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summer bursts upon the land. In the figurative language of the natives, Winter is a white ox with two horns, one of which is broken on the first Athanasius (March 5), and the second on the second Athanasius (April 24), and on the third Athanasius (May 14) the whole body disappears.'

"The summers are very hot, so that the variations are extreme. At Yakutsk the mean winter temperature is-45.5°, the summer+ 22.4°; at Verchoiansk-58° and+28.2°.

"The country is well wooded, forests of pine, fir and birch extending for hundreds of miles along the rivers and the tundras of the north. They occupy about 70 per cent. of the land surface, but towards the north the trees become stunted, and deformed, few of them attaining a height of over 30 feet, or a diameter of 6-8 inches. So useless is the timber that the few natives resident there are forced to import wood from the south for their structural requirements." R. E. D.

Central Asia.-Sven Hedin, an explorer at present in Central Asia, sends reports of his travels to the London Geographical Journal and to Petermann's Mitteilungen, from which the following notes are taken. The basin of the desert of Gobi is strewn over with the waste (or weathered rock) from the surrounding mountains, coarser and steeper sloping near the margin, finer and dead level in the center; there the altitude is about 800 meters. Many rivers from the mountains wither away in the desert sands, but the Yarkand, the largest of them, coming from the west, does not entirely disappear. It feeds Lop (lake) Nor in the central plain. In late summer the river is in flood and carries much silt, and this tends to drive the lake to the southeast. But the summer wind, generally from the northeast, and often stormy, drifts the surface sands and raises so much dust as to darken the sky, hence called the Karaburan, or black storm; and this tends to drive the lake to the southwest. The expected resultant of river and wind action would be a southward migration of the lake, which Hedin believes to be confirmed by comparison of old and modern records.

Settlements occur only on streams, generally near the margin of the depression. Between the rivers there are vast areas of wandering sand dunes, absolutely barren. Across these Hedin re

cently attempted a journey and barely escaped with his life, after great suffering.

The wretchedness and barrenness of this great basin serve to illustrate the misfortunes that attend an over-large continent, whose central area, being rimmed by lofty mountains and remote from the oceans, is condemned to be a desert. W. M. D.

The Kura and Aras.-The following note regarding these two rivers in the Caucasus, taken from a review in the December number of the Scottish Geographical Magazine, is an interesting contribution to our knowledge of river changes:

"Professor Gustave Gilson, of Louvian, writes to the Mouvement Geographique, October 18th, on a remarkable change which has recently taken place in the relation of these rivers. The Kura, in its lower course, enters a broad valley which gradually expands into a plain, the southern part of which bears the name of Mughan. On this plain the Kura was, until lately, joined by the Aras (Araxes), but, since the inundations of last spring, the Aras' has made its way through the marshes and lagoons of the Mughan directly into the Caspian, and now falls into Kyzyl-agach bay. The soil of the Mughan is formed by rich alluvium carried down by the two rivers, and the Russian Government has long desired to bring it under cultivation. Floods in some parts and great drought in others were the difficulties to be overcome, and to drain, and at the same time irrigate, this tract a canal was projected from the Aras to the Caspian. This canal has been formed by the river itself, and only a few simple engineering works are needed to render it permanent."

This seems to illustrate the well-known fact that tributary streams flowing toward a main stream in an alluvial valley often cannot flow directly into that main stream. The reason for this is that alluvial plains slope from the main stream toward the valley sides. It is thus more easy for the tributary stream to flow for a time along the side depression parallel to the main stream, and later to flow into the main stream, as does the Yazoo into the Mississippi, or to flow independently into the sea, as does the Aras at present.

Two independent rivers in an alluvial plain usually have some such a relation as is here described. The backward slope of the

alluvial plain away from the banks of the main stream, and the consequent drainage that seems abnormal at first, is well illustrated on the Gibson topographic sheet of Louisiana, published by the United States Geological Survey. R. E. D.

Victoria, Australasia.-" During the last three years the city of Melbourne has lost 40,000 of its population, the prosperity of the agricultural industry of the colony affording superior attractions to the pursuits of the capital city.

"The colony of Victoria has shown remarkable energy in opening up an extensive export trade with Great Britain. The colonial government has practically assumed control of the trade, and its contracts with two of the principal lines of steamers enable shipments to be made at extraordinarily low rates, the charge for butter, cheese, and meat being only 1 cents per pound for the voyage from Melbourne to London in cold storage. The butter shipments to London from this single colony last year were close on to 26,000,000 pounds, valued at $5,406,215." National Geographic Magazine, December, 1896.

The Rapids of the Yang-tse-Kiang.-Between the towns of Kwei-chow and Ichang, the Yang-tse-Kiang passes by a narrow cañon through a mountainous country. As a result the river is very tumultuous in its course and navigation is carried on with difficulty. The practical limit to navigation for steamers is Ichang, about 1,750 Km. from the sea. Between Ichang and Patung are seven series of rapids of considerable intensity, some of which are dangerous at low water. As there is no practical way of building canals around the rapids, the obstructions seem destined to be long a hindrance to opening up to commerce the vast country about the headwaters of this river. R. E. D.

Geographical Boundaries.-There is a tendency among many geographers and teachers of geography to talk as if all was settled in geography. That in many cases the foundations, as it were, are not yet settled is shown by the following suggestive note from the New York Sun of a recent date: What is Australasia ?

A learned society is rather unfortunate, to say the least, when it is unable to tell what its name means. This is the dilemma of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia. It asked the

International Geographical Congress in London last year to give an answer to the question: What is the true definition of the term Australasia? The Congress, being very busy with other matters, had no time for this conundrum, and the question is still unanswered.

The Australian geographers decline to accept the British definition of the word, as given in the imperial statute, which declares that "the term Australasia shall signify and include New Zealand and Tasmania as well as Australia." Why, ask the Australian geographers, should New Guinea, Fiji, New Caledonia and the other islands of the South Seas be excluded? In fact, no geographical societies, and few writers, accept the British definition; but confusion arises because everybody uses the word according to his own idea of what it embraces. The Australians themselves have tried in vain to reach a common understanding. A geographical conference at Melbourne in 1884 argued the question, but failed to attain any conclusion, and none has been arrived at since, though the great society, with its branches in all the leading colonies, said in its memorial to the London Congress that "we consider it a matter of daily increasing importance.”

The fact is there are few accepted boundaries for parts of the world considered in a geographical instead of a political sense. What is the geographical, the so-called natural, division between Europe and Asia in the southeast? One famous authority says it is the Manytsch depression north of the Caucasus; another that it is the line following the crest of the main Caucasus range, and still another that it is the southern boundary of Trans-Caucasia ; and the latest edition of "Bevölkerung der Erde," which deals with the matter, gives three determinations of the total area of Europe, according as one or other of these boundary lines is accepted.

There is no agreement even as to the number of continents, for some distinguished writers recognize only three, Euro-Asia, Africa and America; and when they talk of the great divisions of the land surface, the number varies from five to eight according to different writers. Perhaps in only one respect is this a matter of much importance. When a writer or speaker refers to a region it is highly desirable to know how much of the earth's surface he includes under the name.

Until a half century ago there was much confusion in books and atlases with regard to the names and extent of the various oceans. The Royal Geographical Society of London appointed a committee in 1845 to settle these matters, and the conclusions reached by the committee, with some modifications, were generally accepted and have proved advantageous. C. C. A.

Tides in the Bay of Fundy.-Baya Fonda, so named by the Portuguese navigators early, because it reached far into the land and now Anglicized as the Bay of Fundy, has a world-wide reputation for its excessive tides which, by tradition, reach seventy feet of rise and fall and advance with the speed of a galloping horse, as many of us have learned. The facts as stated in the Report of the Geological Survey of Canada, Report M, for 1894 are somewhat more sober, but extraordinary enough. On the coasts adjacent to the mouth of the bay, the spring (or full and new moon) tides vary from twelve to eighteen feet. Within the bay the spring and neap (quarter moon) tides are as follows: Digby neck, 22, 18; St. John, 27, 23; Petitcodiac river, 46, 36; Cumberland basin, 44, 35; Noal river in Cobequid bay, 53, 31; the last named being the greatest tidal oscillation in any part of the bay. At the bay head the flood tide rises about twenty feet above mean sea level; the ebb falls the same amount below, leaving the bottom of the branching bays exposed as extensive mud flats, through which little rivers flow from the land. The tidal bore (the advancing wall of water at beginning of flood tide) is best seen on the Petitcodiac river at Moncton, twenty miles from the bay head; it rushes in "as a foaming breaker, five or six feet high, with a velocity of five or six miles an hour." The ebb tide runs like a mill race, and when the muddy channel is laid bare the river is reduced to a small meandering stream. It remains so about two hours, when the rushing waters of the bore are again heard and the river is soon filled with the sweeping flood.

Tides of so great strength as these have the single advantage of carrying navigable waters at flood further into the estuaries than where the range is less; but they have the disadvantages of being accompanied by troublesome or unmanageable currents and of narrowly limiting the hours when landing can be made. Wharves to be used at all stages of the tide must be long and high and of expensive construction.

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