28 AUGUST 1880, Page 3

The British Association was opened at Swansea on Wednes- day

by an inaugural address from Professor Ramsay, the chief idea of which was to defend the opinion that since the beginning of the geological history of the earth, as written in the rocks, all the agencies we have any right to assume are such as we now see at work, and that, too, without any enormous differ- ence in their relative proportions. Thus Professor Ramsay holds that there is no reason to think that volcanoes ever played a much more important part in the formation of the earth's surface than they do now. In the same way, he thinks that the formation of beds of salt and rock-salt has been mainly due to inland salt-lakes, like the Dead Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Utah Lake, which he supposes to be likely to de- posit ultimately such strata of salt as we now find in the greater salt-mines. The same was true, he thought, of the glacial epochs, which had had so much influence on the distribution of the rocks. We see glacial forces at work on the Antarctic con- tinent on a scale as large as any which the earth has ever known. In Professor Ramsay's belief, all geological history that can be traced at all may be attributed to forces such as we still see, without even any great alteration in their relative intensity.