Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/24

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
4
THE CEVENNES

turn and curve to the east, forming the Maritime Alps, the Cevennes have bent in exactly the opposite direction.

Geographically and historically the Cevennes divide into two great sections—the Cevennes Méridionales and the Cevennes Septentrionales. This continuous mountain ridge, in fact, forms a line of separation of waters very distinct, without solution of continuity, and which, in spite of the variety of its geological structure, has been determined by the same fold in the earth's crust, by one and the same act of pressure.

From the main chain, like the rib of a fern, extend lateral offshoots, between which are valleys watered by the drainage of the principal spinal chain. On the east side of the Cevennes these are all approximately at right angles to the axis. But this is not the case on the west side; nor is it so on the south. On this latter, before the main range a sort of outwork has been thrown up that deflects the streams, where they have not cut through it. These bastions are the Garrigues and the Espinouse.

The eastern face of the Cevennes towards the Rhone is torn and steep. That towards the west exhibits a different aspect altogether, as there the range starts out of a high uplifted plain but little eroded.

The Garrigues above mentioned form a barren, waterless bastion, with little growing on them but the dwarf Kirmes oak (Quercus coccifera) evergreen, with spiky leaves, locally called garrus, giving the name to the range. They are full of pot-holes (avens} down which the rain that falls sinks to travel underground and reappear often at great distances in copious springs.

The northernmost portion of the Cevennes is the