Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/221

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Mr. Webster on the Strata lying over the Chalk.

On a careful examination I was not able to discover any mixture of marine shells in this series of beds. Had they ever existed I think their remains would have been evident, considering how much thicker and stronger marine shells in general are than those of freshwater.

The quantity of shells, and the regularity and extent of the strata in which they are found, are much too considerable to suppose that they could have been carried by rivers or streams into an arm of the sea; and in this case there would also most probably have been a considerable intermixture of marine shells. We are compelled therefore to admit that the spot where they now are, was once occupied by freshwater, in which these animals existed in a living state.

The mutilated condition in which these shells appear, seems to denote that they had not become mineralized sufficiently to preserve their forms, or that the place in which they were accumulated was occasionally subject to agitations.

Freshwater strata occur occasionally in other parts of the west and north coasts of the Isle of Wight, but in such an irregular manner that it is not easy to say to what formation they belong.

Among those at Cowes and Ride there are none that I can completely identify with these beds. But I am at present inclined to think that the same formation exists at these places, though under a character considerably different.

The quarries of Binstead, near Ride, were formerly of great celebrity, and furnished the materials for many ancient edifices, both civil and religious, in the Isle of Wight and the counties contiguous to it. They are now very little worked; but their extent may be traced by the broken ground where they have been filled in.

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