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Chapter 6


Brazil, Bahia, gneiss with disjointed metamorphosed dikes.
Strike of foliation.
Rio de Janeiro, gneiss-granite, embedded fragment in, decomposition of.
La Plata, metamorphic and old volcanic rocks of.
S. Ventana.
Claystone porphyry formation of Patagonia; singular metamorphic rocks; pseudo-dikes.
Falkland Islands, Palaeozoic fossils of.
Tierra del Fuego, clay-slate formation, cretaceous fossils of; cleavage and foliation; form of land.
Chonos Archipelago, mica-schists, foliation disturbed by granitic axis; dikes.
Concepcion, dikes, successive formation of.
Central and Northern Chile.
Concluding remarks on cleavage and foliation.
Their close analogy and similar origin.
Stratification of metamorphic schists.
Foliation of intrusive rocks.
Relation of cleavage and foliation to the lines of tension during metamorphosis.

The metamorphic and plutonic formations of the several districts visited by the "Beagle" will be here chiefly treated of, but only such cases as appear to me new, or of some special interest, will be described in detail; at the end of the chapter I will sum up all the facts on cleavage and foliation,-- to which I particularly attended.

BAHIA, BRAZIL: latitude 13 degrees south.

The prevailing rock is gneiss, often passing, by the disappearance of the quartz and mica, and by the feldspar losing its red colour, into a brilliantly grey primitive greenstone. Not unfrequently quartz and hornblende are arranged in layers in almost amorphous feldspar. There is some fine-grained syenitic granite, orbicularly marked by ferruginous lines, and weathering into vertical, cylindrical holes, almost touching each other. In the gneiss, concretions of granular feldspar and others of garnets with mica occur. The gneiss is traversed by numerous dikes composed of black, finely crystallised, hornblendic rock, containing a little glassy feldspar and sometimes mica, and varying in thickness from mere threads to ten feet: these threads, which are often curvilinear, could sometimes be traced running into the larger dikes. One of these dikes was remarkable from having been in two or three places laterally disjointed, with unbroken gneiss interposed between the broken ends, and in one part with a portion of the gneiss driven, apparently whilst in a softened state, into its side or wall. In several neighbouring places, the gneiss included angular, well- defined, sometimes bent, masses of hornblende rock, quite like, except in being more perfectly crystallised, that forming the dikes, and, at least in one instance, containing (as determined by Professor Miller) augite as well as hornblende. In one or two cases these angular masses, though now quite separate from each other by the solid gneiss, had, from their exact correspondence in size and shape, evidently once been united; hence I cannot doubt that most or all of the fragments have been derived from the breaking up of the dikes, of which we see the first stage in the above- mentioned laterally disjointed one. The gneiss close to the fragments generally contained many large crystals of hornblende, which are entirely absent or rare in other parts: its folia or laminae were gently bent round the fragments, in the same manner as they sometimes are round concretions. Hence the gneiss has certainly been softened, its composition modified, and its folia arranged, subsequently to the breaking up of the dikes, these latter also having been at the same time bent and softened. (Professor Hitchcock "Geology of Massachusetts" volume 2 page 673, gives a closely similar case of a greenstone dike in syenite.)

I must here take the opportunity of premising, that by the term CLEAVAGE I imply those planes of division which render a rock, appearing to the eye quite or nearly homogeneous, fissile. By the term FOLIATION, I refer to the layers or plates of different mineralogical nature of which most metamorphic schists are composed; there are, also, often included in such masses, alternating, homogeneous, fissile layers or folia, and in this case the rock is both foliated and has a cleavage. By STRATIFICATION, as applied to these formations, I mean those alternate, parallel, large masses of different composition, which are themselves frequently either foliated or fissile,--such as the alternating so-called strata of mica-slate, gneiss, glossy clay-slate, and marble.

The folia of the gneiss within a few miles round Bahia generally strike irregularly, and are often curvilinear, dipping in all directions at various angles: but where best defined, they extended most frequently in a N.E. by N. (or East 50 degrees N.) and S.W. by S. line, corresponding nearly with the coast-line northwards of the bay. I may add that Mr. Gardner found in several parts of the province of Ceara, which lies between four and five hundred miles north of Bahia, gneiss with the folia extending E. 45 degrees N.; and in Guyana according to Sir R. Schomburgk, the same rock strikes E. 57 degrees N. Again, Humboldt describes the gneiss-granite over an immense area in Venezuela and even in Colombia, as striking E. 50 degrees N., and dipping to the N.W. at an angle of fifty degrees. (Gardner "Geological Section of the British Association" 1840. For Sir R. Schomburgk's observations see "Geographical Journal" 1842 page 190. See also Humboldt's discussion on Loxodrism in the "Personal Narrative.") Hence all the observations hitherto made tend to show that the gneissic rocks over the whole of this part of the continent have their folia extending generally within almost a point of the compass of the same direction. (I landed at only one place north of Bahia, namely, at Pernambuco. I found there only soft, horizontally stratified matter, formed from disintegrated granitic rocks, and some yellowish impure limestone, probably of a tertiary epoch. I have described a most singular natural bar of hard sandstone, which protects the harbour, in the 19th volume 1841 page 258 of the "London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine."

ABROLHOS ISLETS, Latitude 18 degrees S. off the coast of Brazil.

Although not strictly in place, I do not know where I can more conveniently describe this little group of small islands. The lowest bed is a sandstone with ferruginous veins; it weathers into an extraordinary honeycombed mass; above it there is a dark-coloured argillaceous shale; above this a coarser sandstone--making a total thickness of about sixty feet; and lastly, above these sedimentary beds, there is a fine conformable mass of greenstone, in some parts having a columnar structure. All the strata, as well as the surface of the land, dip at an angle of about 12 degrees to N. by W. Some of the islets are composed entirely of the sedimentary, others of the trappean rocks, generally, however, with the sandstone, cropping out on the southern shores.)


This whole district is almost exclusively formed of gneiss, abounding with garnets, and porphyritic with large crystals, even three and four inches in length, of orthoclase feldspar: in these crystals mica and garnets are often enclosed. At the western base of the Corcovado, there is some ferruginous carious quartz-rock; and in the Tijeuka range, much fine- grained granite. I observed boulders of greenstone in several places; and on the islet of Villegagnon, and likewise on the coast some miles northward, two large trappean dikes. The porphyritic gneiss, or gneiss- granite as it has been called by Humboldt, is only so far foliated that the constituent minerals are arranged with a certain degree of regularity, and may be said to have a "GRAIN," but they are not separated into distinct folia or laminae. There are, however, several other varieties of gneiss regularly foliated, and alternating with each other in so-called strata. The stratification and foliation of the ordinary gneisses, and the foliation or "grain" of the gneiss-granite, are parallel to each other, and generally strike within a point of N.E. and S.W. dipping at a high angle (between 50 and 60 degrees) generally to S.E.: so that here again we meet with the strike so prevalent over the more northern parts of this continent. The mountains of gneiss-granite are to a remarkable degree abruptly conical, which seems caused by the rock tending to exfoliate in thick, conically concentric layers: these peaks resemble in shape those of phonolite and other injected rocks on volcanic islands; nor is the grain or foliation (as we shall afterwards see) any difficulty on the idea of the gneiss-granite having been an intrusive rather than a metamorphic formation. The lines of mountains, but not always each separate hill, range nearly in the same direction with the foliation and so-called stratification, but rather more easterly.


On a bare gently inclined surface of the porphyritic gneiss in Botofogo Bay, I observed the appearance represented in Figure 22. A fragment seven yards long and two in width, with angular and distinctly defined edges, composed of a peculiar variety of gneiss with dark layers of mica and garnets, is surrounded on all sides by the ordinary gneiss- granite; both having been dislocated by a granitic vein. The folia in the fragment and in the surrounding rock strike in the same N.N.E. and S.S.W. line; but in the fragment they are vertical, whereas in the gneiss-granite they dip at a small angle, as shown by the arrows, to S.S.E. This fragment, considering its great size, its solitary position, and its foliated structure parallel to that of the surrounding rock, is, as far as I know, a unique case: and I will not attempt any explanation of its origin.

The numerous travellers in this country, have all been greatly surprised at the depth to which the gneiss and other granitic rocks, as well as the talcose slates of the interior, have been decomposed. (Spix and Martius have collected in an Appendix to their "Travels," the largest body of facts on this subject. See also some remarks by M. Lund in his communications to the Academy at Copenhagen; and others by M. Gaudichaud in Freycinet "Voyage.") Near Rio, every mineral except the quartz has been completely softened, in some places to a depth little less than one hundred feet. (Dr. Benza describes granitic rock, "Madras Journal of Literature" etc. October 183? page 246), in the Neelgherries, decomposed to a depth of forty feet.) The minerals retain their positions in folia ranging in the usual direction; and fractured quartz veins may be traced from the solid rock, running for some distance into the softened, mottled, highly coloured, argillaceous mass. It is said that these decomposed rocks abound with gems of various kinds, often in a fractured state, owing, as some have supposed, to the collapse of geodes, and that they contain gold and diamonds. At Rio, it appeared to me that the gneiss had been softened before the excavation (no doubt by the sea) of the existing, broad, flat-bottomed valleys; for the depth of decomposition did not appear at all conformable with the present undulations of the surface. The porphyritic gneiss, where now exposed to the air, seems to withstand decomposition remarkably well; and I could see no signs of any tendency to the production of argillaceous masses like those here described. I was also struck with the fact, that where a bare surface of this rock sloped into one of the quiet bays, there were no marks of erosion at the level of the water, and the parts both beneath and above it preserved a uniform curve. At Bahia, the gneiss rocks are similarly decomposed, with the upper parts insensibly losing their foliation, and passing, without any distinct line of separation, into a bright red argillaceous earth, including partially rounded fragments of quartz and granite. From this circumstance, and from the rocks appearing to have suffered decomposition before the excavation of the valleys, I suspect that here, as at Rio, the decomposition took place under the sea. The subject appeared to me a curious one, and would probably well repay careful examination by an able mineralogist.


According to some observations communicated to me by Mr. Fox, the coast from Rio de Janeiro to the mouth of the Plata seems everywhere to be granitic, with a few trappean dikes. At Port Alegre, near the boundary of Brazil, there are porphyries and diorites. (M. Isabelle "Voyage a Buenos Ayres" page 479.) At the mouth of the Plata, I examined the country for twenty-five miles west, and for about seventy miles north of Maldonado: near this town, there is some common gneiss, and much, in all parts of the country, of a coarse-grained mixture of quartz and reddish feldspar, often, however, assuming a little dark-green imperfect hornblende, and then immediately becoming foliated. The abrupt hillocks thus composed, as well as the highly inclined folia of the common varieties of gneiss, strike N.N.E. or a little more easterly, and S.S.W. Clay-slate is occasionally met with, and near the L. del Potrero, there is white marble, rendered fissile from the presence of hornblende, mica, and asbestus; the cleavage of these rocks and their stratification, that is the alternating masses thus composed, strike N.N.E. and S.S.W. like the foliated gneisses, and have an almost vertical dip. The Sierra Larga, a low range five miles west of Maldonado, consists of quartzite, often ferruginous, having an arenaceous feel, and divided into excessively thin, almost vertical laminae or folia by microscopically minute scales, apparently of mica, and striking in the usual N.N.E. and S.S.W. direction. The range itself is formed of one principal line with some subordinate ones; and it extends with remarkable uniformity far northward (it is said even to the confines of Brazil), in the same line with the vertically ribboned quartz rock of which it is composed. The S. de Las Animas is the highest range in the country; I estimated it at 1,000 feet; it runs north and south, and is formed of feldspathic porphyry; near its base there is a N.N.W. and S.S.E. ridge of a conglomerate in a highly porphyritic basis.

Northward of Maldonado, and south of Las Minas, there is an E. and W. hilly band of country, some miles in width, formed of siliceous clay-slate, with some quartz, rock, and limestone, having a tortuous irregular cleavage, generally ranging east and west. E. and S.E. of Las Minas there is a confused district of imperfect gneiss and laminated quartz, with the hills ranging in various directions, but with each separate hill generally running in the same line with the folia of the rocks of which it is composed: this confusion appears to have been caused by the intersection of the [E. and W.] and [N.N.E. and S.S.W.] strikes. Northward of Las Minas, the more regular northerly ranges predominate: from this place to near Polanco, we meet with the coarse-grained mixture of quartz and feldspar, often with the imperfect hornblende, and then becoming foliated in a N. and S. line--with imperfect clay-slate, including laminae of red crystallised feldspar--with white or black marble, sometimes containing asbestus and crystals of gypsum--with quartz-rock--with syenite--and lastly, with much granite. The marble and granite alternate repeatedly in apparently vertical masses: some miles northward of the Polanco, a wide district is said to be entirely composed of marble. It is remarkable, how rare mica is in the whole range of country north and westward of Maldonado. Throughout this district, the cleavage of the clay-slate and marble--the foliation of the gneiss and the quartz--the stratification or alternating masses of these several rocks--and the range of the hills, all coincide in direction; and although the country is only hilly, the planes of division are almost everywhere very highly inclined or vertical.

Some ancient submarine volcanic rocks are worth mentioning, from their rarity on this eastern side of the continent. In the valley of the Tapas (fifty or sixty miles N. of Maldonado) there is a tract three or four miles in length, composed of various trappean rocks with glassy feldspar--of apparently metamorphosed grit-stones--of purplish amygdaloids with large kernels of carbonate of lime (Near the Pan de Azucar there is some greenish porphyry, in one place amygdaloidal with agate.)--and much of a harshish rock with glassy feldspar intermediate in character between claystone porphyry and trachyte. This latter rock was in one spot remarkable from being full of drusy cavities, lined with quartz crystals, and arranged in planes, dipping at an angle of 50 degrees to the east, and striking parallel to the foliation of an adjoining hill composed of the common mixture of quartz, feldspar, and imperfect hornblende: this fact perhaps indicates that these volcanic rocks have been metamorphosed, and their constituent parts rearranged, at the same time and according to the same laws, with the granitic and metamorphic formations of this whole region. In the valley of the Marmaraya, a few miles south of the Tapas, a band of trappean and amygdaloidal rock is interposed between a hill of granite and an extensive surrounding formation of red conglomerate, which (like that at the foot of the S. Animas) has its basis porphyritic with crystals of feldspar, and which hence has certainly suffered metamorphosis.


The rocks here consist of several varieties of gneiss, with the feldspar often yellowish, granular and imperfectly crystallised, alternating with, and passing insensibly into, beds, from a few yards to nearly a mile in thickness, of fine or coarse grained, dark-green hornblendic slate; this again often passing into chloritic schist. These passages seem chiefly due to changes in the mica, and its replacement by other minerals. At Rat Island I examined a mass of chloritic schist, only a few yards square, irregularly surrounded on all sides by the gneiss, and intricately penetrated by many curvilinear veins of quartz, which gradually BLEND into the gneiss: the cleavage of the chloritic schist and the foliation of the gneiss were exactly parallel. Eastward of the city there is much fine- grained, dark-coloured gneiss, almost assuming the character of hornblende- slate, which alternates in thin laminae with laminae of quartz, the whole mass being transversely intersected by numerous large veins of quartz: I particularly observed that these veins were absolutely continuous with the alternating laminae of quartz. In this case and at Rat Island, the passage of the gneiss into imperfect hornblendic or into chloritic slate, seemed to be connected with the segregation of the veins of quartz. (Mr. Greenough page 78 "Critical Examination" etc., observes that quartz in mica-slate sometimes appears in beds and sometimes in veins. Von Buch also in his "Travels in Norway" page 236, remarks on alternating laminae of quartz and hornblende-slate replacing mica-schist.)

The Mount, a hill believed to be 450 feet in height, from which the place takes its name, is much the highest land in this neighbourhood: it consists of hornblendic slate, which (except on the eastern and disturbed base) has an east and west nearly vertical cleavage; the longer axis of the hill also ranges in this same line. Near the summit the hornblende-slate gradually becomes more and more coarsely crystallised, and less plainly laminated, until it passes into a heavy, sonorous greenstone, with a slaty conchoidal fracture; the laminae on the north and south sides near the summit dip inwards, as if this upper part had expanded or bulged outwards. This greenstone must, I conceive, be considered as metamorphosed hornblende- slate. The Cerrito, the next highest, but much less elevated point, is almost similarly composed. In the more western parts of the province, besides gneiss, there is quartz-rock, syenite, and granite; and at Colla, I heard of marble.

Near M. Video, the space which I more accurately examined was about fifteen miles in an east and west line, and here I found the foliation of the gneiss and the cleavage of the slates generally well developed, and extending parallel to the alternating strata composed of the gneiss, hornblendic and chloritic schists. These planes of division all range within one point of east and west, frequently east by south and west by north; their dip is generally almost vertical, and scarcely anywhere under 45 degrees: this fact, considering how slightly undulatory the surface of the country is, deserves attention. Westward of M. Video, towards the Uruguay, wherever the gneiss is exposed, the highly inclined folia are seen striking in the same direction; I must except one spot where the strike was N.W. by W. The little Sierra de S. Juan, formed of gneiss and laminated quartz, must also be excepted, for it ranges between [N. to N.E.] and [S. to S.W.] and seems to belong to the same system with the hills in the Maldonado district. Finally, we have seen that, for many miles northward of Maldonado and for twenty-five miles westward of it, as far as the S. de las Animas, the foliation, cleavage, so-called stratification and lines of hills, all range N.N.E. and S.S.W., which is nearly coincident with the adjoining coast of the Atlantic. Westward of the S. de las Animas, as far as even the Uruguay, the foliation, cleavage, and stratification (but not lines of hills, for there are no defined ones) all range about E. by S. and W. by N., which is nearly coincident with the direction of the northern shore of the Plata; in the confused country near Las Minas, where these two great systems appear to intersect each other, the cleavage, foliation, and stratification run in various directions, but generally coincide with the line of each separate hill.


The first ridge, south of the Plata, which projects through the Pampean formation, is the Sierra Tapalguen and Vulcan, situated 200 miles southward of the district just described. This ridge is only a few hundred feet in height, and runs from C. Corrientes in a W.N.W. line for at least 150 miles into the interior: at Tapalguen, it is composed of unstratified granular quartz, remarkable from forming tabular masses and small plains, surrounded by precipitous cliffs: other parts of the range are said to consist of granite: and marble is found at the S. Tinta. It appears from M. Parchappe's observations, that at Tandil there is a range of quartzose gneiss, very like the rocks of the S. Larga near Maldonado, running in the same N.N.E. and S.S.W. direction; so that the framework of the country here is very similar to that on the northern shore of the Plata. (M. d'Orbigny's "Voyage" Part. Geolog. page 46. I have given a short account of the peculiar forms of the quartz hills of Tapalguen, so unusual in a metamorphic formation, in my "Journal of Researches" 2nd edition page 116.)

The Sierra Guitru-gueyu is situated sixty miles south of the S. Tapalguen: it consists of numerous parallel, sometimes blended together ridges, about twenty-three miles in width, and five hundred feet in height above the plain, and extending in a N.W. and S.E. direction. Skirting round the extreme S.E. termination, I ascended only a few points, which were composed of a fine-grained gneiss, almost composed of feldspar with a little mica, and passing in the upper parts of the hills into a rather compact purplish clay-slate. The cleavage was nearly vertical, striking in a N.W. by W. and S.E. by E. line, nearly, though not quite, coincident with the direction of the parallel ridges.

The Sierra Ventana lies close south of that of Guitru-gueyu; it is remarkable from attaining a height, very unusual on this side of the continent, of 3,340 feet. It consists up to its summit, of quartz, generally pure and white, but sometimes reddish, and divided into thick laminae or strata: in one part there is a little glossy clay-slate with a tortuous cleavage. The thick layers of quartz strike in a W. 30 degrees N. line, dipping southerly at an angle of 45 degrees and upwards. The principal line of mountains, with some quite subordinate parallel ridges, range about W. 45 degrees N.: but at their S.E. termination, only W. 25 degrees N. This Sierra is said to extend between twenty and thirty leagues into the interior.


With the exception perhaps of the hill of S. Antonio (600 feet high) in the Gulf of S. Matias, which has never been visited by a geologist, crystalline rocks are not met with on the coast of Patagonia for a space of 380 miles south of the S. Ventana. At this point (latitude 43 degrees 50 minutes), at Points Union and Tombo, plutonic rocks are said to appear, and are found, at rather wide intervals, beneath the Patagonian tertiary formation for a space of about three hundred miles southward, to near Bird Island, in latitude 48 degrees 56 minutes. Judging from specimens kindly collected for me by Mr. Stokes, the prevailing rock at Ports St. Elena, Camerones, Malaspina, and as far south as the Paps of Pineda, is a purplish-pink or brownish claystone porphyry, sometimes laminated, sometimes slightly vesicular, with crystals of opaque feldspar and with a few grains of quartz; hence these porphyries resemble those immediately to be described at Port Desire, and likewise a series which I have seen from P. Alegre on the southern confines of Brazil. This porphyritic formation further resembles in a singularly close manner the lowest stratified formation of the Cordillera of Chile, which, as we shall hereafter see, has a vast range, and attains a great thickness. At the bottom of the Gulf of St. George, only tertiary deposits appear to be present. At Cape Blanco, there is quartz rock, very like that of the Falkland Islands, and some hard, blue siliceous clay-slate.

At Port Desire there is an extensive formation of the claystone porphyry, stretching at least twenty-five miles into the interior: it has been denuded and deeply worn into gullies before being covered up by the tertiary deposits, through which it here and there projects in hills; those north of the bay being 440 feet in height. The strata have in several places been tilted at small angles, generally either to N.N.W. or S.S.E. By gradual passages and alternations, the porphyries change incessantly in nature. I will describe only some of the principal mineralogical changes, which are highly instructive, and which I carefully examined. The prevailing rock has a compact purplish base, with crystals of earthy or opaque feldspar, and often with grains of quartz. There are other varieties, with an almost truly trachytic base, full of little angular vesicles and crystals of glassy feldspar; and there are beds of black perfect pitchstone, as well as of a concretionary imperfect variety. On a casual inspection, the whole series would be thought to be of the same plutonic or volcanic nature with the trachytic varieties and pitchstone; but this is far from being the case, as much of the porphyry is certainly of metamorphic origin. Besides the true porphyries, there are many beds of earthy, quite white or yellowish, friable, easily fusible matter, resembling chalk, which under the microscope is seen to consist of minute broken crystals, and which, as remarked in a former chapter, singularly resembles the upper tufaceous beds of the Patagonian tertiary formation. This earthy substance often becomes coarser, and contains minute rounded fragments of porphyries and rounded grains of quartz, and in one case so many of the latter as to resemble a common sandstone. These beds are sometimes marked with true lines of aqueous deposition, separating particles of different degrees of coarseness; in other cases there are parallel ferruginous lines not of true deposition, as shown by the arrangement of the particles, though singularly resembling them. The more indurated varieties often include many small and some larger angular cavities, which appear due to the removal of earthy matter: some varieties contain mica. All these earthy and generally white stones insensibly pass into more indurated sonorous varieties, breaking with a conchoidal fracture, yet of small specific gravity; many of these latter varieties assume a pale purple tint, being singularly banded and veined with different shades, and often become plainly porphyritic with crystals of feldspar. The formation of these crystals could be most clearly traced by minute angular and often partially hollow patches of earthy matter, first assuming a FIBROUS STRUCTURE, then passing into opaque imperfectly shaped crystals, and lastly, into perfect glassy crystals. When these crystals have appeared, and when the basis has become compact, the rock in many places could not be distinguished from a true claystone porphyry without a trace of mechanical structure.

In some parts, these earthy or tufaceous beds pass into jaspery and into beautifully mottled and banded porcelain rocks, which break into splinters, translucent at their edges, hard enough to scratch glass, and fusible into white transparent beads: grains of quartz included in the porcelainous varieties can be seen melting into the surrounding paste. In other parts, the earthy or tufaceous beds either insensibly pass into, or alternate with, breccias composed of large and small fragments of various purplish porphyries, with the matrix generally porphyritic: these breccias, though their subaqueous origin is in many places shown both by the arrangement of their smaller particles and by an oblique or current lamination, also pass into porphyries, in which every trace of mechanical origin and stratification has been obliterated.

Some highly porphyritic though coarse-grained masses, evidently of sedimentary origin, and divided into thin layers, differing from each other chiefly in the number of embedded grains of quartz, interested me much from the peculiar manner in which here and there some of the layers terminated in abrupt points, quite unlike those produced by a layer of sediment naturally thinning out, and apparently the result of a subsequent process of metamorphic aggregation. In another common variety of a finer texture, the aggregating process had gone further, for the whole mass consisted of quite short, parallel, often slightly curved layers or patches, of whitish or reddish finely granulo-crystalline feldspathic matter, generally terminating at both ends in blunt points; these layers or patches further tended to pass into wedge or almond-shaped little masses, and these finally into true crystals of feldspar, with their centres often slightly drusy. The series was so perfect that I could not doubt that these large crystals, which had their longer axes placed parallel to each other, had primarily originated in the metamorphosis and aggregation of alternating layers of tuff; and hence their parallel position must be attributed (unexpected though the conclusion may be), not to laws of chemical action, but to the original planes of deposition. I am tempted briefly to describe three other singular allied varieties of rock; the first without examination would have passed for a stratified porphyritic breccia, but all the included angular fragments consisted of a border of pinkish crystalline feldspathic matter, surrounding a dark translucent siliceous centre, in which grains of quartz not quite blended into the paste could be distinguished: this uniformity in the nature of the fragments shows that they are not of mechanical, but of concretionary origin, having resulted perhaps from the self-breaking up and aggregation of layers of indurated tuff containing numerous grains of quartz,--into which, indeed, the whole mass in one part passed. The second variety is a reddish non-porphyritic claystone, quite full of spherical cavities, about half an inch in diameter, each lined with a collapsed crust formed of crystals of quartz. The third variety also consists of a pale purple non-porphyritic claystone, almost wholly formed of concretionary balls, obscurely arranged in layers, of a less compact and paler coloured claystone; each ball being on one side partly hollow and lined with crystals of quartz.


Some miles up the harbour, in a line of cliffs formed of slightly metamorphosed tufaceous and porphyritic claystone beds, I observed three vertical dikes, so closely resembling in general appearance ordinary volcanic dikes, that I did not doubt, until closely examining their composition, that they had been injected from below. The first is straight, with parallel sides, and about four feet wide; it consists of whitish, indurated tufaceous matter, precisely like some of the beds intersected by it. The second dike is more remarkable; it is slightly tortuous, about eighteen inches thick, and can be traced for a considerable distance along the beach; it is of a purplish-red or brown colour, and is formed chiefly of ROUNDED grains of quartz, with broken crystals of earthy feldspar, scales of black mica, and minute fragments of claystone porphyry, all firmly united together in a hard sparing base. The structure of this dike shows obviously that it is of mechanical and sedimentary origin; yet it thinned out upwards, and did not cut through the uppermost strata in the cliffs. This fact at first appears to indicate that the matter could not have been washed in from above (Upfilled fissures are known to occur both in volcanic and in ordinary sedimentary formations. At the Galapagos Archipelago "Volcanic Islands" etc., there are some striking examples of pseudo-dikes composed of hard tuff.); but if we reflect on the suction which would result from a deep-seated fissure being formed, we may admit that if the fissure were in any part open to the surface, mud and water might well be drawn into it along its whole course. The third dike consisted of a hard, rough, white rock, almost composed of broken crystals of glassy feldspar, with numerous scales of black mica, cemented in a scanty base; there was little in the appearance of this rock, to preclude the idea of its having been a true injected feldspathic dike. The matter composing these three pseudo-dikes, especially the second one, appears to have suffered, like the surrounding strata, a certain degree of metamorphic action; and this has much aided the deceptive appearance. At Bahia, in Brazil, we have seen that a true injected hornblendic dike, not only has suffered metamorphosis, but has been dislocated and even diffused in the surrounding gneiss, under the form of separate crystals and of fragments.


I have described these islands in a paper published in the third volume of the "Geological Journal." The mountain-ridges consist of quartz, and the lower country of clay-slate and sandstone, the latter containing Palaeozoic fossils. These fossils have been separately described by Messrs. Morris and Sharpe: some of them resemble Silurian, and others Devonian forms. In the eastern part of the group the several parallel ridges of quartz extend in a west and east line; but further westward the line becomes W.N.W. and E.S.E., and even still more northerly. The cleavage-planes of the clay- slate are highly inclined, generally at an angle of above 50 degrees, and often vertical; they strike almost invariably in the same direction with the quartz ranges. The outline of the indented shores of the two main islands, and the relative positions of the smaller islets, accord with the strike both of the main axes of elevation and of the cleavage of the clay- slate.


My notes on the geology of this country are copious, but as they are unimportant, and as fossils were found only in one district, a brief sketch will be here sufficient. The east coast from the S. of Magellan (where the boulder formation is largely developed) to St. Polycarp's Bay is formed of horizontal tertiary strata, bounded some way towards the interior by a broad mountainous band of clay-slate. This great clay-slate formation extends from St. Le Maire westward for 140 miles, along both sides of the Beagle Channel to near its bifurcation. South of this channel, it forms all Navarin Island, and the eastern half of Hoste Island and of Hardy Peninsula; north of the Beagle Channel it extends in a north-west line on both sides of Admiralty Sound to Brunswick Peninsula in the St. of Magellan, and I have reason to believe, stretches far up the eastern side of the Cordillera. The western and broken side of Tierra del Fuego towards the Pacific is formed of metamorphic schists, granite and various trappean rocks: the line of separation between the crystalline and clay-slate formations can generally be distinguished, as remarked by Captain King, by the parallelism in the clay-slate districts of the shores and channels, ranging in a line between [W. 20 degrees to 40 degrees N.] and [E. 20 degrees to 40 degrees S.]. ("Geographical Journal" volume 1 page 155.)

The clay-slate is generally fissile, sometimes siliceous or ferruginous, with veins of quartz and calcareous spar; it often assumes, especially on the loftier mountains, an altered feldspathic character, passing into feldspathic porphyry: occasionally it is associated with breccia and grauwacke. At Good Success Bay, there is a little intercalated black crystalline limestone. At Port Famine much of the clay-slate is calcareous, and passes either into a mudstone or into grauwacke, including odd-shaped concretions of dark argillaceous limestone. Here alone, on the shore a few miles north of Port Famine, and on the summit of Mount Tarn (2,600 feet high), I found organic remains; they consist of:--

1. Ancyloceras simplex, d'Orbigny "Pal Franc" Mount Tarn. 2. Fusus (in imperfect state), d'Orbigny "Pal Franc" Mount Tarn. 3. Natica, d'Orbigny "Pal Franc" Mount Tarn. 4. Pentacrimus, d'Orbigny "Pal Franc" Mount Tarn. 5. Lucina excentrica, G.B. Sowerby, Port Famine. 6. Venus (in imperfect state), G.B. Sowerby, Port Famine. 7. Turbinolia (?), G.B. Sowerby, Port Famine. 8. Hamites elatior, G.B. Sowerby, Port Famine.

M. d'Orbigny states that MM. Hombron and Grange found in this neighbourhood an Ancyloceras, perhaps A. simplex, an Ammonite, a Plicatula and Modiola. ("Voyage" Part Geolog. page 242.) M. d'Orbigny believes from the general character of these fossils, and from the Ancyloceras being identical (as far as its imperfect condition allows of comparison) with the A. simplex of Europe, that the formation belongs to an early stage of the Cretaceous system. Professor E. Forbes, judging only from my specimens, concurs in the probability of this conclusion. The Hamites elatior of the above list, of which a description has been given by Mr. Sowerby, and which is remarkable from its large size, has not been seen either by M. d'Orbigny or Professor E. Forbes, as, since my return to England, the specimens have been lost. The great clay-slate formation of Tierra del Fuego being cretaceous, is certainly a very interesting fact,--whether we consider the appearance of the country, which, without the evidence afforded by the fossils, would form the analogy of most known districts, probably have been considered as belonging to the Palaeozoic series,--or whether we view it as showing that the age of this terminal portion of the great axis of South America, is the same (as will hereafter be seen) with the Cordillera of Chile and Peru.

The clay-slate in many parts of Tierra del Fuego, is broken by dikes and by great masses of greenstone, often highly hornblendic (In a greenstone-dike in the Magdalen Channel, the feldspar cleaved with the angle of albite. This dike was crossed, as well as the surrounding slate, by a large vein of quartz, a circumstance of unusual occurrence.): almost all the small islets within the clay-slate districts are thus composed. The slate near the dikes generally becomes paler-coloured, harder, less fissile, of a feldspathic nature, and passes into a porphyry or greenstone: in one case, however, it became more fissile, of a red colour, and contained minute scales of mica, which were absent in the unaltered rock. On the east side of Ponsonby Sound some dikes composed of a pale sonorous feldspathic rock, porphyritic with a little feldspar, were remarkable from their number,--there being within the space of a mile at least one hundred,--from their nearly equalling in bulk the intermediate slate,--and more especially from the excessive fineness (like the finest inlaid carpentry) and perfect parallelism of their junctions with the almost vertical laminae of clay-slate. I was unable to persuade myself that these great parallel masses had been injected, until I found one dike which abruptly thinned out to half its thickness, and had one of its walls jagged, with fragments of the slate embedded in it.

In Southern Tierra del Fuego, the clay-slate towards its S.W. boundary, becomes much altered and feldspathic. Thus on Wollaston Island slate and grauwacke can be distinctly traced passing into feldspathic rocks and greenstones, including iron pyrites and epidote, but still retaining traces of cleavage with the usual strike and dip. One such metamorphosed mass was traversed by large vein-like masses of a beautiful mixture (as ascertained by Professor Miller) of green epidote, garnets, and white calcareous spar. On the northern point of this same island, there were various ancient submarine volcanic rocks, consisting of amygdaloids with dark bole and agate,--of basalt with decomposed olivine--of compact lava with glassy feldspar,--and of a coarse conglomerate of red scoriae, parts being amygdaloidal with carbonate of lime. The southern part of Wollaston Island and the whole of Hermite and Horn Islands, seem formed of cones of greenstone; the outlying islets of Il Defenso and D. Raminez are said to consist of porphyritic lava. (Determined by Professor Jameson. Weddell's "Voyage" page 169.) In crossing Hardy Peninsula, the slate still retaining traces of its usual cleavage, passes into columnar feldspathic rocks, which are succeeded by an irregular tract of trappean and basaltic rocks, containing glassy feldspar and much iron pyrites: there is, also, some harsh red claystone porphyry, and an almost true trachyte, with needles of hornblende, and in one spot a curious slaty rock divided into quadrangular columns, having a base almost like trachyte, with drusy cavities lined by crystals, too imperfect, according to Professor Miller, to be measured, but resembling Zeagonite. (See Mr. Brooke's Paper in the "London Philosophical Magazine" volume 10. This mineral occurs in an ancient volcanic rock near Rome.) In the midst of these singular rocks, no doubt of ancient submarine volcanic origin, a high hill of feldspathic clay-slate projected, retaining its usual cleavage. Near this point, there was a small hillock, having the aspect of granite, but formed of white albite, brilliant crystals of hornblende (both ascertained by the reflecting goniometer) and mica; but with no quartz. No recent volcanic district has been observed in any part of Tierra del Fuego.

Five miles west of the bifurcation of the Beagle Channel, the slate- formation, instead of becoming, as in the more southern parts of Tierra del Fuego, feldspathic, and associated with trappean or old volcanic rocks, passes by alternations into a great underlying mass of fine gneiss and glossy clay-slate, which at no great distance is succeeded by a grand formation of mica-slate containing garnets. The folia of these metamorphic schists strike parallel to the cleavage-planes of the clay-slate, which have a very uniform direction over the whole of this part of the country: the folia, however, are undulatory and tortuous, whilst the cleavage- laminae of the slate are straight. These schists compose the chief mountain-chain of Southern Tierra del Fuego, ranging along the north side of the northern arm of the Beagle Channel, in a short W.N.W. and E.S.E. line, with two points (Mounts Sarmiento and Darwin) rising to heights of 6,800 and 6,900 feet. On the south-western side of this northern arm of the Beagle Channel, the clay-slate is seen with its STRATA dipping from the great chain, so that the metamorphic schists here form a ridge bordered on each side by clay-slate. Further north, however, to the west of this great range, there is no clay-slate, but only gneiss, mica, and hornblendic slates, resting on great barren hills of true granite, and forming a tract about sixty miles in width. Again, westward of these rocks, the outermost islands are of trappean formation, which, from information obtained during the voyages of the "Adventure" and "Beagle," seem, together with granite, chiefly to prevail along the western coast as far north as the entrance of the St. of Magellan (See the Paper by Captain King in the "Geographical Journal"; also a Letter to Dr. Fitton in "Geological Proceedings" volume 1 page 29; also some observations by Captain Fitzroy "Voyages" volume 1 page 375. I am indebted also to Mr. Lyell for a series of specimens collected by Lieutenant Graves.): a little more inland, on the eastern side of Clarence Island and S. Desolation, granite, greenstone, mica-slate, and gneiss appear to predominate. I am tempted to believe, that where the clay-slate has been metamorphosed at great depths beneath the surface, gneiss, mica- slate, and other allied rocks have been formed, but where the action has taken place nearer the surface, feldspathic porphyries, greenstones, etc., have resulted, often accompanied by submarine volcanic eruptions.

Only one other rock, met with in both arms of the Beagle Channel, deserves any notice, namely a granulo-crystalline mixture of white albite, black hornblende (ascertained by measurement of the crystals, and confirmed by Professor Miller), and more or less of brown mica, but without any quartz. This rock occurs in large masses, closely resembling in external form granite or syenite: in the southern arm of the Channel, one such mass underlies the mica-slate, on which clay-slate was superimposed: this peculiar plutonic rock which, as we have seen, occurs also in Hardy Peninsula, is interesting, from its perfect similarity with that (hereafter often to be referred to under the name of andesite) forming the great injected axes of the Cordillera of Chile.

The stratification of the clay-slate is generally very obscure, whereas the cleavage is remarkably well defined: to begin with the extreme eastern parts of Tierra del Fuego; the cleavage-planes near the St. of Le Maire strike either W. and E. or W.S.W. and E.N.E., and are highly inclined; the form of the land, including Staten Island, indicates that the axes of elevation have run in this same line, though I was unable to distinguish the planes of stratification. Proceeding westward, I accurately examined the cleavage of the clay-slate on the northern, eastern, and western sides (thirty-five miles apart) of Navarin Island, and everywhere found the laminae ranging with extreme regularity, W.N.W. and E.S.E., seldom varying more than one point of the compass from this direction. (The clay-slate in this island was in many places crossed by parallel smooth joints. Out of five cases, the angle of intersection between the strike of these joints and that of the cleavage-laminae was in two cases 45 degrees and in two others 79 degrees.) Both on the east and west coasts, I crossed at right angles the cleavage-planes for a space of about eight miles, and found them dipping at an angle of between 45 degrees and 90 degrees, generally to S.S.W., sometimes to N.N.E., and often quite vertically. The S.S.W. dip was occasionally succeeded abruptly by a N.N.E. dip, and this by a vertical cleavage, or again by the S.S.W. dip; as in a lofty cliff on the eastern end of the island the laminae of slate were seen to be folded into very large steep curves, ranging in the usual W.N.W. line, I suspect that the varying and opposite dips may possibly be accounted for by the cleavage- laminae, though to the eye appearing straight, being parts of large abrupt curves, with their summits cut off and worn down.

In several places I was particularly struck with the fact, that the fine laminae of the clay-slate, where cutting straight through the bands of stratification, and therefore indisputably true cleavage-planes, differed slightly in their greyish and greenish tints of colour, in compactness, and in some of the laminae having a rather more jaspery appearance than others. I have not seen this fact recorded, and it appears to me important, for it shows that the same cause which has produced the highly fissile structure, has altered in a slight degree the mineralogical character of the rock in the same planes. The bands of stratification, just alluded to, can be distinguished in many places, especially in Navarin Island, but only on the weathered surfaces of the slate; they consist of slightly undulatory zones of different shades of colour and of thicknesses, and resemble the marks (more closely than anything else to which I can compare them) left on the inside of a vessel by the draining away of some dirty slightly agitated liquid: no difference in composition, corresponding with these zones, could be seen in freshly fractured surfaces. In the more level parts of Navarin Island, these bands of stratification were nearly horizontal; but on the flanks of the mountains they were inclined from them, but in no instance that I saw at a very high angle. There can, I think, be no doubt that these zones, which appear only on the weathered surfaces, are the last vestiges of the original planes of stratification, now almost obliterated by the highly fissile and altered structure which the mass has assumed.

The clay-slate cleaves in the same W.N.W. and E.S.E. direction, as on Navarin Island, on both sides of the Beagle Channel, on the eastern side of Hoste Island, on the N.E. side of Hardy Peninsula, and on the northern point of Wollaston Island; although in these two latter localities the cleavage has been much obscured by the metamorphosed and feldspathic condition of the slate. Within the area of these several islands, including Navarin Island, the direction of the stratification and of the mountain- chains is very obscure; though the mountains in several places appeared to range in the same W.N.W. line with the cleavage: the outline of the coast, however, does not correspond with this line. Near the bifurcation of the Beagle Channel, where the underlying metamorphic schists are first seen, they are foliated (with some irregularities), in this same W.N.W. line, and parallel, as before stated, to the main mountain-axis of this part of the country. Westward of this main range, the metamorphic schists are foliated, though less plainly, in the same direction, which is likewise common to the zone of old erupted trappean rocks, forming the outermost islets. Hence the area, over which the cleavage of the slate and the foliation of the metamorphic schists extends with an average W.N.W. and E.S.E. strike, is about forty miles in a north and south line, and ninety miles in an east and west line.

Further northward, near Port Famine, the stratification of the clay-slate and of the associated rocks, is well defined, and there alone the cleavage and strata-planes are parallel. A little north of this port there is an anticlinal axis ranging N.W. (or a little more westerly) and S.E.: south of the port, as far as Admiralty Sound and Gabriel Channel, the outline of the land clearly indicates the existence of several lines of elevation in this same N.W. direction, which, I may add, is so uniform in the western half of the St. of Magellan, that, as Captain King has remarked, "a parallel ruler placed on the map upon the projecting points of the south shore, and extended across the strait, will also touch the headlands on the opposite coast." ("Geographical Journal" volume 1 page 170.) It would appear, from Captain King's observations, that over all this area the cleavage extends in the same line. Deep-water channels, however, in all parts of Tierra del Fuego have burst through the trammels both of stratification and cleavage; most of them may have been formed during the elevation of the land by long- continued erosion, but others, for instance the Beagle Channel, which stretches like a narrow canal for 120 miles obliquely through the mountains, can hardly have thus originated.

Finally, we have seen that in the extreme eastern point of Tierra del Fuego, the cleavage and coast-lines extend W. and E. and even W.S.W. and E.N.E.: over a large area westward, the cleavage, the main range of mountains, and some subordinate ranges, but not the outlines of the coast, strike W.N.W., and E.S.E.: in the central and western parts of the St. of Magellan, the stratification, the mountain-ranges, the outlines of the coast, and the cleavage all strike nearly N.W. and S.E. North of the strait, the outline of the coast, and the mountains on the mainland, run nearly north and south. Hence we see, at this southern point of the continent, how gradually the Cordillera bend, from their north and south course of so many thousand miles in length, into an E. and even E.N.E. direction.


The first place at which we landed north of the St. of Magellan was near Cape Tres Montes, in latitude 47 degrees S. Between this point and the Northern Chonos Islands, a distance of 200 miles, the "Beagle" visited several points, and specimens were collected for me from the intermediate spaces by Lieutenant Stokes. The predominant rock is mica-slate, with thick folia of quartz, very frequently alternating with and passing into a chloritic, or into a black, glossy, often striated, slightly anthracitic schist, which soils paper, and becomes white under a great heat, and then fuses. Thin layers of feldspar, swelling at intervals into well crystallised kernels, are sometimes included in these black schists; and I observed one mass of the ordinary black variety insensibly lose its fissile structure, and pass into a singular mixture of chlorite, epidote, feldspar, and mica. Great veins of quartz are numerous in the mica-schists; wherever these occur the folia are much convoluted. In the southern part of the Peninsula of Tres Montes, a compact altered feldspathic rock with crystals of feldspar and grains of quartz is the commonest variety; this rock exhibits occasionally traces of an original brecciated structure, and often presents (like the altered state of Tierra del Fuego) traces of cleavage- planes, which strike in the same direction with the folia of mica-schist further northward. (The peculiar, abruptly conical form of the hills in this neighbourhood, would have led any one at first to have supposed that they had been formed of injected or intrusive rocks. At Inchemo Island, a similar rock gradually becomes granulo-crystalline and acquires scales of mica; and this variety at S. Estevan becomes highly laminated, and though still exhibiting some rounded grains of quartz, passes into the black, glossy, slightly anthracitic schist, which, as we have seen, repeatedly alternates with and passes into the micaceous and chloritic schists. Hence all the rocks on this line of coast belong to one series, and insensibly vary from an altered feldspathic clay-slate into largely foliated, true mica-schist.

The cleavage of the homogeneous schists, the foliation of those composed of more or less distinct minerals in layers, and the planes of alternation of the different varieties or so-called stratification, are all parallel, and preserve over this 200 miles of coast a remarkable degree of uniformity in direction. At the northern end of the group, at Low's Harbour, the well- defined folia of mica-schist everywhere ranged within eight degrees (or less than one point of the compass) of N. 19 degrees W. and S. 19 degrees E.; and even the point of dip varied very little, being always directed to the west and generally at an angle of forty degrees; I should mention that I had here good opportunities of observation, for I followed the naked rock on the beach, transversely to the strike, for a distance of four miles and a half, and all the way attended to the dip. Along the outer islands for 100 miles south of Low's Harbour, Lieutenant Stokes, during his boat- survey, kindly observed for me the strike of the foliation, and he assures me that it was invariably northerly, and the dip with one single exception to the west. Further south at Vallenar Bay, the strike was almost universally N. 25 degrees W. and the dip, generally at an angle of about 40 degrees to W. 25 degrees S., but in some places almost vertical. Still farther south, in the neighbourhood of the harbours of Anna Pink, S. Estevan and S. Andres, and (judging from a distance) along the southern part of Tres Montes, the foliation and cleavage extended in a line between [N. 11 degrees to 22 degrees W.] and [S. 11 degrees to 22 degrees E.]; and the planes dipped generally westerly, but often easterly, at angles varying from a gentle inclination to vertical. At A. Pink's Harbour, where the schists generally dipped easterly, wherever the angle became very high, the strike changed from N. 11 degrees W. to even as much as N. 45 degrees W.: in an analogous manner at Vallenar Bay, where the dip was westerly (viz. on an average directed to W. 25 degrees S.), as soon as the angle became very high, the planes struck in a line more than 25 degrees west of north. The average result from all the observations on this 200 miles of coast, is a strike of N. 19 degrees W. and S. 19 degrees E.: considering that in each specified place my examination extended over an area of several miles, and that Lieutenant Stokes' observations apply to a length of 100 miles, I think this remarkable uniformity is pretty well established. The prevalence, throughout the northern half of this line of coast, of a dip in one direction, that is to the west, instead of being sometimes west and sometimes east, is, judging from what I have elsewhere seen, an unusual circumstance. In Brazil, La Plata, the Falkland Islands, and Tierra del Fuego, there is generally an obvious relation between the axis of elevation, the outline of the coast, and the strike of the cleavage or foliation: in the Chonos Archipelago, however, neither the minor details of the coast-line, nor the chain of the Cordillera, nor the subordinate transverse mountain-axes, accord with the strike of the foliation and cleavage: the seaward face of the numerous islands composing this Archipelago, and apparently the line of the Cordillera, range N. 11 degrees E., whereas, as we have just seen, the average strike of the foliation is N. 19 degrees W.

There is one interesting exception to the uniformity in the strike of the foliation. At the northern point of Tres Montes (latitude 45 degrees 52 minutes) a bold chain of granite, between two and three thousand feet in height, runs from the coast far into the interior, in an E.S.E. line, or more strictly E. 28 degrees S. and W. 28 degrees N. (In the distance, other mountains could be seen apparently ranging N.N.E. and S.S.W. at right angles to this one. I may add, that not far from Vallenar Bay there is a fine range, apparently of granite, which has burst through the mica-slate in a N.E. by E. and S.W. by S. line.) In a bay, at the northern foot of this range, there are a few islets of mica-slate, with the folia in some parts horizontal, but mostly inclined at an average angle of 20 degrees to the north. On the northern steep flank of the range, there are a few patches (some quite isolated, and not larger than half a-crown!) of the mica-schist, foliated with the same northerly dip. On the broad summit, as far as the southern crest, there is much mica-slate, in some places even 400 feet in thickness, with the folia all dipping north, at angles varying from 5 degrees to 20 degrees, but sometimes mounting up to 30 degrees. The southern flank consists of bare granite. The mica-slate is penetrated by small veins of granite, branching from the main body. (The granite within these veins, as well as generally at the junction with the mica-slate, is more quartzose than elsewhere. The granite, I may add, is traversed by dikes running for a very great length in the line of the mountains; they are composed of a somewhat laminated eurite, containing crystals of feldspar, hornblende, and octagons of quartz.) Leaving out of view the prevalent strike of the folia in other parts of this Archipelago, it might have been expected that they would have dipped N. 28 degrees E., that is directly from the ridge, and, considering its abruptness, at a high inclination; but the real dip, as we have just seen, both at the foot and on the northern flank, and over the entire summit, is at a small angle, and directed nearly due north. From these considerations it occurred to me, that perhaps we here had the novel and curious case of already inclined laminae obliquely tilted at a subsequent period by the granitic axis. Mr. Hopkins, so well known from his mathematical investigations, has most kindly calculated the problem: the proposition sent was,--Take a district composed of laminae, dipping at an angle of 40 degrees to W. 19 degrees S., and let an axis of elevation traverse it in an E. 28 degrees S. line, what will the position of the laminae be on the northern flank after a tilt, we will first suppose, of 45 degrees? Mr. Hopkins informs me, that the angle of the dip will be 28 degrees 31 minutes, and its direction to north 30 degrees 33 minutes west. (On the south side of the axis (where, however, I did not see any mica-slate) the dip of the folia would be at an angle of 77 degrees 55 minutes, directed to west 35 degrees 33 minutes south. Hence the two points of dip on the opposite sides of the range, instead of being as in ordinary cases directly opposed to each other at an angle of 180 degrees, would here be only 86 degrees 50 minutes apart.) By varying the supposed angle of the tilt, our previously inclined folia can be thrown into any angle between 26 degrees, which is the least possible angle, and 90 degrees; but if a small inclination be thus given to them, their point of dip will depart far from the north, and therefore not accord with the actual position of the folia of mica-schist on our granitic range. Hence it appears very difficult, without varying considerably the elements of the problem, thus to explain the anomalous strike and dip of the foliated mica- schist, especially in those parts, namely, at the base of the range, where the folia are almost horizontal. Mr. Hopkins, however, adds, that great irregularities and lateral thrusts might be expected in every great line of elevation, and that these would account for considerable deviations from the calculated results: considering that the granitic axis, as shown by the veins, has indisputably been injected after the perfect formation of the mica-slate, and considering the uniformity of the strike of the folia throughout the rest of the Archipelago, I cannot but still think that their anomalous position at this one point is someway directly and mechanically related to the intrusion of this W.N.W. and E.S.E. mountain-chain of granite.

Dikes are frequent in the metamorphic schists of the Chonos Islands, and seem feebly to represent that great band of trappean and ancient volcanic rocks on the south-western coast of Tierra del Fuego. At S. Andres I observed in the space of half-a-mile, seven broad, parallel dikes, composed of three varieties of trap, running in a N.W. and S.E. line, parallel to the neighbouring mountain-ranges of altered clay-slate; but they must be of long subsequent origin to these mountains; for they intersected the volcanic formation described in the last chapter. North of Tres Montes, I noticed three dikes differing from each other in composition, one of them having a euritic base including large octagons of quartz; these dikes, as well as several of porphyritic greenstone at Vallenar Bay, extended N.E. and S.W., nearly at right angles to the foliation of the schists, but in the line of their joints. At Low's Harbour, however, a set of great parallel dikes, one ninety yards and another sixty yards in width, have been guided by the foliation of the mica-schist, and hence are inclined westward at an angle of 45 degrees: these dikes are formed of various porphyritic traps, some of which are remarkable from containing numerous rounded grains of quartz. A porphyritic trap of this latter kind, passed in one of the dikes into a most curious hornstone, perfectly white, with a waxy fracture and pellucid edges, fusible, and containing many grains of quartz and specks of iron pyrites. In the ninety-yard dike several large, apparently now quite isolated, fragments of mica-slate were embedded: but as their foliation was exactly parallel to that of the surrounding solid rock, no doubt these new separate fragments originally formed wedge-shaped depending portions of a continuous vault or crust, once extending over the dike, but since worn down and denuded.


In Chiloe, a great formation of mica-schist strikingly resembles that of the Chonos Islands. For a space of eleven miles on the S.E. coast, the folia were very distinct, though slightly convoluted, and ranged within a point of N.N.W. and S.S.E., dipping either E.N.E. or more commonly W.S.W., at an average angle of 22 degrees (in one spot, however, at 60 degrees), and therefore decidedly at a lesser inclination than amongst the Chonos Islands. On the west and north-western shores, the foliation was often obscure, though, where best defined, it ranged within a point of N. by W. and S. by E., dipping either easterly or westerly, at varying and generally very small angles. Hence, from the southern part of Tres Montes to the northern end of Chiloe, a distance of 300 miles, we have closely allied rocks with their folia striking on an average in the same direction, namely between N. 11 degrees and 22 degrees W. Again, at Valdivia, we meet with the same mica-schist, exhibiting nearly the same mineralogical passages as in the Chonos Archipelago, often, however, becoming more ferruginous, and containing so much feldspar as to pass into gneiss. The folia were generally well defined; but nowhere else in South America did I see them varying so much in direction: this seemed chiefly caused by their forming parts, as I could sometimes distinctly trace, of large flat curves: nevertheless, both near the settlement and towards the interior, a N.W. and S.E. strike seemed more frequent than any other direction; the angle of the dip was generally small. At Concepcion, a highly glossy clay-slate had its cleavage often slightly curvilinear, and inclined, seldom at a high angle, towards various points of the compass: but here, as at Valdivia, a N.W. and S.E. strike seemed to be the most frequent one. ((FIGURE 23.) I observed in some parts that the tops of the laminae of the clay-slate (b in Figure 23) under the superficial detritus and soil (a) were bent, sometimes without being broken, as represented in Figure 23, which is copied from one given by Sir H. De la Beche (page 42 "Geological Manual") of an exactly similar phenomenon in Devonshire. Mr. R.A.C. Austen, also, in his excellent paper on S.E. Devon ("Geological Transactions" volume 6 page 437), has described this phenomenon; he attributes it to the action of frosts, but at the same time doubts whether the frosts of the present day penetrate to a sufficient depth. As it is known that earthquakes particularly affect the surface of the ground, it occurred to me that this appearance might perhaps be due, at least at Concepcion, to their frequent occurrence; the superficial layers of detritus being either jerked in one direction, or, where the surface was inclined, pushed a little downwards during each strong vibration. In North Wales I have seen a somewhat analogous but less regular appearance, though on a greater scale ("London Philosophical Magazine" volume 21 page 184), and produced by a quite different cause, namely, by the stranding of great icebergs; this latter appearance has also been observed in N. America.)

In certain spots large quartz veins were numerous, and near them, the cleavage, as was the case with the foliation of the schists in the Chonos Archipelago, became extremely tortuous.

At the northern end of Quiriquina Island, in the Bay of Concepcion, at least eight rudely parallel dikes, which have been guided to a certain extent by the cleavage of the slate, occur within the space of a quarter of a mile. They vary much in composition, resembling in many respects the dikes at Low's Harbour: the greater number consist of feldspathic porphyries, sometimes containing grains of quartz: one, however, was black and brilliant, like an augitic rock, but really formed of feldspar; others of a feldspathic nature were perfectly white, with either an earthy or crystalline fracture, and including grains and regular octagons of quartz; these white varieties passed into ordinary greenstones. Although, both here and at Low's Harbour, the nature of the rock varied considerably in the same dike, yet I cannot but think that at these two places and in other parts of the Chonos group, where the dikes, though close to each other and running parallel, are of different composition, that they must have been formed at different periods. In the case of Quiriquina this is a rather interesting conclusion, for these eight parallel dikes cut through the metamorphic schists in a N.W. and S.E. line, and since their injection the overlying cretaceous or tertiary strata have been tilted (whilst still under the sea) from a N.W. by N. and S.E. by S. line; and again, during the great earthquake of February 1835, the ground in this neighbourhood was fissured in N.W. and S.E. lines; and from the manner in which buildings were thrown down, it was evident that the surface undulated in this same direction. ("Geological Transactions" volume 6 pages 602 and 617. "Journal of Researches" 2nd edition page 307.)


Northward of Concepcion, as far as Copiapo, the shores of the Pacific consist, with the exception of some small tertiary basins, of gneiss, mica- schist, altered clay-slate, granite, greenstone and syenite: hence the coast from Tres Montes to Copiapo, a distance of 1,200 miles, and I have reason to believe for a much greater space, is almost similarly constituted.

Near Valparaiso the prevailing rock is gneiss, generally including much hornblende: concretionary balls formed of feldspar, hornblende and mica, from two or three feet in diameter, are in very many places conformably enfolded by the foliated gneiss: veins of quartz and feldspar, including black schorl and well-crystallised epidote, are numerous. Epidote likewise occurs in the gneiss in thin layers, parallel to the foliation of the mass. One large vein of a coarse granitic character was remarkable from in one part quite changing its character, and insensibly passing into a blackish porphyry, including acicular crystals of glassy feldspar and of hornblende: I have never seen any other such case. (Humboldt "Personal Narrative" volume 4 page 60, has described with much surprise, concretionary balls, with concentric divisions, composed of partially vitreous feldspar, hornblende, and garnets, included within great veins of gneiss, which cut across the mica-slate near Venezuela.)

I shall in the few following remarks on the rocks of Chile allude exclusively to their foliation and cleavage. In the gneiss round Valparaiso the strike of the foliation is very variable, but I think about N. by W. and S. by E. is the commonest direction; this likewise holds good with the cleavage of the altered feldspathic clay-slates, occasionally met with on the coast for ninety miles north of Valparaiso. Some feldspathic slate, alternating with strata of claystone porphyry in the Bell of Quillota and at Jajuel, and therefore, perhaps, belonging to a later period than the metamorphic schists on the coast, cleaved in this same direction. In the Eastern Cordillera, in the Portillo Pass, there is a grand mass of mica- slate, foliated in a north and south line, and with a high westerly dip: in the Uspallata range, clay-slate and grauwacke have a highly inclined, nearly north and south cleavage, though in some parts the strike is irregular: in the main or Cumbre range, the direction of the cleavage in the feldspathic clay-slate is N.W. and S.E.

Between Coquimbo and Guasco there are two considerable formations of mica- slate, in one of which the rock passed sometimes into common clay-slate and sometimes into a glossy black variety, very like that in the Chonos Archipelago. The folia and cleavage of these rocks ranged between [N. and N.W. by N.] and [S. and S.W. by S.]. Near the Port of Guasco several varieties of altered clay-slate have a quite irregular cleavage. Between Guasco and Copiapo, there are some siliceous and talcaceous slates cleaving in a north and south line, with an easterly dip of between 60 and 70 degrees: high up, also, the main valley of Copiapo, there is mica-slate with a high easterly dip. In the whole space between Valparaiso and Copiapo an easterly dip is much more common than an opposite or westerly one.


In this southern part of the southern hemisphere, we have seen that the cleavage-laminae range over wide areas with remarkable uniformity, cutting straight through the planes of stratification, but yet being parallel in strike to the main axes of elevation, and generally to the outlines of the coast. (In my paper on the Falkland Islands "Geological Journal" volume 3 page 267, I have given a curious case on the authority of Captain Sulivan, R.N., of much folded beds of clay-slate, in some of which the cleavage is perpendicular to the horizon, and in others it is perpendicular to each curvature or fold of the bed: this appears a new case.) The dip, however, is as variable, both in angle and in direction (that is, sometimes being inclined to the one side and sometimes to the directly opposite side), as the strike is uniform. In all these respects there is a close agreement with the facts given by Professor Sedgwick in his celebrated memoir in the "Geological Transactions," and by Sir R.I. Murchison in his various excellent discussions on this subject. The Falkland Islands, and more especially Tierra del Fuego, offer striking instances of the lines of cleavage, the principle axes of elevation, and the outlines of the coast, gradually changing together their courses. The direction which prevails throughout Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands, namely, from west with some northing to east with some southing, is also common to the several ridges in Northern Patagonia and in the western parts of Banda Oriental: in this latter province, in the Sierra Tapalguen, and in the Western Falkland Island, the W. by N., or W.N.W. and E.S.E., ridges, are crossed at right angles by others ranging N.N.E. and S.S.W.

The fact of the cleavage-laminae in the clay-slate of Tierra del Fuego, where seen cutting straight through the planes of stratification, and where consequently there could be no doubt about their nature, differing slightly in colour, texture, and hardness, appears to me very interesting. In a thick mass of laminated, feldspathic and altered clay-slate, interposed between two great strata of porphyritic conglomerate in Central Chile, and where there could be but little doubt about the bedding, I observed similar slight differences in composition, and likewise some distinct thin layers of epidote, parallel to the highly inclined cleavage of the mass. Again, I incidentally noticed in North Wales, where glaciers had passed over the truncated edges of the highly inclined laminae of clay-slate, that the surface, though smooth, was worn into small parallel undulations, caused by the competent laminae being of slightly different degrees of hardness. ("London Philosophical Magazine" volume 21 page 182.) With reference to the slates of North Wales, Professor Sedgwick describes the planes of cleavage, as "coated over with chlorite and semi-crystalline matter, which not only merely define the planes in question, but strike in parallel flakes through the whole mass of the rock." ("Geological Transactions" volume 3 page 471.) In some of those glossy and hard varieties of clay-slate, which may often be seen passing into mica-schist, it has appeared to me that the cleavage- planes were formed of excessively thin, generally slighted convoluted, folia, composed of microscopically minute scales of mica. From these several facts, and more especially from the case of the clay-slate in Tierra del Fuego, it must, I think, be concluded, that the same power which has impressed on the slate its fissile structure or cleavage has tended to modify its mineralogical character in parallel planes.

Let us now turn to the foliation of the metamorphic schists, a subject which has been much less attended to. As in the case of cleavage-laminae, the folia preserve over very large areas a uniform strike: thus Humboldt found for a distance of 300 miles in Venezuela, and indeed over a much larger space, gneiss, granite, mica, and clay-slate, striking very uniformly N.E. and S.W., and dipping at an angle of between 60 and 70 degrees to N.W. ("Personal Narrative" volume 6 page 59 et seq.); it would even appear from the facts given in this chapter, that the metamorphic rocks throughout the north-eastern part of South America are generally foliated within two points of N.E. and S.W. Over the eastern parts of Banda Oriental, the foliation strikes with a high inclination, very uniformly N.N.E. to S.S.W., and over the western parts, in a W. by N. and E. by S. line. For a space of 300 miles on the shores of the Chonos and Chiloe Islands, we have seen that the foliation seldom deviates more than a point of the compass from a N. 19 degrees W. and S. 19 degrees E. strike. As in the case of cleavage, the angle of the dip in foliated rocks is generally high but variable, and alternates from one side of the line of strike to the other side, sometimes being vertical: in the Northern Chonos Islands, however, the folia are inclined almost always to the west; in nearly the same manner, the cleavage-laminae in Southern Tierra del Fuego certainly dip much more frequently to S.S.W. than to the opposite point. In Eastern Banda Oriental, in parts of Brazil, and in some other districts, the foliation runs in the same direction with the mountain-ranges and adjoining coast-lines: amongst the Chonos Islands, however, this coincidence fails, and I have given my reasons for suspecting that one granitic axis has burst through and tilted the already inclined folia of mica-schist: in the case of cleavage, the coincidence between its strike and that of the main stratification seems sometimes to fail. (Cases are given by Mr. Jukes in his "Geology of Newfoundland" page 130.) Foliation and cleavage resemble each other in the planes winding round concretions, and in becoming tortuous where veins of quartz abound. (I have seen in Brazil and Chile concretions thus enfolded by foliated gneiss; and Macculloch "Highlands" volume 1 page 64, has described a similar case. For analogous cases in clay-slate, see Professor Henslow's Memoir in "Cambridge Philosophical Transactions" volume 1 page 379, and Macculloch's "Classification of Rocks" page 351. With respect to both foliation and cleavage becoming tortuous where quartz-veins abound, I have seen instances near Monte Video, at Concepcion, and in the Chonos Islands. See also Mr. Greenough's "Critical Examination" page 78.) On the flanks of the mountains both in Tierra del Fuego and in other countries, I have observed that the cleavage-planes frequently dip at a high angle inwards; and this was long ago observed by Von Buch to be the case in Norway: this fact is perhaps analogous to the folded, fan-like or radiating structure in the metamorphic schists of the Alps, in which the folia in the central crests are vertical and on the two flanks inclined inwards. (Studer in "Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal" volume 23 page 144.) Where masses of fissile and foliated rocks alternate together, the cleavage and foliation, in all cases which I have seen, are parallel. Where in one district the rocks are fissile, and in another adjoining district they are foliated, the planes of cleavage and foliation are likewise generally parallel: this is the case with the feldspathic homogeneous slates in the southern part of the Chonos group, compared with the fine foliated mica-schists of the northern part; so again the clay- slate of the whole eastern side of Tierra del Fuego cleaves in exactly the same line with the foliated gneiss and mica-slate of the western coast; other analogous instances might have been adduced. (I have given a case in Australia. See my "Volcanic Islands.")

With respect to the origin of the folia of quartz, mica, feldspar, and other minerals composing the metamorphic schists, Professor Sedgwick, Mr. Lyell, and most authors believe, that the constituent parts of each layer were separately deposited as sediment, and then metamorphosed. This view, in the majority of cases, I believe to be quite untenable. In those not uncommon instances, where a mass of clay-slate, in approaching granite, gradually passes into gneiss, we clearly see that folia of distinct minerals can originate through the metamorphosis of a homogeneous fissile rock. (I have described in "Volcanic Islands" a good instance of such a passage at the Cape of Good Hope.) The deposition, it may be remarked, of numberless alternations of pure quartz, and of the elements of mica or feldspar does not appear a probable event. (See some excellent remarks on this subject, in D'Aubuisson's "Traite de Geog." tome 1 page 297. Also some remarks by Mr. Dana in "Silliman's American Journal" volume 45 page 108.) In those districts in which the metamorphic schists are foliated in planes parallel to the cleavage of the rocks in an adjoining district, are we to believe that the folia are due to sedimentary layers, whilst the cleavage- laminae, though parallel, have no relation whatever to such planes of deposition? On this view, how can we reconcile the vastness of the areas over which the strike of the foliation is uniform, with what we see in disturbed districts composed of true strata: and especially, how can we understand the high and even vertical dip throughout many wide districts, which are not mountainous, and throughout some, as in Western Banda Oriental, which are not even hilly? Are we to admit that in the northern part of the Chonos Archipelago, mica-slate was first accumulated in parallel horizontal folia to a thickness of about four geographical miles, and then upturned at an angle of forty degrees; whilst, in the southern part of this same Archipelago, the cleavage-laminae of closely allied rocks, which none would imagine had ever been horizontal, dip at nearly the same angle, to nearly the same point?

Seeing, then, that foliated schists indisputably are sometimes produced by the metamorphosis of homogeneous fissile rocks; seeing that foliation and cleavage are so closely analogous in the several above-enumerated respects; seeing that some fissile and almost homogeneous rocks show incipient mineralogical changes along the planes of their cleavage, and that other rocks with a fissile structure alternate with, and pass into varieties with a foliated structure, I cannot doubt that in most cases foliation and cleavage are parts of the same process: in cleavage there being only an incipient separation of the constituent minerals; in foliation a much more complete separation and crystallisation.

The fact often referred to in this chapter, of the foliation and the so- called strata in the metamorphic series,--that is, the alternating masses of different varieties of gneiss, mica-schist, and hornblende-slate, etc.,- -being parallel to each other, at first appears quite opposed to the view, that the folia have no relation to the planes of original deposition. Where the so-called beds are not very thick and of widely different mineralogical composition from each other, I do not think that there is any difficulty in supposing that they have originated in an analogous manner with the separate folia. We should bear in mind what thick strata, in ordinary sedimentary masses, have obviously been formed by a concretionary process. In a pile of volcanic rocks on the Island of Ascension, there are strata, differing quite as much in appearance as the ordinary varieties of the metamorphic schists, which undoubtedly have been produced, not by successive flowings of lava, but by internal molecular changes. Near Monte Video, where the stratification, as it would be called, of the metamorphic series is, in most parts, particularly well developed, being as usual, parallel to the foliation, we have seen that a mass of chloritic schist, netted with quartz-veins, is entangled in gneiss, in such a manner as to show that it had certainly originated in some process of segregation: again, in another spot, the gneiss tended to pass into hornblendic schist by alternating with layers of quartz; but these layers of quartz almost certainly had never been separately deposited, for they were absolutely continuous with the numerous intersecting veins of quartz. I have never had an opportunity of tracing for any distance, along the line both of strike and of dip, the so-called beds in the metamorphic schists, but I strongly suspect that they would not be found to extend with the same character, very far in the line either of their dip or strike. Hence I am led to believe, that most of the so-called beds are of the nature of complex folia, and have not been separately deposited. Of course, this view cannot be extended to THICK masses included in the metamorphic series, which are of totally different composition from the adjoining schists, and which are far extended, as is sometimes the case with quartz and marble; these must generally be of the nature of true strata. (Macculloch "Classification of Rocks" page 364, states that primary limestones are often found in irregular masses or great nodules, "which can scarcely be said to possess a stratified shape!") Such strata, however, will almost always strike in the same direction with the folia, owing to the axes of elevation being in most countries parallel to the strike of the foliation; but they will generally dip at a different angle from that of the foliation; and the angle of the foliation in itself almost always varies much: hence, in crossing a metamorphosed schistose district, it would require especial attention to discriminate between true strata of deposition and complex foliated masses. The mere presence of true strata in the midst of a set of metamorphic schists, is no argument that the foliation is of sedimentary origin, without it be further shown in each case, that the folia not only strike, but dip throughout in parallel planes with those of the true stratification.

As in some cases it appears that where a fissile rock has been exposed to partial metamorphic action, for instance from the irruption of granite, the foliation has supervened on the already existing cleavage-planes; so perhaps in some instances, the foliation of a rock may have been determined by the original planes of deposition or of oblique current-laminae: I have, however, myself, never seen such a case, and I must maintain that in most extensive metamorphic areas, the foliation is the extreme result of that process, of which cleavage is the first effect. That foliation may arise without any previous structural arrangement in the mass, we may infer from injected, and therefore once liquified, rocks, both of volcanic and plutonic origin, sometimes having a "grain" (as expressed by Professor Sedgwick), and sometimes being composed of distinct folia or laminae of different compositions. In my work on "Volcanic Islands," I have given several instances of this structure in volcanic rocks, and it is not uncommonly seen in plutonic masses--thus, in the Cordillera of Chile, there are gigantic mountain-like masses of red granite, which have been injected whilst liquified, and which, nevertheless, display in parts a decidedly laminar structure. (As remarked in a former part of this chapter, I suspect that the boldly conical mountains of gneiss-granite, near Rio de Janeiro, in which the constituent minerals are arranged in parallel planes, are of intrusive origin. We must not, however, forget the lesson of caution taught by the curious claystone porphyries of Port Desire, in which we have seen that the breaking up and aggregation of a thinly stratified tufaceous mass, has yielded a rock semi-porphyritic with crystals of feldspar, arranged in the planes of original deposition.)

Finally, we have seen that the planes of cleavage and of foliation, that is, of the incipient process and of the final result, generally strike parallel to the principal axes of elevation, and to the outline of the land: the strike of the axes of elevation (that is, of the lines of fissures with the strata on their edges upturned), according to the reasoning of Mr. Hopkins, is determined by the form of the area undergoing changes of level, and the consequent direction of the lines of tension and fissure. Now, in that remarkable pile of volcanic rocks at Ascension, which has several times been alluded to (and in some other cases), I have endeavoured to show, that the lamination of the several varieties, and their alternations, have been caused by the moving mass, just before its final consolidation, having been subjected (as in a glacier) to planes of different tension; this difference in the tension affecting the crystalline and concretionary processes. (In "Volcanic Islands.") One of the varieties of rock thus produced at Ascension, at first sight, singularly resembles a fine-grained gneiss; it consists of quite straight and parallel zones of excessive tenuity, of more or less coloured crystallised feldspar, of distinct crystals of quartz, diopside, and oxide of iron. These considerations, notwithstanding the experiments made by Mr. Fox, showing the influence of electrical currents in producing a structure like that of cleavage, and notwithstanding the apparently inexplicable variation, both in the inclination of the cleavage-laminae and in their dipping first to one side and then to the other side of the line of strike, lead me to suspect that the planes of cleavage and foliation are intimately connected with the planes of different tension, to which the area was long subjected, AFTER the main fissures or axes of upheavement had been formed, but BEFORE the final consolidation of the mass and the total cessation of all molecular movement.

Charles Darwin

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