Popular Science Monthly/Volume 22/November 1882/Correspondence



Messrs. Editors.

IN the June number of "The Popular Science Monthly," a new theory of the origin of the light and heat of the sun is attributed to Dr. II. R. Rogers, of Dunkirk, New York. An able and succinct statement of the theory was given by Dr. Rogers, in a paper read before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Cincinnati, August, 1881. But many persons had already become acquainted with this electric theory, through a work in which it is fully and clearly stated, entitled "Light, Heat, and Gravitation," published in 1879, two years before the reading of Dr. Rogers's paper. This work was written by lion. Zachariah Allen, a well-known scientist and distinguished citizen of Providence, Rhode Island. Mr. Allen's new cosmical theory was the result of a long period of devoted study and experiment, but, though known to intimate friends, it was not given to the world till about three years ago.

H. P. R.
Providence, R. I., June 23, 1882.


Messrs. Editors.

While out on the prairies of Dakota this summer I have observed certain peculiar storms which may throw some light on the origin of storms. The birth of a storm, as a writer in "The Popular Science Monthly" some time since declared, is a matter upon which we have as yet no accepted theory.

About a month since I observed late in the afternoon a thunder-storm moving north-east, the rain of which barely touched the part of the country where I was. As this edge of the storm was passing over, there came an undercurrent of scudding clouds from the northeast. These two currents coming in conflict, there formed over and near us rings and funnels. A large ring of clouds would rotate for some minutes, send down a funnel, perhaps, and then disappear, forming a cigar-shaped cloud. One large ring, no doubt more than a half a mile in diameter, had the appearance of an inverted crown, jagged clouds extending from it earthward; and another looked like a turbine water-wheel. Through the whirlwinds darted vivid lightning, followed by peculiarly loud and ominous thunder. The lightning seem confined to the clouds. In about twenty minutes the whirlwind passed over, and the heavy thunder-storm traveled rapidly to the northeast.

About a week since I saw almost similar phenomena. A storm, apparently quite light, was coming from the northwest, and a light breeze was blowing from the opposite quarter. Scud soon came from the southeast, and, the winds coming in conflict, whirlwinds appeared, resulting in cigar-shaped clouds that rolled off to the southeast. The rain was very heavy, but there was little thunder or lightning.

While on the south coast of Lake Superior two summers ago, I saw a storm gather which presented similar features. Like the two preceding cases it occurred late in the afternoon of a rather warm day. There formed a great ring of heavy cumuli which extended around the whole heavens 20° or 30° from the horizon, and after rotating for some minutes the cumuli were heaped together in the south quarter of the sky, and the thunder-storm passed south.

From these instances I infer that some storms have their origin in conflicting currents of air. Clouds form because of the difference of temperature, and first assume the form of rotating rings, sometimes with funnels attached. These rings part, and form themselves into rolling, cigar-shaped clouds, which ultimately become ordinary nimbi.

Very truly,
H. Stanley.
Forestburg, Dakota, August 5, 1882.


Messrs. Editors.

I do not know whether it has ever before been noticed, but, if not, I should like to call the attention of scholars interested in the subject to the noticeable repetition, in Central American geographical names, of one of the principal (the accented) syllables in the word "Atlantic," if we may divide it thus: A-tlan-tic.

Some of these Central American names are—Minatitlan, Hidalgotitlan, Abasolotitlan, Morelotitlan, Barragantitlan, Allendetitlan. There are, doubtless, a great many more.

Without some proof to the contrary, this coincidence would seem to add a little weight to the belief that Central America was the fabled (?) A-tlan-tis.

Yours respectfully,
Berry Benson.
Augusta, Georgia, August 29, 1882.