Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/100

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

The rising glories of the new era far outshine the splendors of the past.

"Then from the dawn it seem'd there came, but faint

As from beyond the limit of the world,
Like the last echo born of a great cry,
Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice
Around a king returning from his wars.
Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb
E'en to the highest he could climb, and saw,
Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand,
Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the king,
Down that long water opening on the deep
Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
From less to less and vanish into light.
And the new sun rose, bringing the new year."


SOME months ago we described very rapidly the principal features of that widely-extended and enigmatical formation known as the Drift, and in conclusion indicated an intention to consider the views of geologists as to its cause, and in particular illustrate the paramount claims to our acceptance of the so-called Glacial Theory. In this paper those hypotheses are given, accompanied by a proof of the manifest power of existing ice-streams, thus offering the most striking argument for their colossal potency in times when their size and duration were factors in their influence, fully commensurate with the continental ravages we attribute to them.

A great variety of theories have been submitted to the world as possible explanations of the appearances we have reviewed, and, though we cannot occupy ourselves with their discussion, it may be interesting, from their singularity and number, to enumerate such as have arisen.

First is the theory of Deluc, who supposed the erratics to have been thrown upward in the air by the same force that elevated the mountains, and that in their promiscuous descent they rolled and tumbled everywhere.

Second in order is the hypothesis of De Buch and Escher, who imagined that an immense deluge swept the bowlders along its surging course, and landed these blocks upon the acclivities of mountains, through the stupendous impetus they had acquired in its midst.

  1. No. I. was published in The Popular Science Monthly for January, 1878.