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by the adjunction of higher ice, in an oblique direction, by passing the elevation of its border by the through a portion of ice. pressure of the surrounding ice, The invariable tendency of fields or the irregularity of its own sur to drift to the south-westward, face, several inches of ice must even in calms, is the means of be added to its thickness on the many being yearly destroyed. They returning winter, by the conver- have frequently been observed to sion of the snow-water into solid advance a hundred miles in this ice.
This process repeated for direction, within the space of one many successive years, or even month, notwithstanding the ocages, together with the enlarge currence of winds from every ment of its under-side from the quarter. Onemerging from amidst ocean, mighi be deemed sufficient the smaller ice, which before shel. to produce the most stupendous tered them, they are soon broken bodies of ice that have yet been up by the swell, are partly disdiscovered ; at the same time that solved, and partly converted into the ice thus formed, would doubt. drift ice. The places of such are less correspond with the purity supplied by others from the north. and transparency of that of fields White bears here find an occasional in general.
habitation, and will travel inany Fields may sometimes have their leagues from land upon the fields. origin in heavy close packs, They have been repeatedly met which, being cemented together with, not only upon these conby the intervention of new ice, tinuous sheets of ice, but on the may become one solid mass. In ice of close packs, to the utmost this way are produced such fields extent to which ships have peneas exhibit a rugged, hummocky trated. surface. Fields commonly make their On the tremendous Concussions of
Fields. appearance about the month of June, though sometimes earlier : The occasional rapid motion of
- they are frequently the resort fields, with the strange effects of young whales; strong north produced on any opposing suband westerly winds expose them stance, exhibited by such immense to the Greenlandmen, by driving bodies, is one of the most striking off the loose ice. Some fields ex objects this country presents, and hibit a perfect level plain, without is certainly the most terrific. They a fissure or hummock, so clear not unfrequently acquire a rotaindeed, that I imagine, upon one tory movement, whereby their cirwhich I saw, a coach might be cumference attains a velocity of driven a hundred miles in a direct several miles per hour. A field, line, without any obstruction. thus in motion, coining in contact Most commonly, however, the with another at rest, or more essurface contains some hummocks, pecially with a contrary direction which somewhat relieve the uni- of movement, produces a dreadful sormity of intense light, by a shock. A body of more than ten tinge of delicate green, in cavities thousand millions of tonsin weight, where the light gains admittance meeting with resistance, when in
motion, the consequences may sently covered many acres of surpossibly be conceived! The weaker face. The ship proving an obfield is crushed with an awful stacle to the course of the ice, it noise ; sometimes the destruction squeezed up on both sides, shaking is mutual : pieces of huge dimen- her in a dreadful manner, and sions and weight, are not unfre- producing a loud grinding, or quently piled upon the top, to the lengthened acute tremulous noise, height of twenty or thirty feet, accordingly as the degree of preswhilst doubtless a proportionate sure was diminished or increased, quantity is depressed' beneath. until it had risen as high as the The view of those stupendous deck. After about two hours, the effects in safety, exhibits a picture velocity was diminished to a state sublimely grand; but where there of rest; and soon afterwards, the is danger of being overwhelmed, two sheets of ice receded from terror and dismay must be the each other, nearly as rapidly as predominant feelings. The whale- they before advanced. The ship, fishers at all times require unre in this case, did not receive any mitting vigilance to secure their injury, but had the ice been only safety, but scarcely in any situa- half a foot thicker, she would tion so much, as when navigating probably have been wrecked. amidst those fields : in foggy wea In the month of May of the prether, they are particularly dan- sent year, (1813), I witnessed a gerous, as their motions cannot more tremendous scene. Whilst then be distinctly observed. It navigating amidst the most ponmay easily be imagined, that the derous ice which the Greenland strongest ship can no more with seas present, in the prospect of stand
the shock of the contact of making our escape from a state of two fields, than a sheet of paper besetment, our progress was uncan stop a musket-ball. Num- expectedly arrested by an isthmus bers of vessels, since the establish- of ice, about a mile in breadth, ment of the fishery, have been formed by the coalition of the thus destroyed; some have been point of an immense field on the thrown upon the ice, some have north, with that of an aggregation had their hulls completely torn of floes on the south. To the open, and others have been buried north field, we moored the ship, beneath the heaped fragments of in the hope of the ice separating the ice.
in this place. I then quitted the In the year 1804, I had a good ship, and travelled over the ice to opportunity of witnessing the ef- the point of collison, to observe fects produced by the lesser masses the state of the bar which now in motion. Passing between two prevented our release. I immefields of bay-ice, about a foot in diately discovered that the two thickness, they were observed ra- points had but recently met; that pidly to approach each other, and already a prodigious mass of rubbefore our ship could pass the bish had been squeezed upon the strait, they met with a velocity of top, and that the motion had not three or four miles per hour: the abated. The fields continued to one overlaid the other, and pre- overlay each other with a majestic
motion, producing a noise resem- cessity, be impelled towards the bling that of complicated ma heavier : secondly, As the wind chinery, or distant thunder. The frequently commences blowing on pressure was so immense, that the windward side of the ice, and numerous fissures were occasioned, continues several hours before it and the ice repeatedly rent beneath is felt a few miles (listant to leemy feet. In one of the fissures, warıl, the field begins to drift, I found the snow on the level to before the wind can produce any be three and a half feet deep, and impression on ice on its opposite the ice upwards of twelve. In side ; and, thirdly, which is not one place, hummocks had been an uncommon case, by the two thrown up to the height of twenty fiells being impelled towards each feet from the surface of the field, other by winds acting on each and at least twenty-five feet from from opposite quarters. the level of the water ; they ex The closing of heavy ice, entended fifty or sixty yards in circling a quantity of bay-ice, length, and fifteen in breadth, causes it to run together with such forming a mass of about two force, that it overlaps wherever thousand tons in weight. The two sheets meet, until it somemajestic unvaried movement of times attains the thickness of the ice,—the singular noise with many feet. Drift-ice does not which it was accompanied, -the often coalesce with such a prestremendous power exerted, -and sure as to endanger any ship the wonderful effects produced, which may happen to be beset in were calculated to excite sensa
it: when, however, land opposes tions of novelty and grandeur, in its drift, or the ship is a great the mind of even the most care distance immured amongst it, the less spectator!
pressure is sometimes alarming. Sometimes these motions of the ice may be accounted for. Fields
Icebergs. are disturbed by currents,-the wind, or the pressure of other The term icebergs has comice against them. Though the set monly been applied to those imof the current be generally towards mense bodies of ice situated on the south-west, yet it seems oc the land, “filling the valleys becasionally to vary: the wind forces tween the high mountains," and all ice to leeward, with a velocity generally exhibiting a square pernearly in the inverse proportion to pendicular front towards the sea. its depth under water ; light ice They recede backward inland to consequently drives faster than an extent never explored. Marheavy ice, and loose ice than fields: tin, Crantz, Phipps, and others, loose ice meeting the side of a have described those wonders of field in its course, becomes de- nature, and all agree as tu their flected, and its reaction causes a manner of formation, in the concircular motion of the field. Fields. gelation of the sleet and rains of may approximate each other, from summer, and of the accumulated three causes : first, If the lighter snow, partly dissolved by the sumice be to windward, it will, of ne mer sun, which, on its decline,
freezes to a transport ice. They
Magnitude of Icebergs. are as permanent as the rocks on which they rest : For although It all the floating islands of ice large portions may be frequently thus proceed from disruptions of separated, yet the annual growth the icebergs generated on the replaces the loss, and probably, land, how is it that so few are on the whole, produces a perpe met with in Greenland, and those tual increase. I have seen those comparatively so diminutive, whilst styled the Seven Icebergs, situated Baffin's Bay affords them so plenin the valleys of the north-west tifully, and of such amazing size ? coast of Spitzbergen ; their per The largest I ever saw in Greenpendicular front may be about land, was about a thousand yards 300 feet in height; the green in circumference, nearly square, colour, and glistening surface of of a regular flat surface, twenty which, form a pleasing variety in
feet above the level of the sea ; prospect, with the magnificence and as it was composed of the of the encompassing snow-clad most dense kind of ice, it must mountains, which, as they'recede have been 150 or 160 feet in from the eye, seem to “rise crag thickness, and in weight about above crag,” in endless perspec- two millions of tons. But masses tive.
have been repeatedly seen in Large pieces may be separated Davis' Straits, near two miles in from those ice-bergs in the sum length, and one-third as broad, mer season, when they are par- whose rugged mountainous sumticularly fragile, by their ponde- mits were reared with various rous overhanging masses over- spires to the height of more than coming the force of cohesion; or a hundred feet, whilst their base otherwise, by the powerful expan- must have reached to the depth sion of the water, filling any ex
of a hundred and fifty yards becavation or deep-seated cavity, neath the surface of the sea. when its dimensions are enlarged Others, again, have been observed, by freezing, thereby exerting a possessing an even surface, of tremendous force, and bursting five or six square miles in area, the whole asunder.
elevated thirty yards above the Pieces thus or otherwise de. sea, and fairly run aground in tached, are hurled into the sea water of ninety, or a hundred with a dreadful crash; if they are fathoms in depth ; the weight of received into deep water, they are
which must have been upwards liable to be drifted off the land, of two thousand millions of tons ! and, under the form of ice-islands, or ice-mountains, they likewise still retain their parent name of Icebergs may arise in sheltered Bays icebergs. I much question, how
of the Land. ever, if all the fluating bergs seen in the seas west of Old Greenland, Spitzbergen is possessed of every thus derive their origin ; their character which is supposed to be number is so great, and their di- necessary for the formation of the mensions so immense.
largest icebergs ; high mountains, deep extensive valleys, intense
frost, and occasional thaws; yet tent, must have their rise on the here a berg is very rarely met bosom of the ocean, commonly with, and the largest I ever afford a solution equally fresh. heard of, was not to be compared with the productions of Baffin's
Icebergs generated at a distance Bay. Icebergs, I therefore con
from any known Land. clude, may have their principal origin in the deep sheltered nar Müller relates a circumstance row bays, with which Old or which intimates, that some iceWest Greenland abounds. In bergs have their origin in the wide this respect it possesses a decided expanse of the ocean. He informs advantage over Spitzbergen, since, us, that in the year 1714, one on the west side, the coast now Markoff, a Cossack, with some alone visited, few sheltered spots other persons, were sent to exoccur; at least those situations plore the ocean north of Russia, the most protected from the in- by order of the Russian governfluences of the wind and prevail- ment; but being foiled in his ing currents, are found annually object, by the immense aggregato disembogue theinselves of their tion of drift-ice, he conceived the ice. On the eastern coast, if we design of trying during the winter may rely on the charts, and credit season to travel over the then more the affirmations of the Dutch, compact ice. Accordingly, he premany more suitable spots are pared several of the country offered, wherein ice may be in- sledges, drawn by dogs; and, accreased for ages; the most pre- companied by eight persons, he vailing winds, and the common set out on the 15th March (O. S.) set of the current on these shores, from the mouth of the Yani, on having no tendency to dislodge it, the coast of Siberia, in latitude until its enormous growth has 71° N. and longitude about 132° E. carried it beyond the limits of He proceeded for seven days northsecurity and undisturbed rest. And ward, until he reached the 77th from this Eastern coast it is, or 78th degree of north latitude, (which is favourable to the sup- when his progress was impeded positionthat most of the ice by ice elevated into prodigious bergs which have been seen, seem mountains. From the top of to have drifted,—they being mostly these, he could see nothing but met with in the vicinity of Cherry mountainous ice to the northward; Island, or between it and the at the same time falling short of southern Cape of Spitzbergen, provisions for his dogs, he returned where the course of the current is with difficulty: several of his supposed to be from the north dogs died for want, and were east towards the south-west. The given to the rest for their support. ice of bergs invariably producing On the 3d of April he reached the pure
fresh-water, when dissolved, Siberian shore, after an absence is no argument against the majo- of nineteen days, during which he rity having their origin amidst travelled 800 miles. sea-water; for fields, which, from Here, therefore, is a fact of a their flat surface, and large ex continent, if we may so speak, of