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I have observed in general, that the waters act more easily on the carbonates and the sulphates of lime of secondary mountains than on the transition limestones, which have a considerable mixture of silex and carbon. On examining the internal structure of the stalactites which line the walls of caverns, we find in them all the characters of a chemical precipitate.
Alexander von Humboldt - Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America, During the Year 1799-1804 — Volume 1
The fundamental rocks of the district are grey and red sandstones and shales, with some associated limestones, replete with fossils of the Devonian or Old Red Sandstone group. The volcanoes broke out in the midst of these inclined strata, and when the present systems of hills and valleys had already been formed.
And the marbles of the entire province of the Apuan Alps owe their existence to the large quantities of iron ore disseminated throughout them, which have exercised a great influence on the molecular modification they have undergone. The same changes have been produced on the limestones of Greece and Asia Minor by veins containing iron ore running through them.
It consists of shales and sandstones about 150 feet thick, with coal and traces of plants; including a bed of limestone varying from two to nine feet in thickness, which is cellular, and resembles some lacustrine limestones of France and Germany. It has been traced for 30 miles in a straight line, and can be recognised at still more distant points.
It may occur also that strata which as a whole yield to lateral thrust by folding include beds of brittle rocks, such as thin-layered limestones, which are crushed to pieces by the strain. Breccia is a term applied to any rock formed of cemented ANGULAR fragments.
Remains of thousands of species of animals and plants, as perfectly recognisable as those of existing forms of life which you meet with in museums, or as the shells which you pick up upon the sea-beach, have been imbedded in the ancient sands, or muds, or limestones, just as they are being imbedded now, in sandy, or clayey, or calcareous subaqueous deposits.
Lithologically they are extremely various. On the continental shelf of North America limestones of different kinds are forming off Florida, and sandstones and shales from Georgia northward. Separated from them by the deep Atlantic oozes are other sedimentary deposits now accumulating along the west coast of Europe.
In some places the softer sandstones lying between the harder limestones and sandstones have yielded to weathering agencies, so that there are caves running along the face of the wall, sometimes for hundreds or thousands of feet, but not very deep. These natural shelves in the rock were utilized by an ancient tribe of Indians for their homes.
It has long been known that a very ancient granite near Christiania, in Norway, is posterior in date to the Lower Silurian strata of that region, although its exact position in the Palaeozoic series can not be defined. Von Buch first announced, in 1813, that it was of newer origin than certain limestones containing orthocerata and trilobites.
In Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Shropshire, it expands into a series of strata from eight to ten thousand feet thick, made up of conglomerates, red, green, and white sandstones, red, green, and spotted marls, and concretionary limestones.