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Hills And Valleys






Part of: LAST OF EARTH
From: A Journey In Other Worlds

With the first light they resumed their journey, and an hour
after setting out they sighted, as Cortlandt had predicted,
another cloud of vapour. The fall--for such it proved to be--was
more beautiful than the other, for, though the volume of water
was not so great, it fell at one leap, without a break, and at
the same tremendous speed, a distance of more than a thousand
feet. The canon rang with the echoes, while the spray flew in
sheets against the smooth, glistening, sandstone walls. Instead
of coming from a river, as the first fall had, this poured at
once from the rocky lip, about two miles across, of a lake that
was eleven hundred feet above the surging mass in the vale below.

"It is a thousand pities," said Bearwarden, "that this cataract
has got so near its source; for, at the rate these streams must
cut, this one in a few hundred years, unless something is done to
prevent it, will have worn back to the lake, and then good-bye to
the falls, which will become a series of rapids. Perhaps the
first effect will be merely to reduce by a few feet the height of
the falls, in which case they will remain in practically the same
place."

About the shores of this lake they saw rhinoceroses with long
thick wool, and herds of creatures that much resembled buffaloes.

"I do not see," said Bearwarden, "why the identical species
should not exist here that till recently, in a geological sense,
inhabited the earth. The climate and all other conditions are
practically the same on both planets, except a trifling
difference in weight, to which terrestrials would soon adapt
themselves. We know by spectroscopic analysis that hydrogen,
iron, magnesium, and all our best-known substances exist in the
sun, and even the stars, while the earth contains everything we
have found in meteorites. Then why make an exception of life,
instead of supposing that at corresponding periods of development
the same living forms inhabit all? It would be assuming the
eternal sterilization of the functions of Nature to suppose that
our earth is the only body that can produce them."

"The world of organic life is so much more complex," replied
Cortlandt, "than that of the crystal, that it requires great
continuity. So far we certainly have seen no men, or anything
like them, not even so much as a monkey, though I suppose,
according to your reasoning, Jupiter has not advanced far enough
to produce even that."

"Exactly," replied Bearwarden, "for it will require vast periods;
and, according to my belief, at least half the earth's time of
habitability had passed before man appeared. But we see Jupiter
is admirably suited for those who have been developed somewhere
else, and it would be an awful shame if we allowed it to lie
unimproved till it produces appreciative inhabitants of its own,
for we find more to admire in one half-hour than its entire
present population during its lifetime. Yet, how magnificent
this world is, and how superior in its natural state to ours!
The mountainous horns of these crescent-shaped continents protect
them and the ocean they enclose from the cold polar marine
currents, and in a measure from the icy winds; while the elevated
country on the horns near the equator might be a Garden of Eden,
or ideal resort. To be sure, the continents might support a
larger population, if more broken up, notwithstanding the
advantage resulting from the comparatively low mountains along
the coasts, and the useful winds. A greater subdivision of land
and water, more great islands connected by isthmuses, and more
mediterraneans joined by straits, would be a further advantage to
commerce; but with the sources of power at hand, the resistless
winds and water-power, much increased in effectiveness by their
weight, the great tides when several moons are on the same side,
or opposite the sun, internal heat near the surface, and abundant
coal-supply doubtless already formed and also near the surface,
such small alterations could be made very easily, and would serve
merely to prevent our becoming rusty.

"As Jupiter's distance from the sun varies from 506,563,000 miles
at aphelion to only 460,013,000 at perihelion, this difference,
in connection with even the slight inclination of the axis, must
make a slight change in seasons, but as the inclination is
practically nothing, almost the entire change results from the
difference in distance. This means that the rise or fall in
temperature is general on every degree of latitude, all being
warmed simultaneously, more or less, as the planet approaches or
departs from the sun. It means also that about the same
conditions that Secretary Deepwaters suggested as desirable for
the earth, prevail here, and that Jupiter represents, therefore,
about the acme of climate naturally provided. On account of its
rapid rotation and vast size, the winds have a tornado's
strength, but they are nothing at this distance from the sun to
what they would be if a planet with its present rate of rotation
and size were where Venus or even the earth is. In either of
these positions no land life with which we are acquainted could
live on the surface; for the slope of the atmospheric isobars--i.
e., the lines of equal barometric pressure that produce wind by
becoming tilted through unequal expansion, after which the air,
as it were, flows down-hill--would be too great. The ascending
currents about the equator would also, of course, be vastly
strengthened; so that we see a wise dispensation of Providence in
placing the large planets, which also rotate so rapidly, at a
great distance from the sun, which is the father of all winds,
rotation alone, however rapid, being unable to produce them."

They found this lake was about six times the size of Lake
Superior, and that several large and small streams ran into its
upper end. These had their sources in smaller lakes that were at
slightly higher elevations. Though the air was cool, the sun
shone brightly, while the ground was covered with flowers
resembling those of the northern climes on earth, of all shapes
and lines. Twice a day these sent up their song, and trees were
covered with buds, and the birds twittered gaily. The streams
murmured and bubbled, and all things reminded the travellers of
early morning in spring.

"If anything could reconcile me," said Bearwarden, "to exchange
my active utilitarian life for a rustic poetical existence, it
would be this place, for it is far more beautiful than anything I
have seen on earth. It needs but a Maud Muller and a few cows to
complete the picture, since Nature gives us a vision of eternal
peace and repose."

Somehow the mention of Maud Muller, and the delicate and refined
flowers, whose perfume he inhaled, brought up thoughts that were
never far below the surface in Ayrault's mind. "The place is
heavenly enough," said he, "to make one wish to live and remain
here forever, but to me it would be Hamlet with Hamlet left out."

"Ah! poor chap," said Cortlandt, "you are in love, but you are
not to be pitied, for though the thrusts at the heart are sharp,
they may be the sweetest that mortals know."

The following morning they reluctantly left the picturesque
shores of Lake Serenity, with their beautiful tints and foliage,
and resumed the journey, to explore a number of islands in the
ocean in the west, which were recorded on their negatives.
Ascending to rarefied air, they saw great chains of mountains,
which they imagined ran parallel to the coast, rising to
considerable altitudes in the east. The tops of all glistened
with a mantle of snow in the sunlight, while between the ridges
they saw darker and evidently fertile valleys. They passed,
moving northwest, over large and small lakes, all evidently part
of the same great system, and continued to sweep along for
several days with a beautiful panorama, as varying as a
kaleidoscope, spread beneath their eyes. They observed that the
character of the country gradually changed. The symmetrically
rounded mountains and hills began to show angles, while great
slabs of rock were split from the faces. The sides also became
less vertical, and there was an accumulation of detrital
fragments about their bases. These heaps of fractured stone had
in some cases begun to disintegrate and form soil, on which there
was a scant growth of vegetation; but the sides and summits,
whose jaggedness increased with their height, were absolutely
bare.

"Here," said Cortlandt, "we have unmistakable evidence of frost
and ice action. The next interesting question is, How recently
has denudation occurred? The absence of plant life at the
exposed places," he continued, as if lecturing to a class, "can
be accounted for here, as nearer the equator, by the violence of
the wind; but I greatly doubt whether water will now freeze in
this latitude at any season of the year, for, even should the
Northern hemisphere's very insignificant winter coincide with the
planet's aphelion, the necessary drop from the present
temperature would be too great to be at all probable. If, then,
it is granted that ice does not form here now, notwithstanding
the fact that it has done so, the most plausible conclusion is
that the inclination of Jupiter's axis is automatically changing,
as we know the earth's has often done. There being nothing
incompatible in this view with the evidence at hand, we can
safely assume it correct for the time being at least. When
farther south, you remember, we found no trace of ice action,
notwithstanding the comparative slowness with which we decided
that the ridges in the crust had been upheaved on account of the
resisting power of gravity, and, as I see now, also on account of
Jupiter's great mass, which must prevent its losing its heat
anything like as fast as the earth has, in which I think also we
have the explanation of the comparatively low elevation of the
mountains that we found we could not account for by the power of
gravitation alone.[2] From the fact that the exposed surface
farther south must be old, on account of the slow upheaval and
the slight wear to which it is exposed, about the only wearing
agent being the wind, which would be powerless to erase
ice-scratches, especially since, on account of gravity's power,
it cannot, like our desert winds, carry much sand--which, as we
know, has cut away the base of the Sphinx--I think it is logical
to conclude that, though Jupiter's axis is changing naturally as
the earth's has been, it has never varied as much as twenty-three
and a half degrees, and certainly to nothing like the extent to
which we see Venus and Uranus tilted to-day."

[2] It is well known that mountain chains are but ridges or
foldings in the crust upheaved as the interior cools and shrinks.
This is proved by reason and by experiments with viscous clay or
other material placed upon a sheet of stretched rubber, which is
afterwards allowed to contract, whereupon the analogues of
mountain ridges are thrown up.


"I follow you," said Bearwarden, "and do not see how we could
arrive at anything else. From Jupiter's low specific gravity,
weighing but little more than an equal bulk of water, I should
say the interior must be very hot, or else is composed of light
material, for the crust's surface, or the part we see, is
evidently about as dense as what we have on earth. These things
have puzzled me a good deal, and I have been wondering if Jupiter
may not have been formed before the earth and the smaller
planets."

"The discrepancies between even the best authorities," replied
Cortlandt, "show that as yet but little has been discovered from
the earth concerning Jupiter's real condition. The two theories
that try to account for its genesis are the ring theory and the
nebulous. We know that the sun is constantly emitting vast
volumes of heat and light, and that, with the exception of the
heat resulting from the impact of falling meteors, it receives
none from outside, the principal source being the tremendous
friction and pressure between the cooling and shrinking strata
within the great mass of the sun itself. A seeming paradox
therefore comes in here, which must be considered: If the sun
were composed entirely of gas, it would for a time continue to
grow hotter; but the sun is incessantly radiating light and heat,
and consequently becoming smaller. Therefore the farther back we
go the hotter we find the sun, and also the larger, till, instead
of having a diameter of eight hundred and eighty thousand miles,
it filled the space now occupied by the entire solar system.
Here is where the two theories start. According to the first,
the revolving nebulous mass threw off a ring that became the
planet Neptune, afterwards another that contained the material
for Uranus, and so on, the lightest substance in the sun being
thrown off first, by which they accounted for the lightness of
the four great planets, and finally Mars, the earth, and the
small dense planets near the sun. The advocates of this theory
pointed to Saturn's rings as an illustration of the birth of a
planet, or, rather, in that case a satellite. According to this,
the major planets have had a far longer separate existence than
the minor, which would account for their being so advanced
notwithstanding their size. This theory may again come into
general acceptance, but for the present it has been discredited
by the nebulous. According to this second theory, at the time
the sun filled all the space inside of Neptune's, orbit, or
extended even farther, several centres of condensation were
formed within the nebulous, gaseous mass. The greatest centre
became the sun, and the others, large and small, the planets,
which--as a result of the spiral motion of the whole, such as is
now going on before our eyes in the great nebulae of fifty- one
M. Canuin venaticorum, and many others--began to revolve about
the greatest central body of gas. As the separate masses cooled,
they shrank, and their surfaces or extreme edges, which at first
were contiguous, began to recede, which recession is still going
on with some rapidity on the part of the sun, for we may be sure
its diameter diminishes as its density increases. According to
either theory, as I see it, the major planets, on account of
their distance from the central mass, have had longer separate
existences than the minor, and are therefore more advanced than
they would be had all been formed at the same time.

"This theory explains the practical uniformity in the chemical
composition of all members of this system by assuming that they
were all once a part of the same body, and you may say brothers
and sisters of the sun, instead of its offspring. It also makes
size the only factor determining temperature and density, but of
course modified by age, since otherwise Jupiter would have a far
less developed crust than that with which we find it. I have
always considered the period from the molten condition to that
with a crust as comparatively short, which stands to reason, for
radiation has then no check; and the period from the formation of
the crust, which acts as a blanket, to the death of a planet, as
very long. I have not found this view clearly set forth in any
of the books I have read, but it seems to me the simplest and
most natural explanation. Now, granted that the solar system was
once a nebula, on which I think every one will agree--the same
forces that changed it into a system of sun and planets must be
at work on fifty-one M. Canum venaticorum, Andromeda, and ninety-

nine M. Virginis, and must inevitably change them to suns, each
with doubtless a system of planets.

"If, then, the condition of a nebula or star depends simply on
its size, it is reasonable to suppose that Andromeda, Sirius, and
all the vast bodies we see, were created at the same time as our
system, which involves the necessity of one general and
simultaneous creation day. But as Sirius, with its diameter of
twelve million miles, must be larger than some of the nebulae
will be when equally condensed, we must suppose rather that
nebulae are forming and coming into the condition of bright and
dead stars, much as apples or pears on a fruit tree are
constantly growing and developing, so that the Mosaic description
of the creation would probably apply in point of time only to our
system, or perhaps to our globe, though the rest will doubtless
pass through precisely the same stages. This, I think, I will
publish, on our return, as the Cortlandt astronomical doctrine,
as the most rational I have seen devised, and one that I think we
may safely believe, until, perhaps, through increased knowledge,
it can be disproved."

After they crossed a line of hills that ran at right angles to
their course they found the country more rolling. All streams
and water-courses flowed in their direction, while their aneroid
showed them that they were gradually descending. When they were
moving along near the surface of the ground, a delicious and
refined perfume exhaled by the blue and white flowers, that had
been growing smaller as they journeyed northward, frequently
reached their nostrils. To Cortlandt and Bearwarden it was
merely the scent of a flower, but to Ayrault it recalled mental
pictures of Sylvia wearing violets and lilies that he had given
her. He knew that the greatest telescopes on earth could not
reveal the Callisto moving about in Jupiter's sunshine, as even a
point of light, at that distance, and, notwithstanding
Cortlandt's learning and Bearwarden's joviality, he felt at times
extremely lonely.

They swept along steadily for fifty hours, having bright sunny
days and beautifully moonlit nights. They passed over finely
rounded hills and valleys and well- watered plains. As they
approached the ocean and its level the temperature rose, and
there was more moisture in the air. The plants and flowers also
increased in size, again resembling somewhat the large species
they had seen near the equator.

"This would be the place to live," said Bearwarden, looking at
iron mountains, silver, copper, and lead formations, primeval
forests, rich prairies, and regions evidently underlaid with coal
and petroleum, not to mention huge beds of aluminum clay, and
other natural resources, that made his materialistic mouth water.
"It would be joy and delight to develop industries here, with no
snow avalanches to clog your railroads, or icy blizzards to
paralyze work, nor weather that blights you with sun-strokes and
fevers. On our return to the earth we must organize a company to
run regular interplanetary lines. We could start on this globe
all that is best on our own. Think what boundless possibilities
may be before the human race on this planet, which on account of
its vast size will be in its prime when our insignificant earth
is cold and dead and no longer capable of supporting life! Think
also of the indescribable blessing to the congested communities
of Europe and America, to find an unlimited outlet here! Mars is
already past its prime, and Venus scarcely habitable, but in
Jupiter we have a new promised land, compared with which our
earth is a pygmy, or but little more than microscopic."

"I see," said Ayrault, "that the possibilities here have no
limit; but I do not see how you can compare it to the promised
land, since, till we undertook this journey, no one had even
thought of Jupiter as a habitable place."

"I trace the Divine promise," replied Bearwarden, "in what you
described to us on earth as man's innate longing and desire to
rise, and in the fact that the Almighty has given the race
unbounded expansiveness in very limited space. This would look
to me as the return of man to the garden of Eden through
intellectual development, for here every man can sit under his
own vine and fig-tree."

"It seems to me," said Cortlandt, "that no paradise or heaven
described in anything but the Bible compares with this.
According to Virgil's description, the joys on the banks of his
river Lethe must have been most sad and dreary, the general
idleness and monotony apparently being broken only by wrestling
matches between the children, while the rest strolled about with
laurel wreaths or rested in the shade. The pilot Palinurus, who
had been drowned by falling overboard while asleep, but who
before that had presumably done his duty, did not seem especially
happy; while the harsh, resentful disposition evidently remained
unsoftened, for Dido became like a cliff of Marpesian marble when
AEneas asked to be forgiven, though he had doubtless considered
himself in duty bound to leave her, having been twice commanded
to do so by Mercury, the messenger of Jove. She, like the rest,
seems to have had no occupation, while the consciences of few
appear to have been sufficiently clear to enable them to enjoy
unbroken rest."

"The idleness in the spirit-land of all profane writers," added
Bearwarden, "has often surprised me too. Though I have always
recommended a certain amount of recreation for my staff--in fact,
more than I have generally had myself--an excess of it becomes a
bore. I think that all real progress comes through thorough
work. Why should we assume that progress ceases at death? I
believe in the verse that says, 'We learn here on earth those
things the knowledge of which is perfected in heaven.'"

"According to that," said Cortlandt, "you will some day be
setting the axis of heaven right, for in order to do work there
must be work to be done--a necessary corollary to which is that
heaven is still imperfect."

"No," said Bearwarden, bristling up at the way Cortlandt
sometimes received his speeches, "it means simply that its
development, though perfect so far as it goes, may not be
finished, and that we may be the means, as on earth, of helping
it along."

"The conditions constituting heaven," said Ayrault, "may be as
fixed as the laws of Nature, though the products of those
conditions might, it seems to me, still be forming and subject to
modification thereby. The reductio ad absurdu would of course
apply if we supposed the work of creation absolutely finished."





Next: North-polar Discoveries

Previous: A Jovian Niagara



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