Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 16, 1883
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1. Address by President.


He said the Society had been constituted fifteen years, and its efforts had been successful in harmonizing views and in stimulating concerted action upon a wide range of scientific and philosophical subjects. He then reviewed the work of the Society during the past year. Speaking of University matters, he suggested the importance of having a College established in Wellington similar to those in the other chief cities of the colony. Referring, at the close of his address, to the recent ascent of Mount Cook by Mr. Green, and to conflicting theories as to glacier action on the high lands in these islands as we see them now, he inclined to the theory that the accumulations of snow on plateaux above the line of perpetual snow would send down glaciers to scour deep fiords aud narrow valleys till the area of the plateaux became reduced by this very process of vertical denudation; this theory being more in accord with our existing geological knowledge than the more extreme supposition of a glacial epoch similar to that which was conjectured to have once covered Europe. From all that was known of New Zealand geology, he concluded that from long prior to the glacial epoch down to the present time, the same physical forces had been at work, in the same manner and with the same intensity. The frost had continued without intermission to break down the cliffs; the glaciers all along scoured the valleys, polished the rocks, and carried the débris to valleys and plains below; the water most efficiently distributing what was so brought down; the only difference of circumstance being attributable to the alteration effected by those very forces in the mass on which they had been so long at work, and the consequent diminution of the power of the glaciers.