The formula has the advantage that it may be constructed from tetrahedral models of the carbon atom; but it involves the assumption that the molecule has within it a mechanism, equivalent in a measure to a system of railway points, which can readily close up and pass into that characteristic of benzene.
America, broadening in the north as if to span the oceans by reaching to its neighbours on the east and west, tapering between vast oceans far to the south where the nearest land is in the little-known Antarctic regions, roughly presents the triangular outline that is to be expected from tetrahedral warping; and although greatly broken in the middle, and standing with the northern and southern parts out of a meridian line, America is nevertheless the best witness among the continents of to-day to the tetrahedral theory.
The tetraspores may arise by the simultaneous division of the contents of a sporangium, when they are arranged tetrahedrally, or they may arise by two successive divisions, in which case the arrangement may be zonate when the spores are in a row, or cruciate when the second divisions are at right angles to the first, or tetrahedral when the second divisions are at right angles to the first and also to one another.
The accidental use of a single name, America, for the pair of continents that has a greater extension from north to south than any other continuous land area of the globe, has had some recent justification, since the small body of geological opinion has turned in favour of the theory of the tetrahedral deformation of the earth's crust as affording explanation of the grouping of continents and oceans.
This tetrahedral configuration is based on the existence of only one methylene dichloride, two being necessary if the carbon valencies were directed from the centre of a plane square to its corners, and on the existence of two optical isomers of the formula C. A.