By Charles Darwin
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At the mouth, however, of the valley of Copiapo there is a plain, estimated by Meyen1 between fifty and seventy feet in height, of which the upper part consists chiefly of gravel, abounding with recent shells, chiefly of the Concholepas, Venus Dombeyi, and Calyptræa trochiformis. A little 1. "Reise um die Erde," Th. I, s. 372, et seq. page 322 inland, on a plain estimated by myself at nearly three hundred feet, the upper stratum was formed of broken shells and sand cemented by white calcareous matter, and abounding with embedded recent shells, of which the Mulinia Byronensis and Pecten purpuratus were the most numerous.
In other parts again, there were small caves worn into the foot of the low cliffs, and protected from the waves by the talus with its vegetation: one such cave, which I examined, had its mouth about twenty feet, and its bottom, which was filled with sand 1. " 2. "Comptes Rendus," October 1838, p. 706. page 304 containing fragments of shells and legs of crabs, from eight to ten feet above high-water mark. From these several facts, and from the appearance of the upraised shells, I inferred that the elevation had been quite recent; and on inquiring from Mr.
Venus Chilensis. Amphidesma rugulosum. The small irregular wrinkles of the posterior part of this shell are rather stronger than in the recent specimens of this species from Coquimbo. (G. B. ) Balanus (identical with living species). On the syenitic ridge, which forms the southern boundary of Herradura Bay and Plain, I found the Concholepas and Turritella cingulata (mostly in fragments), at the height of 242 feet above the sea. I could not have told that these shells had not formerly been brought up by man, if I had not found one very small mass of them cemented together in a friable calcareous tuff.