Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/81

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
73
ARCHITECTURAL FORMS IN NATURE.

mountaineer. Some of the shapes here are most peculiar. One which I call the Synagogue (Fig. 12), as no other name, so far as I know, has ever been applied, is representative. Its lines are strikingly like those of the temple of Khandaria in Khwahrao, Central India. It has a round main structure, showing several deep lines of horizontal molding, and is of a deep reddish-brown color. The "roof" is a light pinkish red, as I remember it, and rounds up to a central cupola of the lower color. Springing from the front is a beautiful minaret, carrying the darker color to the apex.

Though strange rock structures abound in all this region, it is in the specially arid portions that they are most common. The strata

PSM V54 D081 The synagogue.png
Fig. 12.—The Synagogue.

being unprotected by vegetation, the wearing away is more rapid, and follows more eccentric lines. The higher and drier a locality, there—provided there is some rainfall—will be found the most extraordinary rain carvings. The lack of abundant rain prevents the growth of vegetation and the altitude permits the rain torrents to carry loads of sand, and the more sand and velocity the greater the scouring. In some of these intermittent stream courses the sand and bowlders scoop out deep holes like huge pots—a variety, in fact, of the hole known in geology as "pothole" (Fig. 13). These are very deep and sometimes provide a thirsty traveler with a draught of clear water that has lingered from the last shower. In some places these "pockets" or "tanks" supply the only water to be had, and it is a glad sight when one sees a pocket before him. Each formation has its own peculiarities of erosion, or as Dutton aptly puts it, "its own school of natural architecture." Given, then, a particular formation exposed to the atmosphere, it can be foretold just what its natural architectural forms will be, whether domes, minarets, pinnacles, arches, towers, or what.