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New York State (New York, United States) (search for this): chapter 24
e further exemplified by the fact that when the animal dies, it casts off its arms, like Apiocrinus, the head of which is generally found without arms. And now the question may be asked, what is the meaning of the occurrence of these animals in deep waters at the present day, when, in former ages, similar types inhabited shallow seas? Of the fact there can be no doubt, for it is not difficult to adduce satisfactory evidence of the shoal-like character of the Silurian deposits of the State of New York; their horizontal position, combined with the gradual recession of the higher beds in a southerly direction, leaves no doubt upon this point; and in the case of the jurassic formation alluded to above, the combination of the crinoids with fossils common upon coral reefs, and their presence in atolls of that period, are satisfactory proofs of my assertion. What does it mean, then, when we find the Pentacrinus and Rhizocrinus of the West Indies in deep water only? It seems to me that t
Saint Thomas (search for this): chapter 24
long asked and still unanswered, about the Sargassum. Where is its home, and what its origin? Does it float, a rootless wanderer on the deep, or has it broken away from some submarine attachment? He had passed through the same region before, in going to Brazil, but then he was on a large ocean steamer, while from the little Hassler, of 360 tons, one could almost fish by hand from the Sargassum fields. Some of the chief results are given in the following letter. To Professor Peirce. St. Thomas, December 15, 1871. . . . As soon as we reached the Gulf Stream we began work. Indeed, Pourtales had organized a party to study the temperatures as soon as we passed Gay Head, and will himself report to you his results. My own attention was entirely turned to the Gulf weed and its inhabitants, of which we made extensive collections. Our observations on the floating weed itself favor the view of those who believe it to be torn from rocks, on which Sargassum naturally grows. I made a
Santa Cruz River (New Mexico, United States) (search for this): chapter 24
poises or dog-fish, or a sail in the distance, to break the monotony. At Rio de Janeiro it became evident that the plan of the voyage must be somewhat curtailed. This was made necessary partly by the delays in starting,—in consequence of which the season would be less favorable than had been anticipated along certain portions of the proposed route,—and partly by the defective machinery, which had already given some trouble to the Captain. The Falkland Islands, the Rio Negro, and the Santa Cruz rivers were therefore renounced; with what regret will be understood by those who know how hard it is to be forced to break up a scheme of work, which was originally connected in all its parts. The next pause was at Monte Video; but as there was a strict quarantine, Agassiz was only allowed to land at the Mount, a hill on the western side of the bay, the geology of which he was anxious to examine. He found true erratics—loose pebbles, granite, gneiss, and granitic sandstone, having no rese<
Alpine, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (search for this): chapter 24
ciers running back into a large massif of mountains, and fed by many a neve on their upper slopes. The depth as well as the length of this glacier remains somewhat problematical, and indeed all the estimates in so cursory a survey must be considered as approximations rather than positive results. The glazed surface of the ice is an impediment to any examination from the upper side. It would be impossible to spring from brink to brink of a crevasse, as is so constantly done by explorers of Alpine glaciers where the edges of the cracks are often snowy or granular. Here the edges of the crevasses are sharp and hard, and to spring across one of any size would be almost certain death. There is no hold for an Alpine stock, no grappling point for hands or feet. Any investigation from the upper surface would, therefore, require special apparatus, and much more time than Agassiz and his party could give. Neither was an approach from the side very easy. The glacier arches so much in the
North America (search for this): chapter 24
re. The general aspect of the opposite walls of the Strait confirmed him in the idea that the sheet of ice in its former extension had advanced from south to north, grinding its way against and over the southern wall to the plains beyond. In short, he was convinced that, as a sheet of ice has covered the northern portion of the globe, so a sheet of ice has covered also the southern portion, advancing, in both instances, far toward the equatorial regions. His observations in Europe, in North America, and in Brazil seemed here to have their closing chapter. With these facts in his mind, he did not fail to pause before Glacier Bay, noted for its immense glacier, which seems, as seen from the main channel, to plunge sheer down into the waters of the bay. A boat party was soon formed to accompany him to the glacier. It proved less easy of access than it looked at a distance. A broad belt of wood, growing, as Agassiz afterward found, on an accumulation of old terminal moraines, spa
Saint Thomas (Canada) (search for this): chapter 24
ave the good fortune to witness the process by which the nest is built. . . . This whole investigation was of the greatest interest to Agassiz, and, coming so early in the voyage, seemed a pleasant promise of its farther opportunities. The whole ship's company soon shared his enthusiasm, and the very sailors gathered about him in the intervals of their work, or hung on the outskirts of the scientific circle. A pause of a few days was made at one or two of the West Indian islands, at St. Thomas and Barbadoes. At the latter, the first cast of the large dredge was made on a ledge of shoals in a depth of eighty fathoms, and, among countless other things, a number of stemmed crinoids and comatulae were brought up. An ardent student of the early fossil echinoderms, it was a great pleasure to Agassiz to gather their fresh and living representatives. It was like turning a leaf of the past and finding the subtle thread which connects it with the present. To Professor Peirce. Pernam
Brazil (Brazil) (search for this): chapter 24
and still unanswered, about the Sargassum. Where is its home, and what its origin? Does it float, a rootless wanderer on the deep, or has it broken away from some submarine attachment? He had passed through the same region before, in going to Brazil, but then he was on a large ocean steamer, while from the little Hassler, of 360 tons, one could almost fish by hand from the Sargassum fields. Some of the chief results are given in the following letter. To Professor Peirce. St. Thomas, Decthat, as a sheet of ice has covered the northern portion of the globe, so a sheet of ice has covered also the southern portion, advancing, in both instances, far toward the equatorial regions. His observations in Europe, in North America, and in Brazil seemed here to have their closing chapter. With these facts in his mind, he did not fail to pause before Glacier Bay, noted for its immense glacier, which seems, as seen from the main channel, to plunge sheer down into the waters of the bay. A
Switzerland (Switzerland) (search for this): chapter 24
snow-fields and glaciers, not crowded into narrow valleys as in Switzerland, but spread out on the open slopes of the loftier ranges, or, dothe line of separation being as defined as on any valley wall in Switzerland. It was again impossible to decide, on such short observation,hese glaciers of the Strait of Magellan are as thick as those of Switzerland, though they are often much broader. The mountains are not so hily recognizable here, but as perfectly preserved as anywhere in Switzerland. The rounded knolls to which De Saussure first gave the name ofve hundred in width, shutting it in just as the Lake of Meril in Switzerland is held in its basin by the glacier of Aletsch. There are erratpecial significance for him, as corresponding with like facts in Switzerland, and showing that the ice-sheet had advanced across the Strait wlow or depression in the direct path of the ice is well known in Switzerland. Later in the day, a pause was made in Chorocua Bay, where Ca
Recife (Pernambuco, Brazil) (search for this): chapter 24
Thomas and Barbadoes. At the latter, the first cast of the large dredge was made on a ledge of shoals in a depth of eighty fathoms, and, among countless other things, a number of stemmed crinoids and comatulae were brought up. An ardent student of the early fossil echinoderms, it was a great pleasure to Agassiz to gather their fresh and living representatives. It was like turning a leaf of the past and finding the subtle thread which connects it with the present. To Professor Peirce. Pernambuco, January 16, 1872. my dear Peirce,—I should have written to you from Barbadoes, but the day before we left the island was favorable for dredging, and our success in that line was so unexpectedly great, that I could not get away from the specimens, and made the most of them for study while I had the chance. We made only four hauls, in between seventy-five and one hundred and twenty fathoms. But what hauls! Enough to occupy half a dozen competent zoologists for a whole year, if the sp
New England (United States) (search for this): chapter 24
e vessel was to have started in August, but, owing to various delays in her completion, she was not ready for sea until the late autumn. She finally sailed on December 4, 1871, on a gray afternoon, which ushered in the first snow-storm of the New England winter. Bound for warmer skies, she was, however, soon in the waters of the Gulf Stream, where the work of collecting began in the fields of Sargassum, those drifting, wide-spread expanses of loose sea-weed carrying a countless population, lity miles north of Cape Virgens, in tolerably calm weather, another haul was tried, and this time the dredge returned literally solid with Ophiurans. On Wednesday, March 13th, on a beautifully clear morning, like the best October weather in New England, the Hassler rounded Cape Virgens and entered the Strait of Magellan. The tide was just on the flood, and all the conditions favorable for her run to her first anchorage in the Strait at Possession Bay. Here the working force divided, to for
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