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Géologie: Principes—Explication de l'Époque Quaternaire sans Hypothèses

Nature volume 44, page 102 | Download Citation

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Abstract

ON taking up this little book the geological reader is at once struck by the words “sans Hypothèses” in the title. A volume on Pleistocene geology free from hypotheses would seem to him to usher in a new era in geology, and would be most heartily welcomed by him. The title of the present work, however, is misleading; the book is almost entirely devoted to theoretical explanations of purely hypothetical facts. We have not space to notice in detail the various subjects of which the author treats, but as an example of his method we may point to his “Origine des Pluies Quaternaires” (p. 39). In this section he accepts the hypothetical Quaternary “Pluvial Period”—which, by the way, seems to have been characterized by a singularly poor aquatic fauna and flora—and he then accounts for the supposed excessive rainfall during Tertiary and Quaternary time by the amount of vapour thrown out by volcanoes, adding that the small rainfall of the Secondary periods is accounted for by the absence of volcanic action during those periods! Then we meet with our old acquaintance the former excess of carbonic acid in the air and its influence on the ancient climate of the polar regions—possibly correct, but certainly hypothetical. Further on, speaking of the origin of the continental platform at a depth of 200 metres, the author states that this feature results from the raising of the general level of the sea from the melting of. the Quaternary ice; and from this hypothetical raising he arrives at the result that the mass of the Quaternary ice corresponded to the total mass of the sea now lying above the level of the continental platform. Another speculation relates to the breaking through of the Indian Ocean across Siberia to the Polar seas, thus causing a milder climate, and accounting also for the parallel roads of Glen Roy and the terraces in Norway and Greenland. We cannot pretend to follow the reasoning, but it is all somehow connected with the author's theory “qu'à une diminution de la densité des mers correspond un abaissement de leur surface.”

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https://doi.org/10.1038/044102a0

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