« PreviousContinue »
Finding that the head of the river must be more distant than we expected, we sent back to Gangotri for a small tent.
High mural precipices rising immediately from the river to the left: snowy peaks to the right, their summits about 6000 feet above us.
Cross the river at some falls. We leaped from rock to rock with some difficulty. Present general line of snow about 200 feet above us. To the right, the face of the mountain has slipped.
Bhojpatra (i. e. birch) jungle to the right with some pines, but small and stunted. Great mural precipices to the left.
Begin to pass a great snow bed from under which the river falls in a cascade. Heavy slips of the mountain to the right.
Ascend a very steep mass of snow, which covers the river; it appears to be 300 feet thick.
Cross a rill. To the right above us are sharp snowy peaks 6000 or 7000 feet high ; at their bases is some soil and loose stones, in which birch and small firs grow.
Up the rocky bed of the river, and here ascend a very large snow bed, which reaches from the top of the peaks to the right of the river, and conceals it: the river bed here more expanded. The feet of the mountains to the right not so steep as hitherto. To the left are precipices. Saw some musk deer among the rocks. From the top of the snow bed, a noble snowy peak (St. George) appears.
Above the left bank of the river, and by the side of the snow bed, are some birch trees and small long leaved firs, but no more cedars. This being the only convenient or safe place we could see, we halted here. The river is perceptibly diminished in bulk already, and we hope that to morrow we may see its head. The march to day was most toilsome, and rough through the loose fragments of rock which daily fall at this season from the peaks on either side to the river, in the afternoon when the sun melts the snow. Travellers should contrive to gain a safe place by noon, or they may be dashed to pieces.
It was very cold at this place, and froze all night, but we had plenty of fire wood from the bhojpatra trees. The soil was spongy, and full of rocks. The silence of the night was several times broken by the noise of the falling of distant avalanches.
By the barometer, it appeared we were 11,160 feet above the sea. Water boiled at 1930 of Fahrenheit.
A little tent, which one man carries on his back, came to us; but in this trip, we ate and slept on the ground, and were well pleased to have got so farbeyond Gangotri, hitherto the boundary of research on the Ganges. Latitude observed, 30° 58' 59".
The place we passed the night on is elevated above the left margin of the stream, being a sort of bank formed by the ruins of fallen peaks ; but as the falls are not recent, nor the slope so steep as in most places, the birch trees and various sorts of small
New Series, vol. IV.
pines and mosses have had time to fix their roots, and afford fuel and shelter. A very long and deep snow avalanche reaches from the peaks above the left bank down to the river, and conceals it. On the opposite side of the river, the cliffs are of great height and mural, except in one place where a tremendous fall has taken place, encumbering and obstructing the bed of the river. But these ruins are so frequent, that the traveller scrambles through them with little regard, except where the freshness of the fracture of the fallen masses of rock warns him to mend his pace, and get as soon as possible out of danger.
May 30.-Birch tree, halting place, forward. Thermometer, sunrise, 32o.
Set off from the middle of the snow bed.
A torrent eight feet wide, five inches deep, joins the river. Its edges are frozen.
Cross a high avalanche of snow, which conceals the river; it is very hard frozen. The bed of the river begins to be wider; large icicles hang among the rocks.
Ford a rivulet or torrent from the left 11 feet wide. Rocky and rough. Gradual ascent.
Gradually ascending among rocks. To the left, high cliffs of granite, but not so steep as before. To the right, snowy peaks; their summits about 6000 or 7000 feet high, distant about two miles. The river bed is here about two furlongs wide, and full of stones. River certainly diminished in size ; it is very rapid, its bed being an ascent. We are now above the line of vegetation of trees, and past the last firs. The birches remain, but they are only large bushes ; laurels also are seen, and a sort of, I believe, lichen, which grows in the rocks. The noble threepeaked snowy mountain shines in our front, and is the grandest and most splendid object the eye of man ever beheld. As no person knows these peaks or their names, we assume the privilege of navigators, and call them St. George, St. Patrick, and St. Andrew. St. George bears 129° ; St. Patrick 132° 30'.
N.B. On going further, we saw another lower peak between St. George and St. Patrick, which we called St. David, and the mountain collectively the Four Saints.
A fall of the river of 12 feet over rocks, and a succession of smaller falls. The inclination of the bed of the river is considerable; it is filled with blocks of granite, white, yellow, and red, and we saw some flint. Very difficult moving here. Great slips of the mountain to the left.
Most difficult. Over masses of rock, which have fallen from above to the stream. This station is full of peril, being a very recent slip of the whole face of the mountain to the left. The broken summits cannot be less than 4000 feet high; blocks threaten to fall, and are indeed now continually coming down : I have not seen so dangerous a slip. The ruin extends about half a mile; every person made the greatest haste to get past
this horrid place. The fracture of the rocks is so fresh, that I suspect this havoc must have been caused by the earthquake of the 26th ; for we heard a great crash in this direction.
Over snow for the most part. An enormously high and extensive snow bed in sight in front: it entirely conceals the river, but the stream is yet 20 feet wide.
Snow all round, and above and below, except where it has melted just here on a convenient flat between the river, and the feet of the mountains to the left. All beyond is an inclined bedi of snow; so we must halt here. Call it halting place near the debouche of the Ganges.
Proceeded forward to reconnoitre, and returned.
Up the river, and along snow. Mount Moira 170°; pyramid peak, 200°.
Return to O, eight to halt for the sake of fire wood.
This is an excellent and safe place; no peak can fall on us ; five companies, or even a battalion, might encamp here. Sublime beyond description is the appearance of the snowy peaks now so: close to us. The Four Saints are at the head of the valley of snow, and a most magnificent peak, cased in snow and shining ice, stands like a giant to the righć of the valley : this we named Mount Moira. The snow valley, which hides the river, appears of great extent; to morrow will show what it is.
We experienced considerable difficulty in breathing, and that peculiar sensation which is always felt at great elevations where there is any sort of herbage, though I never experienced the like on the naked snow beds, even when higher. Mountaineers, who know nothing of the thinness of the air, attribute the faintness to the exhalations from noxious plants, and I believe they are right, for a sickening effluvium was given out by them here, as well as on the heights under the snowy peaks, which I passed over last year above the Setlej ; though on the highest snow, the faintness was not complained of, but only an inability to go far without stopping to take breath.
Barometer.— The tube heated, and then gradually filled with mercury half an inch at a time, and the bubbles which were perceptible, driven out by gently beating against the places they were at. The mercury stood at.
18.854 in. Detached thermometer.
55° Attached ditto.
53° Height of the place above the level of the sea 12:914 feet. Water boils at 1924, which, according to Mr. Kirwan's table, answers to a barometer of 19.5 inches.
We are about 150 feet above the bed of the river. By day the sun is powerful, although we are so surrounded by snow; but the peaks reflect the rays. When the sun sunk behind the mountains, it was very cold; at night it froze. High as we are,
the clouds yet rise higher. The colour of the sky is a deep blue. What soil there is is spongy. A few birch bushes are yet seen; but a large and strong ground tree or creeper overspreads the ground somewhat in the manner of furze or brambles; and it is a curious fact that the wood of this is, we think, that of which the cases of black lead pencils are made, being of a fine brittle, yet soft red grain; and the smell is the same as of that used for the pencils, and which has hitherto been called by us cedar. I have specimens of this wood; it is called, I think, chundun: I saw it on the summit of the Chour peak, and in the snowy regions of Kunaur, but did not then examine it. It will be found probably that the pinus cedrus, or cedar of Lebanon, is the deodar (or as it is called to the westward, the kailou), and no other. Nor do our mountain cedars (24 feet in circumference) yield in size or durability to those of Lebanon. But this chundun (miscalled cedar) is not even a tree; it may be called a large creeper, growing in the manner of bushes, though it is very strong, and some of its arms are as thick as a man's thigh. Of this, and also of the great cedar (deodar), and of other pines, I will send specimens.
Latitude, mean 30° 56' 34:5".
Good observations. The particulars of them, as well as of all others, I have preserved.
The strata of rock, where exposed, near the summits of the grand snowy, peaks, were very nearly horizontal, as I observed, last year, at the summits of the peaks above the Setlej; though in lower parts of the Himālaya, the rock is generally seen deeply declined, as observed between Dangul and Sookie, as well as at Jumnotri, &c.
The colour of the high rocks on the Four Saints appeared to be of a light yellow mixed with brown or black. There being a small piece of level ground here, a primary base was measured on its longest extent; it was 319 feet; with it a longer base of 667.2 feet was obtained, favourably situated for taking the heights and distances of the peaks in front. This base, being but short, and no other to be had, great care was taken in observing the angles and elevations; and they were repeated both with a fine theodolite, and reflecting instruments (my circular instrument could not be safely brought beyond Reital). The angle of altitude of Peak St. George was 14° 07'.
Height of the peak above the sea, 22,240•6 feet. St. Patrick, height above the station...
9,471 Station above the sea.
12,914 Distance 42,480 feet; and height above sea, feet...... 22,385
(To be concluded in our next.)
Observations on certain Substances which have been supposed to
act as Acids, and as Alkalies. By R. Phillips, FRS. L & E, &c.
The first volume of the Annales de Chimie contains a memoir by M. Berthollet; the object of which is to show, that if the metals, when oxidized, perform the functions of alkalies with the acids, the same oxides also act as acids with the alkalies. Mr. Smithson (Phil. Trans. 1811,) adopting a similar opinion with respect to the action of silica upon other earths, has considered it as an acid, and has employed the term silicate to express its compounds: thus he says that zeolite may be regarded as a silicate of alumina and soda ; and he considers the compound as bearing some analogy to alum. M. Berzelius has not only admitted that silica performs the part of an acid in certain compounds, but has attributed similar powers to alumina, and employs the term aluminate. The folTowing passage from his Nouveau Système Minéralogique (p. 76), would however appear to indicate that he had not clearly determined the nature of the substances included in this class : “Selon Ekeberg, le gahnite contient Alumine
60-007 contenant 5 28.2 12 ou 6 Oxide de zinc.. 24.25 % oxigène ? 4:0 2 1 Oxide de fer .... 9.25 comme oxidule 2:0 1 Silica ... 4:75
2.2 1 On peut considérer ce minéral de plusieurs manières. Si nous ne faisons pas attention au fer et à lá silice, ce sera un aluminias zincicus, dans lequel l'alumine contient six fois l'oxigène de l'oxide de zinc, Z i A , et qui peut etre coloré par le silicias ferrosus. D'un autre côté il peut encore être composé d'un double aluminiate de zinc et de fer, c'est-à-dire former un trialuminias ferroso-zincicus, de sorte que l'alumine dans toutes ces combinaisons simples, contient trois fois autant d'oxigène que le corps avec lequel elle se trouve combinée. Dans ce cas, la composition serait f A: + 2 Zi As+AS.”
Dr. Thomson, in his System of Chemistry, has also adopted the idea of the action of silica as an acid ; and when the authorities by which this opinion is sanctioned are considered, it will, I am apprehensive, appear useless for me to endeavour to show, that by admitting silica and alumina to be, or to perform the functions of acids, we are in danger not only of adopting a loose system of nomenclature, but also of attributing to bodies