Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/275

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Popular Science Monthly

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���The Valley of the Alps. This flat-bottomed valley is over 70 miles long and is about 6 miles wide at its broadest part. It is bordered by majestic and precipitous mountains, the peaks of which attain an altitude of 9,000 feet above the valley. Rugged hills in the immediate vicinity, as shown in the foreground, indicate piles of slag. A scene of dreary desolation, even with the noon sun shedding its overpowering light, although at some very remote epoch one of incon- ceivable commotion. The entire region appears to have passed through the fiery furnace

��which bear every evidence of having passed through a fiery ordeal. The entire surface is one of dreadful contrast; the dazzling brightness of the landscape compared with the hard black shadows; the black sky, even at noon, with the sun shedding a ghastly overpowering light; these condi- tions, together with no trace of life, form a scene of dreary desolation, but nevertheless one of sublime grandeur.

The Deathly Silence of the Moon

Although the sun pours his heat upon the surface throughout the long lunar day, which comprises over three hundred of our days, yet the rocks remain too cold to touch with safety. Everywhere there reigns the silence of death. Occasional landslides, cracking of the surface and shrinkage commotions, dislocation of piled up volcanic debris, all occur without an attendant sound. Because there is no air

��we cannot hear. Ten thousand volleys might be fired instantaneously, with a resultant vibration of the ground, but the prevailing silence would remain unbroken. It is indeed a world possessing conditions just the reverse of our own. Imagine there to be no water, no air, nothing to sustain life for a single instant!

We see a world of mystery and destruc- tion, riddled as is its surface with volcanic formations representing primeval forces, but maintaining their original charac- teristics and freshness owing to the absence of disintegrating elements. Nevertheless, it teaches one grand lesson in that it "exalts our estimation of this peopled globe of ours," writes Carpenter, "by showing us that all planetary worlds have not been deemed worthy to become the habitation of intelligent beings." So we mentally "come back to earth," perfectly content to have taken only an optical flight to the moon.

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