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mountainous ice existing, and ice mountains seem to have a suffiprobably constantly increasing in cient solution. the ocean, at a distance of between Loose icebergs, it has been obthree and four hundred miles from served, are but sparingly dissemi, any known land: indeed, it must nated in the Greenland Seas, but be so completely sheltered by the in Davis' Straits they abound in exterior drift or field ice in every astonishing profusion. Setting direction, that there seems every constantly towards the south, they facility afforded for its growth, are scattered abroad to an amazing that a sheltered bay in the land extent. The Banks of Newfoundcould supply.
land are occasionally crowded
with these wonderful productions On the growth of Icebergs formed on
of the frigid zone. They have the Sea.
been met with as far south as the
latitude of 40° N., a distance of at As the difference in the appear least 2100 miles from their source. ance of the ice of fields, and of that formed in places within our Icebergs numerous in the Antarctic observation, seems to require the
Zone. deposition of moisture from the atmosphere for explaining the
The indefatigable Captain Cook, phenomenon; so, the similarity when exploring the regions beyond of the ice of bergs with that of the antarctic circle, met with icefields, (whether generated in bays bergs on every course, in great of the land, or in regions nearer
abundance, as well as of vast size; the Pole), is a reason for admit- many, according to Forster, were ting the operation
one or two miles in extent, and causes in their production. If we
upwards of a hundred feet above can conceive, from the before, the water, and might be supposed mentioned process of the enlarge- to be sunk to ten times that depth. ment of fields by the addition of On the 26th of December 1773, the annually deposited humidity, they counted 186 icebergs from that a few years are sufficient for
the mast-head, whereof none were the production of considerable less than the hull of a ship. fields of ice, what must be the effect of fifty or sixty centuries Icebergs useful to the Whale- Fishers. affording an annual increase in un Icebergs, though often dangerdisturbed security ?
ous neighbours, occasionally prove If, therefore, we add to the useful auxiliaries to the whaleprecipitations from the atmo fishers. Their situation in sphere, the stores supplied by the smooth sea, is very little affected sea, and allow the combination of by the wind : under the strongest these two by the agency of an in- gale, they are not perceptibly tense frost, and conceive also a moved; but, on the contrary, have state of quiescence for the opera the appearance of advancing to tion of these causes, secured for windward, from every other deages, the question of the mode of scription of ice moving so rapidly production of the most enormous past them, on account of its find
ing less resistance from the water, for the purpose of placing a moorin proportion as its depth beneath ing anchor, have been known to the surface is diminished. From rend asunder and precipitate the the iceberg's firmness, it often careless seamen into the yawning affords a stable mooring to a ship chasm, whilst occasionally the in strong adverse winds, or when masses are hurled apart, and fall a state of rest is required for the in contrary directions with a properformance of the different ope- digious crush, burying boats and rations attendant on a successful men in one common ruin. The fishery. The fisher likewise avails awful effect produced by a solid himself of this quiescent property, mass many thousands of tons in when his ship is incommoded or weight, changing its situation rendered unmanageable by the ac with the velocity of a falling body, cumulation of drift-ice around, whereby its aspiring summit is in when his object is to gain a winda a moinent buried in the ocean, ward situation more open. He can be more easily imagined than gets under the lea of the iceberg, described! - the loose ice soon forces past If the blow with any edge-tool the berg,—the ship remains nearly on brittle ice does not sever the stationary,—and the wished-for mass, still it is often succeeded by effect seldom fails to result. Moor a crackling noise, proving the ing to lofty icebergs is attended mass to be ready to burst from the with considerable danger : being action of an internal expansion; sometimes finely balanced, they in this way, sometimes deep chasms are apt to be overturned ; and are formed, similar to those oc. whilst Hoating in a tide-way, curring in the Glaciers of the should their base be arrested by Alps. the ground, their detrusion neces It is common, when ships moor sarily follows, attended with a to icebergs, to lie as remote from thundering noise, and the crushing the danger as their ropes will alof every object they encounter in low, and yet accidents sometimes their descent: thus have vessels happen, though the ship ride at a been often staved, and sometimes distance of a hundred yards from wrecked, by the fall of their icy the ice. Thus, calves rising up mooring.
Men and boats are a with a velocity nearly equal to that weaker prey,--the vast
of the descent of a falling berg, alone occasioned by such events, at have produced destructive effects. once overwhelming every smaller In the year 1812, whilst the Thoobject, within a considerable dis- mas of Hull, Captain Taylor, lay tance of the rolling mountain.
moored to an iceberg in Davis'
Straits, a calf was detached from Fragility of Icebergs.
beneath, and rose with such tre
mendous force, that the keel of All pure ice becomes exceed. the ship was lifted even with the ingly fragile towards the close of water at the bow, whilst the stern the whale-fishing season, when was nearly immersed beneath the the temperate air thaws its surface. surface. Fortunately the ship was Bergs, on being struck by an axe, not materially damaged.
From the deep pools of water That the heavy packed or drift formed in the summer season on ice generally arises from the disthe depressed surface of some ruption of fields. bergs, the ships navigating where II. Icebergs.—That some ice they abound are presented with mountains or icebergs are derived opportunities for watering with from the icebergs generated on the greatest ease and dispatch. the land between the mountains For this purpose, casks are landed of the sea coast, and are conseupon the lower bergs, whilst, quently the product of snow or from the higher, the water is con. rain water. veyed by means of a hose into That a more considerable porcasks placed in the boats, at the tiun may probably be formed in side of the ice, or even upon the the deep sheltered bays abounding deck of the ship.
on the east coast of Spitzbergen. Navigating amongst icebergs in These have their bed in the waters the gloom of night, has sometimes of the ocean, and are partly the been attended with fatal conse product of sea-water, and partly quences. Occurring far from that of snow and rain water. And land, and in unexpected situations, it is highly probable, the danger would be extreme, were
That a continent of ice mounthey not providentially rendered tains may exist in regions near the visible by their natural effulgence, Pole, yet unexplored, the nucleus which enables the mariner to dis of which may be as ancient as the tinguish them at some distance, earth itself, and its increase deeven in the darkest night, or
rived from the sea and atmosphere during the prevalence of the combined. densest fog.
III. Fields. That some fields
arise from the cementation, by Abstract of the remarks on the for
the agency of frost, of the pieces mation of the Polar Ice.
of a closely aggregated pack, From what has been advanced which may have consisted of light in the preceding pages, on the or heavy ice; and, consequently, mode and place of formation of which may have been wholly dethe ice, occurring in the seas in rived from the ocean, or from the termediate between East Green sea and atmosphere combined. land or Spitzbergen, and West or That the most considerable Old Greenland, the following con masses are generated in openings clusions seem naturally to result, of the far northern ice, produced and which will partly apply to the by the constant recession towards formation of the ice in other the south of that body lying near places of the polar circle :
the coasts of Spitzbergen ; and, I. Drift ice.-- That the light that such fields are at first derived packed or drift ice is the annual from the ocean, but are indebted productof the bays of Spitzbergen, for a considerable portion of suand of the interstices in the body perstructure to the annual addiof older ice; and, that it is wholly tion of the whole, or part of their derived from the water of the burthen of snow. And,
IV. As to the ice in general.
That however dependant the ice increased coldness of their atmomay have been on the land, from sphere. the time of its first appearance, to
In various countries, changes its gaining an ascendancy over of climate to a certain extent the waves of the ocean, sufficient have occurred, within the limits to resist their utmost ravages, and of historical record ; these changes to arrest the progress of maritime have been commonly for the better, discovery, at a distance of per- and have been considered as the haps from six hundred to a thou- effects of human industry, in sand miles from the Pole, it is draining marshes and lakes, fellnow evident, that the proximity ing woods, and cultivating the of land is not essential, either for earth : but here is an occurrence, its existence, its formation, or its the reverse of common experience; increase.
and concerning its causes I am
not prepared to hazard any conOn the situation of the Polar Ice,
jecture. and the effects produced on it by with each recurring spring, exhi
This icy barrier, at present, the change of seasons.
bits the following general outline. The mass of ice lying between After doubling the southern proOld Greenland on the west, and montory of Greenland, it advances the Russian portion of Europe on in a north-eastern direction along the east, though varying consider the east coast, enveloping Iceland ably in particulars, yet as a gene as it proceeds, until it reaches ral outline is strikingly uniform. John Mayne's Island. Passing
On the east coast of West this island on the north-west, but Greenland, a remarkable alteration frequently enclosing it likewise, it has, however, taken place. That then trends a little more to the part extending from the parallel eastward, and intersects the meriof Iceland to Staten-Hook, was, dian of London in the 71st or 724 before the fifteenth century, free degree of latitude. Having reached of ice, and could always be ap- the longitude of 6, 8, or perhaps proached in the summer season, 10 degrees east, in the 73d or without hinderance. After a con 7 4th degree of north latitude, it siderable trade had been carried suddenly stretches to the north, on between Iceland and the Main sometimes proceeding on a, merifor upwards of 400 years, singular dian to the latitude of 80', at as it may appear, of a sudden the others forming a deep sinuosity, polar ice extended its usual limits, extending two or three degrees to launched down by the land to the the northward, and then south Southern Cape, and so completely easterly to Cherry Island ;-which barricadoed the whole of the having passed, it assumes a direct eastern coast, that it has not since course a little south of east, until been accessible. The fate of the it forms a junction with the Sibewretched inhabitants is unknown; rian or Nova Zemblan coast. but they are generally supposed to That remarkable promontory, have perished from the want of formed by the sudden stretch of their usual supplies, or from the the ice to the north, constitutes
the line of separation between the vicinity of land, where its coasts east or whale-fishing, and west or afford marks by which to sealing ice of the fishers. And timate the advance and retreat of the deep bay lying to the east of the ice. this point, invariably forms the The line formed by the exterior only pervious track for proceeding of the ice, is variously indented, to fishing latitudes northward. and very rarely appears direct or When the ice at the extremity of uniform. Open bays or arms octhis bay occurs so strong and com cur, from a few fathoms, tò sevepact as to prevent the approach to ral miles in length. None of the shores of Spitzbergen, and the them, however, have any deteradvance northward beyond the la- minate form or place, except the titude of 75° or 76°, it is said to “ Whale-fisher's Bight," or great be a close season; and, on the bay before described, in which the contrary, it is called an open sea- Greenlandmen ever seek a passage son, when an uninterrupted navi- to the fishing stations. gation extends along the western The place where whales occur coast of Spitzbergen to Hackluyt's in the greatest abundance, is geHeadland. In an open season, nerally found to be in the 78th or therefore, a large channel of water 79th degree of north latitude, lies between the land and the ice, though from the 72d to the 81st from 20 to 50 leagues in breadth, degree they have been met with. extending to the latitude of 799 or These singular animals, which, on 80°, and gradually approximating account of their prodigious bulk the coast, until it at length effects and strength, might be thought a coalition with the north-western entitled to reign supreme in the extremity, by a semicircular head. ocean, are harmless and timid. When the continuity of the mass They seem to prefer those situaof ice, intervening between West tions which afford them the most Greenland and Nova Zembla, is secure retreats. Among the ice, thus interrupted in an open sea they have an occasional shelter ; son, the ice again makes its ap but so far as it is permeable, the pearance on the south of Spitz- security is rather apparent than bergen, proceeding from thence real. That they are conscious of direct to Cherry Island, and then its affording them shelter, we can eastward as before.
readily perceive, from observing Such is the general appearance that the course of their flight of the margin or outline of the when scared or wounded, is gepolar ice, which holds, with merely nerally towards the nearest partial changes, for many succes most compact ice. The place of sive seasons. This outline, how their retreat, however, is regue er, is necessarily more or less lated by various circumstances ; affected by storms and currents : it may sometimes depend on the their more than ordinary preva quality and quantity of food oclence in any one direction, must curring, the disposition of the ice, cause some variety of aspect in or exemption from enemies. At particular places, which becomes one time, their favourite haunt is more especially apparent in the amidst the huge and extended VuL. LIX.