The Elements of Geology
by William Harmon Norton
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As the mountain is worn down, this central column known as the VOLCANIC NECK is left standing as a conical hill (Fig. 240). Even when every other trace of the volcano has been swept away, erosion will not have passed below this great stalk on which the volcano was borne as a fiery flower whose site it remains to mark. In volcanic regions of deep denudation volcanic necks rise solitary and abrupt from the surrounding country as dome-shaped hills. They are marked features in the landscape in parts of Scotland and in the St. Lawrence valley about Montreal (Fig. 241).

INTRUSIVE SHEETS. Sheets of igneous rocks are sometimes found interleaved with sedimentary strata, especially in regions where the rocks have been deformed and have suffered from volcanic action. In some instances such a sheet is seen to be CONTEMPORANEOUS (p. 248). In other instances the sheet must be INTRUSIVE. The overlying stratum, as well as that beneath, has been affected by the heat of the once molten rock. We infer that the igneous rock when in a molten state was forced between the strata, much as a card may be pushed between the leaves of a closed book. The liquid wedged its way between the layers, lifting those above to make room for itself. The source of the intrusive sheet may often be traced to some dike (known therefore as the FEEDING DIKE), or to some mass of igneous rock.

Intrusive sheets may extend a score and more of miles, and, like the longest surface flows, the most extensive sheets consist of the more fusible and fluid lavas,—those of the basic class of which basalt is an example. Intrusive sheets are usually harder than the strata in which they lie and are therefore often left in relief after long denudation of the region (Fig. 315).

On the west bank of the Hudson there extends from New York Bay north for thirty miles a bold cliff several hundred feet high,— the PALISADES OF THE HUDSON. It is the outcropping edge of a sheet of ancient igneous rock, which rests on stratified sandstones and is overlain by strata of the same series. Sandstones and lava sheet together dip gently to the west arid the latter disappears from view two miles back from the river.

It is an interesting question whether the Palisades sheet is CONTEMPORANEOUS or INTRUSIVE. Was it outpoured on the sandstones beneath it when they formed the floor of the sea, and covered forthwith by the sediments of the strata above, or was it intruded among these beds at a later date?

The latter is the case: for the overlying stratum is intensely baked along the zone of contact. At the west edge of the sheet is found the dike in which the lava rose to force its way far and wide between the strata.

ELECTRIC PEAK, one of the prominent mountains of the Yellowstone National Park, is carved out of a mass of strata into which many sheets of molten rock have been intruded. The western summit consists of such a sheet several hundred feet thick. Studying the section of Figure 244, what inference do you draw as to the source of these intrusive sheets?


BOSSES. This name is generally applied to huge irregular masses of coarsely crystalline igneous rock lying in the midst of other formations. Bosses vary greatly in size and may reach scores of miles in extent. Seldom are there any evidences found that bosses ever had connection with the surface. On the other hand, it is often proved that they have been driven, or have melted their way, upward into the formations in which they lie; for they give off dikes and intrusive sheets, and have profoundly altered the rocks about them by their heat.

The texture of the rock of bosses proves that consolidation proceeded slowly and at great depths, and it is only because of vast denudation that they are now exposed to view. Bosses are commonly harder than the rocks about them, and stand up, therefore, as rounded hills and mountainous ridges long after the surrounding country has worn to a low plain.

The base of bosses is indefinite or undetermined, and in this respect they differ from laccoliths. Some bosses have broken and faulted the overlying beds; some have forced the rocks aside and melted them away.

The SPANISH PEAKS of southeastern Colorado were formed by the upthrust of immense masses of igneous rock, bulging and breaking the overlying strata. On one side of the mountains the throw of the fault is nearly a mile, and fragments of deep-lying beds were dragged upward by the rising masses. The adjacent rocks were altered by heat to a distance of several thousand feet. No evidence appears that the molten rock ever reached the surface, and if volcanic eruptions ever took place either in lava flows or fragmental materials, all traces of them have been effaced. The rock of the intrusive masses is coarsely crystalline, and no doubt solidified slowly under the pressure of vast thicknesses of overlying rock, now mostly removed by erosion.

A magnificent system of dikes radiates from the Peaks to a distance of fifteen miles, some now being left by long erosion as walls a hundred feet in height (Fig. 239). Intrusive sheets fed by the dikes penetrate the surrounding strata, and their edges are cut by canyons as much as twenty-five miles from the mountain. In these strata are valuable beds of lignite, an imperfect coal, which the heat of dikes and sheets has changed to coke.

LACCOLITHS. The laccolith (Greek laccos, cistern; lithos, stone) is a variety of intrusive masses in which molten rock has spread between the strata, and, lifting the strata above it to a dome- shaped form, has collected beneath them in a lens-shaped body with a flat base.

The HENRY MOUNTAINS, a small group of detached peaks in southern Utah, rise from a plateau of horizontal rocks. Some of the peaks are carved wholly in separate domelike uplifts of the strata of the plateau. In others, as Mount Hillers, the largest of the group, there is exposed on the summit a core of igneous rock from which the sedimentary rocks of the flanks dip steeply outward in all directions. In still others erosion has stripped off the covering strata and has laid bare the core to its base; and its shape is here seen to be that of a plano-convex lens or a baker's bun, its flat base resting on the undisturbed bedded rocks beneath. The structure of Mount Hillers is shown in Figure 248. The nucleus of igneous rock is four miles in diameter and more than a mile in depth.

REGIONAL INTRUSIONS. These vast bodies of igneous rock, which may reach hundreds of miles in diameter, differ little from bosses except in their immense bulk. Like bosses, regional intrusions give off dikes and sheets and greatly change the rocks about them by their heat. They are now exposed to view only because of the profound denudation which has removed the upheaved dome of rocks beneath which they slowly cooled. Such intrusions are accompanied —whether as cause or as effect is still hardly known—by deformations, and their masses of igneous rock are thus found as the core of many great mountain ranges. The granitic masses of which the Bitter Root Mountains and the Sierra Nevadas have been largely carved are each more than three hundred miles in length. Immense regional intrusions, the cores of once lofty mountain ranges, are found upon the Laurentian peneplain.

PHYSIOGRAPHIC EFFECTS OF INTRUSIVE MASSES. We have already seen examples of the topographic effects of intrusive masses in Mount Hillers, the Spanish Peaks, and in the great mountain ranges mentioned in the paragraph on regional intrusions, although in the latter instances these effects are entangled with the effects of other processes. Masses of igneous rock cannot be intruded within the crust without an accompanying deformation on a scale corresponding to the bulk of the intruded mass. The overlying strata are arched into hills or mountains, or, if the molten material is of great extent, the strata may conceivably be floated upward to the height of a plateau. We may suppose that the transference of molten matter from one region to another may be among the causes of slow subsidences and elevations. Intrusions give rise to fissures, dikes, and intrusive sheets, and these dislocations cannot fail to produce earthquakes. Where intrusive masses open communication with the surface, volcanoes are established or fissure eruptions occur such as those of Iceland.


The igneous rocks are divided into two general classes,—the VOLCANIC or ERUPTIVE rocks, which have been outpoured in open air or on the floor of the sea, and the INTRUSIVE rocks, which have been intruded within the rocks of the crust and have solidified below the surface. The two classes are alike in chemical composition and may be divided into acidic and basic groups. In texture the intrusive rocks differ from the volcanic rocks because of the different conditions under which they have solidified. They cooled far more slowly beneath the cover of the rocks into which they were pressed than is permitted to lava flows in open air. Their constituent minerals had ample opportunity to sort themselves and crystallize from the fluid mixture, and none of that mixture was left to congeal as a glassy paste.

They consolidated also under pressure. They are never scoriaceous, for the steam with which they were charged was not allowed to expand and distend them with steam blebs. In the rocks of the larger intrusive masses one may see with a powerful microscope exceedingly minute cavities, to be counted by many millions to the cubic inch, in which the gaseous water which the mass contained was held imprisoned under the immense pressure of the overlying rocks.

Naturally these characteristics are best developed in the intrusives which cooled most slowly, i.e. in the deepest-seated and largest masses; while in those which cooled more rapidly, as in dikes and sheets, we find gradations approaching the texture of surface flows.

VARIETIES OF THE INTRUSIVE ROCKS. We will now describe a few of the varieties of rocks of deep-seated intrusions. All are even grained, consisting of a mass of crystalline grains formed during one continuous stage of solidification, and no porphyritic crystals appear as in lavas.

GRANITE, as we have learned already, is composed of three minerals,—quartz, feldspar, and mica. According to the color of the feldspar the rock may be red, or pink, or gray. Hornblende—a black or dark green mineral, an iron-magnesian silicate, about as hard as feldspar—is sometimes found as a fourth constituent, and the rock is then known as HORNBLENDIC GRANITE. Granite is an acidic rock corresponding to rhyolite in chemical composition. We may believe that the same molten mass which supplies this acidic lava in surface flows solidifies as granite deep below ground in the volcanic reservoir.

SYENITE, composed of feldspar and mica, has consolidated from a less siliceous mixture than has granite.

DIORITE, still less siliceous, is composed of hornblende and feldspar,—the latter mineral being of different variety from the feldspar of granite and syenite.

GABBRO, a typical basic rock, corresponds to basalt in chemical composition. It is a dark, heavy, coarsely crystalline aggregate of feldspar and AUGITE (a dark mineral allied to hornblende). It often contains MAGNETITE (the magnetic black oxide of iron) and OLIVINE (a greenish magnesian silicate).

In the northern states all these types, and many others also of the vast number of varieties of intrusive rocks, can be found among the rocks of the drift brought from the areas of igneous rock in Canada and the states of our northern border.

SUMMARY. The records of geology prove that since the earliest of their annals tremendous forces have been active in the earth. In all the past, under pressures inconceivably great, molten rock has been driven upward into the rocks of the crust. It has squeezed into fissures forming dikes; it has burrowed among the strata as intrusive sheets; it has melted the rocks away or lifted the overlying strata, filling the chambers which it has made with intrusive masses. During all geological ages molten rock has found way to the surface, and volcanoes have darkened the sky with clouds of ashes and poured streams of glowing lava down their sides. The older strata,—the strata which have been most deeply buried,—and especially those which have suffered most from folding and from fracture, show the largest amount of igneous intrusions. The molten rock which has been driven from the earth's interior to within the crust or to the surface during geologic time must be reckoned in millions of cubic miles.


The problems of volcanoes and of deformation are so closely connected with that of the earth's interior that we may consider them together. Few of these problems are solved, and we may only state some known facts and the probable conclusions which may be drawn as inferences from them.

THE INTERIOR OF THE EARTH IS HOT. Volcanoes prove that in many parts of the earth there exist within reach of the surface regions of such intense heat that the rock is in a molten condition. Deep wells and mines show everywhere an increase in temperature below the surface shell affected by the heat of summer and the cold of winter,—a shell in temperate latitudes sixty or seventy feet thick. Thus in a boring more than a mile deep at Schladebach, Germany, the earth grows warmer at the rate of 1 degrees F. for every sixty-seven feet as we descend. Taking the average rate of increase at one degree for every sixty feet of descent, and assuming that this rate, observed at the moderate distances open to observation, continues to at least thirty-five miles, the temperature at that depth must be more than three thousand degrees,—a temperature at which all ordinary rocks would melt at the earth's surface. The rate of increase in temperature probably lessens as we go downward, and it may not be appreciable below a few hundred miles. But there is no reason to doubt that THE INTERIOR OF THE EARTH IS INTENSELY HOT. Below a depth of one or two score miles we may imagine the rocks everywhere glowing with heat.

Although the heat of the interior is great enough to melt all rocks at atmospheric pressure, it does not follow that the interior is fluid. Pressure raises the fusing point of rocks, and the weight of the crust may keep the interior in what may be called a solid state, although so hot as to be a liquid or a gas were the pressure to be removed.

THE INTERIOR OF THE EARTH IS RIGID AND HEAVY. The earth behaves as a globe more rigid than glass under the attractions of the sun and moon. It is not deformed by these stresses as is the ocean in the tides, proving that it is not a fluid ball covered with a yielding crust a few miles thick. Earthquakes pass through the earth faster than they would were it of solid steel. Hence the rocks of the interior are highly elastic, being brought by pressure to a compact, continuous condition unbroken by the cracks and vesicles of surface rocks. THE INTERIOR OF THE EARTH IS RIGID

The common rocks of the crust are about two and a half times heavier than water, while the earth as a whole weighs five and six-tenths times as much as a globe of water of the same size. THE INTERIOR IS THEREFORE MUCH MORE HEAVY THAN THE CRUST. This may be caused in part by compression of the interior under the enormous weight of the crust, and in part also by an assortment of material, the heavier substances, such as the heavy metals, having gravitated towards the center.

Between the crust, which is solid because it is cool, and the interior, which is hot enough to melt were it not for the pressure which keeps it dense and rigid, there may be an intermediate zone in which heat and pressure are so evenly balanced that here rock liquefies whenever and wherever the pressure upon it may be relieved by movements of the crust. It is perhaps from such a subcrustal layer that the lava of volcanoes is supplied.

THE CAUSES OF VOLCANIC ACTION. It is now generally believed that the HEAT of volcanoes is that of the earth's interior. Other causes, such as friction and crushing in the making of mountains and the chemical reactions between oxidizing agents of the crust and the unoxidized interior, have been suggested, but to most geologists they seem inadequate.

There is much difference of opinion as to the FORCE which causes molten rock to rise to the surface in the ducts of volcanoes. Steam is so evidently concerned in explosive eruptions that many believe that lava is driven upward by the expansive force of the steam with which it is charged, much as a viscid liquid rises and boils over in a test tube or kettle.

But in quiet eruptions, and still more in the irruption of intrusive sheets and masses, there is little if any evidence that steam is the driving force. It is therefore believed by many geologists that it is PRESSURE DUE TO CRUSTAL MOVEMENTS AND INTERNAL STRESSES which squeezes molten rock from below into fissures and ducts in the crust. It is held by some that where considerable water is supplied to the rising column of lava, as from the ground water of the surrounding region, and where the lava is viscid so that steam does not readily escape, the eruption is of the explosive type; when these conditions do not obtain, the lava outwells quietly, as in the Hawaiian volcanoes. It is held by others not only that volcanoes are due to the outflow of the earth's deep-seated heat, but also that the steam and other emitted gases are for the most part native to the earth's interior and never have had place in the circulation of atmospheric and ground waters.

VOLCANIC ACTION AND DEFORMATION. Volcanoes do not occur on wide plains or among ancient mountains. On the other hand, where movements of the earth's crust are in progress in the uplift of high plateaus, and still more in mountain making, molten rock may reach the surface, or may be driven upward toward it forming great intrusive masses. Thus extensive lava flows accompanied the upheaval of the block mountains of western North America and the uplift of the Colorado plateau. A line of recent volcanoes may be traced along the system of rift valleys which extends from the Jordan and Dead Sea through eastern Africa to Lake Nyassa. The volcanoes of the Andes show how conspicuous volcanic action may be in young rising ranges. Folded mountains often show a core of igneous rock, which by long erosion has come to form the axis and the highest peaks of the range, as if the molten rock had been squeezed up under the rising upfolds. As we decipher the records of the rocks in historical geology we shall see more fully how, in all the past, volcanic action has characterized the periods of great crustal movements, and how it has been absent when and where the earth's crust has remained comparatively at rest.

THE CAUSES OF DEFORMATION. As the earth's interior, or nucleus, is highly heated it must be constantly though slowly losing its heat by conduction through the crust and into space; and since the nucleus is cooling it must also be contracting. The nucleus has contracted also because of the extrusion of molten matter, the loss of constituent gases given off in volcanic eruptions, and (still more important) the compression and consolidation of its material under gravity. As the nucleus contracts, it tends to draw away from the cooled and solid crust, and the latter settles, adapting itself to the shrinking nucleus much as the skin of a withering apple wrinkles down upon the shrunken fruit. The unsupported weight of the spherical crust develops enormous tangential pressures, similar to the stresses of an arch or dome, and when these lateral thrusts accumulate beyond the power of resistance the solid rock is warped and folded and broken.

Since the planet attained its present mass it has thus been lessening in volume. Notwithstanding local and relative upheavals the earth's surface on the whole has drawn nearer and nearer to the center. The portions of the lithosphere which have been carried down the farthest have received the waters of the oceans, while those portions which have been carried down the least have emerged as continents.

Although it serves our convenience to refer the movements of the crust to the sea level as datum plane, it is understood that this level is by no means fixed. Changes in the ocean basins increase or reduce their capacity and thus lower or raise the level of the sea. But since these basins are connected, the effect of any change upon the water level is so distributed that it is far less noticeable than a corresponding change would be upon the land.



Under the action of internal agencies rocks of all kinds may be rendered harder, more firmly cemented, and more crystalline. These processes are known as METAMORPHISM, and the rocks affected, whether originally sedimentary or igneous, are called METAMORPHIC ROCKS. We may contrast with metamorphism the action of external agencies in weathering, which render rocks less coherent by dissolving their soluble parts and breaking down their crystalline grains.

CONTACT METAMORPHISM. Rocks beneath a lava flow or in contact with igneous intrusions are found to be metamorphosed to various degrees by the heat of the cooling mass. The adjacent strata may be changed only in color, hardness, and texture. Thus, next to a dike, bituminous coal may be baked to coke or anthracite, and chalk and limestone to crystalline marble. Sandstone may be converted into quartzite, and shale into ARGILLITE, a compact, massive clay rock. New minerals may also be developed. In sedimentary rocks there may be produced crystals of mica and of GARNET (a mineral as hard as quartz, commonly occurring in red, twelve-sided crystals). Where the changes are most profound, rocks may be wholly made over in structure and mineral composition.

In contact metamorphism, thin sheets of molten rock produce less effect than thicker ones. The strongest heat effects are naturally caused by bosses and regional intrusions, and the zone of change about them may be several miles in width. In these changes heated waters and vapors from the masses of igneous rocks undoubtedly play a very important part.

Which will be more strongly altered, the rocks about a closed dike in which lava began to cool as soon as it filled the fissure, or the rocks about a dike which opened on the surface and through which the molten rock flowed for some time?

Taking into consideration the part played by heated waters, which will produce the most far-reaching metamorphism, dikes which cut across the bedding planes or intrusive sheets which are thrust between the strata?

REGIONAL METAMORPHISM. Metamorphic rocks occur wide-spread in many regions, often hundreds of square miles in area, where such extensive changes cannot be accounted for by igneous intrusions. Such are the dissected cores of lofty mountains, as the Alps, and the worn-down bases of ancient ranges, as in New England, large areas in the Piedmont Belt, and the Laurentian peneplain.

In these regions the rocks have yielded to immense pressure. They have been folded, crumpled, and mashed, and even their minute grains, as one may see with a microscope, have often been puckered, broken, and crushed to powder. It is to these mechanical movements and strains which the rocks have suffered in every part that we may attribute their metamorphism, and the degree to which they have been changed is in direct proportion to the degree to which they have been deformed and mashed.

Other factors, however, have played important parts. Rock crushing develops heat, and allows a freer circulation of heated waters and vapors. Thus chemical reactions are greatly quickened; minerals are dissolved and redeposited in new positions, or their chemical constituents may recombine in new minerals, entirely changing the nature of the rock, as when, for example, feldspar recrystallizes as quartz and mica.

Early stages of metamorphism are seen in SLATE. Pressure has hardened the marine muds, the arkose, or the volcanic ash from which slates are derived, and has caused them to cleave by the rearrangement of their particles.

Under somewhat greater pressure, slate becomes PHYLLITE, a clay slate whose cleavage surfaces are lustrous with flat-lying mica flakes. The same pressure which has caused the rock to cleave has set free some of its mineral constituents along the cleavage planes to crystallize there as mica.

FOLIATION. Under still stronger pressure the whole structure of the rock is altered. The minerals of which it is composed, and the new minerals which develop by heat and pressure, arrange themselves along planes of cleavage or of shear in rudely parallel leaves, or FOLIA. Of this structure, called FOLIATION, we may distinguish two types,—a coarser feldspathic type, and a fine type in which other minerals than feldspar predominate.

GNEISS is the general name under which are comprised coarsely foliated rocks banded with irregular layers of feldspar and other minerals. The gneisses appear to be due in many cases to the crushing and shearing of deep-seated igneous rocks, such as granite and gabbro.

THE CRYSTALLINE SCHISTS, representing the finer types of foliation, consist of thin, parallel, crystalline leaves, which are often remarkably crumpled. These folia can be distinguished from the laminae of sedimentary rocks by their lenticular form and lack of continuity, and especially by the fact that they consist of platy, crystalline grains, and not of particles rounded by wear.

MICA SCHIST, the most common of schists, and in fact of all metamorphic rocks, is composed of mica and quartz in alternating wavy folia. All gradations between it and phyllite may be traced, and in many cases we may prove it due to the metamorphism of slates and shales. It is widespread in New England and along the eastern side of the Appalachians. TALC SCHIST consists of quartz and TALC, a light-colored magnesian mineral of greasy feel, and so soft that it can be scratched with the thumb nail.

HORNBLENDE SCHIST, resulting in many cases from the foliation of basic igneous rocks, is made of folia of hornblende alternating with bands of quartz and feldspar. Hornblende schist is common over large areas in the Lake Superior region.

QUARTZ SCHIST is produced from quartzite by the development of fine folia of mica along planes of shear. All gradations may be found between it and unfoliated quartzite on the one hand and mica schist on the other.

Under the resistless pressure of crustal movements almost any rocks, sandstones, shales, lavas of all kinds, granites, diorites, and gabbros may be metamorphosed into schists by crushing and shearing. Limestones, however, are metamorphosed by pressure into marble, the grains of carbonate of lime recrystallizing freely to interlocking crystals of calcite.

These few examples must suffice of the great class of metamorphic rocks. As we have seen, they owe their origin to the alteration of both of the other classes of rocks—the sedimentary and the igneous—by heat and pressure, assisted usually by the presence of water. The fact of change is seen in their hardness arid cementation, their more or less complete recrystallization, and their foliation; but the change is often so complete that no trace of their original structure and mineral composition remains to tell whether the rocks from which they were derived were sedimentary or igneous, or to what variety of either of these classes they belonged.

In many cases, however, the early history of a metamorphic rock can be deciphered. Fossils not wholly obliterated may prove it originally water-laid. Schists may contain rolled-out pebbles, showing their derivation from a conglomerate. Dikes of igneous rocks may be followed into a region where they have been foliated by pressure. The most thoroughly metamorphosed rocks may sometimes be traced out into unaltered sedimentary or igneous rocks, or among them may be found patches of little change where their history maybe read.

Metamorphism is most common among rocks of the earlier geological ages, and most rare among rocks of recent formation. No doubt it is now in progress where deep-buried sediments are invaded by heat either from intrusive igneous masses or from the earth's interior, or are suffering slow deformation under the thrust of mountain-making forces.

Suggest how rocks now in process of metamorphism may sometimes be exposed to view. Why do metamorphic rocks appear on the surface to-day?


In regions of folded and broken rocks fissures are frequently found to be filled with sheets of crystalline minerals deposited from solution by underground water, and fissures thus filled are known as mineral veins. Much of the importance of mineral veins is due to the fact that they are often metalliferous, carrying valuable native metals and metallic ores disseminated in fine particles, in strings, and sometimes in large masses in the midst of the valueless nonmetallic minerals which make up what is known as the VEIN STONE.

The most common vein stones are QUARTZ and CALCITE. FLUORITE (calcium fluoride), a mineral harder than calcite and crystallizing in cubes of various colors, and BARITE (barium sulphate), a heavy white mineral, are abundant in many veins.

The gold-bearing quartz veins of California traverse the metamorphic slates of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Below the zone of solution (p. 45) these veins consist of a vein stone of quartz mingled with pyrite (p. 13), the latter containing threads and grains of native gold. But to the depth of about fifty feet from the surface the pyrite of the vein has been dissolved, leaving a rusty, cellular quartz with grains of the insoluble gold scattered through it.

The PLACER DEPOSITS of California and other regions are gold- bearing deposits of gravel and sand in river beds. The heavy gold is apt to be found mostly near or upon the solid rock, and its grains, like those of the sand, are always rounded. How the gold came in the placers we may leave the pupil to suggest.

Copper is found in a number of ores, and also in the native metal. Below the zone of surface changes the ore of a copper vein is often a double sulphide of iron and copper called CHALCOPYRITE, a mineral softer than pyrite—it can easily be scratched with a knife—and deeper yellow in color. For several score of feet below the ground the vein may consist of rusty quartz from which the metallic ores have been dissolved; but at the base of the zone of solution we may find exceedingly rich deposits of copper ores,— copper sulphides, red and black copper oxides, and green and blue copper carbonates, which have clearly been brought down in solution from the leached upper portion of the vein.

ORIGIN OF MINERAL VEINS. Both vein stones and ores have been deposited slowly from solution in water, much as crystals of salt are deposited on the sides of a jar of saturated brine. In our study of underground water we learned that it is everywhere circulating through the permeable rocks of the crust, descending to profound depths under the action of gravity and again driven to the surface by hydrostatic pressure. Now fissures, wherever they occur, form the trunk channels of the underground circulation. Water descends from the surface along these rifts; it moves laterally from either side to the fissure plane, just as ground water seeps through the surrounding rocks from every direction to a well; and it ascends through these natural water ways as in an artesian well, whenever they intersect an aquifer in which water is under hydrostatic pressure.

The waters which deposit vein stones and ores are commonly hot, and in many cases they have derived their heat from intrusions of igneous rock still uncooled within the crust. The solvent power of the water is thus greatly increased, and it takes up into solution various substances from the igneous and sedimentary rocks which it traverses. For various reasons these substances stances are deposited in the vein as ores and vein stones. On rising through the fissure the water cools and loses pressure, and its capacity to hold minerals in solution is therefore lessened. Besides, as different currents meet in the fissure, some ascending, some descending, and some coming in from the sides, the chemical reaction of these various weak solutions upon one another and upon the walls of the vein precipitates the minerals of vein stuffs and ores.

As an illustration of the method of vein deposits we may cite the case of a wooden box pipe used in the Comstock mines, Nevada, to carry the hot water of the mine from one level to another, which in ten years was lined with calcium carbonate more than half an inch thick.

The Steamboat Springs, Nevada, furnish examples of mineral veins in process of formation. The steaming water rises through fissures in volcanic rocks and is now depositing in the rifts a vein stone of quartz, with metallic ores of iron, mercury, lead, and other metals.

RECONCENTRATION. Near the base of the zone of solution veins are often stored with exceptionally large and valuable ore deposits. This local enrichment of the vein is due to the reconcentration of its metalliferous ores. As the surface of the land is slowly lowered by weathering and running water, the zone of solution is lowered at an equal rate and encroaches constantly on the zone of cementation. The minerals of veins are therefore constantly being dissolved along their upper portions and carried down the fissures by ground water to lower levels, where they are redeposited.

Many of the richest ore deposits are thus due to successive concentrations: the ores were leached originally from the rocks to a large extent by laterally seeping waters; they were concentrated in the ore deposits of the vein chiefly by ascending currents; they have been reconcentrated by descending waters in the way just mentioned.

THE ORIGINAL SOURCE OF THE METALS. It is to the igneous rocks that we may look for the original source of the metals of veins. Lavas contain minute percentages of various metallic compounds, and no doubt this was the case also with the igneous rocks which formed the original earth crust. By the erosion of the igneous rocks the metals have been distributed among sedimentary strata, and even the sea has taken into solution an appreciable amount of gold and other metals, but in this widely diffused condition they are wholly useless to man. The concentration which has made them available is due to the interaction of many agencies. Earth movements fracturing deeply the rocks of the crust, the intrusion of heated masses, the circulation of underground waters, have all cooperated in the concentration of the metals of mineral veins.

While fissure veins are the most important of mineral veins, the latter term is applied also to any water way which has been filled by similar deposits from solution. Thus in soluble rocks, such as limestones, joints enlarged by percolating water are sometimes filled with metalliferous deposits, as, for example, the lead and zinc deposits of the upper Mississippi valley. Even a porous aquifer may be made the seat of mineral deposits, as in the case of some copper-bearing and silver-bearing sandstones of New Mexico.





WHAT A FORMATION RECORDS. We have already learned that each individual body of stratified rock, or formation, constitutes a record of the time when it was laid. The structure and the character of the sediments of each formation tell whether the area was land or sea at the time when they were spread; and if the former, whether the land was river plain, or lake bed, or was covered with wind-blown sands, or by the deposits of an ice sheet. If the sediments are marine, we may know also whether they were laid in shoal water near the shore or in deeper water out at sea, and whether during a period of emergence, or during a period of subsidence when the sea transgressed the land. By the same means each formation records the stage in the cycle of erosion of the land mass from which its sediments were derived. An unconformity between two marine formations records the fact that between the periods when they were deposited in the sea the area emerged as land and suffered erosion. The attitude and structure of the strata tell also of the foldings and fractures, the deformation and the metamorphism, which they have suffered; and the igneous rocks associated with them as lava flows and igneous intrusions add other details to the story. Each formation is thus a separate local chapter in the geological history of the earth, and its strata are its leaves. It contains an authentic record of the physical conditions—the geography—of the time and place when and where its sediments were laid.

PAST CYCLES OF EROSION. These chapters in the history of the planet are very numerous, although much of the record has been destroyed in various ways. A succession of different formations is usually seen in any considerable section of the crust, such as a deep canyon or where the edges of upturned strata are exposed to view on the flanks of mountain ranges; and in any extensive area, such as a state of the Union or a province of Canada, the number of formations outcropping on the surface is large.

It is thus learned that our present continent is made up for. the most part of old continental deltas. Some, recently emerged as the strata of young coastal plains, are the records of recent cycles of erosion; while others were deposited in the early history of the earth, and in many instances have been crumpled into mountains, which afterwards were leveled to their bases and lowered beneath the sea to receive a cover of later sediments before they were again uplifted to form land.

The cycle of erosion now in progress and recorded in the layers of stratified rock being spread beneath the sea in continental deltas has therefore been preceded by many similar cycles. Again and again movements of the crust have brought to an end one cycle— sometimes when only well under way, and sometimes when drawing toward its close—and have begun another. Again and again they have added to the land areas which before were sea, with all their deposition records of earlier cycles, or have lowered areas of land beneath the sea to receive new sediments.

THE AGE OF THE EARTH. The thickness of the stratified rocks now exposed upon the eroded surface of the continents is very great. In the Appalachian region the strata are seven or eight miles thick, and still greater thicknesses have been measured in several other mountain ranges. The aggregate thickness of all the formations of the stratified rocks of the earth's crust, giving to each formation its maximum thickness wherever found, amounts to not less than forty miles. Knowing how slowly sediments accumulate upon the sea floor, we must believe that the successive cycles which the earth has seen stretch back into a past almost inconceivably remote, and measure tens of millions and perhaps even hundreds of millions of years.

HOW THE FORMATIONS ARE CORRELATED AND THE GEOLOGICAL RECORD MADE UP. Arranged in the order of their succession, the formations of the earth's crust would constitute a connected record in which the geological history of the planet may be read, and therefore known as the GEOLOGICAL RECORD. But to arrange the formations in their natural order is not an easy task. A complete set of the volumes of the record is to be found in no single region. Their leaves and chapters are scattered over the land surface of the globe. In one area certain chapters may be found, though perhaps with many missing leaves, and with intervening chapters wanting, and these absent parts perhaps can be supplied only after long search through many other regions.

Adjacent strata in any region are arranged according to the LAW OF SUPERPOSITION, i.e. any stratum is younger than that on which it was deposited, just as in a pile of paper, any sheet was laid later than that on which it rests. Where rocks have been disturbed, their original attitude must be determined before the law can be applied. Nor can the law of superposition be used in identifying and comparing the strata of different regions where the formations cannot be traced continuously from one region to the other.

The formations of different regions are arranged in their true order by the LAW OF INCLUDED ORGANISMS; i.e. formations, however widely separated, which contain a similar assemblage of fossils are equivalent and belong to the same division of geological time.

The correlation of formations by means of fossils may be explained by the formations now being deposited about the north Atlantic. Lithologically they are extremely various. On the continental shelf of North America limestones of different kinds are forming off Florida, and sandstones and shales from Georgia northward. Separated from them by the deep Atlantic oozes are other sedimentary deposits now accumulating along the west coast of Europe. If now all these offshore formations were raised to open air, how could they be correlated? Surely not by lithological likeness, for in this respect they would be quite diverse. All would be similar, however, in the fossils which they contain. Some fossil species would be identical in all these formations and others would be closely allied. Making all due allowance for differences in species due to local differences in climate and other physical causes, it would still be plain that plants and animals so similar lived at the same period of time, and that the formations in which their remains were imbedded were contemporaneous in a broad way. The presence of the bones of whales and other marine mammals would prove that the strata were laid after the appearance of mammals upon earth, and imbedded relics of man would give a still closer approximation to their age. In the same way we correlate the earlier geological formations.

For example, in 1902 there were collected the first fossils ever found on the antarctic continent. Among the dozen specimens obtained were some fossil ammonites (a family of chambered shells) of genera which are found on other continents in certain formations classified as the Cretaceous system, and which occur neither above these formations nor below them. On the basis of these few fossils we may be confident that the strata in which they were found in the antarctic region were laid in the same period of geologic time as were the Cretaceous rocks of the United States and Canada.

THE RECORD AS A TIME SCALE. By means of the law of included organisms and the law of superposition the formations of different countries and continents are correlated and arranged in their natural order. When the geological record is thus obtained it may be used as a universal time scale for geological history. Geological time is separated into divisions corresponding to the times during which the successive formations were laid. The largest assemblages of formations are known as groups, while the corresponding divisions of time are known as eras. Groups are subdivided into systems, and systems into series. Series are divided into stages and substages,—subdivisions which do not concern us in this brief treatise. The corresponding divisions of time are given in the following table.

STRATA TIME Group Era System Period Series Epoch

The geologist is now prepared to read the physical history—the geographical development—of any country or of any continent by means of its formations, when he has given each formation its true place in the geological record as a time scale.

The following chart exhibits the main divisions of the record, the name given to each being given also to the corresponding time division. Thus we speak of the CAMBRIAN SYSTEM, meaning a certain succession of formations which are classified together because of broad resemblances in their included organisms; and of the CAMBRIAN PERIOD, meaning the time during which these rocks were deposited.

Group and Era System and Period Series and Epoch

Quaternary - Recent Cenozoic Pleistocene Tertiary - Pliocene Miocene Eocene Cretaceous Mesozoic Jurassic Triassic

Permian Carboniferous Pennsylvanian Mississippian Paleozoic - Devonian Silurian Ordovician Cambrian

Algonkian Archean


The geological formations contain a record still more important than that of the geographical development of the continents; the fossils imbedded in the rocks of each formation tell of the kinds of animals and plants which inhabited the earth at that time, and from these fossils we are therefore able to construct the history of life upon the earth.

FOSSILS. These remains of organisms are found in the strata in all degrees of perfection, from trails and tracks and fragmentary impressions, to perfectly preserved shells, wood, bones, and complete skeletons. As a rule, it is only the hard parts of animals and plants which have left any traces in the rocks. Sometimes the original hard substance is preserved, but more often it has been replaced by some less soluble material. Petrifaction, as this process of slow replacement is called, is often carried on in the most exquisite detail. When wood, for example, is undergoing petrifaction, the woody tissue may be replaced, particle by particle, by silica in solution through the action of underground waters, even the microscopic structures of the wood being perfectly reproduced. In shells originally made of ARAGONITE, a crystalline form of carbonate of lime, that mineral is usually replaced by CALCITE, a more stable form of the same substance. The most common petrifying materials are calcite, silica, and pyrite.

Often the organic substance has neither been preserved nor replaced, but the FORM has been retained by means of molds and casts. Permanent impressions, or molds, may be made in sediments not only by the hard parts of organisms, but also by such soft and perishable parts as the leaves of plants, and, in the rarest instances, by the skin of animals and the feathers of birds. In fine-grained limestones even the imprints of jellyfish have been retained.

The different kinds of molds and casts may be illustrated by means of a clam shell and some moist clay, the latter representing the sediments in which the remains of animals and plants are entombed. Imbedding the shell in the clay and allowing the clay to harden, we have a MOLD OF THE EXTERIOR of the shell, as is seen on cutting the clay matrix in two and removing the shell from it. Filling this mold with clay of different color, we obtain a CAST OF THE EXTERIOR, which represents accurately the original form and surface markings of the shell. In nature, shells and other relics of animals or plants are often removed by being dissolved by percolating waters, and the molds are either filled with sediments or with minerals deposited from solution.

Where the fossil is hollow, a CAST OF THE INTERIOR is made in the same way. Interior casts of shells reproduce any markings on the inside of the valves, and casts of the interior of the skulls of ancient vertebrates show the form and size of their brains.

IMPERFECTION OF THE LIFE RECORD. At the present time only the smallest fraction of the life on earth ever gets entombed in rocks now forming. In the forest great fallen tree trunks, as well as dead leaves, decay, and only add a little to the layer of dark vegetable mold from which they grew. The bones of land animals are, for the most part, left unburied on the surface and are soon destroyed by chemical agencies. Even where, as in the swamps of river, flood plains and in other bogs, there are preserved the remains of plants, and sometimes insects, together with the bones of some animal drowned or mired, in most cases these swamp and bog deposits are sooner or later destroyed by the shifting channels of the stream or by the general erosion of the land.

In the sea the conditions for preservation are more favorable than on land; yet even here the proportion of animals and plants whose hard parts are fossilized is very small compared with those which either totally decay before they are buried in slowly accumulating sediments or are ground to powder by waves and currents.

We may infer that during each period of the past, as at the present, only a very insignificant fraction of the innumerable organisms of sea and land escaped destruction and left in continental and oceanic deposits permanent records of their existence. Scanty as these original life records must have been, they have been largely destroyed by metamorphism of the rocks in which they were imbedded, by solution in underground waters, and by the vast denudation under which the sediments of earlier periods have been eroded to furnish materials for the sedimentary records of later times. Moreover, very much of what has escaped destruction still remains undiscovered. The immense bulk of the stratified rocks is buried and inaccessible, and the records of the past which it contains can never be known. Comparatively few outcrops have been thoroughly searched for fossils. Although new species are constantly being discovered, each discovery may be considered as the outcome of a series of happy accidents,—that the remains of individuals of this particular species happened to be imbedded and fossilized, that they happened to escape destruction during long ages, and that they happened to be exposed and found.

SOME INFERENCES FROM THE RECORDS OF THE HISTORY OF LIFE UPON THE PLANET. Meager as are these records, they set forth plainly some important truths which we will now briefly mention.

1. Each series of the stratified rocks, except the very deepest, contains vestiges of life. Hence THE EARTH WAS TENANTED BY LIVING CREATURES FOR AN UNCALCULATED LENGTH OF TIME BEFORE HUMAN HISTORY BEGAN.

2. LIFE ON THE EARTH HAS BEEN EVERCHANGING. The youngest strata hold the remains of existing species of animals and plants and those of species and varieties closely allied to them. Strata somewhat older contain fewer existing species, and in strata of a still earlier, but by no means an ancient epoch, no existing species are to be found; the species of that epoch and of previous epochs have vanished from the living world. During all geological time since life began on earth old species have constantly become extinct and with them the genera and families to which they belong, and other species, genera, and families have replaced them. The fossils of each formation differ on the whole from those of every other. The assemblage of animals and plants (the FAUNA- FLORA) of each epoch differs from that of every other epoch.

In many cases the extinction of a type has been gradual; in other instances apparently abrupt. There is no evidence that any organism once become extinct has ever reappeared. The duration of a species in time, or its "vertical range" through the strata, varies greatly. Some species are limited to a stratum a few feet in thickness; some may range through an entire formation and be found but little modified in still higher beds. A formation may thus often be divided into zones, each characterized by its own peculiar species. As a rule, the simpler organisms have a longer duration as species, though not as individuals, than the more complex.

3. THE LARGER ZOOLOGICAL AND BOTANICAL GROUPINGS SURVIVE LONGER THAN THE SMALLER. Species are so short-lived that a single geological epoch may be marked by several more or less complete extinctions of the species of its fauna-flora and their replacement by other species. A genus continues with new species after all the species with which it began have become extinct. Families survive genera, and orders families. Classes are so long- lived that most of those which are known from the earliest formations are represented by living forms, and no sub-kingdom has ever become extinct.

Thus, to take an example from the stony corals,—the ZOANTHARIA,— the particular characters—which constituted a certain SPECIES— Facosites niagarensis—of the order are confined to the Niagara series. Its GENERIC characters appeared in other species earlier in the Silurian and continued through the Devonian. Its FAMILY characters, represented in different genera and species, range from the Ordovician to the close of the Paleozoic; while the characters which it shares with all its order, the Zoantharia, began in the Cambrian and are found in living species.

4. THE CHANGE IN ORGANISMS HAS BEEN GRADUAL. The fossils of each life zone and of each formation of a conformable series closely resemble, with some explainable exceptions, those of the beds immediately above and below. The animals and plants which tenanted the earth during any geological epoch are so closely related to those of the preceding and the succeeding epochs that we may consider them to be the descendants of the one and the ancestors of the other, thus accounting for the resemblance by heredity. It is therefore believed that the species of animals and plants now living on the earth are the descendants of the species whose remains we find entombed in the rocks, and that the chain of life has been unbroken since its beginning.

5. THE CHANGE IN SPECIES HAS BEEN A GRADUAL DIFFERENTIATION. Tracing the lines of descent of various animals and plants of the present backward through the divisions of geologic time, we find that these lines of descent converge and unite in simpler and still simpler types. The development of life may be represented by a tree whose trunk is found in the earliest ages and whose branches spread and subdivide to the growing twigs of present species.

6. THE CHANGE IN ORGANISMS THROUGHOUT GEOLOGIC TIME HAS BEEN A PROGRESSIVE CHANGE. In the earliest ages the only animals and plants on the earth were lowly forms, simple and generalized in structure; while succeeding ages have been characterized by the introduction of types more and more specialized and complex, and therefore of higher rank in the scale of being. Thus the Algonkian contains the remains of only the humblest forms of the invertebrates. In the Cambrian, Ordovician, and Silurian the invertebrates were represented in all their subkingdoms by a varied fauna. In the Devonian, fishes—the lowest of the vertebrates—became abundant. Amphibians made their entry on the stage in the Carboniferous, and reptiles came to rule the world in the Mesozoic. Mammals culminated in the Tertiary in strange forms which became more and more like those of the present as the long ages of that era rolled on; and latest of all appeared the noblest product of the creative process, man.

Just as growth is characteristic of the individual life, so gradual, progressive change, or evolution, has characterized the history of life upon the planet. The evolution of the organic kingdom from its primitive germinal forms to the complex and highly organized fauna-flora of to-day may be compared to the growth of some noble oak as it rises from the acorn, spreading loftier and more widely extended branches as it grows.

7. While higher and still higher types have continually been evolved, until man, the highest of all, appeared, THE LOWER AND EARLIER TYPES HAVE GENERALLY PERSISTED. Some which reached their culmination early in the history of the earth have since changed only in slight adjustments to a changing environment. Thus the brachiopods, a type of shellfish, have made no progress since the Paleozoic, and some of their earliest known genera are represented by living forms hardly to be distinguished from their ancient ancestors. The lowest and earliest branches of the tree of life have risen to no higher levels since they reached their climax of development long ago.

8. A strange parallel has been found to exist between the evolution of organisms and the development of the individual. In the embryonic stages of its growth the individual passes swiftly through the successive stages through which its ancestors evolved during the millions of years of geologic time. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL RECAPITULATES THE EVOLUTION OF THE RACE.

The frog is a typical amphibian. As a tadpole it passes through a stage identical in several well-known features with the maturity of fishes; as, for example, its aquatic life, the tail by which it swims, and the gills through which it breathes. It is a fair inference that the tadpole stage in the life history of the frog represents a stage in the evolution of its kind,—that the Amphibia are derived from fishlike ancestral forms. This inference is amply confirmed in the geological record; fishes appeared before Amphibia and were connected with them by transitional forms.

THE GREAT LENGTH OF GEOLOGIC TIME INFERRED FROM THE SLOW CHANGE OF SPECIES. Life forms, like land forms, are thus subject to change under the influence of their changing environment and of forces acting from within. How slowly they change may be seen in the apparent stability of existing species. In the lifetime of the observer and even in the recorded history of man, species seem as stable as the mountain and the river. But life forms and land forms are alike variable, both in nature and still more under the shaping hand of man. As man has modified the face of the earth with his great engineering works, so he has produced widely different varieties of many kinds of domesticated plants and animals, such as the varieties of the dog and the horse, the apple and the rose, which may be regarded in some respects as new species in the making. We have assumed that land forms have changed in the past under the influence of forces now in operation. Assuming also that life forms have always changed as they are changing at present, we come to realize something of the immensity of geologic time required for the evolution of life from its earliest lowly forms up to man.

It is because the onward march of life has taken the same general course the world over that we are able to use it as a UNIVERSAL TIME SCALE and divide geologic time into ages and minor subdivisions according to the ruling or characteristic organisms then living on the earth. Thus, since vertebrates appeared, we have in succession the Age of Fishes, the Age of Amphibians, the Age of Reptiles, and the Age of Mammals.

The chart given on page 295 is thus based on the law of superposition and the law of the evolution of organisms. The first law gives the succession of the formations in local areas. The fossils which they contain demonstrate the law of the progressive appearance of organisms, and by means of this law the formations of different countries are correlated and set each in its place in a universal time scale and grouped together according to the affinities of their imbedded organic remains.

GEOLOGIC TIME DIVISIONS COMPARED WITH THOSE OF HUMAN HISTORY. We may compare the division of geologic time into eras, periods, and other divisions according to the dominant life of the time, to the ill-defined ages into which human history is divided according to the dominance of some nation, ruler, or other characteristic feature. Thus we speak of the DARK AGES, the AGE OF ELIZABETH, and the AGE OF ELECTRICITY. These crude divisions would be of much value if, as in the case of geologic time, we had no exact reckoning of human history by years.

And as the course of human history has flowed in an unbroken stream along quiet reaches of slow change and through periods of rapid change and revolution, so with the course of geologic history. Periods of quiescence, in which revolutionary forces are perhaps gathering head, alternate with periods of comparatively rapid change in physical geography and in organisms, when new and higher forms appear which serve to draw the boundary line of new epochs. Nevertheless, geological history is a continuous progress; its periods and epochs shade into one another by imperceptible gradations, and all our subdivisions must needs be vague and more or less arbitrary.

HOW FOSSILS TELL OF THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE PAST. Fossils are used not only as a record of the development of life upon the earth, but also in testimony to the physical geography of past epochs. They indicate whether in any region the climate was tropical, temperate, or arctic. Since species spread slowly from some center of dispersion where they originate until some barrier limits their migration farther, the occurrence of the same species in rocks of the same system in different countries implies the absence of such barriers at the period. Thus in the collection of antarctic fossils referred to on page 294 there were shallow-water marine shells identical in species with Mesozoic shells found in India and in the southern extremity of South America. Since such organisms are not distributed by the currents of the deep sea and cannot migrate along its bottom, we infer a shallow-water connection in Mesozoic times between India, South America, and the antarctic region. Such a shallow-water connection would be offered along the marginal shelf of a continent uniting these now widely separated countries.



THE EARTH'S BEGINNINGS. The geological record does not tell us of the beginnings of the earth. The history of the planet, as we have every reason to believe, stretches far back beyond the period of the oldest stratified rocks, and is involved in the history of the solar system and of the nebula,—the cloud of glowing gases or of cosmic dust,—from which the sun and planets are believed to have been derived.

THE NEBULAR HYPOTHESIS. It is possible that the earth began as a vaporous, shining sphere, formed by the gathering together of the material of a gaseous ring which had been detached from a cooling and shrinking nebula. Such a vaporous sphere would condense to a liquid, fiery globe, whose surface would become cold and solid, while the interior would long remain intensely hot because of the slow conductivity of the crust. Under these conditions the primeval atmosphere of the earth must have contained in vapor the water now belonging to the earth's crust and surface. It held also all the oxygen since locked up in rocks by their oxidation, and all the carbon dioxide which has since been laid away in limestones, besides that corresponding to the carbon of carbonaceous deposits, such as peat, coal, and petroleum. On this hypothesis the original atmosphere was dense, dark, and noxious, and enormously heavier than the atmosphere at present.

THE ACCRETION HYPOTHESIS. On the other hand, it has been recently suggested that the earth may have grown to its present size by the gradual accretion of meteoritic masses. Such cold, stony bodies might have come together at so slow a rate that the heat caused by their impact would not raise sensibly the temperature of the growing planet. Thus the surface of the earth may never have been hot and luminous; but as the loose aggregation of stony masses grew larger and was more and more compressed by its own gravitation, the heat thus generated raised the interior to high temperatures, while from time to time molten rock was intruded among the loose, cold meteoritic masses of the crust and outpoured upon the surface.

It is supposed that the meteorites of which the earth was built brought to it, as meteorites do now, various gases shut up within their pores. As the heat of the interior increased, these gases transpired to the surface and formed the primitive atmosphere and hydrosphere. The atmosphere has therefore grown slowly from the smallest beginnings. Gases emitted from the interior in volcanic eruptions and in other ways have ever added to it, and are adding to it now. On the other hand, the atmosphere has constantly suffered loss, as it has been robbed of oxygen by the oxidation of rocks in weathering, and of carbon dioxide in the making of limestones and carbonaceous deposits.

While all hypotheses of the earth's beginnings are as yet unproved speculations, they serve to bring to mind one of the chief lessons which geology has to teach,—that the duration of the earth in time, like the extension of the universe in space, is vastly beyond the power of the human mind to realize. Behind the history recorded in the rocks, which stretches back for many million years, lies the long unrecorded history of the beginnings of the planet; and still farther in the abysses of the past are dimly seen the cycles of the evolution of the solar system and of the nebula which gave it birth.

We pass now from the dim realm of speculation to the earliest era of the recorded history of the earth, where some certain facts may be observed and some sure inferences from them may be drawn.


The oldest known sedimentary strata, wherever they are exposed by uplift and erosion, are found to be involved with a mass of crystalline rocks which possesses the same characteristics in all parts of the world. It consists of foliated rocks, gneisses, and schists of various kinds, which have been cut with dikes and other intrusions of molten rock, and have been broken, crumpled, and crushed, and left in interlocking masses so confused that their true arrangement can usually be made out only with the greatest difficulty if at all. The condition of this body of crystalline rocks is due to the fact that they have suffered not only from the faultings, foldings, and igneous intrusions of their time, but necessarily, also, from those of all later geological ages.

At present three leading theories are held as to the origin of these basal crystalline rocks.

1. They are considered by perhaps the majority of the geologists who have studied them most carefully to be igneous rocks intruded in a molten state among the sedimentary rocks involved with them. In many localities this relation is proved by the phenomena of contact; but for the most part the deformations which the rocks have since suffered again and again have been sufficient to destroy such evidence if it ever existed.

2. An older view regards them as profoundly altered sedimentary strata, the most ancient of the earth.

3. According to a third theory they represent portions of the earth's original crust; not, indeed, its original surface, but deeper portions uncovered by erosion and afterwards mantled with sedimentary deposits. All these theories agree that the present foliated condition of these rocks is due to the intense metamorphism which they have suffered.

It is to this body of crystalline rocks and the stratified rocks involved with it, which form a very small proportion of its mass, that the term ARCHEAN (Greek, ARCHE, beginning) is applied by many geologists.


In some regions there rests unconformably on the Archean an immense body of stratified rocks, thousands and in places even scores of thousands of feet thick, known as the ALGONKIAN. Great unconformities divide it into well-defined systems, but as only the scantiest traces of fossils appear here and there among its strata, it is as yet impossible to correlate the formations of different regions and to give them names of more than local application. We will describe the Algonkian rocks of two typical areas.

THE GRAND CANYON OF THE COLORADO. We have already studied a very ancient peneplain whose edge is exposed to view deep on the walls of the Colorado Canyon. The formation of flat-lying sandstone which covers this buried land surface is proved by its fossils to belong to the Cambrian,—the earliest period of the Paleozoic era. The tilted rocks on whose upturned edges the Cambrian sandstone rests are far older, for the physical break which separates them from it records a time interval during which they were upheaved to mountainous ridges and worn down to a low plain. They are therefore classified as Algonkian. They comprise two immense series. The upper is more than five thousand feet thick and consists of shales and sandstones with some limestones. Separated from it by an unconformity which does not appear in Figure 207, the lower division, seven thousand feet thick, consists chiefly of massive reddish sandstones with seven or more sheets of lava interbedded. The lowest member is a basal conglomerate composed of pebbles derived from the erosion of the dark crumpled schists beneath,—schists which are supposed to be Archean. As shown in Figure 207, a strong unconformity parts the schists and the Algonkian. The floor on which the Algonkian rests is remarkably even, and here again is proved an interval of incalculable length, during which an ancient land mass of Archean rocks was baseleveled before it received the cover of the sediments of the later age.

THE LAKE SUPERIOR REGION. In eastern Canada an area of pre- Cambrian rocks, Archean and Algonkian, estimated at two million square miles, stretches from the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River northward to the confines of the continent, inclosing Hudson Bay in the arms of a gigantic U. This immense area, which we have already studied as the Laurentian peneplain, extends southward across the Canadian border into northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The rocks of this area are known to be pre-Cambrian; for the Cambrian strata, wherever found, lie unconformably upon them.

The general relations of the formations of that portion of the area which lies about Lake Superior are shown in Figure 262. Great unconformities, UU' separate the Algonkian both from the Archean and from the Cambrian, and divide it into three distinct systems, —the LOWER HURONIAN, the UPPER HURONIAN, and the KEWEENAWAN. The Lower and the Upper Huronian consist in the main of old sea muds and sands and limy oozes now changed to gneisses, schists, marbles, quartzites, slates, and other metamorphic rocks. The Keweenawan is composed of immense piles of lava, such as those of Iceland, overlain by bedded sandstones. What remains of these rock systems after the denudation of all later geologic ages is enormous. The Lower Huronian is more than a mile thick, the Upper Huronian more than two miles thick, while the Keweenawan exceeds nine miles in thickness. The vast length of Algonkian time is shown by the thickness of its marine deposits and by the cycles of erosion which it includes. In Figure 262 the student may read an outline of the history of the Lake Superior region, the deformations which it suffered, their relative severity, the times when they occurred, and the erosion cycles marked by the successive unconformities.

OTHER PRE-CAMBRIAN AREAS IN NORTH AMERICA. Pre-Cambrian rocks are exposed in various parts of the continent, usually by the erosion of mountain ranges in which their strata were infolded. Large areas occur in the maritime provinces of Canada. The core of the Green Mountains of Vermont is pre-Cambrian, and rocks of these systems occur in scattered patches in western Massachusetts. Here belong also the oldest rocks of the Highlands of the Hudson and of New Jersey. The Adirondack region, an outlier of the Laurentian region, exposes pre-Cambrian rocks, which have been metamorphosed and tilted by the intrusion of a great boss of igneous rock out of which the central peaks are carved. The core of the Blue Ridge and probably much of the Piedmont Belt are of this age. In the Black Hills the irruption of an immense mass of granite has caused or accompanied the upheaval of pre-Cambrian strata and metamorphosed them by heat and pressure into gneisses, schists, quartzites, and slates. In most of these mountainous regions the lowest strata are profoundly changed by metamorphism, and they can be assigned to the pre-Cambrian only where they are clearly overlain unconformably by formations proved to be Cambrian by their fossils. In the Belt Mountains of Montana, however, the Cambrian is underlain by Algonkian sediments twelve thousand feet thick, and but little altered.

MINERAL WEALTH OF THE PRE-CAMBRIAN ROCKS. The pre-Cambrian rocks are of very great economic importance, because of their extensive metamorphism and the enormous masses of igneous rock which they involve. In many parts of the country they are the source of supply of granite, gneiss, marble, slate, and other such building materials. Still more valuable are the stores of iron and copper and other metals which they contain.

At the present time the pre-Cambrian region about Lake Superior leads the world in the production of iron ore, its output for 1903 being more than five sevenths of the entire output of the whole United States, and exceeding that of any foreign country. The ore bodies consist chiefly of the red oxide of iron (hematite) and occur in troughs of the strata, underlain by some impervious rock. A theory held by many refers the ultimate source of the iron to the igneous rocks of the Archean. When these rocks were upheaved and subjected to weathering, their iron compounds were decomposed. Their iron was leached out and carried away to be laid in the Algonkian water bodies in beds of iron carbonate and other iron compounds. During the later ages, after the Algonkian strata had been uplifted to form part of the continent, a second concentration has taken place. Descending underground waters charged with oxygen have decomposed the iron carbonate and deposited the iron, in the form of iron oxide, in troughs of the strata where their downward progress was arrested by impervious floors.

The pre-Cambrian rocks of the eastern United States also are rich in iron. In certain districts, as in the Highlands of New Jersey, the black oxide of iron (magnetite) is so abundant in beds and disseminated grains that the ordinary surveyor's compass is useless.

The pre-Cambrian copper mines of the Lake Superior region are among the richest on the globe. In the igneous rocks copper, next to iron, is the most common of all the useful metals, and it was especially abundant in the Keweenawan lavas. After the Keweenawan was uplifted to form land, percolating waters leached out much of the copper diffused in the lava sheets and deposited it within steam blebs as amygdules of native copper, in cracks and fissures, and especially as a cement, or matrix, in the interbedded gravels which formed the chief aquifers of the region. The famous Calumet and Hecla mine follows down the dip of the strata to the depth of nearly a mile and works such an ancient conglomerate whose matrix is pure copper.

THE APPEARANCE OF LIFE. Sometime during the dim ages preceding the Cambrian, whether in the Archean or in the Algonkian we know not, occurred one of the most important events in the history of the earth. Life appeared for the first time upon the planet. Geology has no evidence whatever to offer as to whence or how life came. All analogies lead us to believe that its appearance must have been sudden. Its earliest forms are unknown, but analogy suggests that as every living creature has developed from a single cell, so the earliest organisms upon the globe—the germs from which all later life is supposed to have been evolved—were tiny, unicellular masses of protoplasm, resembling the amoeba of to-day in the simplicity of their structure.

Such lowly forms were destitute of any hard parts and could leave no evidence of their existence in the record of the rocks. And of their supposed descendants we find so few traces in the pre- Cambrian strata that the first steps in organic evolution must be supplied from such analogies in embryology as the following. The fertilized ovum, the cell with which each animal begins its life, grows and multiplies by cell division, and develops into a hollow globe of cells called the BLASTOSPHERE. This stage is succeeded by the stage of the GASTRULA,—an ovoid or cup-shaped body with a double wall of cells inclosing a body cavity, and with an opening, the primitive mouth. Each of these early embryological stages is represented by living animals,—the undivided cell by the PROTOZOA, the blastosphere by some rare forms, and the gastrula in the essential structure of the COELENTERATES,—the subkingdom to which the fresh-water hydra and the corals belong. All forms of animal life, from the coelenterates to the mammals, follow the same path in their embryological development as far as the gastrula stage, but here their paths widely diverge, those of each subkingdom going their own separate ways.

We may infer, therefore, that during the pre-Cambrian periods organic evolution followed the lines thus dimly traced. The earliest one-celled protozoa were probably succeeded by many- celled animals of the type of the blastosphere, and these by gastrula-like organisms. From the gastrula type the higher sub- divisions of animal life probably diverged, as separate branches from a common trunk. Much or all of this vast differentiation was accomplished before the opening of the next era; for all the subkingdoms are represented in the Cambrian except the vertebrates.

EVIDENCES OF PRE-CAMBRIAN LIFE. An indirect evidence of life during the pre-Cambrian periods is found in the abundant and varied fauna of the next period; for, if the theory of evolution is correct, the differentiation of the Cambrian fauna was a long process which might well have required for its accomplishment a large part of pre-Cambrian time.

Other indirect evidences are the pre-Cambrian limestones, iron ores, and graphite deposits, since such minerals and rocks have been formed in later times by the help of organisms. If the carbonate of lime of the Algonkian limestones and marbles was extracted from sea water by organisms, as is done at present by corals, mollusks, and other humble animals and plants, the life of those ancient seas must have been abundant. Graphite, a soft black mineral composed of carbon and used in the manufacture of lead pencils and as a lubricant, occurs widely in the metamorphic pre- Cambrian rocks. It is known to be produced in some cases by the metamorphism of coal, which itself is formed of decomposed vegetal tissues. Seams of graphite may therefore represent accumulations of vegetal matter such as seaweed. But limestone, iron ores, and graphite can be produced by chemical processes, and their presence in the pre-Cambrian makes it only probable, and not certain, that life existed at that time.

PRE-CAMBRIAN FOSSILS. Very rarely has any clear trace of an organism been found in the most ancient chapters of the geological record, so many of their leaves have been destroyed and so far have their pages been defaced. Omitting structures whose organic nature has been questioned, there are left to mention a tiny seashell of one of the most lowly types,—a DISCINA from the pre- Cambrian rocks of the Colorado Canyon,—and from the pre-Cambrian rocks of Montana trails of annelid worms and casts of their burrows in ancient beaches, and fragments of the tests of crustaceans. These diverse forms indicate that before the Algonkian had closed, life was abundant and had widely differentiated. We may expect that other forms will be discovered as the rocks are closely searched.

PRE-CAMBRIAN GEOGRAPHY. Our knowledge is far too meager to warrant an attempt to draw the varying outlines of sea and land during the Archean and Algonkian eras. Pre-Cambrian time probably was longer than all later geological time down to the present, as we may infer from the vast thicknesses of its rocks and the unconformities which part them. We know that during its long periods land masses again and again rose from the sea, were worn low, and were submerged and covered with the waste of other lands. But the formations of separated regions cannot be correlated because of the absence of fossils, and nothing more can be made out than the detached chapters of local histories, such as the outline given of the district about Lake Superior.

The pre-Cambrian rocks show no evidence of any forces then at work upon the earth except the forces which are at work upon it now. The most ancient sediments known are so like the sediments now being laid that we may infer that they were formed under conditions essentially similar to those of the present time. There is no proof that the sands of the pre-Cambrian sandstones were swept by any more powerful waves and currents than are offshore sands to-day, or that the muds of the pre-Cambrian shales settled to the sea floor in less quiet water than such muds settle in at present. The pre-Cambrian lands were, no doubt, worn by wind and weather, beaten by rain, and furrowed by streams as now, and, as now, they fronted the ocean with beaches on which waves dashed and along which tidal currents ran.

Perhaps the chief difference between the pre-Cambrian and the present was the absence of life upon the land. So far as we have any knowledge, no forests covered the mountain sides, no verdure carpeted the plains, and no animals lived on the ground or in the air. It is permitted to think of the most ancient lands as deserts of barren rock and rock waste swept by rains and trenched by powerful streams. We may therefore suppose that the processes of their destruction went on more rapidly than at present.



THE PALEOZOIC ERA. The second volume of the geological record, called the Paleozoic (Greek, PALAIOS, ancient; ZOE, life), has come down to us far less mutilated and defaced than has the first volume, which contains the traces of the most ancient life of the globe. Fossils are far more abundant in the Paleozoic than in the earlier strata, while the sediments in which they were entombed have suffered far less from metamorphism and other causes, and have been less widely buried from view, than the strata of the pre-Cambrian groups. By means of their fossils we can correlate the formations of widely separated regions from the beginning of the Paleozoic on, and can therefore trace some outline of the history of the continents.

Paleozoic time, although shorter than the pre-Cambrian as measured by the thickness of the strata, must still be reckoned in millions of years. During this vast reach of time the changes in organisms were very great. It is according to the successive stages in the advance of life that the Paleozoic formations are arranged in five systems,—the CAMBRIAN, the ORDOVICIAN, the SILURIAN, the DEVONIAN, and the CARBONIFEROUS. On the same basis the first three systems are grouped together as the older Paleozoic, because they alike are characterized by the dominance of the invertebrates; while the last two systems are united in the later Paleozoic, and are characterized, the one by the dominance of fishes, and the other by the appearance of amphibians and reptiles.

Each of these systems is world-wide in its distribution, and may be recognized on any continent by its own peculiar fauna. The names first given them in Great Britain have therefore come into general use, while their subdivisions, which often cannot be correlated in different countries and different regions, are usually given local names.

The first three systems were named from the fact that their strata are well displayed in Wales. The Cambrian carries the Roman name of Wales, and the Ordovician and Silurian the names of tribes of ancient Britons which inhabited the same country. The Devonian is named from the English county Devon, where its rocks were early studied. The Carboniferous was so called from the large amount of coal which it was found to contain in Great Britain and continental Europe.


DISTRIBUTION OF STRATA. The Cambrian rocks outcrop in narrow belts about the pre-Cambrian areas of eastern Canada and the Lake Superior region, the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains. Strips of Cambrian formations occupy troughs in the pre-Cambrian rocks of New England and the maritime provinces of Canada; a long belt borders on the west the crystalline rocks of the Blue Ridge; and on the opposite side of the continent the Cambrian reappears in the mountains of the Great Basin and the Canadian Rockies. In the Mississippi valley it is exposed in small districts where uplift has permitted the stripping off of younger rocks. Although the areas of outcrop are small, we may infer that Cambrian rocks were widely deposited over the continent of North America.

PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY. The Cambrian system of North America comprises three distinct series, the LOWER CAMBRIAN, the MIDDLE CAMBRIAN, and the UPPER CAMBRIAN, each of which is characterized by its own peculiar fauna. In sketching the outlines of the continent as it was at the beginning of the Paleozoic, it must be remembered that wherever the Lower Cambrian formations now are found was certainly then sea bottom, and wherever the Lower Cambrian are wanting, and the next formations rest directly on pre-Cambrian rocks, was probably then land.

EARLY CAMBRIAN GEOGRAPHY. In this way we know that at the opening of the Cambrian two long, narrow mediterranean seas stretched from north to south across the continent. The eastern sea extended from the Gulf of St. Lawrence down the Champlain-Hudson valley and thence along the western base of the Blue Ridge south at least to Alabama. The western sea stretched from the Canadian Rockies over the Great Basin and at least as far south as the Grand Canyon of the Colorado in Arizona.

Between these mediterraneans lay a great central land which included the pre-Cambrian U-shaped area of the Laurentian peneplain, and probably extended southward to the latitude of New Orleans. To the east lay a land which we may designate as APPALACHIA, whose western shore line was drawn along the site of the present Blue Ridge, but whose other limits are quite unknown. The land of Appalachia must have been large, for it furnished a great amount of waste during the entire Paleozoic era, and its eastern coast may possibly have lain even beyond the edge of the present continental shelf. On the western side of the continent a narrow land occupied the site of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Thus, even at the beginning of the Paleozoic, the continental plateau of North America had already been left by crustal movements in relief above the abysses of the great oceans on either side. The mediterraneans which lay upon it were shallow, as their sediments prove. They were EPICONTINENTAL SEAS; that is, they rested UPON (Greek, EPI) the submerged portion of the continental plateau. We have no proof that the deep ocean ever occupied any part of where North America now is.

The Middle and Upper Cambrian strata are found together with the Lower Cambrian over the area of both the eastern and the western mediterraneans, so that here the sea continued during the entire period. The sediments throughout are those of shoal water. Coarse cross-bedded sandstones record the action of strong shifting currents which spread coarse waste near shore and winnowed it of finer stuff. Frequent ripple marks on the bedding planes of the strata prove that the loose sands of the sea floor were near enough to the surface to be agitated by waves and tidal currents. Sun cracks show that often the outgoing tide exposed large muddy flats to the drying action of the sun. The fossils, also, of the strata are of kinds related to those which now live in shallow waters near the shore.

The sediments which gathered in the mediterranean seas were very thick, reaching in places the enormous depth of ten thousand feet. Hence the bottoms of these seas were sinking troughs, ever filling with waste from the adjacent land as fast as they subsided.

LATE CAMBRIAN GEOGRAPHY. The formations of the Middle and Upper Cambrian are found resting unconformably on the pre-Cambrian rocks from New York westward into Minnesota and at various points in the interior, as in Missouri and in Texas. Hence after earlier Cambrian time the central land subsided, with much the same effect as if the Mississippi valley were now to lower gradually, and the Gulf of Mexico to spread northward until it entered Lake Superior. The Cambrian seas transgressed the central land and strewed far and wide behind their advancing beaches the sediments of the later Cambrian upon an eroded surface of pre-Cambrian rocks.

The succession of the Cambrian formations in North America records many minor oscillations and varying conditions of physical geography; yet on the whole it tells of widening seas and lowering lands. Basal conglomerates and coarse sandstones which must have been laid near shore are succeeded by shaly sandstones, sandy shales, and shales. Toward the top of the series heavy beds of limestone, extending from the Blue Ridge to Missouri, speak of clear water, and either of more distant shores or of neighboring lands which were worn or sunk so low that for the most part their waste was carried to the sea in solution.

In brief, the Cambrian was a period of submergence. It began with the larger part of North America emerged as great land masses. It closed with most of the interior of the continental plateau covered with a shallow sea.


It is now for the first time that we find preserved in the offshore deposits of the Cambrian seas enough remains of animal life to be properly called a fauna. Doubtless these remains are only the most fragmentary representation of the life of the time, for the Cambrian rocks are very old and have been widely metamorphosed. Yet the five hundred and more species already discovered embrace all the leading types of invertebrate life, and are so varied that we must believe that their lines of descent stretch far back into the pre-Cambrian past.

PLANTS. No remains of plants have been found in Cambrian strata, except some doubtful markings, as of seaweed.

SPONGES. The sponges, the lowest of the multicellular animals, were represented by several orders. Their fossils are recognized by the siliceous spicules, which, as in modern sponges, either were scattered through a mass of horny fibers or were connected in a flinty framework.

COELENTERATES. This subkingdom includes two classes of interest to the geologist,—the HYDROZOA, such as the fresh-water hydra and the jellyfish, and the CORALS. Both classes existed in the Cambrian.

The Hydrozoa were represented not only by jellyfish but also by the GRAPTOLITE, which takes its name from a fancied resemblance of some of its forms to a quill pen. It was a composite animal with a horny framework, the individuals of the colony living in cells strung on one or both sides along a hollow stem, and communicating by means of a common flesh in this central tube. Some graptolites were straight, and some curved or spiral; some were single stemmed, and others consisted of several radial stems united. Graptolites occur but rarely in the Upper Cambrian. In the Ordovician and Silurian they are very plentiful, and at the close of the Silurian they pass out of existence, never to return.

CORALS are very rarely found in the Cambrian, and the description of their primitive types is postponed to later chapters treating of periods when they became more numerous.

ECHINODERMS. This subkingdom comprises at present such familiar forms as the crinoid, the starfish, and the sea urchin. The structure of echinoderms is radiate. Their integument is hardened with plates or particles of carbonate of lime.

Of the free echinoderms, such as the starfish and the sea urchin, the former has been found in the Cambrian rocks of Europe, but neither have so far been discovered in the strata of this period in North America. The stemmed and lower division of the echinoderms was represented by a primitive type, the CYSTOID, so called from its saclike form, A small globular or ovate "calyx" of calcareous plates, with an aperture at the top for the mouth, inclosed the body of the animal, and was attached to the sea bottom by a short flexible stalk consisting of disks of carbonate of lime held together by a central ligament.

ARTHOPODS. These segmented animals with "jointed feet," as their name suggests, may be divided in a general way into water breathers and air breathers. The first-named and lower division comprises the class of the CRUSTACEA,—arthropods protected by a hard exterior skeleton, or "crust,"—of which crabs, crayfish, and lobsters are familiar examples. The higher division, that of the air breathers, includes the following classes: spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and insects.

THE TRILOBITE. The aquatic arthropods, the Crustacea, culminated before the air breathers; and while none of the latter are found in the Cambrian, the former were the dominant life of the time in numbers, in size, and in the variety of their forms. The leading crustacean type is the TRILOBITE, which takes its name from the three lobes into which its shell is divided longitudinally. There are also three cross divisions,—the head shield, the tail shield, and between the two the thorax, consisting of a number of distinct and unconsolidated segments. The head shield carries a pair of large, crescentic, compound eyes, like those of the insect. The eye varies greatly in the number of its lenses, ranging from fourteen in some species to fifteen thousand in others. Figure 268, C, is a restoration of the trilobite, and shows the appendages, which are found preserved only in the rarest cases.

During the long ages of the Cambrian the trilobite varied greatly. Again and again new species and genera appeared, while the older types became extinct. For this reason and because of their abundance, trilobites are used in the classification of the Cambrian system. The Lower Cambrian is characterized by the presence of a trilobitic fauna in which the genus Olenellus is predominant. This, the OLENELLUS ZONE, is one of the most important platforms in the entire geological series; for, the world over, it marks the beginning of Paleozoic time, while all underlying strata are classified as pre-Cambrian. The Middle Cambrian is marked by the genus Paradoxides, and the Upper Cambrian by the genus Olenus. Some of the Cambrian trilobites were giants, measuring as much as two feet long, while others were the smallest of their kind, a fraction of an inch in length.

Another type of crustacean which lived in the Cambrian and whose order is still living is illustrated in Figure 269.

WORMS. Trails and burrows of worms have been left on the sea beaches and mud flats of all geological times from the Algonkian to the present.

BRACHIOPODS. These soft-bodied animals, with bivalve shells and two interior armlike processes which served for breathing, appeared in the Algonkian, and had now become very abundant. The two valves of the brachiopod shell are unequal in size, and in each valve a line drawn from the beak to the base divides the valve into two equal parts. It may thus be told from the pelecypod mollusk, such as the clam, whose two valves are not far from equal in size, each being divided into unequal parts by a line dropped from the beak.

Brachiopods include two orders. In the most primitive order—that of the INARTICULATE brachiopods—the two valves are held together only by muscles of the animal, and the shell is horny or is composed of phosphate of lime. The DISCINA, which began in the Algonkian, is of this type, as is also the LINGULELLA of the Cambrian. Both of these genera have lived on during the millions of years of geological time since their introduction, handing down from generation to generation with hardly any change to their descendants now living off our shores the characters impressed upon them at the beginning.

The more highly organized ARTICULATE brachiopods have valves of carbonate of lime more securely joined by a hinge with teeth and sockets (Fig. 270). In the Cambrian the inarticulates predominate, though the articulates grow common toward the end of the period.

MOLLUSKS. The three chief classes of mollusks—the PELECYPODS (represented by the oyster and clam of to-day), the GASTROPODS (represented now by snails, conches, and periwinkles), and the CEPHALOPODS (such as the nautilus, cuttlefish, and squids)—were all represented in the Cambrian, although very sparingly.

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