John Muir


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18 The bottom of every talus [evidently] rested not thousands of feet down below but [immediately] on the level surface of the valley because we find on sinking a shaft through the [edge] of these that we come to washed lake drift & if we go outside of vall [valley] up Ten Can [Tenaya Cañon] we soon find a section of valley with solid [pavement] bottom with the same angular taluses occupy [occupying] angle made by wall & floor & in many other places the same is visible Therefore [these] taluses do not extend beneath the surface But says the geologist, for many ages this falling has been going on & by this time far greater [quantity] has come to the bottom than is seen Therefore it has gone down to fill up the abyss. How comes it [tho] the unknown depth to wh [which] the bottom of the valley fell was just exactly so great tho no greater that the occasional down tumbling of rocks from the wall should from

19 the commencement day of the foggy quantity of countless ages up to AD [1870] be just sufficient to fill up “the abyss” to a level with the unbroken [lip] lower end of the valley for here there has [been] no mysterious tumble down This is all mere supposition & the flimsy scaffolding of reasoning based upon it is really as baseless as the valley is said to be, no base at all bottom played out It is regarded as highly absurd that a dozen glaciers from one to two or three thousand feet deep should through the ages of the gl [glacier] period gradually crushing & grinding [out] erosion produce a can [cañon] like Yo [Yosemite] [but] this is the height of absurdity While that a hocus pocus “play of forces” should play it out we are to believe is not absurd at all but a very masterly interpretation of the whole thing just the reading of the whole [thing] interpretation of whole passage A play of forces unexampled in the universe Proof that the talus do not extend below general level of bottom of valley

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist