News | Published:

The Geognosy of the Appalachians and the Origin of Crystalline Rocks*

Nature volume 5, pages 3234 | Download Citation




THE characteristic examples already given of symmetrical and asymmetrical envelopment are cited from a great number of others which might have been mentioned. Very many of these are by the pseudomorphists regarded as results of partial alteration* Thus, in the case of associated crystals of andalusite and cyanite, Bischof does not hesitate to maintain the derivation of andalusite from the latter species by an elimination of quartz; more than this, as the andalusite in question occurs in a granite dike rock, he suggests that itself is a product of the alteration of orthoclase. In like manner the mica, which in some cases coats tourmaline, and in others fills hollow prisms of this mineral, is supposed to result from a subsequent alteration of crystallised tourmaline. So in the case of shells of leucite filled with feldspar, or of garnet enclosing epidote or chlorite or quartz, a similar transformation of the interior is supposed to have been mysteriously effected, while the external portion of the crystal remains intact. Again the aggregates of tinstone, quartz and orthoclase having the form of the latter, are, by Bischof and his school, looked upon as results of a partial alteration of previously formed orthoclase crystals. It needed only to extend this view to the crystals of calcite enclosing sand-grains, and regard these as the result of a partial alteration of the carbonate of lime. There is absolutely no proof that these hard crystalline substances can undergo the changes supposed, or can be absorbed and modified like the tissues of a living organism. It may, moreover, be confidently affirmed that the obvious facts of envelopment are adequate to explain all the cases of association upon which this hypothesis of pseudomorphism by alteration has been based. Why the change should extend to some parts of a crystal and not to others, why in some cases the exterior of the crystal is altered, while in others the centre alone is removed and replaced by a different material, are questions which the advocates of this fanciful hypothesis have not explained. As taught by Blum and Bischof, however, these views of the alteration of mineral species have not only been generally accepted, but have formed the basis of the generally received theory of rock-metamorphism.

About this article

Publication history





    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing