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THE deposit of salt at Salton is one of the sights of California. It lies in a depression almost 300 feet below the sea-level, and was at some time in the past the bed of the sea or extension of the Gulf of California. From the train, which passes near by, the tract looks like a vast snow field, and in the early morning is frequently the scene of beautiful mirage effects. The salt deposit, which is essentially rock-salt, covers about 1,000 acres, and is at present the center of interest on account of the dispute of rival companies over the possession of the property. The company in possession has shipped from this place annually about 2,000 tons of salt, valued at from $6 to $34 per ton. The outfit of the salt mine consists mainly of a crusher, a drying building, and a dummy line from the salt beds to the Southern Pacific Railroad, not far distant.

The work is carried on chiefly by Indians, who can withstand the intense heat of the desert-150° in June-and the glare better than white men. The work is interesting and novel. The drying house is a building 600 feet in length, about which hundreds of thousands of tons of salt are heaped, having all the appearance of snow. Here the salt is dried and milled.

The salt is collected at first with a plow-a singular machine with four wheels, in the center of which sits an Indian guiding it; the motive power is a dummy engine some distance away,

† See the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, vol. xi, no. 9, p. 340 et seq.

which hauls the plow along by cables. As it passes, the steel breaker is seen to cut a broad but shallow furrow, eight feet wide and three feet long, throwing up the ridges on either side. Indians now follow along, and with hoes pile up the salt in pyramidal forms, which later is transported to the mill. Each plow harvests 700 tons of salt per day. A singular feature of this bed is that the salt is being deposited daily by springs which run into the basin, and as the water evaporates it leaves a crust of almost pure chloride of sodium, which ranges from 10 to 20 inches in thickness, over the lake. It will be seen that there is no danger of exhausting the supply, which is forming all the time; and, in point of fact, the plows have in the past years worked almost continuously over the same area, only about 10 acres having been plowed.

The salt, when delivered at the plant, is hoisted to the upper floor and placed in a bulkhead breaker, where it is reduced to particles of the same size. It then passes through a burr mill and is well ground After this it is sifted and is finally passed through an aspirator, which cleanses it of all foreign material, when it is ready for packing in bags. The salt is used for a variety of purposes, and is of several different grades, the lowest being unrefined-a product called hide salt, used in manufactories. Large quantities are sold for sea-bathing purposes, a certain amount producing a very similar chemical equivalent to sea water. Other grades are prepared for the table, dairy, and for the use of druggists.

*From the Scientific American.


Piles of Salt at Salton-280 feet below the level of the ocean





T will be remembered that Dr. Hedin traveled down the Yarkand and Tarim Rivers to the Lob Nor region (1899-1900), in which he made many excursions of the greatest value to geographical science; but what delighted him most was the very important discovery he made of an ancient lake bed which strongly confirmed the theory he advanced after his first journey in Central Asia, that the ancient Lob Nor Lake was not identical with the lake which commonly bears that name at the present day. Writing from Tiumen (Temirlik), at the end of October, 1900, Dr. Hedin announced his intention of making two more journeys before he set out on the long march home, one among the mountains to the west of Temirlik, the other to the ancient lake bed he had discovered and the Kara-Koshun Lake, which he identified with Prjevalsky's Lob Nor. It is with these two expeditions that his latest letters deal.

Starting on the first journey, to the great or westerly Kum-Kul, early in November, Dr. Sven Hedin crossed and measured these mountains on three lines. He passed through absolutely unknown country, but the excursion was a comparatively short one, lasting only a month, and by December 12 he was ready for the more important march. On this he had with him nine men and eleven camels and ten horses. Khanambal was the first point for which he made, and this he reached by a rather difficult mountain road, lying to the south of Littledale's road, which was struck at Khan-ambal. After making a circular march to Sirting, round the magnificent Anambar-ula and back to Khan-ambal, Dr. Sven Hedin proceeded across the desert straight to the north,

and passed through the mountainous region which constitutes the western continuation of the Kurruk Tagh.

was able to map the whole of his route from Temirlik, and found that the existing maps were quite incorrect.

During the latter part of the march. the little company of travelers had a very trying experience. For twelve long and arduous days, during which they pushed forward as rapidly as possible and covered, in spite of the slow rate of traveling necessitated by the careful observations which Dr. Sven Hedin was continually taking, about twenty miles a day, not a drop of water was found. Fortunately, on the third day the travelers came across some snow, and this just enabled the camels to last out until water was reached; otherwise they must inevitably have succumbed. After this Dr. Hedin, with the aid of the map he had compiled in March, 1900, when he made his great discovery in connection with the Lob Nor problem, was able to find Altimishbuluk quite easily, and from there to proceed with all his caravan to the ruins on the northern shore of the ancient lake bed. The camels were heavily laden with ice, and after they had been sent back to the "bulak," Dr. Hedin was able to stay among the ruins for a week. During this time he was busily engaged compiling maps and plans, taking photographs, gathering together collections of various kinds, and making excavations among the ruins. The discoveries he made were both numerous and important, but he thinks that perhaps his most curious "find" was some twelve complete letters written on paper in Chinese. They were in a marvelous state of preservation, every sign being perfectly distinct and legible.

*From The London Times.

Among other curiosities that Dr. Sven Hedin will bring home are thirty little pieces of wood, which, so far as he can judge at present, must have been used as some kind of ticket. Each one has inscribed on it the name of some emperor, the year of his reign, the month, and even the very day. A "siah" who has read some of them tells Dr. Hedin that they are 800 years old, but the latter feels that he cannot form a definite opinion until he has had them translated on his return.

Among the ruins Dr. Hedin found a beautiful Buddhist temple, in which he saw some most artistic wood-carving. One of the representations was a large fish, and in this connection he mentions that one house contained a number of fish bones which were evidently the remains of fish exactly similar to those found today in the Kara-Koshun Lake to the south. These facts Dr. Sven Hedin considers important as strengthening his claim to have found a lake bed which was actually filled not so many years ago, and which is the true site of the Lob Nor of the ancients. In the temple Dr. Hedin further found a Buddha, carved in wood; and he also mentions as one of his "finds" a piece of wood which he describes as being about half the size of the sheet of notepaper he was writing on, on which there was writing in Tibetan characters. In one of the Chinese letters, to which reference has already been made, the place is called Lo-län, and there is also mention of the great road which it will be remembered Dr. Sven Hedin found running along the northern shore of the lake bed, which is said to join Lo-län to Sa-dscheo. Dr. Hedin brought away with him specimens of the various kinds of wood-carving, and students in Europe will eagerly await the sight of these as well as of the photographs of the ruins which Dr. Hedin had developed just before writing and of which he speaks in the most enthusiastic terms.

Of the full importance of his discoveries among the ruins it is, he says, impossible to give at present any adequate idea, but he states that he has gathered together materials for a bulky volume on the Lob Nor problem alone. He is particularly pleased that, on leaving the ruins, he was able to take observations which have enabled him to draw the

leveling" line between the northern shore of the ancient lake bed and the northern shore of Lake Kara-Koshun, or, in other words, to ascertain the variations in level between these two points. These observations, he is convinced, have afforded him the best argument he could possibly have to show that he has found the true solution of the Lob Nor problem. He found that the ruins on the northern shore of the ancient lake bed were situated at a level 2,272 meters higher than that of the surface of Lake Kara-Koshun, but that the lowest point of the lake bed lay about as much below the same surface. Between the lake bed and the lake the desert rises to a point somewhat higher than the ruins. Dr. Sven Hedin states that his observations will enable him to determine not only the surface dimensions of the old lake bed, but also the lines of depth. It has just been mentioned that the lower half of the ancient lake bed is lower than the surface of the KaraKoshun Lake, and Dr. Hedin reports that the water in the latter is now finding a passage to the old basin. When Dr. Hedin was making his explorations in this part the waters of the present lake were spreading north so rapidly that it was unsafe for the travelers to camp on the shore.

At the date of the letter in which he described these interesting researches (April 23 of this year), Dr. Sven Hedin was at Chaklik, which he had reached only a few days earlier. He was greatly surprised to learn from the letters he found awaiting him about the troubles in China (he himself had been traveling

in a portion of the Chinese Empire!), and somewhat amused at the warnings addressed to him by King Oscar, the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, and numerous other friends, to the effect that he should be careful not to expose himself to the cruelty of the Chinese, while he laughed at the idea that he might be compelled to leave his work unfinished and return to Europe at once.

In Chaklik, he says, though it is a town in the middle of the Celestial Empire, there are only fifteen Chinese, and these were mortally afraid of him and his Russian escort of four Cossacks. They did everything he commanded, procuring camels, horses, and provisions for him without delay and otherwise carrying out his behests with the greatest promptitude. Dr. Sven Hedin's next line of march will be through Tibet, and there, of course, as he remarks, there are no Chinese.

Looking back over his work from Chaklik, Dr. Sven Hedin is fully satisfied with the results he has obtained. He has followed a different plan of work from that which he pursued on his first expedition, in 1893-'97. Then he not only took observations and made notes, but also worked at the books he intended to publish on his return. this expedition he has done nothing of the latter kind of work, but has left it all to be done when he reaches home. He had already, when writing, compiled 726 sheets of maps, 150 of them large sheets.


He calculates that he has more than twice the cartographical material he accumulated on his last expedition, and hopes to be able to publish it in a large atlas of some 60 or 70 maps on a scale which will permit of the details being


shown. The scientific results of all his geographical, geological, and hydrographical studies he proposes to publish in two large volumes of 500 pages each, which will form a text to the atlas. Hedin has such a wealth of material to draw upon that he will find it very difficult to compress the popular narrative which he hopes to publish into two moderate volumes. He hopes, however, to do so.

As to his future plans, Dr. Hedin does not now think that he will reach Europe this year. Europe this year. When writing last he proposed to spend some eight or ten days at Chaklik, and then, having prepared his caravan very carefully for the last stage of his great journey, to cross Tibet diagonally from Temirlik to the sources of the Indus, passing, if possible, a little to the north of Lake ManaSarowar. As he travels slowly and maps carefully, Dr. Sven Hedin expects that this march will occupy the rest of this year. If it can be arranged, he would like to visit Lord Curzon in Calcutta; then, returning to his caravan, proceed as quickly as possible to Kashgar via Ladak. He intended to send all his collections and unnecessary luggage-fifteen horses' load - direct to Kashgar from Chaklik. From Kashgar, Dr. Hedin does not feel that he could return direct to Europe on account of his Cossacks, who have rendered him invaluable services, and to whom he has become quite attached. These he feels bound to leave in none but a Russian town. Altogether, therefore, it will be about a year from the date of his last letters before European geographers can receive Dr. Sven Hedin with the welcome which he has so well earned.

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