RECORD: Darwin, C. R. Geological diary: C. Virgins. (1.1834) CUL-DAR34.186-187 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, 2015. RN3

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.

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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.


C. Virgins

Jan. 26th. [1834] Lower 5/8 of cliff blue-grey fine grained substance. — Above earthy & white matter curved & tortuouslt interstratified — as also it is with the lower bed — the bronw earthy looking bed of twisting white lines with shells or pebbles —

I could see no gravel

Plain very level 150 (?) 200 feet high

Mt Aymond porphyry

On north side of first narrow high table land wh runs & becoming more irregular to Aymond from Cape Gregory shore of actual narrow & uneven on both sides & appears like white alluvium with pebbles?

St of Magellan

it is a gut of 300 feet in traversed valley which runs between Cape Gregory table land (probably north of Skyring Water) & hills in Tierra del Fuego

Slate? — Range not NE & SW? —

186 verso

St of Magellan formed before upheaval of Oyster bed by deficiency of deposit caused by water of ocean setting through wider entrance of Obstruction Sound. Skyring Water — &c &c

Bay of St Gregory. — Indians say there is high level plain with little gravel. —

Sweepstake Foreland, high perpendicular cliffs white.


with horizontal lines but one marked one oblique. —

on opposite point sand or fine matter covered by white bed which has cut into it


[sketch] white sand

High land behind C Gregory stretches but in broken pieces oblong, falls of much to the West

Pebbles at beach Cape Gregory those of Tierra del F slate &c

Cape Monmouth range slate?

Elizabeth same as other headlands

direction of land impressed when communication was open between Otway water & Straits. —

Capt King however about parallelism of hills, islands & straits, all consequent on Sts. —

Action of sea on coast in the upper parts much stronger before the 500 feet elevation of Patagonia. —

187 verso

Jan. 30th. [1834] — The cliffs of Elizabeth are about 100 feet high, composed of white detritus earth with angular & semi-rotted pieces of rock chiefly slates & hornblende rock, also some syenite, white quartz & greenish & yellowish feldspathic rock. — few masses pieces larger than a man head. — not arranged in the slightest order; after an irregular mass, there will perhaps be a bed of arranged gravel, then other mass with signs of deposition. —

generally upper parts show most of the latter action. — At the foot present sea, many boulders of syenite & greenstone. from the cliffs?? — It is evident this Martha Ids Sweepstake Foreland opposite coast. — both orders of 1st narrow part of same & continuous formation (Hence Guanaco &c). — No porphyry pebbles ([sign for therefore] anterior deposit? or the above have not reached this far South? — Valley of Sts of Magellan bounded by Gregory & Monmouth plains, filled up by sudden aluvium, lowest part present course. — Curious resemblance with detritus of B. Channel & Goree sounds, also from the West rocks. — This great alluvial plain, has chiefly been subject to alluvial action. —

Did it happen at elevation of country, water rushing through the channel of Magellan & Beagle & leaving at most entries great beds. —

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

File last updated 27 November, 2015