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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/654

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

fifteen feet above the water, was associated with one of the mandibular bones of the whale. I could obtain no information as to their having been possibly carried to their present position by man, but it may have been the case. A large skull, which I owe to the kindness of Mr. Inglestadt and to Mr. Louis Sloss, Jr., manager of the Alaska Commercial Company, was obtained, as nearly as I could determine through inquiry on the spot, from about the same locality. Where it abuts upon the sea the tundra stands from eight to twenty feet above it, at places descending to even lower levels. The sea face is almost everywhere an abrupt one, showing undercutting by high water, and it is continued by a broad, rapidly sloping sand and shingle beach, which packs firmly, and almost immediately beneath the surface exhibits a distinctly stratified construction—the alternate layers of fine, flat gravel, coarse, clayey sand, and finer "ruby" (fragmented garnet) sand sloping like the surface, although generally with a milder pitch, to the sea.

The open sea front, with inland tundra, is continued for a distance of about fourteen miles westward of Nome, where it is interrupted by the mountains, in a west-southwest course, reaching the sea; flat-topped Sledge Island, so much recalling in aspect some of the islands lying off Whale Sound, in the northwest of Greenland, is their oceanic continuation for some distance, with, sharp breaks on both the oceanic and inner sides. It is probable that much of the debris that has resulted from the disruption of the mountain masses has been distributed littorally by the sea, with an eastward wash, to form the bars and shallows which for some distance stretch along the coast; nor is it impossible that some of the giant bowlders of limestone, marble, granite, and syenite which are found on the margin of the beach about four or five miles west of Nome, some of them measuring eight and twelve feet or more in diameter, and all of them smoothly rounded and evenly polished, represent a part of this destruction. At the same time, there is good reason to suspect that they may have been deposited by ice action, either as erratics of floe ice coming from the northwest, or of glacial distribution from the region of the mountains. Whatever may have been the final stage in the history of the amphitheater of Nome (the region included between Cape Nome and Sledge Island), which my limited observation did not permit me to determine to full satisfaction, it is almost certain, even in the absence of the ordinary glacial testimony, that the region is one of past glaciation, and that much of the gravel and bowlder material of the ocean front is of morainic origin, so modified and altered in position by readjustments of the land and water as to have lost its proper physiographic contours. The aspect of the hills and valleys is almost precisely