Abstract

A critical examination of the paper by Marsh (1867) shows clearly that he did not originate the contraction-pressure theory for the origin of stylolites as claimed by Prokopovich (1952). An examination of Gumbel's papers of 1882 and 1888 shows that he based a preliminary phase of his theory upon the compaction of the sediments and the drying out and cracking of the clay layers between the still plastic calcareous beds above and below the clay. Gumbel's theory is essentially that of Marsh after obtaining the small pieces of clay which functioned in the same manner as the fossils in Marsh's theory. Hence, neither of these investigators proposed the contraction-pressure theory as claimed by Prokopovich. An examination of the solution theory described by Prokopovich shows it to be completely inadequate to produce stylolites and that none of the common and outstanding features of stylolite columns and seams can be logically explained by this theory.

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