Two expeditions into the interior of southern Australia, by Charles Sturt

Appendix No. I.

Geological Specimens Found to the South-West of Port Jackson.

Considering the nature of the country over which the first expedition travelled, it could hardly have been expected that its geological specimens would be numerous. It will appear, however, from the following list of rocks collected during the second expedition, that the geological formation of the mountains to the S.W. of Port Jackson is as various as that to the N.W. of it is mountainous. The specimens are described not according to their natural order, but in the succession in which they were found, commencing from Yass Plains, and during the subsequent stages of the journey.

Sandstone, Old Red. — Found on various parts of Yass Plains, in contact with

Limestone, Transition. — Colour dark grey; composes the bed of the Yass River, and apparently traverses the sandstone formation. Yass Plains lie 170 miles to the S.W. of Sydney.

Sandstone, Old Red. — Again succeeds the limestone, and continues to the N.W. to a considerable distance over a poor and scrubby country, covered for the most part with a dwarf species of Eucalyptus.

Granite. — Colour grey; feldspar, black mica, and quartz: succeeds the sandstone, and continues to the S.W. as far as the Morumbidgee River, over an open forest country broken into hill and dale. It is generally on these granite rocks that the best grazing is found.

Greywacke. — Colour grey, of light hue, or dark, with black specks. Soft. — Composition of a part of the ranges that form the valley of the Morumbidgee.

Serpentine. — Colour green of different shades, striped sulphur yellow; slaty fracture, soft and greasy to the touch. Forms hills of moderate elevation, of peculiarly sharp spine, resting on quartz. Composition of most of the ranges opposite the Doomot River on the Morumbidgee, in lat. 35 degrees 4 minutes and long. 147 degrees 40 minutes.

Quartz. — Colour snow-white; formation of the higher ranges on the left bank of the Morumbidgee, in the same latitude and longitude as above; showing in large blocks on the sides of the hills.

Slaty Quartz, with varieties. — Found with the quartz rock, in a state of decomposition.

Granite. — Succeeds the serpentine, of light colour; feldspar decomposed; mica, glittering and silvery white.

Sandstone, Old Red. — Composition of the more distant ranges on the Morumbidgee. Forms abrupt precipices over the river flats; of sterile appearance, and covered with Banksias and scrub.

Mica Slate. — Colour dark brown, approaching red; mica glittering. The hills enclosing Pondebadgery Plain at the gorge of the valley of the Morumbidgee, are composed of this rock. They are succeeded by

Sandstone. — Which rises abruptly from the river in perpendicular cliffs, of 145 feet in height.

Jasper and quartz. — Colour red and white. Forms the slope of the above sandstone, and may be considered the outermost of the rocks connected with the Eastern or Blue Mountain Ranges. It will be remembered that jasper and quartz were likewise found on a plain near the Darling River, precisely similar to the above, although occurring at so great a distance from each other.

Granite. — Light red colour; composition of a small isolated hill, to all appearance wholly unconnected with the neighbouring ranges. This specimen is very similar to that found in the bed of New-Year’s Creek.

Brecaia. — Silicious cement, composed of a variety of pebbles. Formation of the most WESTERLY of the hills between the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers. This conglomerate was also found to compose the minor and most westerly of the elevations of the more northern interior.

Chrystallised Sulphate of Lime. — Found embedded in the deep alluvial soil in the banks of the Morumbidgee River, in lat. 34 degrees 30 minutes S., and long. 144 degrees 55 minutes E. The same substance was found on the banks of the Darling, in lat. 29 degrees 49 minutes S., and in long. 145 degrees 18 minutes E.

A reference to the chart will show that the Morumbidgee, from the first of the above positions, may be said to have entered the almost dead level of the interior. No elevation occurs to the westward for several hundreds of miles. A coarse grit occasionally traversed the beds of the rivers, and their lofty banks of clay or marl appear to be based on sandstone and granitic sand. The latter occurs in slabs of four inches in thickness, divided by a line of saffron-coloured sand, and seems to have been subjected to fusion, as if the particles or grains had been cemented together by fusion.

The first decided break that takes place in the level of the interior occurs upon the right bank of the Murray, a little below the junction of the Rufus with it. A cliff of from 120 to 130 feet in perpendicular elevation here flanks the river for about 200 yards, when it recedes from it, and forms a spacious amphitheatre that is occupied by semicircular hillocks, that partake of the same character as the cliff itself; the face of which showed the various substances of which it was composed in horizontal lines, that if prolonged would cut the same substance in the hillocks. Based upon a soft white sandstone, a bed of clay formed the lowest part of the cliff; upon this bed of clay, a bed of chalk reposed; this chalk was superseded by a thick bed of saponaceous earth, whilst the summit of the cliff was composed of a bright red sand. Semi-opal and hydrate of silex were found in the chalk, and some beautiful specimens of brown menelite were collected from the upper stratum of the cliff.

A little below this singular place, the country again declines, when a tertiary fossil formation shows itself, which, rising gradually as an inclined plain, ultimately attains an elevation of 300 feet. This formation continues to the very coast, since large masses of the rock were observed in the channel of communication between the lake and the ocean; and the hills to the left of the channel were based upon it. This great bank cannot, therefore, average less than from seventy to ninety miles in width. At its commencement, it strikingly resembled skulls piled one on the other, as well in colour as appearance. This effect had been produced by the constant rippling of water against the rock. The softer parts had been washed away, and the shells (a bed of Turritella) alone remained.

Plate 1, Figures 1, 2, and 3, represent the selenite formation.


1 & 2. Chrystallized Selenite. 3 Selenite.

Plate 2, represents a mass of the rock containing numerous kinds of shells, of which the following are the most conspicuous:

Cardium
Pectunculus
Corbula
Arca
Conus, and
Others unknown.


1. Mass of Fossils of the Tertiary Formation. 2. Bulla 3. Conus 4. Genus Unknown

The following is a list of the fossils collected from various parts of this formation, from which it is evident that a closer examination would lead to the discovery of numberless species.


Single Fossils of the Tertiary Formation

Tunicata.

Plate III.

FIG.1 Eschara celleporacea.
2 ———- piriformis.
3 ———- UNNAMED.

FIG.4 Cellepora echinata.
5 ————- escharoides?
6 Retcpora disticha.
7 ———— vibicata.
8 Glauconome rhombifera.
All Tertiary in Westphalia and England.

Radiata

9 Scutella.
10 Spatangus Hoffmanni — Goldfuss.
Tertiary, in Westphalia.
11 Echinus.

Conchifera — Bivalved Shells.

Corbula gallica — Paris basin — Tertiary.
Tellina?
Corbis lamellosa — Tertiary — Paris.
Lucina.
Venus (Cytherea) laevigata — ibid.
——- ————— obliqua — ibid.
Venus
Cardium? — fragments.
12 Nucula — such is found in London clay.
13 Pecten coarctatus? — Placentia.
——— varius? — recent.
14 ——— species unknown.
Two other Pectens also occur.
Ostrea elongata — Deshayes.
15 Terebratula.
16 One cast, genus unknown, perhaps a Cardium.

Molusca — Univalved Shells.

Bulla? Plate II., fig. 2.
FIG.17 Natica — small.
18 ——— large species.
Dentalium?
19 Trochus.
20 Turritella.
————— in gyps.
21 Murex.
22 Buccinum?
23 Mitra.
24 ——- very short.
25 Cypraea.
26 Conus.
27 ——- (Plate II., fig. 3.)
28 Two, unknown, (Also Plate II, fig. 4.)
The above all appear to belong to the newer tertiary formations.

[Fig.17 to 27 — These genera are scarcely ever, and some of them not at all, found in any but tertiary formations.]

A block of coarse red granite forms an island in the centre of the river near the lake, but is nowhere else visible, although it is very probably the basis of the surrounding country.

Rock Formation of the Coast Range of St. Vincent’s Gulf.

Primitive Transition Limestone. — Light grey, striped. Altered in appearance by volcanic action; occurs on the Ranges north of Cape Jervis.

Granite. — Colour, red; found on the west side of Encounter Bay.

Brown Spar. — South point of Cape Jervis.

Sandstone, Old Red. — East coast of St, Vincent’s Gulf.

Limestone, Transition. — Colour, blue. East Coast of St. Vincent’s Gulf. Formation near the first inlet. Continuing to the base of the Ranges.

Clay Slate. — Composition of the lower part of the Mount Lofty Range.

Granite. — Fine grained, red; forms the higher parts of the Mount Lofty Range.

Quartz, with Tourmaline. — Lower parts of the Mount Lofty Range.

Limestone Flustra, and their Corallines, probably tertiary. — From the mouth of the Sturt, on the coast line, nearly abreast of Mount Lofty.

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