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being carried on under the direction of Captain Hoffmann, H. M. S. Dolphin, and in the Baltic by Capt.-Lieutenant Holzhauer, H. M. S. Drache, who are working in unison with the triangulating and topographic parties on shore.
As might have been expected, this great undertaking is being carried on with all possible accuracy and minuteness.
The publication of the Annalen der Hydrographie, containing many valuable reports of the commanders of German men-of-war in foreign waters on hydrographic matters, has been continued.
Sailing directions for the coasts of the Skagerrack, the Cattegat, and the Belts are in course of publication, and are being carefully compiled for the whole German coast.
The work of the Norwegian Exploring Expedition in the North Atlantic, under direction of Professor Mohn and Cap. tain Wille, has been steadily prosecuted.
The results of the soundings with the temperature and current observations of last year, including all the soundings taken between Iceland, Greenland, and the British Isles since 1860 by British, German, and Norwegian vessels, are given in a chart by Professor Mohn, physicist to the expedition (Nature, Oct. 18, 1877). This chart shows isobathal curves at intervals of 100 fathoms, giving a detailed representation of the configuration of the sea-bottom.
This year the expedition left Tromsö July 24, returning August 23. Sounding and dredging were effected between the Lofoden Islands and Jan Mayen, a careful survey of the latter island being made.
The boundary between the polar current and the warm Atlantic current was found to be very steep, like that called the “cold wall” on the American coast. Next year the expedition will work up the region between North Cape, Jan Mayen, and the north of Spitzbergen.
In a paper in the May (1877) number of Petermann's Mittheilungen, Dr. Dorst furnishes a valuable addition to the knowledge of currents of the region between Greenland and Spitzbergen, by a discussion of the movements of the ice as observed by him in 1869.
Dr. Petermann has been furnished by Captain David Gray with a large amount of material for the determination of mean surface temperature of the Greenland and Norwegian Sea, 1800 measurements having been made during six summer voyages between 58° and 81° N. latitude.
Much attention has been given to the subject of water communication between Western Europe and the rich country near the mouths of the rivers Obi and Yenisei, in Siberia.
The Swedish expedition under Professor Nordenskjöld; the expedition from Bremen under Dr. Finsch and his associates, as well as Captain Wiggins, F.R.G.S., who made two exploring voyages thither in 1874 and 1876, are unanimously of the opinion that, during a portion of each year, suitable steamers may approach and leave this region with only the ordinary risks of navigation.
Earnest attempts are being made to turn this route to account. During the past summer, the steamer Frazer, loaded with tobacco, sugar, and machinery, has been despatched from Bremen for the Yenisei, under command of Captain Dallman, an antarctic explorer of experience; and the steamer Louise proceeded from London to the mouth of the Obi, and thence up that river and the Irtish to Tobolsk-over a thousand miles by river,
At Tromsö the Russian Government has caused to be fitted out several sailing vessels, which, with a tug, are to convey a number of Samoyede families, with building material, clothing, and provisions, to Nova Zembla, to establish a colony there, which in time may serve as a useful half-way station on the route to the Obi and Yenisei.
The expedition of Captain Wiggins, F.R.G.S., to the mouth of these two great rivers surveyed, in the late summer of 1876, Poderata inlet, in which a good harbor was found, and discovered a large harbor at the mouth of the Obi. The Obi River was not entered.
The temperature of both air and water was singularly warm, though the Sea of Kara was full of ice. Captain Wiggins reached Kureika, on the Yenisei, in October, and there left his vessel and returned to England, having found, so far, excellent navigation. He started again in March, 1877, for Kureika, purposing to cross the Sea of Kara during the summer; but, on rejoining his vessel, the crew refused to proceed in her.
The results of all these expeditions are so encouraging that the Russian Government proposes to make immediate
ly an accurate hydrographic survey of the Obi and the Yenisei.
This new trade route, if the anticipations be borne out by experience, will be of immense value, the region abounding in fish and furs as well as in agricultural and mineral wealth, while the population need great quantities of the productions of Western Europe, heretofore carried overland.
In the Geographische Blätter of the Bremen Geographical Society, a sketch of Professor Nordenskjöld's proposed voy. age to the Siberian seas is given.
He intends to sail in July, 1878, in the steamer Vega, commanded by Captain Palander, a Swedish officer of much arctic experience, with a staff of three or four scientific observers, and a crew of thirty naval seamen. The object of the expedition is to force a passage from Nova Zembla eastward along the coast of Siberia through Behring Strait, the ship proceeding homewards through the Suez Canal. The cost of the expedition will be defrayed principally by the Swedish Government.
A review of the work done during the last twenty years, in determining the depths of the ocean in various parts of the world, is given in Petermann's Mittheilungen for April 1, 1877; special attention being paid to the depths determined in the Pacific Ocean, of which a small chart is given, showing the various deep basins, to thirteen of which Dr. Petermann has given the names of the ships, commanders of expeditions, and eminent scientific men who have been instrumental in the work.
A very marked feature of this chart is the uniform northwest and southeast direction of the elevations of the bottom surrounding groups of islands, etc.
By FRANCIS M. GREEN,
The past year shows no diminution in the general interest felt all over the civilized world in the development of exact and scientific knowledge of the earth's surface. The most marked discovery which has taken place has been that of the course of the Congo and Lualaba rivers by Mr. H. M. Stanley.
Governments are freely extending protection and assistance to explorers seeking to open new commercial routes; and the faithful and scientific spirit in which explorations are now conducted is shown by the care taken to attach experts in all branches of natural history to every expedition.
The scientific results of the English Arctic Expedition, and of the voyages of the Challenger and Gazelle, are being prepared for publication with great care.
The most important geographical work in course of publication is Viviers de St.-Martin's “ Dictionnaire de Géographie Universelle” and his “Atlas Universel de Géographie, Ancienne, Moderne, et Moyen-âge,” both issued in numbers, the publication of the first to run through four years and the second twelve and a half years. · Among the proofs of the interest now taken in geographical studies may be mentioned the founding of several new German, French, and Italian magazines and journals, specially devoted to the record of current travel and exploration, and the largely increased circulation of geographical periodicals previously established.
From these publications, especially the Geographical Magazine, Petermann's Mittheilungen, and Cosmos, a large portion of the following summary has been compiled.
In Petermann's Mittheilungen is given a review of the cartography at the Centennial Exposition. From the fact that maps and plans were shown in the departments of their
respective countries, it was difficult to compare the different exhibits effectively.
The general conclusion reached is that, as regards every nation, great progress has been made in cartography over carlier exhibitions; that, in respect to accuracy and clearness, the Germanic nations excel. Sweden surpasses all in minuteness of detail, England in clearness and delicacy of outline, and the United States in the art of turning to account material for statistics.
COSTA RICA. The results of Professor W.M. Gabb's labors in Costa Rica in 1873–4 have been published by Dr. Petermann in map form. As yet the province of Talamanca only, constituting the southeastern portion of the republic, has been surveyed, the tracts lying to the west and north being still unexplored.
ISTHMUS OF DARIEN. The general results arrived at by the French Surveying Expedition, under the command of Lieutenant Wyse, have been published.
The object was to find a route for a canal to join the Atlantic and Pacific oceans without locks or tunnels; but this desideratum does not seem to have been accomplished.
The route examined was along the course of the Poyita and Cacarica rivers; but the lowest practicable pass over the Cordilleras was found to be 450 feet above the lowest tides.
M. Celler, one of the engineers of the party, proposes a canal 65 miles long, by way of the Atrato and Tuyra rivers, with reservoirs and groups of locks.
Lieutenant Wyse is engaged in fresh investigations in this region on behalf of the Comité du Canal Interocéanique.
COLOMBIA AND ECUADOR. The results of the journey by M. Édouard André through Colombia and Ecuador in 1875 and 1876 are of great value.
M. André has secured many valuable specimens of natural history, as well as an archæological and ethnographical collection, besides having measured many heights, taken careful latitude and longitude observations, and obtained numerous sketches and photographic views of the country.