RECORD: Darwin, C. R. Geological diary: Chili (appendix). (2-6.1835) CUL-DAR36.436-437 Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, corrected and edited by John van Wyhe 6-8.2011. RN1

NOTE: This document, part of the largest scientific document composed by Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle, is written mostly in ink. Where pencil was used instead this is noted in the textual notes. Marginal notes are here integrated into the text. See the Beagle Diary pp. 553 and following.

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.


1835 Appendix p 54. — Chili

conjointly have f determined "the deposition of the great slopes which compose the polyedrical surface of the plains" Vol V P 1 p 4501 Phenomena —which Humboldt has so admirably explained in his discussion on the intertrenchings of the Orinoco & Amazons. —

He states, that the basin of the former seems primarily confounded with that of the latter.

The junction of the basin takes place, as the analogy from Deltas would suggest, where the the ground is exceedingly horizontal. This happens in the space included between the long slope from the Cordilleras of New Grenada & the shorter counterslope from the Sierra Parime. —

Does not this remarkable equality in the configuration of the ground arise from the long & tranquil residence of an ocean? Where by the gradual rise of the land, the Sierra Parime first existed as a large island, did not its degradation from the counterslope & subsequently. the level region, where the waters of the two great rivers could intermingle? — It is only by such considerations, that it is possible to explain "the analogous & very remarkable example, which Hungary

1 Humboldt 5 part 1 p. 450.

436 verso

The foregoing pages with their propriety ought solely to apply to formation of land in S. America. This last sheet generally. —


1835 Appendix P. 54

furnishes of rivers, which rising to the S of a chain of mountains belong to the hydraulic system of its northern declivity."1 — With respect to the great influence, which my examination of S. America, has induced me to grant to a retiring ocean, in determining the configuration of the land: it must be remembered, the more remote the epoch of the two first causes, the less will the evidence the of their power grow. —

The long possession by a river of its valley, will make its claims of being the sole labourer in the work of excavation more plausible. —

From this cause the converse of this happening in Chili I have ventured to describe minutely, what I there observed in Chili & still more boldly I have ventured to generalize the results. —

1 Humboldt 5 part 1 p. 459.

437 verso

page 1. red note Book1

A chain of islands formed Sumatra like Chile must once have been. —

1 Apparently a note to p. 1 of the Red notebook (excised and not located).

This document has been accessed 957 times

Return to homepage

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

File last updated 2 July, 2012