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THE PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE LANDS.

for publication in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, of London, but had to find a place in the more modest Geological Magazine (1867), whose pages it now honors. So signal indeed was this victory that, in later years, the destructive work of the sea has been not infrequently underrated in the almost exclusive attention given to land sculpture by subaërial agencies. Truly, the sea does not erode valleys; it does not wear out narrow lowlands of irregular form between enclosing uplands, as was maintained by some of the most pronounced marinists in the middle of the century; but it certainly does attack continental borders in a most vigorous fashion, and many are the littoral forms that must be ascribed to its work, as may be learned from Richthofen's admirable Führer fur Forschungsreisende' (1886). As this problem can not be further considered here, the reader may be at once referred to the most general discussion of the subject that has yet appeared, in an essay on 'Shoreline Topography* recently published by F. P. Gulliver.[1]

At about the time when the subaerial origin of valleys and escarpments was being established in England, the explorations and surveys of our western territories were undertaken, and a flood of physiographic light came from them. One of the earliest and most important of the many lessons of the West was that Playfair's law obtained even in the case of the Grand canyon of the Colorado, which was visited by the Ives expedition in 1858. Newberry, the geologist of the expedition, concluded that both the deep and fissure-like canyon and the broader valleys enclosed by cliff-like walls "belong to a vast system of erosion, and are wholly due to the action of water." Although he bore the possibility of fractures constantly in mind and examined the structure of the canyons with all possible care, he "everywhere found evidence of the exclusive action of water in their formation." This conclusion has, since then, been amply confirmed by Powell and Button, although these later observers might attribute a significant share of the recession of cliffs in arid regions to wind action. In a later decade, Heim demonstrated that the valleys of the Alps were not explicable as the result of mountain deformation, and that they found explanation only in river erosion. By such studies as these, of which many examples could be given, the competence of rivers to carve even the deepest valleys has been fully established; yet so difficult is it to dislodge old-fashioned belief that Sir A. Geikie felt it necessary to devote two chapters in his admirable 'Scenery of Scotland' (1887) to prove that the bens of the Highlands were not so many individual upheavals, but that the glens were so many separate valleys of erosion; and as able an observer as Prestwich, a warm advocate of the erosion


  1. Proc. Amcr. Acad., Boston. 1899. 152-258.