Imágenes de páginas

that country, although of much interest, all portained to comparatively small species, and belonged, apparently, to families still existing. It is fortunate, therefore, that the existence of a fossil bird, so large and remarkable as the one (Hesperornis regalis) that forms the subject of the present de scription, should first be made known by the discovery of such important parts of a skeleton as to afford ample material for the determination of its affinities. This interesting discovery has already been announced in “Silliman's Journal,” and the name, Hesperornis regalis, proposed by the writer for the species thus represented. The present paper is preliminary to a full description, with illustrations, now in course of preparation. The other species briefly described in this article are likewise of interest, as they add some new forms to the limited avian fauna heretofore found in the cretaceous beds of the Atlantic coast.

Changes of Climate during the Glacial Period.—We observe that Mr. Geikie has communicated his serenth and last paper on this subject to the "Geological Magazine” for June. The series are of very great importance, though of course it is utterly impossible for us to give an abstract of the several papers it includes. However, for our readers' convenience of reference, we give the following, which is the order of appearance of the earlier portions of Mr. Geikie's

paper On Changes of Climate during the Glacial Epoch."

First Paper: “Geol. Mag.” vol. viii. Dec. 1871, p. 545.

ix. Jan. 1872, p. 23.



» May

June The last Eruption of Vesuvius.—We merely record the fact here that there has been a severe eruption since our last issue. Mr. G. Poulett Scrope has given an account of the eruption in the “Geological Magazine " for June. However, until Professor Palmieri gives us his version of the tale, no other can have any very great value. It is not a little amusing to note, as is done by Mr. Scrope, F.R.S., how the peasantry hare considered the Professor's bravery:-“Signor Palmieri, who watched throughout with creditable constancy the progress of the eruption, from his observatory on the Crocelle, appears by so doing to have gained a character for almost superhuman heroism among the frightened population of Naples and its environs. The philosopher must have been much amused at the fervour of his extravagant admirers, who raised him almost to the level of their adored St. Januarius; knowing as he well did, of course, the very small amount of danger that he incurred while he remained at his post, under a substantial roof, above the possible reach of any lava-stream, in a building founded on a portion of old Somma, which has certainly never been seriously disturbed for the last 1.800 years. He, better than any one, knows that the phenomena of the late eruption were by no means so exceptional as our newspaper correspondents would persuade us, but of the ordinary type of moderate Vesuvian paroxysms, such as the mountain has exhibited perhaps a dozen times within

[ocr errors]

» April

[ocr errors]

p. 61.
p. 105.
p. 164.
p. 215.
p. 254.

the last hundred years. That, indeed, is the judgment he is said to have passed upon it.

Eocene Fossil Wood.—This subject receives the attention of Professor T. Dyer, and, as is customary with Mr. Dyer's labours, it has been gone into fully and exhaustively. He explains fully the nature of so-called tylose, a subject upon which we have not been very clear before. He says that many instances of tylose are now known amongst recent plants, and have been repeatedly made the subject of investigation by foreign writers. Malpighi, indeed, in bis “Anatome Plantarum,” gives a very fair representation of them in the oak, remarking, “ fistulæ frequenter pulmonares quasi vesiculas trachearum substantin excitatas continent.” Without going into the literature of the subject, which is considerable, it is sufficient to state that the investigations of an anonymous writer in the “ Botan. Zeit.” for 1845, confirmed by Mohl and Reess (“Bot. Zeit.” 1868), appear to leave little doubt that the “ Thyllen," as the first-mentioned writer named them, are hernioid protrusions into the vessel from adjacent cells. In the words of Reess, “each young thylle makes its appearance as a bulging of a wood-parenchymatous or medullary-ray cell forced through a pore in the ressels." This process would be inconceivable in the case of the prosenchymatous cells; but parenchymatous cells, which surround the ducts, and those which form the medullary rays, do not undergo the same amount of speedy induration.

Sauropus Unguifer, a new Carboniferous Batrachian, has been just described by Dr. J. W. Dawson, F.R.S., of Montreal. He states that the principal specimens are several large slabs of brownish sandstone, bearing series of footprints in relief. Of the largest and most distinct series 40 to 50 footprints have been preserved, and are arranged in two rows, about 54 inches apart. They were probably produced by a large Labyrinthodont Batrachian walking on a muddy shore, near the edge of the water, and are not very dissimilar from those described by Sir C. Lyell as found by Dr. King in the carboniferous beds of Pennsylvania. They also closely resemble, in size and form, the footprints found by Mr. R. Brown, F.G.S., in the coal-field of Sydney, Cape Breton, and described by Dr. Dawson in the second edition of “Acadian Geology,” p. 358, under the name of Sauropus Sydnensis, and still more closely those found by Mr. Jones, F.L.S., at Parrsborough, N.S., and noticed in the same work. With these they may, in the meantime, be included in the provisional genus Sauropus. The dimensions of the footprints are as follows:Hind foot, breadth

2.71 inches. length

4.24 Fore foot, breadth

2 63

2.77 Length of stride

11:53 Average

distance between the rows of footprints made by right and left feet

5.48 These measurements correspond very nearly with those of his Sauropus Sydnensis above referred to. He has given it the name of S. unguifer.

Fossil Plants from Queensland. In the course of the discussion at a recent meeting of the Geological Society, upon a paper by Mr. R. Daintree, Mr.

[ocr errors]

» length


[ocr errors]

Carruthers stated that he had examined the vegetable remains brought over by the author, which were of great importance. Some of those from the Devonian rocks appeared to be identical with species found in North America. From the remains of one of these, which he could not separate from one described by Dr. Dawson, Leptophlæma rhombicum, he had been able to reconstruct it in its entirety, of which he exhibited a drawing. The plant was lycopodiaceous, and its remains served to show that erroneous conclusions had been drawn as to the characters presented by the North American specimens, which had been regarded as having a Sternbergia-pith. There were specimens also of Cyclostigma, of the stipes of ferns, and of a doubtful calamite. With regard to the supposed Glossopteris- and Tæniopteris-epochs, wbich by some had been regarded the one as Palæozoic and the other as Mesozoic, he was not convinced that they could be distinctly separated, but thought rather that they might both belong to different portions of one great period. Systematically the two forms might be very closely related, the venation of the fronds on which the genera are founded occurring in two forms, which by Linnæus had been included in one genus, Acrostichum. He thought that neither was of a date earlier than Permian.

Death of Dr. Auguste Krantz.-We regret to announce the death of this distinguished collector of rocks, fossils, and minerals, which took place at Berlin on the 6th of April last. The "Geological Magazine” says of him that he represents one of the longest established and most able members of that rare class, a scientific merchant in rocks, fossils, and minerals—one, who not only knew accurately the commercial value of his collections, but was intimately acquainted with the scientific worth of every specimen which passed through his hands. Indeed, there are few museums which have not been enriched from his cosmopolitan repository. He leaves an immense and valuable collection both of minerals and fossils, the result of the labours of a long life devoted to these pursuits. Dr. Krantz was in his sixty-second year. We believe it is the intention of Madame Krantz to carry on her husband's business, with which she is well acquainted.

Amount of Coal in Austria and Hungary.A very valuable and trustworthy report is that of Herr F. Foeterle, which has been recently published. It is accompanied by a large map, a glance at which will convince every one of the scanty distribution of coal over the enormous surface of the AustroHungarian dominions, and that most of it belongs to the western and the central districts. a. True Coal-measures Coal is found in Bohemia, in Moravia, and Austrian Silesia, in the Alps and in the Hungarian dominions. b. Trias and Lias Coal in the Alps, in Hungary and in the Banat. c. Cretaceous Coal in Moravia, in the Alps, and in Hungary. d. Eocene Coal (sometimes still showing the structure of the wood, then called Lignite, but generally a good black coal, which, when burnt, cakes, and is excellent for gas manufacture) is chiefly found in the Alps, where it is embedded in Cosina beds, below the Nummulite Limestone; Carpano near Albona, the large coal-basin of the Marburg district, Sotzka, Eibiswald. The coal of Häring, in Tyrol, belongs to a higher horizon of the Eocene, as does also the coal of Monte Promina and of Scbenico in Dalmatia. The coal of Gran, in Hungary, is also of Eocene age. e. Neogene Coal forms large basins in Moravia, Bohemia, Galicia, Bucovina, and in the north and south zones of



[ocr errors]

the Alps and in Hungary. A glance at the accompanying map of the distribution of fossil fuel in Austria shows at once how insignificant is the extent of her coal-basins in comparison with the coal-formations of England, North America, or even Prussia. England has .

8,960 square miles of coal. North America

100,528 Province of Silesia in Prussia

1,280 Austria (As near as possible) . 1,200 The whole produce of coal of all formations in Austria and Hungary amounted during 1868, in round figures, to 6,300,000 tons.

Phaneropleuron and Uronemus.Professor Traquair, M.D., writes to the “Geological Magazine " to say he has now satisfactorily determined that his fossil fish Phaneropleuron elegans is identical with the Uronemus lobatus of Agassiz. Of course it is well that Professor Traquair has made this discovery, but it would have been better had he taken more time at first to inquire into the facts of the case ere he gare a new name to the fish.


Paper Armour.—Colonel Muratori, at present in this country, has been endeavouring to introduce paper as a material for resisting bullets, and even projectiles of greater weight. A cuirass which he has invented, made of this material, and weighing no more than the ordinary metal cuirase, is said to possess a much greater power of resistance. Experiments on this material were made at Chalons in 1868, under the direction of the late Emperor of the French. The war stopped the experiments, and Colonel Muratori is now seeking to bave them resumed in this country.

Torpedo Warfare.—Mr. C. W. Merrifield, F.R.S., has suggested, at the Institute of Naval Architects, that structural means of resisting torpedo attacks should be provided in armour-plated vessels. Of possible means of meeting torpedoes, he thinks that a rope or wire netting outrigged at a distance of 6 or 8 ft. from the ship's skin would afford the best protection in cases where a line of torpedoes is known to exist. But such a netting offers so great an impediment to speed, that it would be impracticable to employ it when the object is to cruise at a risk of meeting torpedoes. Hence he is led to suggest the following device as better than armourplating the ship's bottom. Let the ship have three skins, each divided into cellular spaces of moderate size, the middle skin representing what is now the outer skin of ordinary double-plated ships. Each cell between the middle and inner skin to have an airtight manhole by which access can be gained to it from the interior of the ship, and a stopcock and union collar in its upper corner. The space between the middle and outer skins is also to be divided into cells by frames breaking joint with those between the middle and inner skins. Water is to be freely admitted to the cells between the middle and outer skins, so that in fact the bottom of the ship would have a kind of water-casing surrounding the middle skin. The middle skin is to be deliberately weakened near the bottom of each inner cell. When a torpedo explodes against the outer skin, it is expected that the shock will break through the middle skin at its weak points. Then the outer skin will be driven in, forcing the water into the cells between the middle and inner skins against the cushion of air contained in them. The work so expended will, it is hoped, save the inner skin from injury, except with very powerful torpedoes. After the explosion the inner cells may be cleared of water by attaching hose to the union joints and forcing in air. Nothing but actual experiment can decide on the value of such a plan, but it is believed to be the first suggestion yet made for proriding structural means of resisting torpedo attack.

New Technical Journal.—Mr. E. J. Reed, C.B., the late Chief Constructor of the Navy, has started a new quarterly magazine dealing with subjects relating to naval architecture and marine engineering, which bids fair to render very great service, not only to those professionally engaged in the construction of ships and engines, but to the much larger circle of readers requiring information on such subjects of a reliable character. The articles in the first number of the new magazine are many of them by writers of eminent experience and knowledge, and range over a field including both special technical subjects, and others of more general interest. The articles on the stability of ironclads, the structure of iron ships, and the stowage of merchant ships, are of the former character. Those on the proposed Naval University, on naval tactics, and on the necessity of forming a naval staff, with the very severe review of the criticisms on the navy contained in Mr. Hawksley's presidental address, at the Institute of Civil Engineers, will be of interest to a very wide circle of readers.

H.M.S. Thunderer.—This powerful ironclad, a sister vessel to the Devastution, has recently been launched at Chatham. She is one of the mastless ironclads designed by Mr. Reed in 1869. The armour generally is 12 in. thick, but 14 in. in the neighbourhood of the port-holes. On the sides of the breastwork, in parts where a shot penetrating would do no harm to the machinery of the turrets, the armour is reduced to 10 ins., and it is also reduced to 10 ins. in the lower strake on the sides of the hull. The vessel has a sharp spur for ramming, and is short and handy. She is driven by engines guaranteed to give 5,600 indicated horses power, and will be armed with four 35-ton guns.

Wind Pressure on Inclined Planes.—Mr. Wenham and Mr. Browning have carried out some new experiments with a very delicate instrument on the pressure of a current of air on inclined planes. The results have been communicated to the Æronautical Society, and will be of interest not only to those who are studying the mechanism of flight, but also to engineers who have often to calculate the effect of wind pressure on their structures.

The Westinghouse Air-break.—This is a form of continuous break, or break applicable simultaneously to all the carriages of a railway train, which bas been in use for about three years in America, and is now being tried in this country. An air-compressing pump is fixed on the locomotive engine, delivering the air into a reservoir under the foot-plate. The speed of the pump is self-adjusting, the valves being so set that it just keeps moring against the full pressure in the reservoir, and when the pressure in the VOL. XI.—NO. XLIV.


« AnteriorContinuar »