RECORD: Darwin, C. R. Geological diary: North of Wollaston Island. (1-2.1833) CUL-DAR34.184-185a Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, corrections and editing by John van Wyhe 4.2011. RN1

NOTE: This document, part of the largest scientific document composed by Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle, is written mostly in ink. Marginal notes are here integrated into the text.

These notes include records of marine invertebrates.

Editorial symbols used in the transcription:
[some text] 'some text' is an editorial insertion
[some text] 'some text' is the conjectured reading of an ambiguous word or passage
[some text] 'some text' is a description of a word or passage that cannot be transcribed
< > word(s) destroyed
<some text> 'some text' is a description of a destroyed word or passage
Text in small red font is a hyperlink or notes added by the editors.

Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.

See the introduction to the Geological Diary by Gordon Chancellor.


Feb. [1833]

North of Wollaston island. — or 1st isle

The part I landed on. was chiefly trappean rocks of several varieties. — all partially weathered. & one remarkable for the numbers of veins & nodules of opake quartz. — these veins were when large bothen drusy with hexagonal crystals of quartz: in most places the rock had a volcanic look.

from harder rounder & more crystalline masses being imbedded in decomposing base, resembling clay ∴ — in walking westerly came to 2 alternations of large beds of breccia. I only imagine think that the conglomerate dipped in a SE direction beneath the trap. — This conglomerate is most singular & so strongly resembles those in volcanic regions, that if the general feature &c did not disprove

184 verso

it (& the instances of how the trap various forms the trap assumes in Hardy Peninsula.

I should suspect the neighbourhead of a volcano. — As it is I presume it to be a curious instance of similarity between volcanic & trappean rocks:

The breccia contained some enormous angular fragments many yards in circumference. — generally cemented by an earthy soft base. — the constituents were chiefly cistless varieties of greenstone (some of them slaty) (a vesicular looking lava. — & an amygdaloid with carb of lime. & a bright red scorice, which latter was a [brident]:

The marki It is evident the breccia is of the trappean origin & not belonging to the slate & then cut through: —


On the beach were numerous boulders of crystalline rocks of the West, of

I was puzzled to account for them, when I saw on the next point (or rather island) a cliff of alluvium, precisely resembling those of Goree Sound &c.

As Mr Chaffers1 states there is a large extent of it in the deep bay. — (This Bay is I find a passage between several islands & that on each side of these cliffs extend. —) & he mentions the boulders of crystalline rock: —

(NB on the first island there was a part of Guanaco skull, was it brought by the Indians or is it an inhabitant (?)


1 Edward Main Chaffers, Purser of the Beagle.

185 verso

20th February: [1833] —

2d anchorage or central isle of Wollaston island: —

The whole formation (& probably high hills are greywacke, that is angular fragments of slate & greenstone, imbedded & blended in a semicrystalline base: the base becomes in places quite so & feldspathic. — Vide specimens from 1039 — 1042:

In other places there were small beds of sl a very compact slate.

The cleavage of the breccia some runs ESE & WNW. —rock hard with an angular cleavage: — hard sonorous.

Evidently part of the greater slate (rocky) formation & interesting from proximity to the supposed volcanic rocks: being the nearest mountain country to the eastward distance 9 7 miles: —


Collect together — kelp shells — (from extreme S Fuegian hills)

Label: crust [illeg] Hermit
Porcellana do Pelagii color bright red. [note] of legs. & swimming

[arrange] Stick lice from albatross

Arrange insects & lichens from M: Video

Describe fish

Fistularia smooth

Dip of slate to N by E true


Goree Sound

Jan 16th [1833]

The outer point & flat land composed of a flat bed of diluvium — is only flat land of Tierra. del. & sea now reducing it. — form of a compact bed about 60 feet thick greyish earthy clay — containing vast numbers of rounded stone of various sizes — some very large — they primarily consist of slate & greenstone of various sorts — of greywacke containing larje fragments. slate. — quartz. — porphyry — large feldspar — granite. white with black shel: rests on slate. covered with very thick bed

185A verso

bed of peat — luxuriant peat — not formed by the Sphagnum. — Extends some miles West of Goree Island & small similar looks pieces necks of (?) Bay. —

No signs of regular deposition or of any marine deposits: in places protected by a thick bed of shingle in other cut away by the sea: —

From the occurrence of crystalline rocks, the detritus must have come from the W: —

This document has been accessed 1701 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 22 March, 2013