The Elements of Geology eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 384 pages of information about The Elements of Geology.

In New York the “salt pans” of the Salina extended over an area one hundred and fifty miles long from east to west and sixty miles wide, and similar salt marshes occurred as far west as Cleveland, Ohio, and Goderich on Lake Huron.  At Ithaca, New York, the series is fifteen hundred feet thick, and is buried beneath an equal thickness of later strata.  It includes two hundred and fifty feet of solid salt, in several distinct beds, each sealed within the shales of the series.

Would you expect to find ancient beds of rock salt inclosed in beds of pervious sandstone?

The salt beds of the Salina are of great value.  They are reached by well borings, and their brines are evaporated by solar heat and by boiling.  The rock salt is also mined from deep shafts.

Similar deposits of salt, formed under like conditions, occur in the rocks of later systems down to the present.  The salt beds of Texas are Permian, those of Kansas are Permian, and those of Louisiana are Tertiary.

The Mississippi valley.  The heavy near-shore formations of the Silurian in the Appalachian region thin out toward the west.  The Medina and the Clinton sandstones are not found west of Ohio, where the first passes into a shale and the second into a limestone.  The Niagara limestone, however, spreads from the Hudson River to beyond the Mississippi, a distance of more than a thousand miles.  During the Silurian period the Mississippi valley region was covered with a quiet, shallow, limestone-making sea, which received little waste from the low lands which bordered it.

The probable distribution of land and sea in eastern North America and western Europe is shown in Figure 287.  The fauna of the interior region and of eastern Canada are closely allied with that of western Europe, and several species are identical.  We can hardly account for this except by a shallow-water connection between the two ancient epicontinental seas.  It was perhaps along the coastal shelves of a northern land connecting America and Europe by way of Greenland and Iceland that the migration took place, so that the same species came to live in Iowa and in Sweden.

The western united states.  So little is found of the rocks of the system west of the Missouri River that it is quite probable that the western part of the United States had for the most part emerged from the sea at the close of the Ordovician and remained land during the Silurian.  At the same time the western land was perhaps connected with the eastern land of Appalachia across Arkansas and Mississippi; for toward the south the Silurian sediments indicate an approach to shore.


In this brief sketch it is quite impossible to relate the many changes of species and genera during the Silurian.

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The Elements of Geology from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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