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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/729

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Fylla, Captain Jacobson, which help to explain, why Iceland, lying nearly on the edge of the Arctic Circle, is not frozen like its neighbor Greenland. The first Norwegian Deep-Sea Expedition, under Professor Mohn, brought out the surprising fact that the bank on which the British Islands lie is connected by a submarine ridge, of at most three hundred fathoms below the surface of the water, with the Faroe Islands, and that these islands are similarly connected with the southeast coast of Iceland; further, it was discovered that over this bottom ridge separating the Atlantic water in its great deeps from the water of the Arctic Sea—at least in summer—a relatively warm mass of water was moving toward the northeast which fully prevented the cold bottom water of the Arctic Ocean from flowing into the North Atlantic basin. Since, however, the depths of the Atlantic are occupied with a bed of water only a few degrees above the freezing-point, the cooling of which can not be ascribed to circumstances of place and position, but must be caused by an inflow of polar waters, the fact ascertained by the Norwegian expedition that no such inflow takes place between Iceland and Europe, in the broadest passage between the two seas, has become of the greatest scientific importance. Attention was accordingly directed to the other passages between the two seas—the Denmark Straits between Greenland and Iceland, and Davis's Straits—concerning the features of which not enough was accurately known. The most that had been learned concerning them was the work of a few observers, chiefly Admiral Irminger, who, by comparing the annual reports of voyages between Greenland and Iceland, had found that the Atlantic water along the fifty-ninth parallel, between the Orkney Islands and 30° west, over an extent of about nine hundred nautical miles, had tolerably uniform and relatively high temperature on the surface with a superficial current to the north; that, further, in consequence of this current, the warm surface-water, at least in summer, reached the south coast of Iceland essentially unchanged in temperature, and was directed thence toward the northwest and north into the Denmark Straits and along the west coast of Iceland; that, on the other hand, a cold stream filled with thick drift-ice flowed from the Polar Sea along the east coast of Greenland through the Denmark Straits to Cape Farewell, and was strong enough to reach over to the northwest coast of Iceland and fill its fiords with ice. As an offset to this, the ice does not, even in winter, enter the great bays of the west coast of Iceland, and the fisheries are prosecuted in those waters through the whole year. North of Iceland the stream sets decidedly toward the east, and often brings with it Greenland ice, which blockades the whole coast for a longer or shorter time. Admiral Irminger believes that this stream is a branch of the great East Greenland ice-stream which has rebounded from the northwest coast of Iceland and been deflected to the east. Other investigators have reached conclusions agreeing with these. In order to determine the matters which were in question, the Danish Government, in 1877, provided the Fylla with the necessary apparatus and ordered Captain Jacobson to take soundings and measurements of temperature. He performed his work with much energy, against many difficulties, and discovered that the warm stream which had been mentioned as washing the west coast of Iceland has considerable depth, and that it is strong enough at the North Cape to pass around it in its continued progress along the north coast of the island. The meteorological observations in the Island of Grimsey have also shown that this warm stream affects the island in the same way in the winter and considerably moderates its climate. Nevertheless, in severe winters, the Greenland ice pushes far down and causes the warm current to be covered with its cold meltings; the season is protracted, and Iceland suffers a bad year with hardly any summer.

 

Stammering.—Stammering, according to M. A. Chervin, generally originates in a sudden nervous shock which the victim of the affection has received in childhood; sometimes it is a habit which has been acquired by the practice of imitating other persons who stammer, or by constant association with stammering members of the family. It takes place whenever the rhythm of respiration is interrupted by the effort to speak being made at the wrong stage of breathing. Speaking, to be easy and regular,