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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/107

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solution will be achieved by attentive observation of magnetic effluvium.

But for effluvium a host of circumstances would remain unexplained. Strictly speaking, the changes in the velocity of the wind, varying from three feet per second to two hundred and twenty feet, would explain the variations of the waves rising from three inches in a calm sea to thirty-six feet in a raging one. Strictly speaking, the horizontal direction of the winds, even in a squall, enables us to understand how it is that a wave thirty feet high can be fifteen hundred feet long. But why are the waves of the Pacific four times higher near America than near Asia; that is to say, higher in the East than in the West? Why is the contrary true of the Atlantic? Why, at the Equator, are they highest in the middle of the sea? Wherefore these deviations in the swell of the ocean? This is something which magnetic effluvium, combined with terrestrial rotation and sidereal attraction, can alone explain.

Is not this mysterious complication needed to explain an oscillation of the wind veering, for instance, by the west from southeast to northeast, then suddenly returning in the same great curve from northeast to southeast, so as to make in thirty-six hours a prodigious circuit of five hundred and sixty degrees? Such was the preface to the snow-storm of March 17, 1867.

The storm-waves of Australia reach a height of eighty feet; this fact is connected with close proximity of the Pole. Storms in those latitudes result less from disorder of the winds than from submarine electrical disturbances. In the year 1866 the transatlantic cable was disturbed at regular intervals in its workings for two hours in the twenty-four,—from noon to two o'clock,—by a sort of intermittent fever. Certain compositions and decompositions of forces produce certain phenomena