Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/518

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Dr. Mac Culloch on Staffa.

tributed to change the face of the globe by our own short span, we are led to seek for that solution which may appear the least difficult. Even then, we must admit that Staffa has formed part of one continuous land with the islands of Coll, Tirey, and Mull, since no transportation could have been effected without the existence at some period of a continuous declivity between them.

The language which this circumstance speaks, is not obscure, and the nature of these changes allows of little dispute. If we admit this obliteration of so large a portion of solid land, and consider that a deep sea now rolls above the foundations of former mountains, we have no further difficulties to obstruct us in accounting for the numerous and distant accumulations of transported materials which occur over the whole surface of the earth. The same power, whatever it was, that hollowed the great sinuosity of Mull, might well remove the solid matter that once filled the valleys which now separate Mont Blanc from the ridge of Jura.

But if appalled at the supposed magnitude of those changes, and at the period of time which must have elapsed to complete them, we suppose that the island of Staffa was elevated from the bottom of the sea in its present detached form, and retaining on its summit a portion of the bed of loose matter deposited under the present waters, another order of phenomena crowds on us, no less important, and involving circumstances almost equally repugnant to the visible operations of nature.

The appearances are perhaps insufficient to enable us to decide between two difficulties of equal magnitude, nor is it here necessary to enter further on that question. I may also leave it to those who have engaged more deeply in such investigations, to determine whether in the supposition of the first of these causes, whether the wasting of the land has arisen from the gradual action of natural operations, or