Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/951

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FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

861

will hunt whales, seals, etc., and expect to make three trips with their cargoes between the antarctic country and Melbourne. It is contemplated now that the expedition shall start about the 1st of September. Some money has been subscribed for the cost, but more is needed.

Mountain-climbing In Montana.—An article describing a trip of exploration to the Montana Rockies by L. W. Chaney, Jr., in a recent issue of Science, contains some interesting facts. In July last the party entered the mountains by the Great Northern road, which crosses the range about forty miles south of the international boundary, following on the western side of the divide the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. Twenty miles from the summit, at Two-Medicine Pass, is Belton Station. Here there falls into the fork a large and rapid mountain creek; it comes from Macdonald Lake, three miles away in the mountains to the northward. This lake is already much resorted to for fishing and camping purposes. At the northern end of it a small settlement exists, and from here the party started. After some unproductive explorations in a neighboring valley, they decided to try their fortunes farther north, and set out for a group of mines known as the International Camp, where the range, after sweeping northward from Lake Macdonald for thirty miles, turns quite abruptly to the west. This camp is sixty-five hundred feet above the sea. To the east is a saddle of the main range some two thousand feet above the camp. "To this saddle we then directed our attention, and the morning after our arrival we made the ascent, finding it not difficult. Immediately on stepping down from the rocks on the eastern side of the range we found an immense snowfield filling an amphitheater some four miles in diameter. As we crossed the snowfield to the east there appeared running parallel with the curving wall of the amphitheater lines upon the surface, whose significance we did not at first apprehend. Observations with the field glass soon indicated, what closer examination afterward confirmed, that these were long crevasses in the ice. We then knew that we stood upon the upper snowfields of a glacier not of great size, but in many respects very typical. Passing on to the eastern side of the amphitheater we ascended the rocky ridge which formed its boundary. Then suddenly there burst upon us one of the most tremendous mountain scenes any of the party had ever had the good fortune to witness. Sheer down below was a cliff which repeated experiments with falling rocks showed to be more than sixteen hundred feet of perpendicular precipice. From the base of this cliff the talus sloped down sharply to the bottom of the valley, no less than three thousand feet below. Around the northern end of the ridge on which we stood swept the glacier narrowed into a true ice river. As it broke over the cliff to plunge into the valley it was fractured with numerous crevasses. The largest was about twenty feet across, and into it plunged one of the surface streams which came down the glacier. Below in the valley lay a succession of lakes the first of so deep and dark a blue that without hesitation we called it Emerald Lake. The moraine at the foot of the glacier was evidently almost entirely ground moraine. There were very few large rocks lying in a mass of finely divided gray detritus. Across this rushed the stream which came from the glacier." Some crude observations were made as to the rate of movement of the glacier; between two days there seemed to be a movement at the center of the mass of about two inches. Mr. Chancy commends these regions to those who wish to study mountain forms or glaciers and glaciation. "There is an abundant and very interesting fauna and flora, and on every side the majesty and glory of one of the noblest mountain ranges."

Commercial Liquid Air.—A method for the commercial preparation of liquid air has been devised by Herr Linde, and steps are being taken to put it into practical operation. The successive coolings to the critical temperature, which the chemists effect by the evaporation of other liquefied gases, are in this process brought about by successive compressions and expansions of gaseous air. With an adaptation of piston machinery a volume of air is greatly compressed, and its temperature, which has of course become very high, is reduced by a cooling process. The piston is then withdrawn and the cooled compressed air allowed suddenly to expand.