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Describing the view from Mount Sir Donald, Mr. Green says, the great snow field extended for over ten miles to the southward, while beyond it rose a seemingly endless series of snowclad peaks with glaciers in their hollows. Westward and northward similar peaks were seen, most of them rising to a height of 10,000 feet and few reaching 11,000. Eastward, beyond Beaver creek, a curious line of hills was seen, called by hunters the Prairie hills. Mr. Green describes their surface as looking very much as might a strip of cloth, laid loosely over the rungs of a ladder lying flat upon the ground, and he ventures as a guess at their origin that they are markings of glaciers which moved eastward toward the Columbia Valley from the high central range in glacial times, and that since the pass: ing away of the ice, Beaver creek has sculptured out, its valley at right angles to the former drainage lines.
To the glacier lyin
southwest of the great Illecellewaet snow fiel
and south of the Asul
kan glacier, was given the name Geikie glacier, south of which is Dawson glacier on the northern side of Mount Dawson, and beyond is the Van Horne glacier. Describing the chief features of the range, Mr. Green says: I have marked the main line of watershed of the Selkirk range on my map, and reference to it will show that it runs through Mount Cheops, Rogers Pass, and the Sir Donald range, and then cutting across the great Illecellewaet firn, continues its course along the peaks of the Dawson range. To the west: ward of this line there is a complexity of glacier-clad ranges, many peaks rising quite as high as those on the watershed, the valleys tending in a southwesterly course to the Columbia. To the eastward of the divide, a great change comes over the as of the region. The Prairie hills I have described above, and all the ranges between them and the Columbia, in its eastern portion, have a smooth rounded outline, forming a strong contrast to the ranges on the other side of the divide. There seem to be no glaciers, the ranges not being high enough for their formation. Among the higher ranges an immense number of small glaciers lie in the ionos. and two extensive snow fields are to be found within the limits of my map. One of these, being the source of the best known glacier in the whole region, on account of its being so clearly visible from the railway, I have called the great Illecellewaet firn, after the river of which it is the true source. This ice field, probabl five hundred feet thick, to the southward exten down into a valley as the Geikie glacier, and to the eastward, having been joined by ice streams coming from the Dawson range, it pours into Beaver Creek valley as the Deville glacier. All these glaciers show evidence of shrinking. An immense moraine exists in the valley below the Illecellewaet glacier, where in ancient times it was met by an extension of the Asulkan glacier. Some of the blocks of quartzite in the moruine, are of huge dimensions, one | measured being 50 feet long, 24 feet thick, and 33 feet high. Another isolated bowlder farther down the valley measured 91 by 40 by 44 feet. The Illecellewaet glacier descends abruptly into the valley resembling a little the Rhône glacier; the ice is much broken, and is too steep to walk on. . . . By calculation we estimated that the center of the ice had moved along 20 feet in thirteen days. The Geikie glacier, about 4 miles long and 1,000 §. wide, is a much more interesting ice stream. Sheltered from the sun's rays by high cliffs, it flows along a level valley so that one can walk across its lower portion in various directions without trouble. As it descends from the firn it is much broken ; then its surface becomes level, but with numerous crevasses. Flowing round a bend longitudinal fissures are set up, crossing the others and forming such a multitude of séracs that the surface presents an appearance more like some basaltic formation with the columns pulled asunder than anything else I can think of. This beautiful structure gives place to the frozen waves of a mer de glace, and the glacier terminates in longitudinal an slightly radiating depressions and crevasses. The lateral moraines are quite discernible down the sides of the valley for a considerable distance below the termination of the glacier. There is no medial moraine, and the Dawson glacier with medial moraines just stops short of being a tributary. The other great snow field to which o alluded above, the Van Horne glacier, forms the source of the southeastern fork of the main river of this valley.
Comparing the scenery of the Selkirks with well-known views in Europe, Mr. Green says:
The peaks do not rise so high above the general level of the glacier as to be comparable with the higher ranges of the Swiss Alps. They resemble more some of the ranges of the Tyrol. The great forest-clad valleys of the Selkirks can, however scarcely be surpassed for beauty. The St. Gothard valley and the ranges between it and the Bernese Oberland, including the Rhône glacier, will afford the best comparison I can think of; but the views obtained from the railway are grander than anything visible from the St. Gothard. . . . When in the high alps of New Zealand I had to acknowledge that the alpine flora was far inferior, in color at least, to that of Switzerland. Not so in the Selkirks. Were it not that the blue star of the gentian is missing, I would say that we had more color in America. The most conspicuous of these alpine plants is Castilleia miniata, its scarlet blossoms giving a marvelous brightness to the mountain slopes and to the older portions of the glacier moraines, which were perfect gardens of flowers. . . . The highest point at which we met with alpine plants was on the southern slopes of Ross Pass, 8,500 feet above the sea.
Among the animals of the regions, which include black, cinnamon, and silver-tip bears, mountain goats, caribou, marinots, mountain rats, and creatures of the squirrel and rabbit kind, is described one, the sewellel, which has a strange fancy for collecting flowers. It lives be
neath the bowlder heaps, and about its burrows are found little bouquets of blossoms with their stems neatly placed together as if some child had laid them down. So much like the work of human hands do these look that the explorers on first seeing them supposed themselves to be on the track of other travelers. Copper and iron ores in abundance and galena, often rich in silver, appearing in several places, give rise to hopes of abounding mineral wealth. It is greatly to be regretted that the splendid evergreen forests of the territory are fast undergoing destruction from fires occasioned by sparks from passing engines and neglected camp-fires. Europe.—In France an underground river is reported to have been discovered in the Miers district of the department of Lot, and explored to a distance of seven miles by three men in an open boat. It was first seen at the bottom of an abyss known as the Pit of Paderoe, and was found to wind through a succession of grottoes and to abound in rapids; at the end of the seven miles it seemed to take a sudden plunge that made further examination dangerous. Greenland.—Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, who made the first journey ever made across the inland ice of Greenland from east to west, in 1888, returned to Europe in the spring of 1889, having arrived on the western coast too late to find passage in the preceding autumn. Previous attempts to penetrate the interior of Greenland have been made from the west. Dr. Nansen's idea was that starting from the east his party, having nothing behind them but the desolate coast, and before them the comforts of civilization on the west, would have no temptation to turn back and every inducement to go forward; the only alternatives would be to cross the country on the one hand, to die in the solitudes on the other. They sailed, therefore, for the eastern coast, but so thick was the ice floe that six weeks were spent in wandering about in the ice between Iceland and Greenland before the coast could be approached near enough for a landing to be made. On July 17, however, the party, consisting of six men, left the ship in the ice near Cape Dan, outside the Sermilik fjord. This is in about 65° 30′ north latitude. They were in two boats, and expected to make their way in one or two days through the ice pack of ten miles that still separated them from the land.
But we met quite unexpectedly with a strong and dangerous current which pressed the ice floes against each other, and we had to take great care that our boats were not crushed ; to make it more difficult, we got for some time fog and heavy rain. In spite of all this we advanced for about twenty hours rather rapidly toward land. I could see the stones on the shore, and was already quite sure of reaching it within a short time, when we had the misfortune of getting one of our boats crushed during an ice pressure; it could not float, and we were obliged to take it up on a floe and get it mended. This required several hours, and in the mean time we were swept southward by the rapid current; the distance from the land grew rapidly, and the speed with which we were swept along was so great that it was in vain to try to struggle against it. We had nothing left but to take leave of the beautiful mountains and the glaciers round the Sermilik fjord, and to look out for another landing place, or perhaps meet destruction in the floe ice wit its capricious currents, which, soon carried us toward land, but soon again toward the open sea. To make the position still more awkward, we got heavy rain which wet us through to the skin. We could do nothing better than pitch our tent on the ice floe and creep into our sleeping-bo to take a sleep which, after twenty hours' constant hard work in the ice, was rather welcome. I shall not tire you with a description of our drift along the east coast of Greenland, how we dragged our boats over the ice floes; how we worked hard and tried to force our way toward land; how, in the nights—with those charming Arctic sunsets, which call forth in your mind all your most tender feelings and dreams of your childhood—how we could then be seen casting longing looks toward that wild and beautiful coast from which we were parted only b some few miles of vexing ice. I will not tire you o a description of how often we hoped to land, how often we were disappointed, and how often we were nearly wrecked in the ice; the worst of it was that the precious summer time was passing away and we were not able to use it ; the difficulty of carrying out our plans grew greater every day. That you may get an idea of what risks one runs in such ice currents, I will tell you our experiences of one day and night only. One morning we observed that we were being rapidly carried by a strong current toward the open ocean, where a heavy sea was coming from the east down upon us; it was in vain to try to drag our boats over the floe ice against this current; it was inevitable that we must come into the dangerous breakers at the margin of the ice, where it was impossible to stick to the ice. The ice floes were smashed to pieces all around us; our own floe was broken into several pieces; we had nothing to do but select the strongest ice floe we could find in the neighborhood and to prepare with our utmost determination for a hard struggle for life. We got a strong floe, brought all our things and provisions into our two boats, which were standing on the ice floe; only our tent and two sleeping-bags were still left for use on the ice. ‘Toward night all was ready ; we were then some thousand yards from the open sea—we could only too distinctly see how the ice floes were washed over by the heavy breakers so that everything was swept away, how they were broken to pieces and then almost crushed into dust; within a few hours we should be at the outside margin; there would be nothing left but to try to get our boats through the breakers and enter the open sea; but as it was best to face this struggle with as fresh energies as possible, all the men were ordered to sleep except one, who should keep watch and call us when it would no longer be possible for us to maintain our position. While Captain Sverdrup took the first turn, we crept into our o and as we were tired, all of us, we fell fast asleep within a few minutes. Even the Lapps slept well though they had been dreadfully anxious all the day, ...i were quite sure they had seen the sun setting for the last time; one of them, who did not find the tent safe enough, slept in one of our boats, and did not even awake when the breakers very nearly had swept the boat away, so that Sverdrup was obliged to hold it. After some time I was awakened by hearing the breakers roar just outside the tent ; I expected to hear Sverdrup call, or to see the tent swept away, but Sverdrup did not call and the tent stood ; I heard the thunder of the breakers for some time, but then I do not remember anything more. I fell asleep again and did not awake until next morning, when I was most astonished to discover that we had again aproached land and were far distant from the open sea. Sverdrup told me now that our position had been rather awkward for some hours in the night; we had had a large mass of ice on our side which threatened to crush our floe every moment, and the breakers swept over our floe on all sides, only the spot where the tent was standing was spared. Once he came to the tent-door to call us ; he unfastened one hook, but then thought he would still look at the next breaker coming ; this was worse than the former one ; he re
turned to the tent, unfastened one hook more, but thought it best to wait and watch what the next breaker would be like. He did not unfasten any more hooks. Just at the decisive moment the current turned and we were again carried toward land, away from the dangerous breakers.
On July 29 they landed at Anoritok, in latitude 614°, not very far from the southern point of Greenland, and about 250 miles south of the place where they had intended to begin their westward journey. They could easily have reached the Danish settlements on the west coast, but Dr. Nansen chose to take the risk of carrying out the original plan as far as possible, and the boats were therefore steered northward. Several encampments of heathen Eskimos were passed on the coast, but no help could be got from them, as they could not advance through the ice as well with their skin boats as the travelers could with their wooden ones. On Aug. 10 they reached Umivik, a little above latitude 64°, which seemed a convenient place to begin the overland journey. Their destination was Christianshaab, at Disco Bay; but after a few days' ol. of the difficulties of pulling their sledges over the snow, standing on skis, or Norwegian snow-shoes, which, though hard and good at first, soon became soft and difficult for the sledges, they saw that they could not reach that point before the last ship would start for Europe. On Aug. 27, therefore, they changed the direction of their route toward Godthaab, situated farther to the south. By the change of direction the wind became so favorable that sails could be used on the sledges for the next three days. Dangerous crevasses were frequent on the way, and occasionally some one fell up to the arms through the snow bridges by which they had to be crossed ; and on one occasion the first three men with their two sledges were nearly engulfed in a broad crevasse which showed in the twilight only as a dark spot on the snow.
In the beginning of September they reached a large and !". flat plateau, resembling a frozen ocean, and between 8,000 and 9,000 feet in height. Their thermometers did not go low enough to register the temperature, but they believed that it fell on some nights to between 80° and 90° Fahr. below the freezing-point:
We saw only three things—that was snow, sun, and ourselves. One day was quite like another. But still even this part of the earth' has its beauties, and I shall never forget the glorious sunsets and the nights on the snow and ice fields of Greenland, when the ever-changing northern lights were scintillating perhaps brighter than anywhere else. I shall never forget the strange impressions, as from another world, we got in this solemn, silent nature, as we saw the lights spreading like a terrible fire over the whole sky, then gathering again in the zenith, as if swept together by a storm, always flitting, burning, and scintillating, and then at once disappearing, leaving the monotonous snow fields in darkness as they were before. . . . The landscape was not always, however, so peaceful as here described; sometimes we met snowstorms, and we often saw nothing but drifting snow. One day, the 8th of September, we were even obliged to remain in our tent, while it was nearly torn to pieces by the storm; the next day, when we wanted to continue our journey, we found that the tent was almost quite buried in the snow. We had to dig ourselves out and hunt for our sledges which had quite disappeared ; this, however, was very often the case in the mornings.
On Sept. 24 they reached land at a small lake to the south of Kangersunek, a fjord where a large glacier issues; and, on the 26th, the reached the sea at the inner end of the Amerali fjord in 64° 12 north latitude, having passed over the inland ice about 260 miles. They were still 50 miles from the nearest inhabited place, Godthaab, and were obliged to build a boat of parts of their tent and sledges to reach it. Dr. Nansen believes that, so far at least as the southern part of Greenland is concerned, his expedition has disproved the theory of Dr. Nordenskiöld, who held that “it is in most cases a physical impossibility that the interior of a large continent should be completely covered with ice under the climatic circumstances that occur on our planet south of 80° latitude”; and that, as to the interior of Greenland, it is even easy to prove that the conditions for the forming of glaciers can not occur there if the surface of the land does not gradually and regularly rise from the east coast as well as the west coast toward the center. But such a shape, he says, has no continent, orographically known, on our earth. Greenland, he thinks, like Scandinavia in its orographical construction, consisting of mountain ranges and peaks separated by deep valleys and plains; and in such a country most of the rain and snow must fall in the neighborhood of the coasts, while only dry and warm winds reach the interior, so that there can not be moisture enough to form a glacier there. On the contrary, Dr. Nansen holds that his observations prove that this part of the interior is not only ice and snow clad, but has a mighty shield-shaped covering of snow and ice, under which mountains as well as valleys have quite disappeared, so that their configuration can not even |. traced. It rises regularly, though rapidly, from the east coast, reaching a height of 9,000 or 10,000 feet, is rather flat and even in the center, and then falls regularly toward the west coast. He does not believe that this conformation of the ice indicates a similar shape of the land—that is, a high central plateau o to the coasts, but that the interior is like that of Norway and of Scotland, the valleys being filled with ice of enormous thickness, and the even surface being due mainly to the action of the wind, filling up the depths with the loose dry snow and leveling and polishing the great field till it looks like the surface of a frozen ocean. The fact that snow falls nearly every day and that there is very little melting going on, seems to lead to the conclusion that the quantity is constantly increasing. But this does not seem to be the case, since if it were, the quantity of snow and ice on the coasts would be constantly increasing also, whereas the observations and measurements on the west coast for several years indicate that they keep about the same level. This fact Dr. Nansen explains on the theory that the pressure in this mass of ice and snow, forces the ice downward along the sloping sides of the mountains and through the valleys toward the sea, where it falls in ice streams or glaciers, and is melted or carried away in icebergs; moreover, much may be carried away in the form of water, since the melting-point of ice is lowered by pressure—a theory confirmed by the fact that even in the middle of the cold Greenland winter, rivers
run out under the glaciers at the margin of the inland ice. The careful observation of a snow and ice covering like that of Greenland is, in my opinion, of great o for the theory of the formation of valleys and fjords by the ice. The ability to excavate the ground underneath must be considerable in quantities of ice like those observed there. To me it seems indeed natural that the more we study Greenland, its coasts and its inland ice, the more convinced must we feel of the great ability of the ice to form fjords and valleys to a great extent. Indeed if we attentively study on one hand the fjords and valleys of Greenland, with their many evidences of glacial influence, and on the other hand the inland ice, we can be in no doubt whatever that these are in a near relation to each other; and if we from Greenland turn our eyes to Norway and Scotland, we must grant that there are here quite similar formations. In meteorological respects there are some observations of great interest. The very low temperature met with in the interior will be astonishing to most meteorologists; it does not seem to agree with the received meteorological laws, at all events, not at the first glance. The radiation of warmth from this immense snow field in such an altitude, where the air is consequently very thin, must evidently have a great influence in lowering the temperature. The interior of Greenland must indeed be the coldest place on earth hitherto known ; it must be a kind of cold pole from which the winds blow toward the coasts and the sea. I think that this low temperature may throw a good deal of light on the much discussed question, the cause of the . cold of the glacial period in Europe and North merica, which at that time were covered with an ice sheet similar to that we now see in Greenland. I think that the best way of solving the problems of the great ice age is to go and examine the places where similar conditions are now found; and no better place can be found than Greenland. From a study of the glacial phenomena of the west coast of Greenland, M. Charles Rabot, the explorer of Lapland, draws the following conclusions: First, from a comparison of the inland ice of Greenland with the glaciers of Lapland, of the type of the Svartis and the Jökulfjeld, it appears certain that the latter glaciers are inland ice in miniature, and that the Svartis and the Jökulfjeld are vestiges of the glacial period in Scandinavia, which have remained to the present day in consequence of particular circumstances. Second, that the great glacier of Jakobshavn has advanced in recent years; it is about 14 mile beyond where it was observed by Lieut. Hammer in 1878. Third, that the drift ice of the ice field, which lies along the southwest coast, only transports a very small quantity of materials. In crossing the ice field, sixty miles wide, only one out of the fifty or sixty pieces of ice observed was covered with débris of detritic origin. Guiana.-M. Georges Brousseau, in a letter to the Geographical Society of Paris, says that he finds the river Inini, in French Guiana, represented on existing maps as a small creek, to be in reality an important river, with an average breadth of from thirty-five to fifty yards, flowing through a deep channel. It could be ascended for more than twenty days by canoe in one or other of its chief branches. Mexico.—A gold district has recently been discovered in the northeast part of Lower California, 60 miles east of Ensenada. Beginning at the foot of the mountains, it extends for 50 miles or more to the northeast, about 4,500 feet above the sea. Placers are found in the lower
levels of the many cañons or gulches, and quartz lodes of a mineral character intersect the hills in every direction. Whether it can be profitably worked is still a question. Other minerals—silver, copper, iron, lead, saltpetre, sulphur, etc.— are found there also, according to report. Paraguay.—The return of an expedition to explore the Jejui River in Paraguay, was reported in 1888. Capt. Sandalio Sosa, of the Argentine army, and Dr. de Bourgade, secretary of the Hydrologic Society of France, explored that river, the banks of the Igatini, and the upper Paraná. They discovered two important tributaries of the Igatimi, called the Ipytá and the Ihoby, which they explored. They visited the Guaira Fall, the height and volume of which they found to have been greatly exaggerated. Capt. Sosa says: “The Guaira Fall is not a single perpendicular plunge of water; it is a tumultuous collection of rapids and great and little falls all plunging together into a single channel, through which are forced 15,000 to 20,000 cubic metres of water. The height of the precipice is 100 metres. This vast quantity so violently precipitated sends up a mass of vapor visible at a farther height of more than 100 metres.” They found the natives well disposed. Somewhat farther down the stream than the Cainguás and the Guaranis they found a tribe heretofore unknown, the Apyteré, or inhabitants of the center. These they regarded as the most advanced of the tribes visited. They play upon simple pipes and understand the potter's art. nited States.—An expedition to determine the exact boundary between Alaska and the British possessions was sent out in June, 1889, by the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, under the lead of J. E. McGrath. The treaty of 1825 places the line at the summit of the mountains or the watershed where the watershed is within a distance of ten leagues from the coast; where it is not, the line is to run arallel to the coast at a distance from it of ten eagues; and then follows the 141st meridian to the Arctic Ocean. • An attempt to ascend Mount St. Elias was made in July, 1888, by a party under Mr. Harold W. Topham. They reached the upper rim of the so-called crater; the height reached was 11,461 feet, and the summit towered, as they judged, some 8,000 feet above. Mr. Topham saw no evidences of volcanic action, though a cone of rock, shaped like a sugar-loaf, rising from near the upper rim of the crater, resembles the lava cones of Kilauea in Hawaii. It is about 80 feet high and 40 broad at the base, and is composed of numerous stones of irregular shape, having flat, even surfaces and fitting into each other like mosaic work. The bottom of the crater is full of ice, and upon its precipitous cliffs are a number of overhanging glaciers, splashed, as it were, o the rocks and detached from the snow fields above. This is characteristic of a number of glaciers in the neighborhood. There they are, right on the rocks, with yawning crevices upon them broken up and ready to topple over upon you. Perhaps in a few years they will have melted entirely away. Everything around St. Elias bears evidence to the conclusion that the long period of ice through which the land has been passing is now coming to an end. The panorama obtained from the point reached was
The distances were immense. To the northwest we could see many ranges of hills with huge glaciers between them. Most of these nountains appeared less than 7,000 feet high, but there were several very much higher, and I believe that we saw Mount Wrangel, which Lieut. Allen states to be about 17,500 feet high, the second highest mountain in North America. The Malaspina glacier appeared with its moraines like a huge race-course, and the streaks of desiris at the west end of the course had fashioned themselves into the semblance of Saturn's rings. This glacier filled up the whole space to the east as far as the horizon. Mount Fairweather, distant 150 miles, stood up beyond. To the south we could distinguish the sca and the mouth of the river. The greater part of the Malaspina glacier and certainly nine tenths of the white ice comes from between Mount St. Elias and Mount Cook. The ice coining from the south of Elias is covered with debris, shale, and slate, tor the most part such as we had been climbing up. This formation renders climbing very tiring work. No step is quite safe. Whole masses of rocks become dislodged and fall thundering down the mountainside, and so thick was the cloud of dust which enveloped us on our descent that the last man had great difficulty to see where to walk. There is a couloir about 3,000 feet in height, down which stones are continually falling, owing to the rapid disintegration of the mountain. They never cease falling, and a pillar of dust ascends high into the air, giving the appearance, when seen from a distance, of steam or smoke, and the wind plays upon the dust just as it plays upon the Staubbach and other high waterfalls, watting it to and fro, and sporting with it as it likes. As we approached the mountain from the Tyndall glacier we had been under the impression that the pillar of dust was smoke, or steam due to volcanic agency, and, although we had examined the phenomenon through a powerful telescope, we continued of the same opinion until we arrived close to it and discovered its true nature. The Tyndall glacier forms a very small part of the Guyot, but most of the moraine upon the latter descends from the southern slopes of Elias. The Guyot glacier stretches away out of sight to the south. The Chaix hills are in the shape of a great V. At the angle of the V are snow fields, connected with a short range of hills of a reddish sandstone. These run north and connect with St. Elias. On the west side of the Tyndall glacier are several smaller glaciers descending from the range of hills which flank the Tyndall on that side. The hills are of gray sandstone, shale, and slate. . Upon these hills, we found many seams of coal and, some fossils of the Miocene, or perhaps Eocene, period on their glaciers. . Upon the east lateral moraine we found hornblende, shale, amygdaloid, and some granite. From where we were upon St. Elias we could see that a branch of the Guyot glacier descends from the northward of the peak and passes behind these hills. This fact, coupled with that mentioned above, that the greater part of the Mogo glacier appears to come from northeast of Mount St. Elias, makes me think that the mountain itself is not at the summit of the watershed. This is interesting only to those who are anxious to place Mount St. Elias in Canadian territory, because the boundary, according to treaty, was
...to run parallel to the coast, at a distance of ten
leagues, except where the summit of the watershed came within that zone, in which case the watershed was to be the frontier.
The influence of forests on rainfall has been the subject of a careful study by Prof. Henry Gannett, of the Geological Survey. His investigations have convinced him that the existence of woodland has no connection as a cause with the quantity of rainfall. The fact that forests are generally found in places subject to heavy rainfall has led to the belief that, while the rain