This slow rising of the Cordillera, which explains so well the otherwise inexplicable origin and structure of the terraces, judging from all known analogies, will probably have been interrupted by many periods of rest; but we ought not to expect to find any evidence of these periods in the structure of the gravel- terraces: for, as the waves at the heads of deep creeks have little erosive power, so the only effect of the sea having long remained at the same level will be that the upper parts of the creeks will have become filled up at such periods to the level of the water with gravel and sand; and that afterwards the rivers will have thrown down on the filled-up parts a talus of similar matter, of which the inclination (as at the head of a partially filled-up lake) will have been determined by the supply of detritus, and the force of the stream. (I have attempted to explain this process in a more detailed manner, in a letter to Mr. Maclaren, published in the "Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal" volume 35 page 288.) Hence, after the final conversion of the creeks into valleys, almost the only difference in the terraces at those points at which the sea stood long, will be a somewhat more gentle inclination, with river-worn instead of sea-worn detritus on the surface.

I know of only one difficulty on the foregoing view, namely, the far- transported blocks of rock high on the sides of the valley of the Cachapual: I will not attempt any explanation of this phenomenon, but I may state my belief that a mountain-ridge near the Baths of Cauquenes has been upraised long subsequently to all the other ranges in the neighbourhood, and that when this was effected the whole face of the country must have been greatly altered. In the course of ages, moreover, in this and other valleys, events may have occurred like, but even on a grander scale than, that described by Molina, when a slip during the earthquake of 1762 banked up for ten days the great River Lontue, which then bursting its barrier "inundated the whole country," and doubtless transported many great fragments of rock. ("Compendio de la Hist." etc. etc. tome 1 page 30. M. Brongniart, in his report on M. Gay's labours "Annales des Sciences" 1833, considers that the boulders in the Cachapual belong to the same class with the erratic boulders of Europe. As the blocks which I saw are not gigantic, and especially as they are not angular, and as they have not been transported fairly across low spaces or wide valleys, I am unwilling to class them with those which, both in the northern and southern hemisphere "Geological Transactions" volume 6 page 415, have been transported by ice. It is to be hoped that when M. Gay's long-continued and admirable labours in Chile are published, more light will be thrown on this subject. However, the boulders may have been primarily transported; the final position of those of porphyry, which have been described as arranged at the foot of the mountain in rude lines, I cannot doubt, has been due to the action of waves on a beach. The valley of the Cachapual, in the part where the boulders occur, bursts through the high ridge of Cauquenes, which runs parallel to, but at some distance from, the Cordillera. This ridge has been subjected to excessive violence; trachytic lava has burst from it, and hot springs yet flow at its base. Seeing the enormous amount of denudation of solid rock in the upper and much broader parts of this valley where it enters the Cordillera, and seeing to what extent the ridge of Cauquenes now protects the great range, I could not help believing (as alluded to in the text) that this ridge with its trachytic eruptions had been thrown up at a much later period than the Cordillera. If this has been the case, the boulders, after having been transported to a low level by the torrents (which exhibit in every valley proofs of their power of moving great fragments), may have been raised up to their present height, with the land on which they rested.) Finally, notwithstanding this one case of difficulty, I cannot entertain any doubt, that these terrace-like fringes, which are continuously united with the basin-shaped plains at the foot of the Cordillera, have been formed by the arrestment of river-borne detritus at successive levels, in the same manner as we see now taking place at the heads of all those many, deep, winding fiords intersecting the southern coasts.

Charles Darwin

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