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A concise description of the English lakes, and adjacent mountains: with ... online

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length of a foot or* more.

Saaiifraga aixoides in watery places, on Barrow
Side, near Keswick; granulata in drier ground,
near the same^lace, and at Mayburgh ; hypnoidea
near Thirlmere, Kirkstone, and Long Sleddale;
steUaris near the summits of Skiddaw and Helvel-
lyn; tridactylites at Applethwaite Underskiddaw,
and Penruddock. Sawifraga oppositifolia has been
observed by S. C. Watson, Esq. near Great End
Crag, in Borrowdale. Golden Saxifrage, Chryso^
aplenium oppositifolium, common near springs, and
at Scale Force.



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Digitized by VjOOQIC



^^■T^lSriOAL NOTICED. J43

bees obtain a great portion of their honeys a
variety is sometimes observed with white flowew.
Erica dnerea grows in places more rocky, and re-
mains longer m blossom; E. tetraliw, in UBock-
moss and Gosforth; Silene inflata, near Ambleside;
S. maHtifna.neax Derwent Lake; and Mr. Watson
has observed S. acaulis near Great End Crag.

Thrift, or Sea Gilliflower, S^atice Armena, in
esXt marshes, and near the top of Scawfell. Rho^
diola rosea^ and Oogyria reniformisy in the rocks of
Helvellyn, Scawfell, and Raven Scar.

The large, early flowering Furze or Whin, Uhw
europiB^^i is *oo common in the neighbourhood of
Keswick; a smaller kind, Ulew nanusy blossoming
in autumn, is more prevalent between Pooley Bridge
mid Askham, in Buttermere, and Wasdale; at
Bolton Wood near Gosforth, intermixed with the
largo blossomed heath, it gives an appearance of
richness to land otherwise barren.

The common Juniper, Juniperus communis^
erroneously called Savin, grows on the mountain
between Wy thburn and Borrowdale, on Place Fell,
Loughrigg Fell, and most plentifully in the pastures
between Windermere and Coniston.

The least Willow, Saliw herbacea, on the summit

of Skiddaw, on Saddleback, Helvellyn, and the

mountains between Derwent and Crumraock Lake.

^jjjquefoil Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla alpina, o^

r jjiountain between Borrowdale and Buttermere^

J at the foot of Wanthwaite Crags.



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143 Botanical nj^tices*

Scurvy-grass, Cochiearia danica^ is abundtot
in springs on the Patterdale mountains; but rarely
found in other parts of the Lake district. Grass of
Ptfmassus, Parnassiapalwitris, and Bog Asphodel,
Narthecium Ossifragurriy in moist elevated pas-
tures^ on the way to Skiddaw. Bird's-eye, Primula
/arinosa, in similar situations, in Loughrigg, near
Bampton, Hesket Newmarket, and Cunswick Tarn.

Butterwortj Pinguicula vulgaris^ and Sun-dew,
Droserd rotundifolia^ common in shallow bogs;
D, tongifolia in deeper, in Borrowdale, but more
rare; and D. anglicoy in Wasdale. «

Cran-berry, Bil-berry, and Crow-berry — the first,
Vaccinium Oxycoccos^ grows in poor boggy ground,
sparingly nearly Rydal Water, in Thornthwaite,
and more plentifiilly in Mungrisdale; the second,
F. MyrtUlu8y is common in rocky woods and on
mountain sides, near Derwent Lake and Skiddaw
Dod; the third, F. Vitia Idcea^ inhabits loftier
dtuations^ and retains its fruit longer: it grows on
the summit of Skiddaw, but is more fruitful on the
mountains between Derwent and Crummock Lakes.
Empetrum nigrum grows at a great altitude, upon
mountains in a moist soil ; its berries are said to be
the food of grouse. Arbutus Uva-ursi, found by
Mr. Watson on the west side of Grasmoor.

Large tracts of peaty moors are covered with
Ling, Calluna vulgaris, which affords shelter for
grouse, in August its blossoms give the mountains
a rich purple hue, and it is the source from which



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BOTANICAL NOTICES. 143

bees obtain a great portion of their honeys a
variety is sometimes observed with white flowers,
Erica cinerea grows in places more rocky, and re-
mains longer in blossom; -E, tetraliw^ in Ulloct-
moss and Gosforth; SUene inflata^ near Ambleside;
S. maritima^neax Derwent Lake; and Mr. Watson
has observed S. acaulis near Great End Crag.

Thrift, or Sea Gilliflower, Statice Jrmeria^ in
salt marshes, and near the top of Scawfell. Rha-
diola rosea^ and Oosyria reniformisy in the rocks of
Helvellyn, Scawfell, and Raven Scar.

The large, early flowering Furze or Whin, Ulew
europcBUSy is too common in the neighbourhood of
Keswick; a smaller kind, Ulex nanus^ blossoming
in autumn, is more prevalent between Pooley Bridge
and Askham, in Buttermere, and Wasdale; at
Bolton Wood near Gosforth, intermixed with the
large blossomed heath, it gives an appearance of
richness to land otherwise barren.

The common Juniper, Juniperus communis^
erroneously called Savin, grows on the mountain
between Wythburn and Borrowdale, on Place Fell,
Loughrigg Fell, and most plentifully in the pastures
between Windermere and Coniston.

The least Willow, Saliw herbacea, on the summit
of Skiddaw, on Saddleback, Helvellyn, and the
mountains between Derwent and Crummock Lake.

Cinquefoil Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla alpina^ on(
the mountain between Borrowdale and Buttermere^
and at the foot of Wanthwaite Crags.



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144 BOTANICAL NOTICES*

Orchis Ufoliaj maculata, and conopaeOj one to
two miles from Keswick, on the Penrith road; the
last on Hartley hill, Buttermere. Epipactis lati-
foliay Listera ovata^ and L, Nidus^Avis, under
Wallow Crag,

Geranium syhaticum, wndpratenaey in St. John^s
Vale; the same, with Campanula latifolia, Lysu
machia vulgaris, and Senecio sarracenicus, in
Howray near Keswick. Geranium phceum^ near
Wasdale Screes. G. sa/nguineum, and Erodium
cicutarium, near Flimby; Geranium disscctum^
molle^ lucidum, and robertianum, near Keswick.

The rare Pyrola secunda and the Pyrola media
have been found among the rocks near Keswick,
add the Pyrola minor, near Ambleside.

Impatiens Noli-^me-tangere grows near Amble-
side; Eupaiorium cannahinum, near Low Wood
Inn and in Wasdale; Bidens tripartita, near Kes-
wick. Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majaUs, on
an Island in Windermere. Jnchusa sempermrens,
at Bowness and Long Sleddale.

The great Burnet, Sanguisorha officinalis, com-
mon in fields. Upland Burnet, Poterium Sanguis-
orba, on Kirkhead near Kent^s Bank, and on Kendal
Fell. The Cowslip is common in calcareous soils,
but rarely found among the lakes. The yellow
Primrose ornaments the edges of woods and thickets.
Spignel, Meum Athamanticum, on Bristow Hills
near Keswick. One Berry, Paris quadrifolia, near
Stock-gill Force, on the road side near Bannerigg,



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BOTANICAL NOTICES, I4S

and in Lowther woods. Wake-rotin, Arum mamt^
latum, under hedges near Ambleside; but not
found in the neighbourhood of Keswick, Lepidium
hirtumy Crow Park near Keswick; Lythrum Salu
carta, Galium horeale, and Thalictrum minus, on
the edge of Derwent Lake; T, majus and Genista
tinctoria, at the foot of Bassenthwaite ; the last
plentifully near Crummock Lake. Spindle-tree,
Etconymus europceus, on Barrow-side near Kes-
wick. Black Briony, Tamus communis, ornaments
the hedges near Windermere lake; but is rarely
found further north. Soapwort, Saponaria offici-
nalis, under the bridge at Kirkby Lonsdale. Wild
Marjoram, Origanum vulgare, near Kirkby Lons-
dale and Humphrey Head.

Pellitory of the wall, Parietaria ojicinalis, near
Cartmel Well, and on the walls of Cartmel church.
Yellow Poppy, Papaver cambricum, in Long
Sleddale. Yellow-homed Poppy, Chelidonium
Glaticium, {Glaudum luteum of Hooker) on the
coast near Maryport, Flimby, and Flookborough;
Henbane, Hyoscyamus niger, near the last place,
as is also Deadly nightshade, Atropa Belladonna,
and about Furness Abbey.

The Yellow Corn Marigold, Chrysanthemum
segetum, was formerly so troublesome in some com
fields, that the land infested with it was considered
inferior in value; but by the improved system of
husbandry it is nearly eradicated ; the White Ox-
eye, Chrysanthemum Lettcanthemum, is too com-
o



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146 BOTANICAL NOTICES.

men in grass lands, in many parts of the district;
and still increasing: the same may be said of Colts-
foot, and Silver-weed, or White Tansey.

Many of the plants inhabiting woody ground
may be found in Castlehead Wood near Keswick;
such aie Mercurialis perennis^ Erysimum Alliariay
Anemone nemorosa, Oxalis Acetosella^ PrimtUa
vulgaris, Hyacinthics non scriptus, Orobus tuber-
osuSy Asperula odarata^ Lysimachia nemorum^
Sanicula europcea^ Lychnis dioica, Convallaria
multiflora^ CircceaLutetianaj Scorphularia nodosa^
Melampyrum pratense, Bartsia Odontites, Epilo-
Mum hirsutum, Hypericum pukhrum and perfor-
atum, Stellaria holostea and graminea. Draha
vema, Teesdalia nudicaulis, Galium verum,
Capsella Bursor^pastoris, Sedum Telephium, and
Rosa spinosissima, grow upon the rock near the
summit; Chrysosplenium oppositifolium and Spi-
rcea Ulmaria in the moist ground at its feet.

Ullock-moss near Keswick, produces Myrica
Gale, Callu7ia vulgaris. Erica Teiraliv, Rhamnus
Frangula, Eriophorvm vaginatum^ Eriophorum
polystachion, Comarum palustre, Utricularia mi-
nor, Drosera rotundifolia, Drosera tongifolia,
Ekocharis ccespitosa, Rhynchospora alba, Melica
aerulea, Osmunda regalis, and Hypericum Elodes.

In a bog behind the Inn at Patterdale may be
found AnagalHs tenella, Parnassia palustris,
Drosera rotundifolia, Pinguicula vulgaris, Meny-%
anthes trifoliata, and Sphagnum palustris.



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BOTANICAL NOTICES. 147

Near a place called Scroggs in Loughrigg, and
chiefly in a small pasture called the Old Close,
among other more common plants may be found
the following:

Alchemilla^ vulgaris and arvensis^ Aquilegia wiU
garis^ Anagallis tenella, Carew stellulata^ Chryso^
^plenum oppositifolium^ Circcea Lutetiana^ Drosera
rotundifolia^ EpUohium, montanum and pahistrey
Eriophorum angustifolium, Euphrasia officinalis^
Geum urbanum^ Hydrocotole vulgaris^ Hypericum
AndroscBfrnmiy pulchrum and humifusum, Jasione
montanaj Listera ovata, Lysimachia nemorum^
Linum catharticum^ Narthedum ossifragum. Or-
chis^ bifolia^ conopsea^ mascula, and maculata,
Osmunda regalis^ Owalis Acetosella, Primula fari.
fiosa, Pamassia palustris, Pedicularis palustris^
and sylvatica^ Pimpinella saadfraga^ Pinguicula
vulgaris^ Polypodium PhegopteriSy Saanfragaaissoi^
desy Sedum^ anglicum and Telephium^ Tormen^
iilla officinalis^ Teumum ScorodoniOy and Thymus
Serpyllum,

Many species of lichens may be found upon the
rocks^ and on the trees; mosses upon the moimtains
and heaths; and ferns upon the commons and in
the woods. The many-named Creeper, Club-moss,
StagVhom-moss, Fox-feet, WolfVclaw, Lycopa-
dium clavatum^ grows upon dry mountains not very
high; the alpine, L» alpinum^ in more lofty; the
fir leaved; L. Selago^ in lofty and more moist
places, and Z. selaginoides by the edges of rills.



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148 ftOTANICAL NOTICES.

The sides of mountains with a dry soil are clothed
to a moderate elevation with Brackens, Pteris aqui-
lina^ which, by their changing m September and
October from a bright to an olive green, and after-
wards to a russet brown, contribute to that autumnal
colouring which is so much admired. The Stone
fern, Pteris crispa^ (Cryptogramma of Hooker) in-
habits higher and more rocky situations. Asple-
nium Adiantum^nigrum is rooted in Castlehead
rock, and near Low Wood Inn. Hart'^s tongue,
Scolopendrium vulgare, in rents of Umestone
rocks in Westmorland, and at Calder Bridge;
Scolopendrium Ceterach (Grammitis of Hooker)
on Troutbeck Bridge. Osmund royal, Osmunda
regalis, in UUock-moss near Keswick, at Skelwith
and Loughrigg.

in a walk round Castlehead and Cockshot near
Keswick, may be seen Polypodium vulgaris ; Aspi-
dium Filiw-masy Oreopteris and dilatatum ; Asple-
nium FiUof-fiBmina^ and Trichomanes ; and Blech-
num boreale, Aspidium lobatum, Barrow Cascade ;
Asplenium Ruta^muraria^ at Hill Top near Kes-
wick; Hymenophyllum Wilsoni, at Barrow, Dun-
geon Gill, and Scale Force; Polypodium Phegop^
teris^ Patterdale, Wythbum, and Scale Force;
P. DryopteriSy in Borrowdale ; Ciatopteria fragUis,
Wanthwaite Crags, and Horse-troughs near Kendal.



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THE

GEOLOGY

OF

THE LAKE DISTRICT,



At the time this essay was first published, the
structure of the mountainous district of Cumber-
land, Westmorland, and Lancashire, was but little
understood; scientific travellers had contented them-
selves with procuring specimens of the diflerent
rocks, without taking time to become acquainted
with their relative position. Since then, the subject
has received more attention from persons conversant^
with geological inquiries ; especially from the dis-
tinguished Professor Sedgwick. But, as this
manual may fall into the hands of many who have
not seen his observations on the subject, the fol-
lowing remarks may still be acceptable to such afi
are satisfied with a general outline ; and to those
who feel disposed to explore for themselves, the
facts stated may be useful, in directing them more
readily to the objects of their research.

It is a question not fully determined among

geologists, to what rocks the term primitive, and

to which that of transition or secondary, ought to

be applied ; and it has also been disputed whether

o2



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150 GEOLOGY OF THE LAKE DISTEICT.

the rocks of this district should be regarded as
stratified or unstratified. It is true they present
little of that regularity of appearance which is
observable in the rocks of many other districts ;
yet it will be admitted on due examination that they
are in some degree stratified.

Granite is understood to occupy the lowest place
in the series of rocks hitherto exposed to human
observation, and it appears to be the foundation
upon which all the others have been deposited ; in
some countries it also constitutes the peaks of the
highest mountains, protruding itself through all the
upper or newer formations. That however is not the
case in the district under consideration. It is here
only exposed to view in the excavated parts of some
of the mountains ; or where it rises so far as to
form hills or ridges, they are of inferior elevation.

That rock of granite which seems best entitled
to the distinction of primitive, may be seen denu -
dated in the bed of the river Caldew, near the
north-east side of Skiddaw ; and in a branch of the
river Greta, between Skiddaw and Saddleback,
about 1400 feet above the level of the sea. This
granite is of a grey kind, composed of quartz,
white felspar, and black mica. It is traversed in
various directions by veins of quartz ; in some of
which, molybdena, apatite, tungsten, wolfram, and
other minerals have been found.

A variety of granite with reddish felspar, and
which from a deficiency of mica, has sometimes beoa



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G£0L06Y OF THE LAKE DISTEICT. 161

called sienite, forms the two inferior mountain ridges,
called Irton Fell and Muncaster Fell ; it extends
to some distance on both sides of the river Esk, and
may be seen shooting up in places, almost as far as
Bootle, and also at Wasdale Head. At Nether-
wasdale it becomes a finer grained sienite, in which
form it extends through the mountains quite across
Ennerdale, as far as Scale Force, and to the side
of Buttermere Lake. It contains veins of red
hematite and micaceous iron ore. Another variety
of granite with reddish felspar in large crystals, is
found on Shap Fells, and may be observed in siiu
on the road .side ijear Wasdale Bridge, about four
miles south of Shap.

Carrock Fell consists of a rock generally referred
to the class of sienite, varying its appearance in
different parts of the mountain. It contains (besides
the usual ingredients of quartz and felspar) hypers-
thene and magnetic or titaniferous iron ore in various
proportions. Near this a considerable quantity of
lead ore and some copper has been procured : the
lead is smelted and refined hard by, and yields a
good portion of silver.

A reddish porphyritic rock occurs on both sides
of St. John s Vale, from two to three miles east of
Keswick ; and a vein or dyke apparently related to
the same, but far more beautiful, (being composed
qf crystals of quartz and bright red felspar, imbed-
ded in a brownish red compact felspar,) is found on
Armboth Fell, six miles S.S.E. of Eeiswick.



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152 GfibLOGY 6F the LAlfE DiStEICT.

It is not well known what place some of these
granites, sienites, and porph3rries hold in the series
of rocks t from the scarcity of places at which their
junction with the slate rock can be seen, it is not
easy to ascertidn whether they have been deposited
upon that substance or protruded through it : but
the latter seems the more probable supposition.

The greatest bulk of these mountain rocks have
been commonly included under the general appella-
tion of slate; although many of them shew no
disposition to the slaty cleavage* They may be
classed in three principal divisions.

Of these divisions^ the first or lowest in the
series, forms Skiddaw, Saddleback, Grasmoor, and
Grisedale Pike, with the mountains of Thorn-
thwaite and Newlands; it extends across Crummock
Lake, and by the foot of Ennerdale as far as Dent
Hill ; and after bemg lost for several miles, it is
elevated again at Black Combe.

If we regard the granite of Skiddaw as a nucleus
upon which these rocks are deposited in mantle-
shaped strata, that which reposes immediately upon
it is commonly called gneiss ; but it is rather more
slaty and less granular than the gneiss of some
other coimtries. More distant froth th6 granite, the
quantity of mica in slate decreases, and it is marked
with darker coloured spots ; it is then provincially
called whintm, and is quarried for flooring-flags and



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GEOLOGY OF THE LAKE DISTRICT. 153

Other useful purposes. This again is succeeded by a
slate of a softer kind, in which crystals of chiastolite
are plentifully imbedded ; these crystals gradually
disappear, and the rock becomes a more homo-
geneous clay-slate, which, contrary to general
observation, has its outgoing at a higher elevation
than either the granite or the gneiss.

These rocks are of a blackish colour, and divide
by natural partings into slates of various thickness,
which are sometimes curiously bent and waved: when
these partings are very numerous, though indistinct
at first, they open by exposure to the weather, and
in time it becomes shivered into thin flakes, which
lessens its value as a roofing slate. In some places
the thin laminae alternate with others of a few
inches in thickness ; which are harder, and of a
lighter colour, containing more siliceous matter;
they have been by some taken for grey wack6 slate,
though apparently belonging to a diflerent formation.
Rocks of this description have generally been
represented as stratified, and the strata parallel to
the slaty cleavage ; but this proposition should not
be received without some hesitation. If it be sup-
posed that these varieties of rock between which
there is no natural parting have been deposited
upon the granite in the order in which they have
been mentioned ; then, the strata may be said to be
mantle-shaped roimd the granitic nucleus; only
interrupted in its continuity by the anomalous rocks
of Carrock : but if it be assumed that the stratifica-



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154 GEOLOGY OF tHE LAKE DIStElCT.

tion follows the slaty cleavage, then it may be said
to have its bearing tending towards the north-east
and south-west ; dipping generally at a high angle
to the south-east, and presenting the edges of its
laminae to the surface of the granite, from the prox-
imity of which the nature and appearance of the
rock must be presumed to be altered.

The rocks belonging to this division do not effer-
vesce with acids ; they contain no calcareous spar,
except a little in some of the veins. They are some-
times intersected by dykes of a harder kind of
rock, apparently of the nature of trap or greenstone.
Veins of lead ore occur in several places ; and have
been worked between Skiddaw and Saddleback, in
ThomthwMte, Newlands, and Buttermere ; but one
in the parish of Loweswater, and one below the
level of Derwent Lake, are the most productive at
present in this district. A copper mine had for-
merly been worked to a great depth in a hill called
Gold Scalp, in Newlands, and is said to have pro-
duced a very rich ore, which appears to have been
the yellow sulphuret or copper pyrites. A little
cobalt ore has been got in Newlands, and small
quantities of manganese in various places. A salt
spring near the Grange in Borrowdale, has anciently
been in some repute for its medicinal qualities;
another has been more recently discovered in work-
ing a lead mine near Derwent Lake. They both
issue from veins in this rock, but their source
remains unknown.



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GEOLOGT OF THE LAKE DISTRICT- 155

The SECOND division comprehends the mountamg
of Eskdale, Wasdale, Ennerdale, Borrowdale, Lang-
dale, Grasmere, Patterdale, Martindale, Mardale,
and some adjacent places; including the two high-
est mountains of the district, Scawfell and Helvel-
lyn, as well as the Old Man at Coniston. All our
fine towering crags belong to it ; and most of the
cascades among the lakes fall over it. There are
indeed some lofty precipices in the former division;
but owing to the shivery and crumbUng nature of
the rock, they present none of the bold colossal
features which are exhibited in this.

Great variety of rocks are included in this divi-
sion, but their nomenclature is so far from being
settled, that should two separate catalogues be made
out by different persons, they would probably vary
in a great many items. Some i^ill find greywack^
and greywack^ slate in one of the divisions, some
in another, and some in all; while others ridicule
the name as one invented to supply the defect of a
better.

Most of these rocks are of a pale-^bluish or grey
colour, some of them belong to the family of the
greenstones, some are of a porphyritic, others of a.
slaty structure ; differing however from the slates of
the last division, inasmuch as these exhibit no dis-
tinct partings by which they are to be separated.
A reddish aggregated rock of a coarse slaty struc-
ture, is to be seen on entering the common on the
road from Keswick towards Borrowdale. It appet^



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156 GEOLOGY OF THE LAKE DISTEICT,

to form one of the lower beds of the division, and
may be traced each way to some distance. It is
succeeded by the more compact dark-coloured rock
of Wallow Crag, in which quartz, calcareous spar,
chlorite, and epidote, are found in veins. Garnets
are found imbedded in some of the r6cks on Castle-
rigg Fell and Great Gable. An amygdaloid rock,
containing nodules of calcareous spar, and some^
times of agate, opal or calcedony, is met with in
several places; as near Honister Crag — between
Bowder Stone and Rosthwaite— on Castlerigg Fell
near Keswick — and in Wolf Crag on the road to
Matterdale. A curious mixed rock of basaltic ap-
pearance is found near Berrier; it skirts the north
side of Caldbeck Fells, forms the hill called Bmsey^
and may be seen on the north side of the Derwent
near to Cockermouth.

The fine pale-blue roofing slate occurs in beds:
(called by the workmen veins:) the most natural
position of the lamina or cleavage of the slate
appears to be vertical: but it is to be found in
various degrees of inclination, both with respect to
the horizon, and the planes of stratification. The
direction of the slaty cleavage bears most commonly
towards the north-east and south-west; while the
dip or inchnation is more variable; the former may
be ascribed to some general operation of nature;
the latter being influenced by local circumstances —
such as the weight of a mountain pressing upon one
side, while the other side is wanting a support.



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GEOLOGY OF THE LAKE DISTEICT* l5^

The direction and inclination of the strata arc more
distinguishable by stripes and alternations in the
colour and texture, than by any natural partings
or strata seams; and the slates are split of various
thickness, according to their fineness of grain, and
the. discretion and skill of the workman, without any
previous indication of the place where they may
be 80 divided. They do not separate into thin
flakes, like those of the former division ; but some
of them, when long used, are subject to a peculiar
species of decay, which operates most powerfully on
parts least exposed to the weather.

Most of the rocks of this division effervesce in
some degree with acids, but more especially those
possessing the slaty structure. They are not very
productive of metallic ores, although they afford a
considerable variety. Lead ore has been got in
Patterdale; copper at Dalehead in Newlands, which


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Online LibraryJonathan OtleyA concise description of the English lakes, and adjacent mountains: with ... → online text (page 9 of 11)