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The Lyrid Meteors.
Dr. Nordenskjöld sailed from Buenos Aires on Though in the present year the light of the full moon
Christmas Eve, 1901, with the Swedish expedition will impede observations of these meteors, yet it is not
The object of the expedition was not to make a dash improbable that the shower will be sufficiently strong to
for the Pole, but, in conjunction with the English manifest its presence, provided that the atmospheric con
Scottish, and German expeditions, to pursue certain ditions prove favourable for the occasion. In 1905 the scientific studies in the unknown Antarctic, the special calculated maximum will fall on the night of April 19, as sphere of operations being that section known as the was the case last year, when Lyrids were found to be Weddell Quadrant. Dr. Nordenskjöld appears to somewhat more numerous at Utrecht on the night of have succeeded in carrying out much of his proApril 19 than on the succeeding night, both nights having gramme, although he was unable to push far south been clear; observations at Dublin, made, however, under indeed, not so far as the Antarctic Circle, and not withless favourable conditions, tended also to confirm this
standing disasters and hardships without a parallel in result.
the history of Antarctic exploration. On the present occasion the shower will extend throughout the night of April 19, and of its three constituent
The narrative is divided into two parts. The first maxima two at least will be visible to Cisatlantic observers.
by Dr. Nordenskjöld himself, deals with the cruise The calculated time of the first of these maxima is April 19.
the Antarctic in the summer of 1901-1902, and with uh. 15m. G.M.T., while the second occurs at 15h. ; the the two consecutive winters spent on shore near Sexthird may occur shortly after 14h., but owing to an un- mour Island. The second part is by Dr. Andersson certainty respecting some of the data requisite for its and Capt. Larsen, and describes the attempt of the calculation, it is liable to arrive two or three hours later, Antarctic to reach Nordenskjöld's winter quarters in
and consequently elude the vigilance of observers of the the summer of 1902-1903, and the loss of the ship in first two maxima.
the ice-pack off Louis Philipp Land near the entrancr The conditions under which the anticipated display will of Erebus and Terror Gulf. take place indicate that it will be much above the average
Geographically, the summer of 1901-1902 was in brightness, and probably, notwithstanding the presence
perhaps the most prolific in discoveries. Louis of the full moon, several brilliant meteors will be observed on April 19, owing to the meteoric concentration that
Philipp Land was found to be continuous with Dano: characterises this night.
John R. HENRY.
Land, and Gerlache Channel nothing but a continuation of D'Urville's Orleans Channel. Indeed, D'l'r
ville is the real discoverer of the whole island. It ANTARCTICA.
| appears that the Belgica maps of this locality present
many difficulties and differences. The illustrations W E have entered upon a new era of South Polar of this land from about lat. 63o S. to 65° S. bear 3
literature, since each of the recent expeditions : strong resemblance to Victoria Land, and seem as bears the promise and the potency of several books. desolate and as heavily glaciated as land in lat. 75° S. Of these the recent publication of Dr. Otto Norden- in the Ross Quadrant. skjöld's “ Antarctica” is an addition to our know- Continuing southwards down the east coast of ledge of southern regions.
King Oscar II. Land, the Antarctic was at last 1 "Antarctica, or Two Years amongst the Ice of the South Pole." By Dr.
stopped by a perpendicular wall of ice about 13oft. N. Otto G. Nordenskjöld and Dr. Joh. Gunnar Andersson. Pp. xviii +608.
high. This was in about the 66th degree of latitude (London: Hurst and Blackett, Ltd., 1905.) Price 18s. net.
south, and it grew clear to Dr. Nordenskjöld "that the chief aim of the expedition to penetrate to un- the return of the Antarctic, important fossil finds known regions along the coast of King Oscar's Land were made on Seymour Island. The first were bones was utterly annihilated by powers of nature against belonging to a species of penguin considerably larger which it would be fruitless to combat."
than the largest now living--the Emperor penguin. Sailing eastwards along the barrier some trawl | This demonstrates that even at such a distant epochhawls were made in deep water, a fairly constant probably the beginning of the Tertiary period—the depth of 2000 fathoms found, and indications of a penguin was an inhabitant of the Antarctic regions. layer of warm water at about 300 fathoms. This layer | The other was that of numerous large and quite disof warm water at a certain depth is characteristic of a tinct leaves in a brown, coarse, hard, tuff-like rock, great part of the polar sea.
belonging to different forms of exogenous trees, firs, On February 1, 1902, in lat. 631° S. and long. and ferns. The leaves are small and narrow, and 45° 7' W., it was decided to return westwards and call to mind similar fossils from the Tertiary formseek a suitable place for winter quarters. The spot selected was Snow Hill, a little to the south of Seymour Island, where Capt. Larsen first discovered fossils in 1892. A party of six, including Nordenskjöld, was landed, with a strong, comfortable log hut, a few dogs, and provisions and equipment for two years. Before finally leaving the party an attempt was made by Capt. Larsen to establish a depôt farther south, but it was unsuccessful on account of the close conditions of the ice.
The two winters seem to have been passed cheerfully and harmoniously. The party was too far northto' feel the terrors of a real polar night, for even at midwinter the sun remained four hours above the horizon, but the weather, common to all parts of Antarctica, was most boisterous; storm followed storm, and made outdoor work only too frequently impossible and the carrying out of scientific observa ations most arduous. Perhaps we do not thoroughly realise what physical hardships attend the taking of scientific observations in the Antarctic regions.
The magnetic work was undertaken by Dr. J. Bodman. There were no self-recording variometers like those of the Discovery, and there is therefore no continuous magnetic record, but the conditions of the International Term Days were fulfilled by means of the ordinary method of eve readings. Bacteriological investigations were undertaken by
3 Dr. Ekelöf, and chiefly concerned the bacterial flora of the surface soil. The sult seems to show that “ in these regions the surface soil must almost be considered as the place of origin of bacteria, and the results which were pursued during different seasons and with regard to different kinds of earth have given rise to wholly new ideas concerning the conditions of bacterial life within the polar regions."
The taking of the meteorological observations was shared by all alike. At first readings were taken only at 7 and 8 a.m. and 2 and 9 p.m., but towards the middle of April night observations were also taken.
August 6 was the coldest day, when the thermometer registered 42°.3 F. (- 41°-3 C.). At Cape Adare (lat. 71° S.) the lowest temperature observed
- 43°5 F., also in August, and with the Discovery in lat. 78° S., - 670.8 F.
Dr. Nordenskjöld expresses the opinion that the summer of 1902-3 was exceptionally cold, and points out that the German ship Gauss alone succeeded in extricating itself from the ice, but no figures are FIG. 2.- 1 eriiary plant fossils from Seymour Island (drawings by Prof. given to prove the statement. Fewer heavt storms
A. (. Nathorst). From Nordenskjöld and Andersson's " Antarctica. in the summer of 1902–3 were more likely the direct cause of the ice not breaking up.
ations of Central and Southern Europe, but also On October 1, Dr. Nordenskjöld set out with certain South American types of leaves. Lieut. Sobral and a sailor on a sledge expedition Dr. Nordenskjöld writes : “ If there was one hope southwards along the coast of King Oscar II. Land. whose fulfilment non-fulfilment
in my The one sledge drawn by Nordenskjöld and Sobral thoughts, almost synonymous with the success weighed in all 200 lb., and the other, drawn by five failure of this expedition, it was just that of being dogs, 485 lb. The total length of route traversed in able to discover in these regions determinable Tertiary thirty-four days was 400 miles. As a result of this vegetable fossils." journey the chart of this coast has become completely Dr. Andersson also discovered a fossil flora from changed.
the Jurassic system in Hope Bay, about a degree During the summer of 1902-3, while waiting for farther north, and some very fine illustrations of the
Cladophlebis, Pterophyllum, and Otozamites examination of the Laccadives and Maldives, being given.
followed through the same region in 1901 by Prof. Some form of fossil plant was found by the Alexander Agassiz, who devoted himself mainly to geologist of the Discovery as far south as lat. 78°, the coral reefs, with the surface and the deeper but it has been found quite impossible to identify it pelagic fauna. on account of the imperfect nature of the specimen.
The Red Sea and the coast of East Africa is The second part of the book makes some thrilling largely a German zone, but to the south a regular reading, but adds very little to our knowledge. The systematic investigation of the hydrography and attempt of Dr. Andersson, Lieut. Duse and seaman biology is being undertaken by Cape Colony in conGrunden to reach Nordenskjöld across the ice from nection with its sea fisheries. The French have the Antarctic in the summer of 1902–3, their failure accumulated much knowledge of Madagascar (mainly either to reach the winter quarters or to regain the of the land), while Rodriguez and Mauritius have beship, and subsequent lonely winter in Hope Bay, is come fairly well known, to a large extent owing to given in detail. The Antarctic foundered on February the Royal Society Expedition of 1874: Of greater 12, 1903, as the result of a severe ice “ nip," and the importance, however, were the Admiralty surveys of crew succeeded in reaching Paulet Island across the | the numerous islands and banks to the north of and ice, where they spent the winter under extremely try- around Madagascar, carried out for the most part ing conditions. Fortunately, both Dr. Andersson and by Captain (now Admiral Sir Wm.) Wharton. Captain Larsen and their parties succeeded in Lastly, the German Valdivia Expedition in 1898-9 ran reaching Nordenskjöld's winter quarters in the fol
a l'apid traverse from St. Paul to Nicobar, Ceylon, lowing summer, and, with the exception of a sailor Chagos, Seychelles, and up the East African coast. who died on Paulet Island, all were rescued by the
Its work showed the existence of a pelagic fauna at Argentine ship Uruguay in November, 1903.
all depths, and of practically the same deep-sea fauna The book consists of about 600 pages, and there
-as exists in other oceans. A relatively shallow bank are a large number of illustrations, some of which
was found between Chagos and the Seychelles, an are from crude drawings and are indifferently repro- important discovery which ought to have been duced. The coloured plates might have been advan- followed up by an extended investigation of the tageously omitted, as they give no idea of the extreme region. delicacy and beauty of Antarctic colour. Here and The present expedition, organised by Mr. Stanley there are slight slips, such, for instance, as appears
Gardiner, is an attempt to correlate in some degree on p. 119, where the velocity of the wind is given the work of all these different expeditions and exas forty-five miles per second! However, there are plorers by a thorough investigation of the oceanono serious blemishes. The field of operations was, graphy and biology of the region between India and geographically, a limited one, and well outside the Madagascar, and is the direct outcome of the Maldive Antarctic Circle. Scientifically we may look forward and Laccadive expedition of 1899–1900. As at present to more interesting results. No attempt has been proposed, H.M.S. Sealark, after leaving Ceylon, will made to give an account of the scientific work, and proceed to the Chagos Archipelago, situated to the Dr. Nordenskjöld hints that several years must elapse south of the Maldives in lat. '70 S. This group, for before the results of the voyage of the Antarctic can
the topography of which we are at present depending be published in full.
L. C. B. almost entirely on a survey made by Captain Moresby
in 1837, consists of a series of atolls and submerged
banks, of which Great Chagos, an irregular circle A NEW BRITISH MARINE EXPEDITION. upwards of seventy miles in diameter, is the most
conspicuous, being the largest existing circular coral THE
HE hydrographical and biological investigation reef with a basin in the centre. It is, however,
of the central and western parts of the Indian perhaps better known through the atoll of Diego Ocean will this year be the object of a special cruise Garcia to the south-east, at one time used as a coal. of H.M.S. Sealark, which is fixed to leave Colombo ing station by the Orient Line between Iden and for the purpose about April 20. This yacht, which Australia. That there will be plenty of hydro is the latest addition to the survey vessels of the Navy, graphical work in the group is quite clear, for there is under the command of Captain Boyle Somerville, are at present no bottom soundings between anr of who will be accompanied by two scientific civilians, the banks, and considerable changes mar reasonMr. J. Stanley Gardiner and Mr. C. Forster Cooper. ably be expected to have taken place in the last It will be remembered that the Indian Ocean was
seventy years owing to the growth of the reefs. The not visited by the Challenger Expedition in the expedition will endeavour to fill in these omissions, famous cruise around the world, the course then taken and while this work is proceeding a close biological lying further to the south, almost within the Ant- and geological survey of the reefs will be underarctic circle. Meantime, however, knowledge of the taken. region has been steadily increased by the exertions From Chagos the Sealark will proceed to Mauritius, of individual explorers and by special Admiralty which should be reached about August 1. Here fresh surveys. To the east there has been continuous stores will be taken in, and the collections so far progress, culminating in the Dutch Siboga Expedi- obtained sent home. No extensive work around the tion of 1899–1900 through the East Indies, while island will be possible, but it is hoped to visit some other explorers have investigated Keeling. Atoll, of the reefs. The Sealark will then proceed to Christmas Island, and parts of Torres Straits and Cargados, a surface reef to the south of the subWestern Australia. To the north, the Indian survey merged Nazareth Bank, and the line will be convessel Investigator has been active from the Persian tinued along to the Seychelles group over the likeGulf almost to the Straits of Malacca, while individual
wise submerged Saya da Malha Bank. Both these explorers have borne their full share. Prof. Ortmann banks may well lie on a crescent of relatively shallow examined the reefs of Ceylon, and Prof. Herdman water (less than 1500 fathoms) connecting the is now publishing a full account of the marine fauna Sevchelles with Mauritius, but the actual depths and flora of that region. In addition, Mr. Stanley should be settled by the expedition. In any case, the Gardiner, with Messrs. Borradaile and Forster examination of these two great submerged banks Cooper, devoted sixteen months in 1899-1900 to the should throw much-needed light on the formation of
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