Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/175

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

which is named the Agassiz Glacier, he estimates to be twenty miles in width and fifty miles in length, and to cover an area of a thousand square miles. Another, which he named Guyot Glacier, seemed to be about the same in dimensions. These come down to the sea-level in Icy Bay, and present a solid ice wall many miles in extent, which is continually breaking off into icebergs of great size.[1]

Vancouver's account of the glacial phenomena along this coast is still both instructive and interesting, and in places curious:

"Between these points (Pigot and Pakenham) a bay is formed, about a league and a half deep toward the north-northwest, in which were seen several shoals and much ice; the termination of this bay is bounded by a continuation of the above range of lofty mountains. On this second low projecting point, which Mr. Whidbey called 'Point Pakenham,' the latitude was observed to be 60° 591/2', its longitude 212° 29'. The width of the arm at this station was reduced to two miles, in which were several half-concealed rocks, and much floating ice, through which they pursued their examination, to a point at the distance of three miles along the western shore, which still continued to be compact, extending north 30° east; in this direction they met such innumerable huge bodies of ice, some afloat, others lying on the ground near the shore in ten or twelve fathoms water, as rendered their further progress up the branch rash and highly dangerous. This was, however, very fortunately, an object of no moment, since before their return they had obtained a distinct view of its termination, about two leagues farther in the same direction, by a firm and compact body of ice reaching from side to side, and greatly above the level of the sea; behind which extended the continuation of the same range of lofty mountains, whose summits seemed to be higher than any that had yet been seen on the coast.

"While at dinner in this situation they frequently heard a very loud, rumbling noise, not unlike loud but distant thunder; similar sounds had often been heard when the party was in the neighborhood of large bodies of ice, but they had not before been able to trace the cause. They now found the noise to originate from immense ponderous fragments of ice, breaking off from the higher parts of the main body, and falling from a very considerable height, which in one instance produced so violent a shock that it was sensibly felt by the whole party, although the ground on which they were was at least two leagues from the spot where the fall of ice had taken place. . . .

"The base of this lofty range of mountains (between Elias and Fair weather) now gradually approached the sea-side; and to the southward of Cape Fairweather it may be said to be washed by the ocean; the interruption in the summit of these very elevated

  1. "New York Times," November 14, 1886.