National Geographic : 1901 Dec
434 THE NATIONAL GE the rocks. There is a region of blowing wells in southeastern Wisconsin, where the Calciferous beds of the Silurian rest on the coarse-grained St. Peter sand stone; another is reported in central New York, where impervious strata overlie the pervious Potsdam sandstone; still another occurs in England, where it received attention a few years ago in connection with water-supply inquiries; while sporadic examples are by no means uncommon elsewhere. Now it is evident that when the ba rometer is high in a region of caves or breathing wells, the subterranean cham bers or pervious beds will gradually fill with the slightly compressed air, and that the process of filling will be accom panied by inspiration, or in-blowing, through the open mouth; it is equally evident that with the subsequent fall of the barometer the imprisoned air will expand and force itself outward through the mouth of the cavern until the press ure within and without is brought into balance. Furthermore, it is evident that the air expanding in the throat of the orifice will abstract heat from surround ing substances, precisely as it does in the expansion chamber of an atmospheric ice machine, at a rate and to an amount varying with the pressure-difference; OGRAPHIC MAGAZINE and hence that (provided other condi tions be favorable) the moisture on adja cent surfaces may be congealed. In short, under favorable circumstances the breathing well or blowing cave may be come a natural ice machine, clumsy and inefficient, indeed, yet possibly making up in magnitude for its simplicity and the slightness of the pressure-differences within its reach. Of course it would seem at first sight that in each passage from low pressure to high and back again, as in the long run, the effects of the natural mechanism would balance i. e., that the heat given off in inspira tion would equal the chill of expiration, so that no refrigeration could ensue ; yet when the seasonal ranges of barometer and thermometer are considered, it would seem clear that the heating would tend to culminate in autumn and the chill in spring, in such wise as to sus tain the widespread popular opinion on the subject-i. e., that the period of ice melting runs into winter and that of ice forming into late spring and summer. In any event the discussion of glacieres and freezing wells cannot be regarded as closed until the related phenomena of blowing caves and breathing wells re ceive exhaustive study. W J McGEE WESTERN PROGRESS IN CHINA MINISTER CONGER has for warded the State Department a translation of the prelimi nary resolutions adopted by the recently organized Board of National Administra tion of China. The purpose of the Board is to institute reforms in China of a more moderate nature than the sweep ing reforms proposed in 1898 which brought on the Boxer troubles. " The things of the West are genu ine; those of the Chinese, for the most part, are shams. The speech of Western men is reliable; that of the Chinese largely false," say the Board, and in this spirit of Chinese modesty and humility the resolutions were written. The fol lowing extracts are taken from these curious resolutions to show the nature of progress thus far made :* " The first thing necessary is to mani fest resolution like an upright pillar; * The resolutions are published in full in the Consular Reports for October 28 (no. 1173).