TIERRA DEL FUEGO AND THE WEST COAST.
the pole than Port Famine! Inhospitable as this climate appears to our feelings, evergreen trees flourish luxuriantly under it. Humming-birds may be seen sucking the flowers, and parrots feeding on the seeds of the Winter's Bark, in lat. 55° S. I have already remarked to what a degree the sea swarms with living creatures; and the shells (such as the Patellæ, Fissurellæ, Chitons, and Barnacles), according to Mr. G. B. Sowerby, are of a much larger size, and of a more vigorous growth, than the analogous species in the northern hemisphere. A large Voluta is abundant in southern Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. At Bahia Blanca, in lat 39° S., the most abundant shells were three species of Oliva (one of large size), one or two Volutas, and a Terebra. Now these are amongst the best characterised tropical forms. It is doubtful whether even one small species of Oliva exists on the southern shores of Europe, and there are no species of the two other genera. If a geologist were to find in lat. 39° on the coast of Portugal, a bed containing numerous shells belonging to three species of Oliva, to a Voluta and Terebra, he would probably assert that the climate at the period of their existence must have been tropical; but judging from South America, such an inference might be erroneous.
The equable, humid, and windy climate of Tierra del Fuego extends, with only a small increase of heat, for many degrees along the west coast of the continent. The forests, for 600 miles northward of Cape Horn, have a very similar aspect. As a proof of the equable climate, even for 300 or 400 miles still farther northward, I may mention that in Chiloe (corresponding in latitude with the northern parts of Spain) the peach seldom produces fruit, whilst strawberries and apples thrive to perfection. Even the crops of barley and wheat are often brought into the houses to be dried and ripened. At Valdivia (in the same latitude of 40°, with Madrid) grapes and figs ripen, but are not common; olives seldom ripen even partially, and oranges
- With respect to Tierra del Fuego, the results are deduced from the observations by Capt. King (Geographical Journal, 1830), and those taken on board the Beagle. For the Falkland Islands, I am indebted to Capt. Sulivan for the mean of the mean temperature (reduced from careful observation at midnight, 8 a.m., noon, and 8 p.m.) of the three hottest mouths, viz. December, January, and February. The temperature of Dublin is taken from Barton.
- Agüeros, Descrip. Hist, de la Prov. de Chiloé, 1791, p 94.