the laws of glacier motion, laying the foundation
of the bold theory, since accepted as a doctrine of science,
that a general glaciation once visited the whole northern




THE HOUSE OF GUTENBERG, THE INVENTOR OF PRINTING.
17



18 SPARKS FROM A GEOLOGIST'S HAMMER.

hemisphere.* From this spot was fittingly brought a huge
mass of Alpine granite, to commemorate the final resting-
place of his mortal body in the beautiful cemetery of




ERRATIC BLOCKS ON THE GLACIER OF THE AAR. THE SPOT WHERE
AGASSIZ AND HIS COMPANIONS ENCAMPED FOR THE INVESTIGA-
TION OF THE GLACIERS. FROM A PHOTOGRAPH ON GLASS BY
J. LEVY ET CIE., PARIS.

* The eminent Swiss naturalist, Ilugi, in 1827 caused a hut, now in ruins, to
be constructed on the ice at the junction of the two glaciers the Ober and the
Unter-Aar glaciers. This, in 1840, had been transported by the glacier to the
distance of 5,900 feet. It was on the same glacier that Agassiz, then professor at
Neuchatel, erected, at the expense of the King of Prussia, the hut from which his
celebrated observations were made. He was accompanied by Messrs. E. Desor,
C. Vogt, Wild and others. The accounts of their observations, published in the
Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung, were dated from " H6tel des Neuchatelois." On
the summit of a rocky projection, near the same spot, a "pavilion" has been
more recently erected by M. Dolfuss-Aussct, of Jdiihlhausen (in Alsace), and
here he passes some weeks of every summer.



MONT BLANC AND THE MER DE GLACE. 19

Mount Auburn, a rude but eloquent monument, in its ex-
ternals as unlike the imposing sculptures which surround
it as in the interest it awakens more touching, more
inspiring and more catholic. On one side is engraved:

JEAN Louis RUDOLPHE AGASSIZ.
On the other:

BOHN AT MOTIEK, SWITZERLAND, MAY 28, 1807.
DIED AT CAMBRIDGE, MASS., DECEMBER 14, 1873.
And on the edge:

Boulder from the Aar Glacier.*

Winding through the gorges, often vineyard-fringed on
either hand, we come out at length into the broad valley
of Switzerland, resting between the Jura and the Bernese
Alps. The Alpward glimpses and nearer landscapes be-

* In according to Agassiz the great credit of placing the " Glacier Theory "
on a firm foundation, we must not overlook the work of his predecessors. In
1815 Playfair attributed to glaciers the transportation of erratic blocks. In 1821
M. Venetz advanced the opinion that the glaciers of Valais and adjacent regions
had formerly a vastly greater development than at present (Venetz, Mentoire sur
la temperature clans les Alpes, 1821, in Memoires de la socie'te' helvetique des sci-
ences natun'lles, vol. i, pt. 2). M. Venetz does not in this memoir attempt to
explain by the same means the general phenomena of the boulder formation, but
it is reported that some years later he gave this extension to his views. In 1829
Goethe clearly shadowed forth the same theory in Wilhelm Meisfer's Wander-
jahre, vol. ii, ch. 10. In 1834 M. Jean dc Charpentier, in a memoir read before the
" Helvetic Society of Natural Sciences," at Lucerne, on the probable cause of the
transport of erratic blocks in the valley of the Rhone (Sec Annales des Mines,
viii; also in German, in Frocbel and Hecr's Mittheilun-gen aus dem Gebiete der
theoretischen Erdkunde, p 482 seq.), presented substantially the modern theory of
glacier transportation. This paper was the occasion which directed the attention
of Agassiz to the same investigation, and hence, in 1836, he spent some months
in Charpcnticr's vicinity for the purpose of making observations for himself
(Charpeutier, Essai, p. 1).

In 1837 M. Agassiz, as president of the same society, delivered at Neuchatel
an opening discourse on this subject. It gave rise to a discussion which occupied
a large part of the time of the session.

In 1840 appeared Agassiz 1 great work, Etudes sur les Glaciers, with an atlas
of thirty-two plates. In the same year appeared works by others Godeffroy,
Notice sur les Glaciers, les moraines el les Blocs erratiques des Alpes, Paris and
Geneva; Le Chanoinc Rendn. Theorie des Glaciers de la Savoie, Chambery. M.
Jean de Charpentier's Essai sur les Glaciers was then written, but it seems not
to have been publisked till 1841.



20 SPARKS FROM A GEOLOGIST'S HAMMER.

gin to infuse in us an unwonted inspiration. The lake
of Biel and the lake of Neuchatel stretch their skiff-
dotted surfaces before us in summer serenity, as if to
rest the eye which must climb the weary steeps of the
stupendous mountains rising in the far horizon. Now
and then a glistening spectacle is briefly revealed through
the rifts in the clouds, and we strain our eyes and wrench
our necks to make the most of this first revelation of
eternal snows. Now, by irresistible association, we recall
those lines in the "Childe Harold" where, posted in this
very valley, the wanderer thrills at the spectacle pre-
sented by the sublimities of Nature.

* * "Every mountain now hath found a tongue,
And Jura answers through her misty shroud
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud."

Vines, vines, on every hand. At Neuchatel we have
reached the early home of Agassiz. We look down on the
little city from the high grade of the railroad, upon the
brown tiles of the housetops and the classic lake beyond,
and warm with sentiments of interest and affection for
the sake of a single name. We have chosen the route
through Neuchatel for the sake of this inspiring moment.
Down by the lake rises the new college edifice, in which
is preserved the old collection of specimens gathered by
Agassiz while professor here.

But now all this is left behind. Vines, vines, on every
hand lean upon little stakes, which bristle all over the
steep hill-sides. The name of Concise from the train-
conductor's lips turns our attention to a quaint old town,
whose enterprising scientists have dredged from the lake-
bottom a large collection of curious relics of the habita-



MONT BLANC AND THE MEE DE GLACE. 21

tions of our prehistoric ancestors, erected upon piles in
the lake.

Grandson, which the conductor announces as "Grasso,"
wears a still more ancient look, and suggests that it is in
reality the grand/a*/w of all these Swiss towns, having
been built during the Roman occupation. At Yverdon, at
the foot of the lake, we pass the former home of Pestalozzi,
the great reformer of primary education and the inaugu-
rator of that system of " object teaching " now grown into
general acceptance.

Coursing rapidly over a region of peats, dug by scpualid
rustics, and spread out like the gi'ass of New England
meadows, to dry in the sun, we plunge down upon one
of the prettiest little cities that eye ever rested upon
Lausanne, perched upon the steep slope which overhangs
the lake of Geneva. Toward the left, the blue water
carries the e} T e as far as Vevay and the historic Castle
of Chillon; toward the right, the shimmering surface
stretches to the city of Geneva, our immediate goal, a
name redolent of varied reminiscences of mediaeval and
modern times; while in front of us, beyond the placid
breadth of the lake, roll up in receding gi-andeur the
dark mountain summits of Chablais. Behind them, we
know that the snow-mantled pinnacles of the Mont Blanc
range rise in cold serenity, but the jealous clouds enwrap
them from human eyes, as if fearful that the home of
frost and cloud and ether would be desecrated by the
too familiar gaze of mortals. So expectation recedes
from weary tip toe, and we glide down into the city of
Calvin and Servetus, and " the self-torturing sophist
wild" Rousseau, and the " Joint High Commission," and
the ticking of a million watches, and the polyglot sounds



22 SPARKS FROM A GEOLOGIST'S HAMMER.

which emanate from a thousand hotels and boarding-
houses.

Geneva, for beauty of situation, stands first in the list
of cities; and of all the lakes in the world, there is not
one so enchantingly framed in mountain magnificence,
so sweetly toned down to the grassy beach on which it
ripples, as the historic and richly storied lake of Geneva.
The amphitheater which surrounds the lake is dotted
with many a classic and luxurious villa. The villa Dio-
dati, on the southern shore, was once the residence of
Lord Byron. On the north shore is Ferney, a village
created by Voltaire; and his unostentatious chateau may
still be visited there. At Pregny is the magnificent new
villa of Adolf Rothschild, from which the welcome visitor
enjoys a view of Geneva lake and city and of the am-
phitheater of mountains, backed in the far southeast by
the snowy range of Mont Blanc, displaying a charm of
landscape which causes one to wonder if any resources
of beauty or magnificence are reserved for the enchant-
ments of the heavenly land.

At the eastern extremity of the lake, on an isolated
rock connected by a bridge with the shore, stands the
Castle of Chillon, now only a military arsenal, but for
nearly a thousand years a stronghold in whose gloomy
dungeons have been incarcerated the victims of petty
tyranny and religious bigotry. Here, in 830, Louis le
Debonnaire imprisoned the Abbe* of Corcier. Here many
of the eai-ly reformers were chained to the dungeon
walls, and in more recent times prisoners of state have
trod the stony floors; and here are shown, to this day,
the footprints of Bonnivard, consigned to six years of
imprisonment by the tyrannical duke of Savoy in 1530.



MONT BLANC AND THE MER DE GLACE. 23

" Chillon ! thy prison is a holy place,

And thy sad floor an altar, for 'twas trod

Until his very steps have left a trace,
Worn, as if the cold pavement were a sod,

By Bonnivard! may none those marks efface!
For they appeal from tyranny to God."

Prisoner of Chillon.

The old city of Geneva is separated from the new by
the Rhone, whose deep blue waters shoot beneath the
six connecting bridges with the swiftness of an arrow.
The Rhone enters the lake at the opposite extremity
turbid with the sediments brought down by the torrents
born of a hundred dissolving glaciers. These sediments,
settling in the lake, have filled it up for a distance of
thirteen miles, to Bex, from its ancient limits. The ge-
ologist can scarcely resist the reflection that this work
is not of such magnitude as to defy the powers of imagi-
nation to grasp the time required for its performance;
and yet this is all that the river has accomplished since
the last geological revolution. To the prophetic eye of
science it appears equally certain that the work of filling
the lake completely must be accomplished in some finite
period.

The Rhone itself issues as a gray torrent of snow-
water from an ice-cavern at the foot of the great Rhone-
glacier, above which rises the Galenstock to the height
of nearly twelve thousand feet. In the language of the
ancients, this river was said to issue " from the gates of
eternal night, at the foot of the pillar of the sun." From
this spot it pursues a journey of five hundred miles to
the Mediterranean.

Never to be forgotten is the first full view of a range



24 SPARKS FEOM A GEOLOGIST'S HAMMER.

of mountains capped with eternal snows. It would be
a calamity not to gain this first view from the city of
Geneva. We may have been in the place three days, or
a week; but though we know the Mont Blanc range
should be visible, the jealous clouds have interposed an
impenetrable veil. To-day, however, a purifying influ-
ence has gone through the air, and the vapors have
seemed to dissolve before it. The sun has now just dis-
appeared behind the Jura range. We saunter from the
dinner-table down to the Quai, which faces eastward
toward Mont Blanc. There the long-sought vision of
glory is revealed.* This is indeed the first view of moun-
tains mantled in perpetual snow. Nothing like it have
we ever seen. There is no other terrestrial glory with
which to compare it. Exclamations there are none. The
instincts of the mind and soul consign all adjectives to
contempt. We can only gaze, and wonder, and enjoy.
We are transfixed. Our most expressive language is
silent admiration.

Must we mock this transcendent scene with a descrip-
tion? Yonder in the distant horizon stretches the ser-
rated crest of the Mont Blanc range. It is all luminous
with the light of the setting sun. Its brilliancy is more
dazzling than crystal. It looms up behind the darkened
intervening hills like the very parapet of heaven above



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