RECORD: Darwin, C. R. Referee report on Austen, Limestones of Devonshire. (9.1838) GeolSoc-COM-P4.2.8 Transcribed by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Manuscript photographed by Caroline Lam. Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 8.2011. RN1

NOTE: Reproduced by permission of the Geological Society of London and William Huxley Darwin. With thanks to Caroline Lam. Requests to reproduce these images should be directed to the Geological Society of London.


Devon limestones

Your referee is of opinion that the abstract in the Proceedings is sufficient to call the attention of Geologists to Mr Austen's views concerning the origin of the limestone of Devonshire. The principal facts, on which his views are grounded are there given,—namely the high inclination of the beds over a large area, & the presence of similar organic remains througout their entire thickness.— A paper of this nature, if it be not accompanied by detailed sections, & if great care be not evident in guarding against sources of error,—which is not here shown, for instance in the absence of all allusion to the possibility that the present flat surfaces of the limestone may have been caused by denudation, instead of being the effect of a coral-reef having reached the surface of the water,—a paper not thus accompanied, your referee thinks is not worthy of a place in the Transactions.—

September 1838.

Charles Darwin

Austen, Robert Alfred Cloyne. 1838. On the origin of the limestones of Devonshire. [Read 25 April] Proceedings of the Geological Society of London 2 (1833-1838): 669-70.

the underlined text is not in Darwin's handwriting

This document has been accessed 2542 times

Return to homepage

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

File last updated 2 July, 2012