TFJ returns CD's "too flattering" letter concerning Glen Roy [see 3761]. Further discussion of [A. C.] Ramsay's, [J. D.] Hooker's, and CL's arguments about the formation of glacial lakes.
17 Oct 62
My Dear Sir Charles,
I return you M
With regard to the lakes I think Ramsay's idea is good altho he may push it too
far. It seems to me intelligible only on the supposition
that whenever you have a glacially formed lake in a rock basin there must have been a
spot of soft or more easily eroded rock otherwise how would the scooping
Your explanation of the larger lakes not being filled up owing to the occupation of the hollow by the ice seems to me imperfect in as much as it does not account for the original formation of the hollow—.
Your case of Zurich is very interesting.
I think Ramsay should have shown that glaciers have the immense scooping power which he requires— as that is begging a good deal of the question.
I should like to know also how he explains the absence of lakes in the Himmalaya seeing how large the glaciers were there.
Your suggestion of a subsidence occurring in part of the course of a long valley ought I think to account for some lakes. and I think lines of fracture would account for others— Ramsay's arguments against these latter seem to me not conclusive. for altho the original yawning chasm may have been removed by denudation yet the deepseated fractures would have a tendency to gape again during fresh movements of disturbance—
However I am very much inclined to think that a great many lakes have been formed in the way Ramsay suggests— It is difficult otherwise to account for their immense number in those northern countries which have been so much ice worn.
I am glad to see that M
I am | My Dear Sir Charles | Your very obed. serv | Tho
P.S. I hope M
T. F. J.
- f1 3757f.f1CD had asked Lyell to forward to Jamieson his letter of 14 October .
- f2 3757f.f2The reference is to Andrew Crombie Ramsay's controversial theory, detailed in Ramsay 1862, that many European and American rock-basins, now containing lakes, owed their origin to glacial erosion (see letter to Charles Lyell, 14 October  and nn. 8 and 9).
- f3 3757f.f3J. D. Hooker 1854b, 2: 121 n.
- f4 3757f.f4Lyell's letter has not been found; however, Lyell was the leading critic of Ramsay's theory (see Davies 1969, pp. 305--6).
- f5 3757f.f5In Ramsay 1862, pp. 192--3, Ramsay argued that the absence of freshwater strata in the Alps intermediate in age between the close of the Miocene and the start of the Pleistocene glacial epoch, constituted further evidence that the Alpine lakes did not exist before the glacial epoch. Lyell had apparently told Jamieson of evidence he had collected showing that there were strata of the sort referred to by Ramsay on the shores of the lake at Zürich; Lyell cited this case as evidence against Ramsay's theory in C. Lyell 1863a, pp. 314--6.
- f6 3757f.f6In his paper, Ramsay had argued against the possibility of the great Alpine lakes being the result of structural features associated with synclines, or local subsidence, or fissures along fault lines (Ramsay 1862, pp. 188--90).
- f7 3757f.f7See letter to Charles Lyell, 14 October  and n. 10.
- f8 3757f.f8This is apparently a reference to CD's comment that John Tyndall, who was primarily a physicist, was going beyond his expertise in writing about glacial phenomena (see letter to Charles Lyell, 14 October  and n. 12).
- f9 3757f.f9The reference is probably to the geologist, Samuel William King, a friend of Lyell's, who had helped him with a number of geological investigations (DNB). Lyell had apparently sent Jamieson one of his letters from King at the end of September, in which King described a shelly deposit that had a bearing on Jamieson's views concerning the raised beaches of Scotland and the lower level of the Scottish landmass in the recent geological past (see the letter from Jamieson to Lyell of 29 September 1862, which is in Edinburgh University Library, Gen. 112: 2853--4). No publication by King on this subject has been found.
- f10 3757f.f10The Scottish geologist and antiquary, James Smith (commonly referred to as `Smith of Jordanhill'), had published extensively on the raised beaches of the west coast of Scotland, and especially those in the Clyde basin (DNB, RSCSP). However, his catalogues of shells, published in J. Smith 1839b, pp. 89--97, were not arranged by location.