Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 6, 1873
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Fifth Meeting. 13th October, 1873.

Charles Knight, F.R.C.S., President, in the chair.

About fifty members were present.

New members.—George Hall, George Thomas. Publications received since last meeting were laid on the table.

Publications received since last meeting were laid on the table.

The President said he regretted having to announce, on the first time of his taking the chair, the death of the Rev. Richard Taylor, F.G.S., a member of the Society, who had been from a very early period in the settlement of the Colony such an indefatigable worker in the cause of science.

1. “Notice of a Variation in the Dentition of Mesoplodon hectori, Gray,” by James Hector, M.D., F.R.S. (Transactions p. 86.)

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The specimen on which the paper was founded was exhibited. It was found on the beach at Kaikoura by Mr. J. R. W. Taylor, and was presented by him to the Museum.

2. “On the Fossil Reptilia of New Zealand,” by James Hector, M.D., F.R.S., Director of the Geological Survey of New Zealand.(Transactions, p. 333.)

Specimens illustrating this paper were exhibited.

3. “Description of the Patent Slip at Evans Bay; Wellington, and of the mode of erecting or constructing the same,” by J. Rees George, C.E. (Transactions, p. 14.)

The author illustrated his paper with a large number of drawings and sections.

Mr. O'Neill, C.E., and Mr. W. Travers complimented the author on the able and successful manner in which this work had been carried out, and said it was a credit to the Province, and the paper would prove of great use to engineers.

4. “On the Extinct Glaciers of the Middle Island of New Zealand,” by W. T. L. Travers, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 297.)

Dr. Hector said that one cause for the former greater extent of the New Zealand glaciers appears to have been lost sight of in recent discussions on the subject. He had pointed it out to Sir Charles Lyell, who mentions it in the last edition of his “Principles,” and also applies the same idea to the European Alps. The theory was that the elevation of the New Zealand mountains was probably coincident with the submergence of the low land in the interior of Australia, which is covered with a post pliocene marine formation. The equatorial north-west winds would thus impinge on the New Zealand Alps without, as at present, being deprived of a large amount of the aqueous vapour by passing over the arid plains of Australia, and by the condensation of snow by the mountains, would be therefore very much in excess, and consequently the glaciers much larger than at present. According to this view the true place to seek for evidence of the age of the glacier period in the Alps of East Australia and New Zealand is in the interior of Australia. A slighter degree of change at a later date must also have been due to the destruction of a large forest growth in Australia by fire, during the early period of its occupation by those we now call the aborigines, which is rendered probable by the circumstances under which the Diprotodon and other extinct and gigantic Marsupiates are found, and such a change must also have exercised an indirect influence on the climate of New Zealand. He differed from Mr. Travers' explanation of the phenomenon of Lake Guyon, as he considered it to be a portion of a valley that had existed prior to the

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scooping out of the valley of the Dillon, and gave instances to show that the rapidity of the destruction of mountain ranges and the excavation of valleys was much underrated. The cutting through of a very slender mountain ridge or côl was frequently the cause of changing the whole drainage system, throwing immense bodies of ice in a new direction, and completely cutting off the supply from former valley channels. He thought, in every case, that the glaciers thus cut off from supply had remained in the lower part of the valley till an immense quantity of shingle had passed over them, and on melting left the deep lake hollows. The cutting through of côls was the origin of most of the lower passes.