Island Life/IX

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Island Life by Alfred Russel Wallace
Chapter IX.

[ 169 ]

CHAPTER IX

ANCIENT GLACIAL EPOCHS, AND MILD CLIMATES IN THE ARCTIC REGIONS

Dr. Croll's Views on Ancient Glacial Epochs—Effects of Denudation in Destroying the Evidence of Remote Glacial Epochs—Rise of Sea-level Connected with Glacial Epochs a Cause of Further Denudation—What Evidence of Early Glacial Epochs may be Expected—Evidences of Ice-action During the Tertiary Period—The Weight of the Negative Evidence—Temperate Climates in the Arctic Regions—The Miocene Arctic Flora—Mild Arctic Climates of the Cretaceous Period—Stratigraphical Evidence of Long-continued Mild Arctic Conditions—The Causes of Mild Arctic Climates—Geographical Conditions Favouring Mild Northern Climates in Tertiary Times—The Indian Ocean as a Source of Heat in Tertiary Times—Condition of North America During the Tertiary Period—Effect of High Excentricity on Warm Polar Climates—Evidences as to Climate in the Secondary and Palæozoic Epochs—Warm Arctic Climates in Early Secondary and Palæozoic Times—Conclusions as to the Climates of Secondary and Tertiary Periods—General View of Geological Climates as Dependent on the Physical Features of the Earth's Surface—Estimate of the Comparative Effects of Geographical and Physical Causes in Producing Changes of Climate.

If we adopt the view set forth in the preceding chapter as to the character of the glacial epoch and of the accompanying alternations of climate, it must have been a very important agent in producing changes in the distribution of animal and vegetable life. The intervening mild periods, which almost certainly occurred during its earlier and later phases, may have been sometimes more equable than even our present insular climate, and severe frosts were probably then unknown. During the four or five [ 170 ] thousand years that each specially mild period may have lasted, some portions of the north temperate zone, which had been buried in snow or ice, would become again clothed with vegetation and stocked with animal life, both of which, as the cold again came on, would be driven southward, or perhaps partially exterminated. Forms usually separated would thus be crowded together, and a struggle for existence would follow, which must have led to the modification or the extinction of many species. When the survivors in the struggle had reached a state of equilibrium, a fresh field would be opened to them by the later ameliorations of climate; the more successful of the survivors would spread and multiply; and after this had gone on for thousands of generations, another change of climate, another southward migration, another struggle of northern and southern forms would take place.

But if the last glacial epoch has coincided with, and has been to a considerable extent caused by, a high excentricity of the earth's orbit, we are naturally led to expect that earlier glacial epochs would have occurred whenever the excentricity was unusually large. Dr. Croll has published tables showing the varying amounts of excentricity for three million years back; and from these it appears that there have been many periods of high excentricity, which has often been far greater than at the time of the last glacial epoch.[62] The accompanying diagram has been drawn from these tables, and it will be seen that the highest excentricity occurred 850,000 years ago, at which time the difference between the sun's distance at aphelion and perihelion was thirteen and a half millions of miles, whereas during the last glacial period the maximum difference was ten and a half million miles.

DIAGRAM SHOWING THE CHANGES OF EXCENTRICITY DURING THE LAST THREE MILLION YEARS.

Now, judging by the amount of organic and physical change that occurred during and since the glacial epoch, and that which has occurred since the Miocene period, it is considered probable that this maximum of excentricity coincided with some part of the latter period; and Dr. Croll maintains that a glacial epoch must then have [ 171 ] occurred surpassing in severity that of which we have such convincing proofs, and consisting like it of alternations of cold and warm phases every 10,500 years. The diagram also shows us another long-continued period of high excentricity from 1,750,000 to 1,950,000 years ago, and yet another almost equal to the maximum 2,500,000 years back. These may perhaps have occurred during the Eocene and Cretaceous epochs respectively, or all may have been included within the limits of the Tertiary period. As two of these high excentricities greatly exceed that which caused our glacial epoch, while the third is almost equal to it and of longer duration, they seem to afford us the means of testing rival theories of the causes of glaciation. If, as Dr. Croll argues, high excentricity is the great and dominating agency in bringing on glacial epochs, geographical changes being subordinate, then there must have been glacial epochs of great severity at all these three periods; while if he is also correct in supposing that the alternate phases of precession would inevitably produce glaciation in one hemisphere, and a proportionately mild and equable climate in the opposite hemisphere, then we should have to look for evidence of exceptionally warm and exceptionally cold periods, occurring [ 172 ] alternately and with several repetitions, within a space of time which, geologically speaking, is very short indeed.

Let us then inquire first into the character of the evidence we should expect to find of such changes of climate, if they have occurred; we shall then be in a better position to estimate at its proper value the evidence that actually exists, and, after giving it due weight, to arrive at some conclusion as to the theory that best explains and harmonises it.

 

Effects of Denudation in Destroying the Evidence of Remote Glacial Epochs.—It may be supposed, that if earlier glacial epochs than the last did really occur, we ought to meet with some evidence of the fact corresponding to that which has satisfied us of the extensive recent glaciation of the northern hemisphere; but Dr. Croll and other writers have ably argued that no such evidence is likely to be found. It is now generally admitted that sub-aërial denudation is a much more powerful agent in lowering and modifying the surface of a country than was formerly supposed. It has in fact been proved to be so powerful that the difficulty now felt is, not to account for the denudation which can be proved to have occurred, but to explain the apparent persistence of superficial features which ought long ago to have been destroyed.

A proof of the lowering and eating away of the land-surface which every one can understand, is to be found in the quantity of solid matter carried down to the sea and to low grounds by rivers. This is capable of pretty accurate measurement, and it has been carefully measured for several rivers, large and small, in different parts of the world. The details of these measurements will be given in a future chapter, and it is only necessary here to state that the average of them all gives us this result—that one foot must, on an average, be taken off the entire surface of the land each 3,000 years in order to produce the amount of sediment and matter in solution which is actually carried into the sea. To give an idea of the limits of variation in different rivers it may be mentioned that the Mississippi is one which denudes its valley at a slow rate, taking 6,000 [ 173 ] years to remove one foot; while the Po is the most rapid, taking only 729 years to do the same work in its valley. The cause of this difference is very easy to understand. A large part of the area of the Mississippi basin consists of the almost rainless prairie and desert regions of the west, while its sources are in comparatively arid mountains with scanty snow-fields, or in a low forest-clad plateau. The Po, on the other hand, is wholly in a district of abundant rainfall, while its sources are spread over a great amphitheatre of snowy Alps nearly 400 miles in extent, where the denuding forces are at a maximum. As Scotland is a mountain region of rather abundant rainfall, the denuding power of its rains and rivers is probably rather above than under the average, but to avoid any possible exaggeration we will take it at a foot in 4,000 years.

Now if the end of the glacial epoch be taken to coincide with the termination of the last period of high excentricity, which occurred about 80,000 years ago (and no geologist will consider this too long for the changes which have since taken place), it follows that the entire surface of Scotland must have been since lowered an average amount of twenty feet. But over large areas of alluvial plains, and wherever the rivers have spread during floods, the ground will have been raised instead of lowered; and on all nearly level ground and gentle slopes there will have been comparatively little denudation; so that proportionally much more must have been taken away from mountain sides and from the bottoms of valleys having a considerable downward slope. One of the very highest authorities on the subject of denudation, Mr. Archibald Geikie, estimates the area of these more rapidly denuded portions as only one-tenth of the comparatively level grounds, and he further estimates that the former will be denuded about ten times as fast as the latter. It follows that the valleys will be deepened and widened on the average about five feet in the 4,000 years instead of one foot; and thus many valleys must have been deepened and widened 100 feet, and some even more, since the glacial epoch, while the more level portions of the country will have been lowered on the average only about two feet. [ 174 ]

Now Dr. Croll gives us the following account of the present aspect of the surface of a large part of the country:—

"Go where one will in the lowlands of Scotland and he shall hardly find a single acre whose upper surface bears the marks of being formed by the denuding agents now in operation. He will observe everywhere mounds and hollows which cannot be accounted for by the present agencies at work.... In regard to the general surface of the country the present agencies may be said to be just beginning to carve a new line of features out of the old glacially-formed surface. But so little progress has yet been made, that the kames, gravel-mounds, knolls of boulder clay, &c., still retain in most cases their original form."[63]

The facts here seem a little inconsistent, and we must suppose that Dr. Croll has somewhat exaggerated the universality and complete preservation of the glaciated surface. The amount of average denudation, however, is not a matter of opinion but of measurement; and its consequences can in no way be evaded. They are, moreover, strictly proportionate to the time elapsed; and if so much of the old surface of the country has certainly been remodelled or carried into the sea since the last glacial epoch, it becomes evident that any surface-phenomena produced by still earlier glacial epochs must have long since entirely disappeared.

Rise of the Sea-level Connected with Glacial Epochs, a Cause of Further Denudation.—There is also another powerful agent that must have assisted in the destruction of any such surface deposits or markings. During the last glacial epoch itself there were several minor oscillations of the land, without counting the great submergence of over 1,300 feet, supposed to be indicated by patches of shelly clays and gravels in Wales and Ireland, and also in a few localities in England and Scotland, since these are otherwise explained by many geologists. Other subsidences have no doubt occurred in the same areas during the Tertiary epoch, and some writers connect these subsidences with the glacial [ 175 ] period itself, the unequal amount of ice at the two poles causing the centre of gravity of the earth to be displaced when, of course, the surface of the ocean will conform to it and appear to rise in the one hemisphere and sink in the other. If this is the case, subsidences of the land are natural concomitants of a glacial period, and will powerfully aid in removing all evidence of its occurrence. We have seen reason to believe, however, that during the height of the glacial epoch the extreme cold persisted through the successive phases of precession, and if so, both polar areas would probably be glaciated at once. This would cause the abstraction of a large quantity of water from the ocean, and a proportionate elevation of the land, which would react on the accumulation of snow and ice, and thus add another to that wonderful series of physical agents which act and react on each other so as to intensify glacial epochs.

But whether or not these causes would produce any important fluctuations of the sea-level is of comparatively little importance to our present inquiry, because the wide extent of marine Tertiary deposits in the northern hemisphere and their occurrence at considerable elevations above the present sea-level, afford the most conclusive proofs that great changes of sea and land have occurred throughout the entire Tertiary period; and these repeated submergences and emergences of the land combined with sub-aërial and marine denudation, would undoubtedly destroy all those superficial evidences of ice-action on which we mainly depend for proofs of the occurrence of the last glacial epoch.

What Evidence of Early Glacial Epochs may be Expected.—Although we may admit the force of the preceding argument as to the extreme improbability of our finding any clear evidence of the superficial action of ice during remote glacial epochs, there is nevertheless one kind of evidence that we ought to find, because it is both wide-spread and practically indestructible.

One of the most constant of all the phenomena of a glaciated country is the abundance of icebergs produced by the breaking off of the ends of glaciers which terminate [ 176 ] in arms of the sea, or of the terminal face of the ice-sheet which passes beyond the land into the ocean. In both these cases abundance of rocks and débris, such as form the terminal moraines of glaciers on land, are carried out to sea and deposited over the sea-bottom of the area occupied by icebergs. In the case of an ice-sheet it is almost certain that much of the ground-moraine, consisting of mud and imbedded stones, similar to that which forms the "till" when deposited on land, will be carried out to sea with the ice and form a deposit of marine "till" near the shore.

It has indeed been objected that when an ice-sheet covered an entire country there would be no moraines, and that rocks or débris are very rarely seen on icebergs. But during every glacial epoch there will be a southern limit to the glaciated area, and everywhere near this limit the mountain-tops will rise far above the ice and deposit on it great masses of débris; and as the ice-sheet spreads, and again as it passes away, this moraine-forming area will successively occupy the whole country. But even such an ice-clad country as Greenland is now known to have protruding peaks and rocky masses which give rise to moraines on its surface;[64] and, as rocks from Cumberland and Ireland were carried by the ice-sheet to the Isle of Man, there must have been a very long period during which the ice-sheets of Britain and Ireland terminated in the ocean and sent off abundance of rock-laden bergs into the surrounding seas; and the same thing must have occurred along all the coasts of Northern Europe and Eastern America.

We cannot therefore doubt that throughout the greater part of the duration of a glacial epoch the seas adjacent to the glaciated countries would receive continual deposits of large rocks, rock-fragments, and gravel, similar to the material of modern and ancient moraines, and analogous to the drift and the numerous travelled blocks which the ice has undoubtedly scattered broadcast over every glaciated country; and these rocks and boulders would be imbedded in whatever deposits were then forming, either from the matter carried down by rivers or from the mud ground off [ 177 ] the rocks and carried out to sea by the glaciers themselves. Moreover, as icebergs float far beyond the limits of the countries which gave them birth, these ice-borne materials would be largely imbedded in deposits forming from the denudation of countries which had never been glaciated, or from which the ice had already disappeared.

But if every period of high excentricity produced a glacial epoch of greater or less extent and severity, then, on account of the frequent occurrence of a high phase of excentricity during the three million years for which we have the tables, these boulder and rock-strewn deposits would be both numerous and extensive. Four hundred thousand years ago the excentricity was almost exactly the same as it is now, and it continually increased from that time up to the glacial epoch. Now if we take double the present excentricity as being sufficient to produce some glaciation in the temperate zone, we find (by drawing out the diagram at p. 171 on a larger scale) that during 1,150,000 years out of the 2,400,000 years immediately preceding the last glacial epoch, the excentricity reached or exceeded this amount, consisting of sixteen separate epochs, divided from each other by periods varying from 30,000 to 200,000 years. But if the last glacial epoch was at its maximum 200,000 years ago, a space of three million years will certainly include much, if not all, of the Tertiary period; and even if it does not, we have no reason to suppose that the character of the excentricity would suddenly change beyond the three million years.

It follows, therefore, that if periods of high excentricity, like that which appears to have been synchronous with our last glacial epoch and is generally admitted to have been one of its efficient causes, always produced glacial epochs (with or without alternating warm periods), then the whole of the Tertiary deposits in the north temperate and Arctic zones should exhibit frequent alternations of boulder and rock-bearing beds, or coarse rock-strewn gravels analogous to our existing glacial drift, and with some corresponding change of organic remains. Let us then see what evidence can be adduced of the existence of such deposits, and whether it is adequate to support the [ 178 ] theory of repeated glacial epochs during the Tertiary period.

Evidences of Ice-action during the Tertiary Period.—The Tertiary fossils both of Europe and North America indicate throughout warm or temperate climates, except those of the more recent Pliocene deposits which merge into the earlier glacial beds. The Miocene deposits of Central and Southern Europe, for example, contain marine shells of some genera now only found farther south, while the fossil plants often resemble those of Madeira and the southern states of North America. Large reptiles, too, abounded, and man-like apes lived in the south of France and in Germany. Yet in Northern Italy, near Turin, there are beds of sandstone and conglomerate full of characteristic Miocene shells, but containing in an intercalated deposit angular blocks of serpentine and greenstone often of enormous size, one being fourteen feet long, and another twenty-six feet. Some of the blocks were observed by Sir Charles Lyell to be faintly striated and partly polished on one side, and they are scattered through the beds for a thickness of nearly 150 feet. It is interesting that the particular bed in which the blocks occur yields no organic remains, though these are plentiful both in the underlying and overlying beds, as if the cold of the icebergs, combined with the turbidity produced by the glacial mud, had driven away the organisms adapted to live only in a comparatively warm sea. Rock similar in kind to these erratics occurs about twenty miles distant in the Alps.

The Eocene period is even more characteristically tropical in its flora and fauna, since palms and Cycadaceæ, turtles, snakes, and crocodiles then inhabited England. Yet on the north side of the Alps, extending from Switzerland to Vienna, and also south of the Alps near Genoa, there is a deposit of finely-stratified sandstone several thousand feet in thickness, quite destitute of organic remains, but containing in several places in Switzerland enormous blocks either angular or partly rounded, and composed of oolitic limestone or of granite. Near the Lake of Thun some of the granite blocks found in this deposit are of enormous size, one of them being 105 feet long, ninety feet wide, [ 179 ] and forty-five feet thick! The granite is red, and of a peculiar kind which cannot be matched anywhere in the Alps, or indeed elsewhere. Similar erratics have also been found in beds of the same age in the Carpathians and in the Apennines, indicating probably an extensive inland European sea into which glaciers descended from the surrounding mountains, depositing these erratics, and cooling the water so as to destroy the mollusca and other organisms which had previously inhabited it. It is to be observed that wherever these erratics occur they are always in the vicinity of great mountain ranges; and although these can be proved to have been in great part elevated during the Tertiary period, we must also remember that they must have been since very much lowered by denudation, of the amount of which, the enormously thick Eocene and Miocene beds now forming portions of them is in some degree a measure as well as a proof. It is not therefore at all improbable that during some part of the Tertiary period these mountains may have been far higher than they are now, and this we know might be sufficient for the production of glaciers descending to the sea-level, even were the climate of the lowlands somewhat warmer than at present.[65]

The Weight of the Negative Evidence.—But when we proceed to examine the Tertiary deposits of other parts of [ 180 ] Europe, and especially of our own country, for evidence of this kind, not only is such evidence completely wanting, but the facts are of so definite a character as to satisfy most geologists that it can never have existed; and the same maybe said of temperate North America and of the Arctic regions generally.

In his carefully written paper on "The Climate Controversy" the late Mr. Searles V. Wood, Jun., remarks on this point as follows: "Now the Eocene formation is complete in England, and is exposed in continuous section along the north coast of the Isle of Wight from its base to its junction with the Oligocene (or Lower Miocene according to some), and along the northern coast of Kent from its base to the Lower Bagshot Sand. It has been intersected by railway and other cuttings in all directions and at all horizons, and pierced by wells innumerable; while from its strata in England, France, and Belgium, the most extensive collections of organic remains have been made of any formation yet explored, and from nearly all its horizons, for at one place or another in these three countries nearly every horizon may be said to have yielded fossils of some kind. These fossils, however, whether they be the remains of a flora such as that of Sheppey, or of a vertebrate fauna containing the crocodile and alligator, such as is yielded by beds indicative of terrestrial conditions, or of a molluscan assemblage such as is present in marine or fluvio-marine beds of the formation, are of unmistakably tropical or sub-tropical character throughout; and no trace whatever has appeared of the intercalation of a glacial period, much less of successive intercalations indicative of more than one period of 10,500 years' glaciation. Nor can it be urged that the glacial epochs of the Eocene in England were intervals of dry land, and so have left no evidence of their existence behind them, because a large part of the continuous sequence of Eocene deposits in this country consists of alternations of fluviatile, fluvio-marine, and purely marine strata; so that it seems impossible that during the accumulation of the Eocene formation in England a glacial period could have occurred without its evidences being [ 181 ] abundantly apparent. The Oligocene of Northern Germany and Belgium, and the Miocene of those countries and of France, have also afforded a rich molluscan fauna, which, like that of the Eocene, has as yet presented no indication of the intrusion of anything to interfere with its uniformly sub-tropical character."[66]

This is sufficiently striking; but when we consider that this enormous series of deposits, many thousand feet in thickness, consists wholly of alternations of clays, sands, marls, shales, or limestones, with a few beds of pebbles or conglomerate, not one of the whole series containing irregular blocks of foreign material, boulders or gravel, such as we have seen to be the essential characteristic of a glacial epoch; and when we find that this same general character pervades all the extensive Tertiary deposits of temperate North America, we shall, I think, be forced to the conclusion that no general glacial epochs could have occurred during their formation. It must be remembered that the "imperfection of the geological record" will not help us here, because the series of Tertiary deposits is unusually complete, and we must suppose some destructive agency to have selected all the intercalated glacial beds and to have so completely made away with them that not a fragment remains, while preserving all or almost all the interglacial beds; and to have acted thus capriciously, not in one limited area only, but over the whole northern hemisphere, with the local exceptions on the flanks of great mountain ranges already referred to.

Temperate Climates in the Arctic Regions.—As we have just seen, the geological evidence of the persistence of sub-tropical or warm climates in the north temperate zone during the greater part of the Tertiary period is almost irresistible, and we have now to consider the still more extraordinary series of observations which demonstrate that this amelioration of climate extended into the Arctic zone, and into countries now almost wholly buried in snow and ice. These warm Arctic climates have been explained by Dr. Croll as due to periods of high excentricity with winter in perihelion, a theory which implies alternating [ 182 ] epochs of glaciation far exceeding what now prevails; and it is therefore necessary to examine the evidence pretty closely in order to see if this view is more tenable in the case of the north polar regions than we have found it to be in that of the north temperate zone.

The most recent of these milder climates is perhaps indicated by the abundant remains of large mammalia—such as the mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, bison and horse, in the icy alluvial plains of Northern Siberia, and especially in the Liakhov Islands in the same latitude as the North Cape of Asia. These remains occur not in one or two spots only, as if collected by eddies at the mouth of a river, but along the whole borders of the Arctic Ocean; and it is generally admitted that the animals must have lived upon the adjacent plains, and that a considerably milder climate than now prevails could alone have enabled them to do so. How long ago this occurred we do not know, but one of the last intercalated mild periods of the glacial epoch itself seems to offer all the necessary conditions. Again, Sir Edward Belcher discovered on the dreary shores of Wellington Channel in 75½° N. Lat. the trunk and root of a fir tree which had evidently grown where it was found. It appeared to belong to the species Abies alba, or white fir, which now reaches 68° N. Lat. and is the most northerly conifer known. Similar trees, one four feet in circumference and thirty feet long, were found by Lieut. Mecham in Prince Patrick's Island in Lat. 76° 12′ N., and other Arctic explorers have found remains of trees in high latitudes.[67]

Similar indications of a recent milder climate are found in Spitzbergen. Professor Nordenskjöld says: "At various places on Spitzbergen, at the bottom of Lomme Bay, at Cape Thordsen, in Blomstrand's strata in Advent Bay, there are found large and well-developed shells of a bivalve, Mytilus edulis, which is not now found living on the coast of Spitzbergen, though on the west coast of Scandinavia it everywhere covers the rocks near the sea-shore. These shells occur most plentifully in the bed of a river which runs through Reindeer Valley at Cape Thordsen. They [ 183 ] are probably washed out of a thin bed of sand at a height of about twenty or thirty feet above the present sea-level, which is intersected by the river. The geological age of this bed cannot be very great, and it has clearly been formed since the present basin of the Ice Sound, or at least the greater part of it, has been hollowed out by glacial action."[68]

The Miocene Arctic Flora.—One of the most startling and important of the scientific discoveries of the last forty years has been that of the relics of a luxuriant Miocene flora in various parts of the Arctic regions. It is a discovery that was totally unexpected, and is even now considered by many men of science to be completely unintelligible; but it is so thoroughly established, and it has such a direct and important bearing on the subjects we are discussing in the present volume, that it is necessary to lay a tolerably complete outline of the facts before our readers.

The Miocene flora of temperate Europe was very like that of Eastern Asia, Japan, and the warmer part of Eastern North America of the present day. It is very richly represented in Switzerland by well preserved fossil remains, and after a close comparison with the flora of other countries Professor Heer concludes that the Swiss Lower Miocene flora indicates a climate corresponding to that of Louisiana, North Africa, and South China, while the Upper Miocene climate of the same country would correspond to that of the south of Spain, Southern Japan, and Georgia (U.S. of America). Of this latter flora, found chiefly at Œninghen in the northern extremity of Switzerland, 465 species are known, of which 166 species are trees or shrubs, half of them being evergreens. They comprise sequoias like the Californian giant trees, camphor-trees, cinnamons, sassafras, bignonias, cassias, gleditschias, tulip-trees, and many other American genera, together with maples, ashes, planes, oaks, poplars, and other familiar European trees represented by a variety of extinct species. If we now go to the west coast of Greenland in 70° N. Lat. we find abundant remains of a flora of the same general [ 184 ] type as that of Œninghen but of a more northern character. We have a sequoia identical with one of the species found at Œninghen, a chestnut, salisburia, liquidambar, sassafras, and even a magnolia. We have also seven species of oaks, two planes, two vines, three beeches, four poplars, two willows, a walnut, a plum, and several shrubs supposed to be evergreens; altogether 137 species, mostly well and abundantly preserved!

But even further north, in Spitzbergen, in 78° and 79° N. Lat. and one of the most barren and inhospitable regions on the globe, an almost equally rich fossil flora has been discovered including several of the Greenland species, and others peculiar, but mostly of the same genera. There seem to be no evergreens here except coniferæ, one of which is identical with the swamp-cypress (Taxodium distichum) now found living in the Southern United States! There are also eleven pines, two Libocedrus, two sequoias, with oaks, poplars, birches, planes, limes, a hazel, an ash, and a walnut; also water-lilies, pond-weeds, and an iris—altogether about a hundred species of flowering plants. Even in Grinnell Land, within 8¼ degrees of the pole, a similar flora existed, twenty-five species of fossil plants having been collected by the last Arctic expedition, of which eighteen were identical with the species from other Arctic localities. This flora comprised poplars, birches, hazels, elms, viburnums, and eight species of conifers including the swamp cypress and the Norway spruce (Pinus abies) which last does not now extend beyond 69½° N.

Fossil plants closely resembling those just mentioned have been found at many other Arctic localities, especially in Iceland, on the Mackenzie River in 65° N. Lat. and in Alaska. As an intermediate station we have, in the neighbourhood of Dantzic in Lat. 55° N., a similar flora, with the swamp-cypress, sequoias, oaks, poplars, and some cinnamons, laurels, and figs. A little further south, near Breslau, north of the Carpathians, a rich flora has been found allied to that of Œninghen, but wanting in some of the more tropical forms. Again, in the Isle of Mull in Scotland, in about 56½° N. Lat., a plant-bed has been discovered [ 185 ] containing a hazel, a plane, and a sequoia, apparently identical with a Swiss Miocene species.

We thus find one well-marked type of vegetation spread from Switzerland and Vienna to North Germany, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and Spitzbergen, some few of the species even ranging over the extremes of latitude between Œninghen and Spitzbergen, but the great majority being distinct, and exhibiting decided indications of a decrease of temperature according to latitude, though much less in amount than now exists. Some writers have thought that the great similarity of the floras of Greenland and Œninghen is a proof that they were not contemporaneous, but successive; and that of Greenland has been supposed to be as old as the Eocene. But the arguments yet adduced do not seem to prove such a difference of age, because there is only that amount of specific and generic diversity between the two which might be produced by distance and difference of temperature, under the exceptionally equable climate of the period. We have even now examples of an equally wide range of well-marked types; as in temperate South America, where many of the genera and some of the species range from the Straits of Magellan to Valparaiso—places differing as much in latitude as Switzerland and West Greenland; and the same may be said of North Australia and Tasmania, where, at a greater latitudinal distance apart, closely allied forms of Eucalyptus, Acacia, Casuarina, Stylidium, Goodenia, and many other genera would certainly form a prominent feature in any fossil flora now being preserved.

Mild Arctic Climates of the Cretaceous Period.—In the Upper Cretaceous deposits of Greenland (in a locality not far from those of the Miocene age last described) another remarkable flora has been discovered, agreeing generally with that of Europe and North America of the same geological age. Sixty-five species of plants have been identified, of which there are fifteen ferns, two cycads, eleven coniferæ, three monocotyledons, and thirty-four dicotyledons. One of the ferns is a tree-fern with thick stems, which has also been found in the Upper Greensand of England. Among the conifers the giant sequoias are found, and among [ 186 ] the dicotyledons the genera Populus, Myrica, Ficus, Sassafras, Andromeda, Diospyros, Myrsine, Panax, as well as magnolias, myrtles, and leguminosæ. Several of these groups occur also in the much richer deposits of the same age in North America and Central Europe; but all of them evidently afford such fragmentary records of the actual flora of the period, that it is impossible to say that any genus found in one locality was absent from the other merely because it has not yet been found there. On the whole, there seems to be less difference between the floras of Arctic and temperate latitudes in Upper Cretaceous than in Miocene times.

In the same locality in Greenland (70° 33′ N. Lat. and 52° W. Long.), and also in Spitzbergen, a more ancient flora, of Lower Cretaceous age, has been found; but it differs widely from the other in the great abundance of cycads and conifers and the scarcity of exogens, which latter are represented by a single poplar. Of the thirty-eight ferns, fifteen belong to the genus Gleichenia now almost entirely tropical. There are four genera of cycads, and three extinct genera of conifers, besides Glyptostrobus and Torreya now found only in China and California, six species of true pines, and five of the genus Sequoia, one of which occurs also in Spitzbergen. The European deposits of the same age closely agree with these in their general character, conifers, cycads, and ferns forming the mass of the vegetation, while exogens are entirely absent, the above-named Greenland poplar being the oldest known dicotyledonous plant.[69]

If we take these facts as really representing the flora of the period, we shall be forced to conclude that, measured by the change effected in its plants, the lapse of time between the Lower and Upper Cretaceous deposits was far greater than between the Upper Cretaceous and the Miocene—a conclusion quite opposed to the indications afforded by the mollusca and the higher animals of the two periods. It seems probable, therefore, that these Lower Cretaceous plants represent local peculiarities of [ 187 ] vegetation such as now sometimes occur in tropical countries. On sandy or coralline islands in the Malay Archipelago there will often be found a vegetation consisting almost wholly of cycads, pandani, and palms, while a few miles off, on moderately elevated land, not a single specimen of either of these families may be seen, but a dense forest of dicotyledonous trees covering the whole country. A lowland vegetation, such as that above described, might be destroyed and its remains preserved by a slight depression, allowing it to be covered up by the detritus of some adjacent river, while not only would the subsidence of high land be a less frequent occurrence, but when it did occur the steep banks would be undermined by the waves, and the trees falling down would be floated away, and would either be cast on some distant shore or slowly decay on the surface or in the depths of the ocean.

From the remarkable series of facts now briefly summarized, we learn, that whenever plant-remains have been discovered within the Arctic regions, either in Tertiary or Cretaceous deposits, they show that the climate was one capable of supporting a rich vegetation of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, similar in general character to that which prevailed in the temperate zone at the same periods, but showing the influence of a less congenial climate. These deposits belong to at least four distinct geological horizons, and have been found widely scattered within the Arctic circle, yet nowhere has any proof been obtained of intercalated cold periods, such as would be indicated by the remains of a stunted vegetation, or a molluscan fauna similar to that which now prevails there.

Stratigraphical Evidence of Long-Continued Mild Arctic Conditions.—Let us now turn to the stratigraphical evidence, which, as we have already shown, offers a crucial test of the occurrence or non-occurrence of glaciation during any extensive geological period; and here we have the testimony of perhaps the greatest living authority on Arctic geology—Professor Nordenskjöld. In his lecture on "The Former Climate of the Polar Regions," he says: "The character of the coasts in the Arctic regions is especially favourable to geological investigations. While the valleys are for the [ 188 ] most part filled with ice, the sides of the mountains in summer, even in the 80th degree of latitude, and to a height of 1,000 or 1,500 feet above the level of the sea, are almost wholly free from snow. Nor are the rocks covered with any amount of vegetation worth mentioning; and, moreover, the sides of the mountains on the shore itself frequently present perpendicular sections, which everywhere expose their bare surfaces to the investigator. The knowledge of a mountain's geognostic character, at which one, in the more southerly countries, can only arrive after long and laborious researches, removal of soil and the like, is here gained almost at the first glance; and as we have never seen in Spitzbergen nor in Greenland, in these sections often many miles in length, and including one may say all formations from the Silurian to the Tertiary, any boulders even as large as a child's head, there is not the smallest probability that strata of any considerable extent, containing boulders, are to be found in the polar tracts previous to the middle of the Tertiary period. Since, then, both an examination of the geognostic condition, and an investigation of the fossil flora and fauna of the polar lands, show no signs of a glacial era having existed in those parts before the termination of the Miocene period, we are fully justified in rejecting, on the evidence of actual observation, the hypotheses founded on purely theoretical speculations, which assume the many times repeated alternation of warm and glacial climates between the present time and the earliest geological ages."[70] And again, in his Sketch of the Geology of Spitzbergen, after describing the various formations down to the Miocene, he says: "All the fossils found in the foregoing strata show that Spitzbergen, during former geological ages, enjoyed a magnificent climate, which indeed was somewhat colder during the Miocene period, but was still favourable for an extraordinarily abundant vegetation, much more luxuriant than that which now occurs even in the southern part of Scandinavia: and I have in those strata sought in vain for any sign, that, as some geologists have of late endeavoured to render probable, these favourable climatic conditions have been broken off [ 189 ] by intervals of ancient glacial periods. The profiles I have had the opportunity to examine during my various Spitzbergen expeditions would certainly, if laid down on a line, occupy an extent of a thousand English miles; and if any former glacial period had existed in this region, there ought to have been some trace to be observed of erratic blocks, or other formations which distinguish glacial action. But this has not been the case. In the strata, whose length I have reckoned alone, I have not found a single fragment of a foreign rock so large as a child's head."[71]

Now it is quite impossible to ignore or evade the force of this testimony as to the continuous warm climates of the north temperate and polar zones throughout Tertiary times. The evidence extends over a vast area, both in space and time, it is derived from the work of the most competent living geologists, and it is absolutely consistent in its general tendency. We have in the Lower Cretaceous period an almost tropical climate in France and England, a somewhat lower temperature in the United States, and a mild insular climate in the Arctic regions. In each successive period the climate becomes somewhat less tropical; but down to the Upper Miocene it remains warm temperate in Central Europe, and cold temperate within the polar area, with not a trace of any intervening periods of Arctic cold. It then gradually cools down and merges through the Pliocene into the glacial epoch in Europe, while in the Arctic zone there is a break in the record between the Miocene and the recent glacial deposits.[72]

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Accepting this as a substantially correct account of the general climatic aspect of the Tertiary period in the northern hemisphere, let us see whether the principles we have already laid down will enable us to give a satisfactory explanation of its causes.

The Causes of mild Arctic Climates.—In his remarkable series of papers on "Ocean Currents," the late Dr. James Croll has proved, with a wealth of argument and illustration whose cogency is irresistible, that the very habitability of our globe is due to the equalizing climatic effects of the waters of the ocean; and that it is to the same cause that we owe, either directly or indirectly, almost all the chief diversities of climate between places situated in the same latitude. Owing to the peculiar distribution of land and sea upon the globe, more than its fair proportion of the warm equatorial waters is directed towards the western shores of Europe, the result being that the British Isles, Norway, and Spitzbergen, have all a milder climate than any other parts of the globe in corresponding latitudes. A very small portion of the Arctic regions, however, obtains this benefit, and it thus remains, generally speaking, a land of snow and ice, with too short a summer to nourish more than a very scanty and fugitive vegetation. The only other opening than that between Iceland and Britain by which warm water penetrates within the Arctic circle, is through Behring's Straits; but this is both shallow and limited in width, and the consequence is that the larger part of the warm currents of the Pacific turns back along the shores of the Aleutian Islands and North-west America, while a very small quantity enters the icy ocean.

But if there were other and wider openings into the Arctic Ocean, a vast quantity of the heated water which is now turned backward would enter it, and would produce an amelioration of the climate of which we can hardly form a conception. A great amelioration of climate would also be caused by the breaking up or the lowering of such [ 191 ] Arctic highlands as now favour the accumulation of ice; while the interpenetration of the sea into any part of the great continents in the tropical or temperate zones would again tend to raise the winter temperature, and render any long continuance of snow in their vicinity almost impossible.

Now geologists have proved, quite independently of any such questions as we are here discussing, that changes of the very kinds above referred to have occurred during the Tertiary period; and that there has been, speaking broadly, a steady change from a comparatively fragmentary and insular condition of the great north temperate lands in early Tertiary times, to that more compact and continental condition which now prevails. It is, no doubt, difficult and often impossible to determine how long any particular geographical condition lasted, or whether the changes in one country were exactly coincident with those in another; but it will be sufficient for our purpose briefly to indicate those more important changes of land and sea during the Tertiary period, which must have produced a decided effect on the climate of the northern hemisphere.

Geographical Changes Favouring Mild Northern Climates in Tertiary Times.—The distribution of the Eocene and Miocene formations shows, that during a considerable portion of the Tertiary period, an inland sea, more or less occupied by an archipelago of islands, extended across Central Europe between the Baltic and the Black and Caspian Seas, and thence by narrower channels south-eastward to the valley of the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf, thus opening a communication between the North Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. From the Caspian also a wide arm of the sea extended during some part of the Tertiary epoch northwards to the Arctic Ocean, and there is nothing to show that this sea may not have been in existence during the whole Tertiary period. Another channel probably existed over Egypt[73] into the eastern [ 192 ] basin of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea; while it is probable that there was a communication between the Baltic and the White Sea, leaving Scandinavia as an extensive island. Turning to India, we find that an arm of the sea of great width and depth extended from the Bay of Bengal to the mouths of the Indus; while the enormous depression indicated by the presence of marine fossils of Eocene age at a height of 10,500 feet in Western Tibet, renders it not improbable that a more direct channel across Afghanistan may have opened a communication between the West Asiatic and Polar seas.

It may be said that the changes here indicated are not warranted by an actual knowledge of continuous Tertiary deposits over the situations of the alleged marine channels; but it is no less certain that the seas in which any particular strata were deposited were always more extensive than the fragments of those strata now existing, and often immensely more extensive. The Eocene deposits of Europe, for example, have certainly undergone enormous denudation both marine and subaërial, and may have once covered areas where we now find older deposits (as the chalk once covered the weald), while a portion of them may lie concealed under Miocene, Pliocene, or recent beds. We find them widely scattered over Europe and Asia, and often elevated into lofty mountain ranges; and we should certainly err far more seriously in confining the Eocene seas to the exact areas where we now find Eocene rocks, than in liberally extending them, so as to connect the several detached portions of the formation whenever there is no valid argument against our doing so. Considering then, that some one or more of the sea-communications here indicated almost certainly existed during Eocene and Miocene times, let us endeavour to estimate the probable effect such communications would have upon the climate of the northern hemisphere.

The Indian Ocean as a Source of Heat in Tertiary Times.—If we compare the Indian Ocean with the South Atlantic we shall see that the position and outline of the former are very favourable for the accumulation of a large body of warm water moving northwards. Its southern [ 193 ] opening between South Africa and Australia is very wide, and the tendency of the trade-winds would be to concentrate the currents towards its north-western extremity, just where the two great channels above described formed an outlet to the northern seas. As will be shown in our nineteenth chapter, there was probably, during the earlier portion of the Tertiary period at least, several large islands in the space between Madagascar and South India; but these had wide and deep channels between them, and their existence may have been favourable to the conveyance of heated water northward, by concentrating the currents, and thus producing massive bodies of moving water analogous to the Gulf Stream of the Atlantic.[74] Less heat would thus be lost by evaporation and radiation in the tropical zone, and an impulse would be acquired which would carry the warm water into the north polar area. About the same period Australia was probably divided into two islands, separated by a wide channel in a north and south direction (see Chapter XXII.), and through this another current would almost certainly set northwards, and be directed to the north-west by the southern extension of Malayan Asia. The more insular condition at this period of Australia, India, and North Africa, with the depression and probable fertility of the Central Asiatic plateau, would lead to the Indian Ocean being traversed by regular trade-winds instead of by variable monsoons, and thus the constant vis a tergo, which is so efficient in the Atlantic, would keep up a steady and powerful current towards the northern parts of the Indian Ocean, and thence through the midst of the European archipelago to the northern seas.

Now it is quite certain that such a condition as we have here sketched out would produce a wonderful effect on the climate of Central Europe and Western and Northern Asia. Owing to the warm currents being concentrated in inland seas instead of being dispersed over a wide ocean like the [ 194 ] North Atlantic, much more heat would be conveyed into the Arctic Ocean, and this would altogether prevent the formation of ice on the northern shores of Asia, which continent did not then extend nearly so far north and was probably deeply inter-penetrated by the sea. This open ocean to the north, and the warm currents along all the northern lands, would so equalise temperature, that even the northern parts of Europe might then have enjoyed a climate fully equal to that of the warmer parts of New Zealand at the present day, and might have well supported the luxuriant vegetation of the Miocene period, even without any help from similar changes in the western hemisphere.[75]

Condition of North America during the Tertiary Period.—But changes of a somewhat similar character have also taken place in America and the Pacific. An enormous area west of the Mississippi, extending over much of the Rocky Mountains, consists of marine Cretaceous beds 10,000 feet thick, indicating great and long-continued subsidence, and an insular condition of Western America with a sea probably extending northwards to the Arctic Ocean. As marine Tertiary deposits are found conformably overlying these Cretaceous strata, Professor Dana is of opinion that the great elevation of this part of America did not begin till early Tertiary times. Other Tertiary beds in California, Alaska, Kamschatka, the Mackenzie River, the Parry Islands, and Greenland, indicate partial submergence [ 195 ] of all these lands with the possible influx of warm water from the Pacific; and the considerable elevation of some of the Miocene beds in Greenland and Spitzbergen renders it probable that these countries were then much less elevated, in which case only their higher summits would be covered with perpetual snow, and no glaciers would descend to the sea.

In the Pacific there was probably an elevation of land counterbalancing, to some extent, the great depression of so much of the northern continents. Our map in Chapter XV. shows the islands that would be produced by an elevation of the great shoals under a thousand fathoms deep, and it is seen that these all trend in a south-east and north-west direction, and would thus facilitate the production of definite currents impelled by the south-east trades towards the north-west Pacific, where they would gain access to the polar seas through Behring's Straits, which were, perhaps, sometimes both wider and deeper than at present.

Effect of these Changes on the Climate of the Arctic Regions.—These various changes of sea and land, all tending towards a transference of heat from the equator to the north temperate zone, were not improbably still further augmented by the existence of a great inland South American sea occupying what are now the extensive valleys of the Amazon and Orinoco, and forming an additional reservoir of super-heated water to add to the supply poured into the North Atlantic.

It is not of course supposed that all the modifications here indicated co-existed at the same time. We have good reason to believe, from the known distribution of animals in the Tertiary period, that land-communications have at times existed between Europe or Asia and North America, either by way of Behring's Straits, or by Iceland, Greenland, and Labrador. But the same evidence shows that these land-communications were the exception rather than the rule, and that they occurred only at long intervals and for short periods, so as at no time to bring about anything like a complete interchange of the productions of the two continents.[76] We may therefore admit that the [ 196 ] communication between the tropical and Arctic oceans was occasionally interrupted in one or other direction; but if we look at a globe instead of a Mercator's chart of the world, we shall see that the disproportion between the extent of the polar and tropical seas is so enormous that a single wide opening, with an adequate impulse to carry in a considerable stream of warm water, would be amply sufficient for the complete abolition of polar snow and ice, when aided by the absence of any great areas of high land within the polar circle, such high land being, as we have seen, essential to the production of perpetual snow even at the present time.

Those who wish to understand the effect of oceanic currents in conveying heat to the north temperate and polar regions, should study the papers of Dr. Croll already referred to. But the same thing is equally well shown by the facts of the actual distribution of heat due to the Gulf Stream. The difference between the mean annual temperatures of the opposite coasts of Europe and America is well known and has been already quoted, but the difference of their mean winter temperature is still more striking, and it is this which concerns us as more especially affecting the distribution of vegetable and animal life. Our mean winter temperature in the west of England is the same as that of the Southern United States, as well as that of Shanghai in China, both about twenty degrees of latitude further south; and as we go northward the difference increases, so that the winter climate of Nova Scotia in Lat. 45° is found within the Arctic circle on the coast of Norway; and if the latter country did not consist almost wholly of precipitous snow-clad mountains, it would be capable of supporting most of the vegetable products of the American coast in the latitude of Bordeaux.[77]

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With these astounding facts before us, due wholly to the transference of a portion of the warm currents of the Atlantic to the shores of Europe, even with all the disadvantages of an icy sea to the north-east and ice-covered Greenland to the north-west, how can we doubt the enormously greater effect of such a condition of things as has been shown to have existed during the Tertiary epoch? Instead of one great stream of warm water spreading widely over the North Atlantic and thus losing the greater part of its store of heat before it reaches the Arctic seas, we should have several streams conveying the heat of far more extensive tropical oceans by comparatively narrow inland channels, thus being able to transfer a large proportion of their heat into the northern and Arctic seas. The heat that they gave out during the passage, instead of being widely dispersed by winds and much of it lost in the higher atmosphere, would directly ameliorate the climate of the continents they passed through, and prevent all accumulation of snow except on the loftiest mountains. The formation of ice in the Arctic seas would then be impossible; and the mild winter climate of the latitude of North [ 198 ] Carolina, which by the Gulf Stream is transferred 20° northwards to our islands, might certainly, under the favourable conditions which prevailed during the Cretaceous, Eocene, and Miocene periods, have been carried another 20° north to Greenland and Spitzbergen; and this would bring about exactly the climate indicated by the fossil Arctic vegetation. For it must be remembered that the Arctic summers are, even now, really hotter than ours, and if the winter's cold were abolished and all ice-accumulation prevented, the high northern lands would be able to support a far more luxuriant summer vegetation than is possible in our unequal and cloudy climate.[78]

Effect of High Excentricity on the Warm Polar Climates.—If the explanation of the cause of the glacial epoch given in the last chapter is a correct one, it will, I believe, follow that changes in the amount of excentricity will produce no important alteration of the climates of the temperate and Arctic zones so long as favourable geographical conditions, such as have been now sketched out, render the accumulation of ice impossible. The effect of a high excentricity in producing a glacial epoch was shown to be due to the capacity of snow and ice for storing up cold, and its singular power (when in large masses) of preserving itself unmelted under a hot sun by itself causing the interposition of a protective covering of cloud and vapour. But mobile currents of water have no such power of [ 199 ] accumulating and storing up heat or cold from one year to another, though they do in a pre-eminent degree possess the power of equalising the temperature of winter and summer and of conveying the superabundant heat of the tropics to ameliorate the rigour of the Arctic winters. However great was the difference between the amount of heat received from the sun in winter and summer in the Arctic zone during a period of high excentricity and winter in aphelion, the inequality would be greatly diminished by the free ingress of warm currents to the polar area; and if this was sufficient to prevent any accumulation of ice, the summers would be warmed to the full extent of the powers of the sun during the long polar day, which is such as to give the pole at midsummer actually more heat during the twenty-four hours than the equator receives during its day of twelve hours. The only difference, then, that would be directly produced by the changes of excentricity and precession would be, that the summers would be at one period almost tropical, at the other of a more mild and uniform temperate character; while the winters would be at one time somewhat longer and colder, but never, probably, more severe than they are now in the west of Scotland.

But though high excentricity would not directly modify the mild climates produced by the state of the northern hemisphere which prevailed during Cretaceous, Eocene, and Miocene times, it might indirectly affect it by increasing the mass of Antarctic ice, and thus increasing the force of the trade-winds and the resulting northward-flowing warm currents. Now there are many peculiarities in the distribution of plants and of some groups of animals in the southern hemisphere, which render it almost certain that there has sometimes been a greater extension of the Antarctic lands during Tertiary times; and it is therefore not improbable that a more or less glaciated condition may have been a long persistent feature of the southern hemisphere, due to the peculiar distribution of land and sea which favours the production of ice-fields and glaciers. And as we have seen that during the last three million years the excentricity has been almost always much higher than [ 200 ] it is now, we should expect that the quantity of ice in the southern hemisphere will usually have been greater, and will thus have tended to increase the force of those oceanic currents which produce the mild climates of the northern hemisphere.

Evidences of Climate in the Secondary and Palæozoic Epochs.—We have already seen, that so far back as the Cretaceous period there is the most conclusive evidence of the prevalence of a very mild climate not only in temperate but also in Arctic lands, while there is no proof whatever, or even any clear indication, of early glacial epochs at all comparable in extent and severity with that which has so recently occurred; and we have seen reason to connect this state of things with a distribution of land and sea highly favourable to the transference of warm water from equatorial to polar latitudes. So far as we can judge by the plant-remains of our own country, the climate appears to have been almost tropical in the Lower Eocene period; and as we go further back we find no clear indications of a higher, but often of a lower temperature, though always warmer or more equable than our present climate. The abundant corals and reptiles of the Oolite and Lias indicate equally tropical conditions; but further back, in the Trias, the flora and fauna, in the British area, become poorer, and there is nothing incompatible with a climate no warmer than that of the Upper Miocene. This poverty is still more marked in the Permian formation, and it is here that some indications of ice-action are found in the Lower Permian conglomerates of the west of England. These beds contain abundant fragments of various rocks, often angular and sometimes weighing half a ton, while others are partially rounded, and have polished and striated surfaces, just like the stones of the "till." They lie confusedly bedded in a red unstratified marl, and some of them can be traced to the Welsh hills from twenty to fifty miles distant. This remarkable formation was first pointed out as proving a remote glacial period, by Professor Ramsay; and Sir Charles Lyell agreed that this is the only possible explanation that, with our present knowledge, we can give of them.

Permian breccias are also found in Ireland, containing [ 201 ] blocks of Silurian and Old Red sandstone rocks which Professor Hull believes could only have been carried by floating ice. Similar breccias occur in the south of Scotland, and these are stated to be "overlain by a deposit of glacial age, so similar to the breccia below as to be with difficulty distinguished from it."[79]

These numerous physical indications of ice-action over a considerable area during the same geological period, coinciding with just such a poverty of organic remains as might be produced by a very cold climate, are very important, and seem clearly to indicate that at this remote period geographical conditions were such as to bring about a glacial epoch, or perhaps only local glaciation, in our part of the world.

Boulder-beds also occur in the Carboniferous formation, both in Scotland, on the continent of Europe, and in North America; and Professor Dawson considers that he has detected true glacial deposits of the same age in Nova Scotia. Boulder-beds also occur in the Silurian rocks of Scotland and North America, and according to Professor Dawson, even in the Huronian, older than our Cambrian. None of these indications are however so satisfactory as those of Permian age, where we have the very kind of evidence we looked for in vain throughout the whole of the Tertiary and Secondary periods. Its presence in several localities in such ancient rocks as the Permian is not only most important as indicating a glacial epoch of some kind in Palæozoic times, but confirms us in the validity of our conclusion, that the total absence of any such evidence throughout the Tertiary and Secondary epochs demonstrates the absence of recurring glacial epochs in the northern hemisphere, notwithstanding the frequent recurrence of periods of high excentricity.

Warm Arctic Climates in Early Secondary and Palæozoic Times.—The evidence we have already adduced of the mild climates prevailing in the Arctic regions throughout the Miocene, Eocene, and Cretaceous periods is supplemented by a considerable body of facts relating to still earlier epochs.

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In the Jurassic period, for example, we have proofs of a mild Arctic climate, in the abundant plant-remains of East Siberia and Amurland, with less productive deposits in Spitzbergen, and at Ando in Norway just within the Arctic circle. But even more remarkable are the marine remains found in many places in high northern latitudes, among which we may especially mention the numerous ammonites and the vertebræ of huge reptiles of the genera Ichthyosaurus and Teleosaurus found in the Jurassic deposits of the Parry Islands in 77° N. Lat.

In the still earlier Triassic age, nautili and ammonites inhabited the seas of Spitzbergen, where their fossil remains are now found.

In the Carboniferous formation we again meet with plant-remains and beds of true coal in the Arctic regions. Lepidodendrons and Calamites, together with large spreading ferns, are found at Spitzbergen, and at Bear Island in the extreme north of Eastern Siberia; while marine deposits of the same age contain abundance of large stony corals.

Lastly, the ancient Silurian limestones, which are widely spread in the high Arctic regions, contain abundance of corals and cephalopodous mollusca resembling those from the same deposits in more temperate lands.

Conclusions as to the Climates of Tertiary and Secondary Periods.—If now we look at the whole series of geological facts as to the animal and vegetable productions of the Arctic regions in past ages, it is certainly difficult to avoid the conclusion that they indicate a climate of a uniformly temperate or warm character. Whether in Miocene, Upper or Lower Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic, Carboniferous or Silurian times, and in all the numerous localities extending over more than half the polar regions, we find one uniform climatic aspect in the fossils. This is quite inconsistent with the theory of alternate cold and mild epochs during phases of high excentricity, and persistent cold epochs when the excentricity was as low as it is now or lower, for that would imply that the duration of cold conditions was greater than that of warm. Why then should the fauna and flora of the cold epochs never be [ 203 ] preserved? Mollusca and many other forms of life are abundant in the Arctic seas, and there is often a luxuriant dwarf woody vegetation on the land, yet in no one case has a single example of such a fauna or flora been discovered of a date anterior to the last glacial epoch. And this argument is very much strengthened when we remember that an exactly analogous series of facts is found over all the temperate zones. Everywhere we have abundant floras and faunas indicating warmer conditions than such as now prevail, but never in a single instance one which as clearly indicates colder conditions. The fact that drift with Arctic shells was deposited during the last glacial epoch, as well as gravels and crag with the remains of arctic animals and plants, shows us that there is nothing to prevent such deposits being formed in cold as well as in warm periods; and it is quite impossible to believe that in every place and at all epochs all records of the former have been destroyed, while in a considerable number of instances those of the latter have been preserved. When to this uniform testimony of the palæontological evidence we add the equally uniform absence of any indication of those ice-borne rocks, boulders, and drift, which are the constant and necessary accompaniment of every period of glaciation, and which must inevitably pervade all the marine deposits formed over a wide area so long as the state of glaciation continues, we are driven to the conclusion that the last glacial epoch of the northern hemisphere was exceptional, and was not preceded by numerous similar glacial epochs throughout Tertiary and Secondary time.

But although glacial epochs (with the one or two exceptions already referred to) were certainly absent, considerable changes of climate may have frequently occurred, and these would lead to important changes in the organic world. We can hardly doubt that some such change occurred between the Lower and Upper Cretaceous periods, the floras of which exhibit such an extraordinary contrast in general character. We have also the testimony of Mr. J. S. Gardner, who has long worked at the fossil floras of the Tertiary deposits, and who states, that [ 204 ] there is strong negative and some positive evidence of alternating warmer and colder conditions, not glacial, contained not only in English Eocene, but all Tertiary beds throughout the world.[80] In the case of marine faunas it is more difficult to judge, but the numerous changes in the fossil remains from bed to bed only a few feet and sometimes a few inches apart, may be sometimes due to change of climate; and when it is recognised that such changes have probably occurred at all geological epochs and their effects are systematically searched for, many peculiarities in the distribution of organisms through the different members of one deposit may be traced to this cause.

General View of Geological Climates as dependent on the Physical Features of the Earth's Surface.—In the preceding chapters I have earnestly endeavoured to arrive at an explanation of geological climates in the temperate and Arctic zones, which should be in harmony with the great body of geological facts now available for their elucidation. If my conclusions as here set forth diverge considerably from those of Dr. Croll, it is not from any want of appreciation of his facts and arguments, since for many years I have upheld and enforced his views to the best of my ability. But a careful re-examination of the whole question has now convinced me that an error has been made in estimating the comparative effect of geographical and astronomical causes on changes of climate, and that, while the latter have undoubtedly played an important part in bringing about the glacial epoch, it is to the former that the mild climates of the Arctic regions are almost entirely due. If I have now succeeded in approaching to a true solution of this difficult problem, I owe it mainly to the study of Dr. Croll's writings, since my theory is entirely based on the facts and principles so clearly set forth in his admirable papers on "Ocean Currents in relation to the Distribution of Heat over the Globe." The main features of this theory as distinct from that of Dr. Croll I will now endeavour to summarise.

Looking at the subject broadly, we see that the climatic [ 205 ] condition of the northern hemisphere is the result of the peculiar distribution of land and water upon the globe; and the general permanence of the position of the continental and oceanic areas—which we have shown to be proved by so many distinct lines of evidence—is also implied by the general stability of climate throughout long geological periods. The land surface of our earth appears to have always consisted of three great masses in the north temperate zone, narrowing southward, and terminating in three comparatively narrow extremities represented by Southern America, South Africa, and Australia. Towards the north these masses have approached each other, and have sometimes become united; leaving beyond them a considerable area of open polar sea. Towards the south they have never been much further prolonged than at present, but far beyond their extremities an extensive mass of land has occupied the south polar area.

This arrangement is such as would cause the northern hemisphere to be always (as it is now) warmer than the southern, and this would lead to the preponderance of northward winds and ocean currents, and would bring about the concentration of the latter in three great streams carrying warmth to the north-polar regions. These streams would, as Dr. Croll has so well shown, be greatly increased in power by the glaciation of the south polar land; and whenever any considerable portion of this land was elevated, such a condition of glaciation would certainly be brought about, and would be heightened whenever a high degree of excentricity prevailed.

It is now the general opinion of geologists that the great continents have undergone a process of development from earlier to later times. Professor Dana appears to have been the first who taught it explicitly in the case of the North American continent, and he has continued the development of his views from 1856, when he discussed the subject in the American Journal, to the later editions of his Manual of Geology in which the same views are extended to all the great continents. He says:—

"The North American continent, which since early [ 206 ] time had been gradually expanding in each direction from the northern Azoic, eastward, westward, and southward, and which, after the Palæozoic, was finished in its rocky foundation, excepting on the borders of the Atlantic and Pacific and the area of the Rocky Mountains, had reached its full expansion at the close of the Tertiary period. The progress from the first was uniform and systematic: the land was at all times simple in outline; and its enlargement took place with almost the regularity of an exogenous plant."[81]

A similar development undoubtedly took place in the European area, which was apparently never so compact and so little interpenetrated by the sea as it is now, while Europe and Asia have only become united into one unbroken mass since late Tertiary times.

If, however, the greater continents have become more compact and massive from age to age, and have received their chief extensions northward at a comparatively recent period, while the Antarctic lands had a corresponding but somewhat earlier development, we have all the conditions requisite to explain the persistence, with slight fluctuations, of warm climates far into the north-polar area throughout Palæozoic, Mesozoic, and Tertiary times. At length, during the latter part of the Tertiary epoch, a considerable elevation took place, closing up several of the water passages to the north, and raising up extensive areas in the Arctic regions to become the receptacle of snow and ice-fields. This elevation is indicated by the abundance of Miocene and the absence of Pliocene deposits in the Arctic zone and the considerable altitude of many Miocene rocks in Europe and North America; and the occurrence at this time of a long-continued period of high excentricity necessarily brought on the glacial epoch in the manner already described in our last chapter. A depression seems to have occurred during the glacial period itself in North America as in Britain, but this may have been due partly to the weight of the ice and partly to a rise of the ocean [ 207 ] level caused by the earth's centre of gravity being shifted towards the north.

We thus see that the last glacial epoch was the climax of a great process of continental development which had been going on throughout long geological ages; and that it was the direct consequence of the north temperate and polar land having attained a great extension and a considerable altitude just at the time when a phase of very high excentricity was coming on. Throughout earlier Tertiary and Secondary times an equally high excentricity often occurred, but it never produced a glacial epoch, because the north temperate and polar areas had less high land, and were more freely open to the influx of warm oceanic currents. But wherever great plateaux with lofty mountains occurred in the temperate zone a considerable local glaciation might be produced, which would be specially intense during periods of high excentricity; and it is to such causes we must impute the indications of ice-action in the vicinity of the Alps during the Tertiary period. The Permian glaciation appears to have been more extensive, and it is quite possible that at this remote epoch a sufficient mass of high land existed in our area and northwards towards the pole, to have brought on a true glacial period comparable with that which has so recently passed away.

Estimate of the comparative effects of Geographical and Astronomical Causes in producing Changes of Climate.—It appears then, that while geographical and physical causes alone, by their influence on ocean currents, have been the main agents in producing the mild climates which for such long periods prevailed in the Arctic regions, the concurrence of astronomical causes—high excentricity with winter in aphelion—was necessary to the production of the great glacial epoch. If we reject this latter agency, we shall be obliged to imagine a concurrence of geographical changes at a very recent period of which we have no evidence. We must suppose, for example, that a large part of the British Isles—Scotland, Ireland, and Wales at all events—were simultaneously elevated so as to bring extensive areas above the line of perpetual snow; that [ 208 ] about the same time Scandinavia, the Alps, and the Pyrenees received a similar increase of altitude; and that, almost simultaneously, Eastern North America, the Sierra Nevada of California, the Caucasus, Lebanon, the southern mountains of Spain, the Atlas range, and the Himalayas, were each some thousands of feet higher than they are now; for all these mountains present us with indications of a recent extension of their glaciers, in superficial phenomena so similar to those which occur in our own country and in Western Europe, that we cannot suppose them to belong to a different epoch. Such a supposition is rendered more difficult by the general concurrence of scientific testimony to a partial submergence during the glacial epoch, not only in all parts of Britain, but in North America, Scandinavia, and, as shown by the wide extension of the drift, in Northern Europe; and when to this we add the difficulty of understanding how any probable addition to the altitude of our islands could have brought about the extreme amount of glaciation which they certainly underwent, and when, further, we know that a phase of very high excentricity did occur at a period which is generally admitted to agree well with physical evidence of the time elapsed since the cold passed away, there seems no sufficient reason why such an agency should be ignored.

No doubt a prejudice has been excited against it in the minds of many geologists, by its being thought to lead necessarily to frequently recurring glacial epochs throughout all geological time. But I have here endeavoured to show that this is not a necessary consequence of the theory, because a concurrence of favourable geographical conditions is essential to the initiation of a glaciation, which when once initiated has a tendency to maintain itself throughout the varying phases of precession occurring during a period of high excentricity. When, however, geographical conditions favour warm Arctic climates—as it has been shown they have done throughout the larger portion of geological time—then changes of excentricity, to however great an extent, have no tendency to bring about a state of glaciation, because warm oceanic currents have a [ 209 ] preponderating influence, and without very large areas of high northern land to act as condensers, no perpetual snow is possible, and hence the initial process of glaciation does not occur.

The theory as now set forth should commend itself to geologists, since it shows the direct dependence of climate on physical processes, which are guided and modified by those changes in the earth's surface which geology alone can trace out. It is in perfect accord with the most recent teachings of the science as to the gradual and progressive development of the earth's crust from the rudimentary formations of the Azoic age, and it lends support to the view that no inportant[**important] departure from the great lines of elevation and depression originally marked out on the earth's surface has ever taken place.

It also shows us how important an agent in the production of a habitable globe with comparatively small extremes of climates over its whole area, is the great disproportion between the extent of the land and the water surfaces. For if these proportions had been reversed, large areas of land would necessarily have been removed from the beneficial influence of aqueous currents or moisture-laden winds; and slight geological changes might easily have led to half the land surface becoming covered with perpetual snow and ice, or being exposed to extremes of summer heat and winter cold, of which our water-permeated globe at present affords no example. We thus see that what are usually regarded as geographical anomalies—the disproportion of land and water, the gathering of the land mainly into one hemisphere, and the singular arrangement of the land in three great southward-pointing masses—are really facts of the greatest significance and importance, since it is to these very anomalies that the universal spread of vegetation and the adaptability of so large a portion of the earth's surface for human habitation is directly due.


52 ^  For numerous details and illustrations see the paper—"On Ocean Currents in Relation to the Physical Theory of Secular Changes of Climate"—in the Philosophical Magazine, 1870.

53 ^  See Darwin's Naturalist's Voyage Round the World, 2nd Edition, pp. 244-251.

54 ^  The influence of geographical changes on climate is now held by many geologists who oppose what they consider the extravagant hypotheses of Dr. Croll. Thus, Prof. Dana imputes the glacial epoch chiefly, if not wholly, to elevation of the land caused by the lateral pressure due to shrinking of the earth's crust that has caused all other elevations and depressions. He says: "Now, that elevation of the land over the higher latitudes which brought on the glacial era is a natural result of the same agency, and a natural, and almost necessary, counterpart of the coral-island subsidence which must have been then in progress. The accumulating, folding, solidification, and crystallisation of rocks attending all the rock-making and mountain-making through the Palæozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras, had greatly stiffened the crust in these parts; and hence in after times, the continental movements resulting from the lateral pressure necessarily appeared over the more northern portions of the continent, where the accumulations and other changes had been relatively small. To the subsidence which followed the elevation the weight of the ice-cap may have contributed in some small degree. But the great balancing movements of the crust of the continental and oceanic areas then going forward must have had a greatly preponderating effect in the oscillating agency of all time—lateral pressure within the crust." (American Journal of Science and Arts, 3rd Series, Vol. IX. p. 318.)

"In the 2nd edition of his Manual of Geology, Professor Dana suggests elevation of Arctic lands sufficient to exclude the Gulf Stream, as a source of cold during glacial epochs. This, he thinks, would have made an epoch of cold at any era of the globe. A deep submergence of Behring's Strait, letting in the Pacific warm current to the polar area, would have produced a mild Arctic climate like that of the Miocene period. When the warm current was shut out from the polar area it would yet reach near to it, and bring with it that abundant moisture necessary for glaciation." (Manual of Geology, 2nd Edition, pp. 541-755, 756.)

55 ^  Dana's Manual of Geology, 2nd Edition, p. 540.

56 ^  Dr. Croll says that I here assume an impossible state of things. He maintains "that the change from the distant sun in winter, and near sun in summer to the near sun in winter and distant sun in summer, aided by the change in the physical causes which this would necessarily bring about, would certainly be sufficient to cause the snow and ice to disappear." (Climate and Cosmology, p. 106.) But I demur to his "necessarily." It is not the direct effect of the nearer sun in winter that is supposed to melt the snow and ice, but the "physical causes," such as absence of fogs and increase of warm equatorial currents. But the near sun in winter acting on an ice-clad surface would only increase the fogs and snow, while the currents could only change if a large portion of the ice were first melted, in which case they would no doubt be modified so as to cause a further melting of the ice. Dr. Croll says: "The warm and equable conditions of climate which would then prevail, and the enormous quantity of intertropical water carried into the Southern Ocean, would soon produce a melting of the ice." (Loc. cit. p. 111.) This seems to me to be assuming the very point at issue. He has himself shown that the presence of large quantities of ice prevents "a warm and equable climate" however great may be the sun-heat; the ice therefore would not be melted, and there would be no increased flow of intertropical water to the Southern Ocean. The ocean currents are mainly due to the difference of temperature of the polar and equatorial areas combined with the peculiar form and position of the continents, and some one or more of these factors must be altered before the ocean currents towards the north pole can be increased. The only factor available is the Antarctic ice, and if this were largely increased, the northward-flowing currents might be so increased as to melt some of the Arctic ice. But the very same argument applies to both poles. Without some geographical change the Antarctic ice could not materially diminish during its winter in perihelion, nor increase to any important extent during the opposite phase. We therefore seem to have no available agency by which to get rid of the ice over a glaciated hemisphere, so long as the geographical conditions remained unchanged and the excentricity continued high.

57 ^  In the Geological Magazine, April, 1880, Mr. Searles V. Wood adduces what he considers to be the "conclusive objection" to Dr. Croll's excentricity theory, which is, that during the last glacial epoch Europe and North America were glaciated very much in proportion to their respective climates now, which are generally admitted to be due to the distribution of oceanic currents. But Dr. Croll admits his theory "to be baseless unless there was a complete diversion of the warm ocean currents from the hemisphere glaciated," in which case there ought to be no difference in the extent of glaciation in Europe and North America. Whether or not this is a correct statement of Dr. Croll's theory, the above objection certainly does not apply to the views here advocated; but as I also hold the "excentricity theory" in a modified form, it may be as well to show why it does not apply. In the first place I do not believe that the Gulf Stream was "completely diverted" during the glacial epoch, but that it was diminished in force, and (as described at p. 144) partly diverted southward. A portion of its influence would, however, still remain to cause a difference between the climates of the two sides of the Atlantic; and to this must be added two other causes—the far greater penetration of warm sea-water into the European than into the North American continent, and the proximity to America of the enormous ice-producing mass of Greenland. We have thus three distinct causes, all combining to produce a more severe winter climate on the west than on the east of the Atlantic during the glacial epoch, and though the first of these—the Gulf Stream—was not nearly so powerful as it is now, neither is the difference indicated by the ice-extension in the two countries so great as the present difference of winter-temperature, which is the essential point to be considered. The ice-sheet of the United States is usually supposed to have extended about ten, or, at most, twelve, degrees further south than it did in Western Europe, whereas we must go twenty degrees further south in the former country to obtain the same mean winter-temperature we find in the latter, as may be seen by examining any map of winter isothermals. This difference very fairly corresponds to the difference of conditions existing during the glacial epoch and the present time, so far as we are able to estimate them, and it certainly affords no grounds of objection to the theory by which the glaciation is here explained.

58 ^  Dr. Croll objects to this argument, and adduces the case of Greenland as showing that ice may accumulate far from sea. But the width of Greenland is small compared with that of the supposed Antarctic ice-cap. (Climate and Cosmology, p. 78.)

59 ^  The recent extensive glaciation of New Zealand is generally imputed by the local geologists to a greater elevation of the land; but I cannot help believing that the high phase of excentricity which caused our own glacial epoch was at all events an assisting cause. This is rendered more probable if taken in connection with the following very definite statement of glacial markings in South Africa. Captain Aylward in his Transvaal of To-day (p. 171) says:—"It will be interesting to geologists and others to learn that the entire country, from the summits of the Quathlamba to the junction of the Vaal and Orange rivers, shows marks of having been swept over, and that at no very distant period, by vast masses of ice from east to west. The striations are plainly visible, scarring the older rocks, and marking the hill-sides—getting lower and lower and less visible as, descending from the mountains, the kopjies (small hills) stand wider apart; but wherever the hills narrow towards each other, again showing how the vast ice-fields were checked, thrown up, and raised against their Eastern extremities."

This passage is evidently written by a person familiar with the phenomena of glaciation, and as Captain Aylward's preface is dated from Edinburgh, he has probably seen similar markings in Scotland. The country described consists of the most extensive and lofty plateau in South Africa, rising to a mountain knot with peaks more than 10,000 feet high, thus offering an appropriate area for the condensation of vapour and the accumulation of snow. At present, however, the mountains do not reach the snow-line, and there is no proof that they have been much higher in recent times, since the coast of Natal is now said to be rising. It is evident that no slight elevation would now lead to the accumulation of snow and ice in these mountains, situated as they are between 27° and 30° S. Lat.; since the Andes, which in 32° S. Lat. reach 23,300 feet high, and in 28° S. Lat. 20,000, with far more extensive plateaus, produce no ice-fields. We cannot, therefore, believe that a few thousand feet of additional elevation, even if it occurred so recently as indicated by the presence of striations, would have produced the remarkable amount of glaciation above described; while from the analogy of the northern hemisphere, we may well believe that it was mainly due to the same high excentricity that led to the glaciation of Western and Central Europe, and Eastern North America.

These observations confirm those of Mr. G. W. Stow, who, in a paper published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society (Vol. XXVII. p. 539), describes similar phenomena in the same mountains, and also mounds and ridges of unstratified clay packed with angular boulders; while further south the Stormberg mountains are said to be similarly glaciated, with immense accumulations of morainic matter in all the valleys. We have here most of the surface phenomena characteristic of a glaciated country, only a few degrees south of the tropic; and taken in connection with the indications of recent glaciation in New Zealand, and those discovered by Dr. R. von Lendenfeld in the Australian Alps between 6,000 and 7,000 feet elevation (Nature, Vol. XXXII. p. 69), we can hardly doubt the occurrence of some general and wide-spread cause of glaciation in the southern hemisphere at a period so recent that the superficial phenomena are almost as well preserved as in Europe. Other geologists however deny that there are any distinct indications of glacial action in South Africa; but the recent discovery by Dr. J. W. Gregory, F.G.S., of the former extension of glaciers on Mount Kenya 5,000 feet below their present limits, renders probable the former glaciation of the South African Highlands.

60 ^  The astronomical facts connected with the motions and appearance of the planet are taken from a paper by Mr. Edward Carpenter, M.A., in the Geological Magazine of March, 1877, entitled, "Evidence Afforded by Mars on the Subject of Glacial Periods," but I arrive at somewhat different conclusions from those of the writer of the paper.

61 ^  In an article in Nature of Jan. 1, 1880, the Rev. T. W. Webb states that in 1877 the pole of Mars (? the south pole) was, according to Schiaparelli, entirely free of snow. He remarks also on the regular contour of the supposed snows of Mars as offering a great contrast to ours, and also the strongly marked dark border which has often been observed. On the whole Mr. Webb seems to be of opinion that there can be no really close resemblance between the physical condition of the Earth and Mars, and that any arguments founded on such supposed similarity are therefore untrustworthy.

62 ^  London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine, Vol. XXXVI., pp. 144-150 (1868).

63 ^  Climate and Time in their Geological Relations, p. 341.

64 ^  Nature, Vol. XXI., p. 345, "The Interior of Greenland."

65 ^  Prof. J. W. Judd says: "In the case of the Alps I know of no glacial phenomena which are not capable of being explained, like those of New Zealand, by a great extension of the area of the tracts above the snow-line which would collect more ample supplies for the glaciers protruded into surrounding plains. And when we survey the grand panoramas of ridges, pinnacles, and peaks produced for the most part by sub-aërial action, we may well be prepared to admit that before the intervening ravines and valleys were excavated, the glaciers shed from the elevated plateaux must have been of vastly greater magnitude than at present." (Contributions to the Study of Volcanoes, Geological Magazine, 1876, p. 536.) Professor Judd applies these remarks to the last as well as to previous glacial periods in the Alps; but surely there has been no such extensive alteration and lowering of the surface of the country since the erratic blocks were deposited on the Jura and the great moraines formed in North Italy, as this theory would imply. We can hardly suppose wide areas to have been lowered thousands of feet by denudation, and yet have left other adjacent areas apparently untouched; and it is even very doubtful whether such an extension of the snow-fields would alone suffice for the effects which were certainly produced.

66 ^  Geological Magazine, 1876, p. 392.

67 ^  Colonel Fielden thinks that these trees have all been brought down by rivers, and have been stranded on shores which have been recently elevated. See Trans. of Norfolk Nat. Hist. Soc., Vol. III., 1880.

68 ^  Geological Magazine, 1876, "Geology of Spitzbergen," p. 267.

69 ^  The preceding account is mostly derived from Professor Heer's great work Flora Fossilis Arctica.

70 ^  Geological Magazine, 1875, p. 531.

71 ^  Geological Magazine, 1876, p. 266. In his recent work—Climate and Cosmology (pp. 164, 172)—the late Dr. Croll has appealed to the imperfection of the geological record as a reply to these arguments; in this case, as it appears to me, a very unsuccessful one.

72 ^  It is interesting to observe that the Cretaceous flora of the United States (that of the Dakota group), indicates a somewhat cooler climate than that of the following Eocene period. Mr. De Rance (in the geological appendix to Capt. Sir G. Nares's Narrative of a Voyage to the Polar Sea) remarks as follows: "In the overlying American Eocenes occur types of plants occurring in the European Miocenes and still living, proving the truth of Professor Lesquereux's postulate, that the plant types appear in America a stage in advance of their advent in Europe. These plants point to a far higher mean temperature than those of the Dakota group, to a dense atmosphere of vapour, and a luxuriance of ferns and palms." This is very important as adding further proof to the view that the climates of former periods are not due to any general refrigeration, but to causes which were subject to change and alternation in former ages as now.

73 ^  Mr. S. B. J. Skertchley informs me that he has himself observed thick Tertiary deposits, consisting of clays and anhydrous gypsum, at Berenice on the borders of Egypt and Nubia, at a height of about 600 feet above the sea-level; but these may have been of fresh-water origin.

74 ^  By referring to our map of the Indian Ocean showing the submarine banks indicating ancient islands (Chap. XIX.), it will be evident that the south-east trade-winds—then exceptionally powerful—would cause a vast body of water to enter the deep Arabian Sea.

75 ^  In his recently published Lectures on Physical Geography, Professor Haughton calculates, that more than half the solar heat of the torrid zone is carried to the temperate zones by ocean currents. The Gulf Stream itself carries one-twelfth of the total amount, but it is probable that a very small fraction of this quantity of heat reaches the polar seas owing to the wide area over which the current spreads in the North Atlantic. The corresponding stream of the Indian Ocean in Miocene times would have been fully equal to the Gulf Stream in heating power, while, owing to its being so much more concentrated, a large proportion of its heat may have reached the polar area. But the Arctic Ocean occupies less than one-tenth of the area of the tropical seas; so that, whatever proportion of the heat of the tropical zone was conveyed to it, would, by being concentrated into one-tenth of the surface, produce an enormously increased effect. Taking this into consideration, we can hardly doubt that the opening of a sufficient passage from the Indian Ocean to the Arctic seas would produce the effects above indicated.

76 ^  For an account of the resemblances and differences of the mammalia of the two continents during the Tertiary epoch, see my Geographical Distribution of Animals, Vol. I. pp. 140-156.

77 ^  Professor Haughton has made an elaborate calculation of the difference between existing climates and those of Miocene times, for all the places where a Miocene flora has been discovered, by means of the actual range of corresponding species and genera of plants. Although this method is open to the objection that the ranges of plants and animals are not determined by temperature only, yet the results may be approximately correct, and are very interesting. The following table which summarizes these results is taken from his Lectures on Physical Geography (p. 344):—

Latitude. Present
Temperature.
Miocene
Temperature.
Difference.
1. Switzerland 47°.00 53°.6 F 69°.8 F 16°.2 F
2. Dantzig 54°.21 45°.7 ,, 62°.6 ,, 16°.9 ,,
3. Iceland 65°.30 35°.6 ,, 48°.2 ,, 12°.6 ,,
4. Mackenzie River 65°.00 19°.4 ,, 48°.2 ,, 28°.8 ,,
5. Disco (Greenland) 70°.00 19°.6 ,, 55°.6 ,, 36°.0 ,,
6. Spitzbergen 78°.00 16°.5 ,, 51°.8 ,, 35°.3 ,,
7. Grinnell Land 81°.44   1°.7 ,, 42°.3 ,, 44°.0 ,,

It is interesting to note that Iceland, which is now exposed to the full influence of the Gulf Stream, was only 12°·6 F. warmer in Miocene times, while Mackenzie River, now totally removed from its influence was 28° warmer. This, as well as, the greater increase of temperature as we go northward and the polar area becomes more limited, is quite in accordance with the view of the causes which brought about the Miocene climate which is here advocated.

78 ^  The objection has been made, that the long polar night would of itself be fatal to the existence of such a luxuriant vegetation as we know to have existed as far as 80° N. Lat., and that there must have been some alteration of the position of the pole, or diminution of the obliquity of the ecliptic, to permit such plants as magnolias and large-leaved maples to flourish. But there appears to be really no valid grounds for such an objection. Not only are numbers of Alpine and Arctic evergreens deeply buried in the snow for many months without injury, but a variety of tropical and sub-tropical plants are preserved in the hot-houses of St. Petersburg and other northern cities, which are closely matted during winter, and are thus exposed to as much darkness as the night of the Arctic regions. We have besides no proof that any of the Arctic trees or large shrubs were evergreens, and the darkness would certainly not be prejudical to deciduous plants. With a suitable temperature there is nothing to prevent a luxuriant vegetation up to the pole, and the long continued day is known to be highly favourable to the development of foliage, which in the same species is larger and better developed in Norway than in the south of England.

79 ^  Geological Magazine, 1873, p. 320.

80 ^  Geological Magazine, 1877, p. 137.

81 ^  Manual of Geology, 2nd Ed. p. 525. See also letter in Nature, Vol. XXIII. p. 410.