Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
than at present exists anywhere upon the surface.  Intermixed with these were beds of the peculiar submarine shell-rock whose formation I have just described.  Above these again come strata of diluvial gravel, and about 400 feet below the surface rocks that bore evident traces of a glacial period.  As we approached the lower end of the gulf the shores sloped constantly downward, and where they were no more than 600 feet in height I was able to distinguish an upper stratum of some forty yards in depth, preserving through its whole extent traces of human life and even of civilisation.  This implied, if fairly representative of the rest of the planet’s crust, an existence of man upon its surface ten, twenty, or even a hundred-fold longer than he is supposed to have enjoyed upon Earth.  About noon on the seventh day we entered the canal which connects this arm of the gulf with the sea of the northern temperate zone.  It varies in height from 400 to 600 feet, in width from 100 to 300 yards, its channel never exceeds 20 feet in depth, Ergimo explained that the length had been thought to render a tunnel unsuitable, as the ordinary method of ventilation could hardly have been made to work, and to ventilate such a tunnel through shafts sunk to so great a depth would have been almost as costly as the method actually adopted.  A much smaller breadth might have been thought to suffice, and was at first intended; but it was found that the current in a narrow channel, the outer sea being many inches higher than the water of the gulf, would have been too rapid and violent for safety.  The work had occupied fifteen Martial years, and had been opened only for some eight centuries.  The water was not more than twenty feet in depth; but the channel was so perfectly scoured by the current that no obstacle had ever arisen and no expense had been incurred to keep it a clear.  We entered the Northern sea where a bay ran up some half dozen miles towards the end of the gulf, shortening the canal by this distance.  The bay itself was shallow, the only channel being scarcely wider than the canal, and created or preserved by the current setting in to the latter; a current which offered a very perceptible resistance to our course, and satisfied me that had the canal been no wider than the convenience of navigation would have required in the absence of such a stream, its force would have rendered the work altogether useless.  We crossed the sea, holding on in the same direction, and a little before sunset moored our vessel at the wharf of a small harbour, along the sides of which was built the largest town of this subarctic landbelt, a village of some fifty houses named Askinta.

CHAPTER XV — FUR-HUNTING.

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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