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out of mud and sand-banks left by the tide, and which sometimes cover great surfaces with the most elaborate tracery, on the modern tidal shores as well as in some of the most ancient rocks. Dendrophycus * of Lesquereux seems to be an example of rill-mark, as well as Aristophycus, Clæphycus, and Zygophycus, of Miller and Dyer, from the Lower Silurian.
Rill-marks occur in very old rocks, but are perhaps most beautifully preserved in the Carboniferous shales and argillaceous sandstones, and even more elaborately on the modern mud - banks of the Bay of Fundy. I Some of these simulate ferns and fronds of Laminariæ, and others resemble roots, fucoids allied to Buthotrephis, or the radiating worm-burrows already referred to (Fig. 10).
Shrinkage-cracks are also abundant in some of the Carboniferous beds, and are sometimes accompanied with impressions of raindrops. When finely reticulated they might be mistaken for the venation of leaves, and, when complicated with little rill-marks tributary to their sides, they pre
Fig. 10.-Carboniferous rillcisely resemble the Dictyolites of mark (Nova Scotia), reHall from the Medina sandstone
duced, to illustrate pre
tended Algæ. (Fig. 11).
An entirely different kind of shrinkage-crack is that which occurs in certain carbonised and flattened plants, and which sometimes communicates to them a marvellous resemblance to the netted under surface of an exogenous leaf. Flattened stems of plants and layers of cortical matter, when carbonised, shrink in such a manner as to produce minute reticulated cracks. These become filled with mineral matter before the coaly substance has been completely consolidated. A further compression occurs, causing the coaly substance to collapse, leaving the little veins of harder mineral matter projecting. These impress their form upon the clay or shale above and below, and thus when the mass is broken open we have a carbonaceous film or thin layer covered with a network of
* “Coal Flora of Pennsylvania,” vol. iii., Plate 88. t“ Journal of the Geological Society," vol. xii., p. 251. “Acadian Geology," 2d ed., p. 26.
raised lines, and corresponding minute depressed lines on the shale in contact with it. The reticulations are generally irregular, but sometimes they very closely resemble the veins of a reticulately veined leaf. One of the most curious speci
mens in my posFig. 11.—Cast of shrinkage cracks (Carbon
session was collectiferous, Nova Scotia), illustrating pretended' Algæ.
ed by Mr. Elder
in the Lower Carboniferous of Ilorton Bluff. The little veins which form the projecting network are in this case white calcite; but at the surface their projecting edges are blackened with a carbonaceous film.
Stickensided bodies, resembling the fossil fruits described by Geinitz as Gulielmites, and the objects believed by Fleming and Carruthers * to be casts of cavities filled with fluid, abound in the shales of the Carboniferous and Devonian. They are, no doubt, in most cases the results of the pressure and consolidation of the clay around small solid bodies, whether organic, fragmentary, or concretionary. They are, in short, local slickensides precisely similar to those found so plentifully in the coal underclays, and which, as I have elsewhere shown, resulted from the internal giving way and slipping of the mass as the roots of Stigmaria decayed within it. Most collectors of fossil plants in the older formations must, I presume, , be familiar with appearances of this kind in connection with small stems, petioles, fragments of wood, and carpolites. I have in my collection petioles of ferns and fruits of the genus Trigonocarpum partially slickensided in this way, and which if wholly covered by this kind of marking could scarcely have been recognised. I have figured bodies of this kind in my report on the Devonian and Upper Silurian plants of Canada, believing them, owing to their carbonaceous covering, to be probably slickensided fruits, though of uncertain nature. In every case I think these bodies must have had a solid nucleus of some sort, as the severe pressure implied in slickensiding is quite incompatible with a mere “fluid-cavity,” even supposing this to have existed.
Prof. Marsh has well explained another phase of the influence of hard bodies in producing partial slickensides, in his paper on Stylolites, read before the American Association in 1867, and the application of the combined forces of concretionary action and slickensiding to the production of the cone-in-cone concretions, which occur in the coal-formation and as low as the Primordial. I have figured a very perfect and beautiful form of this kind from the coal-formation of Nova Scotia, which is described in "Acadian Geology”* (Fig. 12).
* “Journal of the Geological Society,” June, 1871. + Ibid., vol. x., p. 14.
I have referred to these facts here because they are relatively more important in that older period, which may be named the age of Algæ, and because their settlement now will enable us to dispense with discussions of this kind further on. The able memoirs of Nathorst and Williamson should be studied by those who desire further information.
But it may be asked, “Are there no real examples of fossil Algæ?” I believe there are many such, but the diffi
culty is to distinguish them. Confining ourselves to the older rocks, the following may be noted :
The genus Buthotrephis of Hall, which is characterised as having stems, subcylindric
pressed, with numerFig. 12.-Cone-in-cone concretion (Carbon
ous branches, which iferous, Nova Scotia), illustrating pretended Algæ.
are divaricating and
sometimes leaf - like, contains some true Algæ. Hall's B. gracilis, from the Siluro-Cambrian, is one of these. Similar plants, referred to the same species, occur in the Clinton and Niagara formations, and a beautiful species, collected by Col. Grant, of Hamilton, and now in the McGill College collection, represents a broader and more frondose type of distinctly carbonaceous character. It may be described as follows:
Buthotrephis Grantii, S. N. (Fig. 13).-Stems and
Appendix, p. 676, edition of 1878.
fronds smooth and slightly striate longitudinally, with curved and interrupted striæ. Stem thick, bifurcating, the divisions terminating in irregularly pinnate fronds, apparently truncate at the extremities. tity of carbonaceous matter presentwould indicate thick, though perhaps flattened, stems and dense fleshy fronds.
The species Buthotrephis subnodosa and B. flexuosa, from the Utica shale, are also certainly plants, though it is possible, if their structures and fruit were known, some of these might be referred to different genera. All of these plants have either carbonaceous matter or produce organic stains on the matrix.
Fig. 13.—Buthotrephis Grantii, a genuine Alga The organism
from the Silurian, Canada. with diverging wedge-shaped fronds, described by Hall as Sphenothallus angustifolius, is also a plant. Fine specimens, in the collection of the Geological Survey of Canada, show dis