9. All these combinations, and thousands of others, are artificially obtained on a small scale in chemical laboratories. They are operated on a large scale in the grand laboratory of nature.
The Earth, in its beginning, did not contain these combinations of matter, but only their constituent elements in a state of volatility. When the calcareous and other soils became after a long time stony, they had been deposited on its surface. They did not at first exist as formations, but in the air were found in a gaseous state. These substances, precipitated by the effect of cold under the sway of favoring circumstances, have been combined according to the degree of their molecular affinity. It is then that the different varieties of carbonates and sulfates, etc., have been formed, — at first in a state of dissolution in the water, then deposited on the surface of the soil.
Let us suppose that by some cause the Earth should return to its primitive incandescent state; all that we see would decompose; the elements would separate; all fusible substances would melt; all those which were volatile would return to a state of volatility; after which a second cooling process would lead to a new precipitation, and the ancient combinations would form anew.