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Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. C. Ramsay   18 October 1871


18 Oct 1871

My dear Sir

I send two papers which contain some new views which if true may have considerable bearing on the long continuance of generic & specific terrestrial types as opposed to Marine.1

In the Summary of No 2 I attempt to show that we had in Europe & elsewhere great continental areas that lasted from the close of the Upper Silurian epoch down to the beginning of the Lias, & in earlier paragraphs I try to prove that some of the strata usually called marine were in reality formed in old Caspians.2

Yours very truly | Andw C Ramsay


The papers, ‘On the physical relations of the New Red Marl, Rhætic beds, and Lower Lias’ (Ramsay 1871a) and ‘On the red rocks of England of older date than the Trias’ (Ramsay 1871b) had recently been published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London.
Ramsay argued in both papers that several geological strata found in England had been laid down not in open oceans but in inland seas comparable to the present-day Caspian Sea. This implied that even while these areas had been submerged, continental land had existed nearby. Ramsay believed that this would be of interest to CD because it could explain how terrestrial creatures whose fossils were found both above and below these strata could have persisted through those periods of geological history when England had seemed to be submerged. The Upper Silurian is now the Silurian.


Sends two papers ["On the physical relations of the new red marl", Q. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 27 (1871): 189–98 and "On the red rocks of England", Q. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 27 (1871): 241–54] bearing on the continuance of generic and specific terrestrial types, in areas of Europe and elsewhere, that lasted from the Upper Silurian to the Lias.

Letter details

Letter no.
Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 176: 15
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8017,” accessed on 20 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19