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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/808

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

shells in tolerable abundance, the most celebrated being at Moel Tryfaen, on the west side of Snowdon, at a height of more than thirteen hundred feet. Shell-bearing drifts have also been found near Macclesfield at a height of over eleven hundred feet, and to the east of Manchester at between five and six hundred feet elevation. Others have since been found on Gloppa, a hill near Oswestry. The fact that the shell-bearing gravels of Moel Tryfaen are nearly forty feet thick shows that, if they are due to submergence, the land must have remained stationary at that level for a considerable period of time, and there would probably be other stationary periods at lower levels. Yet nowhere in the valleys or on the hill slopes of Wales, or the Lake District, or in the English lowlands are there any of the old beaches or sea cliffs, ormarine deposits of any kind, that must have been formed during such a subsidence and which can hardly have been everywhere cleared away by subsequent glaciation. Another difficulty is that the shells of these drifts are such as could not have lived together on one spot, some being northern species, others southern, some frequenting sandy others muddy bottoms, some which live only below tidal water while others are shore species. And, lastly, they are very fragmentary, only a small percentage of entire shells being found. In consequence of these various difficulties it was suggested by the late Mr. Belt that the great Irish Sea ice-sheet had carried up a portion of the sea-bottom imbedded in its substance, perhaps containing deposits of shells of various periods and thus explaining the intermixture of species as well as their fragmentary condition. The fact that bowlders and pebbles from Scotland, Ailsa Craig, and Cumberland have been found in the Moel Tryfaen beds almost amounts to a proof that they were so uplifted; and a recent search has shown that in the other localities where marine shells have been found in drift at great elevations similar foreign rocks occur, rendering it almost certain that the same ice-sheets which have distributed foreign erratics so widely over our country, and which in doing so must have passed over the sea-bottom, have in a few cases carried with them a portion of that sea-bottom, and deposited it with the erratics in the places where both are now found. A full discussion of this point, with replies to various objections, by Mr. P. F. Kendal, will be found in the volume already quoted; and he has recently adduced a fresh argument against "the great submergence" in the fact that, if it ever occurred, our lowlands must for a long time have formed the bottom of a sea two hundred fathoms deep, yet not a single shell characteristic of that depth has yet been discovered in the drift.[1] The cumulative


  1. Wright's Man and the Glacial Period, pp. 167-175. Also Geological Magazine, November, 1892, pp. 491-500.