Page images

One Vice-President and three members of the Council shall be changed annually. '

The office of President shall not be held by the same person for more than two years in succession, but after the lapse of one year, the same person shall be re-eligible.

Ordered that these amendments be also referred to the Council for report at the next meeting.

The Couiicil reported for confirmation that they had raised the wages of the younger Swaries, taxidermist, from Rs. 20 to Rs. 30, and of Nicholas from Rs. 6 to Rs. 10.

Approved. .

They also reported that they had appointed Col. R. Strachey a member of their body in the room of Col. Yule, who had left India.

The following gentlemen duly proposed at the last meeting were balloted for and elected ordinary members:

C. U. Aitchison, Esq., 0. s.

F. A. E. Dalrymple, Esq., C. S.

Lieut.-Col. H. W. Norman, C. B.

Babu Rajkissen Roy, Zemindar of Berhampore.

J. A. P. Collis, Esq., M. 1).

E. G. Glazier, Esq., C. s.

Major H. Raban, Bengal Army.

The following gentlemen were named for ballot as ordinary members at the next meeting.

Babu Dhunpati Singh Dooghur, Baloochur, Moorshedabad,—pro-

posed by Babu Gour Doss Bysack, seconded by Mr. Atkinson.

S. B. Partridge, Esq., M. D., Ofiiciating Principal of the Medical College,—proposed by Dr. Fayrer, seconded by Mr. Atkinson.

A letter from Mr. H. Stainforth, desiring to withdraw from the Society was recorded.

Communications were received.

1. From Major S. R. Tickell, a description of a turtle Spkargis Coriacea.

2. From Babu Goopeenath Sein, Abstracts of Meteorological Observations, taken at the Surveyor General’s Office in the month of October last.

3. From Major J . L. Shcrwill, Revenue Surveyor, a letter to the President on the subject of the Manbhoom coal fields.

41. From Major J. L. Sherwill, an account of a visit to Kunchinjinga.

Dr. Simpson read this paper to the meeting, and exhibited some photographic views of places mentioned in it.

The paper will appear in one of the forthcoming numbers of the journal.

Captain Montgomerie presented to the Society a memorandum on the geographical positions of the principal cities and towns of Eastern Turkistan, and exhibited a. photograph by Lieutenant Melville from the field sheets of the Kashmir series, shewing the glaciers of the Shigar valley on a scale of four miles to an inch.

After explaining that the positions in Turkistan were derived entirely from Great Trigonometrical Survey data and materials collected on the Hindustan side of the Mustak and Karakorum passes, Captain Montgomorie proceeded to read some notes on the Brahma, Kun and Nun, Zanskar, Mustak and other glaciers.

He pointed out that as he had anticipated; in his former memorandum, these glaciers have proved to be of the most gigantic size, so large, indeed, that compared with them the glaciers of the Alps must be reckoned as of the second order.

The glaciers surveyed by Capt. Montgomerie’s party may be divided into those of the Himalayan and Mustak water-sheds. The glaciers of the Himalayan water-shed can boast of a large number varying in length from five to fifteen miles, the largest being the Drung-Drung glacier of fifteen miles, and there are others over eleven miles in Zauskar, the Brahma glacier of eleven and a half miles in Wurdwun and the Purkutsi glacier of seven and a half miles in Sooroo, besides a multitude of minor glaciers. The Purkutsi gunri or glacier is perhaps the most remarkable of the whole of this group, as it comes tumbling down in a torrent of broken and pinnacled ice from near the summit of the Kfin peak which rises upwards of 23,000 feet above the sea, a sight well worth looking at, though in actual length the glacier is somewhat inferior to others in the neighbourhood ; it makes up for the want of length by the large mass of ice that is visible from one spot.

The next group of glaciers referred to by Captain Montgomerie was that of the Mustak, consisting of those in the Saltoro and Hushc

valley around the splendid peaks of Mashabrum, and his neighbours

which rise to upwards of’ 26,000 feet above the sea. The most remarkable glaciers in the Saltoro valley, taking them from east to west, are the Sherpogong glacier 16 miles and the Koondoos 244 miles in length; in the Hushe valley the Naug glacier 141 miles in length and the Atosir glaciers 13 and 11 miles in length.

The next group referred to was that of the Mustak on the Bréldo and Basha branches of the Shigar river. The Braldo boasting of the Baltoro glacier no less than 36 miles in length, with a breadth of from 1 to 2% miles ; the Punmah and N obundi Sobundi glaciers, the longest, of which is 28 miles in length and the Biafo gause or glacier with a direct length of 33 miles without reckoning its upper branches. The Biafo gause forms, with a glacier on the opposite slope towards .1\/Iiggair, a continuous river of ice of 641 . miles running in an almost straight line, and without any break in its continuity beyond those of the ordinary crevasses of glaciers.

The Biafo glacier is supplied in a great measure from a vast dome of ice and snow about 180 square miles in area, in the whole of which only a few projecting points of wall are visible.

Further west the Hob valley produces a fine glacier 16 miles in length.

The Basha valley contains the Kero glacier 11 miles in length, the Chogo glacier 29 miles in length, besides, many branches and minor glaciers. The Braldo and Basha, in fact, contain such a galaxy of glaciers as can be shewn in no other part of the globe, exceptit be within the Arctic circle.

Captain Montgomerie pointed out that the Baltoro, with its main glacier 36 miles in length and its 141 large tributary glaciers of from 3 to 10 miles in length, would form a study in itself, and give employment for several summers before it could be properly examined. The small photograph of the Baltoro glacier (taken from a sketch by Captain Austen) shews at a glance the wonderful number of gigantic moraines which streak the Baltoro glacier with 15 lines of various kinds of rock, viz., grey, yellow, brown, blue, and red, with variations of the same, all in the upper part quite separate from one another, but at the end of the glacier covering its whole surface so as to hide the upper part of the ice entirely. In the centre of these moraines there was a line of huge blocks of ice which had not been observed on other glaciers, and which it is diflicult to account for. The Baltoro

glacier takes its rise from underneath a peak 28,287 feet high.

Captain Montgomerie was in a considerable state of alarm at one_

time lest this noble peak should turn out to be in Turkistan. Captain Austen has, however, removed all anxiety on that score, as one side of the peak at any rate is in Her Majesty’s dominions.

Captain Montgomerie noticed that all glacier phenomena were to be found on a gigantic scale in the Shigar valley. The crevasses in the ice were of great breadth and of the most formidable description. An attempt was made to measure the thickness of the ice by sounding one of these yawning chasms, but a line of 160 feet in length failed to reach the bottom of it. Observations made at the end of the glaciers gave a thickness of 300 or 400 feet, but doubtless higher up a still greater thickness of ice will be found.

The surface ice was regularly drained by streamers with large lakes of a-half to two miles in length, the whole water occasionally disappearing down great holes or “ moulins” in the ice with a loud intermittent roaring noise.

The glaciers being on such a gigantic scale, it, of course, took days and days to explore one of them. In the smaller glaciers no particular precautions had to be taken, but in the Shigar valley it was absolutely necessary to tie all the men of the party together with rope, giving about ten yards between each so as to save any one who might slip into a crevasse. Implements for cutting ice were in constant requisition and altogether it was a service of considerable danger exploring the larger glaciers.

The exposure involved in such explorations is evident from the number of days for which it was necessary to encamp on the ice at a great elevation with a limited supply of food and fuel which had to be carried for the whole trip. The economy necessary in fuel was more especially trying to Captain Austen and his party.

Captain Austen made the detailed survey of the Shigar valley and its vast glaciers. Lieutenant Melville did the same for the glaciers of the Sooroo, Zanskar and Butuai, Mr. Ryall those of the Saltoro valley ; Mr. Todd those of the Brahma group. Captain Montgomerie considers that to all of them (and more especially to Captain Austen) the greatest praise is due for their untiring devotion to a most arduous and trying task, and for the skill with which they have accomplished it.

A vast field for exploration having been thus opened out by the Kashmir series, Captain Montgomerie hoped that the Journal of the Society would hereafter be filled with a mass of interesting detail regarding these glaciers. Should any Alpine explorers from England be tempted to visit this interesting field of research, Captain Montgomerie promises them glaciers and mountains worthy of their exertions, and he added that the officers of the Trigonometrical Survey would be prepared to supply every assistance in the way of data as a basis for more minute inquiries.

He reiterated that, as compared with the Shigar glaciers, those of the Alps may be considered of the second order, the best known one ——the Mer De Glace—being about 7 miles in length and the largest, the Aletsch glacier being a little over 15 miles in length, whilst the larger ones surveyed by the Kashmir Series on the Braldo, &c., varied between 15 and 36 miles in length.

Captain Montgomerie concluded by saying that he hoped hereafter, when next summer’s researches were finished, to draw up a more complete account of these magnificent glaciers. Meantime he trusted that the rough notes which he had hurriedly put together would give a general idea of their vast extent and of the importance of their addition to our knowledge of the physical geography of the globe.

Captain Montgomerie subsequently spoke as to the advisability of employing native agency for the purpose of adding to our knowledge of Central Asia and other countries.' He thought that natives of the north of India might be trained to take latitude observations and to make rough route surveys. The work of such natives would be tested in ground already explored by Europeans, and numerous other precautions might be taken to insure accuracy. Explorations in Central Asia had hitherto been most dangerous to Europeans, but natives of Hindostan went there constantly and returned in safety. For instance, the Commissioner of Peshawur had lately sent the Moola Abdul Mujeed from Peshawur vizi Cabul, Kundooz, Badakshan, and across the steppe of Pamir down to Kokan with a letter and presents from His Excellency the Governor-General to the Khan. The Moola returned in safety, and beyond the physical difficulties, such as crossing the plains of Pamir then covered with snow, he had no interruption, and if he had been able he could have taken latitude

observations and made a rough route survey without any danger.

« PreviousContinue »