Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 68.djvu/58

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54

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

While a decade ago only a few facts about the geology of the coast province was known, it has been possible now to prepare a preliminary map of the geologic features of over half the territory. The stratigraphic studies are of still greater interest, for they have shown the presence of many horizons in northwestern America that were previously unsuspected.

The economic results have been touched upon in the previous pages. The proof of their comprehensiveness lies in the fact that there is not a single mining district in Alaska which has not been reported upon. An inquiry in regard to the mineral resources of any part of Alaska, coming to the office of the survey, is now met with a printed report containing the latest and most authentic information.

While much has been accomplished, much remains to be done. Over half the territory has not been covered by even reconnaissance maps. Even these will not suffice in regions of important mineral production, where often hundreds of thousands of dollars are being invested, and detailed surveys, comparable to those made in the states, are demanded. Railways are in construction, involving expenditures of millions of dollars, and, though these are being built without any direct governmental aid, such as is being extended in the Philippines, the capitalists who are financing them have a right to expect that the government will at least explore routes and furnish reliable information regarding the resources of the region to be traversed. It was this liberal policy which hurried the construction of the transcontinental lines a generation ago. There are parts of the territory which have considerable prospective agricultural value, and their settlement will be hastened, if their topography and resources are made known. Roads must be constructed, and this can only be properly done on the basis of a full knowledge of the geology and topography.

In its relation to the federal government, Alaska differs from any other possession of the United States. Though heavily taxed, the 30,000 white residents have no voice in the making of their laws. Porto Ricans and Hawaiians have territorial government, the Filipinos have their commission, but Alaska must depend entirely on the benevolent paternalism of a legislative body 5,000 miles away. In this northland there are thousands who have been struggling with adverse conditions to open up a new land, who have thereby benefited the whole country. These people have a right to expect that the people of the United States will come to their aid in the development of Alaska.