Other problems (992-994).
Why do we find the bones of great fishes and oysters and corals and various other shells and sea-snails on the high summits of mountains by the sea, just as we find them in low seas?
You now have to prove that the shells cannot have originated if not in salt water, almost all being of that sort; and that the shells in Lombardy are at four levels, and thus it is everywhere, having been made at various times. And they all occur in valleys that open towards the seas.
>From the two lines of shells we are forced to say that the earth indignantly submerged under the sea and so the first layer was made; and then the deluge made the second.
[Footnote: This note is in the early writing of about 1470—1480. On the same sheet are the passages No. 1217 and 1219. Compare also No. 1339. All the foregoing chapters are from Manuscripts of about 1510. This explains the want of connection and the contradiction between this and the foregoing texts.]
ON THE ATMOSPHERE.
Constituents of the atmosphere.
That the brightness of the air is occasioned by the water which has dissolved itself in it into imperceptible molecules. These, being lighted by the sun from the opposite side, reflect the brightness which is visible in the air; and the azure which is seen in it is caused by the darkness that is hidden beyond the air. [Footnote: Compare Vol. I, No. 300.]
On the motion of air (996—999).
That the return eddies of wind at the mouth of certain valleys strike upon the waters and scoop them out in a great hollow, whirl the water into the air in the form of a column, and of the colour of a cloud. And I saw this thing happen on a sand bank in the Arno, where the sand was hollowed out to a greater depth than the stature of a man; and with it the gravel was whirled round and flung about for a great space; it appeared in the air in the form of a great bell-tower; and the top spread like the branches of a pine tree, and then it bent at the contact of the direct wind, which passed over from the mountains.
The element of fire acts upon a wave of air in the same way as the air does on water, or as water does on a mass of sand —that is earth; and their motions are in the same proportions as those of the motors acting upon them.
I ask whether the true motion of the clouds can be known by the motion of their shadows; and in like manner of the motion of the sun.
To know better the direction of the winds. [Footnote: In connection with this text I may here mention a hygrometer, drawn and probably invented by Leonardo. A facsimile of this is given in Vol. I, p. 297 with the note: ’Modi di pesare l’arie eddi sapere quando s’a arrompere il tepo’ (Mode of weighing the air and of knowing when the weather will change); by the sponge "Spugnea" is written.]