Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/589

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

dred feet high, flows the Rio Frio from another glacier, into the Nahuelhuapi Lake, the largest lake in Patagonia, from which the Limai, the principal river of the country, flows to the Atlantic Ocean. The chain of the Andes is again broken at this point by a deep gorge; and the passes continue to diminish in height as we go south. The idea that the Patagonian Andes form a continuous marked boundary to the table-land of the country is a mistaken one. The line is frequently broken by ravines that reach far back into the interior; and Captain Simpeon, of the Chilian marine, has found the sources of two of the principal western rivers not far from the center of the country. At other points the sea makes extensive cuts into the land, forming deep bays and fiords, between which the land pushes out its sharply serrated peninsulas. Archipelagoes, in which Simpson has counted more than a thousand islands, lie before and within the bays. The largest of the islands is Chiloe; a few of them are level, but most of them are mountainous and steep, while all are thickly wooded. The coast-lines are sharply indented, and the slopes in the neighborhood of the Straits of Magellan, those of Cape Froward, Tierra del Fuego, and Cape Horn, with whose cincture of evergreen beeches the verdant mantle of the Patagonian wilderness descends to the sea, arc very rugged.


Effect of Sewage on River-Water.—Franz Hulna has examined the water of the river Oder above Breslau, in its course through the city, and for fourteen kilometres, or about ten miles, below the town, to determine the effect of sewage upon its purity. From the point where the water-supply of Breslau is pumped up to a little above the town, the water undergoes a slight but appreciable deterioration, but after filtration is quite suitable for domestic uses. In passing through the city a continuous change for the worse takes place, which is manifested by the increase of oxidizable matter and of chlorine, and by a hundred-fold augmentation of ammonia and albuminoid ammonia. Microscopic examination disclosed the abundant presence of organisms of putrefaction. Farther down was observed a gradual process of self-purification by contact with oxygen, along with the co-operation of vegetable and animal life in the stream. At fourteen kilometres below the city the influence of sewage could not be detected, either by the chemical or the microscopic examination; but the water was of the same composition as at the supply-station above.



At the June meeting of the Iowa Academy of Science, the president, A. R, Fulton, exhibited specimens of native copper, found in the drift of Iowa, which were in all respects similar to the native copper of the Lake Superior region. In his accompanying paper, Mr. Fulton accounted for their occurrence in this situation by saying that the Lake Superior region was undoubtedly their original home, and that they had been transported by the ice-stream of the Glacial epoch, which apparently at some time had flowed in a southwesterly direction. The occasional finding of fragments of the common sulphate of lead in the drift, southwest from the lead-region about Dubuque, would indicate the same movement.

Professor Moerta, formerly director of the observatory at Santiago, Chili, died at Dresden, Saxony, April 2d, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. He was born near Cassel, and educated at Marburg. He went to Chili, where our Gillies was making observations on the solar parallax, in 1850, and eventually participated in the observations. When Gilliss returned home in 1852, the Chilian Government put him in charge of the observatory. He also held a professorship in the university. He returned to Europe in 1866, charged with a commission by the Government to purchase a telescope, but did not go back to Chili on account of his health. His observations are embodied partly in the "Annales de la Universidad de Chile" and partly in the "Astronomische Nachrichten."

M. J. P. L. Girardin, a French chemist of considerable distinction, died early in June, in the eighty-third year of his age. He was for thirty years Professor of Chemistry applied to the Arts in Rouen, where he made special researches in fertilizers, and introduced improvements into the processes of the manufactures carried on there that proved to be of great importance. He was afterward a dean of the Faculty of Lille, and rector of the Academy at Clermont. He published some considerable works, the most important of which was his "Lessons in Elementary Chemistry" in five volumes.