The primary rocks, . . . I regard as the deposits of a period in which the earth's crust had sufficiently cooled down to permit the existence of a sea, with the necessary denuding agencies, - waves and currents, - and, in consequence, of deposition also; but in which the internal heat acted so near the surface, that whatever was deposited came, as a matter of course, to be metamorphosed into semi-plutonic forms, that retained only the stratification. I dare not speak of the period. We may imagine, however, a dark atmosphere of steam and vapour, which for age after conceals the face of the sun, and through which the light of moon or star never penetrates; oceans of thermal water heater in a thousand centres to the billing point; low, half-molten Islands, dim through the fog, and scarce more fixed than the waves themselves, that heave and tremble under the impulsions of the igneous agencies; roaring geysers, that ever and anon throw up their intermittent jets of boiling fluid, vapour, and thick steam, from these tremulous lands; and, in the dim outskirts of the scene, the red gleam of fire, shot forth from yawning cracks and deep chasms,and that bears aloft fragments of ashes. But should we continue to linger amid a scene so featureless(कुरूप) and wild, or venture adown some yawning opening into the abyss beneath, where all is fiery and yet dark, - a solitary hell, without suffering or sin, - we would do well to commit ourselves to the guidance of a living poet of the true faculty, - Thomas Aird and see with his eyes. Sketch Book of Popular Geology(1859),238-9.
Hugh Miller 1802-56 British theologian and geologist