Nature 15, 97-97 (30 November 1876) | doi:10.1038/015097a0

The Age of the Rocks of Charnwood Forest



IT is no doubt to be regretted that Mr. Woodward, misled by insufficient authority, should have introduced, in his excellent work on the geology of England and Wales, still further confusion into the maltreated old rocks of Charnwood Forest, but I doubt whether their age is quite so certain as Prof. Hull seems to think. I fully agree with him that there is not a particle of evidence for their Laurentian age, and that their syenites and hornblendic granites cannot be correlated with the hornblendic gneiss of the Malverns, but I must demur to his grouping them with the Cambrian rocks of the Longmynds or of Llanberis. The authority of Prof. Sedgwick is great, but it must be remembered that the term Cambrian with him included far more than in the nomenclature of the Geological Survey, and I am not aware that he ever committed himself to the Charnwood rocks being equivalent to his Lower Cambrians. Except a slight lithological resemblance of some Charnwood rocks to those of Harlech and Llanberis, and a still slighter to Longmynd rocks, there is really nothing in favour of this special correlation. One point, however, there is which may give some clue to their age, which does not seem to have been much noticed hitherto, probably because the facts have been strangely overlooked in the Geological Survey description of the district. It is that beds of coarse volcanic agglomerate and ash abound among the Charnwood series. Further, the resemblance of the rocks as a whole (when not unusually metamorphosed) is very close to the “green slate and porphyry series” (or Borrowdale rocks) of the Lake District. Compared with the Welsh rocks, they are far more like those of Cader-Idris than of Llanberis. With these there is scarce any lithological resemblance, but if I mixed my Charnwood collection with those from the other two localities, especially the former, I should have great difficulty in separating many specimens. It seems then to me far more likely that this great volcanic activity in the Charnwood district should have corresponded in time with that in the Lake District or with some part of that in Wales, than that it should have happened in the age of the Harlech, Llanberis, and Longmynd groups, where we have no evidence of any volcanic disturbance. The argument may be summed up thus, as it seems to me:—The Charnwood rocks are old, so are both the competing groups; they are unfossiliferous, so are both; they are cleaved, so are both; they contain evidence of great volcanic action, so do the Borrowdale series, and not the Welsh Lower Cambrians. One point for the former. The general correspondence of their strike with that of the Borrowdale series under Lagleborough may also perhaps count for something.