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severe in European habits, as to require a change of air for their removal, but the native population do not seem to suffer from any endemial diseases of this class in a greater degree than the inhabitants of other parts of India; and their appearance upon the whole, as presented to myself, was rather prepossessing, and indicated general good health and comfort.
This black soil has evidently been derived from the decomposition of some of the many varieties of trap rock, most probably amygdaloid or green earth, which appear to have rested at one time over the granite in the hills of Bundelcund. The trap rocks at Gerawah and Besseramgunge, and the globular variety observed on the hill of Callinger, may also have had a share in forming it. As I remarked before, many of the trap boulders are now in a soft state bordering on earth, and can be reduced to powder with the greatest ease. The soil immediately around, there can be no doubt, is formed from their debris, and as the plain in general resembles that, we may reasonably infer, that it also acknowledges a similar source.
Extensive forest, which it is not difficult to conceive had flourished here at no very distant period, may have furnished the vegetable matter; and the successive increase of a heavy moist soil covering the wood with each return of the rainy months, had prevented its complete decay. For the amelioration and improvement of such a soil in Europe, the agriculturist would have recourse to lime, as rendering it drier, and reducing the vegetable matter it contains to a state more fitted for supplying the requisite nourishment to the growing plant.
In India, however, such an expedient would not be attended with success, from the peculiarity which calcareous earth displays here of uniting into small masses, termed kunkur, and not mingling well with the other component parts of the soil, unless where siliceous sand bappens to exist in an unusually large proportion. A mixture of this sand, either derived from sandstone rock or the debris of granite, and similar compound rocks, might be attended with the desired effect. We should certainly expect a favorable result from reasoning on the subject, bnt I am the more induced to think so from actual observation of another part of the same district, between Cullinger and Allahabad via Turrowa. There, a considerable change is indicated in the colour and properties of the soil. It becomes lighter as we proceed, and more attenu
ated; and seems to have been formed by the commingling of the alluvial deposit of the Jumna, with the black earth of the plain. Its fertility, if I may judge from the richness of the crops at the time I saw them, must be very great. The whole country towards the river presented one aspect of bountiful nature, and might well vie with the poet's " Gargara," in the ease with which it is cultivated, and the ample produce it yields the husbandman in return.
The appearance of the first hills in Bundelcund has been already described. It is quite characteristic of the granitic or purely primitive formation. Their outline, contrasted with the table-face and summit of those in the interior, exemplifies in a striking manner the effect of rock on the figure of mountains in general, from which we can often determine at the distance of many miles, the nature and position of strata forming extensive ranges. Hence too, we perceive the connection between geology and painting, and the advantages to be derived to the artist from an acquaintance with the elements of this science. The tops of the Himalya mountains, as represented on the splendid views of Mr. Fraser, may be inferred a priori to consist of granite from the mere circumstance of their form. They exhibit precisely the same outline, "magna componere parvis," as the isolated primitive hills in Bundelcund, but having their cliffs so softened by distance, as to present a uniform line at the various angles visible.
As to the manner in which the primitive hills in Bundelcund have been formed, it might seem presumptuous in me to hazard an opinion; the question involving in some measure the two grand theories of Hutton and Werner, that have so long divided the geological world. Yet it is impossible to contemplate the eminences at the same time with the ranges in advance, and not form some conclusion on the subject.
They appear to exhibit the cores of large hills, the exterior of which has suffered in the lapse of time; their more compact granitic interior still enabling it to resist the natural causes of decay. I think it most probable, that the whole of the district from which they rise, had at one time presented an uniform flat consistency of the three formations of granite, trap, and sandstone, in the same order as they are now found on the hills, and that some force from below had elevated the primitive rocks, causing also a disruption of the secondary strata.
Where this force was but slightly impressed, and on a limited area, a small elevation would be formed. The granite would then only break through the superincumbent strata, without carrying any part of them along with it, while the broken strata would rest on the sides of the mass after the impelling force ceased to act. The figure of the hill, then, would not be a pyramid which it now resembles, but would approach more to that of a core; sandstone, trap, &c. lying on, and surrounding the granite and filling up its inequalities, and the direction of the strata of each of these deviating, more or less, from the horizontal line in proportion to the elevation of the central mass.
We could thus picture to ourselves a hill more extensive than any of those now existing in the first series, the sides of which were composed of sandstone ledges, and the summit of a pointed block first, or mass of granite, or crowning the whole, may have been a table of comparatively small dimensions. Their original height in this case, may have been from thirty to fifty feet greater than their present, that being the average of the sandstone strata on the hills in advance. The process of reduction or diminution of bulk may be conceived to have taken place in the following manner. The sloping sandstone being acted upon by the elements of air and water, joined to the heat of the sun, had first undergone disintegration. The sand thus produced, would be washed down by the torrents in the rains to the base of the hill, and there spread out and form soil. This operation being continued, in course of time the whole of the inclined sandstone would be removed, and the trap or other rock immediately beneath it, come to be exposed in its turn. From the same cause which acted on the sandstone, this would also undergo a change, and ultimately be reduced to soil, covering the detritus of the former as it was deposited. The small table on the summit, in the course of these operations falling into fragments and rolling down the hill, would be exposed to the same successive changes as the sloping strata, and thus after the lapse of ages, nothing remain bat the central primitive granitic mass as it is now displayed, forming, to use an anatomical illustration, the skeleton of a body which once existed. Both the ranges then, (the peaked, or primitive hills, and the tabular,) have been produced by similar causes, and at one time have been composed of similar materials, the only difference arising from the size, of the primitive or granitic base. The sandstone so often mentioned, and the ferruginous gravel lying over it, are of very freijuent occurrence in what are termed the Vindhya chain of mountains, from the centre of Behar to Malwa. The hill of Chunar consists entirely of the former, and in the range to the south of that station, the grarel is met with, as I have been informed, in great abundance.
The game association is observed in Bundelcund, and all the way to the Nerbudda; so that it may be inferred from this connection subsisting between them, as well as their coincidence in chemical properties, that the one is formed from the other. In what manner the chalybeate impregnation has taken place is not very evident, nor the source from whence the metal has been derived; but there can be little doubt the gravel is a secondary formation of the sandstone rock, and one too in all prolability going on in many situations at the present day. It is interesting, as being the matrix of the diamond, both in the old and new world, and much speculation is necessarily connected with it on that account. It would, however, be foreign to the object of this communication to inquire into any opinions not obviously suggested by the facts detailed, and nothing occurred to me at the time I examined the gravel formation at Punnah and elsewhere, that promised to elucidate the origin of this highly prized jewel.
In proceeding southward from Punnah, we very soon approach another series of small hills, or cliffs, that rise out of the table-land to the height of one hundred feet or upwards. These elevations are also flat at the top, and composed entirely of sandstone, in every respect similar to the strata at Adjeeghurh and on the Ghaut, of which indeed they are but a part. For eight or ten miles the road here ascends occasionally, and we seem to cross over a low ridge connecting the hills to the right and left. The soil in the whole of this course is formed from the idtrit of the sandstone rock. It is of a light red colour and very dry, imparting rather a pleasing character to the aspect of the country, as well from its own sensible qualities as the vegetable productions it affords.
It appears admirably fitted for the culture of the vine; and should this ever be attempted on a great scale in India, perhaps no better situition could be selected for the purpose, than at the bottom of these sandstone hills in Bundlecund. Near the village of Cuckurettee,* a slight descent occurs; and we again enter upon an extensive plain, *bose soil resembles, in some degree, that of the country below the • Sp. 13 to 15.
Ghaut. Here for the first time, traces of limestone are discernible. These increase as we advance, and bring us at length to the great calcareous formation, at the military cantonment of Lohargong.* The first intimation I had of this new field of geological research, was the discovering several species of shells on the banks of a nullah at Cuckurettee, from which I inferred the near vicinity of calcareous rock; as it has been observed by naturalists, that the Testacse are only met with in soils abounding in this elementary earth. Between Cuckurettee and Lohargong, pieces of rock are found at the surfaces, striated in an uncommon manner, and disposed into very thin layers. It appears to be a mixed formation of sandstone and limestone, the latter predominating: but whether it is extensive or not, I am unable to say, as the masses were quite solitary and detached, nor did I observe any projecting from below the surface.
At the cantonments of Lohargong the calcareous rock shews itself decidedly, and impresses a striking character on the country around. 1 It is quite near the surface, and in many places even forms it, having no earthy covering whatever. It is evidently a secondary formation, and as I afterwards ascertained, one of considerable extent. In a journey which I made from Saugor, I could perceive indications of it six or seven miles to the westward, and in the other direction it is found in combination with clay schists, as far the bottom of the Kopah hills,; distant twelve miles from Lohargong. This rock is not distantly stratified, (as far as it was possible for me to observe,) but lies on the same general level with the plain, having its denuded surface convex or slightly rounded off. It possesses great compactness, and exhibits no signs of disintegration. On the contrary, exposure appears to harden it, by communicating to the bare surface a sort of semi-crystaline, or stalagmitic crust.
From this arises I conceive the bleakness, and inhospitable character that pervades the district, the ground being little cultivated, and bearing only a reed-like grass. By reducing the lime to the quick state, and mixing it with the neighbouring soils, some improvement might probably be effected; and at all events, as far as a horticultural experiment may afford evidence, it seems worthy of trial by the residents on the
« Sp. 13 to 15. t »P No. 15. % So. 16 »nd 17.