Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel
by Ignatius Donnelly
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Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel

Ragnarok: the Age of Fire and Gravel

[Redactor's Notes: "Ragnarok" is a sequel to "Atlantis" but goes far beyond presaging the pseudo-science of Velikovsky's "Worlds in Collision". The original scans and HTML were provided by Mr. J.B. Hare. In this edition the illustrations and figures have been replaced by the glyph "#". Because of the numerous notes, they have been retained on the original page. Searching on "[" will reveal the set of notes for the current page. The page numbers of the original have been retained as {p.117} for example. The HTML is plain vanilla with no illustrations. For a fully illustrated version the reader is referred to the website where other explanatory material prepared by Mr. Hare is available.]







"I am not inclined to conclude that man had no existence at all before the epoch of the great revolutions of the earth. He might have inhabited certain districts of no great extent, whence, after these terrible events, he repeopled the world. Perhaps, also, the spots where he abode were swallowed up, and the bones lie buried under the beds of the present seas."—CUVIER.


{scanned at, December, 2001}



{p. iii}








The Drift



READER,—Let us reason together:—

What do we dwell on? The earth. What part of the earth? The latest formations, of course. We live upon the top of a mighty series of stratified rocks, laid down in the water of ancient seas and lakes, during incalculable ages, said, by geologists, to be from ten to twenty miles in thickness.

Think of that! Rock piled over rock, from the primeval granite upward, to a height four times greater than our highest mountains, and every rock stratified like the leaves of a book; and every leaf containing the records of an intensely interesting history, illustrated with engravings, in the shape of fossils, of all forms of life, from the primordial cell up to the bones of man and his implements.

But it is not with the pages of this sublime volume

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we have to deal in this book. It is with a vastly different but equally wonderful formation.

Upon the top of the last of this series of stratified rocks we find THE DRIFT.

What is it?

Go out with me where yonder men are digging a well. Let us observe the material they are casting out.

First they penetrate through a few inches or a foot or two of surface soil; then they enter a vast deposit of sand, gravel, and clay. It may be fifty, one hundred, five hundred, eight hundred feet, before they reach the stratified rocks on which this drift rests. It covers whole continents. It is our earth. It makes the basis of our soils; our railroads cut their way through it; our carriages drive over it; our cities are built upon it; our crops are derived from it; the water we drink percolates through it; on it we live, love, marry, raise children, think, dream, and die; and in the bosom of it we will be buried.

Where did it come from?

That is what I propose to discuss with you in this work,—if you will have the patience to follow me.

So far as possible, [as I shall in all cases speak by the voices of others] I shall summon my witnesses that you may cross-examine them. I shall try, to the best of my ability, to buttress every opinion with adequate proofs. If I do not convince, I hope at least to interest you.

And to begin: let us understand what the Drift is, before we proceed to discuss its origin.

In the first place, it is mainly unstratified; its lower formation is altogether so. There may be clearly defined strata here and there in it, but they are such as a tempest might make, working in a dust-heap: picking up a patch here and laying it upon another there. But there

{p. 3}

are no continuous layers reaching over any large extent of country.

Sometimes the material has been subsequently worked over by rivers, and been distributed over limited areas in strata, as in and around the beds of streams.

But in the lower, older, and first-laid-down portion of the Drift, called in Scotland "the till," and in other countries "the hard-pan," there is a total absence of stratification.

James Geikie says:

"In describing the till, I remarked that the irregular manner in which the stones were scattered through that deposit imparted to it a confused and tumultuous appearance. The clay does not arrange itself in layers or beds, but is distinctly unstratified."[1]

"The material consisted of earth, gravel, and stones, and also in some places broken trunks or branches of trees. Part of it was deposited in a pell-mell or unstratified condition during the progress of the period, and part either stratified or unstratified in the opening part of the next period when the ice melted."[2]

"The unstratified drift may be described as a heterogeneous mass of clay, with sand and gravel in varying proportions, inclosing the transported fragments of rock, of all dimensions, partially rounded or worn into wedge-shaped forms, and generally with surfaces furrowed or scratched, the whole material looking as if it had been scraped together."[3]

The "till" of Scotland is "spread in broad but somewhat ragged sheets" through the Lowlands, "continuous across wide tracts," while in the Highland and upland districts it is confined principally to the valleys.[4]

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 21.

2. Dana's "Text-Book," p. 220.

3. "American Cyclopdia," vol. vi, p. 111.

4. "Great Ice Age," Geikie, p. 6.]

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"The lowest member is invariably a tough, stony clay, called 'till' or 'hard-pan.' Throughout wide districts stony clay alone occurs."[1]

"It is hard to say whether the till consists more of stones or of clay."[2]

This "till," this first deposit, will be found to be the strangest and most interesting.

In the second place, although the Drift is found on the earth, it is unfossiliferous. That is to say, it contains no traces of pre-existent or contemporaneous life.

This, when we consider it, is an extraordinary fact:

Where on the face of this life-marked earth could such a mass of material be gathered up, and not contain any evidences of life? It is as if one were to say that he had collected the detritus of a great city, and that it showed no marks of man's life or works.

"I would reiterate," says Geikie,[3] "that nearly all the Scotch shell-bearing beds belong to the very close of the glacial period; only in one or two places have shells ever been obtained, with certainty, from a bed in the true till of Scotland. They occur here and there in bowlder-clay, and underneath bowlder-clay, in maritime districts; but this clay, as I have shown, is more recent than the till—fact, rests upon its eroded surface."

"The lower bed of the drift is entirely destitute of organic remains."[4]

Sir Charles Lyell tells us that even the stratified drift is usually devoid of fossils:

"Whatever may be the cause, the fact is certain that over large areas in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, I might add throughout the northern hemisphere, on both sides of the Atlantic, the stratified drift of the glacial period is very commonly devoid of fossils."[5]

[1. "Great Ice Age," Geikie, p. 7.

2. Ibid., p. 9.

3. Ibid., p. 342.

4. Rev. O. Fisher, quoted in "The World before the Deluge," p. 461.

5. "Antiquity of Man," third edition, p. 268.]

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In the next place, this "till" differs from the rest of the Drift in its exceeding hardness:

"This till is so tough that engineers would much rather excavate the most obdurate rocks than attempt to remove it from their path. Hard rocks are more or less easily assailable with gunpowder, and the numerous joints and fissures by which they are traversed enable the workmen to wedge them out often in considerable lumps. But till has neither crack nor joint; it will not blast, and to pick it to pieces is a very slow and laborious process. Should streaks of sand penetrate it, water will readily soak through, and large masses will then run or collapse, as soon as an opening is made into it."


TILL OVERLAID WITH BOWLDER-CLAY, RIVER STINCHAR. r, Rock; t, Till; g, Bowlder-Clay; x, Fine Gravel, etc.

The accompanying cut shows the manner in which it is distributed, and its relations to the other deposits of the Drift.

In this "till" or "hard-pan" are found some strange and characteristic stones. They are bowlders, not water-worn, not rounded, as by the action of waves, and yet not angular—for every point and projection has been ground off. They are not very large, and they differ in this and other respects from the bowlders found in the other portions of the Drift. These stones in the "till" are always striated—that is, cut by deep lines or grooves, usually running lengthwise, or parallel to their longest diameter. The cut on the following page represents one of them.

{p. 6}

Above this clay is a deposit resembling it, and yet differing from it, called the "bowlder-clay." This is not so tough or hard. The bowlders in it are larger and more angular-sometimes they are of immense size; one at



Bradford, Massachusetts, is estimated to weigh 4,500,000 pounds. Many on Cape Cod are twenty feet in diameter. One at Whitingham, Vermont, is forty-three feet long by thirty feet high, or 40,000 cubic feet in bulk. In some

{p. 7}

cases no rocks of the same material are found within two hundred miles.[1]

These two formations—the "till" and the "bowlder-clay"—sometimes pass into each other by insensible degrees. At other times the distinction is marked. Some of the stones in the bowlder-clay are furrowed or striated, but a large part of them are not; while in the "till" the stone not striated is the rare exception.

Above this bowlder-clay we find sometimes beds of loose gravel, sand, and stones, mixed with the remains of man and other animals. These have all the appearance of being later in their deposition, and of having been worked over by the action of water and ice.

This, then, is, briefly stated, the condition of the Drift.

It is plain that it was the result of violent action of some kind.

And this action must have taken place upon an unparalleled and continental scale. One writer describes it as,

"A remarkable and stupendous period—a period so startling that it might justly be accepted with hesitation, were not the conception unavoidable before a series of facts as extraordinary as itself."[2]

Remember, then, in the discussions which follow, that if the theories advanced are gigantic, the facts they seek to explain are not less so. We are not dealing with little things. The phenomena are continental, world-wide, globe-embracing.

[1. Dana's "Text-Book," p. 221.

2. Gratacap, "Ice Age," "Popular Science Monthly," January, 1878.]



WHILE several different origins have been assigned for the phenomena known as "the Drift," and while one or two of these have been widely accepted and taught in our schools as established truths, yet it is not too much to say that no one of them meets all the requirements of the case, or is assented to by the profoundest thinkers of our day.

Says one authority:

"The origin of the unstratified drift is a question which has been much controverted."[1]

Louis Figuier says,[2] after considering one of the proposed theories:

"No such hypothesis is sufficient to explain either the cataclysms or the glacial phenomena; and we need not hesitate to confess our ignorance of this strange, this mysterious episode in the history of our globe. . . . Nevertheless, we repeat, no explanation presents itself which can be considered conclusive; and in science we should never be afraid to say, I do not know."

Geikie says:

"Many geologists can not yet be persuaded that till has ever formed and accumulated under ice." [3]

A recent scientific writer, after summing up all the facts and all the arguments, makes this confession:

[1. "American Cyclopdia," vol. vi, p. 112.

2. "The World before the Deluge," pp. 435, 463.

3. "The Great Ice Age," p. 370.]

{p. 9}

From the foregoing facts, it seems to me that we are justified in concluding:

"1. That however simple and plausible the Lyellian hypothesis may be, or however ingenious the extension or application of it suggested by Dana, it is not sustained by any proof, and the testimony of the rocks seems to be decidedly against it.

"2. Though much may yet be learned from a more extended and careful study of the glacial phenomena of all parts of both hemispheres, the facts already gathered seem to be incompatible with any theory yet advanced which makes the Ice period simply a series of telluric phenomena, and so far strengthens the arguments of those who look to extraneous and cosmical causes for the origin of these phenomena."[1]

The reader will therefore understand that, in advancing into this argument, he is not invading a realm where Science has already set up her walls and bounds and landmarks; but rather he is entering a forum in which a great debate still goes on, amid the clamor of many tongues.

There are four theories by which it has been attempted to explain the Drift.

These are:

I. The action of great waves and floods of water.

II. The action of icebergs.

III. The action of glaciers.

IV. The action of a continental ice-sheet.

We will consider these several theories in their order.

[1. "Popular Science Monthly," July, 1876, p. 290.]

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WHEN men began, for the first time, to study the drift deposits, they believed that they found in them the results of the Noachic Deluge; and hence the Drift was called the Diluvium, and the period of time in which it was laid down was entitled the Diluvial age.

It was supposed that—

"Somehow and somewhere in the far north a series of gigantic waves was mysteriously propagated. These waves were supposed to have precipitated themselves upon the land, and then swept madly over mountain and valley alike, carrying along with them a mighty burden of rocks and stones and rubbish. Such deluges were called 'waves of translation.'"[1]

There were many difficulties about this theory:

In the first place, there was no cause assigned for these waves, which must have been great enough to have swept over the tops of high mountains, for the evidences of the Drift age are found three thousand feet above the Baltic, four thousand feet high in the Grampians of Scotland, and six thousand feet high in New England.

In the next place, if this deposit had been swept up from or by the sea, it would contain marks of its origin. The shells of the sea, the bones of fish, the remains of seals and whales, would have been taken up by these great deluges, and carried over the land, and have remained

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 26.]

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mingled in the dbris which they deposited. This is not the case. The unstratified Drift is unfossiliferous, and where the stratified Drift contains fossils they are the remains of land animals, except in a few low-lying districts near the sea.

I quote:

"Over the interior of the continent it contains no marine fossils or relics."[1]

Geikie says:

"Not a single trace of any marine organism has yet been detected in true till."[2]

Moreover, if the sea-waves made these great deposits, they must have picked up the material composing them either from the shores of the sea or the beds of streams. And when we consider the vastness of the drift-deposits, extending, as they do, over continents, with a depth of hundreds of feet, it would puzzle us to say where were the sea-beaches or rivers on the globe that could produce such inconceivable quantities of gravel, sand, and clay. The production of gravel is limited to a small marge of the ocean, not usually more than a mile wide, where the waves and the rocks meet. If we suppose the whole shore of the oceans around the northern half of America to be piled up with gravel five hundred feet thick, it would go but a little way to form the immense deposits which stretch from the Arctic Sea to Patagonia.

The stones of the "till" are strangely marked, striated, and scratched, with lines parallel to the longest diameter. No such stones are found in river-beds or on sea-shores.

Geikie says:

"We look in vain for striated stones in the gravel which the surf drives backward and forward on a beach,

[1. Dana's "Text-Book," p. 220.

2. "The Great Ice Age," p. 15.]

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and we may search the detritus that beaches and rivers push along their beds, but we shall not find any stones at all resembling those of the till."[1]

But we need not discuss any further this theory. It is now almost universally abandoned.

We know of no way in which such waves could be formed; if they were formed, they could not find the material to carry over the land; if they did find it, it would not have the markings which are found in the Drift, and it would possess marine fossils not found in the Drift; and the waves would not and could not scratch and groove the rock-surfaces underneath the Drift, as we know they are scratched and grooved.

Let us then dismiss this hypothesis, and proceed to the consideration of the next.

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 69.]

{p. 13}



WE come now to a much more reasonable hypothesis, and one not without numerous advocates even to this day, to wit: that the drift-deposits were caused by icebergs floating down in deep water over the sunken land, loaded with dbris from the Arctic shores, which they shed as they melted in the warmer seas of the south.

This hypothesis explains the carriage of enormous blocks weighing hundreds of tons from their original site to where they are now found; but it is open to many unanswerable objections.

In the first place, if the Drift had been deposited under water deep enough to float icebergs, it would present throughout unquestionable evidences of stratification, for the reason that the larger masses of stone would fall more rapidly than the smaller, and would be found at the bottom of the deposit. If, for instance, you were to go to the top of a shot-tower, filled with water, and let loose at the same moment a quantity of cannon-balls, musket-balls, pistol-balls, duck-shot, reed-bird shot, and fine sand, all mixed together, the cannon-balls would reach the bottom first, and the other missiles in the order of their size; and the deposit at the bottom would be found to be regularly stratified, with the sand and the finest shot on top. But nothing of this kind is found in the Drift, especially in the "till"; clay, sand, gravel, stones,

{p. 14}

and bowlders are all found mixed together in the utmost confusion, "higgledy-piggledy, pell-mell."

Says Geikie:

"Neither can till owe its origin to icebergs. If it had been distributed over the sea-bottom, it would assuredly have shown some kind of arrangement. When an iceberg drops its rubbish, it stands to reason that the heavier blocks will reach the bottom first, then the smaller stones, and lastly the finer ingredients. There is no such assortment visible, however, in the normal 'till,' but large and small stones are scattered pretty equally through the clay, which, moreover, is quite unstratified."[1]

This fact alone disposes of the iceberg theory as an explanation of the Drift.

Again: whenever deposits are dropped in the sea, they fall uniformly and cover the surface below with a regular sheet, conforming to the inequalities of the ground, no thicker in one place than another. But in the Drift this is not the case. The deposit is thicker in the valleys and thinner on the hills, sometimes absent altogether on the higher elevations.

"The true bowlder-clay is spread out over the region under consideration as a somewhat widely extended and uniform sheet, yet it may be said to fill up all small valleys and depressions, and to be thin or absent on ridges or rising grounds."[2]

That is to say, it fell as a snow-storm falls, driven by high winds; or as a semi-fluid mass might be supposed to fall, draining down from the elevations and filling up the hollows.

Again: the same difficulty presents itself which we found in the case of "the waves of transplantation." Where did the material of the Drift come from? On what sea-shore, in what river-beds, was this incalculable mass of clay, gravel, and stones found?

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 72.

2. "American Cyclopdia," vol. vi, p. 112.]

{p. 15}

Again: if we suppose the supply to have existed on the Arctic coasts, the question comes,

Would the icebergs have carried it over the face of the continents?

Mr. Croll has shown very clearly[1] that the icebergs nowadays usually sail down into the oceans without a scrap of dbris of any kind upon them.

Again: how could the icebergs have made the continuous scratchings or stri, found under the Drift nearly all over the continents of Europe and America? Why, say the advocates of this theory, the icebergs press upon the bottom of the sea, and with the stones adhering to their base they make those stri.

But two things are necessary to this: First, that there should be a force great enough to drive the berg over the bottom of the sea when it has once grounded. We know of no such force. On the contrary, we do know that wherever a berg grounds it stays until it rocks itself to pieces or melts away. But, suppose there was such a propelling force, then it is evident that whenever the iceberg floated clear of the bottom it would cease to make the strive, and would resume them only when it nearly stranded again. That is to say, when the water was deep enough for the berg to float clear of the bottom of the sea, there could be no stri; when the water was too shallow, the berg would not float at all, and there would be no stri. The berg would mark the rocks only where it neither floated clear nor stranded. Hence we would find stri only at a certain elevation, while the rocks below or above that level would be free from them. But this is not the case with the drift-markings. They pass over mountains and down into the deepest valleys; they are

[1. "Climate and Time," p. 282.]

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universal within very large areas; they cover the face of continents and disappear under the waves of the sea.

It is simply impossible that the Drift was caused by icebergs. I repeat, when they floated clear of the rocks, of course they would not mark them; when the water was too shallow to permit them to float at all, and so move onward, of course they could not mark them. The striations would occur only when the water was; just deep enough to float the berg, and not deep enough to raise the berg clear of the rocks; and but a small part of the bottom of the sea could fulfill these conditions.

Moreover, when the waters were six thousand feet deep in New England, and four thousand feet deep in Scotland, and over the tops of the Rocky Mountains, where was the rest of the world, and the life it contained?

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WHAT is a glacier? It is a river of ice, crowded by the weight of mountain-ice down into some valley, along which it descends by a slow, almost imperceptible motion, due to a power of the ice, under the force of gravity, to rearrange its molecules. It is fed by the mountains and melted by the sun.

The glaciers are local in character, and comparatively few in number; they are confined to valleys having some general slope downward. The whole Alpine mass does not move down upon the plain. The movement downward is limited to these glacier-rivers.

The glacier complies with some of the conditions of the problem. We can suppose it capable of taking in its giant paw a mass of rock, and using it as a graver to carve deep grooves in the rock below it; and we can see in it a great agency for breaking up rocks and carrying the detritus down upon the plains. But here the resemblance ends.

That high authority upon this subject, James Geikie, says:

"But we can not fail to remark that, although scratched and polished stones occur not infrequently in the frontal moraines of Alpine glaciers, yet at the same time these moraines do not at all resemble till. The moraine consists for the most part of a confused heap of rough angular stones and blocks, and loose sand and dbris; scratched

{p. 18}

stones are decidedly in the minority, and indeed a close search will often fail to show them. Clearly, then, the till is not of the nature of a terminal moraine. Each stone in the 'till' gives evidence of having been subjected to a grinding process. . . .

"We look in vain, however, among the glaciers of the Alps for such a deposit. The scratched stones we may occasionally find, but where is the clay? . . . It is clear that the conditions for the gathering of a stony clay like the I till' do not obtain (as far as we know) among the Alpine glaciers. There is too much water circulating below the ice there to allow any considerable thickness of such a deposit to accumulate."[1]

But it is questionable whether the glaciers do press with a steady force upon the rocks beneath so as to score them. As a rule, the base of the glacier is full of water; rivers flow from under them. The opposite picture, from Professor Winchell's "Sketches of Creation," page 223, does not represent a mass of ice, bugging the rocks, holding in its grasp great gravers of stone with which to cut the face of the rocks into deep grooves, and to deposit an even coating of rounded stones and clay over the face of the earth.

On the contrary, here are only angular masses of rock, and a stream which would certainly wash away any clay which might be formed.

Let Mr. Dawkins state the case:

"The hypothesis upon which the southern extension is founded—that the bowlder-clays have been formed by ice melting on the land—is open to this objection, that no similar clays have been proved to have been so formed, either in the Arctic regions, where the ice-sheet has retreated, or in the districts forsaken by the glaciers in the Alps or Pyrenees, or in any other mountain-chain. . . .

The English bowlder-clays, as a whole, differ from

[1. "The Great Ice Age," pp. 70-72.]

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the moraine profonde in their softness, and the large area which they cover. Strata of bowlder-clay at all comparable to the great clay mantle covering the lower grounds of Britain, north of the Thames, are conspicuous by their absence from the glaciated regions of Central Europe and the Pyrenees, which were not depressed beneath the sea."



Moreover, the Drift, especially the "till," lies in great continental sheets of clay and gravel, of comparatively uniform thickness. The glaciers could not form such sheets; they deposit their material in long ridges called "terminal moraines."

Agassiz, the great advocate of the ice-origin of the Drift, says:

"All these moraines are the land-marks, so to speak, by which we trace the height and extent, as well as the

[1. Dawkin's "Early Man in Britain," pp. 116, 117.]

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progress and retreat, of glaciers in former times. Suppose, for instance, that a glacier were to disappear entirely. For ages it has been a gigantic ice-raft, receiving all sorts of materials on its surface as it traveled onward, and bearing them along with it; while the hard particles of rocks set in its lower surface have been polishing and fashioning the whole surface over which it extended. As it now melts it drops its various burdens to the ground; bowlders are the milestones marking the different stages of its journey; the terminal and lateral moraines are the frame-work which it erected around itself as it moved forward, and which define its boundaries centuries after it has vanished."[1]



And Professor Agassiz gives us, on page 307 of the same work, the above representation of a "terminal moraine."

The reader can see at once that these semicircular

[1. "Geological Sketches," p. 308.]

{p. 21}

ridges bear no resemblance whatever to the great drift-deposits of the world, spread out in vast and nearly uniform sheets, without stratification, over hills and plains alike.

And here is another perplexity: It might naturally be supposed that the smoothed, scratched, and smashed appearance of the underlying rocks was due to the rubbing and rolling of the stones under the ice of the glaciers; but, strange to say, we find that—

"The scratched and polished rock-surfaces are by no means confined to till-covered districts. They are met with everywhere and at all levels throughout the country, from the sea-coast up to near the tops of some of our higher mountains. The lower hill-ranges, such as the Sidlaws, the Ochils, the Pentlands, the Kilbarchan and Paisley Hills, and others, exhibit polished and smoothed rock-surfaces on their very crest. Similar markings streak and score the rocks up to a great height in the deep valleys of the Highlands."[1]

We can realize, in our imagination, the glacier of the mountain-valley crushing and marking the bed in which it moves, or even the plain on which it discharges itself; but it is impossible to conceive of a glacier upon the bare top of a mountain, without walls to restrain it or direct its flow, or higher ice accumulations to feed it.


"If glaciers descended, as they did, on both sides of the great Alpine ranges, then we would expect to find the same results on the plains of Northern Italy that present themselves on the low grounds of Switzerland. But this is not the case. On the plains of Italy there are no traces of the stony clay found in Switzerland and all over Europe. Neither are any of the stones of the drift of Italy scratched or striated."[2]

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 73.

2. Ibid., pp. 491, 492.]

{p. 22}

But, strange to say, while, as Geikie admits, no true "till" or Drift is now being formed by or under the glaciers of Switzerland, nevertheless "till" is found in that country disassociated from the glaciers. Geikie says:

"In the low grounds of Switzerland we get a dark, tough clay, packed with scratched and well-rubbed stones, and containing here and there some admixture of sand and irregular beds and patches of earthy gravel. This clay is quite unstratified, and the strata upon which it rests frequently exhibit much confusion, being turned up on end and bent over, exactly as in this country the rocks are sometimes broken and disturbed below till. The whole deposit has experienced much denudation, but even yet it covers considerable areas, and attains a thickness varying from a few feet up to not less than thirty feet in thickness."[1]

Here, then, are the objections to this theory of the glacier-origin of the Drift:

I. The glaciers do not produce striated stones.

II. The glaciers do not produce drift-clay.

III. The glaciers could not have formed continental sheets of "till."

IV. The glaciers could not have existed upon, and consequently could not have striated, the mountain-tops.

V. The glaciers could not have reached to the great plains of the continents far remote from valleys, where we still find the Drift and drift-markings.

VI. The glaciers are limited in number and confined in their operations, and were utterly inadequate to have produced the thousands of square miles of drift-dbris which we find enfolding the world.

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 373.]

{p. 23}



WE, come now to the theory which is at present most generally accepted:

It being apparent that glaciers were not adequate to produce the results which we find, the glacialists have fallen back upon an extraordinary hypothesis—to wit, that the whole north and south regions of the globe, extending from the poles to 35 or 40 of north and south latitude, were, in the Drift age, covered with enormous, continuous sheets of ice, from one mile thick at its southern margin, to three or five miles thick at the poles. As they find drift-scratches upon the tops of mountains in Europe three to four thousand feet high, and in New England upon elevations six thousand feet high, it follows, according to this hypothesis, that the ice-sheet must have been considerably higher than these mountains, for the ice must have been thick enough to cover their tops, and high enough and heavy enough above their tops to press down upon and groove and scratch the rocks. And as the stri in Northern Europe were found to disregard the conformation of the continent and the islands of the sea, it became necessary to suppose that this polar ice-sheet filled up the bays and seas, so that one could have passed dry-shod, in that period, from France to the north pole, over a steadily ascending plane of ice.

No attempt has been made to explain where all this

{p. 24}

ice came from; or what force lifted the moisture into the air which, afterward descending, constituted these world-cloaks of frozen water.

It is, perhaps, easy to suppose that such world-cloaks might have existed; we can imagine the water of the seas falling on the continents, and freezing as it fell, until, in the course of ages, it constituted such gigantic ice-sheets; but something more than this is needed. This does not account for these hundreds of feet of clay, bowlders, and gravel.

But it is supposed that these were torn from the surface of the rocks by the pressure of the ice-sheet moving southward. But what would make it move southward? We know that some of our mountains are covered to-day with immense sheets of ice, hundreds and thousands of feet in thickness. Do these descend upon the flat country? No; they lie there and melt, and are renewed, kept in equipoise by the contending forces of heat and cold.

Why should the ice-sheet move southward? Because, say the "glacialists," the lands of the northern parts of Europe and America were then elevated fifteen hundred feet higher than at present, and this gave the ice a sufficient descent. But what became of that elevation afterward? Why, it went down again. It had accommodatingly performed its function, and then the land resumed its old place!

But did the land rise up in this extraordinary fashion? Croll says:

"The greater elevation of the land (in the Ice period) is simply assumed as an hypothesis to account for the cold. The facts of geology, however, are fast establishing the opposite conclusion, viz., that when the country was covered with ice, the land stood in relation to the sea at a lower level than at present, and that the continental periods or times, when the land stood in relation to the

{p. 25}

sea at a higher level than now, were the warm inter-glacial periods, when the country was free of snow and ice, And a mild and equable condition of climate prevailed. This is the conclusion toward which we are being led by the more recent revelations of surface-geology, and also by certain facts connected with the geographical distribution of plants and animals during the Glacial epoch."[1]

H. B. Norton says:

"When we come to study the cause of these phenomena, we find many perplexing and contradictory theories in the field. A favorite one is that of vertical elevation. But it seems impossible to admit that the circle inclosed within the parallel of 40—some seven thousand miles in diameter—could have been elevated to such a height as to produce this remarkable result. This would be a supposition hard to reconcile with the present proportion of land and water on the surface of the globe and with the phenomena of terrestrial contraction and gravitation."[2]

We have seen that the surface-rocks underneath the Drift are scored and grooved by some external force. Now we find that these markings do not all run in the same direction; on the contrary, they cross each other in an extraordinary manner. The cut on the following page illustrates this.

If the direction of the motion of the ice-sheets, which caused these markings, was,—as the glacialists allege,—always from the elevated region in the north to the lower ground in the south, then the markings must always have been in the same direction: given a fixed cause, we must have always a fixed result. We shall see, as we go on in this argument, that the deposition of the "till" was instantaneous; and, as these markings were made before or at the same time the "till" was laid down, how could the land

[1. "Climate and Time," p. 391.

2. "Popular Science Monthly," October, 1879, p. 833.]

{p. 26}

possibly have bobbed up and down, now here, now there, so that the elevation from which the ice-sheet descended



aa, deep water-line; bb border of the bank of earthy materials; cc, deep parallel grooves four and a half feet apart and twenty-five feet long, bearing north 60 east; d, a set of grooves and scratches bearing north 60 west; e, a natural bridge.

[Winchell's "Sketches of Creation," p. 213.]

was one moment in the northeast, and the next moment had whirled away into the northwest? As the poet says:

". . . Will these trees, That have outlived the eagle, page thy steps And skip, when thou point'st out?"

{p. 27}

But if the point of elevation was whisked away from east to west, how could an ice-sheet a mile thick instantaneously adapt itself to the change? For all these markings took place in the interval between the time when the external force, whatever it was, struck the rocks, and the time when a sufficient body of "till" had been laid down to shield the rocks and prevent further wear and tear. Neither is it possible to suppose an ice-sheet, a mile in thickness, moving in two diametrically opposite directions at the same time.

Again: the ice-sheet theory requires an elevation in the north and a descent southwardly; and it is this descent southwardly which is supposed to have given the momentum and movement by which the weight of the superincumbent mass of ice tore up, plowed up, ground up, and smashed up the face of the surface-rocks, and thus formed the Drift and made the stri.

But, unfortunately, when we come to apply this theory to the facts, we find that it is the north sides of the hills and mountains that are striated, while the south sides have gone scot-free! Surely, if weight and motion made the Drift, then the groovings, caused by weight and motion, must have been more distinct upon a declivity than upon an ascent. The school-boy toils patiently and slowly up the hill with his sled, but when he descends he comes down with railroad-speed, scattering the snow before him in all directions. But here we have a school-boy that tears and scatters things going up-hill, and sneaks down-hill snail-fashion.

"Professor Hitchcock remarks, that Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire, 3,250 feet high, is scarified from top to bottom on its northern side and western side, but not on, the southern."[1]

This state of things is universal in North America.

[1. Dana's "Manual of Geology," p. 537.]

{p. 28}

But let us look at another point:

If the vast deposits of sand, gravel, clay, and bowlders, which are found in Europe and America, were placed there by a great continental ice-sheet, reaching down from the north pole to latitude 35 or 40; if it was the ice that tore and scraped up the face of the rocks and rolled the stones and striated them, and left them in great sheets and heaps all over the land—then it follows, as a matter of course, that in all the regions equally near the pole, and equally cold in climate, the ice must have formed a similar sheet, and in like manner have torn up the rocks and ground them into gravel and clay. This conclusion is irresistible. If the cold of the north caused the ice, and the ice caused the Drift, then in all the cold north-lands there must have been ice, and consequently there ought to have been Drift. If we can find, therefore, any extensive cold region of the earth where the Drift is not, then we can not escape the conclusion that the cold and the ice did not make the Drift.

Let us see: One of the coldest regions of the earth is Siberia. It is a vast tract reaching to the Arctic Circle; it is the north part of the Continent of Asia; it is intersected by great mountain-ranges. Here, if anywhere, we should find the Drift; here, if anywhere, was the ice-field, "the sea of ice." It is more elevated and more mountainous than the interior of North America where the drift-deposits are extensive; it is nearer the pole than New York and Illinois, covered as these are with hundreds of feet of dbris, and yet there is no Drift in Siberia!

I quote from a high authority, and a firm believer in the theory that glaciers or ice-sheets caused the drift; James Geikie says:

"It is remarkable that nowhere in the great plains of Siberia do any traces of glacial action appear to have

{p. 29}

been observed. If cones and mounds of gravel and great erratics like those that sprinkle so wide an area in Northern America and Northern Europe had occurred, they would hardly have failed to arrest the attention of explorers. Middendorff does, indeed, mention the occurrence of trains of large erratics which he observed along the banks of some of the rivers, but these, he has no doubt, were carried down by river-ice. The general character of the 'tundras' is that of wide, flat plains, covered for the most part with a grassy and mossy vegetation, but here and there bare and sandy. Frequently nothing intervenes to break the monotony of the landscape. . . . It would appear, then, that ill Northern Asia representatives of the glacial deposits which are met with in similar latitudes in Europe and America do not occur. The northern drift of Russia and Germany; the sar of Sweden; the kames, eskers, and erratics of Britain; and the iceberg-drift of Northern America have, apparently, no equivalent in Siberia. Consequently we find the great river-deposits, with their mammalian remains, which tell of a milder climate than now obtains in those high latitudes, still lying undisturbed at the surface."[1]

Think of the significance of all this. There is no Drift in Siberia; no "till," no "bowlder-clay," no stratified masses of gravel, sand, and stones. There was, then, no Drift age in all Northern Asia, up to the Arctic Circle!

How pregnant is this admission. It demolishes at one blow the whole theory that the Drift came of the ice. For surely if we could expect to find ice, during the so-called Glacial age, anywhere on the face of our planet, it would be in Siberia. But, if there was an ice-sheet there, it did not grind up the rocks; it did not striate them; it did not roll the fragments into bowlders and pebbles; it rested so quietly on the face of the land that, as Geikie tells us, the pre-glacial deposits throughout Siberia, with their mammalian remains, are still found "lying undisturbed

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 460, published in 1873.]

{p. 30}

on the surface"; and he even thinks that the great mammals, the mammoth and the woolly rhinoceros, "may have survived in Northern Asia down to a comparatively recent date,"[1] ages after they were crushed out of existence by the Drift of Europe and America.

Mr. Geikie seeks to account for this extraordinary state of things by supposing that the climate of Siberia was, during the Glacial age, too dry to furnish snow to make the ice-sheet. But when it is remembered that there was moisture enough, we are told, in Northern Europe and America at that time to form a layer of ice from one to three miles in thickness, it would certainly seem that enough ought to have blown across the eastern line of European Russia to give Siberia a fair share of ice and Drift. The explanation is more extraordinary than the thing it explains. One third of the water of all the oceans must have been carried up, and was circulating around in the air, to descend upon the earth in rain and snow, and yet none of it fell on Northern Asia! And as the line of the continents separating Europe and Asia had not yet been established, it can not be supposed that the Drift ref used to enter Asia out of respect to the geographical lines.

But not alone is the Drift absent from Siberia, and, probably, all Asia; it does not extend even over all Europe. Louis Figuier says that the traces of glacial action "are observed in all the north of Europe, in Russia, Iceland, Norway, Prussia, the British Islands, part of Germany in the north, and even in some parts of the south of Spain."[2] M. Edouard Collomb finds only a "a shred" of the glacial evidences in France, and thinks they were absent from part of Russia!

[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 461.

2. "The World before the Deluge," p. 451.]

{p. 31}

And, even in North America, the Drift is not found everywhere. There is a remarkable region, embracing a large area in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, which Professor J. D. Whitney[1] calls "the driftless region," in which no drift, no clays, no gravel, no rock strive or furrows are found. The rock-surfaces have not been ground down and polished. "This is the more remarkable," says Geikie, "seeing that the regions to the north, west, east, and south are all more or less deeply covered with drift-deposits."[2] And, in this region, as in Siberia, the remains of the large, extinct mammalia are found imbedded in the surface-wash, or in cracks or crevices of the limestone.

If the Drift of North America was due to the ice-sheet, why is there no drift-deposit in "the driftless region" of the Northwestern States of America? Surely this region must have been as cold as Illinois, Ohio, etc. It is now the coldest part of the Union. Why should the ice have left this oasis, and refused to form on it? Or why, if it did form on it, did it refuse to tear up the rock-surfaces and form Drift?

Again, no traces of northern drift are found in California, which is surrounded by high mountains, in some of which fragments of glaciers are found even to this day.[3]

According to Foster, the Drift did not extend to Oregon; and, in the opinion of some, it does not reach much beyond the western boundary of Iowa.

Nor can it be supposed that the driftless regions of Siberia, Northwestern America, and the Pacific coast are due to the absence of ice upon them during the Glacial

[1. "Report of the Geological Survey of Wisconsin," vol. i, p. 114.

2. "The Great Ice Age," p. 465.

3. Whitney, "Proceedings of the California Academy of Natural Sciences."]

{p. 32}

age, for in Siberia the remains of the great mammalia, the mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros, the bison, and the horse, are found to this day imbedded in great masses of ice, which, as we shall see, are supposed to have been formed around them at the very coming of the Drift age.

But there is another difficulty:

Let us suppose that on all the continents an ice-belt came down from the north and south poles to 35 or 40 of latitude, and there stood, massive and terrible, like the ice-sheet of Greenland, frowning over the remnant of the world, and giving out continually fogs, snow-storms, and tempests; what, under such circumstances, must have been the climatic conditions of the narrow belt of land which these ice-sheets did not cover?

Louis Figuier says:

"Such masses of ice could only have covered the earth when the temperature of the air was lowered at least some degrees below zero. But organic life is incompatible with such a temperature; and to this cause must we attribute the disappearance of certain species of animals and plants—in particular the rhinoceros and the elephant—which, before this sudden and extraordinary cooling of the globe, appeared to have limited themselves, in immense herds, to Northern Europe, and chiefly to Siberia, where their remains have been found in such prodigious quantities."[1]

But if the now temperate region of Europe and America was subject to a degree of cold great enough to destroy these huge animals, then there could not have been a tropical climate anywhere on the globe. If the line of 35 or 40, north and south, was several degrees below zero, the equator must have been at least below the frost-point. And, if so, how can we account for the survival,

[1. "The World before the Deluge," p. 462.]

{p. 33}

to our own time, of innumerable tropical plants that can not stand for one instant the breath of frost, and whose fossilized remains are found in the rocks prior to the Drift? As they lived through the Glacial age, it could not have been a period of great and intense cold. And this conclusion is in accordance with the results of the latest researches of the scientists:—

"In his valuable studies upon the diluvial flora, Count Gaston de Saporta concludes that the climate in this period was marked rather by extreme moisture than extreme cold."

Again: where did the clay, which is deposited in such gigantic masses, hundreds of feet thick, over the continents, come from? We have seen (p. 18, ante) that, according to Mr. Dawkins, "no such clay has been proved to have been formed, either in the Arctic regions, whence the ice-sheet has retreated, or in the districts forsaken by the glaciers."

If the Arctic ice-sheet does not create such a clay now, why did it create it centuries ago on the plains of England or Illinois?

The other day I traveled from Minnesota to Cape May, on the shore of the Atlantic, a distance of about fifteen hundred miles. At scarcely any point was I out of sight of the red clay and gravel of the Drift: it loomed up amid the beach-sands of New Jersey; it was laid bare by railroad-cuts in the plains of New York and Pennsylvania; it covered the highest tops of the Alleghanies at Altoona; the farmers of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin were raising crops upon it; it was everywhere. If one had laid down a handful of the Wisconsin Drift alongside of a handful of the New Jersey deposit, he could scarcely have perceived any difference between them.

{p. 34}

Here, then, is a geological formation, almost identical in character, fifteen hundred miles long from east to west, and reaching through the whole length of North and South America, from the Arctic Circle to Patagonia.

Did ice grind this out of the granite?

Where did it get the granite? The granite reaches the surface only in limited areas; as a rule, it is buried many miles in depth under the sedimentary rocks.

How did the ice pick out its materials so as to grind nothing but granite?

This deposit overlies limestone and sandstone. The ice-sheet rested upon them. Why were they not ground up with the granite? Did the ice intelligently pick out a particular kind of rock, and that the hardest of them all?

But here is another marvel—this clay is red. The red is due to the grinding up of mica and hornblende. Granite is composed of quartz, feldspar, and mica. In syenitic granite the materials are quartz, feldspar, and hornblende. Mica and hornblende contain considerable oxide of iron, while feldspar has none. When mica and hornblende are ground up, the result is blue or red clays, as the oxidation of the iron turns the clay red; while the clay made of feldspar is light yellow or white.

Now, then, not only did the ice-sheet select for grinding the granite rocks, and refuse to touch the others, but it put the granite itself through some mysterious process by which it separated the feldspar from the mica and hornblende, and manufactured a white or yellow clay out of the one, which it deposited in great sheets by itself, as west of the Mississippi; while it ground up the mica and hornblende and made blue or red clays, which it laid down elsewhere, as the red clays are spread over that great stretch of fifteen hundred miles to which I have referred.

{p. 35}

Can any one suppose that ice could so discriminate?

And if it by any means effected this separation of the particles of granite, indissolubly knit together, how could it perpetuate that separation while moving over the land, crushing all beneath and before it, and leave it on the face of the earth free from commixture with the surface rocks?

Again: the ice-sheets which now exist in the remote north do not move with a constant and regular motion southward, grinding up the rocks as they go. A recent writer, describing the appearance of things in Greenland, says:

"The coasts are deeply indented with numerous bays and fiords or firths, which, when traced inland, are almost invariably found to terminate against glaciers. Thick ice frequently appears, too, crowning the exposed sea-cliffs, from the edges of which it droops in thick, tongue-like, and stalactitic projections, until its own weight forces it to break away and topple down the precipices into the sea."[1]

This does not represent an ice-sheet moving down continuously from the high grounds and tearing up the rocks. It rather breaks off like great icicles from the caves of a house.

Again: the ice-sheets to-day do not striate or groove the rocks over which they move.

Mr. Campbell, author of two works in defense of the iceberg theory—"Fire and Frost," and "A Short American Tramp"—went, in 1864, to the coasts of Labrador, the Strait of Belle Isle, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, for the express purpose of witnessing the effects of icebergs, and testing the theory he had formed. On the coast of Labrador he reports that at Hanly Harbor, where

[1. "Popular Science Monthly," April, 1874, p. 646.]

{p. 36}

the whole strait is blocked up with ice each winter, and the great mass swung bodily up and down, "grating along the bottom at all depths," he "found the rocks ground smooth, but not striated."[1] At Cape Charles and Battle Harbor, he reports, "the rocks at the water-line are not striated."[2] At St. Francis Harbor, "the water-line is much rubbed smooth, but not striated."[3] At Sea Islands, he says, "No stri are to be seen at the land-wash in these sounds or on open sea-coasts near the present waterline."[4]

Again: if these drift-deposits, these vast accumulations of sand, clay, gravel, and bowlders, were caused by a great continental ice-sheet scraping and tearing the rocks on which it rested, and constantly moving toward the sun, then not only would we find, as I have suggested in the case of glaciers, the accumulated masses of rubbish piled up in great windrows or ridges along the lines where the face of the ice-sheet melted, but we would naturally expect that the farther north we went the less we would find of these materials; in other words, that the ice, advancing southwardly, would sweep the north clear of dbris to pile it up in the more southern regions. But this is far from being the case. On the contrary, the great masses of the Drift extend as far north as the land itself. In the remote, barren grounds of North America, we are told by various travelers who have visited those regions, "sand-hills and erratics appear to be as common as in the countries farther south."[5] Captain Bach tells us[6] that he saw great chains of sand-hills, stretching

[1. "A Short American Tramp," pp. 68, 107.

2. Ibid., p. 68.

3. Ibid., p. 72.

4. Ibid., p. 76.

5. "The Great Ice Age," p. 391.

6. "Narrative of Arctic Land Expedition to the Mouth of the Great Fish River," pp. 140, 346.]

{p. 37}

away from each side of the valley of the Great Fish River, in north latitude 66, of great height, and crowned with gigantic bowlders.

Why did not the advancing ice-sheet drive these deposits southward over the plains of the United States? Can we conceive of a force that was powerful enough to grind up the solid rocks, and yet was not able to remove its own dbris?

But there is still another reason which ought to satisfy us, once for all, that the drift-deposits were not due to the pressure of a great continental ice-sheet. It is this:

If the presence of the Drift proves that the country in which it is found was once covered with a body of ice thick and heavy enough by its pressure and weight to grind up the surface-rocks into clay, sand, gravel, and bowlders, then the tropical regions of the world must have been covered with such a great ice-sheet, upon the very equator; for Agassiz found in Brazil a vast sheet of "ferruginous clay with pebbles," which covers the whole country, "a sheet of drift," says Agassiz, "consisting of the same homogeneous, unstratified paste, and containing loose materials of all sorts and sizes," deep red in color, and distributed, as in the north, in uneven hills, while sometimes it is reduced to a thin deposit. It is recent in time, although overlying rocks ancient geologically. Agassiz had no doubt whatever that it was of glacial origin.

Professor Hartt, who accompanied Professor Agassiz in his South American travels, and published a valuable work called "The Geology of Brazil," describes drift-deposits as covering the province of Par, Brazil, upon the equator itself. The whole valley of the Amazon is covered with stratified and unstratified and unfossiliferous

{p. 38}

Drift,[1] and also with a peculiar drift-clay (argile plastique bigarre), plastic and streaked.

Professor Hartt gives a cut from which I copy the following representation of drift-clay and pebbles overlying a gneiss hillock of the Serra do Mar, Brazil:



a, drift-clay; f f, angular fragments of quartz; c. sheet of pebbles; d d, gneiss in situ; g g, quartz and granite veins traversing the gneiss.

But here is the dilemma to which the glacialists are reduced: If an ice-sheet a mile in thickness, or even one hundred feet in thickness, was necessary to produce the Drift, and if it covered the equatorial regions of Brazil, then there is no reason why the same climatic conditions should not have produced the same results in Africa and Asia; and the result would be that the entire globe, from pole to pole, must have rolled for days, years, or centuries, wrapped in a continuous easing, mantle, or shroud of ice, under which all vegetable and animal life must have utterly perished.

[1. "Geology of Brazil," p. 488.]

{p. 39}

And we are not without evidences that the drift-deposits are found in Africa. We know that they extend in Europe to the Mediterranean. The "Journal of the Geographical Society" (British) has a paper by George Man, F. G. S., on the geology of Morocco, in which he says:

"Glacial moraines may be seen on this range nearly eight thousand feet above the sea, forming gigantic ridges and mounds of porphyritic blocks, in some places damming up the ravines, and at the foot of Atlas are enormous mounds of bowlders."

These mounds oftentimes rise two thousand feet above the level of the plain, and, according to Mr. Man, were produced by glaciers.

We shall see, hereafter, that the sands bordering Egypt belong to the Drift age. The diamond-bearing gravels of South Africa extend to within twenty-two degrees of the equator.

It is even a question whether that great desolate land, the Desert of Sahara, covering a third of the Continent of Africa, is not the direct result of this signal catastrophe. Henry W. Haynes tells us that drift-deposits are found in the Desert of Sahara, and that—

"In the bottoms of the dry ravines, or wadys, which pierce the hills that bound the valley of the Nile, I have found numerous specimens of flint axes of the type of St. Acheul, which have been adjudged to be true palolithic implements by some of the most eminent cultivators of prehistoric science."[1]

The sand and gravel of Sahara are underlaid by a deposit of clay.

Bayard Taylor describes in the center of Africa

[1. "The Palolithic Implements of the Valley of the Delaware," Cambridge, 1881.]

{p. 40}

great plains of coarse gravel, dotted with gray granite bowlders.[1]

In the United States Professor Winchell shows that the drift-deposits extend to the Gulf of Mexico. At Jackson, in Southern Alabama, be found deposits of pebbles one hundred feet in thickness.[2]

If there are no drift-deposits except where the great ice-sheet ground them out of the rocks, then a shroud of death once wrapped the entire globe, and all life ceased.

But we know that all life,—vegetable, animal, and human,—is derived from pre-glacial sources; therefore animal, vegetable, and human life did not perish in the Drift age; therefore an ice-sheet did not wrap the world in its death-pall; therefore the drift-deposits of the tropics were not due to an ice-sheet; therefore the drift-deposits of the rest of the world were not due to ice-sheets: therefore we must look elsewhere for their origin.

There is no escaping these conclusions. Agassiz himself says, describing the Glacial age:

"All the springs were dried up; the rivers ceased to flow. To the movements of a numerous and animated creation succeeded the silence of death."

If the verdure was covered with ice a mile in thickness, all animals that lived on vegetation of any kind must have perished; consequently, all carnivores which lived on these must have ceased to exist; and man himself, without animal or vegetable food, must have disappeared for ever.

A writer, describing Greenland wrapped in such an ice-sheet, says

[1. "Travels in Africa," p. 188.

2. "Sketches of Creation," pp. 222, 223.]

{p. 41}

"The whole interior seems to be buried beneath a great depth of snow and ice, which loads up the valleys and wraps over the hills. The scene opening to view in the interior is desolate in the extreme—nothing but one dead, dreary expanse of white, so far as the eye can reach—no living creature frequents this wilderness—neither bird, beast, nor insect. The silence, deep as death, is broken only when the roaring storm arises to sweep before it the pitiless, blinding snow."[1]

And yet the glacialists would have us believe that Brazil and Africa, and the whole globe, were once wrapped in such a shroud of death!

Here, then, in conclusion, are the evidences that the deposits of the Drift are not due to continental ice-sheets:

I. The present ice-sheets of the remote north create no such deposits and make no such markings.

II. A vast continental elevation of land-surfaces at the north was necessary for the ice to slide down, and this did not exist.

III. The ice-sheet, if it made the Drift markings, must have scored the rocks going up-hill, while it did not score them going down-hill.

IV. If the cold formed the ice and the ice formed the Drift, why is there no Drift in the coldest regions of the earth, where there must have been ice?

V. Continental ice-belts, reaching to 40 of latitude, would have exterminated all tropical vegetation. It was not exterminated, therefore such ice-sheets could not have existed.

VI. The Drift is found in the equatorial regions of the world. If it was produced by an ice-sheet in those regions, all pre-glacial forms of life must have perished; but they did not perish; therefore the ice-sheet could not

[1. "Popular Science Monthly," April, 1874, p. 646.]

{p. 42}

have covered these regions, and could not have produced the drift-deposits there found.

In brief, the Drift is not found where ice must have been, and is found where ice could not have been; the conclusion, therefore, is irresistible that the Drift is not due to ice.

{p. 43}



IN the first place, the Drift fell upon a fair and lovely world, a world far better adapted to give happiness to its inhabitants than this storm-tossed planet on which we now live, with its endless battle between heat and cold, between sun and ice.

The pre-glacial world was a garden, a paradise; not excessively warm at the equator, and yet with so mild and equable a climate that the plants we now call tropical flourished within the present Arctic Circle. If some future daring navigator reaches the north pole and finds solid land there, he will probably discover in the rocks at his feet the fossil remains of the oranges and bananas of the pre-glacial age.

That the reader may not think this an extravagant statement, let me cite a few authorities.

A recent writer says:

"This was, indeed, for America, the golden age of animals and plants, and in all respects but one—the absence of man—the country was more interesting and picturesque than now. We must imagine, therefore, that the hills and valleys about the present site of New York were covered with noble trees, and a dense undergrowth of species, for the most part different from those now living there; and that these were the homes and feeding-grounds of many kinds of quadrupeds and birds, which have long since become extinct. The broad plain which sloped gently seaward from the highlands must have been

{p. 44}

covered with a sub-tropical forest of-giant trees and tangled vines teeming with animal life. This state of things doubtless continued through many thousands of years, but ultimately a change came over the fair face of Nature more complete and terrible than we have language to describe."[1]

Another says:

"At the close of the Tertiary age, which ends the long series of geological epochs previous to the Quaternary, the landscape of Europe had, in the main, assumed its modern appearance. The middle era of this age—the Miocene—was characterized by tropical plants, a varied and imposing fauna, and a genial climate, so extended as to nourish forests of beeches, maples, walnuts, poplars, and magnolias in Greenland and Spitzbergen, while an exotic vegetation hid the exuberant valleys of England."[2]

Dr. Dawson says:

"This delightful climate was not confined to the present temperate or tropical regions. It extended to the very shores of the Arctic Sea. In North Greenland, at Atane-Kerdluk, in latitude 70 north, at an elevation of more than a thousand feet above the sea, were found the remains of beeches, oaks, pines, poplars, maples, walnuts, magnolias, limes, and vines. The remains of similar plants were found in Spitzbergen, in latitude 78 56'."[3]

Dr. Dawson continues:

"Was the Miocene period on the whole a better age of the world than that in which we live? In some respects it was. Obviously, there was in the northern hemisphere a vast surface of land under a mild and equable climate, and clothed with a rich and varied vegetation. Had we lived in the Miocene we might have sat under our own vine and fig-tree equally in Greenland and Spitzbergen and in those more southern climes to which this

[1. "Popular Science Monthly," October, 1878, p. 648.

2. L. P. Gratacap, in "American Antiquarian," July, 1881, p. 280.

3. Dawson, "Earth and Man," p. 261.]

{p. 45}

privilege is now restricted. . . . Some reasons have been adduced for the belief that in the Miocene and Eocene there were intervals of cold climate; but the evidence of this may be merely local and exceptional, and does not interfere with the broad characteristics of the age."[1]

Sir Edward Belcher brought away from the dreary shores of Wellington Channel (latitude 75 32' north) portions of a tree which there can be no doubt whatever had actually grown where be found it. The roots were in place, in a frozen mass of earth, the stump standing upright where it was probably overtaken by the great winter.[2] Trees have been found, in situ, on Prince Patrick's Island, in latitude 76 12' north, four feet in circumference. They were so old that the wood had lost its combustible quality, and refused to burn. Mr. Geikie thinks that it is possible these trees were pre-glacial, and belonged to the Miocene age. They may have been the remnants of the great forests which clothed that far northern region when the so-called glacial age came on and brought the Drift.

We shall see hereafter that man, possibly civilized man, dwelt in this fair and glorious world—this world that knew no frost, no cold, no ice, no snow; that he had dwelt in it for thousands of years; that he witnessed the appalling and sudden calamity which fell upon it; and that he has preserved the memory of this catastrophe to the present day, in a multitude of myths and legends scattered all over the face of the habitable earth.

But was it sudden? Was it a catastrophe?

Again I call the witnesses to the stand, for I ask you, good reader, to accept nothing that is not proved.

In the first place, was it sudden?

[1. "Earth and Man," p. 264.

2. "The Last of the Arctic Voyages," vol. i, p. 380.]

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One writer says:

"The glacial action, in the opinion of the land-glacialists, was limited to a definite period, and operated simultaneously over a vast area."[1]

And again:

"The drift was accumulated where it is by some violent action."[2]

Louis Figuier says:

"The two cataclysms of which we have spoken surprised Europe at the moment of the development of an important creation. The whole scope of animated nature, the evolution of animals, was suddenly arrested in that part of our hemisphere over which these gigantic convulsions spread, followed by the brief but sudden submersion of entire continents. Organic life had scarcely recovered from the violent shock, when a second, and perhaps severer blow assailed it. The northern and central parts of Europe, the vast countries which extend from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean and the Danube, were visited by a period of sudden and severe cold; the temperature of the polar regions seized them. The plains of Europe, but now ornamented by the luxurious vegetation developed by the heat of a burning climate, the boundless pastures on which herds of great elephants, the active horse, the robust hippopotamus, and great carnivorous animals grazed and roamed, became covered with a mantle of ice and snow."[3]

M. Ch. Martins says:

"The most violent convulsions of the solid and liquid elements appear to have been themselves only the effects due to a cause much more powerful than the mere expansion of the pyrosphere; and it is necessary to recur, in order to explain them, to some new and bolder hypothesis than has Yet been hazarded. Some philosophers have belief

[1. American Cyclopdia," vol. vi, p. 114.

2. Ibid., vol. vi, p. 111.

3. "The World before the Deluge," p. 435.]

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in an astronomical revolution which may have overtaken our globe in the first age of its formation, and have modified its position in relation to the sun. They admit that the poles have not always been as they are now, and that some terrible shock displaced them, changing at the same time the inclination of the axis of the rotation of the earth."[1]

Louis Figuier says:

"We can not doubt, after such testimony, of the existence, in the frozen north, of the almost entire remains of the mammoth. The animals seem to have perished suddenly; enveloped in ice at the moment of their death, their bodies have been preserved from decomposition by the continual action of the cold."[2]

Cuvier says, speaking of the bodies of the quadrupeds which the ice had seized, and which have been preserved, with their hair, flesh, and skin, down to our own times:

"If they had not been frozen as soon as killed, putrefaction would have decomposed them; and, on the other hand, this eternal frost could not have previously prevailed in the place where they died, for they could not have lived in such a temperature. It was, therefore, at the same instant when these animals perished that the country they inhabited was rendered glacial. These events must have been sudden, instantaneous, and without any gradation."[3]

There is abundant evidence that the Drift fell upon a land covered with forests, and that the trunks of the trees were swept into the mass of clay and gravel, where they are preserved to this day.

Mr. Whittlesey gives an account of a log found forty feet below the surface, in a bed of blue clay, resting

[1. "The World before the Deluge," p. 463.

2. Ibid., p. 396.

3. "Ossements fossiles, Discours sur les Rvolutions du Globe."]

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upon the "hard-pan" or "till," in a well dug at Columbia, Ohio.[1]

At Bloomington, Illinois, pieces of wood were found one hundred and twenty-three feet below the surface, in sinking a shaft.[2]

And it is a very remarkable fact that none of these Illinois clays contain any fossils.[3]

The inference, therefore, is irresistible that the clay, thus unfossiliferous, fell upon and inclosed the trees while they were yet growing.

These facts alone would dispose of the theory that the Drift was deposited upon lands already covered with water. It is evident, on the contrary, that it was dry land, inhabited land, land embowered in forests.

On top of the Norwich crag, in England, are found the remains of an ancient forest, "showing stumps of trees standing erect with their roots penetrating an ancient soil."[4] In this soil occur the remains of many extinct species of animals, together with those of others still living; among these may be mentioned the hippopotamus, three species of elephant, the mammoths, rhinoceros, bear, horse, Irish elk, etc.

In Ireland remains of trees have been found in sand-beds below the till.[5]

Dr. Dawson found a hardened peaty bed under the bowlder-clay, in Canada, which "contained many small roots and branches, apparently of coniferous trees allied to the spruces."[6] Mr. C. Whittlesey refers to decayed

[1. "Smithsonian Contributions," vol. xv.

2. "Geology of Illinois," vol. iv, p. 179.

3. "The Great Ice Age," p. 387.

4. Ibid., p. 340. "Dublin Quarterly Journal of Science," vol. vi, p. 249.

5. "Acadian Geology," p. 63.]

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leaves and remains of the elephant and mastodon found below and in the drift in America.[1]

"The remains of the mastodon, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and elephant are found in the pre-glacial beds of Italy."[2]

These animals were slaughtered outright, and so suddenly that few escaped:

Admiral Wrangel tells us that the remains of elephants, rhinoceroses, etc., are heaped up in such quantities in certain parts of Siberia that "he and his men climbed over ridges and mounds composed entirely of their bones."[3]

We have seen that the Drift itself has all the appearance of having been the product of some sudden catastrophe:

"Stones and bowlders alike are scattered higgledy-piggledy, pell-mell, through the clay, so as to give it a highly confused and tumultuous appearance."

Another writer says:

"In the mass of the 'till' itself fossils sometimes, but very rarely, occur. Tusks of the mammoth, reindeer-antlers, and fragments of wood have from time to time been discovered. They almost invariably afford marks of having been subjected to the same action as the stones and bowlders by which they are surrounded."[4]

Another says:

"Logs and fragments of wood are often got at great depths in the buried gorges."[5]

[1. "Smithsonian Contributions," vol. xv.

2. "The Great Ice Age," p. 492.

3. Agassiz, "Geological Sketches," p. 209.

4. "The Great Ice Age," p. 150.

5. "Illustrations of Surface Geology," "Smithsonian Contributions."]

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Mr. Geikie says:

"Below a deposit of till, at Woodhill Quarry, near Kilmaurs, in Ayrshire (Scotland), the remains of mammoths and reindeer and certain marine shells have several times been detected during the quarrying operations. . . . Two elephant-tasks were got at a depth of seventeen and a half feet from the surface. . . . The mammalian remains, obtained from this quarry, occurred in a peaty layer between two thin beds of sand and gravel which lay beneath a mass of 'till,' and rested directly on the sandstone rock."[1]

And again:

"Remains of the mammoth have been met with at Chapelhall, near Airdrie, where they occurred in a bed of laminated sand, underlying 'till.' Reindeer-antlers have also been discovered in other localities, as in the valley of the Endrick, about four miles from Loch Lomond, where an antler was found associated with marine shells, near the bottom of a bed of blue clay, and close to the underlying rock—the blue clay being covered with twelve feet of tough, stony clay."[2]

Professor Winchell says

"Buried tree-trunks are often exhumed from the glacial drift at a depth of from twenty to sixty feet from the surface. Dr. Locke has published an account of a mass of buried drift-wood at Salem, Ohio, forty-three feet below the surface, imbedded in ancient mud. The museum of the University of Michigan contains several fragments of well-preserved tree-trunks exhumed from wells in the vicinity of Ann Arbor. Such occurrences are by no means uncommon. The encroachments of the waves upon the shores of the Great Lakes reveal whole forests of the buried trunks of the white cedar."[3]

These citations place it beyond question that the Drift came suddenly upon the world, slaughtering the animals,

[1. The Great Ice Age," p. 149.

2. Ibid., p. 150.

3. Winchell, "Sketches of Creation," p. 259.]

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breaking up the forests, and overwhelming the trunks and branches of the trees in its masses of dbris.

Let us turn to the next question: Was it an extraordinary event, a world-shaking cataclysm?

The answer to this question is plain: The Drift marks probably the most awful convulsion and catastrophe that has ever fallen upon the globe. The deposit of these continental masses of clay, sand, and gravel was but one of the features of the apalling event. In addition to this the earth at the same time was cleft with great cracks or fissures, which reached down through many miles of the planet's crust to the central fires and released the boiling rocks imprisoned in its bosom, and these poured to the surface, as igneous, intrusive, or trap-rocks. Where the great breaks were not deep enough to reach the central fires, they left mighty fissures in the surface, which, in the Scandinavian regions, are known as fiords, and which constitute a striking feature of the scenery of these northern lands; they are great canals—hewn, as it were, in the rock—with high walls penetrating from the sea far into the interior of the land. They are found in Great Britain, Maine, Nova Scotia, Labrador, Greenland, and on the Western coast of North America.

David Dale Owen tells us that the outburst of trap-rock at the Dalles of the St. Croix came up through open fissures, breaking the continuity of strata, without tilting them into inclined planes."[1] It would appear as if the earth, in the first place, cracked into deep clefts, and the igneous matter within took advantage of these breaks to rise to the surface. It caught masses of the sandstone in its midst and hardened around them.

These great clefts seem to be, as Owen says, "lines

[1. "Geological Survey of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota," p. 142.]

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radiating southwestwardly from Lake Superior, as if that was the seat of the disturbance which caused them."[1]

Moreover, when we come to examine the face of the rocks on which the Drift came, we do not find them merely smoothed and ground down, as we might suppose a great, heavy mass of ice moving slowly over them would leave them. There was something more than this. There was something, (whatever it was,) that fell upon them with awful force and literally smashed them, pounding, beating, pulverizing them, and turning one layer of mighty rock over upon another, and scattering them in the wildest confusion. We can not conceive of anything terrestrial that, let loose upon the bare rocks to-day, would or could produce such results.

Geikie says:

"When the 'till' is removed from the underlying rocks, these almost invariably show either a well-smoothed, polished, and striated surface, or else a highly confused, broken, and smashed appearance."[2]

Gratacap says:

"'Crushed ledges' designate those plicated, overthrown, or curved exposures where parallel rocks, as talcose schist, usually vertical, are bent and fractured, as if by a maul like force, battering them from above. The strata are oftentimes tumbled over upon a cliff-side like a row of books, and rest upon heaps of fragments broken away by the strain upon the bottom layers, or crushed off from their exposed layers."[3]

The Rev. O. Fisher, F. G. S., says he

"Finds the covering beds to consist of two members—a lower one, entirely destitute of organic remains, and

[1. "Geological Survey of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota," p. 147.

2. "The Great Ice Age," p. 73.

3. "Popular Science Monthly," January, 1878, p. 326.]

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generally unstratified, which has often been forcibly INDENTED into the bed beneath it, sometimes exhibiting slickensides at the junction. There is evidence of this lower member having been pushed or dragged over the surface, from higher to lower levels, in a plastic condition; on which account he has named it 'The Trail'."[1]

Now, all these details are incompatible with the idea of ice-action. What condition of ice can be imagined that would smash rocks, that would beat them like a maul, that would indent them?

And when we pass from the underlying rocks to the "till" itself, we find the evidences of tremendous force exerted in the wildest and most tumultuous manner.

When the clay and stones were being deposited on those crushed and pounded rocks, they seem to have picked up the detritus of the earth in great masses, and whirled it wildly in among their own material, and deposited it in what are called "the intercalated beds." It would seem as if cyclonic winds had been at work among the mass. While the "till" itself is devoid of fossils, "the intercalated beds" often contain them. Whatever was in or on the soil was seized upon, carried up into the air, then cast down, and mingled among the "till."

James Geikie says, speaking of these intercalated beds:

"They are twisted, bent, crumpled, and confused often in the wildest manner. Layers of clay, sand, and gravel, which were probably deposited in a nearly horizontal plane, are puckered into folds and sharply curved into vertical positions. I have seen whole beds of sand and clay which had all the appearance of having been pushed forward bodily for some distance the bedding assuming the most fantastic appearance. . . . The intercalated beds are everywhere cut through by the overlying 'till,' and

[1. "Journal of the Geological Society and Geological Magazine."]

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large portions have been carried away. . . . They form but a small fraction of the drift-deposits."[1]

In the accompanying cut we have one of these sand (s) and clay (c) patches, embosomed in the "till," t1 and t2.



And again, the same writer says:

"The intercalated beds are remarkable for having yielded an imperfect skull of the great extinct ox (Bos primigenius), and remains of the Irish elk or deer, and the horse, together with layers of peaty matter."[2]

Several of our foremost scientists see in the phenomena of the Drift the evidences of a cataclysm of some sort.

Sir John Lubbock[3] gives the following representation of a section of the Drift at Joinville, France, containing



[1. "The Great Ice Age," p. 149.

2. Ibid., p. 149.

3. "Prehistoric Times," p. 370.]

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an immense sandstone block, eight feet six inches in length, with a width of two feet eight inches, and a thickness of three feet four inches.

Discussing the subject, Mr. Lubbock says:

"We must feel that a body of water, with power to move such masses as these, must have been very different from any floods now occurring in those valleys, and might well deserve the name of a cataclysm. . . . But a flood which could bring down so great a mass would certainly have swept away the comparatively light and movable gravel below. We can not, therefore, account for the phenomena by aqueous action, because a flood which would deposit the sandstone blocks would remove the underlying gravel, and a flood which would deposit the gravel would not remove the blocks. The Deus ex machin has not only been called in most unnecessarily, but when examined turns out to be but an idol, after all."

Sir John thinks that floating ice might have dropped these blocks; but then, on the other hand, M. C. d'Orbigny observes that all the fossils found in these beds belong to fresh-water or land animals. The sea has had nothing to do with them. And D'Orbigny thinks the Drift came from cataclysms.

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