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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/653

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637
THE GOLD SANDS OF CAPE NOME.

low growth of flowering herbaceous plants, grass, and moss, with a somewhat scantier admixture of the dwarf birch, arctic willow, and crowberry. The surface is pre-eminently swampy during the warmer periods of the year, and walking over it means either wading through the water or risking continuous jumps to and from the individual clumps of matted grass and moss—the so-called "nigger-heads." The greater part of the tundra seems to rest on gravel and sand—doubtless of both marine and fluviatile origin—and ordinarily the frozen stratum is already reached at a

PSM V56 D0653 Native of the land of nome.png
A Native of the Land of Nome.

depth of two or three feet, sometimes less. In early October of the past year it was still too "open" to permit of easy walking over it, but in quite early hours of the morning the surface afforded fair lodgment to moderate weights. Fragmentary parts of the skeleton of the mammoth have been found here and there, even loose on the top grass, but where found in such situations it is by no means certain that they had not been redeposited by high tidal wash. A large fragment of thigh bone, with shoulder blade, which I found about an eighth of a mile inland and perhaps