To Charles Lyell 12 July 1
Down, | Beckenham, Kent.
My dear Lyell
I have been glad to see the enclosed & returned.—2 It seems to me very cool in Agassiz to doubt the recent upheaval of Patagonia, without having visited any part; & he entirely misrepresents me in saying that I infer upheaval from the form of the land, as I trusted entirely to shells embedded & on the surface. It is simply monstrous to suppose that the terraces stretching on a dead level for leagues along the coast, & miles in breadth, & covered with beds of stratified gravel 10–30 feet in thickness, are due to subaerial denudation.3
As for the pond of salt water, twice or thrice the density of sea-water, & nearly dry, containing sea-shells in same relative proportions as on the adjoining coast, it almost passes my belief.4 Could there have been a lively midshipman on board, who in the morning stocked the pool from the adjoining coast?
As for glaciation I will not venture to express any opinion, for when in S. America I knew nothing about glaciers, & perhaps attributed much icebergs which ought to be attributed to glaciers.5 On the other hand Agassiz seems to me mad about glaciers, & apparently never thinks of drift ice.— I did see one clear case of former greater extension of a glacier in T. del Fuego.—6
I hope that you are enjoying your holiday.
My dear Lyell | Yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin
Comments on enclosed discussion of S. American geology by Agassiz. Mentions elevation of Patagonia and glaciation.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8405,” accessed on 28 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-8405