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Table of British Sedimentary and Fossiliferous Strata

Nature volume 13, page 464 | Download Citation

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THIS is an admirable and evidently very carefully prepared table, which is well suited for the use of students, science classes, and schools. In it Mr. Bristow has managed to embody a vast amount of information, which could only be obtained and verified by the consultation and comparison of a great number of maps and documents; and for this service all engaged in teaching the science of geology are greatly indebted to him. The foreign equivalents of the British rocks are only given in such cases as that of the Trias, in which our own series is incomplete. Mr. Etheridge's contribution to the work consists in a very valuable palæsontological digest, in which the order of succession of the different forms of plants and animals is clearly described. The only points which seem to call for critical remark in this excellent work is the use of the term Laurentian for the so-called “Fundamental Gneiss” of Scotland, and the manner in which the name of Cambrian is employed. There is absolutely no evidence whatever whereby the geologist is able to correlate the azoic rocks on the opposite sides of the Atlantic, and therefore the application of the term Laurentian to any British formation would scarcely appear to be justifiable. In the long-vexed question as to the boundary between the Silurian and Cambrian systems, we regret to find Mr. Bristow adopting the extreme views of the late Sir Roderick Murchison, and confining the name of Cambrian to a few almost unfossiliferous rocks quite at the base of the series. The line of division at the top of the Tremadoc slates, which was adopted both by Lyell and Phillips, has the advantage of making the British Cambrian system, as now defined by Hicks, very closely agree with the “Primordial” of Barrande; and we hope that in a future edition of this table, which we doubt not will soon be called for, the author may see his way to the adoption of it.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/013464b0

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