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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: August 2010
  • First published in: 1863



Works of Art in Banish Peat

WHEN treating in the ‘Principles of Geology’ of the changes of the earth which have taken place in comparatively modern times, I have spoken (chap, xlv.) of the embedding of organic bodies and human remains in peat, and explained under what conditions the growth of that vegetable substance is going on in northern and humid climates. Of late years, since I first alluded to the subject, more extensive investigations have been made into the history of the Danish peat-mosses. Of the results of these enquiries I shall give a brief abstract in the present chapter, that we may afterwards compare them with deposits of older date, which throw light on the antiquity of the human race.

The deposits of peat in Denmark, varying in depth from ten to thirty feet, have been formed in hollows or depressions in the northern drift or boulder formation hereafter to be described. The lowest stratum, two to three feet thick, consists of swamp-peat composed chiefly of moss or sphagnum, above which lies another growth of peat, not made up exclusively of aquatic or swamp plants. Around the borders of the bogs, and at various depths in them, lie trunks of trees, especially of the Scotch fir (Pinus sylvestris), often three feet in diameter, which must have grown on the margin of the peat-mosses, and have frequently fallen into them.

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