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ceed each other; in others, only three or four. According to M. Lehmann, the lowest stratum is always pit coal, resting on a coarse iron gravel or sand. Above the pit coal are strata of slate, schistus, &c. &c. the upper part of the strata is occupied by lime stone and salt springs.
It has been frequently remarked that the east side of a mountain running from north to south, is comparatively low, sloping off into an extensive plain, while the west side is lofty, rugged, and broken. Those which stretch from east to west in their length, have their south side steeper than their north.
Baron Humboldt has pointed out a striking difference between the formation of the mountains in the eastern and western hemispheres. Mont Blanc and others of the highest Alps, rear their peaks of granite above the clouds: but in America, "the newest floetztrap, or whinstone, which in Europe, appears only in low mountains, or at the foot of those of great magnitude, covers the mightiest heights of the Andes. Chimboraco and Antisana are crowned by vast walls of porphyry, rising to the height of 6000 or 7000 feet; while basalt, which, in our continent, has never been observed higher than 4000 feet, is,, on the pinnacle of Pichincha, seen rearing aloft its crested steeps, like towers amidst the sky, Other secondary formations, as limestone, with its accompaniment of petrified shells and coal, are also found at greater heights in the New than in the Old World, though the disproportion is not so remarkable."
Of all the phenomena to which mountainous regions are subject, those of volcanoes are the most awful and sublime. They are not common to all mountains, but restricted to certain regions, where the convulsions they occasion occur at irregular intervals; as longer or shorter periods arc required for preparing those immense masses of ignited materials and rivers of liquid fire, which commonly attend their fearful eruptions. When the phenomena occur beneath the sea, the substances thrown up sometimes rise above the surface of the waters, and form rocks and islands; as in the case of the Azores, Stromboli, and the Santorin islands. The situation of these terrific yet sublime features of nature is strikingly contrasted in the two hemispheres. In the Old World, they are chiefly found in islands and peninsular extremities j in the New, they are spread through the very heart of the continent. Some exceptions must however be made to this general rule. The principal chains of Europe, Asia, and Africa, also are destitute of volcanoes; but in America, many of the most stupendous ranges present an almost uninterrupted blaze. Nor are the substances thrown out by both series of volcanoes always alike: besides the common lava and stones of the European and Asiatic volcanoes, those of America throw up scorified clay, carbon, sulphur, and water, accompanied, in some instances, by numbers of boiled fishes.
The number of volcanoes at present known, according to Professor Jameson, is 195, distributed as follows:
European continent ■ islands .
Asiatic islands . • American continent islands .
No volcano has yet been discovered on the continent of Africa; but most of its insular groups are distinguished by such phenomena. These the Professor has omitted in his estimate.
The summits of very high mountains, even in the warmest climates, are constantly covered with frozen snow, in consequence of the great rarefaction of the air. The line where perpetual frost commences, is not the same in all countries; being lowest towards the poles, and highest under the equator. At the poles it is level with the surface of the earth; from thence it rises in a curve to the altitude of 15,744 feet at the equator. Hence, in some countries, places are not only habitable, but even pleasant and comfortable at elevations, where, under other latitudes, neither animal nor vegetable life could exist, by reason of the intensity of the unremitting frost. The lowest line of perpetual snow, under the equator, is, as already stated, 15,744 feet above the level of the sea. In latitude 49° N. it is lowered to 15,040 feet; in latitude 43° to 46° it descends to 8,640 feet, or 908 feet below the level of the city of Quito, at the equator, and no less than 4808 feet, (upwards of three quarters of a mile) lower than the inhabited farm of Antisana, in the same quarter. The city of Mexico, at an elevation of 7472 feet, is in a hot climate, which ripens till the tropical fruits, as pine-apples, oranges, &c.; yet in Sweden, the line of perpetual snow descends to 5184 feet, and in Norway, to 4480 feet: the medium of the two being half a mile below the temperature of the more elevated Mexican territory.
The limits of perpetual snow in different latitudes,
laid down by M. Humboldt, are as follow : ,
Under the equator, and thence to 3° N. & S 15,500
At 20" of latitude .... 12,194
35 ... . 11,500
40 .,.,.. 10,200
I» Switzerland . 8,033
Qn the Pyrenees .... 7,853
Above 75° of N. latitude at the level of the sea.
General View of the Mountains. The annexed plate exhibits a comparative view of some of the principal mountains, of which the heights have been ascertained. The summits are numbered for convenience of reference; and the heights are shown by a scale on the left hand, in thousands of feet. In this scale, the line below 1 denotes the level of the sea; the line above the figure represents a perpendicular elevation of 1000 feet. The next line, above 2, indicates 2000 feet; and so of the rest, to the head of the print, when 27,000 feet, or rather more than five miles and a quarter, terminates the scale. By applying a ruler, or a slip of paper, with an even edge, across the print, parallel to the top or bottom, the height of any given mountain may be ascertained, by noting where the ruler or slip cuts the scale. Or to find a point mentioned in the description, lay the ruler on the scale at the number indicative of the .given thousand of feet, and it will pass over or near the figure of reference on the mountain. Some places, also, having remarkable elevations, are marked a, b, &c, and may be discovered in the same way.
MOUNTAINS OF ASIA.
The Asiatic mountains, most of which run in immense chains, may be considered in the following order:
'1. The Poyas or Ural chain, which partly separates Great Tartary from Europe, extending from the source of the river Kara to the northern shore of the Aral lake
and branching on the south-east, under different names, till it joins the Altaic range.
2. The Altai chain, divided into Great and Little. The Great Altai ranges across Mongolia, and includes mounts Arak, Mousart, and Bogdo; the Little Altai, to the north of the Great chain includes Uluk, Tag, Bereka, and Savamen mountains, and separates Independant Tartary and Siberia from Minjolia.
3. The Stanovoi mountains, which stretch along the north-east extremity of Asia, from lake Baikal.
4. The range of Caucasus, of remote fame, extends between the Caspian and Black seas: height of the principal summit, mount Elboors, near the source of the Kuban, 16,800 feet. From these mountains, branches diverge to the south, and connect them with the chain of Mount Taurus, which runs from east to west nearly through the whole of Asia Minor. At the eastern extremity of the Tauridian chain, another range extends under various denominations, into Persia, and thence nearly parallel to the northern shores of the Persian gulf.
4. Mount Ararat, celebrated as the resting place of Noah's Ark after the Deluge, rises on the Persian frontier, and presents two insulated summits, the highest of which is about 9600 feet in height, and covered with perpetual snow; the lower parts are composed of a deep moving sand. One side presents a vast chasm, tinged with smoke, from which flames have been known to issue.
5. The Mountains of Libanus, or Lebanon, the most noted chain in Syria, run nearly parallel with the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. The highest
points, estimated at 9520 feet in height, are between thirty and forty miles from the shore, and frequently covered with snow: Anti-Libanus is a detached chain, of inferior altitude, east of the former.
6. The Himmaleh, or Himalaya Mountains, (the abode of snow) considered as the most stupendous on the globe, separate Hindoostan from Tibet. Among the peaks, that of Kantel, in the province of Lahore, is reckoned the highest in the world; but its altitude has not been measured: others have been estimated at from 25,000 to 27,000 feet above the level of the sea. The western part of this chain, which runs through the north of Caubul, is called Hindoo Koosh.
7. The Ghauts, which run through the Deccan, and terminate at Cape Cormorin.
8. Horeb and Sinai, two summits of the Djebel-Moosa, a mountainous ridge in Arabia Petrea. It was on Mount Sinai that the Almighty made a display of His glory and majesty, in giving laws to His chosen people, Israel.
9. The ridge El Aredh, which runs through Arabia.
10. Adams Peak, in the island of Ceylon, estimated at 7000 feet in height.
11. Mount Ophir, in the island of Sumatra, situated nearly under the equator, is stated to be 13,842 feet in height; and a volcano to the south of it, is computed to rise 12,465 feet above the level of the sea.
Figure of reference. Mountains.
1 Dhawala Giri, or White Mountain, near the
sources of the Gundah River
2 Jewahir, or Himalay Peak, in the bend of the
Sutlej river .
3 Jamatura, or Jumoutri. on the Sutledga
4 Black Peak ditto
6 Various Peaks,varying from 23,000 to 24,700ft. A Pass in the Mountains
6 Budjrai Mountains .
7 Petclia, or Hamar .
8 Sochonda Mountains . . .
9 Melin Mountains . .
10 Corea Mountains .
11 Parmesan . .
12 Moonakoah .
13 Libanus, or Lebanon, noted for its Cedars .
14 Ararat, or Ala-Dagh .
15 Bythinian Olympus, or Keshisb-Dagh
16 Ida, celebrated for the judgment of Paris
17 Carmel, the place of Elijah's Appeal .
18 Tabor, or Mount of Transfiguration .
19 Mount Ophir
20 A Volcano, south of Mount Ophir
22 Sea View Hill, ,
23 Bathurst Height
24 Cunningham Mountains
25 Awatscha, Volcano .
MOUNTAINS OF AMERICA.
Next to those of Asia, the mountains of America claim attention from their stupendous elevation and imposing features. Those which form the chain of the Andes, were long supposed to be the highest in the world; but recent observations have transferred this claim to the Himalayan chain, in the eastern hemisphere. The Cordillera de los Andes has, however, characteristics of a peculiar kind, calculated to strike the beholder with admiration and terror. Vast cataracts by which the water is precipitated down a perpendicular depth of 600 feet, into dark and frightful gulfs; tremendous volcanoes, in constant activity; some ejecting lava, others discharging vast quantities of boiling water, clay, and sulphur; and immense chasms, between 4000 and 5000 feet in perpendicular
descent. Perpetual snow invests the upper parts of the chain, forming a barrier to the animal and. vegetable kingdoms. This range is rich in mineral treasures, excepting only lead. This enormous chain runs from north to south through the greater part of the American continent, at a distance from the shores of the Pacific Ocean, varying from 100 to 200 miles. Most of the other mountains are but branches of this range. Its height is not uniform: in some places it rises to upwards of 20,000 feet; in others it sinks to less than 1000. Its breadth is about sixty miles under the equator; about 150 in Mexico, and the same in Peru. In Chili, the breadth is about 120 miles, and the summits rise to a tremendous height. To the north of the isthmus of Panama, it gradually sinks till it spreads itself Into the vast plains of Mexico. The most elevated of its secondary chains stretches along the northern coast of Columbia, with summits from 14,000 to 15,000 feet in altitude. The second of these chains branches from the main ridge between the third and sixth degree of south latitude, and extends towards the east to an unexplored extent, though it has been traced for about 600 miles. A third lateral branch makes a kind of semicircular sweep, and appears to connect the main body of the Andes with the mountains of Brazil and Paraguay, which present features nearly similar. The Cordillera of Mexico is considered as a continuation of the Andes of the southern continent; which, notwithstanding its lowness in the isthmus recovers a considerable height in the province of
Guatimala, where its ridge is jagged with volcanic cones: these are the Apacana Mountains. Farther north, the crest takes the name of Sierra Madre, and, gradually expanding in breadth, at last divides into three branches, of which the western is called the Topian Mountains. Of these, the Stony Mountains and Rocky Mountains, which separate the western territory of the United States from Missoury, are a continuation. The most known of the mountains of North America, are those of the Apalachian or Alleghany chain, which stretches from the south-west of theUnited States, nearly to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This surpasses in length any European range, except the Norwegian; but its highest summits do not exceed 3000 or 4000 feet.
Africa has some extensive chains of mountains; but the altitudes of only a few have been ascertained. The Gebel Tedla, or Atlas of the ancients, extends through more than half the breadth of the northern part, and some of its summits, which are covered with perpetual snow, are about 12,050 feet in height. South of the Great Desert, is the Kong range, which stretches from Cape Verd to about the fourth or fifth degree of east longitude; but they have never been fully explored. Captain Clapperton, in 1826, crossed a portion of this ridge, above Benin, and thinks the highest part in that quarter did not exceed 2500 feet. On the opposite side of the continent, in parallel latitudes, lies Abyssinia, a country of mountains, among which are Geesh, 15,000 feet; AmidAmid, 13,000 feet; and La Malmon, 11,200 feet. South-west of this are the Gebel Kumri, or Donga Mountains, (the Mountains of the Moon of the old geographers) which are supposed to extend westward towards the Kong Mountains of Guinea. The Sierra de Lupata, on the south-eastern coast, appears to reach from Cape Guardafui to the Cape of Good Hope. In the southern promontory, or that part which may be called British, are three great and almost parallel chains, with numerous branches. The first, or southern range, called Lange Kloof, or Long Pass, runs parallel to the coast, at a distance varying from twenty to eixi y miles, widening as it approaches the west. North
of this is the second range, called Zuiarle Bergen, or Black Mountain, which runs higher, and is more rugged than the former, and composed, in some places, of double and triple ranges. To the north-west of this, at an interval of 80 to 100 miles, is Nieuweldt Berg, the highest chain of Southern Africa. Its summits, upwards of 10,000 feet high, are usually covered with snow. Besides these principal ranges, others diversify the immediate vicinity of the Cape of Good Hope. Behind Cape Town is Table Mountain, 3582 feet above the Bay, consisting of a stupendous naked rock, two miles in length. The Devil's Mountain on one side, and False Lion's Head on the other, are but continuations of the same ridge; the former is an irregular pointed mass, 3315 feet in height; the latter resembles a dome, and is computed to rise 2160 feet.
The African islands have also their remarkable mountains. Madeira consists of a group of mountains, many of volcanic origin, rearing their heads to the height of 5000 feet. In the Canaries is the celebrated Peak of Tenerffe, 12,358 feet high. In the Cape de Verd islands, the Peak of Fuego rises 9790 feet. Diana's Peak, the loftiest in St. Helena, is nearly 2700 feet in height. Madagascar is intersected through its whole length by a lofty range of mountains, the highest points of which have been estimated at 10,800 feet. The island of Bourbon I may be said to consist of two volcanic mountains, of
The most celebrated ranges of mountains in this division of the globe, are: in the north-west the Scandinavian chain, sometimes called the Norwegian Alps, partly separating Norway from Sweden; in the north-east, the Uralian Mountains, which in part form the boundary between Europe and Asia; towards the centre, the Carpathian range, in the Austrian dominions; in the south, the Alps, between France and Italy; the Pyrenees, between France and Spain; and the Apennines, which run through the whole length of Italy.
In the Scandinavian, or Koelen chain, are hills rising more than 7000 feet; which, added to their northern situation, clothes them with perpetual winter, though, in point of elevation, they are inferior to the Pyrenees. Forests of pines clothe their sides to a certain height; and they contain marble, iron, copper, and other useful minerals. They extend above a thousand miles, from north to south. The central and highest point is Sneehiittan, which, in latitude 62°, towers like a pyramid to the height of 8120 feet, of which 4000 are above the line of perpetual frost. The northern part of the chain gradually decreases in height, as it approaches the Arctic Ocean. The southern portion sends out branches which cross the broad part of Norway diagonally, in a south-west direction. Here we meet with the Glacier of Sogne-feld, at an elevation of 7861 feet; the hills Folgcfond, 7236 feet; Lang-feld, 7217 feet; and others of inferior altitude.
The Uralian or Oural chain stretches over more than 1200 miles. The natives of its vicinity have bestowed upon it the pompous epithet of Semenoi Poias, "The Girdle of the World." Its height, however, is not proportioned to its length, the loftiest summits being generally under 5000 feet. The following points, however, are stated to exceed that average: Tanagai, 9000 feet; Komsche/skoi, 8132 feet; Pawdinskoi, 6631 feet. The greater portion of this chain is covered with forests ; the central parts abound in minerals and metallic ores; the richest mines are on the Asiatic side.
The Carpathian or Krapac Mountains extend from the southern point of Silesia, to the north and east of Hungary, sending out branches to Transylvania and Walachia. The whole length of this chain is about 500 miles: its highest summits are from 8000 to 9000 feet; and but few of them attain that elevation. Among the former ones, the Peak of Lomnitz, 8870 feet; Krivan, near Cfemnitz, 8034 feet; Pietrosz, in the north-east of Hungary, 7273 feet. These mountains have neither glaciers, nor any feature of perpetual winter; but are clothed with extensive forests, particularly of pines and firs. They contain a variety of minerals.
The Alps, the highest and most celebrated mountains of Europe, derive their name from a Celtic word, signifying high. They divide the north of Italy from Germany, France, and Switzerland, stretching like a crescent from the Gulf of Genoa to the head of the
Adriatic. The length of the chain is about 600 miles, and its breadth, in some places, exceeds 100; the whole comprising various branches, broken into lofty peaks, and divided from each other by narrow valleys and dreadful chasms, several thousand feet deep. In many places the mountains seem like rocks piled upon rocks, till their summits, reaching above the clouds, resemble islands emerging from the ocean. These are from 4000 to 12000 feet above the level of the "sea. The most rugged parts of this chain are between Savoy and the Valais, among which, Mont Blanc, the monarch of the group, rears its lofty head to the height of 15735 feet, and is visible at Dijon and Langres, a distance of 140 miles. From these elevations some of the principal rivers of Europe derive their origin, in sources which are often above the clouds. The lower parts of the mountains, generally, abound in woods and pastures remarkable for their fertility. The middle regions are the summer resort of herdsmen and shepherds, with their cattle and flocks: the upper region is chiefly composed of rugged and inaccessible rocks, clad in perpetual snow. Many parts of the middle regions are subject to tremendous snowstorms, which, in a few hours, fill the ravines, destroy the distinction between paths and precipices, cover villages and bury the inhabitants. In summer the thunder bursts with dreadful fury upon these mountains, and is accompanied with violent hailstorms. Among the gentler declivities of the mountains, especially the Swiss portion of them, are lodged immense masses of ice, exhibiting the most fantastic and picturesque forms :—these are the glaciers, which resemble so many stormy seas suddenly frozen. Their thickness varies from one to six hundred feet. Among these mountains are the points St. Bernard and St. Gothard, on each of which are an hospital for the accommodation of travellers, and a convent for monks. The convent of St. Bernard (a), on the frontier of the Valais, is the highest inhabited spot in Europe, being 8G06 feet above the level of the sea; but the mountain rises 2400 feet above this. The convent of St. Gothard (&), in the canton of Uri, is at an elevation of 6900, or, according to some computations, 7320 feet, above which the mountain rears its head, covered with eternal snow and ice, 2175 feet.
Next to the Alps in celebrity are the Pyrennees, which extend from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean, forming a natural barrier between France and Spain. The highest peaks are near the middle of the chain, and are about 11000 feet above the sea level. The composition of these mountains differs from that of the Alps, which is solid rock; but the Pyrennees arc calcareous, and contain large masses of sea shells and other marine matter. These mountains have their glaciers, and, in common with the Alps, are subject to those vast and destructive descents of snow denominated avalanches.
The Apenines branch off from that extremity of the
The mountains of England, if less stupendous than those of the continent, are not inferior for their picturesque beauties. The highest summits are on the west side of the country; and the principality of Wales is properly denominated a mountainous region, though its most lofty summit, Snowdon, does not rise 4000 feet above the sea.
The grand chain of England commences in Cumberland, and extends in a series of groups, rather than a connected range, into Cornwall, only interrupted by the low grounds of Lancashire and Cheshire, and the hollow of the Bristol Channel, by which it is divided into three portions, the Northern, Middle, and Southern ridges. The first of these, rising a little to the south of Carlisle, spreads over a considerable part of Cumberland, Westmoreland, the east of Lancashire, and the west of Yorkshire, with one branch stretching into Derbyshire, and another to the west of Durham. These mountains are of various shapes and forms, generally broken into pointed masses, and united at their bases only. In many cases the peaks are separated by beautiful lakes, as in Cumberland and Westmoreland. The highest of these peaks, called Sea Fell, is 3166 feet, the lowest, named Calf Hill, is 2188 feet above the ocean.
The second, or middle ridge, called the Cambrian range, is less rugged, but more towering and massy, than the Northern. The principal part extends towards the south, through Carnarvonshire, Merionethshire, and Cardiganshire, declining in elevation as it passes through the latter county, and approaches the borders of South Wales. The highest summit is Snowdon, which, rising to the altitude of 3571 feet, is the chief of a range composed of various piles heaped one upon another, and surrounded by other points of nearly equal altitude. From Snowdon the chain declines both ways, sinking gradually on the eastern side to the charming scenery of the Shropshire hills, where the Wrekin, rising far above the neighbouring summits, seems, when viewed in perspective, to stand in an elevated plain: its height is 1320 feet. The range continues nearly south to Cardiff, sometimes diverging towards the west, and, though deprived of much of its Alpine character, still preserving enough of it to render the country mountainous. Like the northern part, it declines
towards the east, and forms the hills of Hereford.
The third, or Devonian range, is separated from the Cambrian by the Bristol Channel, and extends through parts of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somersetshire, Devonshire, and thence to the Land's End, in Cornwall. This division is much inferior in height to either of the former; its greatest altitude being the mountains of Dartmoor, and its most elevated points in that quarter are Cawsand Beacon, 1792 feet, and Pippin Tor, 1549 feet. In Cornwall the two highest summits are Brown Willy, 1368 feet, and Cavraton Hill, 1,208 feet. The Malvern Hills, rising from the vale of the Severn, rim through Worcestershire and part of Gloucestershire, sending branches into Herefordshire, but they do not attain an elevation of 1,500 feet. In the same neighbourhood are the Cotswold and Stroudwater Hills, extending over more than 300 square miles.
Hampshire and Sussex are diversified with a range of chalk ridges, called Downs, nearly fifty miles in length, and from five to ten miles broad. Another ridge runs through Surrey and Kent, and the Chiltern Hills form an upland tract in the counties of Hertford, Buckingham, and Oxford.
In Scotland the mountains rise, in some places, to a greater height than in England. The Grampian Hills, stretching westward from Aberdeenshire to the Atlantic, constitute the southern boundary of the Highlands. They are composed of various groups generally rising from 1500 to more than 4000 feet above the sea level. In the western part of this chain are Ben Nevis, the highest mountain of Great Britain, with its snow-capped head, 4358 feet; Ben Lawers, 3978 feet; Ben More, 3844 feet; Schehallien, 3673 feet; Cruacken-ben, 3390 feet; and Ben Lomond, 3240 feet. The Pentland Hills, south of Edinburgh, are more remarkable for picturesque scenery than mountainous features; their greatest altitude is about 1750 feet. The Cheviot Hills, constitute part of the boundary between Scotland and England: they are connected, at the south-west extremity, with the Lead Hills, a range which stretches westward from the borders of the two countries, and of which the principal summit is Hart Fell, nearly 3300 feet in height.
In the north of Scotland the mountains seldom