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by them Bulshaia-i. e., Big. The first American to see and publish an account of it was a prospector named W. A. Dickey, who gave the mountain its present name.


The writer made the only measurements of height ever obtained of this mountain, in the summer of 1898, while exploring the Shushitna River with a party from the U. S. Geological Survey. For this purpose a stadia line was run up the river, measuring elevations as well as directions with a transit instrument reading to minutes. From points

on this line six angles for location and elevation were obtained upon the moun

*N. Y. Sun, January 4, 1897, p. 6. Dickey estimated the height at over 20,000 feet."

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N June 30, 1900, there were 12,589 miles of railroad in operation in Australia, almost all owned and worked by the government. These lines hardly more than skirt the eastern, southern, and western shores of the island continent, and their entire length is small in proportion to its 2,946,358 square miles of territory. Nevertheless this railway development is remarkable when one remembers that the population is hardly more than four and a half millions, and that the country was so recently approached by colonists. Four of the provinces-New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland-are connected by rail with one anotherthat is, one can make a circuitous tour, skirting the shore, from Longreach, in Queensland, to Oodnadarta, in South Australia; but on arrival at the latter settlement he is still about a thousand miles distant from the nearest railway station in Westralia. The latter prov

ince is thus entirely isolated from the rest of the Commonwealth.

One of the most important projects now under the consideration of the federal government aims at bringing these separated regions into communication by rail. Sir John Forrest, Federal Postmaster General and Premier of Westralia, has worked out a scheme which provides for a railway, over a thousand miles long, from Port Augusta, the western terminus of the South Australian system, to Kalgoorlie, in the Westralian gold-fields. This line would run along the edge of the Great Australian bight and traverse a region that thus far has been hardly visited except by explorers. The cost is estimated at about $12,500,ooo. This plan will probably be adopted by the Australian Government. The country to be traversed is reported to be generally level, requiring few tunnels or bridges. The arguments for the Trans-Australian Railway are partly sentimental, as a means to bind a future empire together. None the less is

it true that it would exert enormous infuence in opening unknown regions to enterprise and would become a mighty. instrument in advancing the financial prosperity of the Commonwealth.

A practical obstacle to railway communication between the provinces, or states as we must now call them, is found in the different gauges employed. Queensland, South Australia, and Westralia use a 3 feet 6 inches gauge, Victoria a 5 feet 3 inches gauge, and New South Wales alone the standard gauge of 4 feet 81⁄2 inches. Without doubt the new system will conform to the standard.



N interesting publication of the Department of Hydrography of the U. S. Geological Survey on the Profiles of Rivers in the United States has just been published and is now available for distribution. Mr. Gannett, the author, has embodied within a hundred pages the leading facts relating to about one hundred and fifty of the most important rivers and streams of the country, noting their length, drainage area, the location of water-power in their courses, their peculiarities of flow, and the nature of their drainage basins.


The rivers selected are those which are the largest in size and bear most directly upon the varied interests of the country, such as the Connecticut, Hudson, Susquehanna, Ohio, Potomac, Mississippi, Missouri, Platte, Colorado, Sacramento, Columbia, and others. figures for the tables, showing height above sea-level and fall per mile, were collected from various sources. Some were obtained from the report of the Chief Engineer of the U. S. Army, some from railroad companies when their lines cross the streams, and some from the atlas sheets of the U. S. Geological Survey.

In the case of such rivers as the Connecticut, Susquehanna, Mississippi, and

Colorado, where the surrounding country is of peculiar physiographic interest, very excellent and vivid descriptions of the leading physical characteristics are given which add to the interest and render it valuable from an educational standpoint in geographic and physiographic instruction. The pamphlet is the result of much careful work, and is the first attempt to collect and compile this information.


T is more than fifty years that the project of draining the Zuider Zee has been under contemplation by the Dutch government and people. The scheme proposed would restore to cultivation and habitation a tract of land coinprising about 490,000 acres. This land was submerged in the terrible storms of the ninth and twelfth centuries, and has since been lying at an average depth of 10 feet below the surface of the sea. It is reckoned that the cost of this restoration would be something like $50,000,000, but that the value of the reclaimed land would repay the cost at least three times over.

At present the Zuider Zee is too shallow for navigation, and its shores are constantly inundated and hardly better than swamps. It is proposed to construct a dike, 28 miles in length, from Enkhuizen to the River Yssel, and by steam pumps to remove the water south of this dike. Through the reclaimed area canals are to be made, with railroads along their banks. Thus distances would be shortened-Friesland and North Holland, for example, being 30 miles nearer by railway than at present.

A new province, to be called Wilhelminaland, would be added to the Netherlands, and the territory of the little kingdom would be increased one-sixteenth. Various modifications have recently been proposed in the comprehensive plan sub

mitted by the Dutch engineers in 1870, and it is still an open question whether the entire project will be undertaken, and if so, when. The time requisite for completion of the drainage is estimated by different experts as from twelve to thirty-six years.



N a brief paragraph one can hardly do more than hint at the remarkable work accomplished by M. de Morgan, head of the French expedition, in his investigations at the ancient site of the Persian city Susa. One must read his first report, just published by the French government. He found traces of five successive settlements on the same site : First, remains of a Græco-Parthian settlement dating from the third century B. C.; under these, remains of two successive Persian settlements; then the settlement coeval with Nebuchadnezzar, and, lowest of all, vestiges of the city destroyed by the Assyrians 2000 years. before Christ.

In each layer of habitation important. discoveries were made whereby the world's knowledge is greatly increased. For example, in the record chamber was found an inscription giving complete details as to the corvée system in Babylonia.

Other still more ancient inscriptions conveying a mass of information were unearthed in the same chamber. Specially to be noted is a finely carved stele of Naramsin, son of Sargon, going back to about 3900 B. C. M. de Morgan is at present engaged in working up the vast amount of material he has laid bare. His first report can be considered only as introductory to the volumes in course of preparation. What he has already done marks an epoch in oriental archæology.

Paul du Chaillu is on his way to Russia, where he will live for three or four

years studying the great Slav Empire and its people. Mr. du Chaillu believes that Russia is entirely misunderstood in America. It is his aim to see personally the problems that confront this expanding race, and to learn the motives and ambitions that animate them. He will study and live among all classes and in all parts of the empire, from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok. Probably no American traveler since the days of George Kennan has had such liberty of action as Mr. du Chaillu will enjoy.

The United States Consular List furnishes some interesting information concerning the tenure of office of our Diplomatic Corps and Consular Service. Out of 276 persons employed in these services it appears that 190, or 69 per cent, have served for five years or more; that 37 per cent have served for ten years or more, and that 14 per cent have served for 20 years or more. Three persons have served for 27 years each, two persons 28 years, and one person each 29, 30, 32, 37, and 48 years. The average term of service of persons in the United States Consular and Diplomatic Service abroad has been 9.4 years. From the above figures it would seem that the charge that our Consular and Diplomatic Service is wanting in experience is scarcely sustained.

New French Ocean Cables. With the desire to make French trade independent of the British cable service, the French Ministry of Commerce and Posts has lately completed the laying of two new cables. The first is from Oran, in western Algeria, to a port in Morocco. The other is from Hué, in Annam, to Amoy, in the Chinese province of Fukien, opposite Formosa. From Amoy messages from and to French Indo-China will be carried over the Chinese land lines and the RussianSiberian wires. Thus the French Gov

ernment will have direct communication with its representatives without the use of foreign cables. A line to Madagascar, in conjunction with the German-Dutch cable to German East African colony, and a cable from Madagascar to Lorenzo Marques are also projected.

Massacre of Dr. James Chalmers.-A dispatch from Sidney, New South Wales, announces the massacre of the Rev. Dr. James Chalmers and a party of white men by the cannibals on the Fly River, New Guinea. For more than twenty years Dr. Chalmers has labored among the natives of this large island, both as teacher and explorer. It is owing mainly to his exertions that New Guinea is so well known today. He explored the Alps of New Guinea, that range of mountains extending for 200 miles parallel to the southern coast and reaching an altitude of from 10,000 to 12,000 feet. He was also one of the founders of Fort Moresby, the present capital of British New Guinea. The Fly River, where he met his death, was explored for hundreds of miles by this intrepid explorer.

The U. S. Board on Geographic Names has published a special report containing a list showing the approved spelling of about 4,000 coastwise names in the Philippine archipelago. There has hitherto been much difficulty with the names, inasmuch as existing charts, books, maps, and publications all disagreed. Spanish charts contained either all Spanish names or Spanish names and also Malay names written according to Spanish methods. On English charts the spelling of some of the Malay names had been altered to conform to English and American methods of writing native names, and naturally

numerous errors and great confusion had arisen. The U. S. Board on Geographic Names, when appealed to for advice, after due consideration, recommended that the names in current use and their spelling, as shown on the best Spanish official maps and charts, should be followed. The Hydrographic Office, pursuant to this advice, under the direction of Capt. C. C. Todd, U. S. N., prepared, chiefly from Spanish official charts, the list of names which are included in this special report of the Board. It is interesting to note that the names were approved by Father José Algué, of Manila, the highest authority in the Philippine Islands.

Remeasurement of the Arc of Quito.A large party of French scientists have landed in Peru to begin the remeasurement of the arc of Quito, first measured 160 years ago by Bouguer, La Condamine, and Godin, of the French Academy of Sciences. As great improvements have since been made in the method and instruments for geodetic work, arcs of the earth can now be measured with an almost inappreciable error, and it will be interesting to note how closely the remeasurement will follow the first.

In 1899 the French Government dispatched a reconnaissance party, in command of Captains Maurain and Lacombe, to make a general survey of the country and to submit a plan of organization. They spent several months in 1899 in Peru, and on their return recommended that the arc be prolonged in both directions. Their plan has been adopted, and the party that has recently landed in Peru will work four or five years there carrying it out. The arc will extend over 7 degrees, or about 430 miles.






N history a vast literature exists on southwestern Asia, the one region

of the world's surface whose written record is oldest, most continuous, and most full. The physical features of the region have had a discussion less full, but almost as long. In southwestern Asia the arc of the celestial sphere was first applied to the measurement of the earth's surface. There first the sign, the hour, the degree, the minute, and the second were devised. There the earliest maps were made. There the first geographical record was inscribed. Our entire knowledge of the earlier distribution of man upon the earth and of the condition in which he found its earlier physical features, when his conscious life first woke to their impression, influence, and effect, rests upon the records of clay, in stone, and on papyrus of the river valleys of southwestern Asia and its linked regions. I propose, however, to consider alone neither the history nor the physical conditions of this tract, but to endeavor to show the interrelation between the two, the causes which have made this part of the earth's surface pro

lific in history, the guiding principle which in every age has determined the course of these annals, and the fashion in which in our own time a problem which began at the very dawn of human annals is receiving its final solution.


In dealing with any continent it is well for us to orient ourselves by considering in their simplest relation its area and coast-line. If the area of each of the continents be represented by a circle which gives its relative extent contained in the smallest possible form, and outside of this we draw another circle, giving the length of the sides of its extremely irregular reëntrant polygon,' we have presented to us graphically the relative access which the continents enjoy from the sea-an access which constitutes the great source of perturbing influence, so far as the inhabitants of each continent are concerned. If this ratio

Development of Continental Coast Lines Relative to Area, Geog. Univ., Reclus, E., Europe.

*A lecture delivered before the National Geographic Society March 5, 1901.

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