Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/631

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ARTESIAN WATERS IN THE ARID REGION.

a few in the deserts of Nevada. In Mexico they are obtained in the valley deposits of the city of Mexico, the Lake Chapala basin of Jalisco, and could be secured at many other points. The grandest demonstration of the principle, however, is found in the famous San Luis Park of Colorado. It is true that this valley, owing to the large area of mountains surrounding it, has an unusual number of "lost rivers" supplying water to the valley deposits from which over thirty-seven hundred flowing wells have been obtained. Less than ten per cent of these attain a depth of seven hundred feet, and barely fifteen per cent reach four hundred feet. On the great La Noria Desert, stretching for one hundred miles northeast of El Paso, Texas, between the Organ and Franklin ranges, which is void of a drop of surface water, abundant supplies of underground water are now procured at a depth of two hundred feet, and are pumped by windmills for irrigating purposes.

The wells of all these localities were drilled haphazard, without reference to the geological principle we have endeavored to describe. If this principle could be made known that the underground waters of the arid region are stored in the desert deposits, and not in the mountain rocks, there is no reason to doubt that wells could be procured in most of these innumerable wastes of the arid region, which would at least suffice for the passing traveler, and in many cases supply water for live stock and irrigation, sufficient to supply the necessaries of life to the mining populations of the adjacent mountain regions.

 


 
According to M. V. Brandiconrte, of the Linnsean Society of the north of France, the Eucalyptus alpina, once abundant in Mount William, Australia, is now known only by a single specimen in the botanical garden of Melbourne; Psiadia rotundifolia, a tree of the composita of St. Helena, is reduced to a single natural specimen and a few cultivated ones at Kew. No living representative is now known of the dwarf palm (Chamærops humilis) which once grew near Nice. The orchid Spiranthes Romanzoviana has apparently disappeared from the meadow in Ireland which was its only known station. Some fifty species have disappeared, or nearly disappeared, from the department of Sonne, in France. Most of this devastation is the work of amateurs, horticulturists, or botanists.
 
A party of Chinese traders who recently visited the interior of southern Formosa have brought back, according to Mr. D. J. MacGowan, stories which remind one of the fairy tales or of the fancies of the Arabian Nights. They lodged in stone caverns, and the chattering of monkeys and the sounds of insects seemed to them "appalling and indescribable." The region was so weird that it reminded them of "legends of the kingdom of hobgoblins." They describe forests of trees of "prodigious girth," some of them measuring more than ten outstretched arms; and a tree flourishing in those forests that bears "flowers, red and white, which are larger than a sieve and of extraordinary fragrance." The flowers thus described are supposed to be epiphyte orchids.