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The Formation of the Earth

by Rene Descartes (translated by Google Translate, fixed by Juan) Icon
6 minutes  • 1181 words
Table of contents

striation: One of a number of parallel grooves and ridges in a rock or rocky deposit, formed by repeated twinning or cleaving of crystals.

2. How the Earth was Created According to this Hypothesis.

Our Earth was once formed solely from the fire-aether, like the Sun, although much smaller.

It had a vast vortex around it, in whose center it stood.

The striated particles and other very minute particles of the fire-aether adhered to each other and thus were converted into the earth-aether.

Sun spots were first generated on the surface of the Earth, similar to those around the Sun.

Then, the earth-aether particles remained from the continuous dissolution of these spots, scattered throughout the neighboring sky, gradually formed a great mass of air or aether there.

After this ether became very large, it wove denser spots, generated around the Earth, covering and darkening it completely.

Since they could no longer be dissolved, and perhaps many were pressing against each other, and at the same time the force of the containing vortex of the Earth was diminishing, it finally descended, along with the spots and the entire air in which it was enveloped, into another larger vortex, in the center of which is the Sun.

3. The 3 Regions of the Earth: Region 1

The Earth has 3 different regions inside it, as a planet not yet fallen towards the Sun, but about to fall.

Earth's regions

The first and innermost of these contains only the fire-aether, with less purity. It moves the same as in the Sun.

The fire-aether that continually goes from the Sun into the spots cannot be so easily purified from it.

Almost the entire space of Region 1 is filled only with the earth-aether.

4. Region 2

The middle region M is entirely occupied by a very opaque and dense body. This is made up of extremely small particles (as those that belonged to the fire-aether), joined together.

The only passages left in it were so small that they can allow the passage of those striated particles described above and the remaining matter of the fire-aether.

This is confirmed by experience in the spots of the Sun which are of the same nature as this body M. Except that they are much thinner and rarer. Nevertheless, they hinder the passage of light; which they could hardly do if their passages were wide enough to admit globules of the air-aether.

These passages were initially formed in fluid or soft matter. They would also be straight and smooth to not hinder the action of light.

5. Region 3

All the bodies found around us can arise in the future. But for now, we suppose nothing else in it than a large heap of particles of the earth-aether, having much air-aether around them, whose inner nature can be recognized from the way they were generated.

6. The particles of the earth-aether in Region 3 are quite large.

They arose from the dissolution of spots, which consisted of the smallest remnants of the fire-aether. Joined together, each is composed of many such remnants and be quite large, to withstand the impetus of the globules of the air-aether moving around them.

Because whatever could not withstand this, would be resolved again into the fire-aether or air-aether.

7. The Earth-aether at Region 3 can be changed by the Fire-aether and Air-aether

They completely resist the globules of the air-aether because each of the remnants from which they are composed yields to them, they can always be changed somewhat by their encounter.

8. They are larger than the globules of the air-aether but less solid and less agitated.

These remnants of the fire-aether have various shapes. Many could not be suitably joined together to compose each of these particles of the earth-aether without leaving many very narrow passages, permeable to the very subtle matter of the same first element.

Hence, although these particles are much larger than the celestial globules, they cannot be so solid or capable of such agitation.

To which it also contributes that they have very irregular shapes and are less suited for motion than the spherical shapes of these globules. For since the remnants from which they are composed are connected in numerous different ways, it follows that they differ greatly from each other in size, solidity, and shapes, and almost all their shapes are very irregular.

9. These earth-aether particles enveloped the Earth.

Although separated from each other, they incubated around the Earth when it was still rotating like fixed stars in its own peculiar vortex and had not yet fallen toward the Sun.

This was not a random scattering of these particles throughout the sky, but they all gathered around sphere M, pushing towards the center I by the globules of the air-aether, which, having greater force of agitation, were trying to recede from that center.

10. Various gaps between the fire-aether and air-aether were left around them.

They were mutually pressing against each other. But they were not so suitably connected that they left many intervals around them, which were not only occupied by the fire-aether but also by the globules of the air-aether.

This was to be expected because they had very irregular and diverse shapes, and they were joined together without any order.

11. The globules of the air-aether were initially smaller, the closer to the center of the Earth.

The lower globules mixed with these particles were slightly smaller than the upper ones: in the same way as shown above.

Those near the Sun gradually become smaller as they are closer to it.

All these globules were not larger than those found around the Sun within the sphere of Mercury. But they might have been smaller because the Sun is larger than the Earth ever was.

Therefore, they might have been smaller than those currently present around us. These surpass those below the sphere of Mercury because they are farther from the Sun.

12. The passages between them were narrower.

These globules retained passages among the particles of the third element adapted to their size: so that other slightly larger globules could not easily pass through them.

13. Not always thicker. Thinner ones were below.

Larger and more solid particles of the earth-aether had smaller and thinner ones below them.

They rotated uniformly around the axis of the Earth and easily adhered to each other due to the irregularities of their shapes.

The more solid and thicker the particle was, the more it was pushed towards the center by the globules of the air-aether surrounding it.

Those earth-aether particles could not always extricate thenselves so that the more solid ones descended below the less solid ones; but often they retained the same order they had when they were first formed.

14. How were the various bodies in Region 3 formed?

When later the Earth rolled towards the Sun (the vortex in which it was before being consumed), not much change could arise in its inner and middle regions.

But the outer region many other diverse bodies distinguished in it, first two, then three, later four.

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