Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/156

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and during all the time it was visible, by blue-green areas. These blue-green areas were strewn with several more or less bright regions, while below them came the great reddish-ochre stretches of the disk. Now, the blue-green areas have generally been considered to be seas, just as the reddish-ochre regions have been held to be land. That the latter are land there is very little doubt; not only land, but nothing but land,—land very pure and simple; that is, deserts. For they behave just as deserts should behave, that is, by not behaving at all; remaining, except for certain phenomena to be specified later, unchangeable.

With the so-called seas, however, the case is different. Several important facts conspire to throw grave doubt, and worse, upon their aquatic character. To begin with, they are of every grade of tint,—a very curious feature for seas to exhibit, unless they were everywhere but a few feet deep; which again is a most singular characteristic for seas that cover hundreds of thousands of square miles in extent,—seas, that is, as big as the Bay of Bengal. The Martian surface would have to be amazingly flat for this to be possible. We know it to be relatively flat, but to be as flat as all this would seem to pass the bounds of credible simplicity. Here also Professor W. H. Pickering’s polariscope investigations come in with