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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/294


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the School of Mines, chairman; Profess-
or Daniel S. Martin, of Rutgers Female
College, and Dr. N. L. Britton, of Columbia
College. This committee has organized, with
Dr. Britton as secretary and treasurer, and
is now ready to receive subscriptions, which
will be properly acknowledged. Checks
should be made payable to N. L. Britton,
treasurer, and post-office orders should be
drawn on Station H, New York city. The
committee estimates that from six to ten
thousand dollars will be required to erect
and engrave a shaft worthy the memory
of America's first naturalist, and, while
confident that this amount will be forth-
coming, desires to have interest taken in
the project by scientists in all departments
throughout the country.

 

The Hills and Valleys of Cincinnati.
Professor Joseph F. James, in a study of
the topography of Cincinnati, describes the
valley, with its two ancient parallel river-
terraces, in which the business part of the
city is built, as girt with a line of hills,
rising from three hundred and ninety-six
feet above low-water in the Ohio River, or
eight hundred and twenty-eight feet above
the sea, the height of Mount Adams, to four
hundred and sixty or eight hundred and
ninety-one feet, the height of Mount Au-
burn. The hills were originally rounded at
the top, but have been so marred by the de-
structive agencies of city "improvements,"
that they can hardly be recognized. There
still remain, however, the great drainage-
valleys, which have for ages carried the
water from the north, south into the Ohio
River, None of them, except Mill Creek,
which occupies part of the ancient channel
of the Ohio, are of any great extent, and
this is one fact tending to prove the former
insular character of the suburban parts of
Cincinnati. Four of these valleys are men-
tioned, besides Mill Creek. While they, with
their attendant heights, have added greatly
to the picturesqueness of the city, they have,
at the same time, been taken advantage of
in the building up of the suburbs. The
heights have been utilized for dwellings,
while the valleys between have proved in-
valuable for streets. The tracing of the
divide which separates the Ohio River drain-
age from that of Mill Creek, is an interesting study. It pursues a general northeast end column 1 begin column 2
and southwest direction, and can still be
followed in quite a definite manner for a
part of its course. In two cases instances
arc observed of two ravines heading up
close to one another on both the south and
north sides of the divide; and these lend
illustration to a remark that has been made
by Captain Button, that in mountainous
countries the ravines form a series of am-
phitheatres close to a narrow divide which
remains sharp in all stages of erosion. The
Rev, G. F. Wright, of Oberlin College, has
found that the southern foot of the conti-
nental glacier crossed the Ohio near Point
Pleasant, about twenty-five miles above the
city, and recrossed it at Aurora, Indiana,
blocking the course of the stream for about
fifty miles. Professor I. C. White has esti-
mated the height of this dam at six hun-
dred and forty-five feet above low-water in
the river. From the absence of any traces
of glacial drift upon the hills, the author
doubts if it could have been so high. Be-
sides enlarging upon the beauty of the situ-
ation of Cincinnati, which no man can ques-
tion. Professor James claims for it that,
situated on part of the oldest dry land (Cam-
brian) in the Western world, its site "can
boast of an antiquity which puts to shame
many more renowned cities," its rocks being
"hoary with the age of countless centuries,"
while the soil of New Orleans is "yet satu-
rated with its baptismal shower"; they were
gi-ay with moss when the Devonian site of
Louisville was deep under the ocean; when
the sub-carboniferous of St. Louis was as
yet scarcely even in process of formation;
and they vastly antedate the Rocky Mount-
ains and the Mississippi.

A Central Astronomieal Agency.—In a
paper on "The Extension of Astronomical
Research," Professor Edward C. Pickering,
of Harvard Observatory, calls attention to
the fact, that while the net results of astro-
nomical research have been of enormous
pecuniary value, in certain cases large sums
of money have been expended with little
or no useful return. Striking instances may
be mentioned of observatories without prop-
er instruments, large telescopes idle for want
of observers, and able astronomers unpro-
vided with means of doing useful work.