RECORD: Gordon Chancellor and John van Wyhe eds. Coquimbo notebook. [English Heritage 88202336] (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Gordon Chancellor, transcription typed and checked against the microfilm by Kees Rookmaaker 4.2007, corrections by Chancellor 5.2007, editing by John van Wyhe 5.2007, corrected against colour photographs by van Wyhe 7-8.2007. Transcription revised and edited by van Wyhe 6-12.2008. RN5

The Beagle field notebooks have been published in:

Gordon Chancellor and John van Wyhe eds. with the assistance of Kees Rookmaaker. 2009. Charles Darwin's notebooks from the voyage of the Beagle. [Foreword by Richard Darwin Keynes]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

NOTE: This 12 x 10 cm notebook is bound in red leather with the border blind embossed: the brass clasp is intact. The front of the notebook has a label of cream-coloured paper (6.0 x 3.5 cm) with 'Valparaiso to Coquimbo. Coquimbo valley' written in ink. The paper is yellow edged. It has 136 pages between the covers. The text was written in one sequence (pp. 1-132); pp. 133-6 have been excised.

The notebook covers dates from 27 April to 26 May 1835.

Reproduced with the permission of English Heritage (Darwin Collection at Down House) and William Huxley Darwin.

General introduction to the Beagle Field Notebooks.

Chronological register to the notebooks

Introduction to the Coquimbo notebook

[front cover]

[inside front cover]

[Printed label:]



So prepared as effectually to secure the writing from erasure; — with a METALLIC PENCIL, the point of which is not liable to break.

The point of the pencil should be kept smoothly scraped flat & in writing it should be held in the manner of a common Pen.

Charles Darwin

H.M.S. Beagle

Oliva 2 [Penus]


Pecten [mien]

[Granitic] blocks

[Trigona] inclined strata

Bones no [petrel] drift pebbles high up.

NE — [lan] NW dip SW


14/ 179 / 14



[page 1]

27th — (Monday) [April 1835] Started from Valparaiso: farewell look — smokeless — (perfumed) red — bare hills — picturesque: passed through highly auriferous country to near Limache — supporting or the gold near all the streams a scattered people: Like Plazilla. but more earthy sandstones pebbles — certain layers appear auriferous — so that sort of mines are excavated: Country like the C. Verds so brown & bare: — in great want of rain: — I saw 2 paps very small of granite & syenite: —

28th — Tuesday [April 1835] — passed Limache & Umiri to south foot of Bell

[page 2]

found strata of amn crystal; without distinct crystals of green rock with green patches, alternating with some of the regular purple PB & dipping South high ∠ covered by considerable mass of altered slate like summit chiefly pale without trace of crystal & part of which has a brecciated blended structure: skirts of very foot composed of harsh whitish, Euritic, but chiefly quartz rock (with large veins of do). gre resembling parts of Cuesta1 on road to St Jago; & certain aspect of being part of granitic formation although not seen in Cordill: I have no doubt the Por. Br. overlies the

1 Spanish for slope, escarpment.

[page 3]

gneiss — auriferous: what connection? Copper mines on SE slope of Bell:

Due South a considerable hill perhaps running E & W of Syenitic Granite with some Mica: in which has been a Silver mine — Mem:

Gold in Prado. Caldcleugh1

Loadstone & Quicksilver mine —

Lodged at Chacia — ugly people as most Chilenos — produce of garden & Chacia support Inhabitants a great number of small


29th Wednesday [April 1835] — from beyond Umire — (quicksilver mine is at Caleo) to Quillota short day — passed over —

decomposing hills of granite— gneiss with trappean veins — which manifestly fringe

1 Caldcleugh 1825, 2: 43.

[page 4]

the foot of the West Bell: as beyond Umire — Corn much dearer than at Valparaiso — from the entire want of capital agree to sell their corn for so much before crop, to buy necessaries &c &c — first rain very light shower during last night. —

Thursday 30th [April 1835] — Passed Chilicauquen. perhaps most beautiful view I have seen in Chili — Cordilleras Winter covering — granitic platform of Valparaiso — Chilicupu E & W range — perhaps melted rocks — country to Plazilla ugly low, brown undulating —

[page 5]

nice village rested there — Shortly before decomposed granitic rock — Just beyond village form of Bay — immense quantities of broken shells — close to Catapilco again in very many places. hill tops thickly covered with layers of broken shells — many Donaxes;1 in road finely comminuted — very sandy soil. — not blown by wind because packed in layers — in many places I should think certainly 300 ft

1 Marine clams of the genus Donax.

[page 6]

sides of these hills — or valley — these layers could in quantities like Iniaquin

May 1st Friday [1835] — Catapilco to valley of Lingua — much granitic rock generally — decomposed — some — syenitic — much quartzose Granular fine rock with green spots Valley of Lingua fringed by exceedingly also obscure 2d plain levels plain of some height — form like Valdivia apparently composed of pebbles, extends (with broad flat, numerous Patagonian formed valleys) like well come to Longotomo Hence Valley of this little rivulet

[page 7]

grand broad, formed on South side by the [gravel] plain — yet bottom & North side could with immense quantities of comminuted shells — said by Guasso1 (in all parts of valley) to be "Diluvium" —

Here valley marine —

1 & ½ league from sea —

Barren ride dotted — trees scarcer replaced by the Bromelias moderately few small inhabited valleys — At (Tilla[ped].) Granitic hills apparently capped by stratified (P. Breccia ?

1 Chilean equivalent of Argentinean or Uruguayan gaucho.

[page 8]

Saturday 2d or 3? [May 1835] On the North Slope of valley of Longotomo to the height of I should think 200 ft — plenty immense quantities of shells excepting in road not much broken, chiefly Donax; showing that even side ravines are formed by sea; after passing over some more granitic we come to green crystalline rock even in one case porphyritic with Feldspar: altered slate. we then come to true Blue

[page 9]

Slate — Beyond Guachen — on the Beach is seen to alternate with thin layers of sandstone & a pale rotten slate — some compact purple slate — auriferous quartz veins — dip to E by N about 40º — also a cross sort of cleavage dipping North.— The Slate is smoothed over into a low plain with pebbles which abuts against a less regular one — & behind round mountains — The Slate is continued whole way to

[page 10]

Quilimar, an irregular platform. studded over with curious abrupt cones & broken paps — These consist of that kind of Greywacke where fragments almost blend in each other — fragments occasionally of a large size very compact — other paps of a slate almost become a greenstone: All very hard rocks — origin of this structure common in granitic countries is explained by the equally numerous peaks

[page 11]

on coast surrounding by roaring Breakers — spaces between paps very level, like little Bays or coves — universal East dip — excepting in these massive paps: — Scenery rather curiously broken, with Bromelias — stems, dead like brooms, like Agave or Yucca — Shells in valley of Quilimar, but this is not above a mile from the sea — some of the Clay-Slate glossy — is connected with quartzose rocks

— Dyke N & S

[page 12]

Sunday 3d [May 1835] (1 Brecciated Slate — South foot of Bell of 2

(2 & 3) — altered green slates 3 4 Breccia like P.=B= (5) — do compact jaspery Quilimar to Conchalee. — On the road there was less true Clay-Slate the paps not quite so numerous. composed either altered crystalline green slate (now Trappean) (2 & 3) which I saw, in one place becoming truly Porphyritic — & many of a purple very compact. conch: fract., brecciated rock (4) structure same as what I have called green blending

[page 13]

Greywacke: fragments generally small & some some rocks almost jaspery in nature of same purplish color (5). also one quartzose pap.

— Paps probably upheaved & rounded by Breakers on Beach — At a point of Conchalee, we find true granitic formation, but forming a most singular intricate mass of dykes & distinct masses (junctions violent) of different Granite 1s most common is a soft decomposing syenite — with much green mineral sometimes true [Quinca] & sometimes

[page 14]

Hornblende. — structure like Gneiss of Valparaiso but no cleavage: a white compact (Euritic) quartzose granite, smaller dykes & proceeding from masses. — & black almost pure Hornblendic rock inter[leaved] with thin granitic veins. — These rocks appear to have burst through a Porph greenstone Base like the altered Slates. —

In a point to the North we again have the Slate, such as (2 & 3). —

Hence altered Slates explained = The above

[page 15]

rocks are just like the Porph= Breccia & greenstone of Cordilleras excepting less Porph. —

At Close before Conchalee, two plains most distinct. lower one 50-80 ft above sea — also a lower one a little above sea. — The 50-80 one covered by immense quantities of large Concholepas = Venus & Donax — This puts question beyond doubt if there had been any: great sea in Chili. 1831 — much dryer

[page 16]

here than in Valparaiso — hardly expect any rain till end of May —

All think Beagle Smuggler — complained of want of confidence — features of country same. — No cattle.—

Monday 4th. [May 1835] Conchalee to Illapel. various Granitic & Syenitic in the lower ravines beautiful Granite, fine black scales of Mica: a miner described the mine of Las Vacas as occurring in this rock — Cuesta of Las Vacas lower parts chiefly Feldspar & Quartz, & much harsh rocks — Euritic & Quartzose, as in the Prado: higher up a small

[page 17]

crystallised Syenite (which also happens in the Prado ) Feldspar singularly apt to decompose.) = This Cuesta has a considerable elevation, probably 2000 ft runs about ENE & WSW. this seems rather a common direction there are some also N & S. — All irregular = on the N=Eastern slope many dykes of blackish-greenish close-grained crystalline rocks, just like Prado — all much decomposed. Hill certainly of a syenitic character: There was some little of the Porphyry with plates = crystals of Feldspar. But a whole road to Illapel, in bottom

[page 18]

of all the valleys. we have fine grand [masse] of well developed Syenite — & those white porphyries which we have seen associated in Andes — In C of Las Vacas copper mines. = Valleys of Chuapa B. of Illapel, with very high plains of gravel, on each side of rivers. = Crossed to day considerable stream of Chuapa — glimpse of Cordilleras = I believe trees like Chili — soil peak of Chuapa = Valley of Illapel, town pretty extraordinary contrast of the point — like green of Alfarfa fields & turnpike road hill on each side. a hedge separating the colors: Governor of Illapel formerly [days] extraordinary arbitrary character — honest people. honestly distributed in district

[page 19]

Tuesday 5th [May 1835] Ascended hills NW of Illapel All Syenitic, sometimes granitic accordingly as black mica preponderated over fine crystals of Hornblende with quartz — varying suddenly from coarse to very fine grained = feldspar white almost powdery in some cases — much Hornblende or Chlorite with Feldspar without quartz (6). Will such be called Syenite. — Generally little quartz in all the Syenites excepting in some parts of C. of Vacas = Dykes of close-grained dark greenstone = Metalliferous & grand copper vein running N by W & S by E; more than one parallel — containing much micaceous iron ore (7): — The syenite near vein differed suddenly in the degree of fineness — In some parts

[page 20]

of hills. Hornblende black & glossy — generally green = Staid at Illapel whole day rest animals — bivouaced at cottage making a screen with horse — rugs & purchasing fire wood & provisions. cloudy gloomy windy day — leaves falling. Winter — Oh the difference with England! —

Wednesday 6th [May 1835] Illapel to Los Hornos; we proceeded at first rather NEasterly & met a good deal of true Granite: after this very much Syenite, & those mixtures of white Feldspar & Hornblende; saw many several Copper Mines. — We proceeded thus far some way till at last we came to a crystalline stratified greenish rock — [after] this purple

[page 21]

Porphyries, & then the Road ascending a hill we had true coarse Porph. Breccia in abundance. Saw some of the white rock brecciated soft rock. Such as in the Valley of Maypo = The stream in this part is highly auriferous. = The strata dipped to about NE at a small angle. — we therefore (Travelling N & S) crossing the line obliquely. — The green rocks were certainly the lowest. —

As the strata here in the

[page 22]

first escarpement were of a considerable thickness. the denudation from Syenite to west must have been very great: — After passing for some time through a broken (instead of as before rounded country) of the P. Breccia we came to an undulating open piece of ground where I found hillocks much water [worn] of a pale friable light porous earth, containing in layers of Silenite patches & mamillated

[page 23]

clay centres: thin layers of Calcareous tufa — metallic patches. —

Salitra patches.

Hence water bad. — thinly stratified reposing on, conformably & dipping ∠ 30-20 to NE, apparently covered by P. Breccia —

immense thickness, which appears to vary — associated with siliceous sandstone & purplish crystalline Limestone ?—

Appear to S traversing the mountains, which

[page 24]

are lofty we crossed this NW & SE band in a NNW & SSE direction. — Mine Earth — Cordilleras road — miners — front coloured base — small Scarlet cap — extraordinary wide trousers. — & officers broad parti-coloured belt — party all on horseback — four men carried body for about 200 yard as hard as they could run, four on horseback darted in front change in min second, very quick travelling, uncouth shouts — such a funeral — remarkably brown

[page 25]

men — the miners — like Sailors in extravagance. =

The gypseous earth, full of pores, friable in the fingers. —

Thursday 7th [May 1835] — (7) White softish aluminous stone, which passes by every shade into (8) & (9) latter exceptionally abundant laminated — translucent like Uspallata (10) — still more altered (11) black siliceous rock (basis of Breccia Pitchstone) (12-13) other varieties of do (14. 15) Compact & laminated light green indurated & luminous rock, like Uspallata (16) fine grained brown siliceous rock—

[page 26]

(17) Extraneous particles quartz [formed] by white aluminous base

(18) do ferruginous base

(19) white, hard, (non cryst) earth Calcareous stone Tosca

(20) Green extran particles? crystalline structure

(21) Green Porphyry

(22) Syenite — like do — associated with latter

(23) silenite & copper ore

(24) Gold ore. —

[page 27]

Porph Breccia Mines Tertiary Porph Gypsum Gypsum High Hills NW by W Porph Breccia

[page 28]

Again examined junction of Gypseous formation & Porph-Breccia — find that they are decidedly conformable some where about dip 20º —

30 — The gypseous formation, or rather it — recognised by a broad band of whitish soft stone, is properly contained in a whitish white

aluminous stone, soft & easily decomposed into a friable pale earth — such as (7) — This generally in parts passes into a laminated rock such as (8 & 9) in every degree of softness: Such beds bound join on to the P. Breccia.

[page 29]

This latter near junction is only a compact purple, or greenish sandstone, precisely like those at Incas bridge High up. — I believe from fragments there are some strata of coarse conglomerates. These are thinly stratified: they rest on such varieties as seen at Incas bridge of partially crystalline Sandstone & beneath [it] to the West we have the true Porph-Breccia of the Gypseous formation, amongst the lowest beds. I noticed some of the green rock (14) which

[page 30]

will be [mentioned] & some harsh hard siliceous grey rocks of same structure as a very common Rock one to be mentioned, mingled in masses veins with calcareous tufa; but the main rock is this aluminous softish Slate. — The P. Breccia close to junction traversed by dyke — I should state that the Gypseous form crosses country NW by W & SE by E — When well within the Gypseous formation appearance has been described —

[page 31]

specimen (23) Is not Characteristic too compact — Copper ore probably from some metallic vein. —

All the waters just like those in Uspallata range —

I saw one place where this substance was traversed & curiously contorted by a [pap] of green base Porphyry white Feldspar crystals. — here all the Gypsum was white fine grained non transparant like in Cordilleras: many pure layers some inches thick — worked — (Mem in Cordilleras frequent association of Gypsum & Alumen) Is this an accident

[page 32]

or rather the effect of heat? I found in another place a small anticlinal line, produced by a white Feldspathic dyke on the North Boundary of Gypsum in the aluminous slate: — On the NE boundary we find the associated aluminous Slate or stone dipping still generally to NE by N, right beneath a mass of strata which I consider Tertiary or anyhow as same as Uspallata — The Gypseous district from soft [nature] now removed from great basin, but

[page 33]

to N & S is seen [conformably] in the high mountains of P Breccia — In the Gypseous form we see particularly in NW corner of it the effects of the Porph = injected Hills — & the Strata accordingly show much irregularities & opposite dips — but on a large scale especially in SE part the NE dip is the characteristic one: So return above the Aluminous Slate we have a great mass of thinly stratified rocks, which almost at first inspection

[page 34]

I recognised a not very easily explicable resemblance. —

These strata are most wonderfully torn with Hills Paps of Porphyry & more so with a network of Metallic veins — All this occurs chiefly in NW corner where I most examined strata. — The rocks vary much — Next to the & are here much altered — Next to the hard Aluminous

Slates thinness of strata alternate — which even become such as (10) & remind one of Uspallata we have a jet black very siliceous rock such as (11)

[page 35]

This is thinly stratified & very common contains masses & traversed together with Alum slate with large veins of Crystall Carb of Lime, such as in Uspall. also some little agate (12 & 13 other specimens) — & quartz — I saw in one instance layers of calcareous tufa — partially like Tosca rock. Alternate with it — Is remarkably by in a few spots passing into Pitchstone & containing precisely as in Uspall brecciated Pitchstone (This first made me suspect similarity of origin) — identity complete: —

[page 36]

Also clear impression of short pieces of horizontal branches of trees:

— I doubt whether any part of the world can produce such immense quantities of silicified blackened, often metalliferous wood as here lies scattered, many of the pieces appear in form like the root = stumps — being many feet in diameter — All so very much altered as to require lens to recognise character — excepting when external shape is preserved. The specimen like necklace

[page 37]

structure was common. —

Mem. quantities of Silic = wood — unaltered near St Jago & Plazilla= patches of Sandstone — Excepting where igneous action has hardened Tertiary strata, they do not remain.

There is a good deal of a compact green rock, sometimes laminated, which reminded me of Uspallata (14-15)

(16) brown siliceous Sandstone — others where the distinct grains of quartz are very visible — (17 + 18) Extraneous Particles are cemented together by Aluminous & ferruginous particles

[page 38]

These are abundant — Some little (19) white calcareous earthy stone = other layers assumed a partially crystalline structure, but are really sedimentary (20) — The trees = Brecc Pitch = Green-stones — some of the Aluminous Slates — & those with Extraneous particles, but chiefly a general structure recalled Uspallata to my mind. — These beds (near to the injected Porph Hills) contain an infinite number of metallic veins chiefly Copper & a little Gold — both similar to

[page 39]

what occurs in Uspall. — The best veins run from N by W to NW. — They are equally worked (but I think in less number) in the injected Porph: The Copper ore is associated with immense quantities of most brilliant micaceous black Iron ore — ((used as flux) miners black as in coal) just like vein in Syenite of Illapel — This substance traverses all the lateral crevices & sides of veins — Thus we see here & in Uspallata, strata most

[page 40]

worked on the more patches which adhere to the injected rocks. I believe these strata do not alternate with Lava —

Specimen of Gold ore (24)

As may be seen in map, the NW end of band of Gypsum & Tertiary Strata is almost broken off by Hills of Porphyry, these strata sewing up more [area] between them, this also occurs to the NE or [point] dip — at this point apparently beyond the lines of Porphyry, there

[page 41]

come a [first] lofty escarpement of Porphy — Brec dipping to NE — The Porphyries are closely connected with Syenite, are greenish with white Cryst of Feldspar & green specks of Hornblende such as (21), & these pass into what I consider Syenite (22), Although Quartz does

not seem present — black angular fragments, plates of Epidote. — straight or largely conch — fracture — These rocks form paps & some dykes in all parts of the NW corner & cause the strata to dip in every direction; large masses

[page 42]

with an undulating outline having burst through the lower strata, lie & contort the black rock with trees. — Although the main dip is directly toward the line of hills to the NE, yet at their foot in places, an anticlinal (or NW) dip will be seen. — The strata being softer, valley are formed between paps of Porph = which are thus only fringed with Tertiary strata & in

[page 43]

such are richest mines — One of the best marked included line of Paps runs NNW to SSE. — one pap Much of the Porphyry deviates from the character of specimen, which perfect sorts only occur in main larger paps I suspect from fragments, & form, Porph, Brecc caps parts of NE line of hills. Mr Caldcleugh remarked similarity of Gold ore of Uspallata & Coquimbo All the mines this side of Cueli de los Hornos called Los Hornos

[page 44]

To return to Porph: some of the paps — are composed of a purple Claystone Porph (like P. Brec & that near houses of Uspall) also a compact green base, with Epidote white & pink crystals of Feldspar, very pretty — this had a coarse brecciated structure, like some Lava — interstices chiefly filled up by Crystall Carb of Lime — Must nearly have burst out of Volcanos — if not actually so — These Porph paps indiscriminately have burst through

[page 45]

the Gypseous & Tertiary. — Some of the hillocks of Porph & Tertiary are drilled through & [every] direction by chiefly parallel mines — like bank with Rabbits The Gypseous & Aluminous soft slates of immense thickness seen to South I am certain of age of P. Breccia & of Tertiary — I am certain Gypseous is conformable (seen in range of transverse mountain to S of Basin) I feel little doubt Gypseous by degrees passes into lower beds

[page 46]

of Tertiary — I strongly suspect that Gypseous corresponds to highest beds of Andes — Consequence is evident — that here there has been no interruption in deposition — there then has been — It also proves what I suspected, posteriority (Mem: identity of Copper vein in Syenite) posteriority of outer lines of mountains) It is manifest that the NE dip, is the regular one — the other only depending on Paps &

[page 47]

the NE chain, over which has had no general effect — Staid whole day — interesting Geology dined in little Rancho mining hut — good dinner, pumpkin bean — [kian] pepper grease, onions — roasted Pumpkin — Remarkably brown color of the miners (& often curious expression of eyes?) — Very Hot the sun although now winter The black siliceous rock contains much Iron — It is certain that [Gap] is between the soft A Slates, that these alternate with Tertiary & overlie confor the red sandstones

[page 48]

These Tert-strata being without old pebbles — worthy of remark & easily explicable. —

Friday 8th [May 1835] — (25) White Aluminous stone various fractured cleavage (26). Variety abundant of the Syenite

(27) Almost jaspery, small brecciated rock — now porphyritic — (28). Sandstone or rather base of P.B purple with specks of almost Crystall Limestone I noticed that much of the white aluminous rocks such as (25) &c &c has a shattered fracture, & is exceedingly like some of the rock of Uspallata; especially where near a

[page 49]

Veta it is traversed by network of ferruginous threads, as well as micaceous iron ore. —

The arch (A.) of Tert formation runs along way up to the North, & full of mines, it is a mere strip, rises to some height up the Cuesta — in a similar manner as to the west another creek was yesterday seen on other side of group of Porph-Hills — I see the main Porph Pap (B) has on its top & East side a quantity of very Porph. Brecc, of a greenish color, patches stained green with Epidote, & purple with lines

[page 50]

of fragments parallel — It is probable that these have been carried up on the top of Porph — through Gypsum & Tertiary strata — In all this mineral — although many mines are worked in the Porphyries the greater number are in the Tertiary strata: — The Cuesta at head of last creek (of Hornos) is formed by (E & W) mass of the greenish Porphyries already described. The tops of which are in places capped with (as I supposed with Porph Breccia:

[page 51]

The road pursuing a North course passes through a grand long district of these Poprphyries & mountains & Syenite such as specimens — there is much white quartzose??? Syenite as (26) — We then come see on Paps to P.B formation dipping NE. & afterwards, road bending a little Easterly enters same formation dipping Easterly; hence I imagine a North & South range of Syenite bends at

[page 52]

the Cuesta de los Hornos E & W & afterwards continues its course about NW & SE

Los Hornos Tertiary

The formation of Porph Breccia was very extensive of which we now entered — near Combarbala, the Red Sandstone

[page 53]

becomes thinly stratified & contains agate, much & cryst Carb of Lime: they are jaspery & very red: — Close South of the town, I examined strata. Found a br red compact, conch: fract almost jaspery rock (27) with small [n] brecciated structure & [Basis] of the Claystone Porphyry sonorous & brittle: above there came a very red sandstone with white specks (28) almost crystall of Lime, & white nodules of do; this rock had the appearance to an extraordinary degree of mass of ∠r & round pebbles

[page 54]

basis same as pebbles, at first looking like the common Porph: The angular pebbles & nodules of opake Limestone made me suspect it was not true Conglomerate — Above this came great mass of white often carious, opake cherty rock — (in some spots interlined with red sandstone): All these beds dipped to S a partial disturbance, apparently owing to a pap of the same greenish Porphyry, which

[page 55]

I found at base of escarpement: yet here there are no mines!! These beds come high in the series of P.B. formation. — Remarkable for their harshness hardness — redness & want of Porph-structure. — Is the East great Escarpement of stratified rocks under which these appeared to dip. & beyond them other Escarpement — (thus all face W) which by color &c appeared to contain much syenite

[page 56]

These varieties of P.B formation differ a little but not essentially from any I have seen. — Pebbles of red cellular rock & Black Basaltic, probably Volcanic Including the Escarpement W of the town, probably three coast-wards Mountainous, barren country, dog, describe method bivouacing, small & here always pretty looking town [illeg] In the creek I found some of the strata dipping at an ∠º of about 60º —

[page 57]

Saturday 9th [May 1835] About half way to Punitague: in first part (we steered about NW, so forming a zigzag section) we found much hills of green porphyry with plates of white Feldspar (curious sort) which seem to have certainly been injected: passed the Jaspery & cherty rocks — occasional dykes of greenstone & Paps — In Cordilleras apparently granite beneath the P. Breccia. — dips various, none (in any part) high — dome-shaped strata:

[page 58]

In Paral, in P Brecc form Silver Mine — metal ore in mixture of quartz & white decomposed Feldspar, Very like S. Pedro de Nolasko (29) The road for several miles P.B — nothing particular: till before near junction of the hills of Porphyry & Syenite, there were several small copper mines — Syenites, more truly Porphyry, generally darker coloured, but same structure: during day much little altered P. Breccia or rather Sandstone: Mem: our course NW explains:

[page 59]

the occurrence of syenite: — Stupid day — barren like turnpike road — wheatfields in valley — curiously stony: —

Sunday 10th [May 1835] — The Syenite district may be described as occurring a little to the East of Quillay — the road then continues amongst small rocks — till we come to a considerable line of mountains apparently running SW & NE & called Los Hornos — I have no doubt part of same mass as former so called hills. — Rock, true syenite

[page 60]

(& before) with also much black mica — much however without the Quartz. — The road during this time had much [Westing]. — at the Mineral de Puntaque of S side of valley innumerable Copper mines & some gold — much black micaceous Iron ore (used as [Liga]) they run as miners say, about NNW, some Gold — absolutely in the Syenite; one part of the circumscribed mass of metalliferous rock rock

[page 61]

was grains of quartz & white Feldspar tending to decompose: On the N. side very many poor Quicksilver mines — I examined two, they were in soft white feldspar, few quartz grains — Scales of Talcaceous mica & decomposed spots of Hornblende — rock very soft: Quicksilver ore spoils in sun (30). affects the quartz (31), the specks seen often to occur in minute drusy cavities lined with quartz: This side of [far] valley — the granitic

[page 62]

rock is capped, & succeeded, a little Westerly by a very black Hornblendic Porphyry (32): which I have not seen before —

I believe the Mercury mines are also worked in this: There are but very few Copper mines in same side with Mercury: — I believe these veins identical with Los Hornos — the Granite seems to stretch far to West — Much Quartz paps in one Part of Syenite. Cuesta — &

Trappean dykes: —

[page 63]

Beyond Punitaque, road turns to N — the Granites are succeeded by the abundant black Porphyry which is blended with very much of the plate [grey] Feld in pale green base — & other varieties; in no other place clear stratified or brecciated structure, many [miles] broad this formation — one variety almost composed of large white Cryst of Feldspar just united together = The road lay through low hills bordering on, a great plain, like St Jago, these hills

[page 64]

islands &c &c — Coast lines of hills — Section at the river Tuqui or Ovalle two sets of plains seem to be composed of gravel — upper parts coarsest — Plains Traversia. = — In the above Porphyries, near Punitaque, some few scattered Copper mines. = In the Porphyries, there was a small ridge of the syenitic Porphyry. —

Monday 11th [May 1835] Rode over plain to Panuncillo before

ascending hills

[page 65]

in which mines are seated I believe the whole country is Porphyry From the mine to the West I saw an escarpement of Porph-Breccia which seems blended with unstratified hills. — Saw miners at work

— Apires1 light load-stone (8 arrotas — 3 pound) breath like fire; odd noises stream of perspiration of breast: only a custom they have of blowing: — no meat, no diseases — legs bent: 80 perpendicular yards — no right to breathe or halt for 200 yds[Banelesos] 25 pound hammer laughed at Englishman — Apires carry load 12 times a day.

1 Chilean miners.

[page 66]

33: 34: +35 Varieties of cryst. granular. siliceous rocks in which mines are worked 36) do slaty less common —

37: 38 low down. in mountain NB 35 is too much crystall or carious for characters 39 — abundant with [false] Breccia — Calcareous? why [illeg]?? 40 — False Breccia — 41 piece of included Breccia 42 — Stratum immediately over Granite 43 44 Siliceous rocks in Gneiss [abounds] 45 specimen of what I call the carious Porphyry — base slatecoloured not much Feldspar & part of this glassy — which is not universal Copper mines of Panuncillo

[page 67]

chiefly Pyrites often associated with white Carb of Lime & Large scales crystal of greenish mica, latter chiefly on sides of veins — the principal veins about NNW some transverse — lie in a ridge of varying chiefly quartzose rocks — very puzzling at first, principally varieties such as (35.)— but less & less coarsely crystallised of a grey color mixed with a great deal of white granular soft rock (39) (33 & 34) other varieties, these rocks are to certain degree laminated or stratified &

[page 68]

nearly vertical: low down in the hills there is much compact rock which perhaps is partly Feldspathic mingled with granular quartziferous rock (37 & 38) — The white granular & siliceous granular rock is very remarkable in much of its mass, by the weathered surface being entirely covered with apparently angular imbedded pieces: these in places form a fissured structure, appear to me to be concretionary origin. — Some few of these are more or less rounded (40): all the Breccia is of nearly same

[page 69]

nature such as (41) which came from a large fragment. — I have scarcely ever seen, excepting perhaps at Falklands such a substance. — In some other parts these fragments were arranged in [waving] lines parallel to the cleavage or stratification & were composed of Porphyritic stone, in which crystals of glassy feldspar were visible — there were few & quite ∠r their origin must remain

[page 70]

unknown. = The structure of these rocks remind me of white Brecciated soft rock of Chiloe: Beside the white & more or less compact arenaceous rocks, there was some [little] laminated siliceo clay slate (36). — These rocks are traversed by dykes paps of different porphyries —

W (A) SSE E Z NNW (granite)

A consists of high hill of Porphyry base greenish or grey — compact sonorous — a spur bends

[page 71]

& forms part of ridge where mines are, at other extremity there is a pap of a blackish Porphyry round the (E) side of which the strata fold; in middle there is a small pap of close grained green rock absolutely beneath the above strata —

These strata completely puzzled me. = To the South of hill (A) judging from fragments A or road, the whole country consists of unstratified Porphyries

[page 72]

(of which 45 is another specimen) to the NE of the mines, there are ranges of hills, which run about NW to by NNW, & are composed of granitic or syenitic rocks, containing little quartz, much Hornblende & black mica: — (In then [these] hills few mines of Copper). — to the East of these in the distance are escarpement of Porph. Breccia. — I traversed found the granite also right North of

[page 73]

the Panuncillo mines, & following it westerly came in a line with the ridge, to a slaty rock which dipped SW about 60º & almost reposed on the granite, chiefly consisted of large crystals of Feldspar & Hornblende planes L former crystals in planes, hence slaty structure

(42) a little further one we had a soft true gneiss — minute black scales of Mica, some associated with grey siliceo-araneceous

[page 74]

rocks such as 43-44 precisely like those in ridge, only containing patches of granitic nature with large crystals of Hornblende = Hence we have superposition of rocks explained = (NB not age) — the association of Porphyry [melted] hills seems particularly common South of this district to Punitaque; of which doubtless this is same granite in each

[page 75]

case to East tilting the Porph.-Breccia = one of the Copper veins is cut off by stone dyke — [Layers] of true Porphyry

Tuesday 12th [May 1835] staid all day at Panuncillo — young ½ Chilean & English — look as former & considered himself such

Wednesday 13th [May 1835] Noise of miners — expelling breath, articulating ay-y, ending, in fife whistle — revolting although voluntary = Anecdote of Don Joaquin1 — when a boy holiday to see Englishmen heresy. —

1 Joaquin Edwards, Major-domo of copper mines at Panuncillo. For this and the following anecdote see Beagle diary, p. 330.

[page 76]

& contamination sticking to him — Mr Caldcleugh old lady in Coquimbo — Passed today mines of Tambillos, 4 Englishmen, cast iron work — going to drain a large mine — on road from Panuncillo merely crystalline unstratified rocks. of varying character many Porphyries some purple & some little Quartzose, & granitic rocks —

[page 77]

mine of Tambillos — main vein — a very grand one, with oxides of copper (46) — runs E & W is in a soft decomposing granite, with little quartz neighbouring hills various. Porphyries passing XX into the nature of greenstones & some curious Porphyries —

Slept near Punta curious (a rock near this mine 47) [Porph] Point= Plain

xx — white Feldspathic cryst rock [something] [but] these crystals & some amorphous:—

[page 78]

with comminuted shells origin ??? —

Thursday 14th [May 1835] — Rode from the Punta to Herradura bay South of Coquimbo — the few rocks which I saw out of plain appeared to be altered slates & some greenstones & porphyries (48) I know not what name to give = This great flat valley expands into the plains

[page 79]

which I suppose extends to [Bañada], where we come to the Tertiary strata there appears shells on surface. These Tert. strata with marine shells (slight dip W) from a part of the flat valley — Friday 15th — [May 1835] 49 — 50 . . 51 52 Shells upper Tosca rock

(road to Herradura) 53 — Superior, stratified Stalactiform

[page 80]

Tosca, 54 — Friable Tosca — (55) resting on & blending with latter agglutinated sand & bits of shells — 56 — 57 —58 — Syenitic or Hornblendic rocks of point of Herradura Bay. — On the road from Panuncillo to the Port, passed over a ridge with slight dip westerly, the upper layer were hard cream-coloured stalactiform, with lines (53) & beneath which came an irregular

[page 81]

quantity of white hardish friable Tosca — or Lime (54): the whole [nearly] resembling Bahia Blanca of St. Jago Burnt for Lime.

Beneath this came a great mass of coarse sand bits of shells vacuities. very poorly cemented together & worked as a Freestone (55). rock hard rather brittle: its upper parts contained several Murex1 Venuses,

[Odanton] &c &c 49-52. — Which I imagine are of a the "recent" date = Near to the beach we came to cliffs forming a

1 A genus of marine snail.

[page 82]

a little plain of white sand, containing infinite shells such as now are actually lying on the beach — chiefly circular Calyptrea: Turbo — Concholepas — a Venus, the [Quinter] Donax — Pecten — Abutted agaisnt older plain: young old yet this more modern, than Tosca rock. — Perhaps it is only that the species which now inhabit the Bay are

[page 83]

different: —

Herradura Bay, the line of coast formed by hills of Syenitic or rather Hornblendic rocks 56 — — 58 — abundant crystals of Hornblende — generally large & Feldspar. These hills must have formed a sort of Basin, where places are between them & interior hills: There is a double system of plains — I only examined the lower which however I feel nearly sure is part of these only lessened by degradation

[page 84]

consists of a fine grained, whitish sand, agglutinated into a very soft sandstone: this is [irregular] & much ferruginous, & with patches of yellow sandstone — few scattered pebbles, some as large as two fists of crystalline rocks, many several horizontal layers of irregular formed, thin concretions, almost stratum of very hard brown, fine grained Sandstone (just as every where else) these contain

[page 85]

very many shells chiefly enormous Mytilus & great Ostrea! of Patagonia many Coccles & other shells. Turitella &c &c — Venuses &c &c an enormous quantity of partially silicified bones — I believe, all, certainly many of Cetaceous animals. — they occur with shells in the concretions: = The plai upper plain is thickly coated by pebbles in some places cemented by Tosca — I found a layer, filled almost with large oysters. I do not think they were washed out of

[page 86]

other cliffs, if so existed in Tosca period. = The lower plain, was in places generally covered by Tosca = gravel; the lower [illeg] calcareous matter [bedding] by vein like masses with the Sandstone, yet close above containing the common purple Trochus with tinge of its color Murex & other now living shells — I suspect this apparent gradual junction

[page 87]

in this lower plain [must] be accidental: (as gravel [at] St. Julian with white matter).

on the syenitic point of land, found patch of small comminuted shells — Concholepas &c &c, part of which were partially cemented with calcareous Tosca — so certainly not brought by man, at an elevation Upper station —

30.120 } Attached Th.

Lower do 63. —

30.376 242 ft Yet on sides of hills scarcely any shells — There occurred a flat patch: Turritella on the coast & high up: —

[page 88]

16th [May 1835] Took up my abode at Coquimbo.

Monday (18th). [May 1835] Examined plain behind town, side of valley extremely flat, composed of pebbles, apparently when seen, yet certainly forms part of plain of same height with the Tosca rock

[map showing the Coquimbo terraces, with ships anchored off the coast]1

1 See the sketch in the geological diary DAR 37.662A.

[page 89]

The main plain [it] is which runs all up the valleys on its very edge there would appear a small step it is on the step a mile or two South of the town where quarries are, (or still lower ones) & filled with shells & covered by some loose ones: in the mouth of valley besides this there is a small narrow fringe of [double] two plains (chiefly on north side) which sweep out to seaward & Coquimbo itself appears built on such entrance of town one step & further Easterly another — the bottom flat valley a 4th — To the South

[page 90]

about Herradura a strip of land which divides two ports, seem all a second plain — I do not know to which it corresponds: In the interior right behind Coquimbo Hills hills of very pale green feldspathic rock where crystals of white Feldspar are (102) not always just discernable & NB near the Puerta a hill of Porphyry where ingredients were of granite Syenite are imbedded in a do or Euritic reddish base. = I have described the Tosca well — Here beside the shells already seen are very many of a circular Calyptrae — Donax — Turritella

[page 91]

Venus — (Mactra?) Trochus with tinge of color — all of which show close alliance with shells on beach. there was only one Concholepas & no Pecten — & [not] the straited large Calyptrea. = So that species same, as now, but arrangement grouping different from present beach, or sandy cliffs so that we have this arrangement

[section of cliffs]

on Beach shells B Loose recent Tosca recent Ancient A Tosca A Beach C Shells plain of course Beach shells Tosca of A more modern, than Tosca (B) which

[page 92]

cover in succession the old oyster — & I think there will [be] be found Pecten more Concholepas & Trochus with color — Little sand plain (C) more modern than either & shells identical in proportion with present beach = I no where saw fragment of big oyster & grand [aureous] Mytilus — silicified bone or concretion: Above the Tosca there was some calcareous sand, which contained more perfect & more numerous shells of [some] sort, I carefully avoided picking up these: In the freestone there are in places a good many chiefly Porph pebbles, an

[page 93]

inch or two long & some small flat slaty ones — fragme much entirely composed of bits of shells —

Hence we have upper plain decidedly marine — (How could B Hall1 fail to see the plains curling out to seaward?) (NB The Tertiary formation does not seem to extend far South of Herradura) at [illeg] Before Pichidanque &c & we had plenty of proof of lower plains, thus formed — —

The mass of cemented pebbles, with band of broken great oysters

1 Hall 1824.

[page 94]

lying over old Tertiary form, I believe to be true deposition & properly would be covered by the Tosca rock. —

Dip of Tosca beds, to W doubtful whether too much for original deposition:

on the First light shower in Coquimbo night of May 14th — effect break ground 2d shower put in corn summer spring ripens, effect on

Mule hire for carrying ore. Some Apires can carry 300 lbs up mines — "Honest man — he is old Spaniard" — Coquimbo small very quiet

[page 95]

military, shops all shut. —

NB I hear of Petrified wood in plenty up by Illapel, & petrified Echinus of large oysters & cannon balls at Guasta

20th Wednesday [May 1835]

here B
30.018 T 65º  
      does not represent plain
A 29.980    
  Up the valley    
E 30.110 Therm 70º  
B 29.917 station   6 feet above plain represented
A 29.88    
A 29.944 (+ Hill) Therm 68º —  
B 30.002   plain represented
level 30.308 of sea station   6 feet above

[page 96]

[Coquimbo terraces] A (N) C D E F D (E) B (S) A here E is properly D

(B) not seen on north side: (C) just visible, to West more developed. D & E swallowed up to West in one plain, to East largely expanded

[page 97]

On South side (C not D) E not visible Measurement on South side

In my room 30.240 in Town.


The height of great plan 29.944

Slope of plain in about 2 miles 29.944

Easterly —.880 I am not certain whether plain E on South side of section corresponds to E or D. — The measurement in my room above sea, is the height of the lower plain, escarpement taken in middle —

[page 98]

perhaps 30 ft + a broard nearly level sandy space, which corresponds to plain of river: on this plain the principal part of city lies — the next escarpement of about equal height as last is chiefly subord we then have

Hill, which counting the broard sandy plain (with Chaerus) makes 4th plain (I suspect a little South there is an intermediate one) above which the 5th or grand plain — I believe quarries by Mr Lambert, the above intermediate. — In the section

[page 99]

taking both sides of valley & plain at bottom there are six plains — but many very obscure, some uniting — others [mainly] shown, by indistinct line of [knobs]. — observed on both sides where point & ravine entered; that three sets of plain were fan shaped, sections; hence great obscurity, but what would be expected at bottom of inland strait —

The difference at () Hill of plain A, B not to be trusted

Earthquake, screams of women great roar — little motion — called severe — appalled the men —

[page 100]

Thursday 21st [May 1835] I notice plain E corresponds to (D); after crossing the plains we come to low hills of the Syenitic greenstones & fragments of Granites, dark greenish & brown porphyritic greenstones & the syenitic Porphyry (red crystals small of Feldspar) mentioned near Coquimbo — These hills were [superceded] by hills of dull red color of the Porph-Breccia — remarkably plain the latter structure, lines &c, different coloured pebbles — very coarse & little blended & what is curious, the stratification very nearly horizontal afterwards bending up & dipping

[page 101]

small ∠ to SSE. — several dykes & paps of fine green Porphgreenstone, one grand broard dyke, running NNW, SSE of pale Porph rock (59) near which silver mine. — NB amongst the coarse Porph Brecc — Some of the fine crystalline rocks with acicular crystal of Feldspar (60). — Our course about ENE. — Reached a mountainous grand alpine country — young Chilean José Maria.1

1 José Maria Edwards, Anglo-Chilean, son of the owner of silver mines at Arqueros, with whom Darwin was travelling.

[page 102]

(22d) [May 1835] (61) S. Rosa mines; lowest fine grained red bed:

(62-63) the green beds. (64) in one locality were near red beds (65)

green bed with [Silver] near vein

(66) white Porphyry — minas Don Francisco de Aristoa 66 (67) Brecciated red rock 67 (68) Specimen of poor one Arqueros Mineral & Quillai

(69) The limestone with bits of Corall

(70) do part of Coral reef

(71) Upper blackish hard bed Conch: fracture. —

[page 103]

At the mines of S. Rosa, the rock is very bright green, generally crystalline, with no Brecci structure 62-63, in these is the main vein; this rest on a fine grained crystalline red Sandstone which passes into true Porph-Brecca — These green beds, not often stratified but clearly seen in some places: passes rarely into a slate coloured, true Porph with crystals of white Feldspar: the junction of the red & green, tolerably sudden; in other place rather gradual (64). All these beds certainly belong to P. Brecc

[page 104]

formation: At General Pintos, the grand rich vein lies in a fine grained, but true brecciated rock, little Porph. — In whole mineral silver, (in most rare instance little copper Pyrite) veins run NW & SE

— very highly inclined; silver generally pure in Sulph of Barytes; in this latter mine, vein suddenly becomes poor as soon as green bed is reached at S Rosa, as soon (or rather just before), coming to the red — Bed — generally if the red bed is cut through & other is

[page 105]

succeeded by green vein becomes again rich — these mines not a league apart. — At S. Rosa the green rock to the distance of half yard, in one spot contains much silver (65). Considered most rare instance:

— Country of Mineral high, undulating, not very uneven, stratification dipping in all ways, having broken up, I think, a general SW dip. — very many dykes (& masses) of a [closeish] grained, green-greenstone, these chiefly run NW & SW; hence

[page 106]

frequently cut veins. — evidently much troubled district. — To the South of S Rosa — a mile. Cerro Blanco, consists either of compact conch. fracture (66). or same as purple Porph: but white, partly stratified lower part of hill not so — Thin hard beneath purple Porph — may be seen far over country by strata nearly horizontal — at this point a N & S line of violence. has formed anticlinal band, which seems to have expanded, & caused

[page 107]

SW dip & country of innumerable mines. only discovered 9 — years = Leaving the mines (To the East innumerable alternation of red & white bed, all small dip to Cordilleras) We came to grand mass of lmpure Limestone, a good deal of which was formed of nearly parallel tubes like a Corall — the rest more or less pure contained immense quantities of large oysters & Gryphites; also some [corticiform] corall, & shell like Pecten. — Covered by thinly stratified blackish

[page 108]

compact — conch [fracture] — calcareous? beds. & there by immense thickness of a coarse conglom — Porph — I believe these beds rested also on Porphyry — penetrated by paps of curious plate. greenish Porph = This puts age of all these rocks (& Hornillos) out of question = such a striking similarity — I believe the white Porphy is inferior to Limestone but am not sure — impure Limestone grand formation — Clouds like plain — different climate here &

[page 109]

Coquimbo — quiet [mines] in desert busy day. — The strata at mines must be high in series: Near Cerro Blanca — in pale purple Porph — much agate & large nests of quartz crystals rare occurrence. =

Friday 22 Saturday 23d [May 1835] — From the Hacienda of the Marqueros travelling east, various much altered Porphyry — dip where visible to the West till we came to the anticlinal band remarkable for enormous faults, not seen in external form of hill, central parts nearly horizontal, on each side opposite dips, seen on both side of valley — These beds are brownish

[page 110]

x mine easterly

(z) still more beyond which true anticline East dip

all PB purple z x mere line 150 ft thick W repetition1

1 See the sketch in geological diary DAR 44.21.

[page 111]

(72-73-74) The [Horn] stones like altered clay-slates of Hornillos

75 — Red Sandstone from very high up 76-77 common Red Sandstone beds

(78) Vein with in above with Pitchstone (79). with bed of arenaceous Sandstone Limestone (80). Veins with Gypsum 80 81 — Hardened bright green — concent structure Clay bed (82) do with ribby fracture & pebbles —

(83) upper white [rubbly] bed (84) in parts fine hard compact white Feldspathic

(85) The upper conglomerate

(86) Green stratum of crust Feldspath rock

(87). Part of dyke — 88 Upper Lava

In the P.B. from pebble of diff coloured Porph cemented by white cryst beautiful Carb of Lime & [clay] cavities with Epidote

[page 112]

from decomposition consist of the Limestone with organic bits; well seen covered & reposing on the Brecc: Porph: on entering on the East dip on North side of valley turned up to the North at Puclaro — We rode obliquely through the Porph-Brecc. greens & purples, above the Limestone till we came to an open spot — with rounded coloured hills very like the Hornillos — the Lowe [first] or lowest beds were nearly white or pale brown or greenish soft decomposing Porphyries; then some fine grained red crystalline Sandstone: then the first grand mass of Hornstone strata, more or less laminated more or less compact, conch fracture, more

[page 113]

or less black. some quite yellow 72—74 always decomposing externally into bright yellow earth. The Horn stones are generally marked dendritic manganese — many parts excessively like the yellower varieties of the laminated rock of the Hornos. = This grand main bed several hundred feet was covered by much of the red — Very little crystalline, none brecciated Sandstone 76-77 — I must except one spot there was Breccia but not Porph: This red sandstone contained some whitish & lilac bands. = was covered by other grand bed of the laminated Hornstones, much of the yellow earthly

[page 114]

sorts — all this formation — traversed by much dykes & paps of bright green cryst rock (87) which in places have white spots of earthy Feldspar: yet it is remarkable there appeared comformable beds of a green crystalline rock, such as (86). In this respect I was forcibly called to mind of the Gypsum of the Portillo — NB in Lower parts of these 3 grand beds, there is an extensive mine of Gypsum; mineralogical nature same as ever, did not visit it but such must have been its position: In the Intermediate Red

[page 115]

Sandstone, there was much black Agate, or rather quartz passing into Pitchstone, I found one small parallel vein (78). Some of the red sandstone — so compact as to become jaspery, others rubbly & soft: There was also a parallel bed of carious brown arenaceous Limestone 80 79 (NB in the Porph-Brecc saw a siliceous red Sandstone) near which were intricate veins of Carb of Lime with Gypsum ?? (80) (is the Pitchstone of the Tertiary formation. = An interval of beds were hidden we then had, a much stratified, bright green concretionary structure hardened clay. (81): This contained. — layer of very hard rock

[page 116]

of nearly same nature, with brecciated structure, above this we had a layer of two of red-sandstone, & the clayey Hornstones, & then much of the rubbly green-hardened clay, not so [pure], with partially brecciated structure, & remarkably for containing in upper parts much several well rounded, pebbles of Porphyry. — This was covered by grand thickness of a fine grained very compact red sandstone (75), & this was banded with white Jaspery rock, which as at [Combarbala], showed on being wetted, an obscure minute

[page 117]

brecciated structure — (NB forgot injected paps of purplish Porphyry). — Above this red sandstone, we have some hundred feet of white, or occasionally slight greenish, rubbly soft Feldspathic rock (altered white beds) (83) which in part passes into hard, compact conch: fract do rock. (84). = This was covered by 300-400 ft thick of coarse conglomerate, pebbles almost all Porphy — base arenaceous. never Porph: pale brown as (85) or more general red, lower parts firmly cemented, upper pebbles can be picked out. — certainly altered gravel, just as in Portillo: The upper foot or two is arenaceous

[page 118]

capped by 200-150 ft of Lava — Slate coloured, or tinge of green, rather fewer plate crystals of Feldspar than in curious Porph — & some (88). Seems certainly to have come from lofty mountain to East. = is important in history of curious Poprhyry, to which this Lava certainly belongs. — Riding afterwards round the base of this hill this sort succeeded by Porph. greenstone. Feldspar partially earthy very abundant & this again passed into the syenitic greenstone with true fracture of granite: — All the above great beds dip about 20-30º to East & are all (Conglom & Lava) conformable to P. Breccia = Hills of strange colours, with dykes & paps of green rocks. —

[page 119]

I can feel no doubt, this upper red Sandstone; Hornstone laminated, green clay with pebbles & Conglomerate corresponds to Tertiary Formation. = These pebbles show that this outside chain subsequent to first upheaval —

Syenite P.B. Limestone P.B Gypsum Horn St R Sandstone Hornst [illeg] Clay R.S. Feld White Conglom Lava Syenite1

Beds all dip — The thickness of the Beds above the much Porph: Breccia must be very many thousand feet: a horizontal section of at least 2 miles of 30º

1 See the fair copy of this sketch in DAR 44.21.

[page 120]

Sunday 24th [May 1835] — Stayed whole day at Hacienda of Gualliguaca — Signorita not 17, mere child mother of two children & will soon add another young one to the family of Salzeras. — very pretty — dressed like lady — Some second rate farm house. — Walked up the Valley first rate Chiliean scenery — like scenery of Alps in the Annuals.1 — Near the Hacienda there is a small chain, about N & S of Syenite-greenstone (88) good characteristic specimen which seems partly to have up-burst through the superior beds & to have formed another escarpement of P Breccia perhaps covered by the soft beds — These beds do not dip much

1 The Annuals were inexpensive publications introduced in the 1820s, illustrated with high quality steel engravings.

[page 121]

Monday 25th [May 1835] 89. Siliceous white sandstone rock beneath Limestone, (90) Layer of yellow, siliceous Limestone (91) superior fine grained red sandstone

(92) green dyke (93) Red Sandstone 6 ft from D (94) close to — (95) White Sandstone [distal] (96) do close: (97 (white quartz pebbels in)

(99) Red Porphyry low down (100) do — high up We came to another somewhere about N & S chain of granitic rock — real granite & Syenite G. & much dark slate coloured sonorous base with few crystals of Feldspar. Beyond this we again have much Porph Breccia

[page 122]

some much altered some less. — beds up to about NW by W, which seems owing not to the chain we have passed but to an irregular one which forms Southern W side of Valley of R. Claro. — A section of strata on North Side, well known for petrifications, was examined the strata dipped about North, owing to end of the above chain, exceedingly sheltered & contorted & [illeg] traversed by Fault dykes, some of the planes inclined at about 70º or more. = (1) Beginning at bottom, we have the purple, hard sandstone of P. Brecc formation (2) white siliceo Sandstone (89) more or less hard, sometimes passing into the purple varieties

[page 123]

has layers of slaty Sandstone & some hard yellowish calcareous? Sandstone (90): This also contains very great quantities of small quite white quartz pebbles in the white sandstone (97): remarkable quantity, first time I ever saw such a thing, ground strewed with Beans — common Belief. Where did the quartz come from. — Above the white Sandstones, we have some strata 50-60 ft of dark perhaps semicalcareous rock, (with partially minuted Brecciated structure) almost composed of a large, Terebratula, many twice the size of specimens. — 2 other species, outline

[page 124]

of an ammonite, pieces of Gryphite & perhaps of large oyster: this rock contains a few, round quartz pebbles, is covered by very compact, hard red Sandstone (91). — (All the white Sandstone are brittle & clink) This gradually passes into a (N Red Sandstone) red conglomerate, pebbles both round & angular, several 100 ft thick, [many] of the white quartz, in lower parts, & porphyry, pale, chiefly purple & red & whiteish & the red-sandstone & Quartzose rock — in short just such as we know inferior beds to be —

[page 125]

These conformably = covered by another thick mass of similar conglomerate matrix without any porph-structure This is capped by thick bed of crystalline purple Porphyry, in some places traces of stratification in some not = the lower part is not (99) — higher parts assume acicular cryst of Felds. (100) — Covers the Conglomerate, which appears rather altered at junction. — is capped by the curious Porphyry (in perfection) change sudden — & this again by pale green Porph with numerous cream colored Cryst of Fe & green specks

[page 126]

are these 3 beds Lavas? or altered rock

9 8 green Porph 7 curious porph 6 Porph? 5 Conglom 4 4 Conglom 3 Shells 2 sand

(9) is a hill composed of central grand mass of curious Porphyry, Syenite & dark slate Porphyry — The connection of the 3 porphy beds which dip towards this mountain, I do not know — upper parts of mountains appears stratified. — is the heat of central parts, altered the upper parts more than the lower; or are they not Lavas which have flowed, before upheaval = — The age of Limestone is certain. Disturbance consequent on upheavals, prevented gypsum, & formed green conglomerate. — But some similar rocks must have been upheaved to have given pebbles = The Porph having in one spot a stratified aspect is

[page 127]

most puzzling: — never before [me] with more crystalline beds above less ones — 6 & 7 certainly Lavas. — (NB the number of Terebratulae quite wonderful) — It is curious as showing a very early upburst cessation of strata. = Either before Gypsum or latter not produced. = The Grand bed of Conglomerate (4) & near near the ravine is traversed by grand dyke of very green greenstone (92) 8 ft wide, high up [dimms] — passes through red sandstone with the pebbles at 6ft distance soft (94) (93) 2 or 3 inches almost white much harder (95) (94) for two or 3 inches tinged green with matter of dyke — from volatization: same [foot] in bed of white sandstone — 95 — 96. = (NB slight spherical structure in upper surface of Porph (6)) = The Redness of Sandstone does it show no heat in mass ?? =

[Rio Claro and Gualliquica] Gualliquica (Z) R Claro

The variation in P.B. forms remarkable

(Z) 3 chains form a part [distant] from it on all sides?

[page 128]

The question is whether is this gravel same age as Puclaro: Lava appears analogous nature of gravel do. = The gravel lower part with quartz pebble, as Limestone with Terebratulae Ammonites — Age nearly certain contemp with P. Brecc. formation. — I can hardly however imagine all the beds above gypsum so old as this. =

Tuesday 26th [May 1835] returned to Hacienda.

Wednesday 27th [May 1835] returned to Coquimbo: as in going to mines, hills of Syenite: I believe the Limestone occurs with P. Breccia almost to mouth of valley above where the Granite & Porph hills occur: — About 10 miles up valley perfect plain sinks owing to valley rising (the subordinate plains still less) & gradually dies away on irregular sides — I could see nothing of the plain with water a lip

— above at 25 miles up no plains valley narrower about 3[0] miles from sea, steps best seen; where they have been measured: 3 most visible which correspond to highest & two on which town stands A:

D: E:

[page 129]

Gualliguaica Puclaro Galliguanca

[illeg] Puclaro [Darguia]

Mem: Hypothesis of Salina depression

True Syenite behind Port Coquimbo













[Coquimbo terraces, the step terraces on the lower left appear not to be in Darwin's handwriting]

[page 130]

Petrified wood in valley of Elque: The terraces dip to centre of valley, as well as Seaward: I have been assured that some Apires have ascended deep mines with 300 Lbs on their back: Mem: silicified rings on the Terebratula of R-Elqu Claro & on the 27th of May, rain having been 13 days before, patches of hills tinged green, thin scattered delicate grass. one inch long like hairs. — soil apparently dry: —


Douglass —

Corfield —

Alison petrified wood

Caldcleugh value of Hornillos & other mines —

Dn Eugenio Matta1 or Dn Diego Carballo — Copiapo. has petrified shells.

1 Eugenio Matta Spanish co-owner of the San Antonio mine.

[page 131]

The argentiferous lead mines are very rare, they appear to occur in same formation one I heard of very near the Granite.

There is silver mine in R. Claro

70 ½

owe C. Fitz Roy 2 dollars & Rial



7 ½






13 ½

R Capt 2 [Horses] 2 3 15

[page 132]

Spunge — Olla — < >[cho]— Blacking — Milton1 — Clothes

Washed — Shoes blacking Gertrudio = Griffin Lambert Chiffles

write Letters —

Gypsum — Valley of Coquimbo Ill Almaraz

Tongoy. mixture of white Feldspar & green Chloritic mineral; the Tertiary strata are found there with Bones: —

Tortoralillo dark Syenitic Greenstone

1 John Milton. As Darwin wrote in his Autobiography, p. 85, 'Formerly Milton's Paradise Lost had been my chief favourite, and in my excursions during the voyage of the Beagle, when I could take only a single small volume, I always chose Milton.'

[pages 133-136 excised]

[inside back cover]

[person] in Cordillera noise right beneath (5 more were felt up in the country same night Earthquake at Coquimbo 8 PM to 8.15

(20th) [May 1835] — Wednesday What money has been got out of Arkeross Arqueros Mar G1 is paid up to the 15th of May + 20 Rials in Quillota for spurs

— Quillay — [paid] [illeg]? 98 101

14 / 300 (22 28 20 14 .6

28 9

1 Mariano Gonzales.

[back cover]

Valparaiso to Coquimbo.
Coquimbo valley
50P 44


Textual notes to the Coquimbo notebook

[FC] 50P 44] pencil.

[IFC] 1.16.] Down House number, not transcribed.

88202336] English Heritage number, not transcribed.

10] added by Nora Barlow, pencil, not transcribed.

[27] page written perpendicular to the spine.

[75] [Layer]...Porphyry] added in heavy pencil.

[96-9] pages written perpendicular to the spine.

[110] page written perpendicular to the spine. there is a watercolour stain on the page.

[129] Gualliguaica…[Darguia]] in FitzRoy's handwriting?

366..15] written upside down from other entries on page.

[130] Douglass...shells.] written upside down from other entries on page.

[131] 70...15] written upside down from other entries on page.

[132] Chiffles] ink.

[IBC] Arqueros] not in Darwin's handwriting.

Mar G…Jose?] written perpendicular to the spine.

14... .6] ink.

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

File last updated 22 August, 2012