“Elevation and Subsidence”


THAT there is a connection between sedimentation and subsidence on the one hand and between denudation and elevation on the other is a fact now admitted by most geologists. The real question to be answered, however, is:—Are these directly connected as cause and effect? or are they simply concomitant effects of the same cause? If the first be true, we should expect cause and effect to vary together, that is, that subsidence should keep an even pace with sedimentation. That this has not been exceptionally the case is proved by the sections of the carboniferous system in the central valley of Scotland, where the facts point to a continuous subsidence, accompanied by a very irregular sedimentation, with the result that now subsidence gained on sedimentation, now sedimentation on subsidence. Again, once the process commenced—and it is not very evident how on an originally even surface it could have commenced at all—we should expect it to be continuous. Sedimentation causes subsidence, subsidence gives rise to fresh sedimentation, and that again to renewed subsidence, and so on and on. Consequently we should expect that when once an area of sedimentation and subsidence was formed, it would continue an area of sedimentation and subsidence through all geological time.

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MACKIE, W. “Elevation and Subsidence”. Nature 28, 488 (1883). https://doi.org/10.1038/028488c0

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