National Geographic : 1904 Dec
GEOGRAPHIC CON offered by the government, better results than those hitherto produced should be expected. THE RELATIONS OF COMMERCE TO GEOGRAPHY BY O. P. AUSTIN The relations of commerce and geography have always been close and important. The earliest knowledge of geography was the re sult of explorations made in the interest of commerce, and this continued the case for many centuries. The commercial enterprises of the Phoenicians gave the earliest recorded geographical knowledge regarding the coun tries fronting upon the Mediterranean, and commercial explorations along the west of Europe and Africa contributed further geo graphical information. This was also true of the commercial explorations of the Greeks., while the contributions to geographical infor mation by the Romans were divided between their military and commercial conquests. Com merce was also the moving cause in the work of the Venetians, who thus contributed much information regarding the geography of the then known world It was commercial enter prise, the search for a route to India, which led to the discovery of America and the route to the Orient and Southern Africa. Later the great commercial companies which developed trade with America, India, and the Orient in turn gave to the world much definite and valuable geographical information. While in later years geographic research has been largely made in the interests of geography as a science, it has always been accompanied by an expansion of commerce. Thus commerce and geographical knowledge have always been cooperative, and to a great degree interde pendent, and this must be the relation of com merce and geography during the twentieth century. The section of the world in which they will be specifically called upon to operate and cooperate is that which is generally known as "the tropics." The area lying between the thirtieth parallels of north and south lati tudes contains one-half of the land area of the world and half its population; yet it now con tributes but one-sixth of that which enters into international commerce. The great com mercial and geographical work of the twen tieth century should and will be to make this great area contribute its proper share to the requirements of man-a task especially im portant in view of the rapidly increasing pop ulation of the world. Recent developments of science enable man to now overcome those natural obstacles which formerly prevented his subjugation of the tropics, and this natu rally most productive section of the earth, the GRESS ABSTRACTS 503 tropics, must now be peopled, developed, and required to supply its proper share of the re quirements of the world's rapidly increasing population. Already the temperate zone has come to rely upon the tropics for many of its requirements for food and manufacture, and this reliance is rapidly increasing. The tem perate-zone nations have within recent years assumed control of most of the tropical sec tions of the world, and will now apply their energy and scientific knowledge to the devel opment of that part of the world. In this work geography and commerce must cooper ate. The geographical information already in hand regarding the tropics will be required by commerce, and commerce in turn will supply to geographic science much information which it still lacks regarding this most important of the yet undeveloped sections of the world. THE SUBMARINE GREAT CANYON OF THE HUDSON RIVER BY J. W. SPENCER In the channel of the Hudson River, seen on the continental shelf, Prof. J. D . Dana first rec ognized the evidence of a late continental ele vation to 720 feet. In 1885 Prof A. Lindenkohl discovered that the channel at about Ioo miles from New York was transformed into a canyon reaching a depth of 2,844 feet beneath sea level, with an apparent barrier across it. In 1897 I pointed out that, although the evidence was scanty, the valley was traceable to 12,000 feet. I have now found the proof that at the apparent barrier is a narrow canyon, and 4 miles beyond and 31 from head of the gorge it reaches a depth of 4,800 feet, where the conti nental slope is submerged only ,ooo feet, mak ing a narrow gorge with precipitous walls, hav ing a depth of 3,800 feet At 48 miles from its head the valley is more than 2,000 feet deep, but at about 42 miles I place the location where the canyon form begins to pass into the valley stage, with a depth of between 6,000 and 7,000 feet below sea-level. The valley is further traceable to a depth of about 9,000 feet at 71 miles from the head of the canyon. In its gra dient there are two known great steps, and, further, the slope is supposed in part to be by steps. The deep channel, at about 6,000 feet, of the Connecticut River is also discovered. In its upper part the Hudsonian canyon makes two right-angled turns in the floor of the continen tal shelf. The conclusions are that the region stood 9,000 feet higher in the earlier Pleistocene than now, followed by a subsidence below the present, then reelevation to 250 feet, with sub sequent minor changes. This canyon becomes proof of the evidences of great changes of level found in the Antillean region.