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October 14.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Earth Sciences

October 14 th 19 Century views on mountains 1. “Craters of elevation” - von Buch (1774-1853) o student of Werner o observations in the Canary Islands  domal uplift due to subsurface intrusion of magma  cracking releases magma to surface  collapse of dome to form a crater  remaining elevated rim = mountain  extended mountain chains would require a linear intrusion (along a crack)  hypothesis would require all mountains to be associated with volcanism so a new question: what makes volcanoes? 2. Contracting Earth - (Jean-Baptiste-Armand-Louis-Leonce) Elie de Beaumont (1798-1874) o professor of geology at Ecole des Mine, Paris and vice president of Conseil- General des Mines o published geological map of Freance (1840, with Dufrenoy) - 1852: “Notice sur les systems des montagnes” = On Mountain Systems (prevalent thinking in the 19 century) - Earth has been cooling down - shrinkage of inner Earth has caused stress buildup in outer rigid crust - mountains compared to wrinkles on a drying apple - According to Beaumont: o mountains are formed by stacking of thrust sheets o Earth’s circumference has shrunk by 200-600km o uplift of mountains is rapid and violent due to release on compressional stress, i.e breakage of the crust under the stress (a Catastrophist approach to geology) o faunal “catastrophies” and extinctions attributed to these violent uplifts 3. Earthquakes and mountains - Charles Darwin o voyage of the Beagle - aside: correct explanation of formation of coral reeds circling a lagoon o (??opposing view??): have built up from submerged volcanoes, volcanoes had once broken above sea level - observations: o earthquakes generated 1-2m fault scarp and elevated shorelines  20 Feb 1883: “There can be no doubt that the land round the Bay of Concepcion was upraised two or three feet... About thirty miles distant [...] Captain Fitz Roy found beds of putrid mussel-shells still adhering to the rocks, ten feet above high-water mark: the inhabitants had formerly dived at lower-water spring-tides for these shells. At Valparaiso [...], similar shells are found at the height of 1300 feet: it is hardly possible to doubt that this great eleva
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