{39} 'Zeitschrift fur wissenschaft. Zoolog.' B. xxviii. 1877, p. 364.

{40} 'Zeitschrift fur wissenschaft. Zoolog.' B. xxviii. 1877, p. 356.

{41} Perrier, 'Archives de Zoolog. exper.' tom. 3, p. 378, 1874.

{42} This case is given in a postscript to my paper in the 'Transact. Geolog. Soc.' (Vol. v. p. 505), and contains a serious error, as in the account received I mistook the figure 30 for 80. The tenant, moreover, formerly said that he had marled the field thirty years before, but was now positive that this was done in 1809, that is twenty-eight years before the first examination of the field by my friend. The error, as far as the figure 80 is concerned, was corrected in an article by me, in the 'Gardeners' Chronicle,' 1844, p. 218.

{43} These pits or pipes are still in process of formation. During the last forty years I have seen or heard of five cases, in which a circular space, several feet in diameter, suddenly fell in, leaving on the field an open hole with perpendicular sides, some feet in depth. This occurred in one of my own fields, whilst it was being rolled, and the hinder quarters of the shaft horse fell in; two or three cart-loads of rubbish were required to fill up the hole. The subsidence occurred where there was a broad depression, as if the surface had fallen in at several former periods. I heard of a hole which must have been suddenly formed at the bottom of a small shallow pool, where sheep had been washed during many years, and into which a man thus occupied fell to his great terror. The rain-water over this whole district sinks perpendicularly into the ground, but the chalk is more porous in certain places than in others. Thus the drainage from the overlying clay is directed to certain points, where a greater amount of calcareous matter is dissolved than elsewhere. Even narrow open channels are sometimes formed in the solid chalk. As the chalk is slowly dissolved over the whole country, but more in some parts than in others, the undissolved residue--that is the overlying mass of red clay with flints,--likewise sinks slowly down, and tends to fill up the pipes or cavities. But the upper part of the red clay holds together, aided probably by the roots of plants, for a longer time than the lower parts, and thus forms a roof, which sooner or later falls in, as in the above mentioned five cases. The downward movement of the clay may be compared with that of a glacier, but is incomparably slower; and this movement accounts for a singular fact, namely, that the much elongated flints which are embedded in the chalk in a nearly horizontal position, are commonly found standing nearly or quite upright in the red clay. This fact is so common that the workmen assured me that this was their natural position. I roughly measured one which stood vertically, and it was of the same length and of the same relative thickness as one of my arms. These elongated flints must get placed in their upright position, on the same principle that a trunk of a tree left on a glacier assumes a position parallel to the line of motion. The flints in the clay which form almost half its bulk, are very often broken, though not rolled or abraded; and this may he accounted for by their mutual pressure, whilst the whole mass is subsiding. I may add that the chalk here appears to have been originally covered in parts by a thin bed of fine sand with some perfectly rounded flint pebbles, probably of Tertiary age; for such sand often partly fills up the deeper pits or cavities in the chalk.

{44} S. W. Johnson, 'How Crops Feed,' 1870, p. 139.

{45} 'Nature,' November 1877, p. 28.

{46} 'Proc. Phil. Soc.' of Manchester, 1877, p. 247.

{47} 'Trans. of the New Zealand Institute,' vol. xii., 1880, p. 152.

{48} Mr. Lindsay Carnagie, in a letter (June 1838) to Sir C. Lyell, remarks that Scotch farmers are afraid of putting lime on ploughed land until just before it is laid down for pasture, from a belief that it has some tendency to sink. He adds: "Some years since, in autumn, I laid lime on an oat-stubble and ploughed it down; thus bringing it into immediate contact with the dead vegetable matter, and securing its thorough mixture through the means of all the subsequent operations of fallow. In consequence of the above prejudice, I was considered to have committed a great fault; but the result was eminently successful, and the practice was partially followed. By means of Mr. Darwin's observations, I think the prejudice will be removed."

{49} This conclusion, which, as we shall immediately see, is fully justified, is of some little importance, as the so-called bench- stones, which surveyors fix in the ground as a record of their levels, may in time become false standards. My son Horace intends at some future period to ascertain how far this has occurred.

Charles Darwin

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