Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/516

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Dr. Mac Culloch on Staffa

plied to conspicuous single rocks all over the country. This rock consists of variously inclined columns resting against each other, and meeting till they form a conical body, which appears to repose on a bed of curved and horizontal columns.

It is superfluous to attempt a description of the great cave. The language of wonder has already been exhausted on it, and that of simple description must fail in an attempt where hyperbole has done its utmost. I may however remark, that its dimensions appear to have been over-rated, in consequence of the mode of measurement adopted, and that the drawings of it which have been engraved, give it an aspect of geometrical regularity which it is far from possessing. Its superiority in point of effect to the greatest efforts of architecture, might admit of dispute if there were any disputing about feelings. Another cave occurs at a short distance westward, of inferior dimensions, and inaccessible unless when it can be entered in a boat, an event requiring a combination of circumstances of no very common occurrence at Staffa. Large fissures are seen above this cave, with an incipient detachment of considerable masses, threatening a ruin which is perhaps not far distant. Beyond this there is still another cave which appears to pass through the promontory in which it lies, but equally or even more difficult of access, and still involved in uncertainty. Many other caves of less note are to be seen in various parts of the cliff around the island, into which the sea breaks with a noise resembling that of heavy and distant ordnance.

In a letter transmitted last year to the Secretary of this Society, I took notice of a fact of considerable importance in the natural history of this island, which had before escaped the remarks of visitors. This is, the occurrence of a bed of alluvial matter on some parts of its surface, containing fragments of the older