Nature 15, 97-97 (30 November 1876) | doi:10.1038/015097b0

[Letters to Editors]



THOUGH the discussion of the age of the rocks of Charnwood Forest is not likely in the present state of our knowledge to lead to any useful result, there are still a few points in Prof. Hull’s letter on the subject which seem to call for remark. In the first place the late Prof. Jukes was by no means so strongly in favour of the Cambrian age of these rocks as Prof. Hull states. Prof. Jukes' words, in Potter’s (not Porter’s) “History of Charnwood Forest” are as follows:—“It is therefore uncertain whether they (the rocks of Charnwood) belong to the Devonian, Silurian, or Cambrian systems, the probability only being in favour of the latter.” Secondly, the Cambrian of Sedgwick includes a great deal more than the Cambrian of the Geological Survey, and therefore there is not the perfect unanimity between these two authorities that Prof. Hull’s remarks would lead us to believe. Thirdly, if lithological resemblance is to go for anything, it may be used directly against the Cambrian age of the rocks. On the western side of the forest we find sheets of crystalline rock and beds of highly altered conglomerates and breccias, which have a suggestive likeness to the lava flows and ash beds of the green slate and porphyry series of the Lake District. I don’t say the resemblance proves anything, but it is worth quite as much as the similarity between the slates on the east side of the forest and the slates of Llanberis. Mr. Bonney has also called attention to the fact that the strike of the Charnwood Forest rocks is the same as that of the Volcanic Series in the Lake Country, when that group is last seen. Again, it is far from certain that the rocks of Charnwood Forest are all of the same age. I recollect seeing many years ago some sections (of which I am afraid I have kept no record) that seemed to show that some of the bosses of Dioritic rock near Markfield were older than the slates that surrounded them. If this be so, perhaps these crystalline hills may be the projecting points of a nucleus of similar rock that underlies the whole area, and which may be Laurentian in age. The rocks are not gneiss, but I know of no reason why the equivalents of the rocks of the Hebrides must be gneiss all the world over; they are, however, rich in hornblende, and so are the Hebridian rocks. With all these possibilities before us, I am afraid it will be hard to arrive at that enviable state of security which Prof. Hull seems to have been in when he penned his letter.