RECORD: Darwin, C. R. Geological diary: Magdalen Island & Cape Negro. (1-2.1834) CUL-DAR34.188-189 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. RN2

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.

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.


Jan. 31st. [1834] Magdalen Island & Cape Negro

Alluvium — [Possession] & Cape Virgins?

Magdalen Islands marks a good step in proving the original junction of N. & S. Tierra del Fuego. —

Cape Negro. — Cliffs more than 100 feet (150?) — very white alluvium in curved strata: inter-folding with dark gravel. —

I saw one very large block which had evidently fallen from the alluvium

gravel same as Elizabeth Island. — (Cape Virgins not much whiter). — Mr Stokes thinks that gravel bed extends to St. Cruz but not to Gallegos. ? —

(Feb: 1st) [1834] From Shoal Harbor to Skyring water. all alluvium, a highish bed not affected with alluvial. — Beagles hills I should think. true Patagonia: I could see a blue broken lines from them towards Gregory Hills. — Pinto Land, high rough mountains

High land does not come very close on SW coast

188 verso

of FitzRoy channel. — Cape [Graves] same nature as Beagle Hills

table land lofty. — Many great block in Shoal harbor (same date with that at St Sebastian?): there generally is at Cape Negro not very much rounded. — In alluvial cliffs same character but many rounded. —

I can fancy in great rush of detritus with earthy matter, partial more rapid currents. bearing gravels, & forms curved plates amongst the softer matter. —

Hills about 5 miles to the South of cape Negro, are rounded wooded saddle backs. — in short parallel ridges. running about NW & SE. —

Capt FitzRoy Beagle channel hills FitzRoy channel. — many small pebbles country like Port Desire. 500 feet elevation

(11th) [February 1834] I clearly see that even the summit of the elevated range of the Monmouth hills, is white soft porphyry


like argillaceous beds, summit Port Desire.

Also on the other side the same at least as far South as Fresh-water bay. — (hills marked on chart) between 1 & 2000 feet high. — behind fresh water bay slate hills. — Whole patches showing clearly, behind sandy point. —

12th [February 1834] Cliffs N S Gracia.

West side of 2d narrow, 160 feet high generally white sandy clay. — with covering few black layers of fine gravel. — shedded irregularly with pebbles from an nut to the size of head. — angular rounded — some quite round. some angular: same as before: — upper part with most stone. — one single one 4 feet diameter showing. —

like Cape Virgins (coast between C. Virgins & Gallegos broken) in the highest part but covered with vegetable earth.

Limpets & muscles as before.

Great boulders left in Shoal Harbor

Probably oyster formation was thinner here

189 verso

great western openings, that during an elevation rush water cuts through the bottom & deposited without order the mass. — [illeg] — what was then elevated few feet above the surface: there

(if we can suppose such — bed quiet deposit tanto mejor)

the Guanaco & foxes walked over another gravel elevation & body of water rushed from Skyring water or being layers great boulders & cutting a channel in a NE & SW line. — then common the action of stronger current & tides. forming channel as now. — All this applies to Beagle Channel. —

= at the foot of cliff, some blocks. (high water, one of quartz rock. & no at 1..8 specimen circum 14.8. — [sketch]: another said oval. no. D 1.3. same circum: many some half & many 1/2 size. — Washed from Alluvium? or brought by tides? —

This document has been accessed 4570 times

Return to homepage

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

File last updated 2 July, 2012