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PHENOMENA OF CAVES ENCLOSING DILUVIAL MUD AND
ORGANIC REMAINS—THE BIRD OF NOAH-DROMEDARY-THE RAINBOW-GIGANTIC REMAINS-CONCLUDING GEOLOGICAL REMARKS.
HOWEVER geologists may speculate, shift their ground as to the age of the world, and assume numerous revolutions, opinion seems now to be tolerably unanimous as to the chronology of a terrible deluge of waters by which the earth has been entirely inundated ; and it is not pretended to have been prior to that recorded by the legislator of the Jews. Professor Buckland has the capital merit of this triumph in geology; and it is enhanced by the reluctance with which favourite dogmas were parted with, and the slow assent with which it was embraced. “In the whole course," says this writer, “of my geological travels, from Cornwall to Caithness, from Calais to the Carpathians, in Ireland or in Italy, I have scarcely ever gone a mile without finding a perpetual succession of deposits of gravel, sand, or loam, in situations that cannot be referred to the action of modern torrents, rivers or lakes, or any other existing causes; and with respect to the still more striking diluvial phenomenon of drifted masses of rocks; the greater part of the northern hemisphere, from Moscow to the Mississipi, is described by various geological travellers, as strewed on its hills as well as valleys, with blocks of granite and other rocks of enormous magnitude, which have been drifted (mostly in a direction from north to south) a distance sometimes of many hundred miles from their native beds, across mountains and valleys, lakes and seas, by a force of water which must have possessed a velocity to which nothing, that occurs in the actual state of the globe, affords the slightest parallel.” We have only further to adduce the testimony of M. Cuvier, second to none in the determination of this important geological question :
“ I conclude with M. M. Deluc and Dolomieu, that if there be any fact well established it is this, that the surface of our globe has suffered a great and sudden revolution, the period of which cannot be dated further back than five or six thousand years. This revolution has, on the one hand, engulfed and caused to disappear the countries formerly inhabited by men, and the animal species at present best known; and on the other, has laid bare the bottom of the vast ocean, thus converting its channel into the now habitable earth.” Nothing, whatever, can overturn this evidence. Mr. Penn's conclusions also deserve considerable attention; they are thus expressed: “ This globe has undergone two, and only two, general changes or revolutions of its substance; each of which was caused by the immediate will, intelligence, and power of God, exercised upon the work which he had formed, and directing the laws or agencies which he had ordained within it
“ That by the first change or revolution, (that of gathering the waters into one place, and making the dry land appear,) one portion or division of the surface of the globe was suddenly and violently fractured and depressed, in order to form, in the first instance, a receptacle or bed for the waters universally diffused over that surface, and to expose the other portion, that it might become a dwelling for animal life; and yet with an ulterior design, that the receptacle of the waters should eventually become the chief theatre of animal existence, by the portion first exposed experiencing a similar fracture and depression, and thus becoming, in its turn, the receptacle of the same waters, which should then be transfused into it, leaving their former receptacle void and dry.
“That this first revolution took place before the existence, that is, before the creation of any organized being.
“ That the sea, collected into this vast fractured cavity of the globe's surface, continued to occupy it during 1656 years, (from the creation to the deluge ;) during which long period of time, its waters acted in various modes, chemical and mechanical, upon the several soils and fragments which formed its bed; and marine organic matter, animal and vegetable, was generated and accumulated in vast abundance.
“ That after the expiration of those 1656 years, it pleased God, in a second revolution, to execute his ulterior design, by repeating the amazing operation by which he had exposed the first earth, and by the disruption and depression of that first earth, below the level of the first sea, to produce a new bed, into which the waters descended from their former beds, leaving it to become the theatre of the future generations of mankind.
“That this present earth, was that former bed.
“ That it must, therefore, necessarily exhibit manifest and universal evidence of the vicissitudes which it has undergone; viz. of the vast apparent ruin, occasioned by its first violent disruption and depression; of the presence and operation of the marine Auid, during the long interval which succeeded; and in its ultimate retreat.
It seems, to us, not improbable that the inhabitants of the antediluvian world were engulfed in the vortex of the new oceanic beds, with the exception of some few, whose fossil remains are scattered here and there to confound, as it were, the scepticism of the geologist.
Before we enter on the interesting evidence afforded by the phenomena of caverns, we may quote the language of Scripture, in reference to the subsidence of the diluvial waters. " And God remembered Noah, and every living thing; and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth; and the waters assuaged :—the fountains also
of the deep, and the windows of heaven 'were stopped ; and the rain from heaven was restrained :-and the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days, the waters were abated.
And the ark rested, in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually (were in going and decreasing) until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month were the tops of the mountains seen.” Before we proceed to a brief notice of caverns containing organic remains, it may be well to remark, that the dimensions assigned to the ark seem altogether sufficient for the important purpose
for which it was destined. By the calculations of Dr. Arbuthnot it was eighty-one thousand and sixty-two tons. In extent it must have been longer than St. Paul's Cathedral from E, to W., and about fifty-four feet high. According to Snellius the ark must have been nearly half an acre in area.
The phenomena of caves present us with conclusive and irresistible testimony on the question of a universal deluge, certainly not referable to an epocha prior to that which Sacred Chronology assigns to the Noachic deluge. No sophistry, however subtile, can resist this evidence; nor the most mischievous infidelity withstand it. Professor Buckland, in his interesting and delightful work, “ The Reliquiæ Diluvianæ,” has presented us with such a body of evidence, as to put for ever to silence “the gainsaying of foolish men. consider this work, indeed, as one of the most sterling and valuable contributions to this science in modern times ; and, though we by no means coincide with many of the opinions of this eminent geologist, the facts are stated in so clear and luminous a manner, as to leave us at liberty to accept or reject the inferences he draws from them. Both on the continent and in this country caves have been found, the floors of which are carpeted with diluvial mud, full of the spoils of organic remains of animals, savage and tame; and generally hermetically, so to speak, sealed up from the agencies of decay by an
incrustation of stalagmite which has been formed in process of time by the infiltration of water, containing calcareous matter, from the roof of the cavern. Wherever these caves are met with they present so remarkable a uniformity, that the contemporaneous introduction of the organic spoils they contain, is entirely referable to one and the same cause. Thus the depth of stalagmite in “Kent's Hole," and Kirkdale Cave, in England, remarkably correspond with that of the stalagmite which forms a cerement for the bones in the caves of Scharzfeld, Bauman's Höhle, Biel's Höhle, and Gailenreuth, on the continent of Europe.
The caves in question occur in LIMESTONE ; and that of Kirkdale belongs to the oolitic series. That these caves were antediluvian, there can be no doubt. It seems altogether unnecessary for us to advert to any the opinions which have been adopted to explain the use to which these caves have been subservient: the only hypothesis which demands particular attention is that of the author of “Reliquiæ Diluvianæ,” whose opinion must ever claim deference and respect. Before proceeding to this question, however, Mr. Granville Penn's idea of their formation requires mention. He is of opinion, that the animal spoils were enveloped in calcareous matter during the prevalence of the deluge, and that gaseous matter being developed during the process of decay, the soft calcareous mass would expand and a cavern be formed in its interior ; that in fact,
“ The earth hath bubbles as the water hath,
And these are of them." This is sufficiently ingenious, but cannot be substantiated; because the chief and indispensable condition necessary for such an effect is altogether excluded ; namely, the contact of atmospheric air. In the case supposed by Mr. Penn, the animal matter would be as completely sealed up, as the mummy in its sycamore coffin. Under such circumstances, decay and decomposition would be prevented in both cases. The orifices of the dens are generally, it is true, too small to admit the entire skele