downward with frightful velocity. He tried to arouse Sivel and Crocé, but they were immovable; Slvel's face was black, his eyes dull, mouth wide open and full of blood. Crocé's eyes were closed, and his mouth blood-stained also. Having come down to the earth, Tissandier dropped the grapnel, but it failed to hold firmly, and the car was dragged across the fields by a violent wind. He succeeded, however, in grasping the cord of the valve, and the balloon was soon emptied. Crocé-Spinelli and Sivel were dead. Tissandier was in a high fever, but he was kindly cared for by the inhabitants of the village of Ceron, in the vicinity of which he landed, after having been in the air over three hours.
The disaster attending this memorable ascent has delayed the publication of the scientific results of the voyage. These, however, are understood to be of high importance, and we will present them to our readers at an early day. The greatest altitude observed by M. Tissandier was not very remarkable, when compared with Glaisher and Coxwell's highest in 1862. These aëronauts reached the enormous altitude of 37,000 feet, which is more than 10,000 feet in excess of Tissandier's 8,000 metres. But, while Tissandier lay insensible, the Zenith may have attained still greater elevations; this question will be decided by the records of the self-registering barometers, which were sent to the French Academy under seal.
Cave Explorations.—A number of caves containing the remains of animals were recently discovered in Worcestershire, England, on the banks of the river Wye. At a meeting of the county Scientific Society the president described a visit made by him to these caves, in company with Dr. Carpenter. Three of the caves only were visited. In one were found three human skulls, with coins and ornaments belonging to the Roman period. The soil in which these objects were buried having been removed, the explorers found a layer of solid stone, so thick and hard that it had to be blasted with gunpowder. Under this layer were found bones belonging to a single animal Ursus spelæus. Another layer of stone was then Likewise removed by blasting, and the explorers found fossil bones of sundry extinct species, viz., the remains of a mammoth, in a state of wonderful preservation; all the bones of a rhinoceros; the débris of cave-lions, cave-bears, and also of several hyenas. The Worcestershire Scientific Society intends to acquire possession of one of the caves.
Origin and Distribution of Ammonia in the Air.—In a communication to the French Academy of Sciences, Schlösing states as follows the results of his researches on the origin of the ammonia diffused on the surface of the soil, its circulation, its variations in the atmosphere, and its distribution between the sea, the continents, and the air. It is a well-known fact that, in the course of the transformations of organic matter, a certain amount of nitrogen is set free; also that this gaseous nitrogen is not assimilable by organisms. Hence the necessity of some agency which shall take this free nitrogen and cause it to reenter into combination. The author, after criticising the various opinions put forth on this subject, assents to the theory of Boussingault, who holds that, under the influence of atmospheric electricity, nitric acid is produced in the air. Further, he says that the surface of the continents is essentially an oxidizing medium; that nitrification is there abundantly developed; and that a portion of the nitrates thus formed enters again into the cycle of life, while the rest is carried into the sea. Experience also shows that if the decomposition of organisms produces nitre on the continents, it produces ammonia in a medium so little oxidized as is the sea. Hence the author recognizes on the surface of the globe a regular circulation of nitric acid and of ammonia, taking place in this way, viz., nitrous production in the air, nitrous gains from the air to the continents, transfer of nitrates to the sea, formation of ammonia in the saline medium; finally, disengagement and passage of the alkali into the air, to be given back again to the continents.
Mortuary Statistics of Virginian Cities.—The following mortuary statistics, taken from the official reports of three Virginian cities, would seem to show that the African race is declining in the Southern States: