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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/294

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the School of Mines, chairman; Professor Daniel S. Martin, of Rutgers Female College, and Dr. N. L. Britton, of Columbia College. This committee has organized, with Dr. Britton as secretary and treasurer, and is now ready to receive subscriptions, which will be properly acknowledged. Checks should be made payable to N. L. Britton, treasurer, and post-office orders should be drawn on Station H, New York city. The committee estimates that from six to ten thousand dollars will be required to erect and engrave a shaft worthy the memory of America's first naturalist, and, while confident that this amount will be forthcoming, desires to have interest taken in the project by scientists in all departments throughout the country.

 

The Hills and Valleys of Cincinnati.—Professor Joseph F. James, in a study of the topography of Cincinnati, describes the valley, with its two ancient parallel river terraces, in which the business part of the city is built, as girt with a line of hills, rising from three hundred and ninety-six feet above low-water in the Ohio River, or eight hundred and twenty-eight feet above the sea, the height of Mount Adams, to four hundred and sixty or eight hundred and ninety-one feet, the height of Mount Auburn. The hills were originally rounded at the top, but have been so marred by the destructive agencies of city "improvements," that they can hardly be recognized. There still remain, however, the great drainage valleys, which have for ages carried the water from the north, south into the Ohio River, None of them, except Mill Creek, which occupies part of the ancient channel of the Ohio, are of any great extent, and this is one fact tending to prove the former insular character of the suburban parts of Cincinnati. Four of these valleys are mentioned, besides Mill Creek. While they, with their attendant heights, have added greatly to the picturesqueness of the city, they have, at the same time, been taken advantage of in the building up of the suburbs. The heights have been utilized for dwellings, while the valleys between have proved invaluable for streets. The tracing of the divide which separates the Ohio River drainage from that of Mill Creek, is an interesting study. It pursues a general northeast and southwest direction, and can still be followed in quite a definite manner for a part of its course. In two cases instances arc observed of two ravines heading up close to one another on both the south and north sides of the divide; and these lend illustration to a remark that has been made by Captain Button, that in mountainous countries the ravines form a series of amphitheatres close to a narrow divide which remains sharp in all stages of erosion. The Rev, G. F. Wright, of Oberlin College, has found that the southern foot of the continental glacier crossed the Ohio near Point Pleasant, about twenty-five miles above the city, and recrossed it at Aurora, Indiana, blocking the course of the stream for about fifty miles. Professor I. C. White has estimated the height of this dam at six hundred and forty-five feet above low-water in the river. From the absence of any traces of glacial drift upon the hills, the author doubts if it could have been so high. Besides enlarging upon the beauty of the situation of Cincinnati, which no man can question. Professor James claims for it that, situated on part of the oldest dry land (Cambrian) in the Western world, its site "can boast of an antiquity which puts to shame many more renowned cities," its rocks being "hoary with the age of countless centuries," while the soil of New Orleans is "yet saturated with its baptismal shower"; they were gray with moss when the Devonian site of Louisville was deep under the ocean; when the sub-carboniferous of St. Louis was as yet scarcely even in process of formation; and they vastly antedate the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi.

 

A Central Astronomical Agency.—In a paper on "The Extension of Astronomical Research," Professor Edward C. Pickering, of Harvard Observatory, calls attention to the fact, that while the net results of astronomical research have been of enormous pecuniary value, in certain cases large sums of money have been expended with little or no useful return. Striking instances may be mentioned of observatories without proper instruments, large telescopes idle for want of observers, and able astronomers unprovided with means of doing useful work.