Citation
Wonders of nature

Material Information

Title:
Wonders of nature
Creator:
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publisher:
Thomas Nelson and Sons
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
[24] leaves : col. ill. ; 17 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Natural history -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Curiosities and wonders -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1857 ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1857
Genre:
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding) ( rbbin )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Pages printed on one side of leaf only.
Funding:
Brittle Books Program

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
027023886 ( ALEPH )
25627968 ( OCLC )
ALJ0458 ( NOTIS )

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Hi Nee y
|) WONDERS OF NATURE.
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NATURAL BRIDGE OF ICONONZO, NEW CRENADA,
A natural arch, 473 feet in length and 39 in breadth. stretches
‘(} across the fissure at a height of 318 feet above the stream, which
OY) flows through a dark cavern, whence arise the doleful cries of noc-
turnal birds that haunt the abyss in thousands. Sixty-four. feet
below this bridge is a second, composed of three enormous muasses

of rock which have fallen so as to support each other. te







hie THE AURORA BOREALIS.

| Tue Aurora Borealis is a peculiarly beautiful light which
sometimes makes its appearance in the skies of the tem-
perate zones, but is chiefly observed in its greatest beauty
towards the regions of the poles. Its colour and form
varies. Sometimes it is of a soft pale blue, at other
times it appears white, yellow, and purple; but blue is
the ordinary colour. It shoots upwarus in the form of
fiery spears, or waves gently to and fro, as if agitated by
wind, and sometimes forms an arch in the heavens, the
(| top of which, however, is seldom clearly defined. Although [jN))
| \} mot very frequently seen in temperate climates, this beau- |

| tiful phenomenon is a constant visitor during winter in [//

|| the polar regions, where, to a great extent, it takes the |

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the spirits of the dead dancing in the air, and has been
compared to armies fighting in the skies. It is some-
times called the merry dancers, and the northern lights. -
Scientific men have propounded many theories in re-
gard to the cause of the Aurora Borealis. The following
seems to be the most probable :— | .
When electric fluid is passed through a vacuum, it
assumes very much the appearance, in colour and motion,
of the Aurora. During the time of its prevalence, the
magnetic needle is observed to be affected, and electric
fluid is obtained in abundance from the atmosphere ;
hence its substance is supposed to be electricity. From
the fact that it always shoots wowards from the poles
towards the zenith, it is conjectured that electricity col-
lects in large quantities at the poles, because it cannot
disperse into the earth there, owing to the extremely cold
atmosphere being a non-conductor. The hot air of the
Tropics being a good conductor, the electricity there bursts

on the earth in the shape of frequent and terrible thun-

der-storms ; and the deficienty of the fluid thus caused is
made up hy the rushing of the polar electricity in the
form of the Aurora, to supply its place. Hence its up-
ward motion, .

The navigators of the northern seas all speak of this
light in the most glowing language : and they tell us that
in winter the heavens become constantly brilliant with it.
Captains Parry and Lyon made particular observations
of it, and agree in stating that it is not accompanied by
any sound—a point which has been much disputed,
They speak of the Aurora as giving an indescribable air
of magic to these dark icy regions. Indeed, it would
seem as if God, in removing the solar influence from ti:e
poles during winter, had designedly compensated for this
severe privation by filling the skies of the northern re-
gions with an unusual galaxy of stars and meteors.

Not only are the stars intensely brilliant, and the
Aurora Borealis continual, but fiery meteors of various
kinds are very frequently seen; and the constant moticn
going on in the heavens, relieves, to a great extent, the
monotonous stillness of the frozen earth and sea.

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FINGAL’S CAVE.

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»| are lined with those columns, while the roof and bottom
of it are formed by the projecting ends of those that have
been broken. The sea penetrates the cavern to its inner
end, so that in calm weather it can be entered by a boat,
, | and a narrow ledge on the right side enables the traveller
+ | also to enter it on foot. The length of this cave is two
hundred and fifty feet, the breadth about forty, and the
: ( height above one hundred feet at the mouth, but consi-.
derably lower at the other end. The basaltic rock of
*| which the whole island is formed is black in colour, and
( so hard, that it is broken with difficulty even with a
(>) bammer
Y The waters of the Atlantic Ocean at this. pk .
; _ place are
( exceedingly deep, so that, being untainted by the sand or
) - mud of the shore, they are beautifully clear, and of an
: ( emerald green ; and the inside of Fingal’s Cave is tinged
\ with this hue, as it is reflected from the water which
‘) flows into it. The pillars on the sides, and the over-
v arching and broken roof, give to the visitor the feeling
i) of being in a cathedral—a feeling which is enhanced by
( ~ the subdued greenish light of the cavern and the gentle

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By 4 the ceaseless swell of the great Atlantic, even in the



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( -ealmest weather.

NW Owing to this Atlantic swell, it is difficult to land on
”)| the island of Staffa even when the weather is propitious,
“| and quite impossible when it is stormy.

| —_ There are other caverns of a similar character in the
jsland of Staffa, none of which, however, apprvach,
~| either in size or beauty, to Fingal’s Cave, which is now
) so famous that it is annually visited, during the summer
/\| months, by thousands of travellers. During this season
; steamers ply regularly between Oban and Staffa; but,
*}} owing to the swell of the ocean already alluded to, many
people are disappointed in landing, and are obliged to con-
tent themselves with as near a view as can be obtained
from the steamer’s deck. No description can convey an
adequate idea of Fingal’s Cave, which is certainly one |
of the most interesting sights on the west coast of Scot-

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THE FALLS OF NIAGARA.

In the interior of North America are the lakes Erie and
Ontario,—the one, lake Erie, lying at an elevation of
three hundred and thirty-four feet higher than the other.
These lakes separate Canada from the United States, and
are connected by the river Niagara, which, throughout
the greater part of its course of thirty-two miles, flows
with considerable speed. The great descent, however, is
made about midway, in one tremendous leap, which forms
the famous cataract called the Falls of Niagara—the most
sublime and enormous waterfall in tne known world.
The fall is divided into two unequal parts by Goat Island,
which stands on the very verge of the precipice, as if it
were about to follow the gushing stream, and dash down
into the mighty abyss below. The fall on the American
side is 1140 feet in breadth, and 160 feet in height. That






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the Horse-shoe fall thunders, rises to so great a height

raging rapid above, and the plunging cataract below, is
compared to the loudest thunder. A splendid view of the

the river is so tranquil that a boat plies between the





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on the Canadian side - which is much the finer of the two,
and is called the Horse-shoe fall, owing to its curved form
—is above 2100 feet in the curve, and 150 feet high. Goat
Island measures about 980 feet in breadth, so that the
entire sweep of the falls is about 4220 feet.

As the volume of water which plunges over this pre-
cipive. is estimated to be a hundred millions of tons per
hour, it may be imagined that this unparalelled fall is one
of the most sublime and awe-inspiring works of God.
The foam which ascends from the cauldron into which

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above the river, that it can sometimes be distinguished
at a distance of fifty miles. And the mingled roar of the

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falls used to be had from Table Rock, which once pro-
jected more than fifty feet over the precipice which sup-
ported it; but it is now gone, having recently fallen into
the flood over which it hung. A little below the falls





















American and Canadian sides, and the view from this
boat is inexpressibly grand. The precipice over which
the water leaps projects considerably beyond its base,
and travellers frequently advance 150 feet between the
falling flood and the rock. This, however, requires nerve,
and is not unattended with danger. Those who have
accomplished the feat, however, speak of the appearance
of the fall from that point of view as being most wonder-
ful, and the effect on the mind as almost overpowering.

The American fall does not, like that on the Canadian
side, descend into a boiling cauldron, but dashes down
on a mass of broken rocks, where it is lashed into white
foam. It is supposed that the cataract must have origi-
nally been close to lake Ontario, as it is continually break-
ing down its bed. Perhaps it will creep backwards, to
lake Erie, at last.

Our space precludes our doing more than briefly stating
the principal points of interest; but no description can
ever convey tv the mind an adequate conception of the
magnificence of the Falls of Niagara.





ICEBERGS.

THOSE enormous islands and mountains of ice that float
upon, a..d often block up, the polar seas, are called Ice-
bergs. They are furmed upon the tall precipitous cliffs
of the northern regions, particularly those on the western
coasts of Greenland and in Davis’ Straits, where the
melting, in summer, of the immense quantities of snow
that fall in winter, adds annually to the bulk of the
masses of ice, or glaciers, which cling to them. In the
course of centuries, these masses grow to the size of a
thousand, sometimes two thousand, feet in height—vary-
ing, of course, with the height of the cliffs to which they
adhere—and then, as their foundations are gradually worr
away by the action of the waves, their own weight de-
taches them from their ancient resting-place, and preci-
pilates them headlong into the deep. Here they float









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about in the form of islands, having every conceivable
variety of bold and fantastic appearance. Some are like
immense flat islands, several miles in circumference,
whose sides are frequently seen thirty feet high, and
quite perpendicular. Others resemble steep mountains
of a beautiful bluish green colour, the peaks of which
shoot sharply up into the sky. Mariners frequently
moor their ships to these floating islands, but are obliged
to do so with long cables, because masses of ice, called
‘** calves,” are constantly becoming detached from the
lower parts of the bergs, and shoot suddenly up out of the
water with a force that would probably penetrate the hull
of a vessel against which they might happen to strike.
As ice floats in water with about six-sevenths of its bulk
immersed, it follows that those bergs which are some-
times seen of about two hundred feet high, must in reality
be masses of ice upwards of fourteen hundred feet thick !
‘I'he pools of water formed on their surfaces by the sun’s
rays are all perfectly fresh, so that navigators in the polar

_regions frequently replenish their water-tanks, when far

away from land, with the purest water, taken from ponds
on the ice.
There are few scenes on earth more lovely and ma-

gical in effect than the Polar Sea, on a bright calm |

day, loaded with icebergs of every shape and size: their
delicate blue sides streaming with cataracts, and their
fantastic peaks sparkling like marble clitts in the sun.

Arctic mariners are often exposed to great danger by
icebergs. Sometimes they are so nicely balanced in the
water, that the breaking off of a very small portion is suffi-
cient to overturn them, and should a vessel be near at
such a time, the danger of being swamped is very great.
A vessel has been known to get between a small and a
large iceberg, and a light breeze has sprung up to wind-
ward of the large one, causing it to bear down on the
smaller, which its superior bulk sheltered from the wind,
so that it remained motionless; the ship, of course, was
also becalmed, and so ran a great risk of being crushed
between the two. No doubt Sir John Franklin’s ships
were lost in this manner.









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MOUNT VESUVIUS.

Vesuvius stands on the east of the Bay of Naples, six |) |||
miles from the city of that name. It is detached from |)\) |||
the Apennines, and situated alone in the midst of a plain.
The mountain is nearly 4000 feet high, but the height
varies in consequence of the frequent falling in of part of
its summit, when agitated by those awful eruptions which
have more than once spread dismay and destruction among
the surrounding inhabitants.

After centuries of repose, Vesuvius again became an |.
active volcano in the year of our Lord 63, when it was /\\)~ |||
accompanied by an earthquake, and gave forth the loud |)\)) |
rumbling sounds that generally precede eruptions. Much
damage was done on this occasion by the streams of lava |\\\|
that issued from its fiery sides, as well as by the stones |))
and sand which were vomited, along with clouds of smoke, |



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from its crater. From that time till now the mountain
has continued more or less in au active condition, and
occasionally breaks forth in eruptions, none of which,
however, are to compare with that which occurred on the
23d August, A.D. 79, when the most awful eruption took.
' place that was ever witnessed. It was on this occasion
that the famous cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii were
completely buried in melted lava. A description of this
awful event is given by Pliny the younger, whose uncle
perished in the sulphureons fumes disgorged from the
voleano, while he was endeavouring to render assistance
to a friend whose residence was near the foot of the
~ mountain.

During this eruption the day became black as night,
and the atmosphere around was impregnated with dense
clouds of smoke, and filled with falling stones and sand.
The wretched inhabitants who escaped immediate de-

_- struction knew not where to fly, as the sea became so
| tempestuous as to render an attempt to put off in boats
}} almost impossible. The houses were rocked to and fro

by the terrible throes of the mountain, so that the open

fields, although exposed to showers of hot stones and
ashes, became the only place of comparative safety. _

The lava which, on such occasions, flows from Vesu-
vius like a flood of molten fire, soon becomes cooled on
the surface, on which a crust forms, but, as this crust
prevents the cooling of the lava below, the streams often
continue to flow, though very slowly, long after they
appear to have solidified. The lava ejected from Mount
Ktna in 1819 continued to move a yard per day for nine
months after the eruption, and there are instances in
which it is said to have taken much longer to become
quite solid and stationary.

It is possible to ascend to the top of Mount Vesuvius
and look into its crater, and travellers frequently do so.
Uf course, this could not be done except when the moun-
tain is in a state of comparative tranquillity.

The Bay of Naples, on whose shore it stands, is said
to be one of the most picturesque and beautiful in the

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THE PHANTOM SHIP.

Aone the many strange optical illusions to which we
are subject, few are more striking or interesting than
those produced by refraction. What we call the Phantom
Ship is referable to this peculiarity of the atmosphere. A
ship was once sailing along the southern coast of Africa.
The morning was fine, and the wind fair. Towards

evening a heavy swell set towards the shore—shoals of

seals followed the vessel—fish darted out of the waves—
and the ocean seemed to stir with life, as the sun slowly
set. Just then a bank of cloud rose up from the east-
ward, so rapidly, that in a short time the heavens were
obscured, while all around there was a mysterious sort
of red haze, as if the ocean were about to burst into a
flame, Sudaenly the sailors perceived, at the distance of
a mile or so, the tapering masts of another vessel, which



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rose slowly, as it were, out of the water. Gradually this
vessel ascended, until her hull arose compietely out of the
water, and she appeared to float in air—so close, that tie
men were clearly seen upon her decks, yet so shadowy and
indistinct, besides the fact of her floating in the air, that
no one doubted for a moment that the ship was a phan-
tom. This strange vessel continued visible for a short
time, and then gradually disappeared, leaving the sailors
to believe that they had actually seen the ghost of a ship!

Experience has since proved, however, that this mys-
terious phantom was caused by the refracting power of
the atmosphere, under peculiar circumstances. When
the sea is very cold, the atmosphere resting on it parts
with its heat to the water; the atmosphere immediately
above supplies its heat to that immediately below, and so
the air for a considerable height upwards gradually dimi-
nishes in density, thus causing an irregularity, which
refracts or breaks up the object in the most fantastic way ;
sometimes making a vessel which is out of sight below the
horizon appear actually avlore it. This irregularity of the
medium through which we gaze is illustrated by the well
known absurd appearance of objects when viewed through
a bad pane of window glass. |

The immense fields of ice in the Polar Seas, by cooling
the surface of the sea, and the contiguous atmosphere,
render these mysterious looking appearances very fre-
quent in northern latitudes. Sometimes points of land
stretching into the sea are seen as if floating in mid-
air. Ships are often so much exaggerated in size and
appearance, that it is difficult to recognise them, and oc-
casionally they are seen turned upside down altogther ;
and it is not to be wondered at that illiterate men, on
beholding such apparently unnatural phenomena, should
fancy that they were referable to supernatural agency,
rather than to natural causes.

No doubt such atmospherical phenomena have been
the cause, in all ages, of those marvellous ghosts which
we,have so often heard of, which all can talk about, which
most people have a kind of belief in, but which very few
have actually seen.










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WATERSPOUTS.

Wuen whirlwinds: pass over the ocean, they sometimes
raise the water upwards in the form of a column, which
joins the clouds ; and, after travelling in the direction of
the wind for a short time—varying from a few minutes
to an hour—disperses, or bursts, and descends in a deluge
of.rain. Such phenomena are called waterspouts. They
are seen of various sizes, and are occasionally observed to
travel over the land as well as the sea. Formerly, when
mariners observed a waterspout, they used to discharge
artillery at it in order to break it up, being afraid that it
would pass over the ship, and sink or destroy it. Water-
spouts exhibit various aspects, but a frequent appear-
ance has been described as follows :—

““ Under a dense cloud a circular area of the ocean,
in diameter from one hundred to one hundred and twenty

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it embraced in the whirl of a waterspout.

yards, shows great disturbance; the water rushes to-
wards the centre of the agitated mass, whence it rises
in a spiral form towards the clouds. The clouds,
assuming a similar form inverted, descend to meet the
water, and ultimately join it, thus forming a complete
column, somewhat in the shape of an hour-glass. This
column is dark at the sides, giving it the appearance of
a hollow tube. It moves with the wind, and, even in
calm weather, shifts its position. Sometimes the water-
spout proceeds in an upright position, but more frequently
it slopes to one side, as if it were urged more powerfully
by the breeze in one part than another; and this is
probably the reason why waterspouts are generally
ruptured and broken up soon after their formation.
Vivid flashes of lightning frequently issue from them,
and deluges of rain accompany their disruption.

A remarkable spout of this kind appeared and burst
on Emott moor, in Lancashire, in the year 1718. It was
observed by some labourers who were at work not far
distant. Upon leaving the spot in alarm, they found a
brook, which was usually very small, converted into a
roaring flood, though no rain had fallen on the moor;
and at the spot where the waterspout br oke, the earth

naked rock appeared, and an excavation had been nade
in the ground, by the force of the water discharged,
upwards of half a mile in length.

So many as sixteen waterspouts have been seen at the

same time in the Mediterranean, where these watery

columns seem to be very numerous.
They sometimes form, whirl along for a few minutes,

nd are broken and dispersed,—but almost instantly

afterwards begin to form again; and this sometimes
takes place five or six times in the course of a few
minutes.

They might possibly pass over iain ships without
doing them much damage, farther than drenching them
with floods of water, or carrying away some light spars;
but a little boat would have a small chance of escape were

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STALACTITE CAVERNS.

IN many caves, especially in those composed of limestone,
there are a series of beautifully white, and curiously ar-
ranged formations, which are called stalactites. They
are created by the droppings of liquid from the caverns’
roofs. These drops contain carbonate of lime, held in
solution by carbonic acid. Upon exposure to the air, the
carbonic acid is disengaged, and the carbonate of lime is
deposited. Thus, drop by drop, the formation goes on,
until long points, like icicles, depend from the roof, while
blunter points, formed by the fallen drops, rise from the
floor, and eventually meet those above, thus forming com-
plete columns, which assume many grotesque and beauti-
ful shapes, and produce a singularly fine effect in the caves.

There are many stalactite caverns on the continent of

Europe. The grotto of Antiparos, one of the islands of | |



the Grecian Archipelago, is celebrated on account of the
size, and the diversity of form, of these deposits. There
are also one or two specimens of them in England; but
the finest of all, perhaps, are found in the cave of Adels-
berg, near Trieste, where the immense size of the cavern,
and the beauty and varied formation of the deposits, are
described as being most extraordinary.

** At one time,” writes an eye-witness, ‘‘ the guides
seemed to be lighting up some distant gallery, far above
our heads, which had the appearance of verandahis,
adorned with Gothic tracery. At another we came to
what seemed the long aisle of a Gothic cathedral. The
whimsical variety of forms surpasses all powers of de-
scription. Here was what appeared to be a butcher's
shop, hung with joints of meat; and there, a throne,
with a magnificent canopy. At another spot was the
appearance of a beautiful statue, with a bearded head ;
and, a little beyond, the figure of a warrior, with a
helmet and coat of mail, so perfect, that it was almost
impossible to believe it had not been sculptured by
the hand of man. There are two bridges formed by
the stalactites over a subterranean river,—the one about
a mile distant from the other, and the inner one hang-
ing suspended eighty or a hundred fathoms above the
stream. In one part of the cavern there is a wide space,
called the Ball Room, with a natural gallery, which seems
as if designed expressly for an orchestra. Here the in-
habitants assemble every Whitsunday to dance, on which
occasion the grotto is brilliantly illuminated.”

There are formations called the ‘‘ Graves,” the ‘‘ Pic-
ture,” the “‘ Cannon,” the ‘‘ Pulj it,” the ‘‘Sausage Shop,”
the ‘‘ Prisons,” and the ‘‘ Curtain,” all of which strikingly
resemble such objects. There is also a stalactite, having
the folds of a curtain, which are as perfect, in all respects,
as if it were a real piece of drapery ; and another deposit
has taken the shape of shirt-ruffles, the illusion of which
is enhanced by the substance being so thin as to render
it semi-transparent, But the varieties of form taken by
the stalactites are endless, as well as exquisitely beauti-





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GLACIERS.

Amon the elevated gorges of the mountains of Switzer-
land, Norway, and other countries—where nature has
carved the earth in the most rugged form—there exist
immense fields of svlid ice, which have continued to ac-
cumulate for centuries, and will, probably, go on accumu-
lating to the end of time. These are called glaciers.
They are formed by the falling and melting of the snow,
which, descending the mountain valleys, during sum-
mer, in a half congealed state, and with an almost im-
perceptible motion, is arrested in its ceurse by the frosts,
and increased in its bulk hy the snows, of successive
winters, until *+ becomes gradually converted into solid
ice of several hundred feet thick. In some cases these
immense masses block up entire valleys, from the moun-
tain tops to the sea, while they retain on their surface

———

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i much of the form caused by their flowing action, which,
N though imperceptible, nevertheless goes on from year to
y year. Glaciers have, therefore, the appearance of mighty
( rivers, which have, in an instant, heen arrested in
N their course, and solidified while in the very act of leap-
| ‘ing; boiling, and fuaming down the valleys towards the
sea.
\ It is estimated that, among the Alps, there are at
My least four hundred of the largest sized glaciers, varying
( from three to thirty miles in length, and from a hundred
)}} to six hundred feet in thickness. ~ InN orway, the
y : glaciers spread, in some cases, like an icy plain, of twenty
_ miles in length, over the tops of the mountains, and
some of the spurs of these, which descend into the sea,
are truly magnificent. In the Skars fjord there is a
‘| spur of this kind which forms one of the outlets of the
Fondalen glacier. It descends a valley estimated at eight
or ten miles in, length, and ascertained by measurement
to he about two miles in breadth. This enormous mass
of ice is supposed to be seven or eight hundred feet thick,
and it approaches to within a quarter of a mile of the sea,
where its point has ploughed up the land into scattered
hilloecks. The stones which are rolled about, and worn
quite smooth, like the pebbles of the sea-shore, by these
glaciers, are of enormous size, and weighing cften many
tons. One of these, seen at the lower edge of the Fone
dalen glacier, was certainly not less than one hundred
feet in circumference. There is always a river flowing
out of every glacier, which is usually extremely muddy,
and often tinges the sea or lake into which it flows with a
veculiar whitish-green coluur. At the point where the
river issues from its frozen prison, the ice is generally in
a state of disruption; and here may frequently be seen
deep hollows and caverns of the most intense and beauti-
ful blue colour.

Flowers and verdure of the most rich and beautifil
eolour are frequently found growing at the edges of these
icy fields in summer, thus presenting to the eye, at one
"| view, the curious speciacle of the emblems of sumuner
Jl) and winter side by side. !

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MOUNT EREBUS.

. Wuen Captain Ross was pursuing his adventurous voy-
‘ age in the antarctic regions, he made land on the 11th of
January 1841, which, according to his own description,
consisted of a mountain range from seven to nine thou-
sand feet high, whose summits were covered with snow,
the intervening valleys filled with glaciers, and the bare
rocks peeping out, here and there, through this wintry
covering. The sea all around was filled with icebergs,
and fields of ice; one perpendicular wall of which, that
afterwards arrested his onward progress, heesays, was
nearly two hundred feet high, and against it the restless
waves spent their fury in vain. Amid such sterile scenery
he discovered the voleanic mountain, which he named
Mount Erebus.

lt was discovered on the 28th of January 1841, in lati-





tude 76° 06’ S., and longitude 168° 11’ E., and was sup-
posed to be connected with the mainland, although having
the appearance of an island rising abruptly out of the sea,
in a conical form, to a height of 12,400 feet. Those who
first beheld this extraordinary mountain describe it as
presenting a most grand and imposing spectacle. They
fancied that they even saw streams of red-hot lava gush-
ing down its sides, and ploughing up the snow with which
it was, and probably always is, entirely covered; and
they plainly witnessed the tall columns and vast volumes
of smoke that burst from its fiery crater, and were hurled,
it was supposed, to a height of fifteen hundred or two
thousand feet.

Around the mouth of this immense crater forked

flames darted and played unceasingly, casting a wild, ©

lurid glare far and wide over these desolate and gloomy
regions of the south.

Little is known of the character of the land or sea
lying within the antarctic, as compared with the arctic
circle. But the little that we have seen leads to the be-
lief that it is even more sterile and icebound than those
northern regions with which the names of Parry, Frank-
lin, Ross, Scoresby, and others, are so intimately and
familiarly connected. Certainly we have no mention of
an active voleanic mountain, so stupendous and awful, as
- Mount Erebus, although volcanic agency on a smaller
scale is certainly to be found in the north also.

It is to be regretted that Captain Ross had not an op-
portunity of making a closer survey of this interesting
volcano, that burns like a beacon fire to illumine the frigid
portals of the antarctic regions,—those realms of dreary
solitude, through whose icy gates man has never yet been
permitted to pass. Were it possible to stand at the
mouth of that terrific voleano, what a sublime and awful
sight would this mingling of fire and snow,—this spout-
ing of smoke and fire, and hissing of watery vapour,—
present to the eye. We could imagine that such a sight
would irresistibly tend to enhance our conception of the
power and majesty of Him who holds the earth in the
hollow of His hand.

SOF EES











PEAK OF TENERIFFE.

A HUNDRED and fifty miles south-west uf Morocco, off
the west coast of Africa, lie a group of islands called the
Canaries. These islands, except on their western side,
enjoy a pure, temperate air, and abound in the most deli-
cious fruits, especially grapes, from which a rich wine is
made. Teneriffe is the largest of this group, and it is
distinguished by a mountain of great height, which is
well known as the Peak of Teneriffe.

The Peak rises to a height of upwards of 12,000 feet,
and its sides are clothed with no less than five zones of
vegetation, arranged one above another in successive stages
through a perpendicular elevation of 11,190 feet. First
comes the region of vines, rising to a height of nearly 2000
feet above the level of the sea, and exhibiting various
kinds of plants, whose naked and tortuous trunks avd

















bluish-green tint are distinguishing features of African
vegetation. In the next zone are the date-tree, the sugar
cane, the plantain, Indian fig, and the fruit trees of
Europe. After this is the region,of laurels, which in-
cludes the woody part of Teneriffe. It abounds with
springs, and therefore presents an ever-verdant turf ; and
the soil, covered with mosses and tender grasses, is en- |}
riched with showy flowering plants. Next comes the {/\
region of Pines, commencing at a height of 5760 feet, and |
extending to 8610.. This region is entirely filled with
trees resembling the Scotch fir, intermingled with juniper.
The regions of Retama, a species of broom, and of yramina i)
or grasses, occupy heights equa! to the loftiest summits i
of the Pyrenees, where the snow is perpetual. Beyond N
this there is nothing but the naked pumice, obsidian, and |!
lava of the cone of the voleano, Thus, within the Torrid f
Zone, we find the varied temperatures of almost all parts )
of the earth presented at one view on the sides of this |
remarkable mountain. N
The volcano has been for a long time extinct, but there "
are indications of not very ancient eruptions in the sides 4 /
of its cone. The ascent of the mountain is not considered |\
hazardous. After passing a deep ravine and a chestnut | )
forest, the track Jeads over a series of verdant hills. It q
then crosses a steep mass of lava rock, worn into ravines, h)
-and covered with a thin surface of yellow pumice. Then | |
comes a wide plain, a region of precipices, and a steep
mountain of pumice, above which rises the cone—which i
last is the most difficult part of the ascent. In clear
weather the Peak of Teneriffe can be seen at a distance |
of more than 100 miles. Those snowy summits of the |)
Andes, kowever, which rise to a similar elevation, can i!
be seen at a much greater distance than the Peak of h)
Teneriffe. Humboldt ascribes this to the fact, that the |}
former are covered with snow, and therefore transmit qi
light directly, while the latter, although coated on the )
cone with white pumice, is chiefly covered with dark lava —
aud vegetation, and therefore only becomes visible by N
intercepting the light which comes from the extreme \
limits of the horizon. i









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Hi Nee y
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NATURAL BRIDGE OF ICONONZO, NEW CRENADA,
A natural arch, 473 feet in length and 39 in breadth. stretches
‘(} across the fissure at a height of 318 feet above the stream, which
OY) flows through a dark cavern, whence arise the doleful cries of noc-
turnal birds that haunt the abyss in thousands. Sixty-four. feet
below this bridge is a second, composed of three enormous muasses

of rock which have fallen so as to support each other. te




hie THE AURORA BOREALIS.

| Tue Aurora Borealis is a peculiarly beautiful light which
sometimes makes its appearance in the skies of the tem-
perate zones, but is chiefly observed in its greatest beauty
towards the regions of the poles. Its colour and form
varies. Sometimes it is of a soft pale blue, at other
times it appears white, yellow, and purple; but blue is
the ordinary colour. It shoots upwarus in the form of
fiery spears, or waves gently to and fro, as if agitated by
wind, and sometimes forms an arch in the heavens, the
(| top of which, however, is seldom clearly defined. Although [jN))
| \} mot very frequently seen in temperate climates, this beau- |

| tiful phenomenon is a constant visitor during winter in [//

|| the polar regions, where, to a great extent, it takes the |

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the spirits of the dead dancing in the air, and has been
compared to armies fighting in the skies. It is some-
times called the merry dancers, and the northern lights. -
Scientific men have propounded many theories in re-
gard to the cause of the Aurora Borealis. The following
seems to be the most probable :— | .
When electric fluid is passed through a vacuum, it
assumes very much the appearance, in colour and motion,
of the Aurora. During the time of its prevalence, the
magnetic needle is observed to be affected, and electric
fluid is obtained in abundance from the atmosphere ;
hence its substance is supposed to be electricity. From
the fact that it always shoots wowards from the poles
towards the zenith, it is conjectured that electricity col-
lects in large quantities at the poles, because it cannot
disperse into the earth there, owing to the extremely cold
atmosphere being a non-conductor. The hot air of the
Tropics being a good conductor, the electricity there bursts

on the earth in the shape of frequent and terrible thun-

der-storms ; and the deficienty of the fluid thus caused is
made up hy the rushing of the polar electricity in the
form of the Aurora, to supply its place. Hence its up-
ward motion, .

The navigators of the northern seas all speak of this
light in the most glowing language : and they tell us that
in winter the heavens become constantly brilliant with it.
Captains Parry and Lyon made particular observations
of it, and agree in stating that it is not accompanied by
any sound—a point which has been much disputed,
They speak of the Aurora as giving an indescribable air
of magic to these dark icy regions. Indeed, it would
seem as if God, in removing the solar influence from ti:e
poles during winter, had designedly compensated for this
severe privation by filling the skies of the northern re-
gions with an unusual galaxy of stars and meteors.

Not only are the stars intensely brilliant, and the
Aurora Borealis continual, but fiery meteors of various
kinds are very frequently seen; and the constant moticn
going on in the heavens, relieves, to a great extent, the
monotonous stillness of the frozen earth and sea.

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FINGAL’S CAVE.

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»| are lined with those columns, while the roof and bottom
of it are formed by the projecting ends of those that have
been broken. The sea penetrates the cavern to its inner
end, so that in calm weather it can be entered by a boat,
, | and a narrow ledge on the right side enables the traveller
+ | also to enter it on foot. The length of this cave is two
hundred and fifty feet, the breadth about forty, and the
: ( height above one hundred feet at the mouth, but consi-.
derably lower at the other end. The basaltic rock of
*| which the whole island is formed is black in colour, and
( so hard, that it is broken with difficulty even with a
(>) bammer
Y The waters of the Atlantic Ocean at this. pk .
; _ place are
( exceedingly deep, so that, being untainted by the sand or
) - mud of the shore, they are beautifully clear, and of an
: ( emerald green ; and the inside of Fingal’s Cave is tinged
\ with this hue, as it is reflected from the water which
‘) flows into it. The pillars on the sides, and the over-
v arching and broken roof, give to the visitor the feeling
i) of being in a cathedral—a feeling which is enhanced by
( ~ the subdued greenish light of the cavern and the gentle

a }
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By 4 the ceaseless swell of the great Atlantic, even in the



st
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( -ealmest weather.

NW Owing to this Atlantic swell, it is difficult to land on
”)| the island of Staffa even when the weather is propitious,
“| and quite impossible when it is stormy.

| —_ There are other caverns of a similar character in the
jsland of Staffa, none of which, however, apprvach,
~| either in size or beauty, to Fingal’s Cave, which is now
) so famous that it is annually visited, during the summer
/\| months, by thousands of travellers. During this season
; steamers ply regularly between Oban and Staffa; but,
*}} owing to the swell of the ocean already alluded to, many
people are disappointed in landing, and are obliged to con-
tent themselves with as near a view as can be obtained
from the steamer’s deck. No description can convey an
adequate idea of Fingal’s Cave, which is certainly one |
of the most interesting sights on the west coast of Scot-

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THE FALLS OF NIAGARA.

In the interior of North America are the lakes Erie and
Ontario,—the one, lake Erie, lying at an elevation of
three hundred and thirty-four feet higher than the other.
These lakes separate Canada from the United States, and
are connected by the river Niagara, which, throughout
the greater part of its course of thirty-two miles, flows
with considerable speed. The great descent, however, is
made about midway, in one tremendous leap, which forms
the famous cataract called the Falls of Niagara—the most
sublime and enormous waterfall in tne known world.
The fall is divided into two unequal parts by Goat Island,
which stands on the very verge of the precipice, as if it
were about to follow the gushing stream, and dash down
into the mighty abyss below. The fall on the American
side is 1140 feet in breadth, and 160 feet in height. That






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the Horse-shoe fall thunders, rises to so great a height

raging rapid above, and the plunging cataract below, is
compared to the loudest thunder. A splendid view of the

the river is so tranquil that a boat plies between the





Za

on the Canadian side - which is much the finer of the two,
and is called the Horse-shoe fall, owing to its curved form
—is above 2100 feet in the curve, and 150 feet high. Goat
Island measures about 980 feet in breadth, so that the
entire sweep of the falls is about 4220 feet.

As the volume of water which plunges over this pre-
cipive. is estimated to be a hundred millions of tons per
hour, it may be imagined that this unparalelled fall is one
of the most sublime and awe-inspiring works of God.
The foam which ascends from the cauldron into which

TS

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above the river, that it can sometimes be distinguished
at a distance of fifty miles. And the mingled roar of the

=

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falls used to be had from Table Rock, which once pro-
jected more than fifty feet over the precipice which sup-
ported it; but it is now gone, having recently fallen into
the flood over which it hung. A little below the falls





















American and Canadian sides, and the view from this
boat is inexpressibly grand. The precipice over which
the water leaps projects considerably beyond its base,
and travellers frequently advance 150 feet between the
falling flood and the rock. This, however, requires nerve,
and is not unattended with danger. Those who have
accomplished the feat, however, speak of the appearance
of the fall from that point of view as being most wonder-
ful, and the effect on the mind as almost overpowering.

The American fall does not, like that on the Canadian
side, descend into a boiling cauldron, but dashes down
on a mass of broken rocks, where it is lashed into white
foam. It is supposed that the cataract must have origi-
nally been close to lake Ontario, as it is continually break-
ing down its bed. Perhaps it will creep backwards, to
lake Erie, at last.

Our space precludes our doing more than briefly stating
the principal points of interest; but no description can
ever convey tv the mind an adequate conception of the
magnificence of the Falls of Niagara.


ICEBERGS.

THOSE enormous islands and mountains of ice that float
upon, a..d often block up, the polar seas, are called Ice-
bergs. They are furmed upon the tall precipitous cliffs
of the northern regions, particularly those on the western
coasts of Greenland and in Davis’ Straits, where the
melting, in summer, of the immense quantities of snow
that fall in winter, adds annually to the bulk of the
masses of ice, or glaciers, which cling to them. In the
course of centuries, these masses grow to the size of a
thousand, sometimes two thousand, feet in height—vary-
ing, of course, with the height of the cliffs to which they
adhere—and then, as their foundations are gradually worr
away by the action of the waves, their own weight de-
taches them from their ancient resting-place, and preci-
pilates them headlong into the deep. Here they float






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about in the form of islands, having every conceivable
variety of bold and fantastic appearance. Some are like
immense flat islands, several miles in circumference,
whose sides are frequently seen thirty feet high, and
quite perpendicular. Others resemble steep mountains
of a beautiful bluish green colour, the peaks of which
shoot sharply up into the sky. Mariners frequently
moor their ships to these floating islands, but are obliged
to do so with long cables, because masses of ice, called
‘** calves,” are constantly becoming detached from the
lower parts of the bergs, and shoot suddenly up out of the
water with a force that would probably penetrate the hull
of a vessel against which they might happen to strike.
As ice floats in water with about six-sevenths of its bulk
immersed, it follows that those bergs which are some-
times seen of about two hundred feet high, must in reality
be masses of ice upwards of fourteen hundred feet thick !
‘I'he pools of water formed on their surfaces by the sun’s
rays are all perfectly fresh, so that navigators in the polar

_regions frequently replenish their water-tanks, when far

away from land, with the purest water, taken from ponds
on the ice.
There are few scenes on earth more lovely and ma-

gical in effect than the Polar Sea, on a bright calm |

day, loaded with icebergs of every shape and size: their
delicate blue sides streaming with cataracts, and their
fantastic peaks sparkling like marble clitts in the sun.

Arctic mariners are often exposed to great danger by
icebergs. Sometimes they are so nicely balanced in the
water, that the breaking off of a very small portion is suffi-
cient to overturn them, and should a vessel be near at
such a time, the danger of being swamped is very great.
A vessel has been known to get between a small and a
large iceberg, and a light breeze has sprung up to wind-
ward of the large one, causing it to bear down on the
smaller, which its superior bulk sheltered from the wind,
so that it remained motionless; the ship, of course, was
also becalmed, and so ran a great risk of being crushed
between the two. No doubt Sir John Franklin’s ships
were lost in this manner.









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MOUNT VESUVIUS.

Vesuvius stands on the east of the Bay of Naples, six |) |||
miles from the city of that name. It is detached from |)\) |||
the Apennines, and situated alone in the midst of a plain.
The mountain is nearly 4000 feet high, but the height
varies in consequence of the frequent falling in of part of
its summit, when agitated by those awful eruptions which
have more than once spread dismay and destruction among
the surrounding inhabitants.

After centuries of repose, Vesuvius again became an |.
active volcano in the year of our Lord 63, when it was /\\)~ |||
accompanied by an earthquake, and gave forth the loud |)\)) |
rumbling sounds that generally precede eruptions. Much
damage was done on this occasion by the streams of lava |\\\|
that issued from its fiery sides, as well as by the stones |))
and sand which were vomited, along with clouds of smoke, |



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from its crater. From that time till now the mountain
has continued more or less in au active condition, and
occasionally breaks forth in eruptions, none of which,
however, are to compare with that which occurred on the
23d August, A.D. 79, when the most awful eruption took.
' place that was ever witnessed. It was on this occasion
that the famous cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii were
completely buried in melted lava. A description of this
awful event is given by Pliny the younger, whose uncle
perished in the sulphureons fumes disgorged from the
voleano, while he was endeavouring to render assistance
to a friend whose residence was near the foot of the
~ mountain.

During this eruption the day became black as night,
and the atmosphere around was impregnated with dense
clouds of smoke, and filled with falling stones and sand.
The wretched inhabitants who escaped immediate de-

_- struction knew not where to fly, as the sea became so
| tempestuous as to render an attempt to put off in boats
}} almost impossible. The houses were rocked to and fro

by the terrible throes of the mountain, so that the open

fields, although exposed to showers of hot stones and
ashes, became the only place of comparative safety. _

The lava which, on such occasions, flows from Vesu-
vius like a flood of molten fire, soon becomes cooled on
the surface, on which a crust forms, but, as this crust
prevents the cooling of the lava below, the streams often
continue to flow, though very slowly, long after they
appear to have solidified. The lava ejected from Mount
Ktna in 1819 continued to move a yard per day for nine
months after the eruption, and there are instances in
which it is said to have taken much longer to become
quite solid and stationary.

It is possible to ascend to the top of Mount Vesuvius
and look into its crater, and travellers frequently do so.
Uf course, this could not be done except when the moun-
tain is in a state of comparative tranquillity.

The Bay of Naples, on whose shore it stands, is said
to be one of the most picturesque and beautiful in the

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THE PHANTOM SHIP.

Aone the many strange optical illusions to which we
are subject, few are more striking or interesting than
those produced by refraction. What we call the Phantom
Ship is referable to this peculiarity of the atmosphere. A
ship was once sailing along the southern coast of Africa.
The morning was fine, and the wind fair. Towards

evening a heavy swell set towards the shore—shoals of

seals followed the vessel—fish darted out of the waves—
and the ocean seemed to stir with life, as the sun slowly
set. Just then a bank of cloud rose up from the east-
ward, so rapidly, that in a short time the heavens were
obscured, while all around there was a mysterious sort
of red haze, as if the ocean were about to burst into a
flame, Sudaenly the sailors perceived, at the distance of
a mile or so, the tapering masts of another vessel, which
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rose slowly, as it were, out of the water. Gradually this
vessel ascended, until her hull arose compietely out of the
water, and she appeared to float in air—so close, that tie
men were clearly seen upon her decks, yet so shadowy and
indistinct, besides the fact of her floating in the air, that
no one doubted for a moment that the ship was a phan-
tom. This strange vessel continued visible for a short
time, and then gradually disappeared, leaving the sailors
to believe that they had actually seen the ghost of a ship!

Experience has since proved, however, that this mys-
terious phantom was caused by the refracting power of
the atmosphere, under peculiar circumstances. When
the sea is very cold, the atmosphere resting on it parts
with its heat to the water; the atmosphere immediately
above supplies its heat to that immediately below, and so
the air for a considerable height upwards gradually dimi-
nishes in density, thus causing an irregularity, which
refracts or breaks up the object in the most fantastic way ;
sometimes making a vessel which is out of sight below the
horizon appear actually avlore it. This irregularity of the
medium through which we gaze is illustrated by the well
known absurd appearance of objects when viewed through
a bad pane of window glass. |

The immense fields of ice in the Polar Seas, by cooling
the surface of the sea, and the contiguous atmosphere,
render these mysterious looking appearances very fre-
quent in northern latitudes. Sometimes points of land
stretching into the sea are seen as if floating in mid-
air. Ships are often so much exaggerated in size and
appearance, that it is difficult to recognise them, and oc-
casionally they are seen turned upside down altogther ;
and it is not to be wondered at that illiterate men, on
beholding such apparently unnatural phenomena, should
fancy that they were referable to supernatural agency,
rather than to natural causes.

No doubt such atmospherical phenomena have been
the cause, in all ages, of those marvellous ghosts which
we,have so often heard of, which all can talk about, which
most people have a kind of belief in, but which very few
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WATERSPOUTS.

Wuen whirlwinds: pass over the ocean, they sometimes
raise the water upwards in the form of a column, which
joins the clouds ; and, after travelling in the direction of
the wind for a short time—varying from a few minutes
to an hour—disperses, or bursts, and descends in a deluge
of.rain. Such phenomena are called waterspouts. They
are seen of various sizes, and are occasionally observed to
travel over the land as well as the sea. Formerly, when
mariners observed a waterspout, they used to discharge
artillery at it in order to break it up, being afraid that it
would pass over the ship, and sink or destroy it. Water-
spouts exhibit various aspects, but a frequent appear-
ance has been described as follows :—

““ Under a dense cloud a circular area of the ocean,
in diameter from one hundred to one hundred and twenty

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it embraced in the whirl of a waterspout.

yards, shows great disturbance; the water rushes to-
wards the centre of the agitated mass, whence it rises
in a spiral form towards the clouds. The clouds,
assuming a similar form inverted, descend to meet the
water, and ultimately join it, thus forming a complete
column, somewhat in the shape of an hour-glass. This
column is dark at the sides, giving it the appearance of
a hollow tube. It moves with the wind, and, even in
calm weather, shifts its position. Sometimes the water-
spout proceeds in an upright position, but more frequently
it slopes to one side, as if it were urged more powerfully
by the breeze in one part than another; and this is
probably the reason why waterspouts are generally
ruptured and broken up soon after their formation.
Vivid flashes of lightning frequently issue from them,
and deluges of rain accompany their disruption.

A remarkable spout of this kind appeared and burst
on Emott moor, in Lancashire, in the year 1718. It was
observed by some labourers who were at work not far
distant. Upon leaving the spot in alarm, they found a
brook, which was usually very small, converted into a
roaring flood, though no rain had fallen on the moor;
and at the spot where the waterspout br oke, the earth

naked rock appeared, and an excavation had been nade
in the ground, by the force of the water discharged,
upwards of half a mile in length.

So many as sixteen waterspouts have been seen at the

same time in the Mediterranean, where these watery

columns seem to be very numerous.
They sometimes form, whirl along for a few minutes,

nd are broken and dispersed,—but almost instantly

afterwards begin to form again; and this sometimes
takes place five or six times in the course of a few
minutes.

They might possibly pass over iain ships without
doing them much damage, farther than drenching them
with floods of water, or carrying away some light spars;
but a little boat would have a small chance of escape were

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STALACTITE CAVERNS.

IN many caves, especially in those composed of limestone,
there are a series of beautifully white, and curiously ar-
ranged formations, which are called stalactites. They
are created by the droppings of liquid from the caverns’
roofs. These drops contain carbonate of lime, held in
solution by carbonic acid. Upon exposure to the air, the
carbonic acid is disengaged, and the carbonate of lime is
deposited. Thus, drop by drop, the formation goes on,
until long points, like icicles, depend from the roof, while
blunter points, formed by the fallen drops, rise from the
floor, and eventually meet those above, thus forming com-
plete columns, which assume many grotesque and beauti-
ful shapes, and produce a singularly fine effect in the caves.

There are many stalactite caverns on the continent of

Europe. The grotto of Antiparos, one of the islands of | |
the Grecian Archipelago, is celebrated on account of the
size, and the diversity of form, of these deposits. There
are also one or two specimens of them in England; but
the finest of all, perhaps, are found in the cave of Adels-
berg, near Trieste, where the immense size of the cavern,
and the beauty and varied formation of the deposits, are
described as being most extraordinary.

** At one time,” writes an eye-witness, ‘‘ the guides
seemed to be lighting up some distant gallery, far above
our heads, which had the appearance of verandahis,
adorned with Gothic tracery. At another we came to
what seemed the long aisle of a Gothic cathedral. The
whimsical variety of forms surpasses all powers of de-
scription. Here was what appeared to be a butcher's
shop, hung with joints of meat; and there, a throne,
with a magnificent canopy. At another spot was the
appearance of a beautiful statue, with a bearded head ;
and, a little beyond, the figure of a warrior, with a
helmet and coat of mail, so perfect, that it was almost
impossible to believe it had not been sculptured by
the hand of man. There are two bridges formed by
the stalactites over a subterranean river,—the one about
a mile distant from the other, and the inner one hang-
ing suspended eighty or a hundred fathoms above the
stream. In one part of the cavern there is a wide space,
called the Ball Room, with a natural gallery, which seems
as if designed expressly for an orchestra. Here the in-
habitants assemble every Whitsunday to dance, on which
occasion the grotto is brilliantly illuminated.”

There are formations called the ‘‘ Graves,” the ‘‘ Pic-
ture,” the “‘ Cannon,” the ‘‘ Pulj it,” the ‘‘Sausage Shop,”
the ‘‘ Prisons,” and the ‘‘ Curtain,” all of which strikingly
resemble such objects. There is also a stalactite, having
the folds of a curtain, which are as perfect, in all respects,
as if it were a real piece of drapery ; and another deposit
has taken the shape of shirt-ruffles, the illusion of which
is enhanced by the substance being so thin as to render
it semi-transparent, But the varieties of form taken by
the stalactites are endless, as well as exquisitely beauti-


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GLACIERS.

Amon the elevated gorges of the mountains of Switzer-
land, Norway, and other countries—where nature has
carved the earth in the most rugged form—there exist
immense fields of svlid ice, which have continued to ac-
cumulate for centuries, and will, probably, go on accumu-
lating to the end of time. These are called glaciers.
They are formed by the falling and melting of the snow,
which, descending the mountain valleys, during sum-
mer, in a half congealed state, and with an almost im-
perceptible motion, is arrested in its ceurse by the frosts,
and increased in its bulk hy the snows, of successive
winters, until *+ becomes gradually converted into solid
ice of several hundred feet thick. In some cases these
immense masses block up entire valleys, from the moun-
tain tops to the sea, while they retain on their surface

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y year. Glaciers have, therefore, the appearance of mighty
( rivers, which have, in an instant, heen arrested in
N their course, and solidified while in the very act of leap-
| ‘ing; boiling, and fuaming down the valleys towards the
sea.
\ It is estimated that, among the Alps, there are at
My least four hundred of the largest sized glaciers, varying
( from three to thirty miles in length, and from a hundred
)}} to six hundred feet in thickness. ~ InN orway, the
y : glaciers spread, in some cases, like an icy plain, of twenty
_ miles in length, over the tops of the mountains, and
some of the spurs of these, which descend into the sea,
are truly magnificent. In the Skars fjord there is a
‘| spur of this kind which forms one of the outlets of the
Fondalen glacier. It descends a valley estimated at eight
or ten miles in, length, and ascertained by measurement
to he about two miles in breadth. This enormous mass
of ice is supposed to be seven or eight hundred feet thick,
and it approaches to within a quarter of a mile of the sea,
where its point has ploughed up the land into scattered
hilloecks. The stones which are rolled about, and worn
quite smooth, like the pebbles of the sea-shore, by these
glaciers, are of enormous size, and weighing cften many
tons. One of these, seen at the lower edge of the Fone
dalen glacier, was certainly not less than one hundred
feet in circumference. There is always a river flowing
out of every glacier, which is usually extremely muddy,
and often tinges the sea or lake into which it flows with a
veculiar whitish-green coluur. At the point where the
river issues from its frozen prison, the ice is generally in
a state of disruption; and here may frequently be seen
deep hollows and caverns of the most intense and beauti-
ful blue colour.

Flowers and verdure of the most rich and beautifil
eolour are frequently found growing at the edges of these
icy fields in summer, thus presenting to the eye, at one
"| view, the curious speciacle of the emblems of sumuner
Jl) and winter side by side. !

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MOUNT EREBUS.

. Wuen Captain Ross was pursuing his adventurous voy-
‘ age in the antarctic regions, he made land on the 11th of
January 1841, which, according to his own description,
consisted of a mountain range from seven to nine thou-
sand feet high, whose summits were covered with snow,
the intervening valleys filled with glaciers, and the bare
rocks peeping out, here and there, through this wintry
covering. The sea all around was filled with icebergs,
and fields of ice; one perpendicular wall of which, that
afterwards arrested his onward progress, heesays, was
nearly two hundred feet high, and against it the restless
waves spent their fury in vain. Amid such sterile scenery
he discovered the voleanic mountain, which he named
Mount Erebus.

lt was discovered on the 28th of January 1841, in lati-


tude 76° 06’ S., and longitude 168° 11’ E., and was sup-
posed to be connected with the mainland, although having
the appearance of an island rising abruptly out of the sea,
in a conical form, to a height of 12,400 feet. Those who
first beheld this extraordinary mountain describe it as
presenting a most grand and imposing spectacle. They
fancied that they even saw streams of red-hot lava gush-
ing down its sides, and ploughing up the snow with which
it was, and probably always is, entirely covered; and
they plainly witnessed the tall columns and vast volumes
of smoke that burst from its fiery crater, and were hurled,
it was supposed, to a height of fifteen hundred or two
thousand feet.

Around the mouth of this immense crater forked

flames darted and played unceasingly, casting a wild, ©

lurid glare far and wide over these desolate and gloomy
regions of the south.

Little is known of the character of the land or sea
lying within the antarctic, as compared with the arctic
circle. But the little that we have seen leads to the be-
lief that it is even more sterile and icebound than those
northern regions with which the names of Parry, Frank-
lin, Ross, Scoresby, and others, are so intimately and
familiarly connected. Certainly we have no mention of
an active voleanic mountain, so stupendous and awful, as
- Mount Erebus, although volcanic agency on a smaller
scale is certainly to be found in the north also.

It is to be regretted that Captain Ross had not an op-
portunity of making a closer survey of this interesting
volcano, that burns like a beacon fire to illumine the frigid
portals of the antarctic regions,—those realms of dreary
solitude, through whose icy gates man has never yet been
permitted to pass. Were it possible to stand at the
mouth of that terrific voleano, what a sublime and awful
sight would this mingling of fire and snow,—this spout-
ing of smoke and fire, and hissing of watery vapour,—
present to the eye. We could imagine that such a sight
would irresistibly tend to enhance our conception of the
power and majesty of Him who holds the earth in the
hollow of His hand.

SOF EES








PEAK OF TENERIFFE.

A HUNDRED and fifty miles south-west uf Morocco, off
the west coast of Africa, lie a group of islands called the
Canaries. These islands, except on their western side,
enjoy a pure, temperate air, and abound in the most deli-
cious fruits, especially grapes, from which a rich wine is
made. Teneriffe is the largest of this group, and it is
distinguished by a mountain of great height, which is
well known as the Peak of Teneriffe.

The Peak rises to a height of upwards of 12,000 feet,
and its sides are clothed with no less than five zones of
vegetation, arranged one above another in successive stages
through a perpendicular elevation of 11,190 feet. First
comes the region of vines, rising to a height of nearly 2000
feet above the level of the sea, and exhibiting various
kinds of plants, whose naked and tortuous trunks avd














bluish-green tint are distinguishing features of African
vegetation. In the next zone are the date-tree, the sugar
cane, the plantain, Indian fig, and the fruit trees of
Europe. After this is the region,of laurels, which in-
cludes the woody part of Teneriffe. It abounds with
springs, and therefore presents an ever-verdant turf ; and
the soil, covered with mosses and tender grasses, is en- |}
riched with showy flowering plants. Next comes the {/\
region of Pines, commencing at a height of 5760 feet, and |
extending to 8610.. This region is entirely filled with
trees resembling the Scotch fir, intermingled with juniper.
The regions of Retama, a species of broom, and of yramina i)
or grasses, occupy heights equa! to the loftiest summits i
of the Pyrenees, where the snow is perpetual. Beyond N
this there is nothing but the naked pumice, obsidian, and |!
lava of the cone of the voleano, Thus, within the Torrid f
Zone, we find the varied temperatures of almost all parts )
of the earth presented at one view on the sides of this |
remarkable mountain. N
The volcano has been for a long time extinct, but there "
are indications of not very ancient eruptions in the sides 4 /
of its cone. The ascent of the mountain is not considered |\
hazardous. After passing a deep ravine and a chestnut | )
forest, the track Jeads over a series of verdant hills. It q
then crosses a steep mass of lava rock, worn into ravines, h)
-and covered with a thin surface of yellow pumice. Then | |
comes a wide plain, a region of precipices, and a steep
mountain of pumice, above which rises the cone—which i
last is the most difficult part of the ascent. In clear
weather the Peak of Teneriffe can be seen at a distance |
of more than 100 miles. Those snowy summits of the |)
Andes, kowever, which rise to a similar elevation, can i!
be seen at a much greater distance than the Peak of h)
Teneriffe. Humboldt ascribes this to the fact, that the |}
former are covered with snow, and therefore transmit qi
light directly, while the latter, although coated on the )
cone with white pumice, is chiefly covered with dark lava —
aud vegetation, and therefore only becomes visible by N
intercepting the light which comes from the extreme \
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