Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/101

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY

 

FEBRUARY, 1908




A VISIT TO THE HANGCHOW BORE
BY Dr. CHARLES KEYSER EDMUNDS

CANTON CHRISTIAN COLLEGE

I

Introductory

THE most striking thing, from a geographical point of view, which is to be seen along the China coast is the recurrent phenomenon which we are about to describe. The rugged coast line, the many bays, the chain of islands fringing the coast, the whole gamut of geological and geographical forms which one encounters in an intimate coastwise journey, are all very striking and grand, and yet they are static—passive, after all. Notable as they are, they are but silent witnesses of those restless and resistless forces which have brought them into being. But when one beholds the mighty Yangtse and attempts to form an estimate of the volume of silt carried seaward in the rush of its muddy waters, and tries to judge of its land-forming as well as its land-denuding powers, one stands in the presence of dynamic grandeur, which to our mind exceeds the passive greatness as of the "everlasting" yet silent hills. It is this appreciation of dynamic greatness which overwhelms an observer of the tidal bore as it sweeps in from Hangchow Bay and rushes past Haining, a solid wall of water from two and a half to three miles wide, perhaps ten, twelve or even twenty feet high, with a speed of ten to twenty miles an hour, according to the intensity of the tide. Imagine, if you can, one and three quarter millions of tons of water passing by you each minute, the rush to continue several tens of minutes, and you will have no difficulty in believing that this inrush of water makes itself felt still as a big wave at Hangchow, thirty miles farther inland, and even for some miles beyond.