Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/312

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

282

THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

everywhere else, form an appreciable proportion of its substance. In places where silicious organisms like sponges and radiolarias are numerous on the surface, their glassy spicules form a considerable ingredient in the red clay, which, when the proportion reaches a considerable value, is called radiolarian ooze. Again, in the cool and less saline water of the southern ocean, and in other cases where the water is freshened, the microscopic, silica-sheathed, self-moving plants known as diatoms swarm in such vast numbers that the deposit consists in very large degree of their shells. When the proportion reaches one half it is described as diatom ooze. The red clay covers about fifty-one million square miles of the ocean floor; globigerina ooze is spread over about fifty million square miles; and diatomooze occupies a belt encircling the globe in the southern ocean, with a total area of about ten million square miles. These three kinds of deposits are thus believed to spread over a surface twice as extensive as all the land of the earth. The terrigenous or land-derived deposits occupy about nineteen million square miles, and one of the strongest arguments for the existence of an antarctic continent is the fact that they border the belt of diatom ooze on the southward wherever it has been passed.

Tenacity of Old Rituals.—While exploring an ancient cemetery near Cuzco, Peru, Mr. George A. Dorsey observed a curious ceremony performed by the Quichua Indians which illustrated to him the tenacity with which the old rites are held, and the manner in which recognition of living spirits of the dead and sacrifice to them still prevail. The men had been unwilling to assist him in disturbing the tombs of the dead, because they contained the remains of their ancestors, to remove which would be sacrilege, but were drafted into his service by a peremptory order from the prefect. On approaching the tombs the men knelt and pronounced in unison an invocation which began with a recital to the spirits of the chiefs as sons of the great Pachacamac of the doctrine of the Trinity and continued with the address: "Chiefs, sons of the sun, we have not come to disturb your tranquil sleep in this your abode. We have come because we have been compelled by our superiors; toward them may you direct your vengeance and your curses!" Then they made offerings of coca, aguardiente, and chicha, and called on a lofty, snow-capped mountain, Sancahuara, to witness the truth of their invocation.

A New Bear.—A new bear is mentioned by William H. Dall, in Science, as having been observed frequenting the vicinity of the glaciers of the St. Elias Alpine region. It is regarded by the Indians and hunters as distinct from both the black and the brown bears of Alaska. It is not large, no skin being more than six feet long, is shy, and not so fierce as the other bears. Its general color resembles that of the silver fox. The fur is not very long, but is remarkably soft; and it has a rich bluish-black under fur, while the longer hairs are often white, at least in the distal half. The dorsal line, the back of the ears, and the outer faces of the limbs are jet-black. The sides, neck, and rump are black and silver. The under surface of the belly and the sinuses behind the limbs are grayish white or pure white. The bright tan color of the sides of the muzzle and the lower fore part of the cheeks is invariable, and has not been seen by Mr. Dall in any other American bear. The structure of the claws is adapted to the climbing of trees. Mr. Dall believes that it is at least a well-defined local race, and proposes for it the racial name of Emmonsii. The Sitka fur dealers call it the glacial or blue bear. The Indians speak of another animal, unknown to naturalists, as inhabiting the higher mountains of the mainland. It is described as resembling the mountain goat, with horns nearly as long, but almost straight.

Agriculture on City Lots.—A satisfactory report upon the working of the experiment tried in Detroit in 1894, of engaging the poor and unemployed of the city in the cultivation of vacant lands and lots, is published by the Sterling Publishing Company, New York. About four hundred and fifty acres, or seven thousand city lots, were divided into quarter-and half-acre tracts, and about three times as many applications for allotments were received as could be granted. The crops were planted, cultivated, and harvested by the