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each, with the hope of determining their characters permanently.” Lastly, a short notice of the “tufaceous lacustrine formation of Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York.”
Hawkins, T., F.G. S. : A Memoir on the Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri, with several Lithographic Prints. Folio, 21. 10s. London, 1834. This work, announced in VI. 267, is now published, and a copy of it, with which we have been favoured, we have sent to a geologist for review, whose remarks we hope to present in our next number. In the mean time, we may notice that the illustrations contained in the work are striking; that they present, besides pictures of the wonderful creatures which are the subject of the volume, numerous details of their osteology and general structure; and so supply, we presume, in conjunction with the text, the fullest and most perfect account of these wonders of the animal world of former ages, which has yet been produced. The author in his geological deductions seems in entire accordance with the account of the creation by Moses, taking the separate days as distinct geological
ART. II. Literary Notices.
A 2001.ogical Tert Book, by G. R. Gray, is announced, in the Entomological Magazine for April. The text book is to consist of “an explanation of all the terms employed by zoologists in the description of beasts, birds, fishes, reptiles, insects, shells, worms, corals, &c.; ” and it is to be “illustrated by numerous plates, representing the various parts in their natural situation, and in detail.” This title bespeaks a work nearly respondent to one for which we have often wished; although the title of A Dictionary of the Language of Natural History would more precisely express the kind of work of which we have often felt the want. The Entomologist's Popular Guide to the Study and Classiftcation of British Insects, with an Account of the Habits of the most remarkable Species, illustrated by numerous woodcuts, by G. R. Gray, is announced. Of the Iconografta della Fauna Italica, di L. Bonaparte, it is announced that fasc. 3. 4. and 5, are published: folio, 15s. each. In the press, in 8vo., A Treatise on Primary Geology: being an Examination, both practical and theoretical, of the older Formations: by Henry S. Boase, M.D., Secretary of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall.
ART. I. On the Meteors seen in America on the Night of Nov. 13. 1833. By the Rev. W. B. CLARKE, A.M. F.G.S. (A Supplement to Mr. Clarke's Essay, No. 3., in p. 289—308., On certain recent Meteoric Phenomena, Vicissitudes in the Seasons, prevalent Disorders, &c., contemporaneous, and in supposed connection, with Volcanic Emanations.) “Quid sit, unde sit, quare sit. . . . . quod ipsum explorare et eruere sine universitatis inquisitione non possumus, cum ita cohaerentia, connexa, concatenata sint.”— M. MINUTIUS FELIx, xvii.
In the last number of my remarks on the supposed connection of volcanic and other phenomena (p. 289—308.), I have attended to the extraordinary display of meteors on the night of Nov. 13. 1833, as described in Silliman's Journal of Science and Arts, vol. xxv. p. 411. In vol. xxvi. p. 132. of that work, for April, 1834, are “Observations thereon, by Denison Olmsted, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in Yale College.” Professor Olmsted sets out with quoting previous examples of meteorites seen at various periods. Amongst these, he alludes to several quoted by me, especially the meteors of Nov. 19. 1832 *, seen in England; the matter which fell at Wolokolumsk, March, 1832; the meteor of Brunck, Nov. 14. 1832; and those seen by Humboldt, Nov. 12, 1794, in Cumana; and the aerolites of Candahar. Others are, the fall of red rain in different countries, on Nov. 13. 1755, and in Picardy, Nov. 14. 1765; and a great meteor seen in Ohio, Nov. 1825; and that seen in England, Nov. 18. 1803.
* By error, the date is before given, by me, Nov. 17. (p. 293.); as is 1728, for 1828 (p. 305.).
Vol. VII. — No. 41. C C
The testimony of an eyewitness is also adduced for the appearance of meteors, exactly resembling those in England, five days afterwards, at Mocha, on the Red Sea, where the same phenomena occurred, from 1 A.M. till after daylight, Nov. 14. 1832. (Amer. Journ., xxvi. 136.) Professor Olmsted also mentions a shower of meteors seen in America about the middle of April, 1803, which I have no hesitation in connecting with the shower of stones at L’Aigle, in France, April 26, 1803. (Mag. Nat. Hist., VII. 296.) The other examples of the professor are, I think, plainly to be referred at once to a volcanic origin, especially the black dust at Constantinople in 472, which, according to Procopius, was traced from Vesuvius. Additional information has been received that the meteors of 1833 were seen, contemporaneously with the other localities, at Kingston, Jamaica; in Mexico, in lat. 34° 30' N.; and on the shores of Lake Huron. The explanation of the professor is most elaborately minute, and does no injustice to his celebrity as a calculator: but I must say that, if I were not attached to my own hypothesis, I could not agree in his upon his present showing. He assumes that the matter of which these meteors were composed is similar to that which composes the tails of comets, and that the meteors of 1799, 1832, and 1833 are results of the destruction of one and the same body; and thence, by the aid of astronomical reasoning, deduces this conclusion: —“That the meteors of Nov. 13. consisted of portions of the eatreme parts of a nebulous body, which revolves round the sun in an orbit interior to that of the earth, but little inclined to the plane of the ecliptic, having its aphelion near the earth's path, and having a period in time of 182 days nearly.” I have neither time nor leisure, at present, to examine here in detail the very ingenious, and apparently satisfactory, process by which these meteors are resolved into cometic fragments. I imagine that philosophers will find so many difficulties in the admission of the professor's theory, that he will not be able to maintain it. I would merely ask, if the appearances seen in such different places imply the object to be the same, why we may not include other similar displays in that comprehensive identity P Why we may not suppose that the meteors, of precisely similar character, seen on August 10. 1833, in Worcestershire, at 10 to 12 P. M.”, were cometic fragments? How happens it that, if this comet has a motion from N.w.. to s. E. (Prof. Olmsted, p. 143.), the meteors seen at Mocha, on Nov. 14., made their appearance in England five
* See Mr. Lees's paper on the aurora, in The Analyst, No. i. p. 33., for August, 1834.
days after, in a directly contrary direction? It is certainly possible, and more than probable, that both occurrences had one origin; but, on Professor Olmsted's arguments, they could not, without involving difficulties of a serious nature. Surely he would not contend that the meteors seen by Sir W. Hamilton in the electrical display on Vesuvius (VII. 301.) were otherwise than volcanic : —yet, why do we not call them cometic? The whole argument of the professor rests on the general assumption that these displays of falling meteors are different from all others which have been denominated, and even by him, aerolites: now, evidence undoubtedly goes to establish their similarity. The singularity of these occurrences being so commonly about a particular day in November had previously struck me, and certainly lends an air of probability to the professor's supposition. But periodicity is not, surely, confined to extra-terrestrial bodies. I shall, perhaps, have an opportunity of showing, in some future portion of my observations on the earth's derangements, that those disturbances obey a periodical law, and that, consequently, all their results obey the same impression. Professor Olmsted asserts that it is his belief that what has commonly been designated as the zodiacal light is identical with the light from his meteoric comet; and that the frequent displays of that light, recently, so correspond with the assigned position of the comet as to involve the identity of both. On this point I shall be silent: farther observation, and the eyes of astronomers, will be the best means of elucidating it. After having made these remarks, it is incumbent upon me to offer a few words in defence of my own previous attempt to explain the connection of the meteors with my subject. In order to bring the topic within my reach, I must quote from Professor Olmsted himself, who remarks that the meteors were directed to the earth in a shower from a cloud, which must have remained stationary a long time at a great height above the earth (p. 142.): he calculates, above 2238 miles. (p. 144.) I have always been of opinion, in which many persons will agree (see Mr. Lees, in The Analyst, No. i. p. 36.), that philosophers are too apt to talk of hundreds and thousands, when, perhaps, units and tens would be nearer the mark. I allude expressly to the frequent mention of bodies entering the earth's atmosphere from tremendous heights. Is it actually known what is the real height of the earth's atmosphere? and can any one define it? It appears to me more probable that space is filled with atmosphere, denser, doubtless, towards
all bodies moving therein; and that it is not philosophical to suppose each planet to be surrounded by a particular atmosphere, independent of the rest of the universe, and fenced in by a kind of wall, which many expressions seem to imply. If space be filled, as it doubtless is, though we know nothing about it, by a universal atmosphere, bodies which are said now to fall from heights above our atmosphere may have been, in their original state, carried up by great heat into very lofty regions, even to a thousand miles. At any rate, it has not yet been shown that the heat generated in a volcanic eruption is not sufficiently powerful to produce such effects. And, on the other hand, it may be questioned whether bodies may not be in some measure displaced in vision by optical causes connected with the atmosphere. These speculations may seem absurd to such men as Professor Olmsted, with whom I have no pretension to dispute an argument: but, having taken a certain view of the subject, I do not like to abandon it hastily, and I have no reason to consider the meteors of 1832 and 1833 as exceptions to the general character of meteoric bodies. The idea of a “cloud and shower” perfectly corresponds with the idea which we have of transported volcanic matter so discharged; and, as to the effects produced, “the sudden cold,” “the change of wind,” &c., Professor Olmsted allows the same results to true aerolitic agency. (Amer. Journ., 161.) I have already produced evidence (VII. 296.) to show that meteors are followed by such changes in the atmosphere, and no defender of cometic influence can gainsay that evidence. But it also appears that the western parts of the American continent were subjected to a “change of seasons,” and that unusual warmth and mildness of weather prevailed on the shores of Lake Huron through the winter. (Mr. Schoolcraft in Amer. Journ., xxvi. 139. ; see, also, Mr. Hildreth’s paper in the same work, p. 85.) I shall, hereafter, bring forward some evidence upon this point, and show that a line of cold extended between two lines of warmth during the late winter, which can only be accounted for in one way. That the meteors might, and did, modify for a time the states of the atmosphere, is probable; but we might as rationally impute to them the state of weather in Europe, as the change of season in America. In both cases, those changes appear to me to depend on a cause to which the meteors themselves were originally subject. I would not wish it to be inferred that a volcanic eruption, or emanations from the earth, must necessarily be immediately contemporaneous with meteoric appearances. Volcanic vapours may float for a considerable time in space before they become sufficiently condensed to assume a solid form; and, again, it is very probable that such