Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/264

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the canals is evident from the fact that they never appear elsewhere. What exact purpose they serve is not so clear, but it would seem to be that of relay stations for the water before it enters the canals; what we see, upon this supposition, being, not the station or reservoir itself, but the specially fertile area round it.

That, in addition to being in a way oases themselves, they serve some such purpose as the above, is further hinted at by two facts: first, that whereas the oases develop, apparently, after the canals leading to them, the triangular spots develop before the canals that lead out of them; second, Mr. Douglass finds that it is in them that the canals in the dark regions terminate. They are the end of the one system at the same time that they are the beginning of the other. They would, therefore, seem to be way-stations of some sort on the road taken by the water from the polar cap to the equator.

Paralleling in appearance the oases in the bright regions are round spots that occur at the junctions of the canals in the dark ones. Speaking figuratively, these are the heads of the nails in the coffin of the idea that the seas are seas; since, if the blue-green color came from water, there could not be permanent darker dots upon it connected by equally dark streaks. Speaking unfiguratively, this shows that the whole system of canals and specially fertilized spots is not