Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/575

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557
HOW THE EARTH WAS EXPLORED IN 1876.

is characterized by great plateaus bounded by lines of cliffs from 1,000 to 2,000 feet in height, varying from 20 to 200 miles in length, the whole intersected with a network of deep and narrow cañons, presenting nearly impassable barriers. Of one section of about 7,000 square miles, only about one per cent. is available for agriculture; about five per cent. is covered by pine and spruce, the remainder being a desert waste. There are large quantities of excellent coal, but no precious metals were discovered. The average elevation of this region is about 7,000 feet. Another section in Southwestern Utah and Southeastern Nevada of about 4,000 square miles was found one of the most barren regions of the whole Great Basin. It is marked by ranges rising to 9,000 feet, with broad desert valleys between. Little timber-land or land fit for cultivation was found, the pasturage being of the poorest quality. The climate is milder than that of Eastern Utah, and very dry, the annual rainfall not exceeding four inches. "There is no coal in this region, but it is known to contain large amounts of silver. The well-developed mining district of Pioche was within the region examined, and also a newly-organized district at Leeds, on the Virgin River, Utah, where silver, instead of occurring in veins, is disseminated in the form of horn-silver, through a stratum of sandstone belonging to the Jura Trias. Between 4,000 and 5,000 men have gathered at this last-named district (Leeds) within the past few months."

Extensive collections have been made illustrative of the arts and industries of the Indian tribes, embracing totemic carvings, stone implements, clothing, ornaments, furniture, and manufactures, of the Pueblo race; heraldic columns from Vancouver's Island, of painted wood from 25 to 40 feet high, erected in front of their dwellings, which are communal, holding from 100 to 300 people. These houses are made from slabs rived out of great tree-trunks with wooden wedges and stone mallets. Canoes were obtained 60 feet in length, dug from single logs; many tons of ancient stone implements, said to surpass in beauty of finish any aboriginal remains of like nature hitherto discovered, together with pottery, have been forwarded to the Smithsonian Institution from Southern California. The United States Signal Service Corps "is making rapid advances toward a complete knowledge of the conditions and causes of the American climate. They have nearly completed the most extensive collection of altitudes of places in North America which has ever been gathered. The list includes several thousand profiles, representing almost every railroad and canal. From this and other data they are making a relief model of North America on a large scale. A telegraph-line has been built by them from Central Texas across the Llano Estacado, that dreaded waterless desert, and one across the high and arid plateaus and ranges of Southern New Mexico and Arizona to San Diego, on the Pacific. This gives an unbroken line from Savannah along the southern border of the United States, stretching from ocean to ocean. Thirty