National Geographic : 1893 Jul 10
Improbability of the Positive Evidence. 83 Osborn's McClure Discovery of the Northwest Passage, London, 1856.* McDougall's Eventful Voyage of H. M. S. Resolute, London, 1857. Brown's Northwest Passage, 2d edition, London, 1860, which contains a map by Arrowsmith, 1858. It thus appears that the " Plover " land is a myth, Mr Baker agreeing with me on this point. The Keenan land lies, however, somewhat east of the myth ical land already disposed of, being indefinitely located between Harrison and Camden bay, north of the 72d parallel. The uncertainty of position of whalers is well known, as no care is given to longitude or other astronomical observations. Since definite data are lacking, the subject can be approached from another standpoint, that of the depths of the adjacent seas. It will be recalled by those familiar with the Arctic ocean to the north of Bering strait region that it is a very shallow sea. In one direction only does it deepen, and, unfortunately for Keenan island, it is in that particular quarter. In my opinion, the great improbability of land in the region mentioned appears from an examination of the soundings of the sea from the northwest to east of point Barrow, which are as follows, the position being approximate: 172° W. longitude, 73° 5' N. latitude, 78 fathoms; 159° W., 72° 6' N., 133 x (x indicates no bottom); 155° W., 72° N., 145 x; 140° W., 700 5' N., 190 x; 1390 W., 700 3' N., 145 x; 126° W., 700 5' N., 110, and 124° W., 74° 5' N. (on the very coast of Banks land), 45 fathoms. The above observations show that the parts of the Arctic ocean passed over and most nearly adjacent gradually and in terruptedly increase in depth from the west, from the south and southeast toward the reported land, attaining in its neighborhood the greatest known depth of water to the northward of Bering strait. That this condition of depth is not strictly local but ex tends uninterruptedly northward is proved conclusively by the very heavy ice met with by Collinson and McClure between point Barrow and Banks land, which ran upward of 200 feet in thickness. As this thick ice is unquestionably of land origin, from an ice-capped country of considerable extent, there must be deep water for its transition. It is possible, but not probable, that the southern edge of this land lies so close to arctic America. * This omission is striking, inasmuch as Osborn inserted it in his " Stray Leaves from an Arctic Journal," 1852. 12-NAT. GEOG. MAG., VOL. V, 1893.
1894 Jan 31
1893 May 05