Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland.
The plain of Champagne, in which they occur, is unlike the surrounding soil in being formed of calcareous detritus, evidently brought down by some means or other from the Jura, and is dry and parched up to the very edges of the pits.  The Toleure, a tributary of the Aubonne, frequently large enough to be called a confluent, flows out from the foot of a wall of rock composed of regular parallelopipeds, and in the spring, when the snows are melting freely, its sources burst out at various levels of the rock.  Farther to the west, the Versoie, famous for its trout, pours forth a full-sized stream near the Chateau of Divonne, which is said to take its name (Divorum unda) from this phenomenon.  Passing to the northern slope of this range of the Jura, the Orbe is a remarkable example of the same sort of thing, flowing out peacefully in very considerable bulk from an arch at the bottom of a perpendicular rock of great height.  This river no doubt owes its origin to the superfluous waters of the Lake of Brenets, which have no visible outlet, and sink into fissures and entonnoirs in the rock at the edge of the lake.  Notwithstanding that the lake is three-quarters of a league distant, horizontally, and nearly 700 feet higher, the belief had always been that it was the source of the stream, and in 1776 this was proved to be the fact.  For some years before that date, the waters of the Lake of Joux had been inconveniently high, and the people determined to clean out the entonnoirs and fissures of the Lake of Brenets, which is only separated from the Lake of Joux by a narrow tongue of land, in the expectation that the water would then pass away more freely.  In order to reach the fissures, they dammed up the outlet of the upper into the lower lake; but the pressure on the embankment became too great, and the waters burst through with much violence, creating an immense disturbance in the lake; and the Orbe, which had always been perfectly clear, was troubled and muddy for some little time.  The source of the Loue, near Pontarlier, is more striking than even that of the Orbe.[25]


[Footnote 21:  A point common to the two sections, which are made by planes nearly at right angles to each other.]

[Footnote 22:  The dimensions of the two caves, and of the various masses of ice.]

[Footnote 23:  The Cartulary of Lausanne states that the wealthy village of Biere received its name from the following historical fact:—­In 522, the Bishop of Lausanne, S. Prothais, was superintending the cutting of wood in the Jura for his cathedral, when he died suddenly, and was carried down on a litter to a place where a proper bier could he procured, whence the place was named Biere.]

Project Gutenberg
Ice-Caves of France and Switzerland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook