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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/703

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UNEXPLORED PARTS OF THE OLD WORLD.

is still defective. Extensive geodetic and topographical surveys were made in the principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia during the war of 1877—'78, but that the geography of Macedonia, Epirus, and Thessaly is far from being exact is proved by the difficulties which were experienced at the Conference of Berlin in defining the boundary between Turkey and Greece. In Russia all the northern provinces, from the frontier of Norway to the Ural Mountains, have been explored only superficially, and the only well-traced lines are those of the coasts and of the beds of the great rivers. The map of Lapland is equally imperfect, the great tundra of the Samoieds is wholly unexplored, and but little is known of the northern part of the Ural Mountains, which is probably equally rich in minerals with the middle division of the chain. From the Ural we pass to Nova Zembla, of which the littoral only has so far been examined, but which is destined to afford geologists an interesting study concerning its probable connection with that chain and with the archipelago of Franz-Joseph Land.

The parts of Asia bordering on the Kara Sea and the Arctic Ocean offer many points worthy of the attention of explorers. Among them is the enormous tract belonging to the basins of the Khatanga and Anabara, a country twice as large as France, concerning the geography of which the voyages of Tchékanovsky and Nordenskjöld have upset our old ideas, and which are still only hypothetically represented on our maps. The countries east of the Lena are wholly unknown, and embrace very extensive regions that have never been visited by Europeans. Wrangell has made a sketch of them from information supplied by Siberian natives, but it can not be depended upon. The country of the Tchouktchis is superficially well known, thanks to the labors of Nordenskjöld and previous explorers, but has never been scientifically examined. The extreme northeast peninsula north of the Gulf of Anadir needs a thorough exploration of its interior, for it may become important as a station for whalers, particularly if it should be found to contain coal. The country of the Koriaks, a vast desert region of hardly accessible mountains, traversed by no important river, offers few attractions, but might be made to yield a rich harvest of new discoveries to the naturalist. Kamchatka is better known, but it needs an accurate survey. The geologist would find objects of interest in its central chain of mountains and its active volcanoes; the botanist and zoölogist, in its rich flora and fauna; the landscape-painter, in its majestic peaks with their summits vomiting fire and their slopes covered with magnificent forests; the ethnologist, in tracing the connection between the native population and the people of the Kurile Islands on the one side and of Northwestern America on the other, and in watching the development of a new mixed race, which has originated since the Russians have settled in the country. On the other side of the Sea of Okhotsk we find awaiting a competent explorer the northern