National Geographic : 1896 Oct
ICE-CLIFFS ON THE KO WAK RIVER undermining the cliffs. Both of these destructive agents caused great masses of soil and tree-laden ice to become detached and fall into the stream. Where the retreating waters of spring had left these masses of detached ice stranded on the adjacent beaches or bars, piles of soft dust almost entirely free from any gritty substance would be left as a monument to mark the spot where the ice had been melted by the summer sun. These small dust heaps are a characteristic feature of the region where the ice cliffs are found and are entirely different in appearance from the gravel and sand heaps deposited in the same way by ice floated down from the upper river. An examination of the tops of the ice-cliffs was very difficult on account of the dense undergrowth and the thick carpet of moss, but on one we discovered a lake about a mile in diameter and situated some 500 yards from the face of the cliff. The water in this lake was fresh and clear, but upon being disturbed became exceedingly turbid, owing to the presence of a large quantity of fine, decayed vegetable matter on the bottom. A piece of the ice melted showed a residuum of fine, impalpable dust, which under a lens proved to be composed mainly of vegetable matter and, while fresh, emitted a very pungent, disagreeable odor. The country in this region is mostly rolling tundra plains, with innumerable small lakes and streams, all of which are tribu tary to the larger river. There is no evidence of glacial action whatever, and it is not until the first mountain range is reached, a hundred miles further upstream, that any rocks in situ are seen. Here and further inland more plainly are to be found beds of trap, which an examination shows to be a pronounced olivine diabase, with such minerals as hornblende, mica, feldspar, augite, etc, present. Other rock forms show unmistakable evidence of the eruptive agencies that have been at work in the formation of the upper river region. The formation of the remarkable ice cliffs in the lower country is, however, a geological nut which the writer admits his inability to crack. GENERAL A. W. GREELY discusses the Nansen Polar Expedi tion at considerable length in Harper's Weekly of September 19, eulogizing Dr Nansen's courage and self-reliance, but taking strong exception to his leaving the Fram.