Time and Life

Published: 1859
Language: English
Wordcount: 4,292 / 19 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 25.1
LoC Category: Q
Downloads: 817
mnybks.net#: 3826
Genre: Science
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Excerpt

glacier creeping along at its snail's pace of a yard a day. The study of the deltas of the Nile, the Ganges, and the Mississippi has taught us how slow is the wearing action of water, how vast its effects when time is allowed for its operation. The reefs of the Pacific, the deep-sea soundings of the Atlantic, show that it is to the slow-growing coral and to the imperceptible animalcule, which lives its brief space and then adds its tiny shell to the muddy cairn left by its brethren and ancestors, that we must look as the agents in the formation of limestone and chalk, and not to hypothetical oceans saturated with calcareous salts and suddenly depositing them.

And while the inquirer has thus learnt that existing forces--'give them time'--are competent to produce all the physical phenomena we meet with in the rocks, so, on the other side, the study of the marks left in the ancient strata by past physical actions shows that these were similar to those which now obtain. Ancient beaches are met with whose pe

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