Geographical Record [stub]

1909 Bulletin of the American Geographical Society  
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more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. GEOGRAPHICAL RECORD. AMERICA. THE NORTH COAST OF ALASKA BADLY CHARTED.-Mr. V. Stefansson, the ethnologist, now among the Eskimo of northern Alaska, has written a letter to a member of this Society in which he says: "It seems to me that badly mapped countries need resurveying as much as unmapped ones require original exploration. Circumstances have brought this forcibly to notice in my own case. Trusting to a map used by whalers and others who navigate this coast, we followed a continuous line of sand bars from Point Barrow eastward to their end at the first point of mainland which should, by the chart, have accordingly been Point Tangent, east of which the chart gives a narrow bay (say 7 miles across) and then a point. "We sailed in thick weather about Io miles S. E. without finding land and then turned south thinking perhaps our compass was wrong on account of excess of iron in our cargo. After going a few miles farther, we got into muddy water and fresh-a river delta where none was indicated on the chart. Then, we tried to beat out but a change of wind suddenly lowered the water some 3 feet (it had been a storm tide) and we were aground. Before the wind changed to give us enough water, we should have had to wait two weeks; as it was, we froze up in, perhaps, the most unfavourable location on the whole coast-no game, almost no driftwood, and far from all places we thought at all desirable for wintering. "As a matter of fact, there are few places between the Mackenzie river and Point Barrow where there is even a family resemblance between the earth, as the Lord made it, and the chart as the surveyors have made it. Nevertheless, even, after being many times deceived, I trust to the chart, now and then, thinking it may possibly be right this time; and I have found it almost right occasionally but no oftener than the law of chances prescribes. That it has scarcely suspicion of rightness has cost me a great deal this time-something in money, and more in deranged plans and hopes that turned out empty. "With just my prismatic compass and such common sense as I can muster I hope to make a better survey of some part of this coast than has been put on paper so far. I could not make it much worse even with noteworthy incompetence. Any Eskimo who travels this coast can, in ten minutes, draw a useful chart of Ioo miles of coast line. One can travel by it because it gives bays where there are bays, rivers where there are rivers, and islands wherever they exist. But the maps stamped 'corrected to I906' have deep bays where the coast is straighter than where they chart it straight, isolated islands where there are unbroken chains, islands north of each other where there is only a single chain, running east and west and no rivers indicated where there are deltas x5 miles wide and stretches of fresh water far in the ocean. "The delta in which we are stranded is a mass of islands, its front is some 20 miles wide and has all the typical deltoid characteristics. The 'Thetis Islands', discovered in 1889, have no existence apart from the chain of islands lying about 3 or 4 miles off Beechey Point and long before discovered and correctly placed by English explorers. I have gone over their location in steamers (1907 in the 279 AMERICAN ANTARCTIC EXPLORATION URGED.-At the annual meeting of the American Philosophical Society, in Philadelphia, on April 22, the desirability of the participation by the United States in Antarctic exploration was urged by a number of speakers, including Rear Admiral Melville, Edwin Swift Balch, and Henry G. Bryant. The general view expressed was that the United States should organize an antarctic expedition to corroborate the surveys of Lieut. Charles Wilkes of the United States Navy, who was the first man to sight the vast continent which Shackleton has now penetrated nearly to the South Pole. At'the end of the discussion, this resolution was adopted: Resolved, That the American Philosophical Society requests the cooperation of the scientific and geographical societies of the United States, to urge on the United States Navy and the general Government, that it make sufficient appropriations to fit a Government vessel to thoroughly explore and survey the coast of Wilkes Land, and other parts of Antarctica. 283 Geographical Record. CLIMATOLOGY. GERMAN UPPER AIR INVESTIGATIONS IN TROPICAL EAST AFRICA.-To the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society for January, 1909, Dr. Richard Assmann contributes a short account of the results obtained by the German aerological expedition for the exploration of the upper air in tropical East Africa between July and December, I908. Twenty-three balloons were sent up from Lake Victoria, fifteen being recovered, with the instruments. On the two highest ascents, 65,0oo feet and 56,000 feet, the upper "isothermal layer" was found, for the first time in the actual equatorial belt. This warm stratum had been discovered by Teisserenc de Bort and Assmann, in Europe, and its existence, above North America had been established by Rotch. The minimum temperature encountered, at 65,000 feet, was -II9?. The variability of temperature in the very high strata, which has been shown to be a fact over Europe and North America, was found to have nearly the same value over equatorial Africa. On two ascents, at 56,ooo feet, -Io5? and -62? were registered. Pilot balloons showed an uppermost current blowing from nearly due wvest above the regular easterly current of the equatorial region. The lower strata, below the trades, were controlled by diurnal and seasonal winds, particularly by lake breezes, which generally prevailed up to 3,000-4,000 feet above the lake level. At Dares-Salaam, pilot balloons, one of which reached 66,ooo feet, went with the easterly trade as far up as 13,000 feet; it then returned to the east in a higher stratum of 26,000 to 33,000 feet, and then again to the west in the highest levels. R. DEC. W. RAINFALL OF WALES.-In the Geographical Journal for March, I909, a paper by G. B. Williams deals with the mean annual rainfall of Wales and Monmouthshire. The map, which accompanies the discussion, shows the distribution of the rainfall in greater detail than does any map hitherto published. The heaviest rainfall is in the portion of the Carnarvon Mountains with a radius of about two miles from the center of Snowdon. Here the average fall is over 150 inches a year. At Glaslyn, on the lee of the summit, and within the Snowdon crater, the mean rainfall is apparently nearly 200 inches. An area of about 170 square miles in these mountains has a rainfall of more than oo00 inches per annum. R. DEC. W. VARIOUS. At the recent meeting of the Association of American Geographers held in Baltimore in December last, it was voted to appoint a committee of five to consider the question of geography for secondary schools. Professor W. M. Davis, President of the Association for I909, has appointed the following as members of the committee and has requested Professor Davis then addressed the Society on "The Lessons of the Colorado Canyon." (An abstract of the lecture will appear in the Bulletin.) Stereoptican views were shown. On motion the Society adjourned.
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