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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/174

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160
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

reports four glaciers of considerable size in the course of this short portage between Chilkat and Lake Lindeman.[1] The vast region through which the Yukon flows to the north of these mountains is not known to contain any extensive glaciers. But, according to the reports of Dall, Schwatka, and others, it is a most inhospitable country, where human life can be maintained only with the greatest difficulty; where the thermometer sinks to 60° below zero in winter, and rises for a short period to 120° in the summer; and where the ground remains perpetually frozen at a short depth below the surface.

PSM V35 D174 Davidson glacier near chilkat alaska.jpg

Fig. 4.—Davidson Glacier, near Chilkat, Alaska, latitude 59° 45'. The mountains are from five thousand to seven thousand feet high; the gorge about three quarters of a mile wide; the front of the glacier, three miles; the terminal moraine, about two hundred and fifty feet high. (View from two miles distant.)

From Cross Sound, about latitude 58° and longitude 136° west from Greenwich, to the Alaskan Peninsula, the coast is bordered by a most magnificent semicircle of mountains opening to the south, and extending for more than a thousand miles. Throughout this whole extent, glaciers of large size are everywhere to be seen. Elliott[2] estimates that, counting great and small, there can not be less than five thousand glaciers between Dixon's Entrance and the extremity of the Alaskan Peninsula.

Little is known in detail of the glaciers of this region. But those in the neighborhood of Mount St. Elias are evidently the largest anywhere to be found in the northern hemisphere outside of Greenland. This mountain rises 19,500 feet above the sea; and Lieutenant Schwatka, in his expedition of 1886, reported eleven glaciers as coming down from its southern side. One of these,

  1. "Science," vol. iii (February 22, 1884), pp. 220-227.
  2. See "Our Arctic Province," p. 91.