Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/804

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must have been carried away by the rivers to the lowlands of Europe and to the sea. The fact is therefore demonstrated, and is implicitly admitted by the most conservative of glacialists, that in this case an ice-sheet has moved onward over a hilly plateau for nearly a hundred miles, even when its terminal moraine is at a higher level than its exit from the mountain valley where it had its origin.


It will now be well briefly to sketch the distribution of erratic blocks in Great Britain, and the conclusions to be drawn from them as to the former existence of an ice-sheet under which the greater part of our islands was buried.

Every mountain group north of the Bristol Channel was a center from which, in the earlier and later phases of the Ice age, glaciers radiated; but many facts prove that during its maximum development these separate glacier systems became confluent, and formed extensive ice-sheets which overflowed into the Atlantic Ocean on the west, and spread far over the English lowlands on the east and south. This is indicated partly by the great height at which glacial striæ are found, reaching to twenty-five hundred feet in the Lake District and in Ireland, somewhat higher in North Wales, and in Scotland to nearly thirty-five hundred feet; but also by the extraordinary distribution of erratic blocks, many of which can be traced to localities whence they could only have been brought across the sea. The direction of the glacial striæ and of the smoothed side of ice-worn rocks also indicate that the shallow seas were all filled up by ice. The Outer Hebrides, for example, are all ice-ground from the southeast and east, showing that the deep channel of the Minch was filled up, and that the Scotch ice-sheet flowed completely over the islands. On all sides of Ireland, except the southern coast, the ice flowed outward, but on the northeast the flow was diverted southward, and on the extreme north, westward, by the pressure of the overflowing ice-sheet of Scotland which here encountered it. In like manner, the ice-marks on the east coast of Ireland and the west coast of Wales are diverted southward by the mutual pressure of their ice-sheets, which, together with that of the west of Scotland, filled up St. George's Channel. That such was the case is further proved by the fact that the Isle of Man is ice-ground in a general direction from north to south, and to the summit of its loftiest mountains, which rise to a height of over two thousand feet. This could only have been done by an ice-sheet flowing over it, and this view is further supported by some most remarkable facts in the dispersal of local erratics. These are always found to the south of the places where they occur in situ, never to the north; and, what is still more noteworthy, they are often found