Coral Reefs

Page 76

Zoolog.) states that this formation composes a newer line of coast, modelled round an ancient one. There only remains to be described in the Pacific, that curved line of fringed islands, of which the MARIANAS form the main part. Of these Guam, Rota, Tiniam, Saypan, and some islets farther north, are described by Quoy and Gaimard (Freycinet's "Voyage autour du Monde." See also the "Hydrographical Memoir," page 215.), and Chamisso (Kotzebue's "First Voyage."), as chiefly composed of madreporitic limestone, which attains a considerable elevation, and is in several cases worn into successively rising cliffs: the two former naturalists seem to have compared the corals and shells with the existing ones, and state that they are of recent species. FAIS, which lies in the prolonged line of the Marianas, is the only island in this part of the sea which is fringed; it is ninety feet high, and consists entirely of madreporitic rock. (Lutke's "Voyage," volume ii., page 304.)

In the EAST INDIAN ARCHIPELAGO, many authors have recorded proofs of recent elevation. M. Lesson (Partie Zoolog., "Voyage de la 'Coquille'.") states, that near Port Dory, on the north coast of New Guinea, the shores are flanked, to the height of 150 feet, by madreporitic strata of modern date. He mentions similar formations at Waigiou, Amboina, Bourou, Ceram, Sonda, and Timor: at this latter place, MM. Quoy and Gaimard ("Ann. des Scien. Nat." tom. vi., page 281.) have likewise described the primitive rocks, as coated to a considerable height with coral. Some small islets eastward of Timor are said in Kolff's "Voyage," (translated by Windsor Earl, chapters vi., vii.) to resemble small coral islets upraised some feet above the sea. Dr. Malcolmson informs me that Dr. Hardie found in JAVA an extensive formation, containing an abundance of shells, of which the greater part appear to be of existing species. Dr. Jack ("Geolog. Transact." 2nd series, volume i., page 403. On the Peninsula of Malacca, in front of Pinang, 5 deg 30' N., Dr. Ward collected some shells, which Dr. Malcolmson informs me, although not compared with existing species, had a recent appearance. Dr. Ward describes in this neighbourhood ("Trans. Asiat. Soc." volume xviii., part ii., page 166) a single water-worn rock, with a conglomerate of sea-shells at its base, situated six miles inland, which, according to the traditions of the natives, was once surrounded by the sea. Captain Low has also described (Ibid., part i., page 131) mounds of shells lying two miles inland on this line of coast.) has described some upraised shells and corals, apparently recent, on Pulo Nias off SUMATRA; and Marsden relates in his history of this great island, that the names of many promontories, show that they were originally islands. On part of the west coast of BORNEO and at the SOOLOO Islands, the form of the land, the nature of the soil, and the water-washed rocks, present appearances ("Notices of the East Indian Arch." Singapore, 1828, page 6, and Append., page 43.) (although it is doubtful whether such vague evidence is worthy of mention), of having recently been covered by the sea; and the inhabitants of the Sooloo Islands believe that this has been the case. Mr. Cuming, who has lately investigated, with so much success, the natural history of the PHILIPPINES, found near Cabagan, in Luzon, about fifty feet above the level of the R. Cagayan, and seventy miles from its mouth, a large bed of fossil shells: these, he informs me, are of the same species with those now existing on the shores of the neighbouring islands. From the accounts given us by Captain Basil Hall and Captain Beechey (Captain B. Hall, "Voyage to Loo Choo," Append., pages xxi. and xxv. Captain Beechey's "Voyage," page 496.) of the lines of inland reefs, and walls of coral-rock worn into caves, above the present reach of the waves, at the LOO CHOO Islands, there can be little doubt that they have been upraised at no very remote period.

Dr. Davy describes the northern province of CEYLON ("Travels in Ceylon," page 13.

Charles Darwin

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