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Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 60 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GLACIAL PERIOD, in geology, the name usually given, by English and American writers, to that comparatively recent time when all parts of the world suffered a marked lowering of temperature, accompanied in northern Europe and North America by glacial conditions, not unlike those which now characterize the Polar regions. This period, which is also known as the " Great Ice Age " (German Die Eiszeit), is synchronous with the Pleistocene period, the earlier of the Post-Tertiary or Quaternary divisions of geological time. Although " Glacial period " and " Pleistocene " (q.v.) are often used synonymously it is convenient to consider them separately, inasmuch as not a few Pleistocene formations have no causal relationship with conditions of glaciation. Not until the beginning of the 19th century did the deposits now generally recognized as the result of ice action receive serious attention; the tendency was to regard such superficial and irregular material as mere rubbish. Early ideas upon the subject usually assigned floods as the formative agency, and this view is still not without its supporters (see Sir H. H. Howorth, The Glacial Nightmare and the Flood). Doubtless this attitude was in part due to the comparative rarity of glaciers and ice-fields where the work of ice could be directly observed. It was natural therefore that the first scientific references to glacial action should have been stimulated by the Alpine regions of Switzerland, which called forth the writings of J. J. Scheuchzer, B. F. Kuhn, H. B. de Saussure, F. G. Hugi, and particularly those of J. Venetz, J. G. von Charpentier and L. Aggasiz. Canon Rendu, J. Forbes and others had studied the cause of motion of glaciers, while keen observers, notably Sir James Hall, A. Brongniart and J. Playfair, had noted the occurrence of travelled and scratched stones. The result of these efforts was the conception of great ice-sheets flowing over the land, grinding the rock surfaces and transporting rock debris in the manner to be observed in the existing glaciers. However, before this view had become established Sir C. Lyell evolved the " drift theory " to explain the widely spread phenomenon of transported blocks, boulder clay and the allied deposits; in this he was supported by Sir H. de la Beche, Charles Darwin, Sir R. I. Murchison and many others. According to the drift theory; the transport and distribution of " erratic blocks," &c., had been effected by floating icebergs; this view naturally involved a considerable and widespread submergence of the land, an assumption which appeared to receive support from the occasional presence of marine shells at high levels in the " drift " deposits. So great was the influence of those who favoured the drift theory that even to-day it cannot be said to have lost complete hold; we still speak of " drift " deposits in England and America, and the belief in one or more great submergences during the Glacial period is still held more firmly by certain geologists than the evidence would seem to warrant. The case against the drift theory was most clearly expressed by Sir A. C. Ramsay for England and Scotland, and by the Swedish scientist Otto Torell. Since then the labours of Professor James Geikie, Sir Archibald Geikie, Professor P. Kendall and others in England; von Verendt, H. Credner, de Geer, E. Geinitz, A. Helland, Jentzsch, K. Keilhack, A. Penck, H. Schroder, F. Wahnschaffe in Scandinavia and Germany; T. C. Chamberlin, W. Upham, G. F. Wright in North America, have all tended to confirm the view that it is to the movement of glaciers and ice-sheets that we must look as the predominant agent of transport and abrasion in this period. The three stages through which our knowledge of glacial work has advanced may thus be summarized: (I) the diluvial hypothesis, deposits formed by floods; (2) the drift hypothesis, deposits formed mainly by icebergs and floating ice; (3) the ice-sheet hypothesis, deposits formed directly or indirectly through the agency of flowing ice. Evidences.—The evidence relied upon by geologists for the former existence of the great ice-sheets which traversed the northern regions of Europe and America is mainly of two kinds: (I) the peculiar erosion of the older rocks by ice and ice-borne stones, and (2) the nature and disposition of ice-borne rock debris. After having established the criteria by which the work of moving ice is to be recognized in regions of active glaciation, the task of identifying the results of earlier glaciation elsewhere has been carried on with unabated energy. r. Ice Erosion.—Although there are certain points of difference between the work of glaciers and broad ice-sheets, the former -07 - ~-~ L =at lit _-_~ Areas not affected by extreme glaciation= •- S = The Scandinavian Centrr - - "-" - -- n — Map showing the C = The Cordillerm, Centre K =The Keewatin Centre -., - maximum extension of the Ice Sheets in the Glacial Period L The Labrador or Laurenlide Centro -"Ns' Arrows indicate the direction of Ice-flour gym_ being more or less restricted laterally by the valleys in which they flow, the general results of their passage over the rocky floor are essentially similar. Smooth rounded outlines are imparted to the rocks, markedly contrasting with the pinnacled and irregular surfaces produced by ordinary weathering; where these rounded" surfaces have been formed on a minor scale the well-known features of roches moutonnees (German Rundhocker) are created; on a larger scale we have the erosion-form known as " crag and tail," when the ice-sheet has overridden ground with more pronounced contours, the side of the hill facing the advancing ice being rounded and gently curved (German Stossseite), and the opposte side (Leeseite) steep, abrupt and much less smooth. Such features are never associated with the erosion of water. The rounding of rock surfaces is regularly accompanied by grooving and striation (German Schrammen, Schliffe) caused by the grinding action of stones and boulders embedded in the moving ice. These " glacial striae " are of great value in determining the latest path of the vanished ice-sheets (see map). Several other erosion-features are generally associated with ice action; such are the circular-headed valleys, cirques " or " corries " (German Zirkus) of mountain districts; the pot-holes, giants' kettles (Strudellocher, Riesentopfe), familiarly exemplified in the Gletschergarten near Lucerne; the " rock-basins" (Felsseebecken) of mountainous regions are also believed to be assignable to this cause on account of their frequent association with other glacial phenomena, but it is more than probable that the act;on of running water (waterfalls, &c.)influenced no doubt by the disposition of the ice--has had much to do with these forms of erosion. As regards rock-basins, geologists are still divided in opinion: Sir A. C. Ramsay, J. Geikie, Tyndall, Reiland, H. Hess, A. Penck, and others have expressed themselves in favour of a glacial origin; while A. Heim, F. Stapff, T. Kjerulf, L. Rutimeyer and many others have strongly opposed this view. 2. Glacial deposits may be roughly classified in two groups: those that have been formed directly by the action of the ice, and those formed through the agency of water flowing under, upon, and from the ice-sheets, or in streams and lakes modified by the presence of the ice. To differentiate in practice between the results of these two agencies is a matter of some difficulty in the case of unstratified deposits; but the boulder clay may be taken as the typical formation of the glacier or ice-sheet, whether it has been left as a terminal moraine at the limit of glaciation or as a ground moraine beneath the ice. A stratified form of boulder clay, which not infrequently rests upon, and is therefore younger than, the more typical variety, is usually regarded as a deposit formed by water from the material (englacial, innenmoran) held in suspension within the ice, and set free during the process of melting. Besides the innumerable boulders, large and small, embedded in the boulder clay, isolated masses of rock, often of enormous size, have been borne by ice-sheets far from their original home and stranded when the ice melted. These " erratic blocks," " perched blocks " (German Findlinge) are familiar objects in the Alpine glacier districts, where they have frequently received individual names, but they are just as easily recognized in regions from which the glaciers that brought them there have long since been banished. Not only did the ice transport blocks of hard rock, granite and the like, but huge masses of stratified rock were torn from their bed by the same agency; the masses of chalk in the cliffs near Cromer are well known; near Berlin, at Firkenwald, there is a transported mass of chalk estimated to be at least 2,000,000 cubic metres in bulk, which has travelled probably 15 kilometres from its original site; a block of Lincolnshire oolite is recorded by C. Fox-Strangways near Melton in Leicestershire, which is 300 yds. long and roo yds. broad if no more; and instances of a similar kind might be multiplied. When we turn to the " fluvio-glacial " deposits we find a bewildering variety of stratified and partially bedded deposits of gravel, sand and clay, occurring separately or in every conceivable condition of association. Some of these deposits have received distinctive names; such are the " Kames " of Scotland, which are represented in Ireland by " Eskers," and in Scandinavia by " Asar." Another type of hillocky deposit is exemplified by the " drums " or " drumlins." Everywhere beyond the margin of the advancing or retreating ice-sheets these deposits were being formed; streams bore away coarse and fine materials and spread them out upon alluvial plains or upon the floors of innumerable lakes, many of which were directly caused by the damming of the ordinary water-courses by the ice. As the level of such lakes was changed new beach-lines were produced, such as are still evident in the great lake region of North America, in the parallel roads of Glen Roy, and the " Strandlinien " of many parts of northern Europe. Viewed in relation to man's position on the earth, no geological changes have had a more profound importance than those of the Glacial period. The whole of the glaciated region bears evidence of remarkable modification of topographic features; in parts of Scotland or Norway or Canada the old rocks are bared of soil, rounded and smoothed as far as the eye can see. The old soil and subsoil, the product of ages of ordinary weathering, were removed from vast areas to be deposited and concentrated in others. Old valleys were filled—often to a great depth, 300-400 ft.; rivers were diverted from their old courses, never to return; lakes of vast size were caused by the damming of old outlets (Lake Lahontan, Lake Agassiz, &c., in North America), while an infinite number of shifting lakelets—with their deposits —played an important part along the ice-front at all stages of its career. The influence of this period upon the present hardly be overestimated. Much stress has been laid upon supposed great changes in the level of the land in northern regions during the Glacial period. The occurrence of marine shells at an elevation of 1350 ft. at 1VIoel Tryfaen in north Wales, and at 1200 ft. near Macclesfield in Cheshire, has been cited as evidence of profound submergence by some geologists, though others see in these and similar occurrences only the transporting action of ice-sheets that have traversed the floor of the adjoining seas. Marine shells in stratified materials have been found on the coast of Scotland at too ft. and over, in S. Scandinavia at 600 to 800 ft., and in the " Champlain " deposits of North America at various heights. The dead shells of the "Yoldia clay" cover wide areas at the bottom of the North Atlantic at depths from 500 to 1300 fathoms, though the same mollusc is now found living in Arctic seas at the depth of 5 to 15 fathoms. This has been looked upon as a proof that in the N.W. European region the lithosphere stood about 2600 ft. higher than it does now (Brogger, Nansen, &c.), and it has been suggested that a union of the mainland of Europe with that of North America—forming a northern continental mass, " Prosarctis "—may have been achieved by way of Iceland, Jan Mayen Land and Greenland. The pre-glacial valleys and fjords of Norway and Scotland, with their deeply submerged seaward ends, are regarded as proofs of former elevation. The great depth of alluvium in some places (236 metres at Bremen) points in the same direction. Evidences of changes of level occur in early, middle and late Pleistocene formations, and the nature of the evidence is such that it is on the whole safer to assume the existence only of the more moderate degree of change. The Cause of the Glacial Period.—Many attempts have been made to formulate a satisfactory hypothesis that shall conform with the known facts and explain the great change in climatic conditions which 'set in towards the close of the Tertiary era, and culminated during the Glacial period. Some of the more prominent hypotheses may be mentioned, but space will not permit of a detailed analysis of theories, most of which rest upon somewhat unsubstantial ground. The principal facts to be taken into consideration are (1) the great lowering of temperature over the whole earth; (2) the localization of extreme glaciation in north-west Europe and north-east America; and (3) the local retrogression of the ice-sheets, once or more times repeated. Some have suggested the simple solution of a change in the earth's axis, and have indicated that the pole may have travelled through some 150 to 200 of latitude; thus, the polar glaciation, as it now exists,might have been in this way transferred to include north-west Europe and North America; but modern views on the rigidity of the earth's body, together with the lack of any evidence of the correlative movement of climatic zones in other parts of the world, render this hypothesis quite untenable. On similar grounds a change in the earth's centre of gravity is unthinkable. Theories based upon the variations in the obliquity of the ecliptic or eccentricity of the earth's orbit, or on the passage of the solar system through cold regions of space, or upon the known variations in the heat emitted by the sun, are all insecure and unsatisfactory. The hypothesis elaborated by James Croll (Phil. Mag., 1864, 28, p. 121; Climate and Time, 1875; and Discussion on Climate and Cosmology, 188g) was founded upon the assumption that with the earth's eccentricity at its maximum and winter in the north at aphelion, there would be a tendency in northern latitudes for the accumulation of snow and ice, which would be accentuated indirectly by the formation of fogs and a modification of the trade winds. The shifting 6f the thermal equator, and with it the direction of the trade winds, would divert some of the warm ocean currents from the cold regions, and this effect was greatly enhanced, he considered, by the configuration of the Atlantic Ocean. Croll's hypothesis was supported by Sir R. Ball (The Cause of the Great Ice Age, 1893), and it met with very general acceptance; but it has been destructively criticized by Professor S. Newcomb (Phil. distribution of plant and animal life in northern latitudes can Mag., 1876, 1883, 1884) and by E. P. Culverwell (Phil. Mag., 1894, p. 541, and Geol. Mag., 1895, pp. 3 and S5). The difficulties in the way of Croll's theory are: (I) the fundamental assumption, that midwinter and midsummer temperatures are directly proportional to the sun's heat at those periods, is not in accordance with observed facts; (2) the glacial periods would be limited in duration to an appropriate fraction of the precessional period (21,000 years), which appears to be too short a time for the work that was actually done by ice agency; and (3) Croll's glacial periods would alternate between the northern and southern hemispheres, affecting first one then the other. Sir C. Lyell and others have advocated the view that great elevation of the land in polar regions would be conducive to glacial conditions; this is doubtless true, but the evidence that the Glacial period was primarily due to this cause is not well established. Other writers have endeavoured to support the elevation theory by combining with it various astronomical and meteorological agencies. More recently several hypotheses have been advanced to explain the glacial period as the result of changes in the atmosphere; F. W. Harmer (" The Influence of Winds upon the Climate during the Pleistocene Epoch," Q.J.G.S., 19oi, 57, p. 405) has shown the importance of the influence of winds in certain circumstances; Marsden Manson (" The Evolution of Climate," American Geologist, 1899, 24, p. 93) has laid stress upon the influence of clouds; but neither of these theories grapples successfully with the fundamental difficulties. Others again have requisitioned the variability in the amount of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere—hypotheses which depend upon the efficiency of this gas as a thermal absorbent. The supply of carbon dioxide may be increased from time to time, as by the emanations from volcanoes (S. Arrhenius and A. G. Hogbom), or it may be decreased by absorption into sea-water, and by the carbonation of rocks. Professor T. C. Chamberlin based a theory of glaciation on the depletion of the carbon dioxide of the air (" An Attempt to frame a Working Hypothesis of the cause of Glacial Periods on an Atmospheric Basis," Jl. Geol., 1899, vii. 752-771; see also Chamberlin and Salisbury, Geology, 19(36, ii. 674 and iii. 432). The outline of this hypothesis is as follows: The general conditions for glaciation were (I) that the oceanic circulation was interrupted by the existence of land; (2) that vertical circulation of the atmosphere was accelerated by continental and other influences; (3) that the thermal blanketing of the earth was reduced by a depletion of the moisture and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and that hence the average temperature of the surface of the earth and of the body of the ocean was reduced, and diversity in the distribution of heat and moisture introduced. The localization of glaciation is assignable to the two great areas of permanent atmospheric depression that have their present centres near Greenland and the Aleutian Islands respectively. The periodicity of glacial advances and retreats, demanded by those who believe in the validity of so-called " interglacial " epochs, is explained by a series of complicated processes involving the alternate depletion and completion of the normal charge of carbon dioxide in the air. Whatever may be the ultimate verdict upon this difficult subject, it is tolerably clear that no simple cause of glacial conditions is likely to be discovered, but rather it will appear that these conditions resulted from the interaction of a complicated series of factors; and further, until a greater degree of unanimity can be approached in the interpretation of observed facts, particularly as regards the substantiality of interglacial epochs, the very foundations of a sound working hypothesis are wanting. Classification of Glacial Deposits—Interglacial Epochs.—Had the deposits of glaciated regions consisted solely of boulder clay little difficulty might have been experienced in dealing with their classification. But there are intercalated in the boulder clays those irregular stratified and partially stratified masses of sand, gravel and loam, frequently containing marine or freshwater shells and layers of peat with plant remains, which have given rise to the conception of "'interglacial epochs " pauses in the rigorous conditions of glaciation, when the ice-sheets dwindled almost entirely away, while plants and animals re-established themselves on the newly exposed soil. Glacialists may be ranged in two schools: those who believe that one or more phases of milder climatic conditions broke up the whole Glacial period into alternating epochs of glaciation and "de-glaciation "; and those who believe that the intercalated deposits represent rather the localized recessional movements of the ice-sheets within one single period of glaciation. In addition to the stratified deposits and their contents, important evidence in favour of interglacial epochs occurs in the presence of weathered surfaces on the top of older boulder clays, which are themselves covered by younger glacial deposits. The cause of the interglacial hypothesis has been most ardently championed in England by Professor James Geikie; who has endeavoured to show that there were in Europe six distinct glacial epochs within the Glacial period, separated by five epochs of more moderate temperature. These are enumerated below: 6th Glacial epoch, Upper Turbarian, indicated by the deposits of peat which underlie the lower raised beaches. 5th Interglacial epoch, Upper Forestian. 5th Glacial epoch, Lower Turbarian, indicated by peat deposits overlying the lower forest-bed, by the raised beaches and carseclays of Scotland, and in part by the Littorina-clays of Scandinavia. 4th Interglacial epoch, Lower Forestian, the lower forests under peat beds, the Ancylus-beds of the great freshwater Baltic lake and the Littorina-clays of Scandinavia. 4th Glacial epoch, Mecklenburgian, represented by the moraines of the last great Baltic glacier, which reach their southern limit in Mecklenburg; the roo-ft. terrace of Scotland and the Yoldia-beds of Scandinavia. 3rd Interglacial epoch, Neudeckian, intercalations of marine and freshwater deposits in the boulder clays of the southern Baltic coasts. 3rd Glacial epoch, Polandian, glacial and fluvio-glacial formations of the minor Scandinavian ice-sheet; and the " upper boulder clay" of northern and western Europe. 2nd Interglacial epoch, Helvetian, interglacial beds of Britain and lignites of Switzerland. 2nd Glacial epoch, Saxonian, deposits of the period of maximum glaciation when the northern ice-sheet reached the low ground of Saxony, and the Alpine glaciers formed the outermost moraines. 1st Interglacial epoch, Norfolkian, the forest-bed series of Norfolk. 1st Glacial epoch, Scanian, represented only in the south of Sweden, which was overridden by a large Baltic glacier. The Chillesford clay and Weybourne crag of Norfolk and the oldest moraines and fluvio-glacial gravels of the Arctic lands may belong to this epoch. In a similar manner Professor Chamberlin and other American geologists have recognized the following stages in the glaciation of North America: The Champlain, marine substage. The Glacio-lacustrine substage. The later Wisconsin (6th glacial). The fifth interglacial. The earlier Wisconsin (5th glacial). The Peorian (4th interglacial). The Iowan (4th glacial). The Sangamon (3rd interglacial). The Illinoian (3rd glacial). The Yarmouth or Buchanan (2nd interglacial). The Kansan (2nd glacial). The Aftonian (1st interglacial). The sub-Aftonian or Jerseyan (1st glacial). Although it is admitted that no strict correlation of the European and North American stages is possible, it has been suggested that the Aftonian may be the equivalent of the Helvetian; the Kansan may represent the Saxonian; the Iowan, the Polandian; the Jerseyan, the Scanian; the early Wisconsin, the Mecklenburgian. But considering how fragmentary is much of the evidence in favour of these stages both in Europe and America, the value of such attempts at correlation must be infinitesimal. This is the more evident when it is observed that there are other geologists of equal eminence who are unable to accept so large a number of epochs after a close study of the local circumstances; thus, in the sub-joined scheme for north Germany, after H. W. Munthe, there are three glacial and two interglacial epochs. ( The Mya time =beech-time. Post-Glacial epoch - The Littorina time = oak-time. The Ancylus time = pine- and birch-time. Including the upper boulder clay, J " younger Baltic moraine " with the 1 Yoldia or Dryas phase in the retrogressive stage. 2nd Interglacial epoch including the Cyprina-clay. 2nd Glacial epoch, the maximum glaciation. 1st Interglacial epoch. 1st Glacial epoch, " older boulder clay." Again, in the Alps four interglacial epochs have been recognized ; while in England there are many who are willing to concede one such epoch, though even for this the evidence is not enough to satisfy all glacialists (G. W. Lamplugh, Address, Section C, Brit. Assoc., York, 1906). This great diversity of opinion is eloquent of the difficulties of the subject; it is impossible not to see that the discovery of interglacial epochs bears a close relationship to the origin of certain hypotheses of the cause of glaciation; while it is significant that those who have had to do the actual mapping of glacial deposits have usually greater difficulty in finding good evidence of such definite ameliorations of climate, than those who have founded their views upon the examination of numerous but isolated areas. Extent of Glacial Deposits.—From evidence of the kind cited above, it appears that during the glacial period a serieA of great ice-sheets covered enormous areas in North America and north-west Europe. The area covered during the maximum extension of the ice has been reckoned at 20 million square kilometres (nearly 8 million sq. m.) in North America and 62 million square kilometres (about 22 million sq. m.) in Europe. In Europe three great centres existed from which the ice-streams radiated; foremost in importance was the region of Fennoscandia (the name for Scandinavia with Finland as a single geological region) ; from this centre the ice spread out far into Germany and Russia and westward, across the North Sea, to the shores of Britain. The southern boundary of the ice extended from the estuary of the Rhine in an irregular series of lobes along the Schiefergebirge, Harz, Thuringerwald, Erzgebirge and Riesengebirge, and the northern flanks of the Carpathians towards Cracow. Down the valley of the Dnieper a lobe of the ice-sheet projected as far as 400 50' N.; another lobe extended down the Don valley as far as 48° N.; thence the boundary runs north-easterly towards the Urals and the Kara Sea. The British Islands constituted the centre second in importance; Scotland, Ireland and all but the southern part of England were covered by a moving ice-cap. On the west the ice-sheets reached out to sea; on the east they were conterminous with those from Scandinavia. The third European centre was the Alpine region; it is abundantly clear from the masses of morainic detritus and perched blocks that here, in the time of maximum glaciation, the ice-covered area was enormously in excess of the shrivelled remnants, which still remain in the existing glaciers. All the valleys were filled with moving ice; thus the Rhone glacier at its maximum filled Lake Geneva and the plain between the Bernese Oberland and the Jura; it even overrode the latter and advanced towards Besancon. Extensive glaciation was not limited to the aforesaid regions, for all the areas of high ground had their independent glaciers strongly developed; the Pyrenees, the central highlands of France, the Vosges, Black Forest, Apennines and Caucasus were centres of minor but still important glaciation. The greatest expansion of ice-sheets was located on the North American continent; here, too, there were three principal centres of outflow: the " Cordilleran " ice-sheet in the N.W., the " Keewatin " sheet, radiating from the central Canadian plains, and the eastern " Labrador " or " Laurentide " sheet. From each of these centres the ice poured outwards in every direction, but the principal flow in each case was towards the south-west. The southern boundary of the glaciated area runs as an irregular line along the 490 parallel in the western part of the continent, thence it follows the Mississippi valley down to its junction with the Ohio (southern limit 370 30' N.), eastward it follows the direction of that river and turns north-eastward in the direction of New Jersey. As in Europe, the mountainous regions of North America produced their own local glaciers; in the Rockies, the Olympics and Sierras, the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, the Uinta Mountains of Utah, &c. Although it was in the northern hemisphere that the most extensive glaciation took place, the effects of a general lowering of temperature seem to have been felt in the mountainous regions of all parts; thus in South America, New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania glaciers reached down the valleys far below the existing limits, and even where none are now to be found. In Asia the evidences of a former extension of glaciation are traceable in the Himalayas, and northward in the high ranges of China and Eastern Siberia. The same is true of parts of Turkestan and Lebanon. I nAf rica also, in British East Africa moraines are discovered 5400 ft. below their modern limit. In Iceland and Greenland, and even in the Antarctic, there appears to be evidence of a former greater extension of the ice. It is of interest to note that Alaska seems to be free from excessive glaciation, and that a remark-able " driftless " area lies in Wisconsin. The maximum glaciation of the Glacial period was clearly centred around the North Atlantic. Glacial Epochs in the Older Geological Periods.—Since Ramsay drew attention to the subject in 1855 (" On the occurrence of angular, subangular, polished and striated fragments and boulders in the Permian Breccia of Shropshire, Worcestershire, &c., and on the probable existence of glaciers and icebergs in the Permian epoch," Q.J.G.S., 1855, pp. 185-205), a good deal of attention has been paid to such formations. It is now generally acknowledged that the Permo-carboniferous conglomerates with striated boulders and polished rock surfaces, such as are found in the Karoo formation of South Africa, the Talkir conglomerate of the Salt Range in India, and the corresponding formations in Australia, represent undeniable 3rd Glacial glacial conditions at that period on the great Indo-Australian continent. A glacial origin has been suggested for numerous other conglomeratic formations, such as the Pre-Cambrian Torridonian of Scotland, and " Geisaschichten " of Norway ; the basal Carboniferous conglomerate of parts of England; the Permian breccias of England and parts of Europe; the Trias of Devonshire; the coarse conglomerates in the Tertiary Flysch in central Europe; and the Miocene conglomerates of the Ligurian Apennines. In regard to the glacial nature of all these formations there is, however, great divergence of opinion (see A. Heim, " Zur Frage der exotischen Blocke in Flysch," Eclogae geologicae Helvetiae, vol. ix. No. 3, 1907, pp. 413-424). (J. A. H.)
End of Article: GLACIAL PERIOD

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