Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

13 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



RETURN OF THE "CHALLENGER." (From The Times.) Her Majesty's ship Challenger arrived at Spithead on Wednesday night (in last week), after a long and event- ful voyage. It may be remembered that this vessel was fitted out in 1872, at the instance of the Royal Society, for a voyage round the world of scientific research and deep sea exploration. Captain G. S. Nares was selected to command the expedition, and, besides the usual Staff of Naval officers. Professor Wyville Thomson, F.R.S., of Edinburgh University, three naturalists, a chymist and physicist, and an artist and secretary were attached to the vessel. The hydro- graphic and magnetic work was undertaken by the Naval officers, and the Natural History department was placed in the hands of the scientific staff. Mr. J. Buchanan, chymist and physicist, determined the specific gravities of the water obtained from different depths, and Mr. Wild, artist, has contributed greatly to the success of the expedition by his remarkable microscopic drawings of deep-sea fauna, corals, and sponges. The. Challenger left England on the 21st of Decem- ber, 1872, and the researches during the next year were confined to the Atlantic, four complete sections having been taken across it. The result of the deep- sea dredging was most satisfactory; numerous speci- mens of fishes, &c., were obtained, some altogether new, and others of great rarity. The vexed question was settled as to whether life existed below certain depths, and much valuable information was obtained, by serial temperatures taken from the surface to the bottom, relative to the great oceanic currents. The deepest water found was off the Virgin Islands, in the West Indies, were bottom was obtained at 3,875 fathoms. This depth has only been exceeded once— i.e., in the North Pacific Ocean, latitude 11'24 N., longitude 143'16 E., where a sounding was made in 4,500 fathoms. In all probability this depth of water will never be much exceeded. Those remarkably deep soundings taken by former navigators are undoubtedly entirely erroneous. In many places the Challenger proved they were si by bringing up a portion of th3 bottom from less depths; and in some, where the time interval was carefully taken and pub- lished, with our present knowledge on the subject, the correct depth can be nearly approximated. When a certain quantity of sounding line has run out, its mere weight, even without the aid of under currents, will make it continue to run as long as there is any on the reel; the intervals between which the marks on the line disappear beneath the surface will become gradually longer as the weight sinks, but there is a marked lengthening of the interval immediately it strikes the bottom, amounting to one minute and a half at 2,500 fathoms for 100 fathoms of fine, and in that way the depth is determined; 3,000 fathoms depth was never found south of the Equator: a fact which will be of special interest to geologists who have raised theories on the fact of there being most dry land in the Northern Hemisphere; but, to counterbalance that preponder- ance, the water is not so deep in the South. During the year 1873, North and South America, the West Indies, Western Islands, Madeira. Canary, and CapeVerd Islands, and Africa vere visited, and 19,300 miles sailed over. After a refit at the Cape of Good Hope, the Challenger sailed for the South Seas in December, 1873. Marion Island and the Crozets were,viiited, the latter since brought into notoriety by the loss of the Strathmore, as with that unfortunate vessel, gales of wind and thick fogs were experienced by the Challenger. The Island of Kerguelen had been fixed on as an observatory station for the Transit of Venus which occurred in 1874, and, as it was desirable hat it should be explored in order to settle the site of an observatory, the Challenger was entrusted with that duty. A month was taken in completing it, during which the eastern side of the island was surveyed and a site recommended, which was afterwards adopted. The western shores were altogether out of the ques- tion, on account of the mists accumulated by the pre- vailing westerly winds. Heard Island, to the south of Kerguelen, was next touched at. It is quite barren, and consists of one immense glacier. A party of American whalers are stationed there, engaged in the sea elephant fishery, which frequent the beaches in great numbers. It would be difficult to imagine a mere dreary life than these whalers lead; they are relieved and the produce of the fishery is taken away every year. The Challenger then sailed south until the Antarctic Circle was crossed, and she reached within 1,400 miles of the South Pole. Open pack ice was entered and great numbers of icebergs were seen, as many as 80 being counted at one time from the masthead. Some were 300tr. high and between two and three miles long. They were nearly all fiat or table-topped, only the calves or small berga presenting the curious appearance of Arctic bergs. The antarctic continent of the American explorer Wilks (whose name, perhaps will be best remembered in connexion with the Trent affair) was sought for in vain. It was reported to have been seen by him when in command of the discovery ship Vincennes in 1831. As 1,300 fathoms of water were found on the supposed site, it was concluded that, if it ever existed, it haa now sunk. Gales of wind, accompanied by driving snowstorms, render naviga- tion in those seas neither safe nor pleasant, and the seamanship of the officers was severely tried in keeping clear of the numerous icebergs, to strike one of which would be destruction. The sea was full of life; innu- merable whales spouted round the ship, and several kinds of penguins were seen. The water was also rich I' in surface crustacea upon which great numbers of dio- media, procellaria, and prions fed. Melbourne was reached on St. Patrick's Day, 1874, and the next three months were most agreeably spent in our Australian Colonies. A line of soundings was next run to New Zealand, preparatory to a telegraph cable being laid; and afterwards, the Friendly Is- lands, Fiji, New Hebrides, Arrou, and Ki Islands were touched at, the natives being all found tolerably friendly. The Moluccas, or Spice Islands were next visited, and expeditions made to the nutmeg, cinna- mon, pepper, and cocoa plantations. Nothing can exceed the beauty of these islands, or the admirable manner in which the plantations are conducted. At Manilla, in the Philippine Islands, they had an oppor- tunity of seeing the enormous cigar factories, in some of which 10,000 girls are employed; and then the ship proceeded to Cnina. At Hong-kong, to the great 'regret of all, Captain Nares was called away, he having been selected to com- ) mand the Arctic Expedition; but his successor. Cap- tain Thomson, in a short time, rendered himself equally popular. In the early part of 1875 a good deal of old ground was again sailed over in the Sulu and Celebes Seas. A short time was spent at Cebu, one of the Philippine group, dredging for the beautiful Daplectella sponge, better known by its popular name of Venus's Flower- basket, and which is not now uncommon in oar mu- seums numerous fine specimens were obtained. On the adjoining island of Mactan the great explorer Magellan was killed in an engagementwith the natives in 152L A cross, said to have been erected by him at Cebu, is pointed out with reverence by the pious Spaniards. The Challenger next sailed to the north-eastern shores of New Guinea, and touched at Humboldt Bay, where the savages were found in all their native and naked grandeur. They were armed with spears and bows and arrows, and objected to exploring parties landing, standing with their arrows drawn to the head. They appeared to have no idea of the power of firearms. and there was no inclination to teach them the lesson. Notwithstanding the hostile attitude assumed when an attempt was made to land, they readily bartered their spears, bows, stone axes, 1 ornaments, &c., alongside the ship for hoop-iron and beads. The nativea are a fine race, although many were ooytred with some skin disease, The men wear boan' tusks thrust through their nostrils, which give them a ferocious appearance. Not one could be pre- vailed on to come on board, even by liberal offers of axes and nails, which would lead to the supposition that they had been visited by kidnappers. At Admiralty Island the natives were more friendly, and freely allowed parties to land. They were armed with obsidian headed spears. | The Challenger then sailed for Japan, and on the passage obtained the deepest sounding, which has j already been rtf rred to. Two months were spent on the coasts of Japan and in the inland sea, aodthen the ship sailed for the Sandwich Islands, Societv Islands, Juan Fernandez,* and Valparaiso. Juan Fernandez was found inhabited by some Chilians engaged in the seal fishery. A goat, descended fr< m Selkirk's pets, has taken passage in the Challenger, and is called Crusoe. After leaving Valparaiso, the passages lead- ing to the Straits of Magellan were entered at Cape Tre", and the ship emerged into the Atlantic at Cape Virgins, the scenery being magniScenfc, par- ticularly the fine glaciers, s' me of whi, h êxtfonded to the water's edge. The Falkland Islands, Montevideo, Ascension, St. Vincent, and Vigo were visited on the passage home, and further researches made in the Atlantic by continued dredging, trawling, and sounding. Photographs have been taken of the natives and of the principal places viptted during the voyage, and make an interesting collection. The equator was crossed six times, and the 180th meridian of longitude five times. Total distance run, 68,500 miles coals expended, 4,700 tons number of days at sea, 713 number of days in harbour, 568 number of deep sea soundings obtained, 374 number of serial temperatures, 255 number of successful dredgings, 111; number of unsuc- cessful dredgings, 19 number of successful trawlings, 129 number of unsuccessful trawlings, 16 243 men left England in the Challenger, of whom 144 returned, 61 deserted, 10 died, and five went in the Arctic Ex- pedition.




llxswllaitmrs Intelligent*.


(our ptttofl QLDrrrsponbtnf.

[No title]



[No title]