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A Textbook for Courses in Physical Geography and Earth Science

THIRD

EDITION

I Earth and Its Resources



V E R N O R C. F I N C H University of Professor Emeritus Wisconsin

GLENN T. T R E W A R T H A University of Wisconsin

Professor

of

Geography

M. H. S H E A R E R

Westport Missouri

High

School

S*
s; ( CJ J T" U : >- S C Q

Kansas

City,

McGRAW-HILL New York Chicago

BOOK

COMPANY, Toronto

INC. London

San Francisco

Dallas

II

THE COPYRIGHT,

EARTH

AND

ITS

RESOURCES BOOK COMPANY, INC.

1 9 5 9 , BY THE M C G R A W - H I L L

Copyright, 1941, 1948, by the McGraw-Hill Rook Company, Inc. Printed in United States of America. All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission of the publishers. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 59-8537

Preface

Many of the world's pressing economic and social problems originate partly at least in the differences in environment and natural resources over the regions of the earth. A clear understanding of the physical environment, therefore, immeasurably enriches the study of economic, social, and political problems. For the American student particularly, because of the striking differences in natural endowment among different parts of the United States, an intelligent consideration of many national problems presumes a knowledge of the contrasts in climate, land surface, soils, minerals, and other resources between East and West, between North and South. In recent years, for example, the all-important subject of conservation of its natural resources lias commanded the attention of the nation. Basic to a discussion of the problem of conservation is a knowledge of the nature and occurrence of such resources as soils, waters, and minerals. These facts are a vital part of the study of the physical earth; hence, the subject of conservation has a logical and important place in a treatment of the earth and its resources. It is the purpose of the authors of this book, therefore, to present the basic facts concerning the earth as the home of man so that the student may realize their importance and understand their relationship to the problems of his own time and place. T o this end the major features of the physical earth are considered primarily as separate topics and secondarily in connection with the different regions of the earth. These features of our environment are discussed under the following main headings: (I) the atmosphereweather and climate; (2) landformsplains, plateaus, hill country, and mountains; (3) the oceans and their shores; (4) earth resourceswaters, vegetation, soils, and minerals. This treatment is supplemented by an analysis of the various types of regions, for example, climatic regions and landform regions. T h e elements of the environment are further considered in their regional combinations and are viewed in the light of their value for man's economic and social use. Serious effort has been made to keep both the content of the book and its language and vocabulary at a level that will be understandable to the
v

VI

PREFACE

beginning student in a subject which may be, and often is, treated in a highly technical manner. Technical terms are used sparingly and, when they are employed, are carefully explained. More than 450 maps, diagrams, and photographs in black and white and 15 pages of full-color maps have been included to illustrate the text material and to assist the student in visualizing the phenomena of the physical environment. A laboratory manual has been prepared to accompany this textbook, so that the classwork can be presented in the manner used in other laboratorysciences. There is sufficient laboratory work for a two-semester course. If the work must be confined to one semester, some of the laboratory work may be omitted. T h e use of the exercises in the laboratory manual contributes much to the interest and comprehensiveness of the course. T h e authors wish to make grateful acknowledgment to the many individuals who have assisted them in the preparation of this textbook and in particular to Mrs. M. H. Shearer, for her critical and clerical assistance during the preparation of the manuscript; to R. S. Harris, of Urbana, Illinois, who read part of the text critically, and to M. W . Bishop, of Junior College, Kansas City, Missouri. T h e cooperation of Miss Virginia Holbert, in charge of the library of the Department of Geology and Geography at the University of Colorado, has also been most helpful. Special thanks are due Eugene M. Shearer, of Denver, Colorado, for writing the section, Appendix D, Earth History.
VERNOR C. FINCH TREWARTHA GLENN T . M. H.

SHEARER

Contents

Preface 1. The Earth and Its Planetary Relations 2. Temperature of the Atmosphere 3. Atmospheric Pressure and Winds 4. Atmospheric Moisture and Precipitation 5. Storms and Their Weather Types 6. Climates of the Tropics and the Dry Middle Latitudes 7. Climates of Middle and High Latitudes 8. Composition and Changes of the Earth's Crust 9. Wearing Away and Building Up of the Land 10. River-Made Plains 11. Glaciated Plains 12. Plateaus and Hill Country 13. Mountains 14. Oceans and Their Shores 15. Water Resources of the Land 16. Native Vegetation and Animal Life 17. Soils 18. Mineral Fuels, Ores, and Other Economic Minerals 19. Major Regions and Resources of the United States Appendix A. The Seasons . Supplementary Climatic Data c. Meteorological Instruments and the Weather Map .
vii

v 1 21 45 73 . . . . . . . . 99 130 157 187 212 239 263 284 306 331 . . 362 393 424 444 476

514 518 . . . 520

CHAPTER

l. The Earth and Its Planetary Relations

INTRODUCTION TO EARTH SCIENCES Life, as we k n o w it, exists in a thin zone on or near the earth's surface, and at the bottom of a vast sea of air. A m o n g the millions of living things in this zone is man, an adventurous and courageous animal, endowed with overpowering curiosity. Having developed his brain more than any other member of the animal kingdom, man works ceaselessly to increase his knowledge. In his efforts to know more about the planet on which he lives, man explores and studies the land, the sea, and the air. These forms of matter are composed of atoms and combinations of atoms called molecules. Stored within the atom is an enormous amount of energy. Release of this atomic energy was accomplished largely as a result of intensive effort during W o r l d W a r II. Explosion of the first atomic b o m b by American scientists came as a surprise as did the launching of the first artificial satellite by Russian scientists. These are spectacular accomplishments. However, all of us

should bear in mind that such accomplishments are the result of thousands of hours of patient study, research, and experimentation. H u g e rockets and artificial satellites are indeed complicated machines. T h e launching alone of a satellite is a remarkable engineering

triumph. Both rockets and satellites carry various kinds of scientific instruments that provide information about the sun, the earth, and outer space. Man-made satellites are artificial moons. T h e y revolve around the earth just as the real m o o n does. T h e real m o o n is about 246,000 miles from the earth, has no water or atmosphere, and undergoes extreme changes in temperature. It makes one trip around the earth in about four weeks. By contrast, man-made satellites are only a few hundred miles from earth, and have periods of revolution ranging from about ninety minutes to a few hours. T o remain in orbit, the speed of the artificial m o o n must be exactly sufficient to provide enough outward pull, called centrifugal force, to bal-

T H E EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

ance the gravitational pull ot the earth. T h e International Geophysical Year brought about increased interest in the earth sciences. Governments of many countries provided funds which enabled scientists to cooperate in their efforts (1) in obtaining more scientific information about the earth, some by means of rockets and satellites, and (2) in making more accurate measurements with reference to motions of the earth, the earth's irregular surface, earth magnetism, existing glaciers, solar radiation, atmospheric circulation, ocean depths and currents, the Antarctic continent, and so forth. Of the earth sciences, perhaps the oldest is geography, the science of the earth's surface. One who studies geography must be interested in maps of all kinds. He reads descriptions of Iandlorms, and of different climatic conditions over the earth's surface. He studies natural resources, how they are used by man, and what steps are being taken toward their conservation. Quite often we hear someone say, " W e are living in the air age." This expression results from the fact that more and more people travel from place to place in aircraft of various kinds. Thus the atmosphere has become an important medium of travel. Scientists, therefore, are intensifying their study of the atmosphere, called meteorology. A huge balloon, named Explorer II, left the earth in northern Minne-

sota. It carried man more than thirteen miles above the earth's surface. One purpose of the flight was to make as many observations of atmospheric conditions as possible. Every day, throughout the world, many balloons, carrying scientific instruments. are released into the atmosphere. These instruments, as they rise high in the air, broadcast certain weather information to receiving sets on the ground. T h e data thus derived enable the meteorologist to give more accurate informao

tion to airplane pilots concerning the winds at high altitudes where fast, long-distance flights are made. Closely associated with meteorology is the study of climate, or climatology. T h e < limatologist is interested primarily in the description and location of the various types of climate on the earth's surface. Climate refers to general atmospheric conditions in a given locality for the entire year. It answers such questions as: " W h a t is the total annual rainfall?" "During which season does most rain fall?" " W h a t is the range of temperature during the year?" If we go down into a mine on a hot, summer day, we note that the temperature is much cooler. However, if we could continue downward for many miles, we would note a steady increase in temperature. In some of the deepest oil wells, a temperature near the boiling point of water has been recorded. Scientists estimate the temperature of the central core of the earth to be several thousand degrees above zero.

T H E E A R T H AND ITS P L A N E T A R Y R E L A T I O N S

Fig. 1. The planets move about the sun in orbits nearly circular in shape. Mercury is nearest the sun; Venus comes second; then the earth, around which is shown the orbit of the moon. Next in order are Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Revolving around the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter are several hundred asteroids.

In the mine as well as on the earth's surface we might study the rocks and mineral veins that are exposed. W e are now getting into the science of geology. Geology deals mainly with the composition, structure, and history of the earth. Historical geology carries us back hundreds of millions of years. By studying fossils preserved in the rocks, we learn much about life as it existed in the distant past. Nearly three-fourths of the earth's surface is covered by water. This liquid film is the hydrosphere. It consists mainly of the vast oceans. T h e science of the oceans is called oceanography. It deals with the temperature, composition, and pressure of sea water; with the movements of ocean water in the form of tides and currents; and with the vast array of plant and animal life that exists in the hydrosphere. Life on earth is dependent on energy received from the sun. Study of relationships between sun and earth, and between sun, moon, and earth, leads us into the science of astronomy.

This book touches on the various earth sciences mentioned in previous paragraphs. Our first chapter deals with the earth and its planetary relations.
The earth in space. T h e earth is a

planet. It is a member of the solar system, which consists of (1) the sun, which is a star and the center of the system; (2) nine planets and their satellites, all of which revolve around the sun; (3) several hundred asteroids, which are small planets; and (4) a few comets. T h e planets in order from the sun are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. It should be remembered that the sun shines by its own light but the planets reflect the light of the sun. A satellite is an attendant body that revolves around a planet. Jupiter, the largest planet, with a diameter about ten times that of the earth, has twelve satellites. Saturn has nine satellites; Uranus five; Neptune two; Mars two; Mercury, Venus, and Pluto none. T h e earth's satellite, the moon, revolves around the earth about once

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

a month (Fig. 2). Earth and moon travel together, making a complete trip around the sun once a year. Eclipses occur when the three bodies sun, earth, and moonare in a straight line. W h e n the moon comes between the earth and the sun, an eclipse of the sun results. This can

sphere. Great ocean deeps reach 6 miles or more below sea level, and high mountain peaks 5.5 miles above sea level. If, however, the circumference of the earth is represented by a true chalk circle of the largest size that can be drawn on an ordinary blackboard, the chalk line will have more than enough thickness to include all the earth's departures from being a true sphere, if they could be represented properly at that scale.
Size of the earth. T h e earth has a

'Last the right, the

quarter position for total

Fig. 2. Phases of the moon and the eclipses. At moon is in eclipse of the sun, visible at the point where the moon's darker shadow reaches the earth. A partial eclipse would be observed at other points such as and C. At the left, the moon is in the earth's shadow. When this occurs, an eclipse of the moon is observed from the earth.

occur only at the new moon. W h e n the earth is between the sun and the moon, an eclipse of the moon results. This can occur only at full moon. T h e distance from the earth to the moon is much less than the radius of the sun.
Shape of the earth. T h e earth is

almost a sphere. A slight flattening at each earth pole causes the distance from the earth center to the pole to be about 13.5 miles shorter than the distance from the center to any point on the equator. This is the earth's greatest departure from being a true

polar diameter of about 7900 miles and an equatorial diameter about 27 miles greater. At the equator the earth measures about 24,840 miles in circumference. Its surface area is nearly 197 million square miles. T h e size of the earth is, therefore, great but not vast in comparison with some other heavenly bodies. T h e planet Jupiter, for example, has a diameter of more than 80,000 miles. Force of gravity. Because of its great size and density (mass per unit volume), the earth has a strong attraction for objects on or near its surface. This attraction is called the force of gravity. It holds the atmosphere and hydrosphere (waters of the earth) on the earth's surface. It determines the weight of all objects. T h e force of gravity in fact holds the earth together and attracts all objects to it. Its constant presence is taken for granted by everyone. T h e force of gravity enables builders to establish a vertical line (necessary in constructing walls of buildings) by means of a plumb line (a String to which a weight is attached).

THE EARTH AND ITS PLANETARY Such a line is perpendicular to a tangent to the earth's surface at the point where it touches. A line drawn perpendicularly to the tangent at some other point is not vertical (Fig. 3). T h e shadow of the p l u m b line at n o o n (sun time) establishes a true north-south direction. Land, water, and air. T h e solid mass of the earth (the lithospliere) is covered in part by water (the hydrosphere). Both are surrounded by an envelope of gas (the atmosphere) that has a thickness of at least several scores of miles. Each of these "spheres" touches u p o n the life of man in many ways, and their many different features or phases c o m b i n e and recombine in hundreds of ways to make u p the sets of natural features that characterize different regions of the world. Some of the combinations of hydrosphere and atmosphere f o r m regions that are eminently suited to the habitation of man and to intensive use by modern human society. Others f o r m regions that are very unsuited. In the latter group are the depressed parts of the earth's crust that are occupied by oceans and the great seas. These together occupy about 71 percent of the surface of the sphere, leaving the smaller part, about 29 percent, as the exposed continental surfaces. Only these are in any degree suited to permanent human abode. T h e total area of the land surface of the earth, about 51 million square miles, is equal to about 17 times the area of the United States. U p o n this

RELATIONS

rather restricted surface the entire human population of the earth resides and tries to secure a living. However, large parts of the land, for one reason o r another, are poorly suited to human occupation or use. T h i s b o o k is designed to direct attention to the many different phases of E

a line can be called vertical. cal, f o r it does not form,

The line EF, with a radius,

for a

example, although parallel to CD, is not vertistraight line to the center of the earth.

the major elements, land, water, and air, which c o m b i n e to create the great variety of conditions under which men live. EARTH MOTIONS Earth rotation. T h e two principal motions of the earth are (1) rotation on its axis, and (2) revolution around the sun. T h e earth rotates u p o n an imaginary axis which, because of the polar flattening, is its shortest diameter. T h e ends of the axis of rotation are at the earth poles. T h e time required for the earth to rotate once upon its axis is called a day and is divided into 24 hours.

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

During the period of one day each place 011 the sphere is turned alternately toward and away from the sun. Each experiences a period of light and a period of darkness. Each also has been swept over twice by the circle of illumination (the dividing line between day and night), once at dawn and again at twilight.
VERNAL EQUINOX

held in its orbit by two forces: (1) the attraction of gravitation of the sun and (2) centrifugal force. All heavenly bodies attract one another. T h e larger the body, the stronger is its attraction. T h e sun is an enormous body, having a diameter of about 860,000 miles. T h e great size of the sun is largely responsible for its tremendous attraction of gravitation, which holds the various planets in their orbits. T h e attraction of gravitation of the earth holds the moon in its orbit and attracts meteors toward the earth. T h e meteors, wrongly called "shooting stars," burn because of friction with the earth's atmosphere caused by the terrific speed at which they are traveling (Fig. 5). T h e speed of the earth as it travels through space is indeed great, being more than 60,000 miles per hour. This speed tends to pull the earth away from the sun, like mud flying off a rotating wheel. T h e outward pull exerted by a rotating body is called centrifugal force. This force opposes the sun's attraction of gravitation. Here there is a continual struggle between two great forces. T h e balance between them establishes the orbit over which the earth travels year after year. T h e time required for the earth to pass once completely around its orbit fixes the length of the year. During the time of one revolution, the spinning earth rotates on its axis approximately 365% times, thus determining the number of days in the year. A n imaginary plane passed through

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX

Fig. 4. Relation of the inclination of the earth's axis to the change of seasons in the Northern Hemisphere (see Appendix A).

T h e direction of earth rotation is toward the east. This fact has broad significance. Not only does it determine the direction in which the sun, moon, and stars appear to rise and set, but it is also related to other earth phenomena of far-reaching consequence, such as the prevailing directions of winds and ocean currents (see Chapter 3). Earth revolution. T h e rotating earth revolves in a slightly elliptical orbit, or path, about the sun. It keeps an average distance from the sun of about 93 million miles (Fig. 4). It is

THE EARTH AND ITS P L A N E T A R Y

RELATIONS

Fig. 5. A meteor made this basin near Winslow, Arizona. The basin is nearly a mile in diameter and about 6 0 0 feet deep. (Courtesy Trans World Airline.)

the sun and extended outward through all points in the earth's orbit is called the plane of the orbit. T h e earth's axis has a fixed inclination of

7). This position is constant, with the North Pole always pointing toward

Fig. 7. The sun, somewhat off center in the earth's orbit, is about 3 million miles closer to the earth in January than it is in July. W i n t e r and summer climates are due to the inclination of the earth's axis N S and not to distance from the sun.

Fig. 6. The earth's axis is inclined orbit.

from

a line perpendicular to the plane of the earth's

about 23y 2 from a line perpendicular to the plane of the orbit (Figs. 6,

the North Star. Therefore, the axis at any time during the yearly revolution is parallel to the position it occupied at any previous time. This is called the parallelism of the axis. T h e degree of inclination of the earth's axis and its parallelism, to-

T H E EARTH AND ITS ble

RESOURCES make possithe the location of places o n

gether with the earth's shape, its rotation on its axis, and its revolution about the sun, c o m b i n e to produce several earth phenomena that are of vital importance among the conditions that surround us. Some of these are (1) the primary distribution of the sun's heat and light over the earth, (2) the changing of the seasons, and (3) the changing lengths of day and night. These matters and others related to them will be discussed more fully in their connection with climate (Chapters 6, 7). LOCATION ON THE EARTH Earth grid. T h e location of the

parallels and meridians,

earth's surface. The complete system or network of parallels and meridians is called the earth
Small circle

grid.
(parallel)

Fig. 9. The distance between two points on a parallel (a small circle) may be covered more quickly by following a great circle route than by following the arc of the parallel. The great circle path on a globe may be observed by stretching a string tightly between any two places. The arc of the larger circle more nearly approaches a straight line.

North and South poles of the earth


90 N

T h e equator,

zero latitude, is a line circle.

that passes around the earth halfway between the poles. It is a great A great circle is (1) the largest circle that can be drawn o n the globe, (2) the shortest distance between two points on the earth's surface, and (3) a circle whose plane always passes through the center of the earth. If a wire h o o p is made to fit snugly around the equator o n a globe, it can be adjusted so as to pass through any two points on the earth's surface, indicating the shoitest, or great circle,

Fig. 8. Simplified diagram of the globe showing one of the parallels and a great circle, made up of two meridians. Point A could be located on any map by the direction " 0 5 0 N lat." long., 0 lat."; point B, by the direction " 1 8 0 long.,

distance between these points. Ocean liners and airplanes follow great circle routes whenever possible. A parallel is an east-west line, drawn completely around the earth, with all points equidistant f r o m the equator. Parallels are called small circles, because each one is smaller than the equator, the size decreasing as the poles are approached (Fig. 8). T h e

is established by rotation of the earth o n its axis. W i t h the poles as starting points, a system of lines can be drawn upon a globe. These lines, called

THE EARTH AND ITS PLANETARY great circle distance between two points on the same parallel is shorter than that along the parallel itself (Fig. 9). Latitude is distance measured in degrees north and south of the equator. From the equator to each pole is 90. Parallels of latitude on a map or globe may be drawn 1, 5, 10, or any other convenient number of degrees apart. All points on the same parallel have the same latitude. One degree of latitude is always about 69 miles. Philadelphia is on the 40th parallel of north latitude. Its distance from the equator is, therefore, about 2760 miles. Latitude is determined by a sextant, an instrument that measures the angle between the sun's rays and a tangent to the earth's surface. This angle is called the sun altitude (Fig. 10). T h e altitude of the North Star is used in calculating latitude at night. On board ship, latitude is usually determined at noon, provided the sun is not hidden by clouds. One degree of latitude (or longitude) is divided into 60 minutes ('), and 1 minute into 60 seconds ("). Thus the exact latitude of a given point may be 4956'14"N. Four parallels of latitude are of special importance. Because of the 2 3 % inclination of the earth's axis, the vertical rays of the sun move 2 3 % north and south of the equator (Fig. 11). T h e Tropic of Cancer is the parallel 2 3 % N and is the farthest north reached by the vertical rays of the sun at the time of the summer solstice, about June 21

R E L A T I O N S 89

(Northern Hemisphere). T h e Tropic of Capricorn is the parallel 23%S and is the farthest south reached by the vertical rays of the sun at the time of the winter solstice, about December 21. T h e Arctic Circle is the parallel 6 6 % N and is determined by the point where the sun's noon rays are
N.P

Fig.

10. Point represents any point on the

equator at noon at the time of an equinox. The sun is directly overhead, with its rays striking the equator at an angle of 9 0 . At Philadelphia (A) the angle is 5 0 S . At Cape Horn (C) the angle is 3 4 N . Since angle X = X', it is evident that the latitude of A = 90 S.A.

tangent to the earth's surface at the time of winter solstice. T h e A ntarctic Circle is the parallel 66%S and is determined by the point where the sun's noon rays are tangent to the earth's surface at the time of summer solstice. These four parallels are often considered as the boundary lines between the tropical, intermediate, and polar zones of the earth. T h e vertical rays of the sun cross the equator twice each year. T h e time of their first crossing, about March 21, is called the vernal equinox. Their second, about September 21, is called the autumnal equinox. On

10

T H E EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Circle -s

of

illumination Sun's

( Vertical

ray^

ra ys
f Tangent rayv

Winter Solstice December 22

Summer Solstice June 21

Fig. 11. These studies of the distribution of light on the earth in winter and summer present in detail two of the positions illustrated in Fig. 4. The sun's rays are shown by parallel lines. Note the shifting of the vertical ray. Angle A is the altitude of the noon sun at a point 5 3 N lat. On the June 21 diagram, what is the sun altitude at the Tropic of Cancer? at the Antarctic Circle at noon? at the Arctic Circle at midnight?

these dates, day and night are equal everywhere on the earth, each being 12 hours. A meridian is a north-south line drawn on a globe from pole to pole.
West longitude 40 30 20 10 East longitude 10 20" 30 A
C />a ralle

40 30 -a

oTt 20' __ io oz

|
D.e

EqL a-tor E

a >

'S G 'J

1 "
20 ~

points.

Fig. 12. Point A is 1 0 E long, and 2 0 N

-C

30 A lat.

Give the longitude and latitude of the other

Each meridian is one-half of a great circle. All places on any one meridian have the same longitude. Meridians may be spaced any convenient number of degrees apart on a map or globe. T h e prime meridian is zero

longitude and passes through Greenwich, near London, England. Longitude is distance measured in degrees east and west of the prime meridian. T h e only point on the earth's surface having zero longitude and zero latitude is in the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa, where the equator crosses the prime meridian (Fig. 12). Longitude extends 180 east and 180 west from the prime meridian. Opposite the prime meridian is the international date line which roughly follows the 180th meridian near the center of the Pacific Ocean (Fig. 13). This is the line "where day begins and ends." Travelers crossing the date line going west add a day and going east subtract a day. W h e n it is noon on the prime meridian, it is midnight on the 180th meridian. Likewise, when it is noon on the meridian of 9 0 W long, (near St. Louis, Missouri), it is midnight on

T H E EARTH AND ITS P L A N E T A R Y 150' I60E I70E ISO0 /70W

RELATIONS /60W !50W -40A/

11

A C !

J e t I

/V

Tropic / Cancer

Midway Is. -Airline "


Hawaiian Islands

-30N

:
'"Wake Is

< -

20N

Fig. 13. When crossing the international date line going west, travelers add a day; going east, they subtract a day. Only when it is midnight on the date line is the whole world living in the same day.

i he meridian of 90 E long, (near Calcutta, India).


Degrees of longitude vary in length.

All the parallels of latitude, except the equator, are smaller than a great circle. Since each parallel, regardless of its circumference, is divided into 360, it follows that the length of 1 of longitude, in miles, must decrease toward the poles. One degree on the equator, a great circle, has about the same length as an average degree of latitude (about 69 miles). T h e accompanying table gives the approximate number of miles per degree of longitude along certain parallels.

T h e longitude of an unmapped place east or west of the prime meridian or of a ship at sea can be determined only by finding the difference in time between that place and the prime meridian. This was first accomplished by means of accurate timepieces (chronometers) carried on board ship and set at Greenwich, or prime meridian, time. Observation of the sun at the instant when it reached the highest point (zenith) in its daily course across the sky gave local noon time, which could then be compared directly with the chronometer, and the difference in time translated into degrees and minutes of longitude (Fig. 14). Now, instantaneous communication by telegraph and radio makes accurate time comparison possible almost everywhere and, therefore, makes possible greatly improved determinations of longitude. This is of particular aid in geographical exploration, aviation, and ocean transportation.

Latitude, degrees

Miles per degree of longitude

Latitude, degrees

Miles per degree of longitude

0 10 20 30 40

69 68 65 59 53

50 60 70 80 90

44 34.5 23 12 0

12 90 75

T H E EARTH AND ITS West longitude 60 45 30 15

RESOURCES
15 East 30 longitude 45 60 ts -t; O Q 7S 90

Fig. 14. Fifteen degrees of longitude equals 1 hour of time. W h e n it is noon in London, it is 6 A.M. in St. Louis, Missouri, and 6 P.M. near Calcutta, India. Suppose that on board ship the sun time is noon (sun due south) and London time (by radio) is 3 P.M. The ship is 4 5 W W h a t would 6 A.M.? as midnight? long. as be the longitude of a ship that at noon received London time as 9 A.M.?

Accurate location. T h e i n t e r s e c t i o n

of any two lines is a point. Consequently, any point on the earth's surface may be located by determining that it lies at the intersection of a certain meridian with a certain parallel. By exact determination of its latitude and longitude, the location of any place may be expressed briefly and with great accuracy. Thus, when we say that the dome of the national Capitol at Washington, D. C., is located at 3853'23"N lat. and 7700'33" long, west of Greenwich, we have stated its exact position on the earth to within 10 paces.
The nautical mile. T h e n a u t i c a l , o r

12 X 60 = 720 nautical miles 720 X 1.15 = 828 statute miles Maps. A map is an attempt to represent, in some manner, part or all of the earth's surface (see Appendix D). Accurate maps are drawn by making use of longitude and latitude. T h e Mercator map is especially valuable in navigation, mainly because the parallels and meridians are straight lines. This makes easy the measuring of the angle between a flight or sailing path and a meridian. A line that crosses all meridians at the same angle is called a rhumb line. O n the Mercator map such a line is a straight line (Fig. 15). For short distances, the rhumb line provides a satisfactory flight or sailing route. For long distances, such as from California to Japan, the great circle route is much shorter than the rhumb line (see laboratory exercise on Great Circle Sailing). A special map, called the gnomonic (no-mon'ik), is made in such a way

"over-water," mile is 6080 feet. T h e statute, or "over-land," mile is 5280 feet. O n any great circle, 1 degree is 60 nautical miles, or 1 minute is 1 nautical mile. T o change nautical to statute miles, multiply by 1.15. Let us calculate the distance between two points on the equator, a great circle. Point A is 10W long., point is 2 2 W long. From A to is therefore 12 degrees.

T H E EARTH AND ITS P L A N E T A R Y that all great circles appear as straight lines. Such maps are called Great Circle Charts and may be purchased from the United States Hydrographic Office, Washington, D. C. Aeronautical maps of the United States, or parts thereof, are printed on the Lambert projection. A projection is a method of drawing parallels and meridians. On the Lambert map, meridians are straight lines converging toward the north. Parallels are arcs of concentric circles, equally spaced. Concentric circles have a common center. T h e Lambert projection was chosen mainly because a straight line, drawn from one city to another, closely approximates a great circle (Fig. 16). Aeronautical maps may be purchased at any large airport, or from the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, Washington, D. C. T h e polar projection of the Northern Hemisphere is a circular map

RELATIONS

13

world. It is confusing because of the difficulty in determining directions.


Longitude and time. T h e earth r o -

tates eastward through its entire circumference of 360 of longitude in 24 hours, therefore, through 15 in 1

Fig.

16. When a

flight

is being planned, the

true course is obtained by drawing a line on a Lambert projection from one city to another. W i t h a protractor, the course angle is measured clockwise from a mid-meridian to the flight path. Courses that are exactly opposite, such as 6 5 and 2 4 5 , are called reciprocal tesy G. Sydney Stanton tics Administration.) courses. (CourAeronauand the Civil

Fig. 15. On a Mercator map, a rhumb line is a straight line. The shorter distance between points A and B, however, is the great circle.

with the North Pole in the center. Parallels are complete circles, centered at the pole. Meridians are straight lines extending outward from the pole, like the spokes of a wheel. Such a map is valuable in showing airline routes completely around the

hour. W h e n noon arrives at any meridian, it is already 1 hour later (1 P.M.) on the meridian 15 east of that one, and it lacks 1 hour of noon (11 A.M.) on the meridian 15 to the west. W h e n the sun is directly over a given meridian, it is noon at all points on that meridian from North Pole to South Pole. Four minutes later it is noon on the meridian 1 farther west. In a generation past, each town kept the time of its own meridian which was called apparent solar time or, in common American parlance, sun time. W h e n rail transportation permitted rapid travel, it became awkward or impossible to change one's time a few minutes with every

14

T H E EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

village passed. T o avoid so many time changes, each railroad adopted an arbitrary time scheme, which differed from that of most of the places it passed through but was the same for

Fig.

17. Standard McGraw-Hill

times. (From Book Co.)

"Elements G. T.

of Tre-

Geography," wartha.

by V. C. Finch

and

considerable distances on the rail line. Unfortunately, several railroads in a region often adopted different times for their own use. Consequently, it sometimes happened that a town reached by dilferent railways found itself required to use, or to distinguish between, several different kinds of time: its own solar time and one for each of its railways. T h e awkwardness and confusion of this situation led to the adoption by American railways, in 1883, of a system of standard time. This system, in theory, supposes that all parts of a north-south zone 15 of longitude in width adopt the solar time of the central meridian of that zone. Places within the zone that are east or west of the central meridian, instead of differing in time by a few minutes from it and from one another, all have the same time. Changes of time

are then necessary only in crossing the boundary of the zone, and each change is exactly 1 hour. T h e timepiece is set forward (as from 12 to 1) in traveling east and is set back (as from 12 to 11) in traveling west. In practice, these zones are not bounded by meridians but by irregular lines, the location of which is dictated by railway convenience and political consideration. Figure 17 shows the present standard time zones of the United States. On the whole earth there should be 24 standard time zones, each extending from pole to pole and each differing from Greenwich time by a definite number of hours. In practice, the arrangement is not quite so simple. Although most countries follow the plan, certain isolated countries employ standard meridians that are not multiples of 15 and, therefore, do i
/ /

/ D

l 1 1 1 1

k
\ \

Fig. 18. The solid lines represent true north as indicated by meridians. The dotted lines show magnetic north as indicated by a magnetic compass. The magnetic variation at A (in New York) is 1 0 W ; at D (in Washington), 2 0 E ; at (in Kansas), 10 = E; and at (western Michigan), zero. At B, on the agonic line, the compass points both true north and magnetic north.

not differ from Greenwich time by exact hours. For example, Netherlands time is 19 minutes faster, and Bolivian time is 4 hours and 33 minutes (instead of 5 hours) slower than Greenwich time.

T H E EARTH AND ITS P L A N E T A R Y

RELATIONS

15

Fig. 19. Lines of equal magnetic variation, or declination (isogonic lines), in the United States. Only at points on the agonic line (0 declination) does the magnetic compass point true north. (Generalized from a map by U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.)

Direction. Places may be located in terms of direction, such as N, 0; N N E , 2 2 % ; NE, 45; ENE, 6 7 % ; and E, 90. A watch provides a simple means for telling directions. Point its hour hand toward the sun. Halfway between the hour hand and 12 will be south. Ignore the minute hand. Much direction-finding, especially in land surveys, still is accomplished by means of the magnetic compass. T h e needle of this instrument alines itself with the magnetic lines of force that surround the earth. T h e magnetic north and south poles of the earth happen not to be located at the geographical poles, are not exactly opposite each other, and even are subject to slight changes of position. In consequence, there are few places on the earth where the magnetic

needle points true geographical north. T h e agonic line connects those places where the magnetic compass points true north as well as magnetic north. In the United States this line follows a very irregular course from Michigan to South Carolina (Figs. 18, 19, 20). East of the agonic line, as in New York, the magnetic compass points a few degrees west of true north. West of the agonic line, as in Colorado, magnetic north (indicated by the compass) is east of true north (indicated by a meridian). Magnetic variation, or declination, is the angle between true north and magnetic north (Fig. 18). A n isogonic line connects places of equal magnetic variation. In flying across country an airplane pilot must be familiar with changes in magnetic variation and know how to calculate

16

THE

EARTH

AND

ITS

RESOURCES

THE EARTH AND ITS PLANETARY true directions f r o m compass readings (Fig. 21). T r u e north is indicated by the shadow of a vertical rod at noon, sun time; or by the North Star at night. Recent improvements in the radio compass and directional radio-beam navigation make pilots and navigators less dependent o n the magnetic compass than in past years. A g o o d navigator, however, seldom relies entirely o n one system of navigation. SUMMARY In this chapter we have considered a few facts concerning the earth in space. T h e size, shape, and motions of and the earth greatly influence latitude and helps provides us in our daily lives. T h e system of longitude locating of earth. places a method the
Fig.

RELATIONS

17

the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, and the atmosphere. T h e next few chapV H TN A

h -

21.

The

magnetic is 15W.

variation The

at

Boston, of an

Massachusetts, 270.

heading

airplane from the starting point is west, or Because of the variation, the compass will read 2 8 5 instead of 2 7 0 . TN is true north (a meridian). M N is magnetic north as shown by a magnetic compass. The angle measured clockwise from true north to the heading of the plane (270) is called the true course; from magnetic north to the heading of the plane is the magnetic course. W h a t would the magnetic course be if the starting point was in southern California where variation is 15E?

measuring

distances o n

Longitude is useful in establishing time belts. T h e earth's magnetism is useful in the navigation of aircraft and ocean liners. W e have learned the meaning of

ters deal with the atmosphere and include mainly a study of weather and climate.

QUESTIONS

1. Name the members of the solar system. 2. W h a t is a planet? a satellite? 3. In what order d o the planets range from the sun? 4. H o w do planets differ f r o m stars? 5. A b o u t h o w long does it take the m o o n to revolve once about the earth? W h a t causes an eclipse of the sun? of the moon? 6. W h a t is the shape of the earth? 7. W h a t is the greatest ocean depth? the height of the highest mountain? 8. T h e average depth of the oceans is 2 %
mi-

H o w much w o u l d this

be o n a globe 4 ft in diameter and having surface features m o l d e d to scale? 9. W h a t is the polar diameter of the earth in miles? the equatorial diam-

18

T H E EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

eter? What is the difference between these two diameters? H o w does the earth's diameter compare with that of Jupiter? 10. What are some effects of the force of gravity? What is a vertical line? 11. What is one method of establishing a true north-south line? 12. What is the lithosphere? the hydrosphere? the atmosphere? 13. What percentage of the earth's surface is water? what percentage land? 14. W h y is much of the land surface sparsely populated? 15. What are the two principal motions of the earth? 16. What is the earth's axis? Define the circle of illumination. 17. What are some results of rotation of the earth on its axis? 18. What is the average distance from earth to sun? 19. H o w many days does it take the earth to make one revolution around the sun? 20. What is the earth's orbit? What is the shape of the earth's orbit? What holds the earth in its orbit? 21. What is a meteor? 22. H o w much is the earth's axis inclined? 23. What are three results of the combined effects of inclination, paral lelism, rotation, and revolution? 24. What is the earth grid? What is the equator? 25. Name three characteristics of a great circle. 26. W h y d o airplanes and steamships follow great circle routes? 27. What is a parallel? latitude? What is the latitude of the equator? of the poles? W h y are parallels called small circles? 28. W h y is the small circle distance between two points greater than the great circle distance? 29. What is the length of 1 of latitude in miles? What is the latitude of New Orleans? H o w many miles is it from the equator? 30. What is sun altitude? With what instrument is it measured? 31. In what two ways may latitude be calculated? 32. What is the T r o p i c of Cancer? the T r o p i c of Capricorn? the Arctic Circle? the Antarctic Circle? 33. What is the summer solstice? the winter solstice? the vernal equinox? the autumnal equinox? 34. What is a meridian? the prime meridian? longitude? 35. What point has zero latitude and zero longitude? 36. Where is the international date line? What is the function of this line? 37. W h e n it is noon 60E, at what longitude is it midnight? 38. What is the length in miles of 1 of longitude on the equator? on the 30th parallel? on the 80th parallel? 39. By what method is longitude determined? 40. H o w is the exact location of a point on the earth's surface expressed?

T H E E A R T H AND ITS P L A N E T A R Y

RELATIONS

19

41. What are the longitude and latitude of New York, London, Peiping, Cape T o w n , Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Juneau, and Manila? (Use maps.) * 42. T w o opposite meridians make a great circle. Point A is located 177E, 21N. Point is 177E, 53N. What is the great circle distance between them in nautical miles? in statute miles? 43. Make a statement regarding the value of each of these maps: () Mercator, (b) gnomonic, (c) Lambert, (d) polar. 44. Define a rhumb line. 45. H o w many degrees of longitude equal 1 hr of time? 46. W h y was the system of standard time adopted? 47. What are the standard time belts of the United States? W h e n it is 11 P.M. in Denver, what is the time in Los Angeles? New York? Chicago? 48. T h e prime meridian, 0, determines the standard time of London and Paris. W h e n it is noon in St. Louis, Missouri, what time is it in London? 49. H o w can directions be determined by using a watch? 50. Where, by longitude and latitude, are the earth's magnetic poles? 51. What is the agonic line? the isogonic line? What is magnetic variation? 52. What is the magnetic variation in your locality? (Magnetic variation is usually shown on topographic maps and always on airway maps.) What is the variation at Pittsburgh? at Muskegon, Michigan? at St. Louis? at San Francisco? 53. Make a diagram similar to Fig. 21 to show that, if the true course is 0N and variation 10E, the magnetic course is 350. 54. If the true course is 350 and variation 25W, show that the magnetic course is 15. 55. In what two ways can true north be determined?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. Construct a homemade sextant. Keep a daily record of the sun altitude at noon for several months. At the time of equinox, the sun altitude subtracted from 90 will give your latitude. 2. On a clear night, locate the North Star by means of the Big Dipper. T h e direction of the North Star is true north. 3. Erect a vertical rod, or plumb line, and mark the positions of its shadow at various hours of the day. 4. Practice pointing in the direction of large cities. This will improve your sense of direction. 5. Observe and record the direction of sunrise and sunset on the twentyfirst of June, September, December, and March. Record the sun altitude at noon on these dates and the number of hours of sunlight. Suppose you
* T h e colored maps, pages 537-552, should be used for reference throughout this book.

20

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

lived on the Strait of Magellan. H o w would these observations differ from those made in your own locality? 6. Some people are lost when they enter strange cities. T o avoid this, practice reading the maps of cities that you expect to visit. Maps of cities are found in connection with automobile highways maps. Place your map so that north on the map is really in the direction of north. 7. Make a list of 25 large cities scattered over the various continents. By using maps, determine as closely as possible the longitude and latitude of each. 8. If possible, visit an airport. Observe the magnetic compass, radio compass, and directional radio-beam apparatus. 9. Find out the magnetic variation in your local community. N O T E : Other activities may be found in the laboratory manual.
TOPICS FOR CLASS REPORTS

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

T h e International Geophysical Year T h e Locations of Great Circle Routes between Important Cities Standard T i m e Belts of the W o r l d T h e Earth as a Huge Magnet Magnetic Variation in Different Parts of North America
REFERENCES

BAKER, ROBERT H .

Introduction Inc., Princeton, N. J., 1957.

to Astronomy. and

D.

Van Nostrand Company,


H U G H S.

BERNHARD, H .

J., B E N N E T T , D O R O T H Y ,

RICE,

New

Handbook

of the Heavens. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1948. G A L L A N T , R O Y A. Exploring the Universe. Garden City Books, New York, 1956. H O Y L E , F R E D . Frontiers of Astronomy. Harper & Brothers, New York, 1 9 5 0 . J O N E S , H. S P E N C E R . Life on Other Worlds. T h e Macmillan Company, New York, 1956. K A P L A N , S T A N L E Y H . Earth Science Exams and Answers. Barron's Educational Series, Great Neck, N. Y., 1957. S C I E N T I F I C A M E R I C A N magazine. The Universe. Simon and Schuster, Inc., New York, 1957. The Planet Earth, 1957, Parts 1 and 6. S K I L L I N G , W . . , and R I C H A R D S O N , R . S . Sun, Moon, and Stars. McGrawHill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1946.

CHAPTER

2.

Temperature of the Atmosphere

Man lives on the solid portion of the earth's surface but in, and at the bottom of, a sea of air that is many times deeper than any ocean. This sea of air, or the atmosphere, has certain characteristics that greatly influence man's life. Of the various elements of natural environment that affect the usefulness of the earth's regions for human beings, such as climate, landforms, minerals, soils, and native vegetation, climate probably is the most important single item. This is because climate affects a region's usefulness, not only directly, but also indirectly through its influence upon native vegetation, soils, and landforms. Thus, large areas with similar climates are likely to have strong resemblances also in vegetation and soils. Pure, dry air near sea level is a mixture of several gases. T w o of them, nitrogen (78 percent) and oxygen (nearly 21 percent), together comprise 99 percent of the total by volume (Fig. 22). At higher elevations, certain lighter gases, especially hydrogen, predominate. In the atmosphere are also smaller amounts

of carbon dioxide, argon, ozone, and others. In addition to these gases, the lower layers of air contain variable amounts of water vapor (up to nearly

less gases.

5 percent on hot, humid days) and numerous impurities classed as dust. As far as climate and weather are concerned, certain of the minor gases of the air are far more important than nitrogen and oxygen. Subtract the single item water vapor from the air, and rainfall would cease. This invisible vapor condenses to form clouds, fog, dew, frost, rain, snow, sleet, and hail. Water vapor acts as

22

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

a sort of blanket in helping to regulate the temperature of the air, because it readily permits sun energy to reach the earth but tends to retard the radiation of heat f r o m the earth. Certain kinds of dust particles serve as nucleuses u p o n which water vapor condenses to f o r m raindrops. Dust in the air is largely responsible for the colors of sunrise and sunset, the blue of the sky, and the colors of twilight and dawn. A b u n d a n t smoke and dust over large cities act as a screen to incoming sunlight and greatly hinder visibility. A combination of smoke and f o g is known as smog tion.
Elements of weather and climate.

tion of sunlight; (2) distribution of land and water; (3) winds; (4) elevation; (5) mountain barriers; (6) the great semipermanent high- and lowpressure centers; (7) ocean currents; and (8) storms of various kinds. These controls, acting with various intensities and in different combinations, produce changes in temperature, which in turn give rise to varieties of weather and climate. TEMPERATURE
Measuring air temperature. M e t e o r -

and at times, especially near

ologists in most of the countries of the world use the centiorade scale in

cities, is a severe hindrance to avia-

determining air temperature. In a few countries, notably England and the United States, the Fahrenheit scale is used along with the centigrade. A comparison of the two scales is shown in the following table.
Boiling point of fresh water Average room temperature Freezing point of fresh water 100 20 0 F 212 68 32

T h e principal elements of the atmosphere that largely determine the weather or climate at any given time or place are temperature and precipitation (including humidity and clouds). In addition to these are such elements as atmospheric pressure, winds, storms, and visibility. Weather is the sum total of these elements for a short period of time. T w o friends meet on the street and speak of the weather for today or of last week. Climate is the generalization of the great variety of weather conditions over a long period of time.
Controls of weather and climate.

Thermometers operate on the principle that a liquid expands when heated, and contracts when cooled. T h e liquid used may be mercury or grain alcohol. Mercury is a very heavy liquid, having a freezing point of 40C. A l c o h o l is a colorless liquid, with a freezing point of about 130C. W h e n used in a thermometer, alcohol generally is artificially colored red or blue.

Variations in weather and climate are due to climatic controls, namely: (1) latitude, which largely determines (a) the angle of the sun's rays and, thus, their effectiveness and (b) the dura-

T E M P E R A T U R E OF T H E T o change Fahrenheit to centigrade, this formula may be used:

ATMOSPHERE

23

= J- (F

32)

thermograph (Fig. 23). Some thermographs make use of the expansion and contraction of a bimetal strip; others use a thin, curved, metallic tube fdled with a liquid (Bourdon tube).
Sources of atmospheric heat. The

T o change centigrade to Fahrenheit: f - (


T

sun is the most important source of

9 C )

+ 32

In the table, the boiling points of 100C and 212F are for sea level. As elevation above sea level increases, the air pressure decreases, and so does the boiling point of water. For example, on top of Pikes Peak, Colorado, elevation 14,110 feet, water boils at 85C. What would this be on the Fahrenheit scale? F = ( c ) + 32 = ( } 8 5 ) + 32 = 153 + 32 = 185 T h e lowest temperature ever recorded in the United States was 66F, in February, 1933, in Yellowstone Park. What is this temperature centigrade? = j - (F -66

Fig. 23. The thermograph records temperature on graph paper. Clockworks inside the cylinder cause Aviation the cylinder Friez Corp.) to rotate once Division, a week. Bendix (Courtesy Instrument

32) 32)

= f =

(-98)

-54

A n instrument that records temperature on graph paper is called a

heat for the earth's atmosphere. From this gigantic body, whose diameter is more than 100 times that of the earth and whose surface temperature is estimated to be more than 10,000F, a tremendous amount of energy streams out into space. T h e earth, nearly 93 million miles distant, intercepts only a tiny part of this solar output. T h e radiant energy received from the sun, transmitted in the form of short waves and traveling at the rate of 186,000 miles per second, is called solar radiation, or insolation. Most of the physical and all the biological phenomena of the earth owe their existence to the small amount of insolation received at the earth's surface. T h e distribution of insolation over the earth's surface is of outstand-

24

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

ing significance in understanding weather and climate. Certainly the sun, or insolation, is the greatest single control of climate.
Effectiveness of insolation. The

74. Added to this great difference in the angle of the sun's rays is the fact that there are many more hours of sunlight in June than in December. T h e earth is some 3 million miles closer to the sun in January than in July. A cold season in the Northern Hemisphere at the time when the earth is nearest the sun and a warm season when it is farthest from the sun tend to emphasize the fact that this item of distance is minor compared with length of day and the angle of the sun's rays. In general, it is well to remember that the higher the sun altitude and the longer the days, the higher the temperature; and the lower the sun altitude and the shorter the days, the lower the temperature.
L E N G T H OF T H E L O N G E S T DAY (ALSO O F T H E L O N G E S T N I G H T IN T H E HEMISPHERE) A T C E R T A I N OPPOSITE LATITUDES

amount of insolation received at any

Fig. 24.

Rays that are slanting

(A) as they

reach the earth deliver less energy at the earth's surface than vertical rays (B), for two reasons: They must pass through a thicker layer of atmosphere and they spread their energy over a wider area.

given place depends mainly upon (1) the length of day (number of hours of sunlight) and (2) sun altitude, or the angle at which the sun's rays strike the earth. For two reasons oblique solar rays deliver less energy to the earth's surface than direct rays: (1) Oblique rays are spread over a larger area than are direct rays; (2) oblique rays pass through much more air than direct rays, and the air tends to absorb, scatter, and reflect some of the solar energy (Fig. 24). Winter sunlight, therefore, is much weaker than that of summer. At Kansas City, Missouri, 39N lat., for example, the noon sun altitude around December 21 is about 28; in the latter part of June it is about

Latitude Equator 17 41 49 63 66^ 6721' 6951' i oo

Duration (hr) 12 13 15 16 20 24 1 mo 2 mo 4 mo 6 mo

90

Much sun energy that reaches the earth's outer atmosphere is prevented

TEMPERATURE

OF T H E

ATMOSPHERE

25

f r o m heating the earth's surface. A considerable percentage is lost by reflection ticles, f r o m clouds, small dust parmolecules of air, and the

rectly f r o m the earth's surface and only indirectly f r o m the sun.


Land and w a t e r contrasts. F o r the

following reasons land surfaces heat and cool more rapidly than water surfaces: 1) M u c h more heat is required to raise the temperature of 1 cubic foot of water 1 than is required for 1 cubic foot of soil o r rock. 1 2) T h e sun's rays penetrate to considerable depths in water and are thus required to heat a greater mass than is the case with land. Since land is opaque, only the surface layers of soil and rock are heated to any extent. 3) Water, being a fluid, has movements in the f o r m of waves, drifts, currents, and tides that tend to distribute the absorbed solar energy Obvithroughout the whole mass.

earth's surface. Some 10 to 15 percent is absorbed directly by the atmosphere. A b o u t 50 percent reaches the earth's surface, heats it, and eventually heats the atmosphere as well. Seasons. A n explanation of the change of seasons as regards temperature is given in A p p e n d i x A and should be studied carefully at this point. T h e inclination and parallelism of the earth's axis are responsible for the day-to-day change in sun altitude and length of day, which result in the change of seasons. One should constantly bear in mind that the time of seasons in the north and south intermediate zones is reversed. W h e n it is summer in the United States, it is winter in Argentina. T h e change of seasons in the intermediate zones is much more p r o n o u n c e d in the interiors of large continents than along windward coasts where ocean influence is felt. HEATING AND COOLING OF LAND AND WATER SURFACES Sun energy is of such a nature that only relatively small amounts (10 to 15 percent) of it can be absorbed by the earth's atmosphere. In order to be absorbed by the air, it must first be converted into heat energy. T h i s conversion takes place principally at the earth's surface. T h u s , the atmosphere receives most of its heat di-

ously, no such distribution and mixing can take place in iandmasses, and the land surface, therefore, attains a higher temperature. Moreover, when a water surface begins to cool, convectional currents are set up, the cooler, heavier surface layers sinking and being replaced by warmer waters f r o m underneath. Therefore, water bodies cool much more slowly than do land bodies and tend to act as regulators of air temperature. From the foregoing comparisons it becomes evident that, with the same amount of solar energy falling upon each, a land surface will reach a
Specific heat is the term applied to the amount of heat (calories) required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of a substancf
1

26

THE EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

higher temperature, and reach it more quickly, than a water surface. Conversely, a land surface also cools more rapidly. Land-controlled, or continental, climates, therefore, should be characterized by large daily and seasonal extremes of temperature; on the other hand, oceancontrolled, or marine, climates should be more moderate. HOW THE ATMOSPHERE IS WARMED W e are n o w acquainted, as a result of our earlier discussion, with the distribution of solar energy over the earth and the contrasting reactions of land and water surfaces to this solar energy. W e are also aware that the air receives most of its heat directly f r o m the surface u p o n which it rests and only indirectly f r o m the sun. This is sufficient background for an analysis of the processes involved in heating and cooling the atmosphere. Absorption of sun energy. As previously stated, the atmosphere absorbs directly only about 10 to 15 percent of the solar energy that comes to it. Such absorption takes place mainly in the upper layers of the air. T h i s process, therefore, is not very effective in heating the layers of air close to the earth. Often on a clear winter day, when snow covers the ground, air temperatures may remain bitterly cold in spite of a bright sun. A t the same time, o n the south side of a brick building, the temperature may be much more comfortable. T h i s is because the brick wall absorbs sun

energy and converts it into a f o r m of heat energy that is effective in warming the surrounding air.
Conduction from the w a r m earth.

Conduction is transfer of heat (1) through a substance, such as a metal rod, and (2) f r o m a warm substance to a cooler one, provided they are in contact. D u r i n g daylight hours, the solid earth (without a snow cover) absorbs much solar energy and becomes warmer than the surrounding atmosphere. By conduction, therefore, the layer of air resting upon the warmer earth becomes heated. Air, however, is a p o o r conductor. As a result, the transfer of heat f r o m the lower, warmed layers of air to those above is very slow. It is a wellknown fact that, ordinarily, as one goes up in the air, the temperature drops.
Air absorbs heat f r o m the earth.

Since the earth absorbs solar energy, it becomes warm and therefore radiates heat, just as the sun does. T h i s heat radiated f r o m the earth is readily absorbed by the air. It is estimated that, although only 10 to 15 percent of the solar energy is ab sorbed by the atmosphere, some 90 percent of the radiated earth energy is absorbed. As stated before, water vapor and, to a lesser extent, carbon dioxide and ozone are the principal absorbing gases. O n e reason for the rapid night cooling in deserts is that the dry air and clear sky permit a more rapid escape of the heat that is radiated f r o m the earth. O n e may think of the atmosphere as being somewhat

T E M P E R A T U R E OF T H E like a pane of glass which lets through most of the incoming solar energy but greatly retards the outgoing heat, or earth radiation. This is the so-called "greenhouse effect" of the atmosphere. Through the first three heating processes described in the foregoing paragraphs, there is actually an addition of energy to the atmosphere. T h r o u g h the three processes whose description follows, there is no addition of energy but only a transfer from one place to another, or from one air mass to another, of that which already has been acquired.
Convectional currents f r o m the w a r m

ATMOSPHERE

27

enced when an airplane alternately crosses rising and sinking air currents. Such air is called turbulent air. Conduction and radiation are especially effective in heating the lower layers of atmosphere, but convection, on the other hand, is capable

earth. T h e surface air after being heated by conduction and radiation expands in volume and consequently decreases in density.'- Because of expansion, a portion of the warmer, lighter column of air overflows aloft, thereby decreasing its own pressure at the surface and at the same time increasing that of the adjacent cooler air. This causes a lifting of the warmer, lighter air column by the heavier, cooler, settling air which flows in at the surface to displace it. Such a circulation, as just described and illustrated in Fig. 25, is called a convectional system. Warm surface air, expanded and therefore less dense, is like a cork that is held under water; that is, it is unstable and inclined to rise. This convectional principle (which applies to liquids and gases only) is employed in the ordinary hot-air and hot-water heating systems. On a hot summer day " b u m p y " air is experi-

system.

of carrying heat to the upper air strata as well.


Importation by a i r masses or w i n d s .

"It will be warmer today because there is a south wind." Such a remark is c o m m o n in many parts of North America and Europe. T h e south wind may be an air mass of tropical origin that is advancing northward. In so doing, it conveys the temperature conditions acquired in its source region where high temperatures are normal. Such an importation of southerly warmth in winter results in mild weather, with melting snow and sloppy streets. In summer several days of south wind may result in a "hot wave" with maximum temperatures of 90 to 100 or above.
2

Density means mass per unit volume.

28

THE EARTH AND ITS


Heating by compression. A mass of

RESOURCES

to prevent rapid earth radiation, so that air temperatures remain higher. T h u s frosts are less likely to occur o n h u m i d nights and especially when a cloud cover prevails. T h e r e are authentic cases in the dry air and under the cloudless skies of the Sahara in northern Africa, where day temperatures of 90 have been followed by night temperatures slightly below freezing.
Conduction to the cold earth. As

air generally becomes warmer as it descends from higher to lower altitudes; for example, when it moves d o w n a mountain slope. A t lower altitudes, a thicker layer of air is pressing d o w n u p o n the descending air mass, which gradually is being compressed in volume. W o r k is being done upon the descending air, and as a result of compression its temperature is increased. HOW THE ATMOSPHERE IS COOLED
Radiation to the cooler ground and

previously stated, conduction is the transfer of heat between two substances that are in contact. As the to space. During the night the earth's surface may radiate heat so rapidly that it becomes cooler than the air above it. W h e n this condition prevails, the lower layers of atmosphere lose heat by radiation to the colder ground as well as upward to space. T h i s process is particularly effective during the long nights of winter when, if the skies are clear and the air is dry and calm, very rapid and long-continued radiation takes place. If snow covers the ground, cooling is even more pronounced. This causes a greater decrease in the temperature of the lower layers of air. Water, like land, is a g o o d radiator, but the cooled surface waters keep constantly sinking to be replaced by warmer currents f r o m below. Extremely low air temperatures over large water bodies are impossible, therefore, until they are frozen over, after which they act like a snow-covered land surface. H u m i d air or a cloudy sky tends earth's surface cools during the air night, conduction of heat f r o m air to earth causes a lowering of temperature. Sometimes on a calm, clear winter night, the layers of air close to the earth actually above the earth's surface.
Importation by air masses or winds.

become

colder than those at some distance

Just as warm air masses carry warmth northward (south w i n d in the Northern Hemisphere), so do cold air masses convey low temperatures f r o m one place to another. Especially in North may erable America move and Eurasia, for cold polar air masses f r o m the far north southward Such considdistances. movement

(north wind) and resulting importation of low temperatures are particularly effective where there are no mountain barriers to block the passage of air. In eastern North America where down lowlands over prevail, the great masses of cold polar air periodically pour Mississippi

TEMPERATURE

OF T H E

ATMOSPHERE

29

Valley, occasionally carrying severe frosts even to the Gulf states. Cooling by expansion. Just as descending air heats as a result of compression, so rising air cools as a result of expansion. A cubic foot of air at low altitudes is subject to greater atmospheric pressure than at high altitudes. As this cubic foot of air rises, it expands, because the weight of the atmosphere upon it becomes less. W o r k is done in pushing aside other air in order to make r o o m for itself. T h i s work d o n e by the rising and expanding air consumes energy, which is subtracted f r o m the ascending currents in the f o r m of heat, resulting in a lowering of their temperature.
Adiabatic lapse rate. O n the aver-

W h a t will its temperature be on the plain? 11,000 5000 = 6000

6 X 5 = 33 15 + 33 = 4 8 This example of warming of descending air is typical of the eastern slopes of the R o c k y Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. DAILY AND SEASONAL MARCH OF TEMPERATURE All average temperatures for a

month, season, year, or even a long period of years are built u p o n the mean (average) daily temperature as the basic unit. T h e daily mean is thus the individual brick out of which the general temperature structure is composed. T h e United States Weather Bureau at present uses the following formula to determine the mean daily temperature: Maximum + 2 In other words, the daily mean is the average of the highest and the lowest temperatures recorded during the 24-hour period. Daily march temperatures. of temperature The daily refers to the minimum

age, rising air cools at the rate of 5y 2 F per 1000 feet, so long as n o condensation of water vapor takes place. T h i s 5 % F per 1000 feet is called the dry adiabatic (ad'I-a-bat'lk) lapse rate. A n adiabatic change in temperature is one that takes place without heat actually being added to or subtracted f r o m the parcel of air. W h e n a bicycle tire is p u m p e d up, the p u m p becomes warm, because of the increased air pressure, and not because of any heat being applied. In the case of rising air, the temperature of the air decreases, because pressure decreases. Likewise, when air descends, its temperature increases 5 % F per 1000 feet. Suppose that air at 15F is pouring through a mountain pass at 11,000 feet and descending to a nearby plain, elevation 5000 feet.

hourly changes in the thermometer readings during the day (24 hours). From about sunrise until 2 to 4 P.M., when heat is being supplied by incoming solar radiation faster than it is being lost by earth radiation, the temperature curve usually continues to rise. Conversely, f r o m about 3 P.M.

30

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

to sunrise, when loss of heat by earth radiation exceeds receipts of solar energy, the daily temperature curve usually falls. It is noticeable, however, that the time of highest temperatures (2 to 4 P.M.) does not exactly coincide with * 1 f> I <

peratures result. Daily range is usually greater in deserts than in humid lands, because the low percentage of water vapor in the air over deserts and the general absence of a cloud cover permit rapid radiation of heat from the earth at night. During a spell of cloudy weather the daily range may be as little as 5 or less. A cloud cover regulates air temperature, because clouds serve to obstruct incoming and outgoing radiation. However, in clear or cloudy weather, the daily march of temperature may be entirely upset by a shift in wind direction. Thus a strongnorthwest wind may cause a steady drop in temperature during the day so that midafternoon may be colder than early morning (Fig. 26).
Seasonal range of temperature.

tb 1"'"d

V St-

Fig. 26.

Temperature

sometimes varies

many

degrees in a single day. In the chart above, A shows the temperature range f o r a fair day in summer; B, for a summer day in the mountains. Contrast these with C, a cloudy day in spring or fall, and D, a winter day on which the wind changed from south to northwest.

that of maximum insolation (12 . sun time). This is because incoming solar radiation continues to exceed outgoing earth radiation until midafternoon. T h e lowest temperatures of the night usually occur about 4 to A.M., because the earth continues to radiate more heat than it receives until near sunup. T h e daily range of temperature is the difference between the highest and lowest temperatures of the day. In clear weather, throughout most of central and eastern United States, this range is about 10 or 15. In mountains it is much greater, because the less dense atmosphere at high elevations permits more rapid radiation of heat from the earth at night, and consequently lower tem-

Using the mean daily temperatures, the average, or mean, temperature of a month may be calculated. This in turn may be used to compute the mean annual temperature. Mean monthly temperatures make it possible to obtain some idea of seasonal changes in temperature in different parts of the world. It is well to remember, however, that in some localities the mean monthly temperature may cover a considerable range. For example, although the mean January temperature at Kansas City, Missouri, is 28, the temperature may actually range from 10 below zero to 45 above during the month. Such extreme changes, however, do not occur on windward coasts (where wind generally blows from sea to land).

TEMPERATURE

OF T H E

ATMOSPHERE

31

Fig. 27. Lowest temperatures (Fahrenheit) recorded in the United States. The official lowest was 6 6 F , in Yellowstone Park, February, are the coldest. (Courtesy U. S. Weather 1933. In contrast, the highest winter temperature Bureau.) was 1 0 4 F , in S t a r r County, Texas, 1902. Florida is the warmest state. North Dakota and Montana

In

the

middle

latitudes

of

the

there is a decrease in

temperature

Northern Hemisphere, July is usually the warmest month, and January the coldest (Fig. 27). Conditions are reversed in similar latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere (Fig. 28). VERTICAL DISTRIBUTION OF TEMPERATURE By means of airplanes and bal-

as altitude increases. T h e amount of decrease, of course, varies somewhat from place to place and at different times of the year. O n the average, however, the decrease in ture as altitude increases, temperacalled the

normal lapse rate, is about 3 % F per 1000 feet. T h i s is the d r o p in temperature indicated by a thermometer that is carried upward through the

loons, men have soared to considerable heights in the atmosphere. T h e y have recorded temperature readings during such flights. Self-recording instruments, carried aloft by smaller balloons, heights. All observations and recordings show that under normal conditions have reached greater

air. It does not pertain to temperature changes that result when the air itself rises. T h e fact that air temperature decreases as distance f r o m the earth increases emphasizes the fact that the atmosphere receives most of its heat directly f r o m the earth and only indirectly f r o m the sun. Suppose, on a November day

32

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

when the atmosphere is quiet and little convection is taking place, that surface temperature of the air at a city having an elevation of 1000 feet

60
50 u_
Q

about 7 miles (about 37,000 feet) is reached. From this elevation upward for several miles there is little change in temperature, and to this region the name stratosphere has been applied. In it, temperatures have been found to be in the neighborhood of - 6 0 to 70F, although above the equator 135F has been recorded. Thus, it is possible to think of the earth's atmosphere as composed of two layers. In the outer layer, or stratosphere, temperatures are very low, clouds are absent, dust and water vapor are at a minimum, convectional currents are lacking, and all air movement is horizontal. Below the stratosphere is the turbulent, dusty layer known as the tropospherewhich contains much water vapor and also clouds, and in which

AO

20
10 0 -10

-20

F M A M J

J A S O N D
temperature.

Fig. 28. The seasonal tralia, is July.

range of

Note that the coolest month at Sydney, Aus-

is 40F. Calculate the temperature in the substratosphere, say, at an elevation of 25,000 feet above sea level. 25,000 24 X 40 1000 = 24,000 = 84 84 = -44

Stratosphere

T h u s at 25,000 feet the temperature would be 44 F below zero. Passenger airplanes flying at such high elevations have cabins that are heated and pressurized and, because of the thin air, they use supercharged engines. A supercharger is a turbine that draws in the thin, cold air and compresses it before it enters the engine cylinder.
Stratosphere and troposphere. The

Troposphere

Fig. 29. The atmosphere is composed of two principal layers: the troposphere and the stratosphere. The elevation of the lower side of the stratosphere tropopause. in the United States is approximately 7 miles. Between these two layers is the

average lapse rate of 3 % F per 1000 feet continues until an elevation of

temperature decreases with increasing altitude (Fig. 29). For reasons already mentioned, the stratosphere or substratosphere offers certain ad-

TEMPERATURE vantages for long-distance flights. Air drainage. Cold air is than warm air. As a result, next to the earth's surface,

OF T H E

ATMOSPHERE

33

airplane heavier cold air because

is no inclination for it to rise. This is quite opposite to the unstable condition of the atmosphere on a hot summer day, when the heated and expanded air near the earth's surface is like a cork held under water.
Temperature inversion. O n rare o c -

Fig. 30. Cold air, because it is denser than warm air, tends to settle into valley bottoms. For this reason, frost slopes. is more prevalent and more severe in low places than it is on adjacent

casions, the atmosphere nearest the earth is actually colder than that immediately above it. This is the reverse of the usual condition. A thermometer, carried upward in such air, would show an increase in temperature. Such a condition is called a temperature inversion and is respon-

\
se,000 1,0 M 20 0 E 5 >
w 8,000 4,000 - -60 -40

4 V
\

of its greater weight, tends to flow downhill and to collect in valleys and lowlands. This is called air drainage (Fig. 30). It is a well-known fact that the first frosts of autumn and the last in spring occur in bottomlands and that the lowest temperatures on calm, clear winter nights are found in similar locations. Citrus orchards in California, which might be damaged by frost, are located on hill slopes where air drainage causes a slipping off of the frosty air. Coffee in Brazil is planted on the rolling uplands, and the frosty valleys are avoided. Resort hotels in the Swiss Alps shun the cold, foggy valleys and choose, instead, sites on the brighter and warmer slopes. O n clear, cold nights when air drainage is prevalent, the atmosphere is very stable. T h e heaviest air is at the lowest elevation where, on the basis of density, it should be. There

\\

4 B\ 4A
\ \

\
-20 20 40 Temperature," F

N
\

60

80

Fig. 31. Graph showing changes in air temperature when a thermometer is carried upward by balloon or airplane. Curve A is for August 10, at Columbia, Missouri. Curve S is for March 19, at Joliet, Illinois. Curve A is more representative of the usual decrease in temperature as elevation increases. Curve shows a surface temperature elevation. inversion; that is, in the lower meteor 2000 feet of air, temperature This condition increases with

puts airline

ologists and pilots on guard because such an inversion often is responsible for formation of dense fog. (Data from U. S. Weather Bureau.)

sible for much fog (Fig. 31). Inversions also occur in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

34

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 32. The average "frostless," or growing, season throughout the United States is shown on this map. Figures indicate the number of frost-free days. (Courtesy il. S. Weather Bureau.)

Conditions favorable for frost. T h e

term frost may be applied either (1) to the white deposits of condensed water vapor in solid form or (2) to a temperature of 32F or below, even though there is no deposit of white frost. There are frosts of various degrees of severity, but it is the "killing frost" that is of principal interest. A killing frost may be defined as a temperature condition so low that the economic crops of a locality are damaged. Throughout much of North America, frosts are of chief significance in autumn and spring. T h e growing season is the number of frost-free days between the last killing frost in spring and the first in autumn (Fig. 32). T h e length of the growing season has a considerable influence upon the types of economic crops

that may be produced in any given region. Ideal conditions for the occurrence of frost are those that are favorable to rapid and prolonged surface cooling, namely, a preliminary importation of a mass of chilly polar air, followed by clear, dry, calm nights, during which the temperature of the surface air, because of radiation and conduction, may be reduced below freezing. T h e original importation provides the necessary mass of cool air whose temperature is already relatively low, although still somewhat above freezing, but further rapid loss of heat by earth radiation during the following clear night is all that is necessary to reduce the temperature of the surface air below freezing. In central and eastern United

T E M P E R A T U R E OF T H E

ATMOSPHERE

35

Fig. 33. In the winter months, orchard heaters are kept in California orange and lemon groves to protect fruit and trees from frost injury during cold winter nights. Warnings are which districts are likely to suffer from frost. Oil (Sunkist photograph, courtesy California Fruit broadcast heater. by the United States Weather Bureau each evening during cold weather, telling the growers is burned for fuel in this type of Exchange.) Growers

States the dry, cold air mass usually arrives with northwest winds. If the daytime temperature of the cold air mass is in the neighborhood of 40, frost may be expected the following night, especially if the sky is clear and the air calm.
Protection against frost. T h e prob-

lem of artificial protection from frost is of considerable importance, especially in the valuable citrus groves of California and Florida. In these regions, orchard heaters are used to prevent a bad freeze (Fig. 33). Large numbers of such heaters are spaced among the fruit trees and are kept burning for several hours during the

time when freezing temperatures are

expected. Sometimes the smoke from numerous heaters drifts into a nearby city where it may prove to be a considerable nuisance. For small-scale vegetable gardeners or fruit-growers, the simplest and most effective means of protection against frost is to spread over the crop a nonmetallic covering such as paper, straw, or cloth. Such a covering tends to intercept the heat that is radiated from the ground and plants at night. T h e function of the cover, obviously, is not to keep the cold out but to keep the heat in. This inexpensive type of protection against frost is the one used by the house wife in saving her garden plants.

36

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

TEMPERATURE DISTRIBUTION OVER THE EARTH Isothermal maps. A n isotherm is line connecting places of the same temperature. T h u s , all points of the earth's surface through which any one isotherm passes have identical average temperatures (Figs. 34, 35). O n the maps in Figs. 34 and 35, all temperatures have been reduced to sea level so that the effects of altitude are eliminated. If this were not done, the complications and details caused by mountains and other lesser relief forms w o u l d make the maps so confusing that the general world-wide effects of latitude and distribution of land and water w o u l d be difficult to perceive. It will be noted that the isotherms in general trend east and west, roughly f o l l o w i n g the parallels. T h i s east-west trend indicates that latitude is the greatest single cause of temperature differences over the earth's surface.
General features of temperature dis-

east-west courses are in localities where isotherms pass f r o m continents to oceans, or vice versa. Curvature of isotherms in such places is caused by the contrasting heating and cooling properties of land and water surfaces and the effects of ocean currents. T h e distribution of land and water bodies ranks next to latitude in the control of temperature distribution. C o l d ocean currents off the coasts of Peru and northern Chile, southern California, and southwestern Africa make themselves conspicuous through the equatorward bending of the isotherms. Similarly, warm currents in higher latitudes cause isotherms to bend poleward. T h i s condition is most marked off the coast of northwestern Europe owing to the effects of the Gulf Stream.
January and July temperatures. F o r

tribution. A study of the isothermal maps of the world reveals the following general features: 1) T h e highest average annual temperatures are in the low latitudes, where the largest amounts of insolation are received. T h e average lowest temperatures are in the vicinity of the poles, the regions of least annual insolation. 2) Isotherms tend to be straighter and are also m o r e widely spaced in the Southern Hemisphere, where the surface is largely composed of water. 3) T h e greatest departures from

the earth in general, January and July represent the seasonal extremes of temperature. T h e following are some of the more significant features of temperature distribution as shown o n the seasonal maps: (1) T h e isotherms and temperature belts m o v e north and south, following the northsouth migration of the sun's m o r e vertical rays. (2) T h e north-south shifting is greater over continents than over oceans, because of greater extremes of temperature over landmasses. (3) T h e highest temperaturi o n both the January and the Jul; maps are over land areas. T h e lowest temperatures in January are over Asia and North America, the largest of the landmasses in middle lati-

T E M P E R A T U R E OF T H E tudes. (4) In January in the Northern Hemisphere, isotherms bend toward the equator over the colder continents and toward the poles over warmer oceans. In July, the opposite conditions prevail. (5) Temperature differences between land and water are less pronounced in the Southern Hemisphere, because of the absence of great landmasses. (6) T h e so-called "cold pole" of the earth is in Siberia, where temperatures of 90 below zero have been recorded. T h e annual range of temperature is defined as the difference between the average temperatures of the warmest and coldest months. T h e approximate annual range at any given place can be learned from study of the isothermal maps. Notice, for example, Duluth, Minnesota. O n the July map the nearest isotherm is 70; on the January map it is zero, an annual range of about 70. T h e greatest annual ranges are over the Northern Hemisphere continents, which alternately become hot in summer and cold in winter. Low annual range is observed (1) near the equator, where insolation varies little, and (2) over large bodies of water, which change temperature much more slowly than land areas. T h e predominance of water in the Southern Hemisphere results in much smaller annual ranges of temperature than in the Northern Hemisphere. Thus, the change of seasons at any given place, as regards temperature, is clearly shown by these two maps.

ATMOSPHERE

37

A i r temperature and sensible tem-

perature. Correct air temperature can be obtained only by an accurate thermometer properly exposed. One of the principal items of correct exposure is to see that the instrument is not in the sun; otherwise it receives energy, not only from the surrounding air, but from the absorption of insolation as well. It also should be protected from direct radiation from the ground and adjacent buildings. Sensible temperature refers to the sensation of temperature which the human body feels, as distinguished from actual air temperature which is recorded by a properly exposed thermometer. T h e human body is a heat engine, generating energy at a relatively fixed rate when at rest. Anything, therefore, that affects the rate of loss of heat from the body affects physical comfort. Air temperature, of course, is an important element, but so also are wind, humidity, and sunlight. Thus, a humid, hot day is more uncomfortable than one of dry heat with the same temperature, since the loss of heat by evaporation is retarded more when the air is humid. A windy, cold day feels uncomfortable, because the loss of heat is speeded up by greater evaporation. A sunny day in winter seems less cold than it actually may be, because of the body's absorption of direct insolation. Cold air containing moisture particles feels colder than dry cold air. This is because cold-water particles collect on the skin. By conduction, heat is trans-

40

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

ferred f r o m the skin to the tiny water droplets. Evaporation of the water particles also contributes to a lowering of temperature. Because of its sensitiveness to factors other than air temperature, the human b o d y is not very accurate thermometer. SUMMARY T h e atmosphere is warmed mainly by the earth, which absorbs sun energy. If the earth's surface is warm, the air above it is likely to be warm. A land surface heats and cools more rapidly than water. Convection currents carry warm air up and cool air down. Rising air cools about 5 % F per 1000 feet. Roughly, the atmosphere may be divided into two layers called the

troposphere and the stratosphere. A thermometer carried upward through the troposphere will show a drop of about ?>y, per 1000 feet. T h i s is called the lapse rate. Note that rising air, because of expansion, cools faster than the normal d r o p in temperature with elevation. In the stratosphere, temperature is fairly constant. Seasonal changes in temperature are much greater in middle and high latitudes than in the vicinity of the equator. C o l d air is heavier than warm air. As air changes temperature, it also changes weight and pressure. Differences in atmospheric pressure over the earth's surface cause the air to move. Chapter 3, therefore, deals with the subject of atmospheric pressure and winds.

QUESTIONS

1. W h a t are several elements of environment? W h y is climate a most important one? 2. Name the principal constituents of the atmosphere. 3. W h y is water vapor in the air so important? 4. H o w does water vapor influence air temperature? 5. W h a t are a few effects of dust in the air? 6. W h a t is smog? W h e r e is it most likely to occur? 7. W h a t are the weather elements? W h i c h two are most important? 8. W h a t is weather? W h a t is climate? 9. W h a t are the climatic controls? 10. Change (a) 10C to Fahrenheit; ( b ) 5F to centigrade. 11. W h a t is insolation? W h a t is sun altitude? 12. W h a t two factors determine the effectiveness of insolation? 13. W h y are o b l i q u e sun's rays less effective than direct rays? 14. W i n t e r occurs in the United States when the earth is nearest the sun. Why? 15. In general, what is the relation of sun altitude and length of day to temperature?

T E M P E R A T U R E OF T H E

ATMOSPHERE

41

16. Approximately, what is the length of the longest day (duration of sunlight) at Singapore? Winnipeg? Point Barrow, Alaska? the North Pole? 17. W h y does the atmosphere receive most of its heat indirectly from the sun? 18. H o w do land and water surfaces differ with regard to absorption of solar energy? 19. What is the effect of reflection and evaporation on heating a body of water? 20. W h e n water is heated, convection currents are set up. W h y does this process retard the heating of a water body? 21. W h y do water bodies act as regulators of air temperature? 22. Since land heats and cools faster than water, where should you expect extreme climates? moderate climates? 23. O n a clear, cold day, with snow on the ground, the temperature often remains low in spite of a bright sun. Why? 24. H o w is the atmosphere warmed by conduction? 25. What percentage of earth radiation is absorbed by the air? mainly by what constituents of the air? 26. What is convection? H o w does convection distribute temperature in the atmosphere? 27. What causes the " b u m p y " air encountered by airplanes? W h y is air more bumpy over land than over sea? 28. H o w does wind direction affect temperature? 29. W h y does air become warmer as it descends a mountain slope? 30. W h y does the atmosphere usually cool at night? 31. What conditions promote rapid cooling of the atmosphere at night? 32. W h e n is frost more likely to occur, on a clear or a cloudy night? Why? 33. Define adiabatic lapse rate. 34. Air at 10F flows through a mountain pass, elevation 12,000 ft. If it descends to a nearby plain, elevation 5500 ft, what is its temperature? 35. H o w is mean daily temperature calculated? What is daily range of temperature? 36. H o w is the daily range affected by mountains? by deserts? by cloud cover? 37. In the United States which month is usually warmest? coldest? 38. Study Fig. 27. Which coast, Atlantic or Pacific, experiences colder winter temperatures? Name the only city in the United States where the lowest temperature has been above freezing. 39. On an autumn day, when there is little convectional movement of the air, the surface temperature of the air at a place 1500 ft above sea level is 52F. Calculate the air temperature above the place at an elevation of 24,000 ft above sea level.

42

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

40. Define the lapse rate? What does it average? 41. What is the altitude of the stratosphere? What are its characteristics? 42. H o w does the troposphere differ from the stratosphere? 43. What is air drainage? 44. What is one important result of air drainage? 45. Which is more turbulent, stable air or unstable air? 46. Define temperature inversion. What type of weather often accompanies an inversion? 47. Give the two meanings of the term frost. 48. What are the ideal conditions for frost formation? 49. What is one method of protection against frost? 50. What is an isotherm? 51. What are some significant features of temperature distribution shown by the isothermal charts for January and July? 52. What is annual range of temperature? In what regions is the annual range greatest? smallest? 53. W h y shoidd a thermometer not be placed in the sun when air temperature is measured? 54. W h y is a hot, humid day so uncomfortable?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. Record the sun altitude at noon daily for several months. 2. Secure from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., a copy of the Nautical Almanac, which, along with other interesting information, gives the declination of the sun (latitude of the vertical ray) for a year in advance. Keep a record of this declination alongside your record of sun altitude. 3. Keep daily records of outdoor temperatures, using both Fahrenheit and centigrade scales. 4. If possible, get a thermograph, and place it outside a north window where it will be easily visible from within. Try to explain temperature changes as shown by it. 5. Using Weather Bureau data, plot curves to show the daily and annual range of temperature at a number of selected places. 6. In winter, test the rapidity of melting of clean snow as contrasted with that of dirty snow. Explain. 7. If possible, make inquiry of air transport companies or pilots concerning the effects of convectional air currents on airplanes. At many airports you can see the weather data of the upper atmosphere secured from balloon and airplane soundings. Make notes of any interesting and significant facts

T E M P E R A T U R E OF T H E

ATMOSPHERE

43

that you discover. Notice the maps or charts of the upper atmosphere that the Weather Bureau men make and study. These upper-air observations aid in advising aviators concerning flights and in more accurately forecasting the weather. 8. If you drive through the country in autumn or spring, note the prevalence of valley frosts caused by air drainage. 9. One member of the class may be appointed to write to the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office in Washington for a list of publications dealing with weather and climate. Many of these can be purchased at relatively low cost, and it may be desirable to have several on hand.
NOTE:

Other activities may be found in the laboratory manual.


REFERENCES FOR C H A P T E R S 2, 3, 4, A N D 5

BLAIR, T H O M A S

A. Weather Elements. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs,

N. J., 1948.
C H A R L E S F. Why the Weather. Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc., New York, 1935. B Y E R S , H O R A C E R . General Meteorology. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1944. F I S H E R , R O B E R T . HOW to Know and Predict Weather. Harper & Brothers, New York, 1951. F L O R A , S. D . Tornadoes of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1953. G I L L M E R , . C., and N I E T S C H , E R I C . Clouds, Weather and Flight. D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., Princeton, N. J., 1954. H A L P I N E , C. G. Pilot's Meteorology. D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., Princeton, N. J., 1953. L E H R , P A U L E . , B U R N E T T , R . W . , and Z I M , H . S. Weather. Simon and Schuster, Inc., New York, 1957. S C I E N T I F I C A M E R I C A N magazine. The Planet Earth, Part 5 . Simon and Schuster, Inc., New York, 1957. S P I L H A U S , A. F. Weathercraft. T h e Viking Press, Inc., New York, 1951. T A N N F . H I L L , I. R. All About the Weather. Random House, Inc., New York, 1953. T A Y L O R , G E O R G E F. Elementary Meteorology. P r e n t i c e - H A L L , Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 1954. U . S . W E A T H E R B U R E A U . Weather Forecasting. Bulletin 42, 1952. BROOKS,

44

T H E EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

insulated, air-conditioned, and must carry a good supply of oxygen. When it returns at enormous speed into the earth's atmosphere, its outer metallic shell may reach temperatures in excess of 1 0 0 0 F . As altitude increases, atmospheric pressure drops from 14.7 pounds per square inch at sea level to nothing. On a barometer, this decrease in pressure amounts to about one inch per 1000 feet.

CHAPTER

. Atmospheric Pressure and Winds

Over the radio and television we hear, "Sea level barometric pressure is 30.15 inches and rising." What is meant by "sea level pressure"? by the expression 30.15 inches? What causes the barometer to rise? to fall? W e ourselves are not sensitive to the slight variations in atmospheric pressure that are largely responsible for changes in weather. Therefore we construct instruments that will indicate pressure changes. A huge balloon used to carry men into the stratosphere is shaped like a long, slender pear when it leaves the earth. In the stratosphere it becomes much larger and is spherical in shape. What is the reason for this change? As an airplane pilot approaches an airport, he radios the control tower for landing instructions. T h e control tower operator gives him the surface wind direction and velocity, and the altimeter setting, which is the sea level atmospheric pressure at that location. W h y are these data so important? W i n d direction can be ascertained by watching the movement of clouds,

or by observing drifting smoke. Ordinarily, however, we use a wind vane, which is an arrow, pivoted in the center, and free to turn. T h e arrow points toward the direction from which the wind is coming. If it points east, then we say we have an east wind. Direction of the wind is important because of its relation to temperature. In the United States, for example, a south wind means warm weather, and a north wind cold weather. Winds blowing from sea to land bring moisture inland and cause an increase in humidity. W h e n air having high water content is cooled, precipitation in the form of rain or snow results. The most important single function of ivind is the transportation of water vapor from the oceans to the lands, where that water vapor condenses and falls as rain.
Measuring atmospheric pressure.

Atmospheric pressure is measured with a mercury barometer or an aneroid barometer (Fig. 36). These are explained in Appendix C. A selfrecording barometer, called a barograph, is shown in Fig. 37.

46

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Air pressure at sea level is about 14.7 pounds per square inch, or slightly more than 1 ton per square

T h e gasoline tank on an automobile or airplane must have an opening or vent to permit air to enter the tank. Atmospheric pressure helps to push the gasoline through the fuel line. If the vent becomes cloooed
oo

with dirt, the engine will sputter and may finally stop, which is very unfortunate, especially in an airplane several thousand feet above the earth. A column of air 1 square inch in cross-sectional area extending from sea level to the top of the atmosphere weighs approximately 14.7 pounds. This weight is balanced by a column of mercury 29.92 inches, or 760 millimeters, high (see Appendix C).
Fig. 36. An aneroid pheric pressure is 1013 in pressure barometer shows atmosMean sea level inFriez Assuming this millibars. millibars.

strument to be at sea level, it is indicating low pressure (about 9 9 7 millibars). (Courtesy Instrument Division, Bendix Aviation Corp.)

foot. W e pay little attention to this pressure because it is the same on all sides of any given object. Thus, we pick up a book and move it around freely in the air. However, if the book could be made to fit snugly in a rectangular tunnel or tube and the air exhausted, or removed, from one side of the book, then the book would move toward the direction of reduced pressure. This is the principle of suction involved in drinking a liquid through a hollow tube. Using the mouth as an exhaust pump, we remove the air from inside the tube. Atmospheric pressure on the surface of the liquid in the glass then forces the liquid upward.

Fig.

37. The

barograph

records

atmospheric

pressure on paper. A sheet of graph paper is fastened on the outside of the cylinder at the left, which rotates once a week by means of clockworks inside. The center cylinder contains several aneroids (see Appendix C). One advantage of the barograph is that a glance at the instrument is sufficient to ascertain whether air pressure is rising, falling, or steady. Friez Instrument Division, (Courtesy Corp.) Bendix Aviation

Thus, we say that normal sea-level pressure is 29.92 inches. Another measure of atmospheric

ATMOSPHERIC

PRESSURE AND

WINDS

47

pressure is called the millibar.1 T h i s unit of pressure is n o w used by meteorologists in practically all parts of the world. A b o u t 34 millibars are equal to 1 inch on the mercury ba948 28.0

decrease in air pressure with increasing altitude. T h e lower layers of the atmosphere are the densest, because the weight of all the layers above rests u p o n them. In general, it may
1012 1020

CONVERSION S C A L E Millibars Inches 956 , I 8.2 964 8.4 8.6 972 i I .'['.' | .' 1 ," 'i i f^rVpl / . 1 ' 1 ' i' ''i.11'1!1' I ' l I 8.8 29.0 9.2 9.4 9.6 9.8 50.0 0.2 980 988 996 1004 1028 1 0.4

,-L.

1036

1044 T^-V 0.6 0.8 31.0

rometer. Normal sea-level pressure of 29.92 inches corresponds to 1013.2 millibars (mb). O n weather maps, isobars, or lines of equal sea-level pressure, are drawn for every 3 millibars of pressure change.
R E L A T I O N OF PRESSURE IN INCHES T O PRESSURE IN MILLIBARS Inches 27.00 28.00 28.50 29.00 29.50 Millibars 914.3 948.2 965.1 982.1 999.0 Inches 29.IS 29.92 30.00 30.25 Millibars 1007.5 1013.2 1015.9 1024.4

be said that a mercury

barometer higher becomes

drops about 1 inch for each 1000-foot increase in elevation. W i t h altitudes the air rapidly

much thinner and lighter; hence, at an elevation of 18,000 feet, one-half the atmosphere by weight is below the observer, although the whole air mass extends to a height of several hundred miles. T h e human body is not physiologically adjusted to the low pressures and associated small oxygen

Relation of air pressure to tempera-

ture. W h e n air is heated, it expands and becomes less dense. A column of warm, light air weighs less than a c o l u m n of cold, heavy air. Over a warm region of the earth, heated air expands, rises, and overflows aloft, m o v i n g toward regions of lower temperatures (Fig. 38). DISTRIBUTION OF ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE Vertical distribution. Since air is content of the air at high altitudes. Nausea, faintness, and nosebleed often result f r o m a too rapid ascent.
1

HIGH

LOW

PRESSURE 777777777777777777777777777777777^77777777777777777777777777777 Fig. 38. Relationship of air temperature to pressure and winds. Dashed lines indicate surfaces of equal pressure.

The

m i l l i b a r is a f o r c e e q u a l t o force approximately equal to

1000 the

d y n e s p e r square c e n t i m e t e r . A unit of weight of a milligram.

d y n e is a

very compressible, there is a rapid

48

T H E EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Oxygen tanks are a part of the normal equipment of aircraft operating at high altitudes. Such aircraft also have pressurized cabins.
AVERAGE PRESSURE DECREASE WITH

INCREASE O F A L T I T U D E * Pressure, pounds per square inch Pressure, inches of mercury

Height, feet

Pressure, millibars

50,000 45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 18,000 16,000 14,000 12,000 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0

1.68 2.14 2.72 3.46 4.36 5.45 6.75 7.34 7.97 8.63 9.35 10.11 10.92 11.08 12.69 13.66 14.70

3.44 4.36 5.54 7.04 8.88 11.10 13.75 14.94 16.21 17.57 19.03 20.58 22.22 23.98 25.84 27.82 29.92

116.0 147.5 187.6 238.4 300.9 376.0 465.6 506.0 549.1 595.2 644.4 696.8 752.6 812.0 875.1 942.1 1,013.2

* From United States Weather Bureau.

Horizontal distribution. Just as tem-

perature distribution is represented by isotherms, so atmospheric pressure distribution is represented by isobars, that is, lines connecting places having the same pressure. O n the isobaric charts here shown (Figs. 39, 40), effects of elevation have been eliminated. All pressure readings

have been reduced to sea level. This is necessary because pressure in high mountains and plateaus is always much less than at sea level. If these differences caused by elevation were not eliminated, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to makf world-wide comparisons of atmos pheric pressure. Similar reduction to sea-level pressure is made also when isobars are drawn on a daily weather map. T h e most noticeable features of average world-pressure conditions (Figs. 39, 40) are as follows: (1) There is an equatorial belt of low pressure (below 30 inches) that coincides rather closely with the belt of highest temperature. Within the belt the lowest pressures are over land, where the highest temperatures occur. (2) T h e subtropical highs (horse latitudes), a series of high-pressure centers, are located about 30 to 40N and S lat. (3) T h e subpolar troughs of low pressure are situated about 60 to 70N and S lat. T h e subpolar trough is much more continuous in the Southern than in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere it is represented by two distinct centers: the Iceland low in the North Atlantic and the Aleutian low in the North Pacific. (4) There are polar highs in the vicinity of the North and South poles. It should be emphasized that equatorial low pressure is a result of high temperatures and that polar high pressure is a result of low temperatures.
Isobars f o r January and July. C o m -

paring the January and July maps,

ATMOSPHERIC

PRESSURE AND metric slope

WINDS exists, and winds

49 of

the f o l l o w i n g features may be noted: (1) T h e pressure belts, like those of temperature, move north with the sun's rays in July and south in January. T h e y lag behind and d o not migrate so far as do the insolation belts. Migration is greater over continents than over oceans. (2) In winter the subtropical highs are strengthened they land by cold landmasses and are therefore m o r e continuous; are weakened by in summer the warm

high velocity will result. T h e r e are two fundamental rules concerning relationships between direo pressure and winds: (1) T h e

tion of air flow is f r o m regions of higher pressure to regions of lower pressure, that is, d o w n the baromet ric slope. T h i s follows the law oi gravitation and is just as natural aj. the well-known fact that water runs downhill. (2) T h e rate of air flow, oi velocity of the wind, depends upon the steepness of the pressure gradient or the rate of pressure change. W h e n the gradient is steep, air flow is rapid; when it is weak, the w i n d is likewise weak. Just as the speed of a river is determined largely by the slope of the land, or the rate of change in elevation, so the velocity of wind is determined largely by the barometric slope, or the rate of change in air pressure. One, therefore, can determine the steepness of the pressure gradient and, consequently, the relative velocity of air movement, by noting the spacing of the isobars. Closely spaced isobars, like those in the vicinity of the subpolar trough in the Southern Hemisphere, indicate relatively steep gradients, or marked pressure differences. Under these conditions, winds of high velocity prevail. W h e n isobars are spaced far apart, gradients are weak, and winds are likewise. Calms, when winds are absent or very weak, prevail when pressure differences over extensive areas are very small. A t such times there is nearly

areas. (3) Over landmasses, especially in Asia and North America, areas of low pressure develop in summer, and high pressure in winter. Pressure over adjacent oceans is just the reverse, huge low-pressure areas existing over the North Atlantic and North Pacific in winter.

RELATION OF WINDS TO PRESSURE A i r that moves essentially parallel to the earth's surface is referred to as wind. Vertical air movements are m o r e properly designated as to horizontal movements currents, as well.

although the name is often applied W i n d is usually the result of horizontal differences in air pressure. Pressure gradient, to the gradient. and The slope, pressure refers of the or barometric rate

direction

change in pressure. If pressure is l o w in Minnesota and high in Missouri, then the barometric slope is f r o m south to north, and the w i n d will b l o w f r o m south to north. If the difference in pressure between the two states is very great, then a steep baro-

52

T H E E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

an absence of isobaric lines on the pressure map. It should be borne in mind that winds are always named by the direc-

in a general way toward the highpressure area down whose barometric slope the air is flowing. Windward refers to the direction from which a wind comes; leeward, to the direction toward which the wind blows. A windward coast is one a l o n o ; which the air is moving ono shore, and a leeward coast has winds offshore. When a wind blows more frequently from one direction than from any other, it is called a prevail-

34
5

24

* ^

t
A

138 .

Fig. 42. A "station model" on a weather map Fig. 41. Weafher instrument tower at States Weather Bureau, Washington, United D. C. gives the weather conditions. At this city, the temperature was 34F, visibility 5 miles, and dew point 2 4 F (see Chapter 4). W i n d was from the northeast at 13 to 18 miles per hour. By putting 10 in front of 138, and pointing off one place, we get the barometric pressure of 1013.8 millibars. barometer symbol The symbol below 138 The shows the falling the unsteadily. circle completely low clouds.

From left to right, the instruments are a pressure-tube type anemometer, thunderstorm indicator, 4-foot wind vane, and 3-cup type anemometer. The cups are spinning so fast that they are not discernible. (.Courtesy U. S. Weafher Bureau.)

shaded circle indicates an overcast sky. The

tion from which they come. Thus wind from the south, blowing toward the north, is called a south wind. T h e wind vane points toward the direction from which the wind is coming (Fig. 41). It therefore points

below

means

Weather conditions here shown foretell an approaching snowstorm.

ing wind. O n the daily weather map, wind arrows fly with the wind (Fig. 42).

ATMOSPHERIC WIND DIRECTION AND VELOCITY

PRESSURE AND

WINDS

53

low pressure near the center of the North American continent; in winter the prevailing wind direction is northwest, owing to high pressure in the same locality. During January and February, 1948, a n u m b e r of bitterly cold polar air masses moved southward f r o m Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. M i d d l e and eastern United
ENE 90E ESE

W i n d directions as recorded by the Weather Bureau are usually limited to 16 points of the compass at

315
WNW W270

N W

States experienced an unusually cold winter with heavy snows, especially in N e w York, while California suf-

WSW SW 225'

Fig. 43. The 16 wind directions. A wind 2 2 5 is a southwest wind. A wind from

from 67% is

is blowing from what direction? W i n d direction, like true course from one city to another, measured clockwise from true north.

222 intervals beginning with north (Fig. 43). Ability to foretell wind direction a day ahead is a prime requisite of a g o o d weather-forecaster.
Importance of w i n d direction. S u p -

pose that a tropical air mass, m o v i n g as a south wind, is causing unusually warm weather in Des Moines, Iowa. A forecaster, by studying the weather map, foresees that o n the following day a polar air mass, advancing from the northwest, will reach the city. Under such conditions, he is certain to forecast colder weather. A t exist. T h r o u g h o u t the central states, the prevailing w i n d direction in summer is south, owing to the prevalence of fered severe drouth. Conversely, hot, dry air masses f r o m the southwest often cause severe drouths in July another time, opposite conditions may
Fig. 44. Weather observer watching pilot balloon through a theodolite. He telephones data to a computer at the plotting board in the office. The data enable the computer to calculate the wind direction and velocity aloft. (Courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.)

54

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 45. Radar antenna. Radar is used to track (follow) sounding balloons to obtain wind direction and velocity at high levels. Balloon carries metal that reflects radio waves to antenna on ground. Since the radio waves penetrate clouds, this system has a tremendous advantage over the older pilot balloon-theodolite method. Radar is being used also to locate and follow (Officio/ Department of Defense Photo.) thunderstorms.

and August, resulting in great damage to growing crops and causing much suffering among people and livestock. W i n d direction foretells weather. Generally speaking, over much of central and eastern United States, easterly winds indicate the approach of foul weather; and westerly winds, fair weather. W i n d direction at high altitudes

13 ascertained by releasing rubber balloons filled with helium and observing them through a small telescopic instrument called a theodolite (the-od'o-lit). Such balloon soundings also indicate velocity of winds aloft (Figs. 44, 45). In the central and eastern states, the upper winds are mainly from the southwrest, west, and northwest and are usually much stronger, especially

ATMOSPHERIC

PRESSURE AND wind.

WINDS radio

55 communicaflight

in winter, than surface winds (Figs. 46, 47). These upper winds partially account for the fast airplane flights from Los Angeles to New York. Layers of air at different elevations often move in different directions. Thus an airplane pilot may find a strong head wind at 2000 feet, but at 6000 feet he might have a tail

Two-way

tion between an airplane in

and an airport often makes it possible for meteorologists to advise pilots

Fig. 48.

Airplanes land and take off against

the wind. W h y ?

of the correct altitude at which to fly in order to take advantage of favorable wind direction. Obviously this service results in considerable savings in fuel consumption and in time.

summer. (.Courtesy U. S. V/eather

Bureau.)

Fig. 49. Three-cup type anemometer used to determine wind velocity. (Courtesy U. S. Bureau.) Weather

it? winter. (Courtesy U. S. Weather

Bureau.)

Airplanes take off and land against the wind. In the take-off the head wind causes a more rapid ascent; in landing it acts as a brake, considerably lowering the landing speed of the plane (Fig. 48).

56

T H E EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

W i n d velocity is measured in miles per hour by an instrument called an anemometer (Figs. 41, 49). In general, winds are steadier over water than over land. Gusty winds are characteristic of landmasses. T h e surface velocity throughout the central states averages about 10 to 15 miles per hour but may range from zero to 60 or more. W i n d velocity is of tremendous importance in aviation. If an airplane has an air speed of 100 miles
B E A U F O R T SCALE * OF W I N D

per hour and is going against a 100mile wind, its speed over the earth's surface will be zero, and from the ground it will appear stationary. If the wind increases to 110 miles per hour, the airplane will move backward at a speed of 10 miles per hour. If the pilot turns and goes with the wind, his speed over the earth will be 210 miles per hour. In many cases, however, the airplane encounters neither a direct head wind nor a tail wind. Instead, a side wind may be
EQUIVALENTS

FORCE W I T H VELOCITY

Beaufort number 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Map symbol

Descriptive word Calm

Velocity, miles per hour Less than 1 1- 3

Specifications for estimating velocities

Smoke rises vertically Direction of wind shown by smoke drift but not by wind vanes Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; ordinary vane moved by wind Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; wind extends light flag Wind raises dust and loose paper; small branches are moved Small trees in leaf begin to sway; crested wavelets form on inland water Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telegraph wires; umbrellas used with difficulty Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt in walking against the wind Wind breaks twigs off trees; generally impedes progress Slight structural damage occurs (chimney pots and slate removed) Trees uprooted; considerable structural damage occurs Rarely experienced; spread damage accompanied by wide-

\ V W

Light Gentle Moderate Fresh

4- 7 8-12 13-18 19-24 25-31

^
Strong

32-38 39-46

^
Gale

47-54 55-63

Whole gale Hurricane

64-75 Above 75

I L o

* This scale was conceived originally in 1805 by Admiral Beaufort of the British N a v y .

ATMOSPHERIC its course. In such cases the

PRESSURE AND pilot

WINDS

57

strong enough to carry the ship off must head the nose of the ship into the wind in order to f o l l o w a given

elevations, so air flows f r o m high to low pressure. Observe again Figs. 39, 40. From both of the the subtropical air flows high-pressure belts

toward the equator. These are the trade winds. O n the poleward side of the subtropical highs, the air flows toward the subpolar troughs of low pressure. These winds are called the westerlies. From the polar Wind correction highs, the polar easterlies blow angle=IOR fly a true course toward the subpolar lows. Between stormy the trades, where pressure gradients are weak, is the equatorial belt of variable winds and calms called the doldrums. Between the trades and westerlies, at the tops of the subtropical highs, where pressure gradients are likewise weak, are the subtropical belts of variable winds and calms, sometimes called the horse g T L R HigB"^?^ TOA latitudes.
is blowing from

Fig. 50. A wind, EW,

pilot wishes to at flight altitude

straight east, 9 0 , from take-off point . The 2 4 0 at 40 miles per hour. The air speed of the plane, WP, is 120 miles per hour. The pilot must " c r a b " the ship into the wind 10 to the right, to counteract wind drift. His true heading therefore is 100, and ground speed, EP, 153 miles per hour. Diagrams like this are easily made, using a protractor and a scale of 1 centimeter equals 10 miles. Be careful to measure all angles clockwise from true north.

track over the earth's surface (Fig. 50). T a k i n g advantage of strong upper winds, pilots have flown f r o m California to N e w York at an average speed of about 600 miles per hour. W i n d velocity is usually greater in high mountains are well known than in lowlands. L o w passes in the continental divide for strong winds. O n e of the highest wind velocities ever recorded, 231 miles per hour, occurred atop M o u n t Washington in northern N e w Hampshire in December, 1934. THE EARTH'S WIND SYSTEMS Planetary winds. W e have seen that, just as water flows from high to low

Fig. 51. A very diagrammatic representation of pressure and wind belts of the earth.

Figures 51 and 52 are

diagram-

matic sketches of pressure belts as they might exist o n a globe composed of either all land or all water. T h i s arrangement of pressure belts may

58

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 52. A very diagrammatic representation of pressure and wind belts of the earth.

be observed to some extent on the seasonal isobaric charts for January and July in the Southern Hemisphere (Figs. 39, 40), where a high percentage of the earth's surface is

of high and low pressure. Above this line, by means of arrows that slope downhill, are shown the prevailing winds of the world. T h e curved line, or pressure profile, rises from the belt of low pressure near the equator to the subtropical highs at about 30 or 35N and S lat. T h e n it slopes downward to the subpolar lows in latitudes 60 to 70, after which it rises again in the vicinity of the poles.
Effects of earth rotation on winds.

Fig. 5 3 . The solid arrows show the deflection of winds owing to the earth's rotation. The rule is as follows: W i t h one's back to the wind, deflection the left. in the Northern Hemisphere is toward the right; in the Southern Hemisphere, toward

covered with water. In the Northern Hemisphere, great landmasses texrd to disrupt the pressure belts.
Profile of average pressure distribution along a north-south meridian.

T h e rotation of the earth on its axis causes the winds in the Northern Hemisphere to be deflected toward the right and in the Southern Hemisphere, toward the left. Thus the trades become northeast winds north of the equator, and southeast winds south of the equator. T h e westerlies become mainly southwest winds in the Northern Hemisphere, and northwest winds in the Southern Hemisphere (Fig. 53).
W i n d belts and pressure areas. It

T h e general pressure conditions that have just been described are shown in a diagrammatic way in Fig. 52. A line of "hills and valleys" drawn from pole to pole shows the points

should be remembered that the system of world winds just described holds true over oceans more than over landmasses. Heating and cooling of land and irregularities of the land surface tend to break up the

ATMOSPHERIC

PRESSURE AND

WINDS

59

generalized system of world wind belts. Isobaric charts of the world show certain great semipermanent areas of high and low pressure over the oceans and continents with spiraling wind systems around them. Especially on the January chart (Fig. 39) the huge low-pressure area over the North Pacific Ocean (the Aleutian low) and another over the North Atlantic (the Iceland low) are clearly shown. O n the same chart large areas of high pressure appear over North America and Asia. T h e high over Asia in January is intensified by the extreme cold of Siberia. In the Southern Hemisphere, on both the January and the July charts, areas of high pressure appear over the Indian, South Atlantic, and South Pacific oceans, and an unbroken belt of low pressure extends around the world in the vicinity of the 70th parallel. T h e centers of action are literally great wheels of atmospheric circulation, for they generate the winds. Winds, in turn, largely determine the extent to which water vapor is carried from sea to land. Winds also influence the direction of ocean currents. It is evident that shifts in the position and intensity of these centers of action might have very marked effects upon the seasonal weather of any part of the earth. T h e study of these centers has been the basis of some attempts at longdistance weather-forecasting.
Doldrums, or equatorial belt of variable w i n d s and calms. A s the n o r t h -

east and southeast trades converge toward the equator, they rise above the earth's surface, leaving between

Fig. 54. day. The

Northeast wind

and southeast trades and a diagram that shows

doldrums over the Atlantic Ocean on a June rose, mainly the prevailing wind directions, is given for each 5 square. Arrows fly with the wind. The length of the arrow is proportional to the frequency of winds from that direction. The number of feathers on the arrow indicates the average force of the wind. The numeral in the center gives the percentage of calms, light airs, and variable winds (U. S. Hydrographic Pilot Chart.) Office

them at low elevations a condition of light and baffling breeze with much calm (Fig. 54). This doldrum

60

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

belt, therefore, occupies the axis, or valley, of lowest pressure in the equatorial low-pressure trough where pressure gradients are weak and variable, resulting in winds of the same character. It needs to be emphasized that the nature of the winds is the result of the character of the barometric gradients. T h e condition of calms and variable winds is not clearly marked all round the equator, nor does it exist at all times of the year. In places and upon occasions, it may be reduced to the vanishing point by the encroaching trades or by monsoons r T h e principal air movement in the doldrums is vertical rather than horizontal. Ascending currents are indicated by the abundance of cumulus clouds, 3 numerous thunderstorms, and heavy convectional rainfall. Because this is a region of converging air currents that escape by upward movement, the doldrums are inclined to be turbulent and stormy, with calms, squalls, and light winds alternating. Within the doldrums, calms prevail 15 to 30 percent of the time, and winds, chiefly light and gentle breezes, come from all points of the compass with about equal frequency (Fig. 54). Sultry and oppressive weather is characteristic. In past times the doldrums were rigorously avoided by sailing vessels. Owing to the fact that a sailing ship could very well be becalmed for days in the doldrums because of lack of wind, boats often took longer routes and went far out of their courses in

order to cross in the narrowest parts of the belt. Although the doldrums are usually spoken of as a belt, it would be incorrect to conceive of this condition of variable winds and calms as having definite northern and southern boundaries. T h e doldrums merge imperceptibly with the trades on both margins over the oceans, so that their limits are often difficult to define. Irregular in width but averaging perhaps 200 to 300 miles, they extend in places for as much as 10 or more away from the equator. In other longitudes, especially where monsoons are well developed, as they are in the Indian Ocean, the doldrum belt may be wiped out entirely. Over the Atlantic Ocean in July, doldrums lie between latitudes 11N and 3N, and in January between 3N and 0. Most of the doldrum belt probably lies between parallels 5N and 5S. Trade winds. In each hemisphere the trade winds blow over the oceans approximately between latitudes 30 or 35 and 5 or 10. T h e y move obliquely downgradient from the subtropical high areas toward the equatorial low. Over the North Atlantic in summer, the approximate limits of the northeast trades are 35N and 11N; in winter, 26N and 3N. In parts of the low latitudes
2 Monsoons are seasonal winds, blowing from sea to land in summer and from land to sea in winter. They are more fully explained in the latter part of this chapter. 3 Cumulus clouds are described and illustrated in Chapter 4.

ATMOSPHERIC

PRESSURE AND

WINDS

61

they reach, and even cross, the equator. Away from landmasses, trades blow rather constantly from an easterly direction (northeast in the Northern and southeast in the Southern Hemisphere). Over continents, and even adjacent to them, both steadiness and direction may be considerably modified. On the island of St. Helena, which lies in the heart of the southeast trades of the South Atlantic, the percentage of winds from various directions is as follows, according to Kendrew: 4
N NE E
5 1

other hand, outflowing continental winds tend to strengthen them. In general, the trades are regions of fine, clear weather with few storms. T h e most spectacular of these

Fig. 55. When moist winds are forced to cross mountain barriers, heavy precipitation falls on the windward slopes, but leeward slopes are relatively dry.

SE
76 62

SW

Calm

January
2

19 20 1 5

Trades are the most regular and steady winds of the earth, particularly over the oceans. T h e i r characteristic moderate-to-fresh breezes average 10 to 15 miles per hour. Calms are infrequent, usually prevailing less than 5 percent of the time. Over landmasses and near their margins the surface trades are much less conspicuous than over the oceans. T h e y blow with greater strength and constancy in winter than in summer, for in the hot season the belt of subtropical highs is broken by the heated continents, resulting in a much less continuous belt of trades at that season. Especially over eastern and southern Asia, and to a degree over the waters south and east of the United States as well, summer monsoons tend to weaken or even eliminate the trades. In winter, on the

storms are the tropical hurricanes and typhoons, discussed in Chapter 5. Since the trades yield little precipitation when traveling over oceans or over landmasses of low elevation, they are often described as desert makers. But when these prevailingly "dry" winds are forced to rise abruptly, for example, along the elevated windward margin of a continentthey may yield copious rain. On one of the mountainous Hawaiian Islands, located in the northeast trades, annual rainfall on the windward side is more than 200 inches, but on the leeward side it is less than 20 inches (Fig. 55).
T r a d e - w i n d belts as sailing routes.

Because of the steady nature of the trades, as well as their fine, clear weather with few severe storms, they were thoroughfares for sailing vessels. T h e routes of ships powered with either steam or diesel engines
4 W . G. Kendrew. Climate, p. 90. Oxford University Press, New York, 1938.

62

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

are, of course, but little influenced by wind belts. Just as sailing craft avoided the belts of calms and fickle winds, so they sought out the trades and plotted their courses in order to take advantage of them. T h e charted route for wind-driven boats traveling from Europe to the
50 45 40 W 35

5 4 40 35

Fig. 56. The subtropical belt of variable winds and calms, or horse latitudes, over the North Atlantic Ocean for June. Explanation of symbols is given below Fig. 54. Office Pilot Chart.) (U. S. Hydrographic

One notation describes the weather as being like April in Andalusia. T h e almost constant following winds from the northeast worried the sailors, however, for they feared that the return trip to Spain might be impossible. Upon one occasion when a westerly wind was experienced, Columbus wrote: " T h i s contrary wind was very necessary to me, because my people were much excited at the thought that in these seas no wind ever blew in the direction of Spain." T h e flying route from California to China via the Hawaiian and the Philippine Islands takes advantage of the fine weather of the trades. In flying west the trades are utilized as tail winds.
Subtropical belt of variable and calms, or the horse winds latitudes.

United States ran southward along the Atlantic coast of Europe and Africa to about latitude 25 or 30, then due westward in the trades, and finally northward again in the western Atlantic (trace on Figs. 39, 40). This is much farther in miles than the more direct steamship route of today; but sailing craft measured their trips in days rather than in miles, and better time could be made by sailing with the trades over a longer course than by fighting against the westerlies over a shorter route. Columbus in his first voyage to the New W o r l d sailed south from Spain to the Canary Islands and then westward in the trades. His journal of the voyage contains frequent remarks concerning the fine weather and the favorable winds experienced.

Lying between the trades and the stormy westerlies over the oceans are the horse latitudes. T h e y are highpressure areas. Within these areas light, variable winds and calms are the rule (Fig. 56). On the wind charts (Figs. 39, 40) the horse latitudes are the centers of the great subtropical "whirls" of air. These whirls have opposite rotations in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Although the horse latitudes are like the doldrums in their preponderance of light and fickle winds, blowing from any and all points of the compass, they are totally unlike them in their general weather conditions. Because they are regions of settling air and light, variable winds, the air is prevailingly dry. Skies are clear. T h e weather is fine much of

ATMOSPHERIC

PRESSURE AND

WINDS

63

the time. Sunshine is abundant, and rainfall is relatively low. T h e centers, or "ridges," of subtropical high pressure lie in the vicinity of latitudes 30 to 40N and S. These are sometimes known as the Mediterranean latitudes, because they correspond in location to that sea. T h e representative wind rose (Fig. 56) for these regions resembles that of the doldrums, calms prevailing 15 to 25 percent of the time; and light and gentle breezes from all points of the compass, the remainder. T h e horse latitudes, like the doldrums, are avoided by sailing vessels. Stormy westerlies. Moving downgradient from the centers of subtropical high pressure to the subpolar lows (roughly 35 or 40 to 60 or 65) are the stormy westerlies. T h e poleward boundary of this wind belt is a particularly fluctuating one. It shifts with the seasons and over shorter periods of time as well. T h e westerlies are distinctive among the wind belts in that they are neither uniformly strong nor weak but, instead, are composed of extremes. "Spells of weather" are one of their distinguishing characteristics. At times, especially in the winter, they blow with gale force; on other occasions mild breezes prevail. Although designated as westerlies

result of the procession of storms (cyclones and anticyclones) from west to east in these latitudes. These storms tend to break up and modify the general westerly air movement.

Fig. 57. The westerlies over the North Atlantic Ocean in January. (U. S . Hydrographic Pilot Chart.) Office

Moreover, on the eastern side of Asia monsoon wind systems tend to disturb the westerlies, especially in summer. This is also true on the eastern side of North America but to a lesser degree. In the Southern Hemisphere, where in latitudes 40 to 65 landmasses are largely absent, the westerlies can be observed in their least interrupted development. Over the great expanses of oceans, winds of gale strength are common in sum-

(westerly being the direction of most frequent and strongest winds), air in this wind belt does blow from all points of the compass (Fig. 57). T h e variability of winds, in both direction and strength, so characteristic of the westerlies, is largely the

64

T H E E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

mer as well as in winter. These winds are the "roaring forties" of nautical jargon. In the vicinity of Cape Horn, they are often so violent that they make east-west traffic around the Cape not only difficult but even dangerous. It is a wild region where gale follows gale with only brief intervening lulls; raw chilly weather, cloudy skies, and mountainous seas prevail. T h e westerlies of the Northern Hemisphere, where the great landmasses with their seasonal pressure reversals cause the wind systems to be much more complex, are considerably less violent in summer than in winter. In summer, gentle to fresh breezes prevail, and winds come from a great variety of directions with almost equal frequency. But winter winds are strong and boisterous, blowing mainly from westerly directions. In winter, great masses of cold polar air occasionally move equatorward in the westerlies. It is clear that the westerlies must be more difficult and strenuous sailing winds than are the trades, because they are more stormy and because they are more variable in strength and direction. Although the winds are variable, they are strongest and most frequent from the west, so that sailing vessels plot their courses to take advantage of this condition. Thus, sailing craft use the trades from Europe to America and the westerlies on the return trip. Similarly, in going from the United States or Europe to Australia, sailing

ships go by the Cape of G o o d Hope, returning by Cape Horn. Polar winds. In the higher latitudes, beyond the belts of westerlies, the subpolar low-pressure troughs are extremely wild and stormy areas, for they are the routes followed by a large number of cyclonic storms of high latitudes. These storms, especially in the cool seasons, move southward into the paths of steamships plying the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. Winds of gale force, together with huge waves, often reduce the speed of an ocean liner. As a result, the ship's arrival at its destination may be delayed many hours.
Causes of terrestrial modifications.

Certain modifications of the idealized planetary wind system are the result of (1) the inclination (23%) and parallelism of the earth's axis, (2) the distribution of large landmasses in the Northern Hemisphere, and (3) the shapes and elevations of landmasses.
Latitudinal shifting of w i n d belts.

T h e inclination and parallelism of the earth's axis as the earth revolves around the sun cause the sun's vertical ray to migrate from 2 3 % N (summer solstice, about June 21) to 23%S (winter solstice, about December 21), a total of 47. This in turn causes a north-south migration (of lesser extent) of the temperature, oressure, and wind belts. Some regions are thus influenced by two wind belts during the year. For example, between latitudes 5 and 15N and S, the doldrums may prevail during high sun, and the trades

ATMOSPHERIC

P R E S S U R E A N D W I N D S 71

65

during low sun. Certain Mediterranean lands (latitudes 30 to 40) experience the clear, dry weather of the horse latitudes and trades in summer and the more stormy and wetter weather of the cyclonic westerlies in winter. Monsoon winds. Monsoon winds are the result of the earth's surface being composed of great land and water areas which have unequal heating and cooling qualities. Seasonal differences in temperature often give rise to seasonal contrasts in pressure; and, of course, contrasts in pressure give rise to changes in wind direction. T h e chain, or sequence, of events, then, is from temperature, through pressure, to winds. In winter, for example, the interior of Asia becomes excessively cold, resulting in the development of a great stationary continental anticyclone or high-pressure area. Over the warmer seas to the east and south of Asia, temperatures are higher, and the pressures consequently lower. As a result of this arrangement of the pressure areas, the surface gradient is from the continent toward the ocean. Consequently, cold surface winds move out from Asia toward the surrounding seas. This prevailing land wind constitutes the winter monsoon (January, Fig. 39). T h e winter monsoon is not always from the same direction in the various parts of eastern and southern Asia, for it blows from the west and northwest in Japan and north China and from the north and northeast in southern Asia, where it acts to

strengthen the normal trade winds of those latitudes. Although not always from the same direction, it is, in almost all sections, a land wind, bringing cold, dry air down to the very sea margins and beyond. This condition is not conducive to rainfall; hence, winter, or the period of low sun, is characteristically the driest season in monsoon lands. Winter monsoons, particularly of middle latitudes, are subject to interruptions by the passage of cyclonic storms which bring some precipitation even in the cool season.
Summer monsoon. I n s u m m e r the

Asiatic continent becomes warmer than the adjacent oceans, and as a consequence a semipermanent seasonal low-pressure center develops over that landmass. Higher pressure prevails over the cooler oceans, so that the gradient is from sea to land, as are also the winds (July, Fig. 40). This mass of sea air moving in toward the heated continent is called the summer monsoon. Much of it originates in the trades south of the equator. Since it travels great distances over bodies of tropical water, it brings with it abundant supplies of water vapor which are conducive to rainfall. Summer, therefore, is characteristically the wet season in monsoon lands. T h e summer monsoon is not always a wind from the same direction throughout southeastern Asia, but at least it is from the sea. Interruptions from cyclonic storms are not infrequent.

66

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

In monsoon regions continentalcontrolled winds tend to wipe out the planetary system of trades and westerlies, substituting in their places a terrestrial system. Hot, hu-

of events just described for a -

Winter Asia cold High pressure Winds toward sea Dry season

Summer Asia warm Low pressure Winds toward land Wet season

Partly because of the great size of the continent, the monsoon system of winds is most perfectly developed over eastern and southern Asia, although monsoons in modified form, or monsoon tendencies, are characteristic of other regions as well (Fig. 59). Southeastern United States, northern Australia, Spain, and South Africa all are regions with monsoon tendencies. These land areas may not always be sufficiently powerful to cause a complete seasonal reversal of winds as is Asia, but at least they create partial monsoons. Land and sea breezes. Just as there are seasonal
JANUARY Fig. 58. Seasonal pressures and winds over India.

wind reversals

(mon-

soons) resulting from seasonal temperature contrasts between land and water, so there are diurnal, or daily, monsoons resulting from similarly induced temperature contrasts within the 24-hour period. These are called la?id and sea breezes, urnal monsoons (Fig. 60). or di-

mid summers and relatively cold, dry winters are characteristic of most regions with continental wind systems in the middle latitudes. India, cut off as it is from the rest of Asia by high mountain ranges and plateaus, has a monsoon system of local origin, quite distinct from that of the rest of the continent (Fig. 58). T h e following table will help to fix the chain

Thus, along coasts there is often a drift of cool, heavy air from land to water at night (corresponding to winter) and a reversed wind direction, sea to land, during the heat of

ATMOSPHERIC

PRESSURE AND 'V...

WINDS

67

, \ t . 4

\H-~Yts-y

^
\ \ 1 J /> v
I J - ' I Jon. Ward.)

Fig. 59. Seasonal winds over the United States. (After

the day. Usually the sea breeze begins between 11 and 12 A.M. and seldom lasts much later than 4 o'clock in the afternoon. It is a shallow wind, penetrating only a short distance inland, usually not more than 20 miles. Along tropical shores the sea breeze is a remarkably important climatic phenomenon, causing these places to be more livable and healthful than they otherwise would be. T h e beginning of the sea breeze may cause a drop in temperature of 15 to 20 within one-quarter to onehalf hour. Coasts with well-developed sea breezes are inclined to have modified marine climates, with the daily temperature extremes much reduced. T h e coasts of New Jersey and northern Chile are examples of regions having well-developed sea breezes in summer.
Mountain and valley breezes. L i k e

ascent of the warm and expanded air takes place up the valleys and along the mountain slopes. This daytime updraft of warm air, or valley breeze, is indicated by the

Fig. 60. Along some ocean and lake shores, a sea breeze blows from sea to land during some of the daylight hours. A t night, the air flow is from land to sea. The cool sea breeze is an attractive feature at certain summer resorts located on the ocean shore.

land and sea breezes, mountain and valley breezes have a distinct diurnal periodicity. During the day the air of an enclosed valley, or that adjacent to a slope receiving relatively direct rays of the sun, becomes heated so that active convectional

masses of cumulus clouds that collect about the peaks of mountains during summer days. T h e y are the visible tops of invisible ascending air currents. Daily summer afternoon rains are therefore common in moun-

68

THE

EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES in the tropopause

tains; and visibility, because of the cloud masses, is restricted during the warm hours of the day. After layers sundown, next to as the the rapidly cooler, cooling slopes begin to chill the air them, heavier air begins to slip down the mountain sides into the valleys (the principle of air drainage discussed in the previous chapter). T h i s is a reversal of the day current and is known as the mountain of a gulch. More about the upper air. Between the troposphere and stratosphere is the tropopause. Over the United States, this layer is about seven or eight miles above sea level. W i n d s in middle latitudes in the tropopause b l o w f r o m westerly directions and may reach velocities of 150 to 200 m p h or more. Sometimes the expression "jet stream" is applied to these strong winds. Airplane pilots have f o u n d that most weather occurs in the lower 20,000 feet of the troposphere. T h a t is, if the plane flies at an altitude of 20,000 to 25,000 feet, it will be above most of the air disturbances, breeze. It is

such as wind, fog, rain, and snow. Temperature and lower stratosphere is about 60 to 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. At some thirty miles high, temperature rises to above zero, then drops far below zero again. SUMMARY Air has weight and, therefore, exerts pressure on all surfaces. A i r pressure decreases about 1 inch per 1000foot increase in elevation. Isobaric charts indicate certain pressure belts on the earth. These pressure belts are directly related to the planetary winds of the world. Planetary winds greatly influence climate. T h e y are modified in places by differences in temperature between land and water bodies. Water evaporates into the air in the form of invisible water vapor. W i n d s carry water vapor f r o m the oceans to the continents. T h i s water vapor condenses deals to with form clouds, which in turn bring rain. Chapter 4, therefore, atmospheric moisture and precipitation.

often very perceptible at the mouth

QUESTIONS

1. W h a t is the most important function of the wind? 2. W h a t is an aneroid? W h a t is a barograph? 3. W h a t is barometric pressure at sea level in inches of mercury? in pounds per square inch? in millibars? 4. W h i c h is heavier, warm air or cold air? 5. W h y does a barometer rise and fall? 6. Normally, does high o r l o w barometer result from high temperature? f r o m low temperature?

ATMOSPHERIC

PRESSURE AND WINDS

69

7. W h y do the lower layers of air have greater density than those at high altitudes? 8. H o w much does air pressure decrease with increase in altitude? 9. One-half the atmosphere by weight is within how many feet of the earth's surface? 10. Define isobar. 11. What are the four most noticeable features of average atmospheric pressure over the earth's surface? 12. What is wind? What causes wind? 13. Define pressure gradient. 14. State the two fundamental rules dealing with the relationship between pressure and winds. 15. H o w do isobars help to indicate wind velocity? 16. Define windward, leeward, prevailing wind. 17. Draw a station model showing a southeast wind, 10 mph; overcast sky; temperature 80; visibility 8 mi; dew point 65; barometric pressure 1017.3 mb, falling unsteadily. 18. What is the prevailing direction of the wind in the central states in summer? Why? What is the prevailing direction in winter? Why? 19. During drouths in the United States, what are the prevailing wind directions? 20. H o w are direction and velocity of upper winds ascertained? 21. What are the prevailing directions of upper winds in the central and eastern states? H o w does wind velocity usually change with increase in altitude? 22. W h y is a knowledge of upper winds so important to an airplane pilot? 23. W h y does an airplane take off and land against the wind? 24. What is an anemometer? 25. W h y are winds steadier over water than over land? Give two reasons. 26. In aviation, what is meant by a head wind? by a tail wind? by a side wind? 27. Make a diagram similar to Fig. 50, with only one change: the wind is reversed, blowing from 60 instead of 240. You should get a true heading of about 81; wind correction angle 9 left; and ground speed 84 mph. If magnetic variation is 10W (New York), what is the magnetic course? What is the magnetic heading? 28. Where is Mount Washington? What wind velocity has been recorded there? 29. Name the planetary winds. 30. H o w are planetary winds deflected by the earth's rotation? 31. W h y are wind belts less continuous in the Northern than in the Southern Hemisphere?

70

T H E EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

32. Where are the two principal low-pressure "centers of action" in the Northern Hemisphere? Give their names. 33. In the doldrums, what is the nature of winds? of rainfall? 34. W h y did sailing vessels avoid the doldrums when possible? 35. Between which parallels does most of the doldrum belt probably lie? 36. What is the approximate latitude of the trade winds? From what direction do they blow south of the equator? north of the equator? 37. In general, what kind of weather do trade-wind regions have? 38. Where d o trades produce copious rainfall? 39. W h y were the trade winds favorable to sailing vessels? 40. What are the longitude and latitude of the Hawaiian Islands? In which wind belt are they? W h i c h mountain slopes receive heavy rain? 41. What route is followed by sailing vessels across the Atlantic? by airplanes from California to China? 42. What is the nature of winds in the horse latitudes? Describe the weather in these regions. W h y is it relatively dry? 43. What parts of what continents are in the stormy westerlies? 44. Describe wind behavior in the stormy westerlies. W h y is there such a great variability in direction and velocity? 45. In what latitudes are the westerlies least interrupted? 46. Where are the "roaring forties"? What is the nature of weather there? 47. What is the general nature of polar winds? 48. What is meant by latitudinal shifting of wind belts? 49. What causes the winter monsoon of Asia? What effect does it have on temperatures in China and Japan? 50. W h y is winter the dry season in monsoon regions? 51. What causes the summer monsoon of Asia? 52. W h y is summer the wet season in monsoon regions? 53. W h y does India have a monsoon wind system of local origin? 54. North America has a monsoon tendency. Is such influence more noticeable on the east or west coast? Why? 55. Explain the cause of land and sea breezes. Where do such breezes influence daily weather in the United States? 56. What is the cause of mountain and valley breezes? 57. State three facts about the jet stream. See p. 72.
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. O n a map of the world, draw arrows to indicate wind belts. Show a few routes of sailing vessels with red lines and steamship routes with blue lines. Explain some of the contrasts shown. Use another color for principal airlines.

ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE AND

WINDS

71

NE

SE

SW

NW

Fig. 61.

2. Construct an electric indicator for wind direction. In a b o x about 12 by 20 inches and 3 inches deep build partitions to divide the space into 8 equal parts. Place a small electric light in each pocket. Over the top of the b o x fasten a piece of translucent glass with the wind directions shown as in Fig. 61. O n the roof, build an 8-pointed switch, as shown at A. At the center is the upright rod of a wind vane. A sliding contact is fastened to the upright rod and moves over the eight segments as the wind vane changes direction. Run a cable of nine wires from the 8-pointed switch to the box of lights in the laboratory. Build an anemometer such that the center rod that supports the cups rotates with the cups. O n the center rod arrange an electric switch in such a way that each time the cups rotate once, electric contact is made, closing a circuit that causes a light in the laboratory to flash. T h e number of flashes per minute will provide an idea of wind velocity. 3. If a barograph is not available, record the barometer readings every hour, and plot a curve to show changes in atmospheric pressure during the day. 4. Find out the elevation above sea level of your school building. Reduce the barometer reading to sea level by adding the necessary amount. D o the same for Denver, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone Park, and Pikes Peak. This is the necessary procedure in construction of the daily weather map. 5. If possible, visit an airport. Observe the care with which wind velocity and direction are recorded. At the larger airports you may hear the radio operator advising a pilot in the air to fly at a certain altitude in order to take advantage of favorable winds.
NOTE:

Other activities may be found in the laboratory manual.


TOPICS FOR CLASS R E P O R T S

1. Local Conditions of Atmospheric Pressure and Winds 2. Results of Upper Air Observations in the United States 3. Pilot Charts of the Various Oceans (U. S. Hydrographic Office) 4. T h e Use of Air Pressure in Ascertaining Altitude 5. Balloon and Airplane Soundings of Upper Air Conditions

72

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Jet streams may encircle Northern or Southern Hemisphere. (Courtesy U. S.

Weather

Bureau.)

T H E JET

STREAM

Aviation Series No. 3, published by the U. S. Weather Bureau, deals with the jet stream. T h e jet stream is a huge, more or less circular river of air moving through the earth's atmosphere, much as ocean currents move through the oceans. O n occasion, there may be two jet streams over the United States, both moving from west to east at velocities ranging from 100 to 250 mph, at altitudes around 30,000 to 40,000 feet above sea level. T h e stream does not follow a parallel of latitude, but instead bends northward, then southward. T h e shifting in latitude of the great stream of air is thought to have definite relation to changes of weather on the earth's surface. A jet airplane with average air speed of 600 mph, flying with a 200 mph jet stream, would have a ground speed of 800 mph, and could fly from California to New York in about 3 hours. T h e return trip would be made at a lower altitude in order to avoid the jet stream. Bucking a head wind of 200 mph would reduce ground speed to 400 mph. For more detailed information see Meteorological Monograph No. 7, Vol. 2 on " T h e Jet Stream," published by American Meteorological Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

c h a p t e r

4.

Atmospheric Moisture and Precipitation

T h e composition of the atmosphere is fairly constant f r o m time to time and place to place. T h e amount of water vapor in the air, however, is by n o means uniform, since it varies f r o m nearly zero to almost 5 percent. T h i s variability is of outstanding importance for the following reasons: (1) T h e amount of moisture in the air is directly related to rainfall possibilities. (2) Water vapor absorbs energy radiated from the earth and thus tends to regulate temperature. (3) T h e greater the amount of water vapor in the air, the greater of storms. (4) the The quantity of stored-up energy for the production amount of water vapor affects the human body's rate of cooling, that is, the sensible temperature.
Sources of water vapor. L i k e all the

carried in over the continents. Less important, but nevertheless significant, sources of atmospheric moisture are the moist land surfaces, the vegetation cover, and the m i n o r bodies of water. Plants give off more moisture to the air than does bare ground but not so much as a freely exposed water surface. A constant turnover is forever in progress as regards the atmosphere's water vapor. Additions are made through evaporation of water in its solid and liquid states, while some water is being lost to the atmosphere by condensation. As winds carry the moisture in gas f o r m f r o m the oceans to the land, so rivers and glaciers deliver it again in liquid or solid form to the seas. Half the water vapor in the air lies b e l o w 6500 feet.
Evaporation and condensation.

an altitude

of

other gases in the atmosphere, water vapor is invisible. The primary approxidiffusion source of this important gas is the great oceans, which cover surface. By winds and mately three-quarters of the earth's methods, the water vapor evaporated f r o m these bodies of water through the expenditure of solar energy is

Evaporation

is the changing

of a

liquid to a gas. Some solids, such as ice, evaporate. T h e rate of evaporation of water depends u p o n (1) the temperature of the water, (2) the temperature of the air that is in contact with the water, (3) the amount

74

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 6 2 . Altostratus clouds above and advection fog below, photographed from Mount Wilson, southern California. (Photograph by F. Ellerman, courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.)

of water vapor already in the air, and (4) the velocity of the wind. Condensation is the changing of a gas to a liquid. Thus water vapor, which is invisible, condenses into a visible liquid form (cloud) when air is sufficiently cooled (Fig. 62). These processes are well illustrated by an airplane in flight. In one stratum of air having a temperature a few degrees below freezing and containing some water in liquid form, moisture may condense in the form of ice on the leading edge of the wing; in another stratum the ice may evaporate rapidly. It is evident that the two strata differ in the quantity of water vapor present.

T h e term sublimation is applied to the change of a gas to a solid, or vice versa. T h e invisible water vapor in the air changes directly into ice crystals in the form of snow or frost, without going through the liquid stage. Conversely, on a clear, dry day, it is possible for snow to disappear by changing into vapor. Water, we conclude, is the one substance that may exist in the atmosphere in all three of its physical forms: solid, liquid, and gaseous.
Latent energy in water vapor. H e a t

and motion are forms of energy. Heat energy is required to change water in the liquid form into steam, or water vapor. T h e unit of heat en-

ATMOSPHERIC

MOISTURE AND HUMIDITY

PRECIPITATION

75

ergy, the calory, is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1C. It takes 79 calories to convert a gram of ice into a gram of water at freezing temperature. A much greater quantity of heat, 607 calories, is required to evaporate a gram of water at 32 into water vapor at the same temperature. T h u s , it is evident that water vapor contains more potential energy than the liquid form. T h i s stored-up energy is called latent heat. For the most part it is transformed sun energy that was employed in evaporation. O n e reason why bodies of water heat slowly is that so much energy is consumed by evaporation at the surface. T h a t evaporation requires heat is evident f r o m the cool sensation experienced when the skin is moistened with water or, better, gasoline o r ether. In this case heat is subtracted f r o m the skin to convert the liquid into a gas. If energy is consumed in the process of evaporation, then, conversely, energy should again be released during condensation. Latent heat of condensation is the heat released by the condensation of water vapor, especially in the formation of clouds. This heat increases the strength of convection currents in the center of a storm, thus increasing the intensity or severity of the storm itself. O n a cloudy night when condensation is taking place, latent heat of condensation aids in preventing the normal cooling of the lower layers of air.

Measuring humidity. A n instrument used to measure humidity, or water vapor content of the air, is called a hygrometer. A self-recording hy-

Fig.

63.

combination hygrograph

hygrograph-thermorecords relative hure-

graph.

The

midity on graph paper; the thermograph cords temperature. Division, (Courtesy Friez Corp.) Bendix Aviation

Instrument

grometer, or hygrograph,

is shown

in Fig. 63. In A p p e n d i x will be f o u n d explanations of various types of hygrometers. Perhaps the easiest and most convenient method employed in measuring humidity is the so-called "wetand dry-bulb" method. A wet-bulb is simply a thermometer that has a piece of muslin cloth fastened around the bulb. T h e cloth is saturated with water. Evaporation of water f r o m the muslin will cause the wet-bulb thermometer to read lower than the drybulb. By subtracting, we get (he difference between wet- and dry-bulb temperatures. table on page Then, by using can the 76, we ascer-

76 < N < N

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

0 N 4 N to O - ( J C O l 1 1 C N to ^ ( as" - 1 to4 -- N N C 1 to < as " as 9 < Tt N N C to N "J. 14 - to ^ 4 to " to " 1 " ( J N O - " to to Q, & s

4 -- 1 " ( - N to

O to as S < < as" to N N to to z Q z < < Iz l> _

4 to to to to to " ( , N

ffi fa

to
-

O N 4 < - O as " '- ( 1 N - as to to to f^ to to C s ( 1 N to to to to to


J5

3 -- " to < ( " 4 to to to 1 4 to ^ " ( N N N - to SS N 4 < to " 1 1 to" < to " N ^ , to to to --

I D H

"3 1 O N

N " to to O " as" to to as to ( -" as O " S - " to ^ to " O to to 4 p " 6s" - as S to to - - O a N O \ to " O to - ( ^ ^ L to O s - < ^ N - ^ to - - - R as
43 - as" Sfa ^ (U ^ P J " as rt) ( r -a rt aj fc cj Pl, D . > " < as u^ 7 SEB J S < u u ( to" ^ t O S ' 3 as ^ " as _ X) " s D & as as

9 x

<

> I

0 -1
-

( to" - 1 to as N >~ t O

C " as ^ to - S" to " -- - N - - " " ^ & N ? " ( " - - - t) -

" to - " ( to to -- " as as N to" " - - ^ to^ - " as as to as as as - cs as as 4 as O O cs S S to to to

" to to ^ ^ as ^, as as os as as as as as to to O N to as

^ . S - 5

8 |5 2 -

ATMOSPHERIC MOISTURE AND tain the relative humidity and dew point. T h e amount of water vapor that air can hold depends largely upon its temperature. Capacity is the maxim u m amount of water vapor that a cubic foot of air can hold at a given temperature.
MAXIMUM W A T E R - V A P O R CAPACITY O F 1 CUBIC F O O T OF AIR A T VARYING TEMPERATURES

PRECIPITATION

77

Temperature, degrees Fahrenheit 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

Water vapor, grains

Difference between successive 10 intervals

1.9 2.9 4.1 5.7 8.0 10.9 14.7 19.7 1.0 1.2 1.6 2.3 2.9 3.8 5.0

It is evident from the accompanying table that warm air is capable of holding much more water vapor than cold air. W a r m air, therefore, has greater potentialities for producing abundant rain than does cold air. Air is said to be saturated when it contains all the water vapor possible. Water vapor, at the same temperature and pressure, is lighter than air in the ratio of 5 to 8. Very humid air is, therefore, lighter than dry air. Moist air, consequently, is less able to support the weight of smoke particles and airplanes than is dry air at the same temperature.

Absolute humidity is the actual amount of water vapor in the air measured in grains per cubic foot (or grams per cubic meter). This amount is usually greatest in the vicinity of the equator and decreases toward the poles, varying considerably, however, with distance from the ocean and smaller bodies of water. Masses of air differ greatly in absolute humidity. This is especially noticeable in winter. A tropical air mass, originating over the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico and moving north, usually has a high absolute humidity, whereas a polar air mass, moving from northern Canada toward the south, contains much less water vapor per cubic unit. Absolute humidity is usually very low when an air mass from northern Mexico, New Mexico, and western Texas moves from the southwest toward the central states. This air from the southwest may carry much dust. At such times both absolute and relative humidity are very low, owing partly to the absorption of moisture by the dust. During one dust storm in March, 1936, the relative humidity at Kansas City, Missouri, was 8 percent at 11 I\Mv a time of day when relative humidity often is in the neighborhood of 80 percent. Relative humidity is the percentage of water vapor in the air and is determined by the ratio of absolute humidity to capacity. Stated in another way, relative humidity may be said to be an expression of the

78

T H E EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

relationship between the actual amount of water vapor in the air (absolute humidity) and the total amount of water vapor that the air could hold at the same temperature (capacity). For example, air at 70F can contain approximately 8 grains of water vapor per cubic foot (its capacity). If, however, it contains only 6 grains (its absolute humidity), then it is only three-fourths saturated, and its relative humidity is 75 percent. Whenever temperature of the air changes, capacity also changes and, therefore, relative humidity. This is illustrated by the accompanying table:
Absolute humidity, grains 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 Relative humidity, percentage 100 saturated 71 saturated 51 saturated 36 saturated 27 saturated 19 saturated

mass of air is saturated. T h e dew point is the temperature at which the air is saturated and below which condensation takes place. Thus air at 90 that contains 5.7 grains of water vapor per cubic foot (its absolute humidity) has a dew point of 60, because 5.7 is capacity at 60. Further cooling below the dew point causes condensation, forming minute water particles (cloud or fog) if above 32 and ice crystals if below 32. Suppose that this air is cooled to 40. T h e amount of water vapor condensed per cubic foot is 5.7 2.9 = 2.8 grains. Much moisture is condensed when warm, saturated air is cooled. Comparing warm and cool air, the following may be noted: saturated air at 90 cooled 20 yields 6.7 grains per cubic foot; saturated air at 50 cooled 20 yields 2.2 grains per cubic foot.
Problem 1. Air at 70 has a relative humidity of 72 percent. What is the absolute humidity? the dew point?

Temperature, degrees F

40 50 60 70 80 90

AH = RH X T h e relationship existing between absolute humidity (AH), capacity (C), and relative humidity ( R H ) may be expressed by the following formula: RH = AH (expressed in percentage) Capacity at 70 = 8.0 0.72 X 8.0 = 5.76 grains per cubic foot According to the table of capacities, this air would be saturated if its temperature were reduced to 60. The dew point is therefore 60. Problem 2. Outdoor air at 30 with a relative humidity of 80 percent is brought indoors and heated to 70 without the addition of any water vapor. What is the relative humidity indoors?

If air that is not saturated is sufficiently cooled, thereby reducing its capacity for moisture, a temperature is eventually reached at which the

A T M O S P H E R I C M O I S T U R E A N D P R E C I P I T A T I O N 85 AH = RH X AH = 0.80 X 1.9 = 1.52 Temperature indoors is 70; therefore = 8.0 1.52 RH = - = 19 percent indoors 8.00 Problem 2 illustrates a condition that too often exists in our homes and public buildings in winter. Relative humidity of 19 percent indicates very dry air which, together with dust, causes inflammation of the tender membranes of the nose and throat, possibly making us more susceptible to contagious diseases of many kinds. Since dry air causes more rapid evaporation of moisture from the body, with the resulting cooling effects, it follows that increased humidity would improve the quality of the air from the standpoint of human comfort. For these reasons and others, effort should be made to add moisture to the air indoors in winter. Some furnaces are equipped with humidifiers. Evaporating pans can be placed at suitable places.
Specific humidity. I n the m e t r i c sys-

79

contained 7.5 grams of water vapor. Then 7.5 1 R H = = - = 50 percent In the summer, especially in our central and eastern states, relative humidity is often abnormally high, causing us to be extremely uncomfortable (see Fig. 64). W e speak of such weather as "muggy," or "sticky." O n such days, indoors, we should seek not only to cool the air but to reduce its water vapor content. Air-conditioning involves those methods by which air is brought to and kept at the most desirable temperature and humidity for the comfort of the human body. Such conditioning includes the following: (1) filtration of the air, (2) disinfecting, (3) regulation of temperature, (4) regulation of humidity, (5) circulation, and (6) proper insulation of the building. Many modern homes are equipped with air-conditioning units. Certain railroads are featuring fast, streamlined, air-conditioned trains. Steam ship companies whose vessels travel in tropica] waters are offering as an added attraction air-conditioned sleeping quarters aboaid ship. It is a rather remarkable fact that the people of a large city will spend considerable sums of money for the heating of homes in winter but that relatively small expenditures are made for cooling in summer. And yet in that same city deaths from heat prostration may actually exceed those caused by severe cold.

tem, humidity is expressed in a different way. Specific humidity is the number of grams of water vapor per kilogram of moist air. Note that this is weight of water vapor per unit weight of moist air. A kilogram is 2.2 pounds. For example, at sea-level pressure and a temperature of 20C (68F) a kilogram of saturated air contains about 15 grams of water vapor. Suppose, instead of being saturated, that this kilogram of moist air

80

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 64. Mean relative humidity (percentage), local noon, during the month of July. Does relative humidity increase or decrease from Houston, Texas, to Santa Fe, New Mexico? In which state do you observe the lowest humidity? the highest? Relative humidity is generally lowest from noon to 3 or 4 P.M. Can you give a reason? (Courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.)

CONDENSATION T h e only k n o w n method whereby water vapor in the atmosphere can be converted into the liquid or solid state is to reduce the temperature of the air below the dew point. W h e n air is cooled, its capacity for water vapor is lowered; and if the cooling is sufficient, condensation of water vapor must result. T h e dew point of any mass of air is closely related to its relative humidity. When tion point, necessary reached the relative humidity cooling to is is be high and the air is close to the saturaonly for the a slight dew point

together, mation

there

is danger

of fog

for-

at any time.

O n the other

hand, when relative humidity is low, as it usually is over the hot deserts, a large amount of cooling is required before the dew point is reached. Condensation, therefore, depends u p o n two variables: (1) the amount of cooling and (2) the relative humidity of the air. If the dew point is not reached until the temperature falls below 32, the condensed water vapor may be in the f o r m of tiny ice crystals (white frost, snow, and some clouds); if condensation occurs above the freezing point, it will be in the liquid state (dew, fog, and many clouds).
Quiet air in contact w i t h cold earth's

and for condensation

to beWhen

gin. Airplane pilots beware! temperature

and dew point are close

surface. A t night the earth radiates

I
ATMOSPHERIC MOISTURE AND PRECIPITATION 81

Fig. 65. Average annual numbers of days with dense fog. (Courtesy U. S. Weather

Bureau.)

its heat into space. As the earth's surface cools, the air in contact with it also cools, owing largely to conduction of heat from the lower layers of air to the earth. Clear skies and dry air are relatively essential to this process, since they permit rapid loss of heat from the earth. Windy nights are not conducive to surface cooling, for there is a constant "churning" of the lower air so that it does not remain long enough in contact with the earth's surface to be markedly cooled. Moreover, the cooling is distributed throughout a larger mass of air. It is a well-known fact that both dew and frost are much more likely to occur on nights that are clear and calm than on those when the sky is overcast and a wind is blowing. Fog. Condensation may take place throughout a shallow layer of surface

air, producing a fog (Fig. 65). Such fogs are particularly noticeable in lowlands, where, as a result of air drainage, the colder, heavier air has collected. Fogs of this nature are called radiation, or lowland, fogs. From a hilltop one may observe "lakes" of fog, or patches of frost, occupying the surrounding depressions. As the sun rises, these lowland fogs usually are quickly evaporated. T h e famous London fogs are of this type, the chilled air collecting in the Thames lowland. Their darkness and persistence are a result of a " l i d " of smoke and soot which prevents the penetration of sunlight which would cause evaporation of the moisture particles. Dew. Dew is formed when water vapor condenses on the earth's surface and the temperature is above 32. Dew forms quickly on grass

82

T H E E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

mainly for two reasons: (1) Transpiration of water from the grass increases the relative humidity of the air near the ground, assuming a calm night. (2) T h e millions of blades of grass offer a tremendous surface from

frost is formed when condensation occurs below 32. For the most part, frost consists of delicate ice crystals resulting from the direct change of water vapor to ice. A similar change at high altitudes causes the formation of snow. There are times, on the earth's surface, when the temperature drops below 32 but does not reach the dew point, and no white frost appears. Nevertheless, a frost has occurred. This type is called a dry freeze.
Moist air moving over cold surfaces.

W h e n moist air moves over cold surfaces, relatively widespread, dense, and persistent fogs are produced. T h e y are known as advection fogs (Fig. 62) and seriously hinder aviation. Especially in winter, moist air from the south may blow over the cold, often snow-covered land, resulting in fog formation. T h e dense fogs along the California coast are largely due to the chilling of moist ocean winds as they pass over a belt of upwelling, cold water near shore. Fogs over the Great Lakes often result, especially in spring, when warm winds from the land blow over the colder water. In the region of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, the Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current, comes near the cold Labrador Current. Extremely dense fogs result, as the relatively warm air from over the Gulf Stream drifts over the colder water of the Labrador Current (Fig. 66). Cool ocean currents along the coasts of Chile and southwest Africa are largely responsible for fogs in those regions.

tively warm Gulf Stream are largely responsible for the dense fogs in the vicinity of Newfoundland. The Labrador Current carries icebergs south into the paths of ocean liners. Observe the location of the Bay of Fundy, noted for its extremely high tides.

which heat is radiated, thus lowering the temperature below the dew point. Drops of water condensed on the outside of a pitcher of ice water illustrate the formation of dew. T h e approximate dew point of the air can be found by noting the temperature of the water inside the pitcher at the moment when condensation first begins on the outside surface. White

A T M O S P H E R I C M O I S T U R E A N D P R E C I P I T A T I O N 89
Cooling that results from expansion of air in rising currents. W h e n air

83

rises, no matter for what reason, it expands, because there is less pressure upon it at the higher altitudes. At 18,000 feet, pressure is about onehalf that at sea level. As the air rises and expands, it cools at the rate of about 5 % per 1000 feet. This rate of cooling is much more rapid than that shown when a thermometer is carried upward through the atmosphere (about 3% per 1000 feet). W h e n air descends, it is compressed by the denser, lower layers, and as a result its temperature increases.
Ascending air currents expansion cooling > > Descending air currents compression > warming Cooling air capacity for water vapor decreases > condensation > Warming air capacity for water vapor > increases evaporation >

to place or from low to high altitudes by winds and air currents. Clouds often are composed of tiny ice crystals (snow) in winter and at high elevations in summer. Fog and cloud are identical except for differences in height above the ground. Not all clouds give rise to precipitation, but all precipitation has its origin in clouds and is the result of exaggerated condensation processes taking place within them.
Height of cloud base. Measure-

ments have shown that rising air cools at the rate of 5 % F per 1000 feet, and that, in this rising air. the
7
'

dew point drops 1F per 1000 feet. With these figures, it is possible to estimate the height of the cumulus cloud base above the ground, when air is rising, by using the following equation: Height of cloud base = (in thousands of feet)
tem

^^

Heated air continues to rise until it reaches air layers of its own temperature and density. This process of cooling, by expansion of rising air currents, is the only one capable of reducing the temperature of great masses of air below the dew point, thereby causing condensation of water vapor on such a large scale that abundant precipitation results. As lir rises, it finally reaches an altitude where condensation of the water vapor present takes place, forming clouds (Figs. 67-72). A cloud consists of billions of tiny water particles, so light in weight that they are easily carried from place

Suppose that, on a day when updrafts are causing clouds to form, the surface temperature is 80F and the dew point is 62F. What is the estimated height of the cloud base? gQ 2 - , = 4.0 thousand, 4'5 feet or 4000

Cloud particles and light rays. W h e n

light rays pass from air into water, they are reflected at the surface and refracted (bent) as they pass through. Thus the colors of the solar spectrum (violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red) are brought out by

84

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 67. Cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds over reserve shale fields, western Colorado. (Photograph by 6. H. Wyatt, courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.)

the rainbow, caused by refraction and reflection of sunlight acting on


multitudes of water particles in the air. T h e action of moonlight on water and ice particles in the upper air is responsible for the halo of the moon. Beautiful colors of sunrise and sunset are caused by the breaking up of sunlight, not only by moisture but also by dust particles in the atmosphere. These colors are more brilliant in the morning and evening because there are far more dust and water particles between the eye and the sun at those times of day than, let us say, at noon. Cloud types. Three principal, or pure, cloud types are usually recognized. T h e other numerous types that can be observed are modifications or combinations of these. Cumulus clouds occur in fair

weather. T h e y are distinguished by flat bases and beautiful, towering, cauliflower tops. T h e flat bases mark the condensation level. Cumulus clouds are the result of vertically ascending air currents and are usually associated with local surface heating on warm summer days. Of course, convectional ascent does not take place over the entire heated surface. In some places warm air masses are rising; in others cooler air masses are settling to the earth. Thus, separate and isolated cumuli occur with patches of blue sky between. Sometimes on hot, humid days when convection is exceedingly well developed, the cumulus clouds may extend to great heights and develop into thunderheads. These overgrown cumulus, or cumulonimbus, clouds are the sources of many local thun-

f
ATMOSPHERIC MOISTURE AND PRECIPITATION 85

Fig. 68. Towering cumulonimbus, or thunderstorm, cloud photographed from the air. (Courtesy Trans World Airline.)

Fig. 69. Altocumulus clouds, found at altitudes from 6 5 0 0 to 2 0 , 0 0 0 feet. (.Photograph Johnson, courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.)

by J.

W.

86

T H E E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

derstorms and a considerable part of the earth's rainfall. Cirrus clouds are also fair-weather clouds, although not infrequently

of uniform color. Often the gray ceiling stretches unbroken from horizon to horizon. Stratus clouds are relatively common in winter, producing gray, depressing days. A common method of their origin is mixture along the contact plane between two masses of air of different temperatures. These clouds sometimes bring the ceiling (altitude of bottom side of cloud layer) for airplanes to within 100 or 200 feet of the earth's surface; and since they often cover such great areas, thev are a serious hindrance to commercial aviation (Fig. 73).

Fig. 70. Cirrus clouds in parallel trails and small patches. (Courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.)

they may be forerunners of an approaching storm. They occur at great altitudes (5 to 9 miles) where temperatures are usually well below freezing; hence, they are composed of minute ice crystals. Cirrus clouds assume various forms, sometimes appearing like white ringlets, curls, or wisps of hair. A t other times they seem to form an unbroken thin veil of fibrous texture over the whole sky. In the latter case they produce halos around the moon or sun. Never are they thick enough to produce shadows, so they always appear white. Stratus clouds are low-lying layers, or sheets, that form a dull, gray sky

Fig. 71. Cirrocumulus clouds. These clouds sometimes produce a "mackerel" sky. by E. E. Barnard, courtesy U. Bureau.) (Photograph S. Weather

Stratus clouds from which rain or snow is falling are called nimbostratus. T h e y sometimes are a mile thick. Occasionally airplanes encoun-

ATMOSPHERIC M O I S T U R E AND PRECIPITATION

87

C i r r u s (Ci)

Anvil top may reach 40,000 io 50,000 feet

_ Cirrostratus (Cs)- z : (Thin veilI

Altostratus

(As)

Cumulonimbus

<5>

gr^p Altocumulus (Wool-pack

(Ac) clouds)

'

23 S>

g? Thunderstorm, Violent updratts ^A downdrafts

<m

<221?

233

and

Stralocumulus Horizontal,parallel

(Sc) bases Torrential rain

<25

Cumulus

()

f'D

S?

/Vimbosfraius S^fGgSxb fzQin or.

(N

Fig. 72. The various types of clouds, giving some idea of relative altitude.

88

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 73.

Average annual number of cloudy days. What localities are cloudiest? Where would Bureau.)

you go if you were looking for a maximum amount of sunshine? (Courtesy U. S. Weather

ter icing conditions in such clouds. Icing conditions, however, are not limited to any one cloud type. T h e prefix alto- before any of the foregoing higher broken names of clouds Fractomeans means than usual.

FORMS OF PRECIPITATION
Rain, snow, and sleet. T h e com-

monest f o r m of precipitation is rain. As stated previously, it is the result of exaggerated condensation in rising air currents, at temperatures above 32, whereas snow forms at temperaHEIGHT

up. T h u s , a rather c o m m o n

cloud type is the fractocumulus.

CLASSIF1CATION O F CLOUDS ACCORDING T O Abbreviation Ci Cc Cs Ac As Sc St Ns Cu Cb

Family

Name

Average height

High clouds

Cirrus Cirrocumulus Cirrostratus Altocumulus Altostratus Stratocumulus Stratus Nimbostratus Cumulus Cumulonimbus

T o p : 40,000 ft Base: 20,000 ft T o p : 20,000 ft Base: 6,500 ft T o p : 6,500 ft Base: near surface T o p : cirrus Base: t , 6 0 0 ft

Middle clouds Low clouds

Clouds of vertical development

ATMOSPHERIC

MOISTURE AND

PRECIPITATION

89

tures below freezing. Sleet is frozen rain and results when raindrops from a warmer air mass above fall through a cold surface layer of air. It is characteristic of the cooler seasons. Glaze. T h e accumulation of a coating of ice on objects near the earth, often called glaze, is really not a form of precipitation. Fortunately it is not of common occurrence, for the socalled "ice storm" that produces glaze is one of the most destructive of the cool-season types of weather. Glaze occurs when rain, near the freezing point, strikes surface objects whose temperatures are below 32 and is immediately converted into ice. So great may become the weight of the ice accumulation that trees are often wrecked and telephone, telegraph, and electric wires broken and their posts snapped off (Fig. 75). A heavy coating of ice on an airplane may make a forced landing necessary. Most commercial airplanes used for winter flying are equipped with "de-icers," especially on the leading edge of the wing. T o prevent a coating of ice from forming on the propeller, a thin spray of oil is thrown on the blades while in flight. Icing of aircraft results largely from supercooled water droplets in the air. These droplets, in the liquid form, may have a temperature as low as 10F, or even lower. They remain in the liquid form so long as they are not disturbed. T h e impact of a fast airplane, of course, causes the droplet to change quickly to ice. Under such conditions, an airplane

may "ice u p " in a very few minutes (Fig. 76). ' Hail. T h e heaviest and largest unit of precipitation existing in solid

Fig. 74.

This rain gage records the time that

rain falls. It also enables the meteorologist to determine the amount of rain that falls during a storm. (Courtesy Friez Instrument Division, Bendix Aviation Corp.)

form is hail. It is exclusively the product of vigorous convection, occurring in thunderstorms, which in turn usually belong to the warm season. Plailstones are composed of concentric layers, or shells, of clear ice and of partially melted and refrozen snow representing the successive ver-

90

T H E E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 75. After an icestorm. The ice on these telephone wires weighed 800 pounds per wire between poles and was 3 inches in diameter. (Courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.)

tical descents and ascents in the tumultuous convectional currents of a thunderstorm.


Convectional precipitation. A s a re-

sult of heating, surface air expands and is forced to rise by the cooler, heavier air above and around it. Ordinarily such rising air, since it cools at nearly double the rate of the normal vertical temperature decrease, will rise only a few thousand feet before its temperature has been reduced to the point where it is the same as that of the surrounding air. At that point where the rising air reaches air strata of its own temperature and density, further ascent ceases. But if abundant condensation begins before this stage is reached,

then heat of condensation is released, so that, with this added source of energy, the rising air will be forced to ascend much higher before reaching atmospheric strata of its own temperature. Thus, on a hot, humid summer afternoon, when surface heating is intense and condensation abundant, the towering cumulonimbus clouds resulting from convectional ascent may be several miles in vertical depth, and precipitation from them may be copious. Convectional ascent is usually associated with the warm season of the year and the warm hours of the day. Since it is essentially a vertical movement of warm, humid air, cooling is rapid, and the rainfall resulting is

ATMOSPHERIC MOISTURE AND

PRECIPITATION

91

Fig. 76. This 20-passenger airplane encountered severe icing conditions while flying from Amarillo, Texas, to Kansas City, Missouri. One small window was kept free of ice by an alcohol spray. Picture was taken soon after the ship landed at Kansas City. Ice hinders the smooth flow of air over the airplane wing, and causes a loss of lift. Accumulation of ice in the carburetor may cause engine failure. If ice clogs the small tubes (pitot-static) leading to the air-speed indicator, this instrument will not function. The pilot is then minus a speedometer, which warns him when the airplane is slowing down and approaching the dangerous " s t a l l i n g " speed. (Courtesy E. J. Minser, and Trans World Airline.)

likely to be in the form of heavy showers. Because a cumulonimbus cloud usually covers only a relatively small area, it quickly drifts by, so that the associated shower is not of long duration. Such "dash" rains are "spotty" and are entirely unlike the general rains over large areas produced by cool-weather lows, or cyclones. Convectional rain, because it comes in the form of heavy showers, is less effective for crop growth, since much of it instead of entering the soil runs off in the form of surface

drainage. This is a genuine menace to plowed fields. Soil removal through slope wash and gullying is likely to be serious. On the other hand, for the middle and higher latitudes, convectional rain, since it occurs in the warm season of the year when vegetation is active and crops are growing comes at the most stra ' tegic time. Moreover, it provides the maximum rainfall with the minimum amount of cloudiness.
Orographic precipitation. A i r also

may be forced to rise when landforrn barriers, such as mountain ranges,

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T H E E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 77. A wedge of cold air undermining and uplifting a mass of warm air. Sometimes the lifting is very rapid, causing thunderstorms. At other times it is slow, causing layers of stratus clouds to develop.

plateau escarpments, or even high hills, He across the paths of winds. Since water vapor is largely confined to the lower layers of atmosphere and rapidly decreases in amount upward, heavy orographic rainfall is the result of such forced ascent of air, associated with the blocking effect of landform obstacles. Witness, for example, the abundant precipitation along the western, or windward, flanks of the Cascade Mountains in Washington and Oregon, along parts of the precipitous east coast of Brazil which lies in the southeast trades, or along the abrupt west coast of India which the summer monsoon meets at practically right angles. T h e leeward sides of such mountain barriers, where the air is descending and warming, are characteristically drier. This arid to semiarid side of a mountain range is called the rain shadow. T h e most ideal condition for producing heavy orographic rainfall is a high and relatively continuous mountain barrier lying close to a coast, and the winds from off a warm ocean meet the barrier at right angles. Orographic rains have less

seasonal and daily periodicity than do those of convectional origin. In monsoon regions, very naturally, the maximum is at the time when air is moving from sea to land, usually high sun, or summer. In other regions the strength of the winds, the angle at which they meet the mountain barrier, or the contrast between land and water temperatures may determine the season of maximum orographic rainfall.
Cyclonic precipitation. I n low-pres-

sure storms (cyclones), winds from various directions, and consequently of different temperatures and densities, tend to come together about a center of low barometric pressure (see Chapter 5). As a result of such movement, great volumes of air are lifted and cooled. W h e n a warm tropical air mass moves toward a colder polar air mass, the warmer, lighter air will be lifted by the cooler, heavier air. Unlike convectional ascent, which involves direct vertical lifting, the warmer air in cyclones more often rises obliquely and, therefore, slowly along mildly inclined surfaces of cold, dense air. As a con-

ATMOSPHERIC MOISTURE AND

PRECIPITATION

93

94

T H E E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 79. Average annual snowfall in inches. Note the heavy snowfall in mountains, and in the Great LakesNew England area. At Vanceboro, Maine, 96 inches of snow fell in a 4-day storm. The greatest snowfall for an entire winter was 73 feet, at Tamarack, California, (.Courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.) 1906-1907.

sequence, cooling is less rapid (Fig. 77). As a result of the slower ascent and cooling, precipitation in cyclones is characteristically less violent than in thunderstorms and is inclined to be steadier and longer continued. T h e dull, gray, overcast skies and drizzly precipitation of the cooler months in middle latitudes, producing some of the most unpleasant weather of those seasons, are usually associated with cyclones. These storms are most numerous and best developed during the cool season. Where they dominate weather conditions, therefore, they tend to produce more rain in autumn or winter rfran in summer. Most of the winter precipitation of lowlands in the middle latitudes is cyclonic in origin. In

the tropics, as well as in the middle latitudes, cyclones are important generators of precipitation, although the storms of low latitudes are of a different origin and their rainfall may be likewise.
Important precipitation data. At

least three items concerning precipitation of a region are of outstanding importance: (1) its total average amount or depth for the year (Figs. 78, 79); (2) its seasonal distribution; and (3) its dependability, both annual and seasonal. T h e total annual amount of rain is important, and seasonal distribution is equally so. Omaha, Nebraska, receives 30 inches of rainfall annually. During the months from May to August, inclusive, the rainfall is 17.4

ATMOSPHERIC

M O I S T U R E A N D P R E C I P I T A T I O N 101 water vapor condenses into

95

inches (57 percent). Only 3.3 inches (11 percent) of rain falls during the period N o v e m b e r to February, inclusive. T h e fact that the greatest part of the precipitation occurs during the growing (warm) months is extremely important f r o m the standpoint of the production of e c o n o m i c crops. Variability in the total amount of precipitation f r o m year to year (its dependability) is hardly of less importance, especially for regions that are normally subhumid. It is a general rule that variability the amount SUMMARY T h e ratio of absolute humidity to capacity, expressed in percentage, is called relative humidity. W h e n air is warmed, its capacity to hold water vapor increases. O n the other hand, of rainfall increases as decreases.

if air is cooled below the dew point, such forms as clouds, fog, dew, and frost. T h e lifting of great masses of air causes condensation of water vapor on a large scale. T h i s in turn brings about the precipitation so necessary to the growth of vegetation. Based o n origin, there are three types of precipitation: convectional, orographic, and cyclonic. Annual rainfall and seasonal distribution are extremely important factors in the production of e c o n o m i c crops. In Chapters 2, 3, and 4, we have studied the temperature, pressure, and moisture of the atmosphere. All these are involved in great disturbances of the air, which go by the general name of storms. Chapter 5 deals with the subject of storms, the paths that they follow, and the changes in weather that they bring.

QUESTIONS

1. State four ways in which water vapor in the air is of considerable importance. 2. W h a t is the primary source of water vapor in the air? 3. W h a t is evaporation? W h a t factors determine the rate of evaporation? 4. W h a t is condensation? Is it caused by heating o r cooling of the air? 5. W h a t is sublimation? Give an example. 6. W h a t is a calory? H o w many calories are required to change 1 g of ice into water at 32? to change water into water vapor at the same temperature? 7. Give one reason why water bodies heat slowly. 8. Wrhat is latent heat of condensation? H o w does it affect the intensity of a storm? W h y ? 9. Suppose the dry-bulb temperature is 80F and the wet-bulb is 74F. W h a t is the relative humidity? the dew point? 10. W h a t is capacity? saturated air? W h i c h is heavier, air or water vapor?

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THE EARTH AND ITS

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11. What is absolute humidity? Which ordinarily has greater absolute humidity, a tropical or a polar air mass? Why? 12. O n the average, when would you expect relative humidity to be lower, at noon or at midnight? Why? 13. What is relative humidity? If absolute humidity remains the same, what happens to relative humidity when temperature increases? decreases? 14. What is dew point? What is the dew point of air at 70 that has an A H of 4.1 grains per cubic foot? 15. H o w much water vapor is condensed when 100 cu ft of saturated air is cooled from 80 to 40? 16. Air at 100 has a R H of 10 percent. What is A H ? the dew point? 17. Air at 80 has a R H of 50 percent. What is the dew point? 18. Certain air at 90 has A H of 3.35. What is R H ? 19. If A H = 2 and R H = 25 percent, what is C? What is the temperature? 20. Outdoor air at 40 with R H of 70 percent is brought indoors and heated to 70 with no water vapor added. What is R H indoors? 21. A theater brings indoors 100,000 cu ft of air at 90 with R H of 80 percent. This air is cooled to 70 with R H of 50 percent. H o w much water is condensed? (7000 grains = 1 lb) 22. W h y is dry air indoors in winter possibly detrimental to health? 23. H o w can moisture be added to air indoors in winter? 24. Define specific humidity. If capacity of air is 28 g / k g and specific humidity is 12 g/kg, what is relative humidity? 25. According to Fig. 64, which state has the lowest relative humidity in July? which the highest? 26. W h y do we feel uncomfortable on hot, humid days? 27. What is air-conditioning? What processes are involved? 28. Which has a lower dew point, moist or dry air? Why? 29. W h y might it be wise for an airplane pilot to postpone a flight when he learns that temperature and dew point are close together? 30. W h y is dew (or frost) more likely to form on clear, calm nights than on cloudy, windy nights? 31. W h y do we often see "lakes" of fog in low places? 32. What is dew? W h y does it form quickly on grass? 33. What is frost? Is most frost frozen dew? 34. Differentiate between radiation and advection fogs. 35. What causes the dense fogs in our central states in winter? on the coast of California? around Newfoundland? 36. According to Fig. 65, which is more foggy, southern Florida or southern California? the Rockies or the Appalachians? 37. What is the principal cause of abundant precipitation? 38. What is a cloud?

ATMOSPHERIC M O I S T U R E AND P R E C I P I T A T I O N

97

39. Clouds and fog differ in what respect? 40. If on a warm day, when rising air currents cause cumulus clouds to form, the temperature is 86F and dew point 58F, what is the altitude of the cloud base? 41. What causes a rainbow? a halo of the moon? the colors of sunrise and sunset? 42. What are the three principal types of clouds? Describe each. 43. Which cloud type is the source of a thunderstorm? 44. Which is the highest cloud type? the lowest? 45. W h y are stratus clouds a hindrance to aviation, probably more than any other type? 46. What is meant by the cloud prefix alto-? by fracto-? 47. What is sleet? glaze? hail? 48. According to Fig. 73, which states have most sunshine? Which are cloudiest? 49. W h y are supercooled water droplets in the air a source of trouble for airplanes? 50. Explain the cause of convectional rain. What are some objections to this type of rain? 51. Explain the cause of orographic rain. Mention a few exact locations where such rain occurs. 52. What is a rain shadow? Give an example. 53. What are the ideal conditions that produce heavy orographic rain? 54. Explain the cause of cyclonic precipitation. W h y is it usually less violent than convectional? 55. What precipitation data are important? 56. Study Fig. 78. Does rainfall decrease or increase from Mobile, Alabama, to Chicago, Illinois? from Iowa to Wyoming? Name five states that have deserts. 57. Study Fig. 79. What is the average annual snowfall in northern New York? in Kansas? in Corpus Christi, Texas? in Los Angeles? in the Cascade Mountains?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. Using the wet- and dry-bulb method, test relative humidity of the air every hour of the day, outdoors and indoors. Plot curves to show results. Repeat during the various seasons of the year. 2. Observe a hygrograph, if one is available. It records relative humidity on graph paper. Most hygrographs operate for a week at a time. T h e hygrograph curve shows clearly the change in relative humidity during day and night and the difference in moisture content of the air during rainy spells and dry weather.

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THE EARTH AND

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DATA

SOME I N T E R E S T I N G W E A T H E R

(U. S. Weather Bureau) FOR THE UNITED STATES Lowest temperature, G6F, Yellowstone Park, W y o . , Feb., 1933 Highest temperature, 134F, Death Valley, Calif., July, 1913 Highest wind velocity, 231 mph, Mt. Washington, N. H., Apr., 1934 Lowest pressure, 26.35 in., or 892 m b , S. Fla., Sept. 2, 1935 Highest pressure, 31.5 in., or 1067 m b Driest place, Death Valley, Calif., average 1.35 in. rain per year Wettest place, W y n o o c h e e O x b o w , Wash., average 150 in. rain per year (On average, 10 in. snow equals 1 in. of rain) Heaviest snow, Tamarack, Calif., winter of 1906-1907, total 73 ft WORLD'S HEAVIEST OBSERVED RAINS In In In In In In 1 year, 1041 in., Cherrapunji, India, Aug., 1860-July, 1861 5 days, 114 in., Silver Hill Plantation, Jamaica, Nov., 1909 2 days, 65 in., Formosa, July, 1913 1 day, 46 in., Baguio, Philippine Is., July, 1911 42 minutes, 12 in., Holt, W . Mo., June 22, 1947 1 minute, 1.23 in., Unionville, Md., July 4, 1956
TORNADO F R E Q U E N C Y B Y M O N T H S IN T H E UNITED S T A T E S M 9 I 6 - 1957 A V E R A G E NUMBER O F TORNADOES REPORTED A V E R A G E NUMBER OF DAYS TORNADOES ARE REPORTED

50

15 14 13

4-0

12
10

30

8
7

20

6 5 +

1 0

ll

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUfi SEP OCT NOV DEC

llm
Fig. 80

3 2

1
JAN FEB MAR APR M Y JUN JUL AUfi SEP OCT NOV DEC A

CHAPTER

5.

Storms and Their Weather Types

T h e coming and going of a big thunderstorm is often a fascinating sight. If we were to take note of the storm's behavior, we should find that the sequence of events is about as follows: O n a quiet, hot, humid morning fleecy cirrus clouds are visible in the sky. T h e barometer shows a slight, steady drop. There is a high degree of humidity, and gradually the heat becomes more intense. T h e rapid rising of the warm, moist air causes great cumulus clouds to appear in the west. As these clouds approach, they darken to cumulonimbus and are churned and tossed about by high winds. A flash of lightning produces a loud clap of thunder. Suddenly, a brisk, cool breeze starts blowing. This cool air causes the barometer to rise quickly. N o w huge clouds obscure the sun. There are vivid flashes of lightning, followed by peals of thunder. A n enormous amount of energy is being released in the atmosphere. Rain is falling in great sheets, and for a few minutes small hailstones patter against the window. T h e

downpour continues for perhaps an hour. During this time the lightning and thunder become less and less frequent. Finally the sky clears in the west, as the storm retreats toward the east. A cool breeze begins blowing from the northwest, and the drop in temperature is noticeable. W e look at the barograph and notice that the passing of the storm has produced a jagged appearance in the pressure curve traced by this instrument. Such storms as the one just described occur during the warm months over much of the United States. In connection with the preceding description, certain things should be recalled: 1) Convection currents produce cumulus clouds. 2) Condensation within the storm liberates latent, or stored-up, heat, increasing the strength of rising air currents and the intensity of the storm. 3) T h e coming and going of the storm cause changes in wind direction and air pressure. T h e torrential rain may cause considerable soil wash, but the mois-

100

THE EARTH AND ITS

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ture is welcomed by growing crops. Storms are the earth's principal generators of precipitation. Without them, the great lowlands of the earth would be far less habitable than under existing conditions. The present chapter deals with storms. It is concerned mainly with the nonviolent cyclones and anticyclones of extent the middle latitudes, or intermediate zones; and to a lesser with thunderstorms, tornadoes, and tropical storms. MIDDLE-LATITUDE CYCLONES AND ANTICYCLONES As we have already said, cyclones are characterized by low barometric pressure and c o m m o n l y go by the name of lows. Anticyclones are characterized by high pressure and are called highs. T h e cyclone, therefore, must consist largely of a mass of relatively light air, and the anticyclone of heavier air. T h i s difference in weight, or pressure, is not in low a barometer barometer or noticeA

shown by a n u m b e r of oval-shaped or circular isobars drawn around a point of low pressure. In the center of the cyclone the w o r d low indicates the region of lowest pressure. From the center toward the margins the pressure increases. In the center of indian anticyclone the word high

cates the region of highest pressure. From the center toward the margins, the pressure decreases. O n the weather map all pressure readings are reduced to sea level by adding approximately 1 inch for each 1000 feet above sea level. A t a place 5000 feet above sea level, about 5 inches w o u l d be added to the local barometer reading in transferring map. the pressure to the weather millibars of pressure. In the autumn, winter, and spring, the pressure in the center of a cyclone may be 15 millibars or more below normal (1013 millibars); and in the center of an anticyclone, 15 millibars or more above normal. In well-developed storms the difference in pressure between the high and the l o w may be m o r e than 30 millibars. A general rule is that both cyclones and anticyclones are less well developed, have smaller differences in pressure and weaker pressure gradients, and travel at slower speeds in summer than in winter. Cyclones are extensive, rather than intensive, storms. In some cases they are 1000 miles or more in diameter. In cyclones with oval-shaped isobars, the north-south distance across the storm

T h e isobars are drawn f o r each 4

able except by watching the changes barograph. indicates cyclonic

weather; a high barometer, anticyclonic weather. Since these disturbances occur within the belt of westerly winds, they are best k n o w n in those latitudes between parallels 35 and 65 in both Northern and Southern hemispheres. Cyclones and anticyclones are not violent hurricanes.
Appearance and pressure. O n the

atmospheric and

disturbances as are tornadoes

daily weather map, these storms are

STORMS AND T H E I R W E A T H E R

TYPES

101

Fig. 81. The tracks of cyclonic storms shown here are much generalized. (Modified from

Knight.)

frequently is greater than the eastwest.


Direction and rate of movement.

Lows and highs travel in general toward the east, carried along by the upper-air system of westerly winds in which they exist. This is not to say, however, that they always travel due east. Certain paths are followed more frequently than others (Fig. 81). It is evident that in forecasting weather one should observe storm developments to the west and not to the east of a given place. Those storms to the east have already gone by; those to the west are approaching. Lows and highs sometimes vary considerably in the speed at which they move across the country. Changes in speed and direction may account for failure in forecasting. In the United States, lows move across the country at an average speed of 20 miles per hour in summer and 30 miles per hour in winter. Highs usually move more slowly than lows. In summer, fhe intensity of highs

and lows is greatly reduced. As a consequence, warm-season weather is less changeable, and atmospheric disturbances are less violent. In winter, a well-developed low usually crosses the United States in 3 to 5 days.
W i n d system of a cyclone. A i l flows

from high to low pressure. Since the lowest pressure is in the center of a cyclone, it is evident that winds will blow toward that center. As air masses of contrasting origins, temperature, and humidity move toward the center of a low, the warmer and more humid air is lifted, sliding upward over cooler or drier air. This lifting of humid air usually results in the formation of clouds from which rain or snow may fall. Surface winds blow counterclockwise toward the center of a low. On the east side, or front, of a storm, the winds blow mainly from easterly points. O n the west side, or rear, of the storm the wind directions are westerly. Southeast and south winds prevail in the southeast quadrant (Fig. 82). These winds in central or

102

THE EARTH AND ITS

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eastern United States are likely to be mild and humid, since they may come from the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. They are thus valuable importers of much needed moisture.

equatorward sides of the storm. A colder, drier, and heavier air mass arrives from higher latitudes on the rear and poleward sides.
W i n d s h i f t w i t h the passing of a

cyclone. W h e n the center of a cyclone is west of an observer, he will experience general easterly winds. As the center passes and the observer finds himself in the west side, or rear, of the cyclone, he will note mainly northwest or west winds. Easterly surface winds, therefore, often indicate the approach of a cyclone with its accompanying clouds and rain. Westerly surface winds more often foretell the retreat of the storm center toward the east and the coming of clearing weather as an anticyclone moves in from a westerly direction. In most storms the shift from easterly to westerly winds is rather gradual. In some, however, the wind shift is very abrupt. Especially is this true where isobars south of the storm center tend to take the form of a letter V pointing toward the south or southwest (Fig. 85). In such a low, an irregular line extending usually from the center toward the southwest is called the wind-shift line. Along this line, the wind is in the process of shifting from southerly to northerly points. T h e wind-shift line is also known as the surface cold fro?it, since it marks the front edge of the cool or cold polar air mass which is advancing toward the south and east. This cold air mass, being relatively denser, undermines and forces upward the warmer and more humid air masses

Fig. 82. A cyclone, or low, as it often appears on the daily weather map. Arrows fly with the wind. Note that south-southeast winds the northwest quadrant, and prevail in the southeast quadrant, northwest winds in east-northeast winds in the northeast quadrant. The advancing cold front, which causes a wind shift from south-southeast to northwest, settled weather, rain, snow, is shown and in the southwest quadrant. Along the cold front unsometimes severe thunderstorms are most likely to occur.

Northwest wind prevails in the northwest quadrant of the storm. This wind often comes from western or central Canada and is cooler and drier than the southeast and south winds. In winter, the northerly winds often are bitterly cold. T h e cyclone, then, is a meeting place of contrasting air masses. Thus a mild, humid air mass arrives from warmer latitudes on the front and

STORMS AND T H E I R W E A T H E R that it encounters. A l o n g the windshift line of such a cyclone, therefore, violent atmospheric disturbances may occur. These often include a sharp drop in temperature as the wind suddenly changes from southeast to northwest, accompanied by rain or snow and, in warm seasons, thunderstorms.
Wind system of an anticyclone.

TYPES

103

levels. As air settles to lower elevations, its temperature and capacity for water vapor increase. This is the opposite of rising air. T h e huge subtropical high-pressure cells over the oceans (horse latitudes) are charac-

i
quadrant-00 ll/^'^^Mra'ra/?/

Winds blow clockwise from the center of an anticyclone, or high (Fig. 83). Cooler, heavier air evidently settles to the earth at the center. T o the east of the center, therefore, winds blow in general from westerly directions. T o the west of the center, they blow from easterly directions. T h e center of an anticyclone often brings relatively calm and fair weather. Cyclones and anticyclones follow one another in a sort of parade across the United States, resulting in many and varied changes in weather. T h e northwest wind to the south and east of a high that is centered in western Canada may bring a severe cold wave or blizzard to central and eastern United States. At such times the cold polar air mass may move as far south as the Gulf states, causing considerable suffering among people and livestock (Fig. 84). Subsidence. T h e settling or slow descending of air to the earth's surface at the center of an anticyclone is called subsidence. This settling of air generally is associated with (1) low temperature, (2) high barometer, (3) calm or weak winds, (4) low humidity, (5) fair weather, and (6) temperature inversions, especially at high

quadrant

quadrant

Fig. 83. An anticyclone, or high. Diameter of outside isobar may be 1000 miles or more. Note that northeast winds and nimbostratus clouds with rain or snow are characteristic of the southwest quadrant. Note also the clockwise,

outward circulation of the surface winds.

terized by subsidence, fair weather, and very little precipitation.


Precipitation in cyclones and anti-

cyclones. In general, cyclones bring unsettled weather with rain or snow, and anticyclones bring fair or partly cloudy weather. Precipitation is more likely to occur in the cyclone, because it is a region where unlike air masses come together. T h e warmer and more humid air masses are lifted by the colder and denser ones, so that cooling and condensation of water vapor are likely to result. Not every cyclone is accompanied by precipitation, because absolute humidity of

104

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

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Fig. 84. Daily weather map. The large anticyclone, or high, was caused by a continental polar (cP) air mass which moved from western Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. St. Joseph, Missouri, had a minimum temperature of 21 below zero, and Galveston, Texas, 15 above zero. Ten inches of snow fell at Birmingham, Alabama, and at Atlanta, Georgia; snow was also reported at San Antonio, Texas. Note that isobars are numbered in millibars. Three about inch on the mercury barometer. (Courtesy U. S. Weather millibars is equivalent to Bureau.)

the air may be too low and there may not be sufficient lifting of the air to cause it to reach the condensation level. Precipitation over the lowlands of the United States in the cool months is largely cyclonic in origin. In the summer months the heat increases the strength of rising air currents, and convectional rainfall results. T h u n derstorms bring heavy "dash" rains of short duration. Cyclonic rainfall, on the other hand, tends to be light and steady, lasting for hours, sometimes days, and often covering con-

siderable areas. This results from the slow lifting of warm, humid air masses by undermining cooler air (Fig. 78). Such lifting is much less rapid than that caused by strong convection currents in thunderstorms. T h e steady cyclonic rain is beneficial in that much of it seeps into the ground. O n the other hand, a considerable part of thunderstorm downpour disappears by rapid surface runoff. Especially in freshly plowed fields, this causes disastrous soil erosion. Cyclonic weather is often charac-

STORMS AND T H E I R W E A T H E R

TYPES

105

Fig. 85. A portion of a weather map, much simplified, for a day in December. Make a chart giving the temperature, dew point, visibility, wind direction, and wind velocity at Detroit, Chicago, Duluth, and Fargo. W h a t would be the forecast for Chicago? for Duluth? W h a t is the barometric pressure at Detroit? Is the barometer rising or falling?

terized by chilly, gray, overcast days with long-continued, light rains, sometimes called drizzles. Such weather is ideal for hay and pasture crops but less so for corn, which benefits from sunshine and high temperatures. Violent rainfall may occur along the cold front. Here a warm air mass from the subtropics may be lifted suddenly by a cold polar air mass arriving from high latitudes. In the warmer seasons such violent uplifts may cause severe thunderstorms.
Temperatures in anticyclones. In

winter a well-developed high advances toward the east and southeast.

It is a mass of continental polar air from northern and western Canada. Its temperature is so low that it brings a cold wave to central and eastern United States (Figs. 85, 86, 87). In such highs the temperature ranges from 0 to 20 or 30 below. If accompanied by high winds and snow, a blizzard is the result. For example, the weather map in Fig. 84 shows a high over the entire Middle West. T h e cold wave produced at this time proved to be one of the most prolonged in the history of the Weather Bureau. In summer, a similar high brings a few days of relatively cool, delightful weather.

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Fig. 86. A portion of a weather map for a day in April. Note the anticyclone (high) entering northern California from the Pacific Ocean, bringing fair weather to the coastal states. W h a t is the temperature at Tuscon, Arizona? at Helena, Montana? at San Francisco, California? What are the wind direction and velocity at Amarillo, Texas? at Salt Lake City, Utah? at Reno, Nevada? at Portland, Oregon? at Pueblo, Colorado? W h a t is the dew point at Cheyenne, Wyoming? at Omaha, Nebraska? W h a t is meant by the letters mPk?

Occasionally in summer a high develops over the southern states, and a slow-moving low travels along the Canadian border (Fig. 88). A hot wave results from the hot, dry south and southeast winds that blow for several days from the high to the low. Prolonged periods of such dry weather are called drouths. At such times evaporation of moisture from soil and growing crops is tremendous. Pastures dry up, and corn "fires," meaning that the lower por-

tions of the corn plant turn to a yellowish-brown color.


Temperatures in cyclones. Severe

contrasts in temperature often occur within a cyclone area. In the southeast quadrant of a low the temperature is usually relatively high as the result of southeast and south winds. In the northwest quadrant, lower temperatures are due to northwest winds. T h e front, or east half, of the cyclone is generally a region of higher temperatures than the rear

STORMS AND T H E I R WEATHER


IIS 10 1 15 0 100 95 90 85 80 15 70 65

TYPES

107

IIP

15 0

10 0

95

90

85

80

15

or 50 may occur. T h e warm air of the southeast quadrant is usually humid. In summer it produces "sticky, muggy weather." In the northeast quadrant, where northeast winds often prevail, temperatures are usually lower than in the southeast quadrant. In winter the drop in temperature caused by the advancing cold front may cause rain to change to snow. Sometimes in the colder months the cloud cover that accompanies a low often results in temperatures above normal. This is because the clouds prevent rapid radiation of

Fig. 87. A winter anticyclone advancing southeastward as a mass of cold continental polar air.

30.50" P,M' JO. 00"

NOON

12 P.M.

Prpccr*

Arrival

of co/d front

Approach of storm

Retreat of sf-orm

Fig. 89. Behavior of temperature and pressure during the approach and retreat of a low. As the storm approaches from the west, temperaFig. 88. A relatively stagnant anticyclone over southeastern United States, producing unseaand sonably warm weather over the central ture rises and pressure falls. The arrival of the cold front causes a sharp drop in temperature and a rise in pressure. The temperature curve is made by a thermograph, or barograph, or self-recording self-recording thermometer. The pressure curve is made by a barometer.

eastern parts of the country.

or west half (Figs. 82, 85). This is because the southerly winds import warmth from lower latitudes. In winter, in central and eastern United States, the temperature in the southeast quadrant of a low may be 50; in the northwest quadrant it may be zero or below. As the storm center passes, a sudden drop in temperature of some 40
Fig. 90. Weather map symbols for warm and cold fronts. Arrows indicate direction of move ment.

108

THE EARTH AND ITS

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heat f r o m the earth at night. A similar cloud cover in summer may produce temperatures below normal, because the clouds tend to weaken inc o m i n g solar radiation. As a low approaches from the west, the warmer, lighter air mass in the southeast quadrant causes the barometer to fall steadily. W h e n the storm center has passed, the cooler
Warm air

or colder denser air mass (northwest or west winds) in the west quadrants causes the barometer to rise (Fig. 89). Fronts. In o u r discussion so far, frequent mention has been made of "fronts." T h e two principal kinds of fronts are warm and cold. O n the daily weather map, these are indicated as shown in Fig. 90. Figures 91 and 92 illustrate verti-

VERTICAL SECTION OF STORM ALONG BELOW

(MODIFIED) COLD

WEST

EAST

CoId front

Warm front

VERTICAL SECTION OF STORM ALONG CD ABOVE


Fig. 91. The cyclone model. Ground plan and vertical sections of a fully developed wave cyclone. cP means continental polar air. mT means maritime tropical air moving northward from the Gulf of Mexico. (From "An Book Co.) Introduction to Weather and Climate," by G. T. Trewartha, McGraw-Hill

f
STORMS AND T H E I R W E A T H E R TYPES 109

J "S
_o

- E E I a c * E H- i 3 E .> CeL " - " D - 2 g ^ 3 - "5 I * | " * - -s > . CL > "5)


2

0 -Q ) J S^ - D (!)N )
<> 1 <

>

>-

< 2 .
CS

12

110

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 93. Solid lines show principal tracks of cyclones as they cross the United States; broken lines are principal tracks of anticyclones. Anticyclones that move southeast from western Canada sometimes bring extremely cold weather in winter; those from the western states bring cold or cool weather. (After map by U. S. Weather Bureau.) moderately

cal cross sections of the air masses associated with warm and cold fronts. As a mass of cold air moves from west to east, its front or eastern edge is the cold front. T h e rear or western edge is the warm front. Along both fronts, air is lifted and precipitation may result. In general, the slope of the cold front is steeper than that of the warm front (Fig. 92). T h e cold front brings colder weather; the warm front brings warmer weather and generally higher humidity. Numerous observations reveal also that cold fronts often travel faster than warm fronts. If a cold front overtakes a warm front, the warm air between the two

"wedges" is uplifted. This is called an occlusion.


Paths of cyclonic storms. C y c l o n e s ,

or lows, tend to follow certain paths, or tracks, more frequently than others. In North America more lows move eastward along the Alberta and North Pacific tracks than along any others (Fig. 93). In the cool seasons, lows follow paths farther south, for example, the South Pacific. Storms that follow this path sometimes bring prolonged rains or heavy snows. Other paths, frequented especially in winter, extend from Texas and Florida northward coast. In Europe, lows follow mainly a along the Atlantic

STORMS AND THEIR W E A T H E R path across the British Isles and northern Germany. In winter they sometimes travel farther south, crossing Mediterranean countries. In the Southern Hemisphere, lows are energetic throughout the year. They travel eastward, following paths located for the most part between the parallels 40S and 60S. T h e Cape H o r n region of South America, extending as it does nearly to latitude 55S, is a stormy area at all times of the year. WEATHER-FORECASTING
Daily weather map. A t 1:00 A.M.,

TYPES

111

is recorded at some 300 stations scattered over North America. T h i s information is transmitted by telegraph and teletype to all parts of the United States and much of Canada. Trained men assemble the data o n a large map, locate the highs and lows and the warm and cold fronts, draw the isobars, and label the air masses (Fig. 94). T h e residt is the completed daily weather map (see A p pendix C). T h e official forecaster studies this map and tries to picture the changes in positions of storm centers and fronts during the next 24 to 36 hours and the effects that these changes will have on the weather in his own local district. Since weather condiCloud S y m b o l s Cumulus of fine weather (J Layer of stratus or stratocumulus L o w b r o k e n - u p clouds of bad weather Cumulonimbus

7:00 A . M . , 1:00 P.M., and 7:00 P . M . , F.ST, the condition of the weather
Weather S y m b o l s OO Haze Fog

f W ^ Smoke
D u s t or sand storm > Continuous moderate drizzle Intermittent moderate rain
***

Continuous flakes

heavy

snow

in

/ V/"

T y p i c a l altostratus, thin Veil of cirrostratus covering the whole sky

Showers of h e a v y rain Thunderstorm

(See daily weather map published by U. S. Weather Bureau, Washington, D.C., for further explanation.) High Alto cirrua stratus rising

/Wind, ZOmph

about

Temperature Visibility, Dew point sky Snowing Overcast miles

1016.0 mb Pressure then steady Precipitation Low cloud\ stratus Ceiling code, 2000 feel

Fig. 94. Weather symbols and cloud symbols used on the daily weather map. Also the station model for showing weather conditions at a given place.

112

THE EARTH AND ITS

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tions differ in different localities, it stands to reason that a forecaster's accuracy should increase the longer he is stationed at one city. Regional experience is the best teacher. Certain rules and types of weather maps should be mentioned with reference to weather-forecasting: 1) In general, weather travels eastward. 2) Lows tend to follow certain paths at certain seasons of the year. 3) A low usually crosses the LTnited States in 3 to 5 days. 4) T h e approach of a low from the west usually foretells unsettled weather; a high foretells fair or partly cloudy and cooler or colder weather. 5) Lows that follow paths across southern United States in winter are usually more intense and energetic than those that travel east along the Canadian border. 6) As a storm center passes, the temperature will drop, the amount of drop being determined largely by the contrast in temperature between the low and the high that lies to the west or northwest. 7) Highs tend to travel from western Canada and the Pacific coast toward the Central Atlantic states; lows move toward New England. 8) In general, lows travel faster than highs. 9) A high over Montana, the Dakotas, and western Canada with temperatures 20 to 40 below zero may advance toward the southeast, causing a severe cold wave to reach sometimes as far south as the Gulf states.

Along the advancing cold front of such a high, blizzards may be experienced. 10) A high-pressure area over Nevada, Utah, and Idaho, called a Great Basin high, may remain stationary for several days, causing fair weather and westerly winds to prevail over most of the states between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River. Such highs bring moderately cold weather. 11) In summer, a stationary low in central North America, with a high over the southeastern states may cause a hot wave and drouth over much of central and eastern United States. 12) A northeast or east wind, a falling barometer, and a temperature near freezing are good indications of an approaching snowstorm. 13) T h e change in temperature is usually greater when the storm center passes north of the observer. 14) In the United States, storms tend to increase in intensity east of the Mississippi River. 15) During the cool months, a high over Minnesota and the Lake Superior region, together with a low in the southwestern states, often causes cloudy weather with rain or snow over the central states west of the Mississippi River. 16) T h e southwest quadrant of a high often tends to be a region of stratus clouds and light, drizzle rains. 17) Violent atmospheric disturbances often develop along the cold front, or wind-shift line.

STORMS AND THEIR W E A T H E R 18) In general, winds f r o m points east, with a falling barometer, indicate foul weather; winds shifting to points west indicate clearing and fair weather. Suppose that a cyclone is moving eastward across the United States. If the center of the low passes to the north of an observer, so that he is in the southern quadrants of the storm, the succession of winds experienced will be southeast, south, southwest, and finally west and northwest (Fig. 82). T h i s is called a veering wind shift. O n the other hand, if the storm center passes south of the observer, so that he is on the north side of the cyclone, he will experience, in succession, northeast, north, and a backing The wi?id shift. note regarding associindications States finally northwest winds. T h i s is known as following

TYPES

113

proach and its intensity will be indicated by the rate and the amount of the fall in the barometer. AIR MASS ANALYSIS Weathermen devote a great deal of time to the study of air masses. T h e y are interested especially in (1) the origin of a given air mass, (2) its characteristics, (3) its rate and direction of movement, and (4) the type of weather that is likely to result where two contrasting air masses upon c o m e together. T h e movements of air masses and years. The radiosonde. In order to study air masses, meteorologists need information about the atmosphere, not only at the earth's surface but also at various heights above sea level. Since most "weather" occurs in the lower 5 miles of the ocean of air, data u p to about 25,000 or 30,000 feet are especially valuable. T o obtain upper-air data, the radiosonde is used. T h i s is a method of upperair " s o u n d i n g " by means of radio. T h e radiosonde (Fig. 95) is a remarkable instrument resulting from years of patient research and experimenting on the part of many scientists. Housed in a small b o x about 1 foot square and inches deep are small instruments, of which measure three temperature, pressure, and relative humidity tiny radio the air. These transmitter in measurements are transferred to a another compartment of the box. By means their effects weather have been observed for many

wind-barometer in some

ated with a passing cyclone appears United Weather Bureau publications: When the wind sets in from points between south and southeast and the barometer falls steadily, a storm is approaching from the west or northwest, and its center will pass near or north of the observer within 12 to 24 hours, with wind shifting to northwest by way of southwest and west. When the wind sets in from points between east and northeast and the barometer falls steadily, a storm is approaching from the south or southwest, and its center will pass near or to the south or east of the observer within 12 to 24 hours, with wind shifting to northwest by way of north. The rapidity of the storm's ap-

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T H E E A R T H AND I T S

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of an antenna that trails below the box, the transmitter broadcasts the temperature, pressure, and relative humidity to a special radio receiving set on the ground. Pressure, of

North American continent. T h e data are transmitted to forecast centers and there plotted on adiabatic charts. Man himself, using enormous balloons, has ascended into the atmosphere about 14 miles above sea level. T h e radiosonde has reached elevations almost twice this height. In 1 hour the radiosonde will ascend about 30.000 feet and, in this same time, travel horizontally about 40 miles.
Winds aloft. As mentioned in

Fig. 95. A large balloon carries the radiosonde into the upper atmosphere. Note the parachute below the from the measuring (Courtesy balloon and the antenna box and that radio trailing the rectangular instruments U. S. Weather contains

transmitter.

Bureau.)

course, can be translated into elevation above sea level. T h e radiosonde also may carry a special metal, which can be tracked by radar to ascertain wind direction and velocity aloft. A large balloon, some 5 or 6 feet in diameter, filled with helium or hydrogen, carries the radiosonde into the upper levels of the earth's atmosphere. Decreased air pressure at high elevations permits the helium or hydrogen to expand, the balloon finally bursts, and the radiosonde is parachuted to the ground. Radiosondes are sent up daily at a number of places scattered over the

Chapter 3, the direction and velocity of winds aloft are determined by the pilot-balloon-theodolite method and by radar. T h e theodolite is a small telescope with which the observer follows the balloon (Fig. 96). This instrument measures the angular elevation of the balloon and the direction the balloon is traveling, measured clockwise from true north (called azimuth). These measurements are taken every minute. At night, a small lantern made with a candle is fastened to the balloon. Cloud ceiling. T h e pilot balloon (Fig. 96) is filled with a definite amount of helium. Its rate of ascent is known to be about 600 feet per minute. This can be used to ascertain cloud ceiling, the number of feet from the ground to the cloud base. Suppose the observer finds that the pilot balloon disappears in the clouds 4y 2 minutes after it is released. He then reports the ceiling as 4, X 600, or 2700 feet. At night the cloud ceiling is determined by means of a powerful beam of light that produces a spot on the

STORMS AND THEIR W E A T H E R lower side of the cloud layer (Fig. 97). T h e observer is stationed a known distance from the beam of light. He reads the vertical angle of the spot with a clinometer, a sort of protractor. Knowing the angle, he merely refers to a table of figures to ascertain the cloud ceiling in feet. Some weather stations are now equipped with radar apparatus that will indicate cloud ceiling in a fraction of a second, day or night. All this means that a more intensive study is being made of the vertical structure of the atmosphere. By using radiosonde and pilot-balloon data, meteorologists make upper-air

TYPES

115

charts that show temperature gradients, moisture content of the air, and the direction of winds aloft. These are studied carefully. T h e upper-air data also are plotted on special graph paper. Such graphs help the meteorologist in his analysis of air masses and in determining weather changes that may take place within the next

Ceiling

^ p l I Spot on $ I c/oudbast .> Ci, j

Observer with . / , clinometer ,-Vertical angle 1 f --ft base line

Fig. 9 7 . Measuring cloud ceiling at night.

day or so. These studies are a step forward in the development of weather science and are contributing to greater accuracy in forecasting. Figure 98 shows the source regions

Fig. 9 6 . A weather observer about to release a balloon that he will watch through the theodolite directly in f r o n t of him. Such observations make possible the determination of wind direction and velocity at high elevations and the height of the cloud ceiling. Note the anemometer and wind vane. (Courtesy Trans line.) World Air-

of air masses common to North America. T h e maritime polar (mP) air mass originates in the arctic or subarctic. As it moves over the North Pacific Ocean its moisture content and temperature, at least in the lower layers, are increased somewhat. This air mass along the Pacific coast often is associated with cloudy weather, with numerous showers, especially in the cool months. After crossing the western mountains, its moisture content is much lower. East of the Rockies it tends to produce fair weather with moderate temperatures. Maritime polar air masses from the North Atlantic, moving from northeast to southwest, may bring unusually cool, moist weather to the

116

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

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Atlantic coast from Quebec southward to the Carol inas. T h e continental polar (cP) air mass moves south over western Canada. It enters the United States mainly through Montana and the

T h e following quotation is taken from Aerology for Pilots (United States Navy): On rare occasions cP air moves across the Rockies and Cascades to coasts of Washington and Oregon. It brings to the "webfeet" of that coastal region a respite from their customary winter rains. It provides excellent flying conditionsclear skies and unlimited visibility. When this air moves down the California coast, Los Angeles shivers, and nearby villages (which have no chambers of commerce) may shovel snow. T h e maritime tropical air mass probably originates over the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico. It is typically warm and humid. As it moves northward, it is the source of much moisture that falls over central and eastern United States. In the warm months, maritime tropical air often causes periods of hot, sultry, oppressive weather. W h e n this air mass advances toward the north and east, it may cause a sharp increase in temperature. T h e superior (S) air mass usually is very warm and dry. Its origin is uncertain. Possibly it comes from the higher levels of the subtropical belt of high pressure over the North Pacific. This hot, dry air, especially in summer, causes rapid evaporation and, therefore, much damage to crops. Maritime polar air, after crossing western mountains, is also relatively dry and may cause excessive evaporation. O n the daily weather map, an arrow between two air-mass symbols

Fig. 98. Source regions of air masses common to North America. The S in New Mexico stands for the " s u p e r i o r " and air mass. (Courtesy Aeronautics 8. C. Haynes tion.) the Civil Administra-

Dakotas. This is a typically cool or cold body of air with low absolute humidity. As it moves southward, it brings cool weather in summer and cold weather in winter. It appears on the weather map as a huge anticyclone, or high. Being of low moisture content, it permits rapid radiation of heat from the earth at night and, therefore, rapid cooling. This cold air often undermines a maritime tropical (raT) air mass along the wind-shift line of a cyclone, sometimes producing severe weather changes.

S T O R M S AND T H E I R W E A T H E R

TYPES

117

~ " O "5

CT>

I .9- "o &E <D k _ 0 1 I

.t:

s-
< D D

.2 1 01 8 E D * U J) I a -O ) 0 S i Q _ u> " .
;z >

0)

118

THE EARTH AND ITS

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Fig. 100. Captain, first officer, and dispatcher study the weather map, prior to a Trans World Airline.)

flight.

(Courtesy

signifies that the air mass is in a transitional stage. This means that its original characteristics are being modified and that it is changing- from

one type to another.


A i r mass colder than the ground.

(1) cumuliform clouds (cumulus or cumulonimbus); (2) turbulence in the lower layers; (3) good visibility; and (4) showers or local thunderstorms.
Air mass warmer than the ground.

If an air mass is colder than the ground over which it is moving, the air-mass symbol on a weather map will be followed by the letter k, as for example, cPk. This means that the ground is warmer than the air, and that the lower layers of air will be heated by the warmer earth. Heat from below will set up convection currents in the air. W h e n this is the case, the following may be observed:

W h e n an air mass is warmer than the ground over which it is moving, the air-mass symbol is followed by w, as for example, m T w . This means that the ground is colder than the air, and that the lower layers of air in contact with the earth will be chilled. T h e i r density is increased, and they will settle to the earth. Such air tends to arrange itself in layers, and extensive sheets of clouds may form. Un-

STORMS AND THEIR W E A T H E R der these conditions, the following may clouds be observed: (stratus, (1) stratiform or stratocumulus,

TYPES

119

of Asia, traveling across the Philippines toward the coast of China and then turning northward to southern Japan. Hurricanes and typhoons are much larger than the tornado. W i n d ve-

fog); (2) smooth air (little if any turbulence); (3) p o o r visibility (smoke, dust, fog); and (4) drizzle, dew, mist.
Importance of weather information

in aviation. T h e value of

accurate

and detailed weather information in the field of aviation cannot be overestimated. Today there are the many more weather observers along

heavily traveled air routes (Fig. 99). T h u s when local weather conditions suddenly become unfavorable for safe flying, the information is telegraphed quickly to the larger airports. T h e r e , by means of radio, the information is broadcast to pilots in the air. All airplanes that carry passengers for hire are required by law to be equipped with two-way radio. Pilots can receive and broadcast locities usually reach 75 miles per hour or more. T h e high winds drive great waves of settlements. In water the into coastal of the center weather information while in the air. All these precautions, aided by improved weather service, make for greater safety in aviation (Fig. fOO). TROPICAL CYCLONES OF THE HURRICANE AND TYPHOON VARIETY Hurricanes and typhoons are violent tropical storms and are similar except for location. T h e y occur in late summer and early autumn. T h e hurricane originates in the vicinity of the West Indies, travels toward Florida or other Gulf states, and then curves toward the north and northeast (Fig. 101). T h e typhoon occurs in similar latitudes off the east coast

storm the barometer has been known to drop more than 3 inches below normal. Excessive rainfall may cause floods. In the hurricane of September 18, 1926, which devastated Miami, Florida, at least 114 lives were lost in the Miami district, and damage to buildings was estimated at nearly 75 million dollars. In September, 1938, a hurricane moved f r o m the West Indies northward over the Atlantic Ocean, its center some 75 to 100 miles east of the Carolina coast. Ordinarily such

120

THE EARTH AND ITS

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Fig. 102. Structure of a local thunderstorm. In the United States such storms usually move in a general direction from west to east. (Courtesy A. K. Lobecfc.)

a storm w o u l d turn northeast into the middle Atlantic. O n September 21, this particular storm drove inland over L o n g Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The barometer at to

east of Madagascar; and (3) the tropical waters to both the northeast and the northwest of Australia. THUNDERSTORMS A description of the approach and retreat of a thunderstorm is given at the beginning of this chapter. T h u n derstorms are characterized by strong upward currents of moist air and the formation of huge cumulonimbus clouds. Gusty winds, lightning, thunder, "dash" rain, and sometimes hail accompany these storms. Such an atmospheric disturbance usually is associated with high temperatures at the earth's surface and Consequently, most prevalent intermediate moist air. are thunderstorms in certain and

Hartford, Connecticut, dropped below normal. High winds

28.04 inches, approximately 2 inches caused great waves of water that did enormous damage alone; the shore. M o r e

than 700 lives were lost. T h e r e was no railroad transportation between N e w York and Boston for more than a week. T o t a l damage d o n e by the storm was estimated at 300 million dollars. These destructive tropical storms appear to occur over the warmer parts of most of the oceans. In addition to the localities just mentioned, the following regions may be noted: (1) the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, o n each side of peninsular India; (2) the South Indian Ocean

tropical at the

regions, in the warm season of the zones, warmer hours of the day. T h e heavy rain of short duration is a direct re-

STORMS AND T H E I R W E A T H E R

TYPES

121

Fig. 103. Average annual number of days with thunderstorms. (Courtesy U. S. Weather

Bureau.)

suit of rapid condensation of water vapor caused by the strong vertical convection currents within the storm.
Types of thunderstorms. T w o types

of thunderstorms are usually recognized: 1) Local heat thunderstorms may occur without warning, owing to local convection (Fig. 102). Rising air currents cause the formation of towering cumulus clouds. These grow to cumulonimbus, which may give rise to a thundershower. In central and eastern United States literally hundreds of these scattered thundershowers may occur on a hot summer day. T h e y are of great economic significance, because they produce much needed rain during the growing season. 2) Cold-front thunderstorms often are more extensive and more severe

than the local heat variety. T h e y occur along the wind-shift lines of welldeveloped lows during the warm months. As previously explained, the wind-shift line marks the abrupt meeting place of warm and cold air masses. T h e warm air mass, which in central and eastern United States often comes from the Gulf of Mexico, may carry much water vapor. As it is suddenly uplifted by the advancing, underrunning cold front of the polar air mass, dark cumulonimbus clouds may form. T h e resulting thunderstorm may be extremely violent, accompanied by heavy rain, lightning, strong winds, and sometimes hail. Such storms may occur at any time of day or night. T h e y usually are followed by cool, clear weather. High temperatures and stagnant.

122

THE EARTH AND ITS

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Fig. 104. Unusually large hailstones. (Courtesy

S. D.

Flora.)

humid air in the doldrums furnish ideal conditions for thunderstorm formation. Thunder is heard in some doldrum regions 75 to 150 days per year. Deserts in the tropics, however, may have fewer than 5 days with thunder, because of low humidity. In the United States the Gulf states rank highest, and the Pacific coast lowest, in the number of thunderstorms (Fig. 103). In the middle latitudes such storms are more numerous over land than over sea.
Characteristics of thunderstorms.

Hail, the most destructive form of precipitation, sometimes accompanies thunderstorms. W h e n convection is most violent and air currents are ascending at the rate of 100 miles per hour or more, raindrops are carried up into regions of extreme cold. T h e y mix with snow and form cloudy globules of ice. Moving downward, this ice is covered with a layer of water and is then shot upward again, and the film of water freezes. This process may continue until the hailstone, formed of concentric layers of clear ice and snow, like the layers of an onion, reaches consider-

able size (Fig. 104). W h e n the upward-moving air currents weaken, the hailstones fall to earth. They make dents in automobiles and shatter the glass of greenhouses. Destructive hailstorms often do tremendous damage to growing crops. Many farmers carry insurance to cover such damage (Fig. 105). Lightning is a huge electric spark, caused by the discharge of electricity between clouds or between a cloud and the earth. Clouds are charged with electricity. T h e water particles in one cloud may carry a positive charge of electricity, whereas those in another may carry a negative charge. One part of a single cloud may be charged positively; another part, negatively. T h e electric discharge caused by these opposite charges usually appears as lightning. Sometimes the electric discharge takes place between a low cloud and the earth. However, most lightning occurs between clouds. Probably not more than 1 percent of the lightning flashes go to the earth. In the United States 700 to 800 persons lose their lives each year as a

STORMS AND T H E I R W E A T H E R

TYPES

123

Fig. 105. Average annual number of days with hail. This map shows that hailstorms are more numerous in the Middle West. Hail falls from cumulonimbus clouds. Hail may pound a wheat crop to the ground. Corn, 5 or 6 feet tall, may be riddled to shreds. In the middle-western states, annual damage from hail and accompanying high winds runs into millions of dollars. farmers, therefore, carry hail insurance. (Courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.) Many

result of lightning, and twice as many are injured. Fire losses due to lightning amount to more than 12 million dollars annually. Thunder is produced by violent expansion of the air, which is caused by the tremendous heat of lightning. Light waves travel about 186,000 miles per second; sound waves, about 1100 feet per second. Thus, the sound of thunder is heard after the flash of lightning is seen. By counting the seconds between the time the flash is seen and the time the thunder is heard, it is possible to estimate the distance between the observer and the lightning. Sometimes a lightning flash may occur behind a cloud so that the entire cloud is illuminated.

This is referred to as sheet


Aviators: avoid

lightning.

thunderstorms.

Whenever possible, the wise aviator avoids "fighting it out" with a thunderstorm (Fig. 106). Since a local thunderstorm does not cover a large area, it often is advisable for the airman to fly around it. T h e most serious problem involved in this maneuver is that of returning to the original, intended flight path. In many cases the wisest procedure is to land, if possible, and to tie the ship down until the storm has passed. T h e dangers involved in flying into a thunderstorm are as follows: 1) Terrific strain on aircraft caused by updrafts and downdrafts

124

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Fig.

106. Thunderstorm

clouds such as these may reach altitudes of 3 0 , 0 0 0 and downdrafts of 100 miles per hour or

to 4 0 , 0 0 0

feet.

W i t h i n the cloud, updrafts

more place

enormous Army

strains on the aircraft structures. If a pilot attempts to fly around a thunderstorm, he must pay strict attention to navigation, otherwise he may become lost. (Photograph courtesy Air Forces.) U. S.

2) P o o r visibility 3) Possible damage to aircraft by hail 4) R a d i o of n o value because of static 5) Ice formation on aircraft 6) Airsickness 7) Pilot may b e c o m e lost 8) Explosion of gasoline caused by lightning TORNADOES T o r n a d o e s are the most violent but

of c u m u l o n i m b u s clouds in wild turmoil, f r o m which descends the funnel-shaped tornado cloud (Fig. 107). Upper-air currents carry the storm in a general northeasterly direction. T h e rate of travel averages 25 to 40 miles per hour. T o r n a d o e s occur chiefly in spring and early summer. Destruction of property and life is due mainly to high wind velocities of 100 to 500 miles per hour. Vertical air currents within the tornado are thought to reach velocities ranging f r o m 100 to 200 miles per hour. These storms are typically American. In the United States they are most frequent over the central and southeastern states east of the R o c k y Mountains (Fig. 108). Tornadoes at sea often are called water spouts.

and destructive of all storms,

they are rare and do damage over small areas. T h e y are closely associated with thunderstorms of the coldfront variety in V-shaped lows. T h e approach of a tornado is usually heralded by dark and greenish masses

STORMS AND T H E I R W E A T H E R T Y P E S

125

Fig. 107. Three stages in a tornado that occurred near Gothenburg, Nebraska, in 1930. At the left, the tornado's cone is seen as it formed in the clouds; in the center, the fully developed cone as it reached the earth. At the right, the cone strikes a farmhouse, which appears to explode. (Courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.)

Fig. 108. During the 42-year period, which state reported the greatest number of tornadoes? Which was second? Which four states were lowest? Suppose we divide the United States into three divisions: western, central, and eastern. In which division have tornadoes been most numerous? least numerous? (Courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau.)

126 SUMMARY

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

In this chapter we have learned that storms are of tremendous importance, because they are the earth's principal generators of precipitation. Thunderstorms are most numerous in the d o l d r u m belt. Cyclones, or lows, and anticyclones, or highs, travel f r o m west to east in the two belts of westerly winds. A knowledge of storms and of the movements of air masses about lows and highs is of great importance to the weatherforecaster. Tornadoes, hurricanes,

and typhoons are extremely energetic storms which often cause much loss of life and do enormous damage to property. Having considered air temperature, pressure, wind belts, humidity, precipitation, and storms, we are ready n o w to study climate, by which we mean the generalized weather conditions over the earth. T h e r e are a number of distinct types of climate to be f o u n d o n the various continents. Chapters and 7 deal mainly with descriptions of these climatic types.

QUESTIONS

1. W h y are storms of special importance over the lowlands of the earth? 2. W h a t is a cyclone? an anticyclone? 3. O n a weather map, how is a cyclone shown? an anticyclone? 4. H o w does pressure change f r o m the center to the edge of a cyclone? of an anticyclone? 5. H o w should you reduce to sea level the barometer reading at a place having an elevation of 3000 ft? of 8000 ft? 6. H o w do summer cyclones differ f r o m winter cyclones? 7. W h y do lows travel in a general easterly direction? 8. W h a t is the speed of lows in summer? in winter? 9. W h a t is the wind direction in the front, or east, quadrants of a low? in the rear, or west, quadrants? 10. W h y are easterly winds an indication of unsettled weather? 11. W h y is the wind-shift line also called the cold front? 13. A l o n g the wind-shift line of a V-shaped low, what atmospheric disturbances may be experienced? 14. Discuss the w i n d system of an anticyclone, or high. 15. Define subsidence. W h a t weather conditions may be associated with subsidence? 16. W h y do some lows fail to bring precipitation? 17. W h y is there generally little precipitation at the center of a high? 18. Contrast the nature of cyclonic and thunderstorm rainfall. front? 12. W h y is warm, h u m i d air often forced upward along the surface cold

STORMS AND THEIR W E A T H E R

TYPES

127

19. Describe cyclonic weather, especially in the cool months. 20. W h y do violent thunderstorms sometimes occur along the cold front? 21. What causes a cold wave? a blizzard? 22. What causes a hot wave? What is its effect on evaporation? 23. Contrast temperature conditions in the southeast and northwest quadrants of a low. What temperature change takes place as the storm passes? Why? 24. In which quadrant of a low is humid, "sticky" weather most noticeable? 25. W h y does a barometer fall as a storm approaches? W h y does it rise as the storm retreats? 26. Name and locate the two tracks along which most lows travel across North America. 27. Draw the weather map symbol (a) for warm front, (b) for cold front. 28. Study Figs. 91 and 92. In general, which is steeper, the warm or cold front? Where do you observe subsidence? 29. Write five weather-forecasting rules that, in your opinion, are most important. 30. If wind direction is east and the barometer is falling, from what direction is the storm probably approaching? 31. Explain veering and backing of the wind. 32. Draw a station model, showing overcast sky; stratus clouds; temperature 72; barometer 1015.9 mb; visibility 2 mi; ceiling 1000 ft; dew point 66; raining; wind from N N E at 14 mph; barometer falling unsteadily. 33. In the study of air masses, what four things are of special interest? 34. What information is obtained by using the radiosonde? 35. H o w are wind velocity and direction aloft ascertained? 36. What is the cloud ceiling? H o w is it obtained? 37. State two or three facts about each of the following air masses: continental polar; maritime tropical; superior. 38. What weather conditions are likely to prevail when an air mass is colder than the ground? when warmer than the ground? 39. W h y is a two-way radio of considerable value on board an airplane? 40. Where and when do hurricanes occur? typhoons? H o w do these storms differ from tornadoes? 41. What are the characteristics of a thunderstorm? 42. Name the two types of thunderstorm. Briefly describe each. 43. W h y are thunderstorms numerous in the doldrums? 44. Where in the United States are thunderstorms most common? Why? Where are they uncommon? Why? 45. Explain how hail is formed.

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THE EARTH AND ITS

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46. Name 10 states where hailstorms are most numerous. Name four states that have very few hailstorms. 47. What is lightning? Explain the cause of lightning. 48. What causes thunder? H o w can you estimate the distance to a lightning flash? 49. Give five good reasons why an aviator should avoid a thunderstorm. 50. Describe the tornado cloud. What is the wind velocity in a tornado? 51. Where and when do tornadoes occur? Toward what direction do they usually travel? 52. Name in rank the five states that have had the most tornadoes. What five states had fewer than five tornadoes from 1880 to 1942?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. Keep a daily weather record. Using a barometer of some kind and a wind vane, make daily forecasts of the weather. Score your forecasts as correct, partly correct, or wrong. If possible, secure the daily weather map from the nearest Weather Bureau station. Make good use of the map to increase the accuracy of your forecasts. 2. Draw a weather map on an outline wall map of the United States. Discuss the forecast for various parts of the country. 3. Secure several copies of the Monthly Weather Review, published by the U. S. Weather Bureau, Washington, D. C., and for sale by the Superintendent of Documents. These will give you an idea of the amount of detailed work done by the Weather Bureau. 4. If it is possible to secure the daily weather maps, keep them posted so that the movements of lows and highs can be observed for several days at a time. 5. Study cloud types. T h e y often aid in weather-forecasting. 6. Visit a Weather Bureau station or airport, and observe the method of drawing the weather map. 7. Study a map showing airlines. Make inquiry as to the number of weathermen employed by the various air-transport companies. 8. If daily weather maps are published in your local newspaper, cut them out and paste them in a notebook. Paste the official forecast below each map.
NOTE:

Other activities may be found in the laboratory manual.


TOPICS FOR CLASS REPORTS

1. T h e Radiosonde 2. Recent Developments in Air Mass Analysis

STORMS AND THEIR WEATHER

TYPES

129

United States Coast Guard weather ship Campbell. The Weather Bureau, in cooperation with the

Note the radar antenna at top of foremast. Coast Guard, takes winds-aloft observations

aboard weather ships in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. These are taken by means of the ship's radar, which is used to track a target attached to a balloon. The radar set emits a signal which is intercepted by the target and reflected back to the radar antenna. Using these reflected signals, wind speed and direction f o r various heights can be computed. In general, pilot balloon observations and ship radiosondes are taken four times daily at 0000, 0 6 0 0 , 1200, and 1800 Greenwich Civil Time. (Courtesy U. S. Weather Bureau and Coast Guard.)

CHAPTER

6.

Climates of the Tropics and the Dry Middle Latitudes

Sometimes Ave hear interesting conversations on the subject of climate. Especially is this true when people from widely separated parts of the country get together. T h e northern Minnesotan can be heard telling about cool summers and cold, invigorating winters, with plenty of snow and ice for winter sports. T h e Floridian describes his climate as always warm and moist and points to the fact that thousands of tourists spend a part of the winter in Florida in order to avoid the cold of more northerly regions. T h e southern Californian tells of warm, dry summer days and cool nights and of a winter that really is not winter but, instead, is a moderately cool season, with snow almost unknown. T h e variety of climates over the earth is indeed great. Some, like the tropical deserts, are hot and dry the year round; others, like the coast of southern Alaska, are cool and moist. Some, like much of the United States, have distinct changes of seasons; others, like the equatorial lowlands, have little change during the year. One type of climate may be favor-

able for the production of bananas; another, for citrus fruits; another, for cereals; and still another, for magnificent forests. Some climates are so severe that people avoid them. Witness, for example, the sparse population of the intensely hot, dry Sahara in northern Africa and of the arctic shores of northern Russia which are bitterly cold much of the year. Climate, therefore, is a most important element of environment. It has much to do with peoples' daily work habits and with their occupations.
What about your local climate? Be-

fore beginning a study of the principal types of climate that are to be found on the earth's surface, you should fix in mind certain facts about, your local climate. This knowledge will help you to compare climates in other parts of the world with your own. Such comparisons enable us to understand better the environmental conditions in other localities. T h e two most important elements of climate are temperature and rainjail. What are the temperature and rainfall characteristics of your own

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D D R Y M I D D L E local climate? Using data f r o m the nearest Weather Bureau station, learn the answers to the following questions: 1) W h i c h month is the warmest? the coldest? 2) W h a t is the average temperature of the warmest month? of the coldest month? 3) W h a t is the annual range of temperature? the daily range of temperature? 4) W h a t is the highest temperature recorded during the year? the lowest? 5) W h a t rainfall? 6) W h i c h rain? W h i c h season month has the most most has the is the average annual

LATITUDES

131

TROPICAL RAINY CLIMATES T h e h u m i d tropics f o r m a somewhat interrupted and irregular " b e l t " 20 to 40 wide around the earth and straddling the equator. This region differs f r o m all other h u m i d regions of the earth because it is constantly warm; in other words, it lacks a winter. W i t h i n this climatic group, even the coolest month has an average temperature of 64 or more. Annual rainfall is rarely less than 30 inches and often exceeds 100 inches. M u c h of the precipitation is of the convectional, or thunderstorm, type. Heavy showers are often accompanied by severe thunder and lightning. Especially in the wet, tropical lowlands, high relative humidity tends to increase human discomfort. Since the rainfall is mainly convectional in origin, it tends to be greatest at, o r soon after, the season of high sun, when the sun is most nearly overhead. O n the other hand, rainfall tends to decrease during periods of low sun, or when the sun's rays are m o r e oblique. It is well said, therefore, that in the tropics rainfall follows the sun. T h e abundance and intensity of light, both direct and reflected, in the low latitudes are distressing to the eyes. T h e bright sunlight is also dangerous. T o expose the uncovered head to the direct rays of the tropical sun is to invite illness. T h e principal climatic types with in the h u m i d tropics differ f r o m each other mainly in the seasonal distribution of precipitation: (1) Tropi-

rain? the least rain? W i t h these facts in m i n d for the purpose of comparison, we may give o u r attention now to the various types of climate on the earth. Climatic regions. It is possible to divide the continents into regions, called climatic regions, each of which has a certain type of climate (Fig. 109). T h e location of these regions is made possible by the numerous records of temperature and rainfall that have been kept for many years in many places. (For examples of on such records, see A p p e n d i x B.) It is important that the information the seasons given in A p p e n d i x A be kept in m i n d during the study of world climatic regions. O u r survey of these regions begins with the tropical climates of the low latitudes (equator to 20 or 30).

132

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D DRY M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S cal rainforest has ample rainfall throughout the year. (2) Savanna has distinct wet and dry seasons.
Tropical rainforest climate. H o t , h u -

133

would be expected to have uniformly high temperatures (Fig. 111). Annual


T R O P I C A L R A I N F O R E S T SINGAPORE
9 0

mid weather, luxuriant vegetation, buzzing insects, the chattering of numerous monkeysthese brief expressions enable us to picture the tropical rainforest. Here, in places, are to be found great jungles, where trees, vines, and dense undergrowth form a vegetation cover difficult to penetrate. Much of the tropical rainforest, however, is not true jungle. The two most distinguishing characteristics of tropical rainforest climate are uniformly high temperature and heavy precipitation distributed throughout the year, so that there is no marked dry season (Fig. 110). Location. For the most part, this climate is found astride the equator and extending out 5 to 10 on each side. O n the eastern sides of continents, however, where trade winds come from warm oceans, this climatic type may be found 15 or even 25 from the equator. In general, tropical rainforest climate coincides reasonably well with the equatorial belt of calms and variable winds, or the doldrums. T h e principal regions having this type of climate are (1) the Amazon basin, (2) the Congo basin, (3) the East Indies and Malay Peninsula, and (4) Panama and the eastern lowlands of Central America. Temperature. Lying as it commonly does on each side of the equator, and consequently in the belt of greatest insolation, the tropical rainforest

-4

f u.80 68i-V 70 eL || 50 4 0) 50 ^ 5^40


32 f~ 30

i eoin tern perat j re

2 0 Y 1

20 io 1 8 1 6 $1 4 J F MA MJ J AS 0 N D

|1 2
=1 0 6
4 2

Memr 1 ofo>1 > r il 1 0

PI P1 1

0
Fig. 110. Average monthly temperature and precipitation for Singapore, Malaya, a representative tropical rainforest station. Months of the year are shown between the two graphs. Temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, is shown in the top graph, and precipitation, in inches, in the bottom graph. The temperature shows that every month of the year average temperature close to 8 0 F . curve difhas an The

ference between the highest and lowest points of the curve, about 5 , is the annual range of temperature. Precipitation for January averages about 8.5 inches; February, about 6 inches; and November, 10 inches. By adding the monthly precipitation for averages, the total average

the year, about 93 inches, can be determined.

average temperature usually falls between 77 and 80. There is little seasonal variation in temperature,

134

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

because the altitude of the sun is high throughout the year and there is little difference in the length of day and night from one part of the year to another. T h e annual range of temperature, or difference between the averages of the warmest and coolest months, is usually less than 5. Thus the annual
Terr Day 10

9 0 60. 5 SIN6AP0RE 0

, July-, I

15

20

25

-January

Fig.

111.

Daily

maximum and minimum tem-

peratures f o r the extreme months at a representative tropical rainforest station. The heavy line represents January; the thin line represents July.

range at Para, Brazil, is 3; Equatorville in central Africa, 2; and Singapore in southern Malaya, 3.2. Over oceans in these latitudes the range of temperature is still less. A remarkable example is shown by Jaluit in the Marshall Islands, which has a range of only 0.8. It is evident that an outstanding characteristic of this type of climate is the uniformity and monotony of continuous hot weather. T h e daily, or diurnal, range of temperature, or the difference between the warmest and coolest hours of the day, is usually 10 to 25, or several times greater than the annual range (Fig. 111). During the afternoon the thermometer commonly rises to temperatures varying from 85 to 93 and at night sinks to 70

or 75. T h e highest temperature of the day seldom exceeds 9G, whereas in many middle-western cities of the United States it may reach 105 or more in the summer months. Sensible temperatures are excessively high in the tropical rainforest as the result of high humidity. T h e weather is sultry and oppressive. Precipitation. Rainfall is both heavy and well distributed throughout the year, there being no dry season. It is estimated that the average annual rainfall throughout much of the doldrum belt is in the neighborhood of 100 inches. In this region close to the equator, conditions are ideal for rain formation. T h e trades from northeast and southeast rise above the earth's surface as they approach the equator, leaving a belt of variable winds and calms between them. In this belt of hot, stagnant, moist air, weak tropical cyclones are developed. Local convection produces towering cumulonimbus clouds and heavy thundershowers. Mornings are often relatively clear; but as the heat of day increases, cumulus clouds begin to appear. O n an average, about 2 days per week have thunderstorms, and several in a single afternoon are not unusual. It is true that there is no genuinely dry season in tropical rainforest climate, yet it should not be inferred that the rainfall is exactly the same at all seasons of the year. Certain seasons are less wet than others, the variation being due partly to the northsouth movement of the sun.

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D D R Y M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S

135

Fig. 112. Native tapping a rubber tree, Sumatra. (Courtesy Goodyear

Tire and Rubber

Company.)

Daily weather. T h e f o l l o w i n g

de-

scription by an eyewitness is taken from The Naturalist on the River Amazon, by Henry Walter Bates: The heat increased rapidly toward 2 o'clock (92 and 93 F), by which time every voice of bird or mammal was hushed. . . . The leaves, which were so moist and fresh in early morning, now became lax and drooping; the flowers shed their petals. . . . The approach of the rain clouds was after a uniform fashion very interesting to observe. First, the cool sea breeze, which commenced to blow about 10 o'clock, and which had increased in force with the increasing power of the sun, flagged and finally died away. The heat and electric tension of the atmosphere then became almost in-

supportable. Languor and uneasiness seized on everyone; even the denizens of the forest betrayed it by their motions. White clouds appeared in the east and gathered into cumuli, with an increasing blackness along their lower portions. The whole eastern horizon became almost suddenly black, and this spread upward, the sun at length becoming obscured. Then the rush of the mighty wind was heard through the forest, swaying the treetops; a vivid flash of lightning burst forth, then a crash of thunder, and down streamed the deluging rain. Such storms soon cease, leaving bluish-black motionless clouds in the sky until night. Meantime all nature is refreshed; but heaps of flower petals and fallen leaves are seen under the trees. Toward evening

136

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

life revives again, and the singing uproar is resumed from bush and tree.1
Life in tropical rainforest regions.

Dense, shady forest with little undergrowth is the typical vegetation cover

transportation. T h e rapid growth of vegetation is a handicap in the construction and maintenance of railroads. Rainforest climate of the tropics, however, is ideal for the growth of certain economic crops of great value which are native to this type of climate. Especially in the Malay Peninsula and East Indies thousands of square miles are planted in rubber trees (Fig. 112). A few rubber plantations are located in the Amazon basin. In the eastern lowlands of Central America are to be found great banana plantations (I'ig. 113). Lowlands of the Gold Coast, Brazil, and Ecuador contain considerable areas devoted to the growth of cacao trees (Fig. 114). T h e fruit of this tree is a large pod which contains many beans. These beans, after being dried, are used in making cocoa and chocolate. Sugar cane is an important crop in many parts of the tropics. T h e cane grows rapidly and can be cut several times per year. A plant of growing importance is the coconut tree. T h e milk of the coconut is a wholesome food. T h e dried meat, called copra, is shipped to many parts of the world. Coconut oil is valuable not only as a food but also in the manufacture of fine soaps. Tropical rainforest agriculture in many places, however, is handi1 Henry Walter Bates. The Naturalist on the River Amazon, pp. 31-32. John Murray, London, 1910.

Fig. 113. Banana tree in the tropical rainforest climate of Central America. The humid lowlands along the eastern coast of Central America and the island of Jamaica are the heaviest producers of bananas. (Courtesy Co.) United Fruit

of much of the virgin tropical rainforest. In old clearings, along streams, and in other places where the sunlight can get through is a jungle

growth of trees and underbrush so ficult task. It is here that men make good use of rivers and streams for

dense that its penetration is a dif-

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D D R Y M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S

137

Fig. 114. Native workers collecting and opening the pods of the cacao tree. The pods are 8 to 12 inches long and about 4 inches in diameter. Each pod contains 20 to 40 Chocolate Corp.) beans, which resemble large shelled almonds. (.Courtesy Hershey

Fig. 115. A typical scene in the tropics. Note the cumulus clouds and palm trees. Much vegetation has been cleared away. Screened-in porch serves as protection from insects. by Eugene Shearer, U. S. Marine Corps.) (Photograph

138

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

capped by poor soil. Many soils are badly leached, meaning that the heavy and continuous rains dissolve and carry away certain valuable plant foods in the soil. Some kinds of animal life, especially insects, flourish in this type of climate because of the abundant food supply and lack of a winter season. Crocodiles and alligators infest many streams. A m o n g the insects are mosquitoes which act as carriers of malaria and yellow fever. Attacks by hordes of ants often make travel through the jungle a miserable experience. Monkeys by the thousands chatter in the treetops. T h e natives who inhabit these regions live for the most part from the products of crude and primitive agriculture and from the fish of the streams. T h e i r homes are often small huts with steep roofs which quickly shed the heavy rain (Fig. 115). In certain regions the natives are em-

ployed on the huge banana, rubber, sugar, or cacao plantations. Density of population throughout tropical lowlands varies but, in general, is sparse. T h e great Amazon basin is one of the most sparsely populated regions of the world. In contrast to Amazonia, however, is the densely populated island of Java. White men are able to endure the tropical rainforest climate after a fashion. T h e y wear lightweight, white clothing and a sufficient head cover to provide protection against the blazing heat of the sun. Longcontinued physical exertion is distasteful, however, and the hard work of the plantations is left to the natives. T h e few white men who live in the tropics are employed principally as overseers and managers. There is the ever-present danger of contracting one of the numerous tropical fevers. These must be combated by the frequent use of quinine.
STATIONS

CLIMATIC DATA FOR R E P R E S E N T A T I V E TROPICAL R A I N F O R E S T Singapore, Malay Peninsula A 80.6 8.5 Valley 78.3 4.3 78.6 3.2 79.0 2.5 79.7 2.3 5 80.4 7.1 0 80.1 8.2 N 79.3 10.0

J
Temp Precip 78.3 8.5

F 79.0 6.1

M 80.2 6.5

A 80.8 6.9

M 81.5 7.2

J
81.1 6.7

J
81.0 6.8

D 78.6 10.4

Yr 80.1 92.9

Range 3.2

Para, Amazon Temp Precip 77.7 10.3 77.0 12.6 77.5 13.3 77.7 13.2 78.4 9.3 78.3 5.7 78.1 4.9

79.0 5.1

78.3 86.7

2.7

New Antwerp, Belgian Congo Temp Precip 79.2 4.1 80.1 3.5 79.2 4.1 78.1 5.6 79.2 6.2 78.4 6.1 76.5 6.3 76.3 6.3 77.0 6.3 77.4 6.6 77.9 2.6 78.1 9.3 78.1 66.9 3.8

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D DRY M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S Air-conditioning of homes and improved sanitary conditions are making life in the tropics more pleasant. In spite of these favorable developments, however, there are few large white settlements within this climatic type. Savanna climate. Savanna climate differs from the tropical rainforest in two respects: (1) It usually has less rainfall, and (2) there are distinct wet and dry seasons. Savannas lie on the poleward sides of the tropical rainforest, between the doldrums on one side and the trades and subtropical highs on the other. They range in latitude from about 5 to 15. As the vertical rays of the sun move north and south during the year, savannas are alternately influenced by doldrums and trades. Since trades tend to produce deserts, it is evident that savannas occupy a position between constantly wet and constantly dry climates. T h e llanos of the Orinoco Valley in Colombia and Venezuela and adjacent parts of the Guiana highlands, the campos of Brazil, the Sudan of North Africa, the veldt of South Africa, and portions of northern Australia are all representative savanna lands. Such lands are characterized by tall grass and open forest. Tree growth is heavier on the equatorward side. Poleward we find trees giving way entirely to grassland as the desert is approached. T h e savanna lands of India, Burma, and French Indo-China are under the influence of monsoon wind systems instead of doldrums and trades.

139

Temperature. Since the noon sun is never far from a vertical position, constantly high temperatures are the rule in savanna lands. T h e annual range is usually about 10 or 15,
SAVANNA.CHAMPOTON, MEXICO

Mean temperature

Fig.

116.

Average

monthly

temperature

and

precipitation for a representative savanna station in northern Mexico.

slightly more than in the tropical rainforest (Fig. 116). In some savanna regions, the inhabitants recog nize three temperature periods: (1) the cooler dry season at the time of low sun, (2) the hotter dry season just preceding the rains, and (3) the hot, wet season during the rains. During the cooler dry season, or the period of low sun, day tempera-

140

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

tures are high, reaching 80 to 90 in the afternoon. Humidity is low so that the heat is not oppressive. Nights are inclined to be pleasantly mild, the temperature dropping to 60 or 70. During the hot, dry period, temperatures rise above 90 and often over 100. T h e hot, wet season is one of high sun and doldrum influence. It is similar to the tropical rainforest. Daily range of temperature is less than in the dry season, and high humidity makes the weather sultry. Precipitation. Savanna lands, with annual rainfall ranging from 40 to 60 inches, receive less precipitation than the tropical rainforest. In contrast to the rainforest, savannas have distinct wet and dry seasons. T h e Sudan of Africa, which lies just north of the tropical rainforest, may be used to illustrate seasonal distribution of precipitation. As the vertical rays of the sun move north of the equator in April and May, thunderstorms over the Sudan become more frequent. Rainfall continues to increase in amount until July or August, when the doldrums have reached their most northerly position. With the southward retreat of the doldrums, following the sun, rainfall decreases; and by October or November the trades are again in control, and drouth again grips the Sudan. One should keep in mind that south of the equator the period of high sun includes December, January, and February. T h e period of low sun includes June, July, and August.

It is obvious, therefore, that when a Northern Hemisphere savanna is having its rainy season, a drouth prevails in the Southern Hemisphere savanna, and vice versa.
SAVANNA CLIMATE

June to August N. Hemisphere S. Hemisphere High sun Low sun

Season Wet Dry

December to February N. Hemisphere S. Hemisphere Low sun High sun

Season Dry Wet

T h e hot, wet season is ushered in by violent thunderstorms and severe winds which in Africa are called tornadoes. In the dry season, weather is like that of the desert. Humidity is so low that human skin often becomes parched and cracked. In spite of the aridity, the dry weather furnishes relief from the sultry weather of the wet season. As the dry season advances, the landscape becomes brown in color, the trees lose their leaves, the rivers are low, the soil cracks, and all nature appears dormant. Dust and smoke from grass fires often fill the air. T h e coming of the wet season brings a startling change. Nature responds rapidly to the copious rains of violent thunderstorms. Grasslands are soon green, and the forests become clothed with leaves and flowers. Especially in South Africa and southern Brazil, the savanna lands

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D DRY M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S experience cooler weather because of the higher elevations of plateaus and highlands.
Monsoon savannas. I n I n d i a t h e sa-

141

vanna wet and dry seasons correspond with the periods of onshore and offshore winds, respectively. Winds blow toward land in the warm season, carrying vast amounts of moisture inland. Weak lows move up the Ganges Valley toward the northwest, causing abundant rains. As these onshore winds, loaded with moisture, approach the southern slopes of the snow-capped Himalaya Mountains, the rainfall resulting is the heaviest in the world. Cherrapunji, for example, averages more than 400 inches of rain per year and holds the world's record of 1041 inches. Over the savanna lands of India the annual rainfall decreases from the eastern coast toward the northwest. During the period of low sun,

winds blow from high-pressure areas over the land toward the sea. This is the dry season during which irrigation is used to provide moisture to growing crops, especially wheat.
Life in the savannas. L a r g e l y as a

result of the climatic conditions that prevail, the characteristic natural vegetation of savanna lands consists mainly of tall grass and trees. In some places the grasslands are suitable for the grazing of cattle. In general, however, grazing in the savannas suffers from several serious handicaps: (1) the dry season, (2) the coarse nature of the grass, (3) insect pests, and (4) tropical diseases. T h e savanna lands of Africa are the big-game regions. A list of wild animals that inhabit the tree and grasslands of Africa would indeed be a long one. Travelers often are astounded at their great numbers. Especially during the dry season, a regular parade of animals can be
STATIONS

CLIMATIC DATA FOR R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S A V A N N A Timbo, French West Africa (1040'N)

J
Temp Precip

M 11

J
73
9.0

J
72

0
73
6.7

Yr

Range

72
0.0

76
0.0

81
1.0

80
2.4

72

72
10.2

72
1.3

71
0.0

74
64.1

9.7

6.4

12.4 14.7

Calcutta, India Temp Precip

65
0.4

70
1.1

79
1.4

85
2.0

86
5.0

85

83

82
11.5

83
9.0

80
4.3

72
0.5

65
0.2

78
58.8

21

11.2 12.1

Cuyabd, Brazil ( I C S ) Temp Precip

81
9.8

81
8.3

81
8.3

80
4.0

78
2.1

75
0.3

76
0.2

78
1.1

82
2.0

82
4.5

82
5.9

81
8.1

80
54.6

6.6

142

THE EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

observed in the vicinity of favorite water holes dotted here and there throughout parts of these regions. Man lives in the savannas mainly by agricultural and pastoral pursuits. For the most part, these regions in Australia, Africa, and South America are only sparsely populated. T h i s is largely because of (1) the dry season, which in some cases lasts for several months, and (2) the lack of dependable rainfall. O n the other hand, the monsoon savannas of southeastern Asia support a very dense population. Portions of India are among the most densely populated regions of the world. Here the abundant rains during the wet season and irrigation during the dry season make it possible to produce a tremendous quantity of food, especially from such crops as rice, wheat, and sugar cane. T h e upland portions of peninsular India are well adapted exported f r o m Bombay. In parts of the savanna, man is able to utilize certain valuable trees. In the highlands of southern Brazil, around Sao Paulo, the coffee tree thrives. In the Gran Chaco, in northern Argentina and Paraguay, quebracho forests furnish not only g o o d timber but also a valuable tanning extract. Commercially, teakwood is one of the most valuable of the savanna trees. T h i s w o o d is extremely durable and has n o equal as a shipbuilding material. It is f o u n d in certain highland regions of southeastern Asia. to cotton production. M u c h cotton is

DRY CLIMATES T h e essential feature of a dry climate is that evaporation shall exceed precipitation. As a result of little rainfall, there is n o surplus of water to maintain a constant water supply in the ground. Permanent streams, therefore, cannot originate in such areas. It may be possible for streams to cross them, as do the Nile and the Colorado, provided they have their sources in more h u m i d regions. T w o subdivisions of dry climates are c o m m o n l y recognized: (1) the arid, or desert, type and (2) the semiarid, or steppe, type. In general, the steppe is a transitional belt, o r belt of gradual change, lying between the real desert and the h u m i d climates beyond.
Temperature, precipitation, and

winds. Temperature changes in the dry climates tend to be greater than in the humid. T h e daily range is usually large. Clear skies and low relative humidity permit rapid heating of the earth during the day and rapid loss of heat at night. T h e lack of vegetation in deserts also contributes to the m o r e rapid heating and cooling of the earth's surface. Rainfall in dry climates is always meager and varies from year to year. Dependability of rainfall usually decreases with decrease in yearly amount. For example, drouths are likely to be more frequent in a region having an annual rainfall of 20 inches than in one having 30 or 40 inches. N o part of the earth, as

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D DRY M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S

143

Fig. 117. The billowing, wind-rippled forms of sand dunes in the American desert. Note the mud floor and some vegetation in the depressions, or pockets, where water has stood. The distant Galloway.) hills in this view are low mountains, not sand dunes. (Ewing

far as is known, is absolutely rainless, although at Arica, on the Pacific coast of northern Chile, the average yearly rainfall was only 0.02 inch over a period of 17 years. During the entire 17 years only three showers were heavy enough to be measured. Relative humidity in the dry climates, with a few exceptions, is low, ranging from 12 to 30 percent during the midday hours. T h e rate of evaporation is therefore high. T h e amount of sunshine is great, and cloudiness small. Direct, as well as reflected, sunlight from the bare, light-colored earth is blinding in its intensity. Dry regions tend to be windy places. T h e sparse vegetation offers little resistance to air movement (Fig.

117). Strong convection currents during the day increase the strength of horizontal winds. T h e air is quieter at night, which is an aid to radiation of heat. Desert air is often murky with fine dust which fills the eyes, nose, and throat, causing serious discomfort. Much of this dust is carried beyond the desert to form the loess (windblown soils) of bordering regions. Heavier sand and rock particles travel close to the earth's surface. Such wind-blown sand carves some of the peculiar landforms of deserts. T h e dry climates may be subdivided as follows: 1) Hot (low latitude) a) Desert b) Steppe

144

THE EARTH AND ITS (middle lati-

RESOURCES

2) Cold in winter tude) a) Desert b) Steppe


Low-latitude desert.

to ranare from near freezing to 80 or 90. During the months of high sun, scorching, dry heat prevails. T h e percentage of sunshine is high. Yuma, Arizona, receives 97 percent of the possible sunshine in June. Midday temperatures of 105 to 110 are common at this season. At Yuma, in 1914, the temperature went above 100 for 80 consecutive days, except for 1 day. Night temperatures are by no means cool, the low readings usually being around 70 to 75. At the time of low sun the days are still warm, with the thermometer reaching 60 to 70, but the nights are distinctly chilly, with minimum temperatures in the neighborhood of 40. At Insalah, in the Sahara, extreme temperatures for the year have been known to go as high as 124 and as low as 26. It is possible, therefore, for light frosts to occur in parts of these low-latitude deserts. Precipitation. Annual rainfall in the hot deserts averages possibly 5 to 10 inches, although over much of the Sahara it is less than 5 inches (Fig. 118). T h e rain that does fall often comes in the form of violent convectional showers which do not cover a very great area. These heavy downpours may do more harm than good. Dry stream beds are soon filled with raging torrents of water which may damage roads, bridges, or railroads. T h e immediate runoff of water is excessive. Such dash rains are of little value to the oasis farmer, who uses

The

tropical

deserts

at

their

extreme

margins

range from about 15 to 30 of latitude. T h e y tend to occupy centers and western (leeward) sides of the continent in the trades and subtropical highs. It is well to remember that east coasts in the trades are humid and west coasts are relatively dry. Cool ocean currents along such west coasts intensify the aridity. T h e reason for this is explained in Chapter 14. T h e principal low-latitude deserts are (1) the Sahara in northern Africa, (2) Arabia, (3) Thar in western Pakistan, (4) the Sonora in northwestern Mexico and southwestern United States, (5) the Kalahari in southern Africa, (6) the Australian Desert, and (7) the Atacama-Peruvian Desert along the coast of Peru and northern Chile. Temperature. T h e annual range of temperature in tropical deserts is relatively high. At Aswan, in the Sahara, the average July temperature is 95, and the January temperature 61, making a range of 34. T h e large range is due to the extremely hot summer and not to severe winter cold, as is the case in middle and high latitudes. Daily range of temperature averages 24 to 45 and in rare instances reaches 60 or 70. T h e temperature in a single day in parts of the Sahara has been known

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D D R Y M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S water from springs and wells to irrigate his crops. Evaporation, caused by high temperatures and low relative humidity, is high. If a pan of water is continuously exposed to the air, the amount evaporated from it may be more than 20 times the annual precipitation. At Yuma the average evaporation during the hot months is 55 inches; the average rainfall during the same period is not quite 1 inch. Relative humidities as low as 2 percent, with temperatures over 100, have been recorded in the Egyptian Sahara. It was the excessively dry air that allowed the Egyptians to mummify their dead.
West-coast deserts in the tropics.

145

tion of the deposits of sodium nitrate in northern Chile. Water, carrying the nitrate in solution, is evaporated from the desert surface, and the nitrates remain as surface deposits.
LOW-LATITUDE DESERT,ASWAN.EGYPT

nt

' Mea n temp tu -e

E < 60

- -

20
IO

0 1 8 1 6 t O 14
E 12

F M A M J J A S O N D

T h e usual characteristics of tropical deserts are modified somewhat in the west-coast deserts where cool ocean currents parallel the shore (see map of ocean currents, Fig. 289). T h e presence of cool currents is especially marked along the desert coasts of Peru and northern Chile, the southwestern coasts of Africa, and to a lesser degree the northwestern coast of Mexico. Temperatures along such coasts are therefore lower than those of inland deserts at the same latitude. Rainfall is extremely low. Callao, Peru, has an annual rainfall of 1.8 inches. However, heavy fogs often produce dew and mist. As the cool ocean air drifts landward, the heat of the coastal desert soon evaporates the fogs, so that as a rule they do not extend very far inland. T h e high rate of evaporation is partly responsible for the preserva-

1
. 8

* 6
4

Precipitation Not appreciable

0
Fig. 118. Average

monthly temperature at a

representative station in a low-latitude desert.

These nitrates have been shipped from Iquique and Antofagasta to all parts of the world. T h e y are especially valuable in the manufacture of explosives and commercial fertilizers. T h e nitrate industry of Chile, however, has suffered from the increased manufacture of commercial nitrates in other parts of the world. Desert surface. T h e most characteristic and extensive arid land cover is

146

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 119. The pebbles and rock fragments of a desert pavement in western Nevada. Photograph by John C. Weaver.)

one of coarse stony or pebbly material (Fig. 119). Loose, shifting sand, often in the form of dunes or hills, covers portions of the desert (Fig. 117). Oasis agricidture is found in limited areas where small deposits of water-carried, or alluvial, soil are available, provided there is a fairly reliable source of water near at hand.

Where drainage is poor, the rapid evaporation of ground waters may result in the formation of white, alkali soils. Ground water carries chemical matter in solution. As the water evaporates, the white chemical compounds accumulate in the topsoil. This is like boiling salt water. T h e water boils away, but the salt
DESERTS

CLIMATIC DATA FOR R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S T A T I O N S IN L O W - L A T I T U D E Jacobabad, India j Temp Precip 57 0.3 F 62 0.3 M 75 0.3 A 86 0.2 M 92 0.1

/
98 0.2

J 95 1.0

A 92 1.1

S 89 0.3

0 79 0.0

N 68 0.1

D 59 0.1

Yr 79 4.0

Range 41

William Creek, Australia Temp Precip 83 0.5 83 0.4 76 0.8 67 0.4 59 0.4 54 0.7 52 0.3 56 0.3 62 0.4 70 0.3 77 0.4 81 0.3 68 5.4 30.5

Lima, Peru Temp Precip 71 0.0 73 0.0 73 0.0 70 0.0 65 0.0 62 0.2 61 0.3 61 0.5 61 0.5 62 0.1 66 0.0 70 0.0 66 1.8 12.8

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D DRY M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S

147

Fig. 120. View down one of the canyons in Mesa Verde National Park, southwestern Colorado. Mesa Verde means green tableland. The top of the mesa is 1000 to 2 0 0 0 feet above the surU. S. Department rounding territory. The cap rock is red sandstone, underlain by shale. The famous cliff dwellings, used by Indians hundreds of years ago, are in the sandstone layer. (Courtesy of the Interior.)

remains in the pan. Alkali soils are worthless from the standpoint of crop production. In general, desert features are sharp and bold. T h e more resistant rocks may protrude above the general surface, sometimes forming mesas or buttes (Fig. 120). Deep, steepsided gullies are formed during the occasional torrential rains. Steepwalled gorges or canyons may be cut by larger streams, called exotic streams, which originate outside the desert in more humid lands. Most arid lands are able to support a scattered vegetation. Desert shrubs, such as sagebrush and creosote bush, predominate over grassy or weedy plants. In places, various species of cactus

form a considerable part of the vegetation (Fig. 121). These arid-land plants are equipped both to resist and to endure drouth. Their feeding value is low, although in places goats and sheep are able to find sufficient forage. Life in deserts. Life in the true, tropical deserts is indeed hard. T o gether with certain snow- and icecovered lands of high latitudes, these are the most sparsely populated regions of the earth. T h e blistering sun, low humidity, high winds, and sandstorms are factors that try the endurance of men. Caravans of camels are able to cross the larger deserts by carrying both food and water. Desert tribes in certain localities

148

THE EARTH AND ITS

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tend to be nomadic, moving f r o m place to place, seeking the meager resources offered by the arid landscape.

of the Sahara the steppe lies between the desert and savanna climates. T h e semiarid regions in northern Australia, southwestern Africa, and northwestern India lie for the most part on the equatorward side of the tropical deserts. Rainfall in the steppes, like that in the deserts, is not only meager but also variable and not dependable. H u m i d years attract settlers, w h o later suffer f r o m a series of dry years. Agriculture is safe only under irrigation. Temperature conditions are much the same as in the adjacent desert, with the exception that those steppes o n the poleward margins have somewhat lower temperatures during the cool season. Low-latitude steppes as a whole are sparsely populated except in isolated, irrigated spots. During favorable years the grazing of sheep and cattle may provide an occupation for a scattered population. Undependable rainfall and high temperatures are serious handicaps in these localities. MIDDLE-LATITUDE DRY CLIMATES Middle-latitude desert. Middle-lati tude deserts range f r o m about 30 to 45 in latitude. For the most part they lie in the deep interiors of the
TRIPOLI D 59 3.1 Yr 69 11.9 Range 24

Fig. 121. The weird but beautiful plants of the Arizona desert testify that this soil is good though dry. In the foreground is a giant cactus. (Courtesy U. S. Bureau of Reclamation.)

Low-latitude

steppe.

Low-latitude

steppes are semiarid lands, located around the edges of the low-latitude deserts. In northern Africa the steppe lies between the Sahara and Mediterranean climates. O n the south edge

CLIMATIC D A T A FOR L O W - L A T I T U D E STEPPE, B E N G H A Z I , M 63 0.7 A 66 0.1 M 72 0.1 A 79 0.0 S 78 0.1 0 75 0.3

J Temp precip 55 3.7

F SI 1.8

J 75 0.0

/
78 0.0

N 66 2.1

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D D R Y M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S

149

Fig. 122. An arid basin in Nevada. Its deep alluvial filling has a glistening white crust of salt, and wind-blown salt clings to the rock island included within it. (Photograph by John C. Weaver.)

great continents, far from the oceans which are the principal source of water vapor for the earth's atmosphere. In these latitudes Asia has the largest area of dry climates, and North America is next in order. Aridity results not so much from the influence of wind belts, as with the tropical deserts, as from location in the in teriors of large landmasses. It is significant that the middlelatitude deserts tend to occupy depressions, or basins, being surrounded or partly so by highlands or mountains. Thus the arid Great Basin of Nevada is separated from the Pacific Ocean by the Sierra Nevada, and to the east lie the Wasatch and Rocky Mountains (Fig. 122). Much of the arid land of Asia is shut off from a possible source of water vapor from the Indian Ocean by the high Himalayas. T h e Gobi, Tarim, Dzungaria, Russian Turkestan, and central Iran all are surrounded, in part at least, by highland rims. These deserts, then, are regions of

rain shadow and descending winds, 7 so that great aridity is the result. Another result of enclosure, combined with low elevation, is the very high temperature of summer months, sometimes reaching 90 to 110. Patagonia, in Argentina, does not correspond in some respects to the foregoing description for middlelatitude deserts. There the main cause of aridity lies in the fact that much of southern Argentina is in the rain shadow of the Andes Mountains. A cool ocean current lying offshore likewise induces aridity. Southern South America is so narrow that marine influence is more pronounced, and temperatures in dry Patagonia are by no means so extreme as in the deserts of central Asia or North America.
Temperature and precipitation. M i d -

die-latitude deserts have a much greater annual range of temperature than do the deserts of low latitudes. Summers are warm, and winters cold. In some places in the deserts of Asia

150

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

the January average temperature is around 0, and the July average above 80. During most of the year the daily range of temperature is considerably higher than in more humid regions at the same latitude. In winter, continental anticyclones with descending air are rather prevalent over the

Fig. 123. A mirage is the result of refraction, or bending, of the light rays. An observer at A actually sees an image of the blue sky that comes to his eye along the path shown by the dotted line. This makes the basin appear to contain a lake The same phenomenon often is seen when one looks down an automobile highway.

dry lands, producing cold, clear days with little precipitation. Winds blowing outward from these anticyclones carry low temperatures to localities situated farther south. In the United States a Great Basin high over Nevada, Utah, and Idaho may become anchored for 2 weeks or more in autumn or winter, warding off storms from the north and producing in the central states a period of delightful, fair weather. Summer heat tends to develop a seasonal low over the dry interiors of the continents, causing a general inflow of winds of monsoonal character. T h e continents are so vast in size, however, that moisture drawn inland is largely precipitated before it reaches the dry interiors.

During the daylight hours in summer, winds are unusually strong in middle-latitude deserts, a result of convection induced by high temperatures. As with the tropical desert, rainfall is meager. Occasionally in winter the middle-latitude desert is covered with snow. Annual precipitation, however, is usually less than 10 inches. Vegetation is necessarily scanty; and these regions, like the tropical deserts, are among the very sparsely populated portions of the continents. Mirage. Although mirages have been observed in many parts of the world, they probably have been seen more often in desert and steppe lands than elsewhere. A mirage is due to the refraction, or bending, of light rays. In a flat, basin-like area, the air next to the earth may become much warmer than the air immediately above. T h e two layers of air, having different temperatures, also have different densities. As light rays pass through these layers, they are refracted, or bent. A person looking toward the flat basin may be badly fooled. T h e basin may appear to contain a large lake. Actually, because of the bending of light rays, he sees an image of the blue sky (Fig. 123).
Middle-latitude steppes. Middle-

latitude steppes are the semiarid lands between the middle-latitude deserts and the adjacent, more humid regions. Temperature conditions are not greatly unlike those of the desert. T h e steppes, however, receive more rainfall and are, there-

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D D R Y M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S

151

Fig. 124. A field of Atlas sorgo, a relative of kafir. These are valuable crops in the semiarid steppe lands of western Kansas and other plains states. Sorgo and kafir provide feed for several kinds of livestock. (.Courtesy Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science, Manhattan.)

fore, somewhat better fitted for human settlement. Settlers are tempted to farm these semiarid lands (Fig. 124). A succession of humid years may bring them partial success, but invariably a series of dry years will follow with disastrous effects. Location. In North America a considerable area of middle-latitude

steppe climate extends from Texas to Canada, lying east of the Rocky Mountains (Fig. 125). Winters are much more severe in the north (eastern Montana) than in the south. This is the high-plains region. Because of the rather level nature of the land and the scarcity of trees, strong winds prevail during most of the year. In
DESERT

CLIMATIC DATA FOR M I D D L E - L A T I T U D E Urga, Mongolia (3800ft) J Temp Precip -16 0.0 F M 13 0.0 A 34 0.0 M 48 0.3 J 58 1.7 J 63 2.6 A 59 2.1 S 48 0.5

0 30 0.1

N 8 0.1

D -17 0.1

Yr 28 7.6

Range 79

-4 0.1

Fallon, Nevada (3965 ft) Temp Precip 31 0.6 36 0.5 41 0.5 50 0.4 56 0.6 65 0.3 74 0.1 72 0.2 61 0.3 51 0.4 40 0.3 32 0.6 50.6 4.7 42.7

152

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

winter these high winds, together with near zero temperatures and
MIDDLE- L A T I T U D E S T E P P E

fairly rich and, under irrigation, are very productive. As an illustration, the excellent sugar-beet region of eastern Colorado may be cited. T h e growth of grasses encourages the grazing of sheep and cattle. Wheat production in the region is a gamble with the weatlier elements. T w o unique features of this climate in North America should be mentioned. One is the duststorms which originate in the "dust b o w l " in southwestern Kansas and southeastern Colorado, the dust being carried by southwest winds over the central states (Fig. 126). These storms are not troublesome except during a series of dry years. T h e other is the

Fig.

125. Average

monthly temperature

and Fig. Gray, Bureau, 126. A duststorm at Ulysses, in extreme Kansas. S. D. Kan.) (Photograph Flora, U. S. by R. L. courtesy Topeka, Weather

precipitation for middle-latitude steppe station.

snow, are elements of the "blizzards" that sometimes occur in the prairie states. In summer, hot south winds are extremely drying. T h e short grass that is the typical vegetation has added humus to the soil, so that over mont of the region soils are

southwestern

chinook wind, a warm wind that descends the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and, especially in winter, causes a rapid rise in temDAKOTA N 27 0.6 D 14 0.5 Yr 39.2 14.4 Range 62.7

CLIMATIC D A T A FOR W I L L I S T O N , N O R T H A 67 1.7

J
Temp Precip 6 0.5

F 8 0.4

M 22 0.9

A 43 1.1

M 53 2.1

J
63 3.2

/
69 1.7

S 56 1.0

0
44 0.7

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D D R Y M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S

153

High Pressure

Rising air cooling by expansion; 5.5' F per / feet.

Rising o/r coo//ng at slower rate (about 3F per /000 fee/) due to add/t/on of beat of condensation

Descending a/r treating by compress/on; 5.5F per / feet

Low Pressure

Fig. 127. Diagrammatic representation of chinook winds. In the Alps this wind is called the foehn.

perature (Fig. 127). Mainly because of the uncertainty of rainfall, the region as a whole is rather sparsely populated. SUMMARY T r o p i c a l rainforest climate is hot and humid. T h e r e is no cool season. Average monthly temperatures differ little during the year. Convectional rainfall in the f o r m of thunderstorms totals, in many places, 80 to inches per year. A m o n g the 100 more

ter. A t high sun they are extremely hot; at low sun, warm. Middlelatitude deserts have a winter season and, therefore, a much higher annual range of temperature than do those of low latitudes. The table:
Annual rainfall, inches Savanna Steppe 30-60 10-20

difference between

savanna

and steppe is shown in the f o l l o w i n g

Vegetation

important e c o n o m i c products of this climate are raw rubber, cacao beans, bananas, coconuts, and cane sugar. Savanna lands are characterized by a wet season during high sun and a dry season during l o w sun. Native vegetation consists mainly of coarse grass and scattered trees. Low-latitude deserts have n o win-

Tall grass and scattered trees Short grass

Chapter 7 continues with a discussion of the types of climate to be f o u n d in those parts of the world which are farther f r o m the equator than the tropical rainforest o r the trade-wind desert.

QUESTIONS Tropical rainforest

1. H o w is tropical rainforest climate distinguished f r o m other humid climates?

154

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

2. What is the average annual temperature in tropical rainforests? Why is the annual range of temperature so low? 3. Compare the daily range with the annual range of temperature. 4. Make a statement concerning the amount and the seasonal distribution of rain in the tropical rainforest. 5. W h y are conditions ideal for rain formation? What is the type of the rainfall? 6. Discuss the daily weather in regions of tropical rainforest climate. 7. What types of clouds predominate in rainforest regions? 8. What is the typical rainforest vegetation? H o w does the vegetation affect transportation? 9. Mention a few economic crops and the areas of production. 10. Discuss life in the tropical rainforest. 11. H o w do white men combat tropical heat? fever? What is meant by enervating? 12. What problem does the high humidity of the air in the rainforest regions introduce into the practice of air-conditioning?
Savanna lands

13. H o w does savanna rainfall differ from that of the rainforest? 14. Savannas are influenced by what two wind belts? What is the effect of each? 15. What and where are llanos? campos? Sudan? veldt? 16. What three temperature periods are recognized in savannas? Which resembles the tropical rainforest? 17. W h e n does the wet season in the Sudan occur? Why? What is the type of the rainfall? 18. What months constitute the wet season and the dry season in the savannas of the Northern Hemisphere? of the Southern Hemisphere? 19. What is the effect of the dry season in savannas? 20. Locate the principal upland savannas. 21. Explain the cause of monsoon winds in southeastern Asia. 22. W h y does rainfall decrease from Calcutta toward the northwest? During what months is it heaviest? 23. W h y does Cherrapunji have such heavy rain? 24. What is the typical vegetation of savannas? 25. Mention several handicaps to the grazing of livestock in the savannas. 26. Name a few economic products of savannas and at least one producing region for each.
Dry climates

27. What is the essential feature of a dry climate? 28. In general, how does latitude affect rate of evaporation?

C L I M A T E S OF T H E T R O P I C S A N D D R Y M I D D L E L A T I T U D E S

155

29. What are the two subdivisions of dry climates? 30. W h y is the daily range of temperature large in deserts? 31. What is a general rule relating to dependability of rain? 32. Locate Arica. What is the annual rainfall there? 33. What are the characteristics of humidity, sunshine, and winds in dry climates? 34. Name and locate the principal low-latitude deserts. 35. Discuss annual and daily range of temperature in low-latitude deserts. 36. What temperature extremes have occurred at Insalah? 37. What causes a mirage? 38. H o w much does evaporation exceed precipitation in some deserts? 39. What peculiar characteristic has the climate of a west-coast tropical desert? 40. H o w has climate probably contributed to formation of sodium nitrate deposits in northern Chile? 41. Describe the desert surface. What is an oasis? 42. What is an exotic stream? Give an example. 43. Describe desert vegetation. 44. Locate the low-latitude steppes. Why are they sparsely populated? 45. What is the main cause of aridity in middle-latitude deserts? 46. Where is the Great Basin? It is bordered by what mountains? 47. Name the desert regions of Asia. 48. Where is Patagonia? W h y is it arid? 49. Contrast annual range of temperature in high-latitude and low-latitude deserts. 50. What is the effect of an anticyclone over the Great Basin? 51. Describe the climate of the Great Plains of North America. Are soils in general rich or poor? Where is the dust bowl? What are chinook winds? 52. Where would evaporation be more severe, in the steppes of Montana or in the steppes of New Mexico? Why? What would be the effect on crop production?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. Display in the classroom three maps of the another the planetary winds over the oceans, and of the continents. Discuss as many relationships larly the regions of orographic rainfall and rain

world, one showing relief, a third the annual rainfall as possible. Note particushadow.

2. Plot rainfall and temperature curves for selected places throughout the world. Paste these curves on a large outline wall map of the world with arrows pointing to the exact location of each place. 3. If possible, purchase several large outline wall maps of the United

156

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

States. Use them to illustrate various climatic conditions throughout the country. 4. Place a pan of water outside a window, and observe the rate of evaporation. Repeat at different seasons of the year. Use a coarse screen to keep out birds. At the same time keep a record of sun altitude at noon and the approximate percentage of cloudy and clear weather. 5. Paste or pin on a world map the names of tropical economic products in those regions where they are produced in great quantities. 6. Label the great deserts on a climatic map of the world. N O T E : Other activities may be found in the laboratory manual.
TOPICS FOR CLASS REPORTS

1. Plantation Rubber of Malaya and the East Indies 2. 3. 4. 5. Sugar-Cane Production in Cuba Cacao Central American Banana Plantations Coffee Production in Brazil and Central America
REFERENCES
T H O M A S A. Climatology. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N. J.. 1942. B R O O K S , . E. P. Climate in Everyday Life. Philosophical Library, Inc., New York, 1951. G O U R O U , P I E R R E . The Tropical World. Longmans, Green Co., Inc., New York, 1953. H A D L O W , L E O N A R D . Climate, Vegetation and Man. Philosophical Library, Inc., New York, 1952. H A U R W I T Z , B E R N H A R D , and A U S T I N , J A M E S M. Climatology. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1944. K E N D R F . W , W . G. The Climates of the Continents (3d ed.). Oxford University Press, New York, 1942. T R E W A R T H A , G L E N N . , An Introduction to Climate (3d ed.). McGrawHill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1954. U . S. D E P A R T M E N T OF A G R I C U L T U R E . Yearbook, 1941. Climate and Man. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1). C. W I L S O N , C H A R L E S M. The Tropics: World of Tomorrow. Harper 8c Brothers, New York, 1957. BLAIR,

CHAPTER

7.

Climates of Middle and High Latitudes

"Rain

changing

to

snow;

much

middle latitudes, during the cold, or winter, season. Cyclones and anticyclones move f r o m west to east in the middle latitudes. T h e y are largely responsible for the changeableness of the weather. In these regions the science of weather-forecasting is best developed and most useful. O u r study of these latitudes begins with the type of climate that is f o u n d around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE Blue skies, abundant sunshine, Mediterra-

colder." T h u s reads the weather lorecast in February. A day or two later comes this warning: "Florida fruit growers should be prepared to protect trees against freezing weather." Meanwhile, in California, the news stories tell of unusually heavy rains. T h e n comes spring, and we read, " M u c h warmer tomorrow; thunderstorm probable in afternoon." Summer arrives, and there are occasional much of rains. central Then, throughout States, a United

"spell" of hot, dry weather sets in, and much damage is done to growing crops. All kinds of weather! Such is the nature of the middle latitudes, or intermediate zones, which extend approximately f r o m the 30th to the 65th parallel. Such variety is in sharp contrast to the monotonous, warm, h u m i d weather of the tropical rainforest. In middle the tropics, seasons and dry; as summer are and designated as wet latitudes, in the

mild winters, and few rainy days are outstanding features of nean climate. W i t h such an environment usually is associated a great variety of fruits and flowers at all seasons. W o r l d regions having this type of climate are widely k n o w n for their numerous resorts and playgrounds.
General features and location. M e d -

winter. In the tropics, plants are dormant during the dry season; in the

iterranean climate, also called tropical dry-summer

sub-

climate, in its

158

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

simplest form, has three principal characteristics: 1) T h e precipitation is moderate to low in amount, and much of it falls in the winter season, the sumMEDITERRANEAN, ATHENS, GREECE

100 I

0
1 U.

90

80
lea n te mpere tu -e

68+- 0
5 0 f l 50 9 C L < E - 40 >

| I 60
I

324h2?30
20

1 0 0 J 20 1 8

F M A M J J A S O N D

J6
-Ml4 -J2
4-

1 10
18

oi 6 4 2

_
N n rair 1ea

_ i fa I II
and

0
Fig. 128. Average monthly temperature precipitation for a representative station with Mediterranean climate.

mer being nearly rainless (Fig. 128). 2) T h e winter temperatures are mild, but the summers are warm to hot. 3) There is much sunshine in all the seasons, but especially in the summer. This type of climate is located on the tropical margins of the middle latitudes. Especially is it found on

the western sides of continents, in approximately the latitude of the subtropical highs. This climate, therefore, lies between the dry trades and subtropical highs on the one hand and the humid westerlies with their cyclonic storms on the other. In summer, tropical dry weather is in control; in winter, the changeable weather of the westerlies is the prevailing influence. This, then, is a transition climate between low-latitude steppes and deserts and the cool, marine, west-coast climate farther poleward. T h e major regions of Mediterranean climate are (1) the borderlands of the Mediterranean Sea, (2) central and coastal-southern California, (3) central Chile, (4) the southern tip of South Africa, and (5) parts of southern Australia. These areas lie roughly between 30 and 40 of latitude. In central Chile, mountains near the ocean shore confine this climate to a narrow coastal margin. Africa and Australia do not extend southward far enough to have any large areas of Mediterranean climate. Only in the region of the Mediterranean basin does this climate extend far inland. In winter, the paths of cyclones move equatorward so that they cross southern Europe. This probably is due to the relative warmth of the Mediterranean Sea. Over this sea there forms an elongated low-pressure area, or "trough." This trough attracts the cyclones which penetrate eastward to Lebanon and beyond, bringing cyclonic

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D HIGH weather and winter rainfall with them. Temperature. In a region having Mediterranean climate, more pleasant temperatures throughout the year are likely to be found along coasts than farther inland. Summer weather along shore is distinctly cooler. This is caused by the marine influence of ocean winds and, in some cases, by a cool ocean current that parallels the coast, for example, in California and Chile. Thus the average temperature of the warmest month at San Francisco is 60, whereas at Red Bluff in the Sacramento Valley it is 80. Winters along such coasts are unusually mild, frost being practically unknown. T h e cold months have average temperatures around 50 to 55. Annual range of temperature is uncommonly small, approximately 10 at San Francisco and 11 at Valparaiso, Chile. Fogs are frequent, just as they are along desert coasts toward the equator. Farther inland, Mediterranean climate is somewhat different. Winters are still mild, but summers are distinctly hotter than in coastal regions. At Sacramento, in 1931, there were 27 days in July and 16 in August with maximum temperatures above 90, highest readings sometimes reaching 105 to 110. At night, however, the thermometer may record 55 to 60, showing a great daily range. T h e relatively cool nights are greatly appreciated by the inhabitants of these regions. In summer the arid heat and glaring sunshine, together with hot, desert-like winds

LATITUDES

159

and the parched condition of the vegetation, are disagreeable elements of the landscape. It is for the mild, bright winters, with delightful living temperatures, that Mediterranean climates are justly famed. People from more severe climates seek them as winter playgrounds and health resorts. Even interior locations have average coldmonth temperatures 10 to 20 above freezing. (Sacramento 46, Marseilles 43, and R o m e 44.) In southern California, in January, midday temperatures rise to 55 or 65 and at night drop to 40 or 45. T h e growing season is not quite the whole year, because frosts occasionally occur during the three winter months, especially in valleys into which cold air sinks. Sensitive crops such as citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit) are therefore planted on hillsides. Although severe frosts are rare, there have been instances when freezing temperatures have resulted in widespread disaster to orchardists. For that reason, various methods of combating low temperatures are employed when necessary during the cold months. Prominent among such methods is the use of orchard heaters mentioned in Chapter 2. Precipitation. Mediterranean climate is unique among world climates in that it is the only one of the humid climates that has a summer drouth. Annual rainfall averages 15 to 25 inches. There is a pronounced maximum during the cooler months, summer being nearly, if not absolutely, dry. T h e yearly amount in-

160

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

creases with latitude. Thus, San Diego has 10 inches of rain per year on the average; Los Angeles, 16; and San Francisco, 23. In all Mediterranean regions snow is so rare that it is a matter of considerable comment when it does fall. It is rather fortunate that the rains occur in the cool season. If they fell during the hot season, much more moisture would be lost by evaporation and thus would not be available for plant growth. T h e winter rainfall is due largely to the influence of cyclones which move farther equatorward at that season of the year. There are "spells of weather" when dull, gray skies prevail. Showers fall at intervals. Occasionally the rain becomes a downpour for a short period, sometimes causing floods which do cjreat damo

bright except for the occasional periods of cloudy, rainy weather. Along coasts, fogs appear in the morning, but the sun evaporates them by 9 or 10 o'clock. T h e coast of California is one of the foggiest areas in the United States. Spring is a delightful season, fresh and yet warm. On the whole it is cooler than autumn. This is the time when many grains are harvested. As the season advances, rainy spells become rare, and the heat more intense. A low-pressure area crossing Europe may draw hot winds northward from the Sahara. These winds, called siroccos, with temperatures of 100 or more and humidities of 10 to 20 percent, may do serious damage to vegetation.
Life in Mediterranean climate. N a -

age. Thunderstorms seldom occui except possibly in the mountains or hills, two to four a year being the usual number in southern California. T h e winter rains brighten the landscape, the growth of vegetation changing the prevailing color from brown to shades of green. Seasonal weather. Summer weather changes little from day to day. It is characterized by clear skies, drouth, brilliant sunshine, high daytime temperatures, rapid cooling at night, and, except near the coast, low relative humidity. Certain regions in Mediterranean climates are famous for sea breezes, winds that blow from sea to land and have a moderating effect on the intense heat. In autumn and winter the days are

tive plants in Mediterranean climate are of necessity drouth resistant. Trees tend to be widely spaced, not tall, and covered with a thick bark which serves to retard evaporation. Leaves are small and leathery, characteristics that prevent rapid loss of water. A m o n g ihese drouth-resistant trees is the valuable cork oak. Produced mainly in Portugal and western Spain, the bark of this tree furnishes the world's principal supply of cork. In some localities the vegetation cover consists principally of a mixture of shrubs and bushes. This is the chaparral of California. Such a vegetation cover is not capable of supporting abundant animal life. However, the meager forage seems to be sufficient in many places for the

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H L A T I T U D E S

161

Fig. 129. Irrigating an orchard of almond trees in the Sacramento Valley, California. U. S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation.)

(.Courtesy

needs of sheep and goats; and Mediterranean lands, especially in southern Europe, are noted for their large numbers of these animals. Man combats the semiarid nature of Mediterranean climate by means of irrigation. Under the bright sun, vineyards and citrus-fruit orchards flourish (Fig. 129). In California, the rich soils that have accumulated at the base of mountain slopes are so utilized. T h e hot sun and dry air of the interior valleys are climatic factors that are largely responsible for the development of the fruit-drying industry in certain localities, for example, around Fresno, California. T h e exporting of enormous quantities of wine f r o m countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea is a direct

result of a climate favorable to grape production. HUMID SUBTROPICAL CLIMATE H u m i d subtropical climate differs f r o m dry subtropical, or Mediterranean, climate in three respects: 1) It usually is located on the east sides of continents. 2) It has more abundant rain. 3) T h e rainfall is either well distributed throughout the year or concentrated in the warm season. These tudinal two subtropical the types of climate have about location, the same latihumid east-

coast type ranging f r o m 25 to 40. West coasts in the intermediate zones feel the marine influence of westerly

162

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

winds from the ocean. East coasts also experience westerly winds. However, east coasts are subject to winds having a monsoon tendency, that is, winds blowing from sea to land in summer and from land to sea in winter. T h e larger the continent, the greater the extremes of temperature near its center. T h e greater the extremes of temperature, the more pronounced will be the monsoon winds, because great temperature differences mean great pressure differences. Thus Asia and North America are continents in which the monsoon tendency is relatively well developed. T h e stronger the monsoon tendency, the greater the concentration of precipitation in the warm season. T h e larger areas of humid subtropical climate are (1) southeastern United States, (2) Japan and eastern China, and (3) northern Argentina, Uruguay, and extreme southern Bra-

zil. Smaller areas are found in southeastern Africa and Australia. Temperature. The temperature characteristics of humid subtropics are somewhat similar to those of Mediterranean climates, since they occupy about the same latitudes. However, warm ocean currents along east coasts prevent such cool, foggy weather as that of San Francisco and other west-coastal locations. Summers are warm to hot, typical average temperatures for the warmest months being 75 to 80 (Fig. 130). Relative humidity, as well as temperature, is high, producing a sultry, oppressive condition. Sensible temperatures, therefore, especially in summer, are higher in Florida than in California. Summer heat in the American Gidf states closely resembles that of the tropical rainforest. In the subtropical regions of China and Japan, Europeans and Americans frequently quit their usual places of
STATIONS

CLIMATIC DATA FOR R E P R E S E N T A T I V E M E D I T E R R A N E A N Red Bluff, California (interior) A 80 0.1 73 0.8 (coast) 65 0.1 62 0.6 0 64 1.3

J
Temp Precip 45 4.6

F 50 3.9

M 54 3.2

A 59 1.7

M 67 1.1

J
75 0.5

J
82 0.0

N 54 2.9

D 46 4.3

Yr 62.3 24.3

Range 36.3

Santa Monica, California Temp Precip 53 3.5 53 3.0 55 2.9 58 0.5 60 0.5 63 0.0 66 0.0 66 0.0

58 1.4

55 2.3

59.5 14.78

13.6

Perth, Australia Temp Precip 74 0.3 74 0.5 71 0.7 67 1.6 61 4.9 57 6.9 55 6.5

{coast) 56 5.7 58 3.3 61 2.1 66 0.8 71 0.6 64 33.9 19

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H L A T I T U D E S residence during the summer and go to high-altitude stations, as they d o in the genuine tropics. Nights are hot and humid in contrast to the drier and cooler nights of Mediterranean climate. Winters in the humid subtropics are relatively mild. Cool-month temperatures average 40 to 55. T h e annual range of temperature is, therefore, usually not great, ranging from 20 to 30. Nights may be uncomfortably chilly because of high humidity and a temperature around 40. T h e growing season, or period between killing frosts, is long, ranging from 7 months up to nearly, if not quite, the entire year. Freezing temperatures occur on only a relatively few nights in winter. T h e cold spells do serious damage to sensitive crops such as citrus fruits and sugar cane. Cold waves are more severe in the American Gidf states than in southeastern China. This is because winter cyclones and anticyclones of North America are well developed and the level land surface permits the cold air from northern Canada to flow southward toward or even to the Gulf of Mexico (Fig. 131). T h e extreme southern tip of Florida is the only place in the United States where the thermometer has never been known to go as low as 32. Precipitation. Rainfall is relatively abundant within the humid subtropics, annual amounts ranging from 30 to 65 inches. Rain falls throughout most of the year but, in months.

163

general, is heavier in the summer Summer rainfall is mainly convectional, accompanied by thunder and lightning. T h e humid subtropical region of southeastern United States
W E T SUBTROPICAL,TOKYO, J A P A N

684'

E < D
lea n temp ere ture

50 jr E 50
- C D

32 f .

g fbt

N 4

-4-

N 4

F M A M J J

A S 0 N D

1 8 1 6 1 14
.E 12
4

75 10

0 6 10

2 0
Fig. 130.

pi i
m
Average

1 J1
"W

Mear 1 ( infal 1

1 1
monthly

and

temperature

precipitation for a representative station in the humid, or wet, subtropics.

ranks high in thunderstorms, the annual number ranging from 60 to 90. Hurricanes and typhoons are late summer and early autumn storms characteristic of this climate. They bring torrential rains and floods, which, with high winds, may do tremendous damage. In the Swatow ty-

164

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 131. Weather controls giving rise to killing frosts in the American humid subtropics. A welldeveloped anticyclone advancing from the northwest as a mass of continental polar air produced minimum temperatures of 2 0 at New Orleans and 8 at Memphis. The isotherm of 2 0 well parallels the Gulf and South Atlantic coasts. fairly

phoon of August, 1922, it was estimated that 40,000 Chinese lost their lives, chiefly by drowning. Winter rainfall is mainly cyclonic in origin. It is usually associated with a general and persistent cloud cover extending over wide areas. Because of more numerous cyclones, winters are cloudier than summers. Gray, overcast days are unpleasantly chilly.

Snow falls occasionally within a day or two.


Humid subtropics are

but
highly

melts
pro-

ductive. Without doubt, the humid subtropics possess the most productive climate of the middle latitudes. There is little restriction upon the kinds of crops that can be grown. Winter cropping is nowhere impossible. In southern China and Japan,

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H

LATITUDES

165

Fig. 132. Cotton-growing on the flat coastal plain of Texas. (Courtesy Station, A. and M. College of Texas.)

Agricultural

Experiment

many of the fields are in use the entire year. T h e lack of a cold season, however, tends to increase crop losses from injurious fungus and insect pests. T h e abundant warmth and moisture cause an equally abundant vegetation cover, usually of forests; although in regions of more moderate rainfall, grasses may replace trees. Grasslands, for example, predominate in the Pampas of northern Argentina. In China, the forests have been cut to such an extent that soil erosion and floods are serious problems. T h e South Atlantic and Gulf states of America possess considerable forest resources, although the stand of pine trees has rapidly diminished. Much of the land from

which southern pines are being removed is so poor that it is unfit for agriculture. In general, the forest soils of the Gulf states are not of high fertility. This is largely because of the solution and removal of soil materials by abundant rains. It needs to be emphasized, however, that in those areas where soils are fairly rich, humid subtropical climate is capable of tremendous agricultural production (Fig. 132). This is shown by the rice-producing delta regions of China and the black soils of the cotton belt of the United States. T h e supplying of northern markets with citrus fruits and offseason vegetables and the operation of winter resorts for tourists illus-

166

THE

EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

trate other opportunities for human occupation in the American Gulf states. MARINE WEST-COAST CLIMATE Marine climates occupy positions on western, or windward, sides of middle-latitude continents, poleward f r o m about 40. Onshore westerly winds import to them conditions from the oceans. In their general atmospheric characteristics, therefore, they are like the seas f r o m which the imported air is arriving. W h e r e land areas are relatively narrow, as with Great Britain, N e w Zealand, and Tasmania, the marine influence is felt inland as well as along the coast. Because of higher latitude, marine coasts are not subject to the very dry seasons f o u n d in Mediterranean climates. Moreover, marine coasts are usually paralleled by relatively warm ocean currents. Evaporation of water

f r o m these currents increases the moisture content of the winds that move f r o m sea to land in these regions. T h e depth to which marine westcoast climates penetrate inland depends u p o n the nature of the land surface. W h e r e mountains closely parallel the west, coasts, as in North America, South America, and Scandinavia, oceanic conditions are confined to relatively narrow coastal strips. But where extensive lowlands prevail, as in parts of western Europe, the effects of the sea are carried well inland. Temperature. Summers are moderately cool and, although m o r e or less ideal for human efficiency and comfort, are somewhat too cool for the best growth of many cereal crops. These cool summers are in severe contrast to the hot summers of Mediterranean and h u m i d subtropical climates. In these cloudy, rainy regions
STATIONS

CLIMATIC DATA FOR R E P R E S E N T A T I V E HUMID SUBTROPICAL Charleston, South Carolina

J
Temp Precip 50 3.0

F 52 3.1

M 58 3.3

A 65 2.4

M 73 3.3

J
79 5.1

J
82 6.2

A 81 6.5

S 77 5.2

0 68 3.7

N 58 2.5

D 51 3.2

Yr 66.1 47.3

Range 31.4

Shanghai, China Temp Precip 38 2.8 39 2.0 46 3.9 56 4.4 66 3.3 73 6.6 Sydney, Temp Precip 72 3.6 71 4.4 69 4.9 65 5.4 59 5.1 54 4.8 80 7.4 80 4.7 73 3.9 63 3.7 52 1.7 42 1.3 49 45.8 42.8

Australia 52 5.0 55 3.0 59 2.9 62 2.9 67 2.8 70 2.8 63 47.7 20

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H L A T I T U D E S the daily range of temperature is small. In Seattle the highest temperatures of the day in July average 73, and the lowest average 51. Occasional hot days occur, but prolonged hot waves are very few. Winters, on the whole, are abnormally mild for the latitude. Especially is this true in western Europe where a great mass of warm water, known as the North Atlantic Drift, a continuation of the Gidf Stream, lies offshore. Thus, most marine parts of western Europe are 20 to 30 too warm in January for their latitudes. Hannnerfest, on the coast of Norway, 71 N, is an ice-free port, yet icebreakers are required to keep open the harbor of Hamburg, 54N but considerably inland from the Atlantic. It is rare for L o n d o n to have a temperature below 15. T h e frostfree, or growing, season is unusually long for the latitude, being 180 to 210 days in the American North Pacific coast region. Precipitation. Marine west coasts generally have adequate rainfall at all seasons (Fig. 133). T h e total amount varies, depending upon the surface features of the land. Over the lowlands of western Europe, the rainfall is only moderate, usually 20 to 40 inches. On mountainous coasts, however, the total may reach 100 to 150 inches. Europe is the only continent where marine rainfall extends inland to any great distance. In North America heavy precipitation on the west side of the Cascades is counterbalanced by arid to semiarid conditions to the east.

167

Rainfall on marine west coasts has two outstanding characteristics: (1) It is reliable, and drouths rarely occur. (2) It is adequate for plant growth at all seasons. Usually there
MARINE WEST COAST, DUBLIN,IRELAND

80

68

E~ O ) 3|o
Meati t e mpere<tu -e

5 0 f E 50

3 2 0

1 " 30

2 20 0 V 1 0 1 0
20

F M A M J J A S O N D

1 8 1 6
114

112 =1 0
S

6
4 2

0
Fig.

L ! IIl 1 1 Ud 1 1
monthly temperature representative station and in for a

1i A. IVICWII 1 II l/l 1 1
^

133. Average

precipitation

marine west-coast climate.

is no marked dry season. In some places, especially along mountain coasts, winter precipitation is much heavier than that of summer. Snowfall is not abundant over the lowlands of northwest Europe because of temperatures that are prevailingly above freezing. O n the western slopes of the Cascades, however, 300 to 400 inches of snow fall on the average

168

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

each year. Snowfall is likewise heavy in the southern Andes, in the mountains of New Zealand, and along the coast of British Columbia and southern Alaska. Marine coasts are well known for cloudy weather. T h e Puget Sound

Productivity of marine west coasts.

Fig.

134. This large California sempervirens) U. S. Forest

redwood

tree

(Sequoia (Courtesy

is more than 12 feet in Service.)

diameter, measured 5 feet above the ground.

region has the greatest cloudiness and least sunshine of any part of the United States. Over wide areas of western Europe, cloudiness is greater than 70 percent, the sun sometimes being hidden for several weeks in succession. Evaporation, therefore, is very low, so that small amounts of rainfall are very effective for plant growth. Relative humidity is almost always high.

In this mild, humid climate, forests and pasture lands are of excellent quality. T h e finest stand of timber in the United States is found along the northern Pacific coast. In northern California, occupying the foggy, western slopes of the Coast Ranges, are the great redwood forests (Fig. 134), but pines and cedars prevail inland. Farther north, in Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia, Douglas fir is the outstanding tree, being the most important timber tree of the Pacific coast forests. North of about latitude 50, in British Columbia and Alaska, fir is less abundant, and spruce and western cedar become the dominant timber trees. Of the remaining stand of saw timber in the United States, about 60 percent is in the Pacific coast forests. T h e cool, damp climate of marine west coasts is well suited to the growth of many grasses. T h e excellent pasture lands that abound in some regions have encouraged livestock production. Thus, most of the breeds of fine livestock have been developed in the countries of western Europe. Soils in regions of marine westcoast climate vary considerably but, in general, are only moderately fertile. T h e various types of soil are responsible to some extent for the variety of agricultural crops produced. T h e forest soils in general are superior to those of the tropical rainforest. In many places the soils have

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H L A T I T U D E S been influenced considerably by past glaciation. Especially in Oregon and Washington, many of the more fertile valleys are important fruit-producing regions, an example being the R o g u e River Valley. HUMID CONTINENTAL CLIMATE H u m i d continental climates are limited to North America and Eurasia. T h e r e is no landmass in the south intermediate zone sufficiently large to have this type of climate. In Europe, marine climate extends to eastern Germany, where it gradually changes to h u m i d continental. In North America mountain barriers that parallel the western coast cause arid to semiarid conditions over m u c h of the western half of the continent. T h e r e f o r e h u m i d continental climate is f o u n d mainly in the eastern half of North America, extending roughly f r o m southern Mis-

169

souri to southern Canada and f r o m central Kansas to the Atlantic. This severe climate is land controlled. It is carried to the east margin of the continents by westerly winds. T h e east coasts d o not experience quite so severe temperature changes as d o the mid-continental areas, but their climate is, nevertheless, much more continental than marine. A third segment of this climatic type is f o u n d in North China, Manchuria, and southeastern Siberia. Temperature. W a r m to hot summers and cold winters are characteristic of the regions that have h u m i d continental climate. T h e annual range of temperature is, therefore, large (Fig. 135). T h e monsoon tendency, with southerly winds in summer and northerly winds in winter, tends to increase the extremes ol temperature. In general, the severity of the climate increases from south
STATIONS

CLIMATIC DATA FOR R E P R E S E N T A T I V E M A R I N E W E S T - C O A S T Seattle, Washington

J
Tem-p Precip 40 4.9

F 42 3.8

M 45 3.1

A 50 2.4

M 55 1.8

/
60 1.3 Paris,

/
64 0.6

A 64 0.7 59 1.7

0 52 2.8

N 46 4.8

D 42 5.5

Yr 51.4 33.4

Range 24

France 66 2.2 64 2.2 59 2.0 51 2.3 43 1.8 37 1.7 50.5 22.6 27

Temp Precip

37 1.5

39 1.2

43 1.6

51 1.7

56 2.1

62 2.3

Hokitika, New Zealand Temp Precip 60 9.8 61 7.3 59 9.7 55 9.2 50 9.8 47 9.7 45 9.0 46 9.4 50 9.2 53 11.8 55 10.6 58 10.6 53 116.1 16

170

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

to north and from coast to interior. Higher humidity along the Atlantic seaboard causes summer heat to be more oppressive and sultry and the
HUMID CONTINENTAL,SHORT SUMMER MONTREAL CANADA

,
1

100
90 80

5 0 f - ' 50

|
20

J
w f P z o

ea n te mp tur-e

-N

Precipitation. In humid continental climates, the maximum precipitation usually occurs in the summer, although winters are not necessarily dry (Fig. 136). T h e summer maxim u m is due to (1) the monsoonal tendency, as a result of which southerly winds blowing from sea to land carry great quantities of water vapor inland, (2) the residting increased absolute humidity in summer, and
HUMID CONTINENTAL,PEORIA,ILLINOIS 100 90

- -

f :

.512
<4-

14

C O

1 0 J F M A M J J A S 0 ND 20 _ 1 8 ._ _ 1 6

6 8 ! ^ 70 fe 60

. 8 < 5 ^ 6
4 2 Fig.

11 0
monthly temperature and at a station in the humid con-

> ear1

rc infoil 1

135. Average

precipitation

tinental climate with short summers. The absence of a marked summer maximum in precipitation results from the very abundant winter snowfall.

winter cold more raw and penetrating than are the drier extremes of the interior. Temperature contrasts from south to north are much greater in winter than in summer. Between St. Louis and Winnipeg the January contrast amounts to 34; in July it is only 13.

Fig.

136. Average

monthly temperature

and

precipitation for a representative humid continental climate with long summers.

(3) strong convection owing to high temperatures. T h e warm-season rainfall is mainly convectional, a considerable percentage falling as the

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D HIGH

LATITUDES

171

Fig. 137. W i n t e r snow scene on a typical farm in the American corn belt.

heavy downpours of thunderstorms. In winter, in addition to low absolute humidity, anticyclones with winds blowing from land to sea check the importation of water vapor from the ocean and sometimes retard the passage of lows across the continent. T h e economic importance to agricultural production of having the year's rainfall relatively concentrated in the growing season cannot be overestimated. Since these climates have a pronounced winter season, it is highly essential that periods of sufficient warmth and sufficient rainfall coincide. T h e great American Middle West is a highly productive agricultural region. This would not be the case if its rainfall were like that of southern California. Winters in humid continental climates are characterized by periods of

cloudy, cyclonic weather. Precipitation may be in the form of rain or snow and occasionally sleet (Fig. 137). It takes 5 to 15 inches of snow to equal 1 inch of rain. A snow cover is of economic importance on fields planted to winter wheat, because it adds moisture to the soil and, owing to its low conductivity, it prevents the ground from becoming excessively cold. T h e snow, acting as a sort of blanket, helps to prevent winter freezing of the wheat. Another effect of a snow cover is, of course, to reduce winter temperatures. T h e sun's heat is reflected from the white surface during daylight hours, whereas, in contrast, a field of black soil absorbs much heat. Night temperatures drop noticeably because the snow has prevented the warming of the earth's surface during the day.

172

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 138. Average number of days with snow cover. On the average, how many days during the year does snow remain on the ground at Key West, Florida? at Washington, D. C.? on the California coast at the same latitude as Washington, D. C.? at Boston, Massachusetts? at Portland, Oregon? at Duluth, Minnesota? Mart," 1941 Yearbook at Yellowstone of National Park, located in northwestern and Wyoming? Contrast duration of snow cover in Arizona and South Carolina. (From "Climate of U. S. Department Agriculture.)

In those parts of northeastern United States and Canada where winter cyclones are particularly numerous and well developed, such as the upper Great Lakes region, the St. Lawrence Valley, New England, and the Canadian maritime provinces, snow becomes excessively deep. Thus northern New York and parts of New England have more than 7 feet of snowfall during an average winter, and the snow cover remains on the ground for more than 4 months. In parts of the Adirondack Mountains 150 inches or more of snow falls annually. Over the American Great Plains, on the other hand, the fall of

snow amounts to only 20 or 30 inches (Figs. 80, 138).


Seasonal weather. I n n o o t h e r cli-

mate are rapid and irregular weather changes so characteristic as in the humid continental. These "spells of weather," caused by the passage of lows and highs, are numerous on marine west coasts, but in those locations temperature changes are not so severe. In eastern United States in particular, storm control is especially strong. It is in the cold season, when storm tracks move south, that extreme weather changes occur. At that season sun control is much less domi-

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H L A T I T U D E S nant than that of moving cyclones and anticyclones. Changes in barometric pressure and wind velocity are greater than in summer. Daily temperatures often depend upon the direction of the wind. Thus a north wind one day with near zero weather may be followed next day by a south wind with temperatures 20 to 30 higher, and vice versa. Both lows and highs tend to move faster and to be larger, more frequent, and better developed in winter than at any other season. In the United States there is a distinct concentration of winter storm tracks over the northeastern states, so it is this region which experiences the most frequent weather changes. In far continental interiors, strong highs tend to develop, causing steady cold weather and checking the activity of moving cyclones. Mixed with clear weather are periods of gray days with a stratus cloud covering from which little or no precipitation falls. A blizzard is a severe winter storm which occurs in central North America and in Russia. It is not merely a heavy snowstorm. It is a combination of strong winds, zero cold, and drifting, powdery snow. Actually, there may be no precipitation falling at the time, yet the air is filled to a height of several hundred feet by swirling masses of dry, finely pulverized snow, whipped up from the freshly fallen cover. Sometimes the sun can be seen shining wanly through the shroud of flakes. These storms are dangerous to both man

173

and beast who may be caught long distances from shelter. On the weather map of the United States this type of storm is associated with a well-developed low over the central states followed by a high from western Canada and Montana. T h e bitter cold of the continental polar air mass in the high may be 20 to 40 below zero or even lower. T h e cold front advances over the country from west to east, the strong northwest winds often reaching the Gulf states. More frequent and widespread is the cold wave of winter in the United States. T h e temperature usually drops some 20 in 24 hours and remains near zero for several days. T h e sharp drop in temperature, which is the cold wave, occurs when the wind shifts from an easterly direction to the northwest. Summer weather is dominated by the sun. Storm tracks move northward. Weather is more uniform from day to day than in winter. Temperatures are much the same over wide areas. Cyclones and anticyclones are weaker and less frequent. Clear, windy days are followed by hot, stagnant nights. On days of weaker winds and higher humidity, heat thunderstorms may develop during the warmer hours. H o t waves result from southerly winds combined with high sun and clear skies which drive midday temj:>eratures to 100 or above over vast areas. Such conditions are brought about by a stagnant high in the south and a slow-moving, weak low, with little cloudiness, to the north. Anti-

174

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

cyclones with cool, northerly winds are indeed welcome following such trying periods of blistering heat. Long, hot spells of summer weather without rain constitute the dreaded drouth of central and eastern United States. T h e damage done by these dry periods to agricultural crops and livestock may run into millions of dollars. Spring and autumn are transition seasons. Spring especially is noted for "fickle" weather. It is the season when the sun is trying to reestablish its control over cyclones, and the struggle results in sharp and peculiar changes in weather. In February or March, owing to abnormally warm weather, the buds of fruit trees may swell and then be killed by a later

period of freezing temperatures. Autumn includes some of the loveliest days of the year but likewise some of the rawest, gloomiest weather. A temporary return of warm, sunny days with cool nights in October and early November brings the much cherished Indian summer. Humid continental climate is divided into two subtypes: long-summer subtype and short-summer subtype. Long-summer subtype. This longsummer phase (Fig. 136) is sometimes called -belt climate, because much of the world's commercial corn crop is grown in regions having its imprint. It is also called the oak-maple-hickory climate, because such trees dominate the hardSUBTYPE

CLIMATIC D A T A - L O N G - S U M M E R Peoria, Illinois

J
Temp Precip 24 1.8

F 28 2.0

M 40 2.7

A 51 3.3

M 62 3.9

J
71 3.8

J
75 3.8

A 73 3.2

S 65 3.8

0 53 2.4

N 39 2.4

D 28 2.0

Yr 50.8 34.9

Range 51.6

New York City Temp Precip 31 3.3 31 3.3 39 3.4 49 3.3 60 3.4 69 3.4 74 4.1 72 4.3 67 3.4 56 3.4 44 3.4 34 3.3 52.1 42.0 43.0

Bucuresti (Bucharest), Temp Precip 26 1.2 29 1.1 40 1.7 52 2.0 61 2.5 68 3.3 Peiping, Temp Precip 24 0.1 29 0.2 41 0.2 57 0.6 68 1.4 76 3.0 73 2.8

Rumania 71 1.9 64 1.5 54 1.5 41 1.9 30 1.7 50.7 23.0 47.5

China 79 9.4 77 6.3 68 2.6 55 0.6 39 0.3 27 0.1 53 24.9 55

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E AND HIGH L A T I T U D E S 181 wood forests found over much of these areas. In the United States this subtype covers a tier of states from central Kansas and Nebraska to the Atlantic coast, including, in addition ' o' to the two states mentioned, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, southern Wisconsin and Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, southern New York, and the coast states from southern New England to about Maryland. T h e American corn belt lies within its borders. In Europe this climate prevails only in the south central portions of the continent: the Danube and Balkan states and the Po Valley of Italy. It is on the plains of the Danube and in the Po Valley that much of Europe's corn crop is grown. T h e third principal region is in eastern Asia, including northern China, southern Manchuria, most of Korea, and northern Japan. In this Asiatic area,

175

monsoon winds and rainfall are par ticularly well developed. Since these regions occupy the southern portions of the areas having humid continental climate, they experience a relatively long growing season of 5 to 7 months and only moderately severe winters. At St. Louis, Missouri, the thermometer seldom records zero. Summers are likely to be hot and humid, resembling very much the tropical rainforest climate of the Amazon Valley. Because the wind dies with the sunset, nights tend to be warm and humid, making sleep indoors a difficult matter. In the crowded tenement districts of large cities, people abandon the hot, sultry air inside their homes and seek the open parks, where they spend the night. During this season many city-dwellers enjoy their vacations in the north woods or on the cool slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
SUBTYPE

CLIMATIC D A T A - S H O R T - S U M M E R Madison, Wisconsin

J
Temp Precip 17 1.5

F 20 1.5

M 31 2.1

A 46 2.6

M 58 3.7

J
67 3.9

J
72 3.8

A 70 3.2 62 3.6

0
50 2.4

N 35 1.8

D 23 1.6

Yr 45.8 31.6

Range 55.5

Moskva (Moscow), Temp Precip 12 1.1 15 1.0 23 1.2 38 1.5 53 1.9 62 2.0 Harbin, Temp Precip - 2 0.1 5 0.2 24 0.4 42 0.9 56 1.7 66 3.8 66 2.8

U.S.S.R. 63 2.9 52 2.2 40 1.4 28 1.6 17 1.5 39.0 21.1 53.8

Manchuria 72 4.5 69 4.1 40 1.3 21 0.3 3 0.2 37.9 19.3 73.8 Lr, CO 1.8

176

T H E EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig.

139. This harvest of wheat near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, was planted in the

spring. W i n t e r wheat, in localities such as Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, is planted in early autumn.

Short-summer subtype. This more severe phase of humid continental climate lies north of the long-summer subtype and between it and subarctic climate. It is sometimes referred to as the spring-wheat type, because of the prevalence of this cereal in certain areas (Fig. 139). In North America this climate extends from southern Alberta, North Dakota, and Minnesota eastward to the Atlantic. In Eurasia it includes most of Poland, eastern Germany, the small Baltic states, and a large part of the central Russian plain between 50 and 60 of latitude. A third area appears in northern Manchuria and southeastern Siberia. Summers are usually warm for a few months, but the climate is handicapped by the short duration of the

growing season3 to 5 months. T h e long summer days in these high latitudes somewhat offset this disadvantage. T h e cooler summer weather of these regions is an asset in one respect: it attracts thousands of tourists from more southerly localities. T h e long winter is the dominant season. January and February temperatures hover in the neighborhood of zero much of the time. At Winnipeg in January, daily maximum temperatures average 6, and minimum temperatures 14 (Fig. 140). Annual precipitation in these regions is usually less than in the long-summer subtype, owing partly to greater distance from the sea. Because of continuous low winter temperatures, the snow cover remains on the ground for long periods of time.

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H Productivity. Humid continental climate at present is one of the greatest producing climates of the earth. T h e original natural vegetation consisted mainly of a mixture of tallgrass prairie and deciduous woodlands. Tree growth was more pronounced in the more humid areas and along streams. In the virgin state, 7 the prairies provided some of the finest natural grazing lands on the earth. Most of these grasslands, however, have long been under cultivation. They are excellent producers of field crops, especially the cereals, such as corn, wheat, oats, barley, and rye. T h e production of corn, together with certain hay and forage crops, early encouraged the fattening of livestock, which in turn brought into existence the huge meat-packing industry. Excellent forests existed at one time in this type of climate in both Europe and North America. T h e northern part of the central hardwood-forest belt of the United States lies in the long-summer subtype of this climate. Oak, maple, hickory, and birch are a few of the abundant and valuable deciduous trees of this belt, which extends from western Missouri northeastward to Pennsylvania. Large parts of this forest were destroyed in the process of early settlement of the central states. Excellent forests of Norway pine, white pine, spruce, fir, hemlock, and other trees originally extended from New England to Minnesota. These fine forests were early attacked by lum-

LATITUDES

177

ber companies, as they gradually advanced from east to west. T h e remaining stand of pine in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota today is less than 2 percent of the original. In the Lake states alone there are 25 to 30 million acres of cut-over country, much of it of little value except as potential forest or resort land.
Temp. Day 5 10 IS ZO 25 30

Fig.

140.

Daily

maximum and minimum temclimate Jefferson

peratures f o r the extreme months at a representative station in humid continental with short summers. (Courtesy Mark and "Geographical Review.")

Some of the richest soils in the world are found in regions of humid continental climate. These excellent soils have resulted largely from the annual growth and decay of grasses over a long period of time. In general, grassland soils are richer than those of forested areas. Probably the richest soils in North America are found in the so-called "black-earth belt" which occupies the tier of states from North Dakota to Texas. Similar soils are found in parts of Russia, especially in the region north of the Black Sea. Soils in the northerly por-

178

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

tions of this climatic type more clearly show the effects of the great continental glaciers which m o v e d southward from certain northern parts of Europe and North America. SUBARCTIC CLIMATES Subarctic is the extreme in continental climates, having the largest annual range of temperature on the earth. It is f o u n d only in the northern parts of North America and Eurasia, largely because of the fact that these great landmasses undergo greater changes in temperature with the change of seasons than do large water bodies at similar latitudes. T h e poleward boundary of subarctic climate is approximately the isotherm of 50 for the warmest month (usually July) and closely coincides with the northern limit of tree growth. Beyond this isotherm, in the tundra,

lowly forms of vegetation, such as mosses, lichens, and bushes, predominate. T o the subarctic lands of Eurasia, with their extensive coniferous forests, the Russians have given the name taiga (tl'ga). Yakutsk, Siberia, nearly 6 2 N , represents the extreme in subarctic climate. T h e warmest month, July, has an average temperature of 66, which is higher than the same month at Berlin, L o n d o n , o r San Francisco. Midday temperatures often reach 80 to 90. T h i s is due largely to the long summer days, long twilight, and very short period of real darkness. average 17 hours of possible For sunexample, at latitude 5 5 N , June days shine; and at 6 5 N , 22 hours. In the more northerly portions of the subarctic lands at the time of the summer solstice, one can read a paper outdoors even at midnight. T h e length of the growing season
CLIMATE

CLIMATIC D A T A - S U B A R C T I C

Fort Vermilion, Alberta, Canada

J
Temp Precip -14 0.6

F -6 0.3

M 8 0.5

A 30 0.7

M 47 1.0

J
55 1.9

J
60 2.1

A SI 2.1

5 46 1.4

0 32 0.7

N 10 0.5

D -4 0.4

Yr 26.7 12.3

Range 74.3

Moose Factory, Ontario, Canada Temp Precip -4 1.3 - 2 0.9 10 1.1 28 1.0 42 1.8 54 2.2 61 2.4 59 3.3 51 2.9 39 1.8 22 1.1 5 1.1 30.4 21.0 65.6

Yakutsk, Siberia, Temp Precip -46 0.9 -35 0.2 -10 0.4 16 0.6 41 1.1 59 2.1 66 1.7

U.S.S.R. 60 2.6 42 1.2 16 1.4 -21 0.6 -41 0.9 12 13.7 112

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H

LATITUDES

179

Fig. 141. Taiga in the ice-scoured region of Canada. The meager soil cover permits only a thin stand of trees. (Courtesy Royal Canadian Air Force.)

is only 50 to 75 days, and winter follows rapidly on the heels of summer. Even in July and August, freezing temperatures sometimes occur. A shift of the wind to the north brings with it the chill of the handicaps to agricultural ice-laden developarctic. Such conditions are serious ment and have contributed largely to slow permanent settlement within subarctic regions. Siberia holds the record for low temperatures at low elevations. Verkhoyansk, in the northeastern part, boasts an average January temperature of 59, with an absolute minim u m of 90 recorded in February, 1892. This, of course, is an extreme case. At Yakutsk, where July averages 66, January averages making an annual range of 46, 112.

Concerning the Hann writes:

Siberian

winter,

It is not possible to describe the terrible cold one has to endure; one has to experience it to appreciate it. The quicksilver (mercury) freezes solid and can be cut and hammered like lead; iron becomes brittle, and the hatchet breaks like glass; wood, depending upon the degree of moisture in it, becomes harder than iron and withstands the ax, so that only completely dry wood can be split. Winter weather in similar latitudes of North America, however, is not quite so severe as that of Siberia. Subarctic Eurasia and North America are largely covered by taiga, softwood forests which rank among the most extensive and least known wildernesses of the earth (Fig. 141). Conifers, mainly spruce, fir, larch,

180

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

and pine, occupy in the neighborh o o d of 75 percent of the area. Although the extent of these forests is very great, their e c o n o m i c value is not to be overemphasized. Trees are
TUNDRA,POINT BARROW,ALASKA

1 0

TUNDRA CLIMATE T h e most extensive tundra areas are the Arctic Sea margins of North America and Eurasia. Most of the islands north of Canada and the coastal fringe of southern Greenland are likewise included. T h e r e is very little tundra in the Southern H e m i sphere. Long, bitterly cold winters and very short, cool summers are the rule (Fig. 142). A l o n g the arctic coasts of Siberia, average January and February temperatures are in the neighb o r h o o d of 35 or - 4 0 . W i n t e r temperatures are not so severe along the northern coast of North America. R a w and chilly, the warmest months of the tundra, which average around 35 to 45, resemble March and A p r i l in middle-western United States. Usually only 2 to 4 months have average temperatures above freezing, and killing frost is likely to occur at any time. Because of the unusually long, cold season, the subsoil is permanently frozen. Fog sometimes lasts for days at a time. T h e snow cover begins to disappear in May, and the lakes are usually rid of their ice cover in June. Bog- and swampland dominate the landscape. Myriads of mosquitoes and black flies make life almost unbearable f o r man and beast alike during the summer period of wet earth. Precipitation is not over 10 or 12 inches for the year and shows a summer maximum. Reindeer, or caribou, are to the arctic tundra what camels are to the

|
50jr

60
50

3 2 +|30

I
ElO

I < u 0

Mean te mperatur e

-10 -20

V
J F M A MJ J A S O N D

-30 20

1 8 1 6
| 14

I 1 2

=1 0 1 S 6
4
2

ea n airif a II
, .._

0
Fig. 142. precipitation for a representative tundra station.

not closely spaced, and even in the southern portions of the region their diameters rarely exceed 1% feet. These forests are the h o m e of some of the earth's most important furbearing animals, many of which are being killed at an alarming rate. In general, the subarctic is a region of inferior soils, because the long, cold winters retard many of the processes of soil formation.

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H

LATITUDES

181

tropical desert. These animals, together with the musk ox, feed upon native vegetation, such as mosses, lichens, sedges, and in some localities flowering and bushy plants, together with stunted birches, willow, and aspen. For the arctic peoples, reindeer provide food, clothing, transportation, and shelter. T h e herds, which sometimes n u m b e r several hundred, are migratory, covering wide areas in their search for food. Eskimos, who inhabit the coasts of tundra lands and who live mainly upon sea foods, are learning to tend reindeer herds in parts of Alaska. Some of the reindeer meat is exported to Pacific coast ports of the United States.
ICE-CAP CLIMATE

entirely in the form of snow, much of which consists of dry, sandlike particles. Expeditions of Admiral Richard E. Byrd into the antarctic have shown that this region has the coldest warm season on earth. During the International Geophysical Year a group of scientists living on the South Polar plateau, elevation about 9000 feet, recorded a temperature of - 1 0 2 in September, 1957.
MOUNTAIN CLIMATES

This is the least known of the world's climatic types. It is found over the permanent continental ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland and over the frozen ocean in the vicinity of the North Pole. Only limited climatic data are available from these deserts of snow and ice where the average temperature of no month is above 32. T h e average temperature of an entire year in the tropical rainforest is 75 to 80, b u t that of the interior of the Greenland ice cap is estimated at 25 and at the South Pole probably colder. December and January, two of the warmest months at the South Pole, have been found to have averages of about
-10.

Almost endless varieties of local climates exist within a mountain mass. Atmospheric conditions differ with altitude and exposure and, of course, with latitude. It cannot be said that there is a definite mountain type of climate. A notable characteristic of highaltitude climate is the intensity of insolation. This is largely due to the cleaner, drier, and thinner air. T h e great relative intensity of the sun's rays attracts the attention of nearly all persons going to high elevations. Insolation is not only more intense, but it is also richer in the shorter wavelengths of energy, the violet and ultraviolet rays. T h e h u m a n skin therefore burns and tans quickly in the mountains. Because of the brilliant sunshine and pure air, many sanatoriums are established at high elevations. Temperature decreases with altitude on the average about 3% per 1000 feet. Climatically, this decrease is of great importance in tropical lands. Quito, Ecuador, on the equa-

Precipitation is meager and almost

182

THE

EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

tor, at an elevation of 9350 feet, has an average annual temperature of 54, which is 25 lower than that of the adjacent Amazon lowland. Mexico City, with an elevation of 7400 feet and situated about 4 south of the Tropic of Cancer, has an average January temperature of 54 and a July average of 62. White people in the tropics seek high elevations where cool and uniform temperatures are to be found. Mountain climate is similar to that of the California coast in this respectin the sun, one feels warm; in the shade, cool. Owing to convection, a warm wind blows up a mountain valley during the day; at night, a cool wind descends from higher elevations. Cool evening breezes and low humidity are the principal climatic assets of the many summer resorts of the Colorado Rockies. Winds that ascend mountain slopes are cooled by expansion. Condensation of water vapor results in the formation, especially during midday, of huge cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds. Precipitation in the mountains of arid lands creates "islands" of vegetation. Where a mountain system lies at right angles to the prevailing wind, the windward slopes are likely to receive frequent rains. Opposite the wet side is the rain shadow. T h e abundant precipitation in mountains is of much importance. It furnishes a source of water for springs, rivers, irrigation, and artesian wells. It is responsible for the existence of many excellent forests and grazing lands. Occasionally, terrific

downpours result in floods. Glaciers and snow, especially in the Alps, are scenic attractions of many summer resorts.
SUMMARY

In this chapter and Chapter 6 many types of climate oir the earth's surface were discussed. These climates may be classified as follows: T h e low-latitude, or tropical, climates are of three types: 1) Tropical rainforest a) Windward coasts b) Monsoon variety 2) Tropical savanna 3) Low-latitude dry climate a) Deserts b) Steppes T h e climates of the middle latitudes, or intermediate zones, are also of three types: 1) Middle-latitude dry climates a) Deserts b) Steppes 2) Warm, humid climates a) Mediterranean b) Wet subtropical c) Marine west coasts 3) Cold, h u m i d climates a) H u m i d continental (long summer and short summer) b) Subarctic T h e high latitudes, or polar caps, are the regions where the two types of polar climates prevail: 1) T u n d r a 2) Ice cap

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H L A T I T U D E S

183

O u r study so far has been concerned mainly with the a t m o s p h e r e temperature, pressure, wind belts, precipitation, storms, and climate. Precipitation causes rivers to form. Abundant snowfall, especially in mountains, may cause glaciers to form. Rivers and glaciers, together

with wind-blown sand, carve many of the features of the earth's surface. Our study, therefore, shifts now to the solid earth's crust, or lithosphere, and considers, first, its composition and, second, how its surface features are made and how these features influence life on the earth.

QUESTIONS Mediterranean climate

1. What are the three principal features of Mediterranean climate? 2. Regions in Mediterranean climate are alternately influenced by what wind belts? 3. Name the five major regions that have Mediterranean climate. 4. Contrast the temperatures of San Francisco and Red Bluff. Explain. 5. Why is Mediterranean climate famed for its winter weather? 6. What is the outstanding characteristic of the Mediterranean type of rainfall? 7. Why is rainfall heavier at San Francisco than at San Diego? 8. Why are thunderstorms rare in southern California? 9. W h e n are grains harvested in regions of Mediterranean climate? 10. Explain the cause and effects of a sirocco. 11. Describe the vegetation typical of this climate. What is chaparral? 12. Where is the cork oak found? Why does this tree produce a thick bark? 13. Why has fruit-drying become an important industry in the vicinity of Fresno, California?
Humid subtropical climate

14. In what three respects does humid subtropical climate differ from Mediterranean climate? 15. Why does the size of a continent influence the monsoon tendency? 16. Locate the three larger regions having humid subtropical climate. 17. What is the average length of the growing season in regions having humid subtropical climate? 18. Compare "sensible" temperatures in Florida and California. 19. Why are cold waves more severe in the Gulf states than in southeastern China? 20. Where do hurricanes and typhoons occur? When? 21. Contrast summer and winter rainfall in h u m i d subtropical climate.

184

THE

EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

22. Why is the humid subtropical climate the most productive climate of middle latitudes? 23. Discuss native vegetation in humid subtropical climate. 24. What agricultural crops are produced in humid subtropical climate?
Marine west-coast climate

25. Why are marine climates located on west coasts? At what latitudes are they located? 26. Locate the principal world regions having marine climate. 27. Why does marine climate penetrate farther inland in Europe than in North America? 28. Discuss summer and winter temperatures in marine climate. How long is the growing season? 29. What are the two outstanding characteristics of marine rainfall? 30. Contrast snowfalls in western Europe and the Cascades. 31. What is the nature of rainfall? 32. How do these regions rank in cloudiness? 33. Where are the finest forests in the United States? W h a t trees predominate? 34. Why are some regions in marine climate noted for livestock production?
Humid continental climate

35. mate. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

Name and locate the world regions having humid continental cliWhy is the annual range of temperature large? Summer maximum in rainfall is due to what three causes? Why is maximum summer rainfall of great economic importance? What is the value of snow on winter-wheat land? Why are weather changes rapid and irregular? Why more so in win

41. Where is snowfall heavier, in Kansas or in New England? Why? 42. Discuss the blizzard; the cold wave. 43. What causes a hot wave? a drouth? 44. Why is spring a season of fickle weather? What is Indian summer? 45. Name the states in the long-summer subtype. What cereal is typical of this climate? what trees? What is the chief objection to the summer climate? 46. What regions have the short-summer type of climate? What cereal is important in some of those areas? 47. In the short-summer subtype, what is the length of the growing season?

C L I M A T E S OF M I D D L E A N D H I G H

LATITUDES

185

48. List 9 states of which parts are covered 49. What cereals are produced in humid 50. What are deciduous trees? conifers? Where are they found in h u m i d continental
Subarctic climate

by snow for 120 days each year. continental climate? Name several species of each. climate? Which are hardwood?

51. In what two ways is the poleward boundary of subarctic climate determined? 52. Why is the average July temperature at Yakutsk higher than that of San Francisco? 53. How many possible hours of sunlight are there at the time of summer solstice at 55N? at 65N? 54. What is the lowest temperature ever recorded at Verkhoyansk? 55. Discuss the forests and soils of this climate.
Tundra climate

56. Locate the principal tundra regions. 57. Describe the climate and vegetation of the tundra. 58. In what ways is the reindeer of value to the inhabitants of tundra regions?
Ice-cap climate

59. Where are the two principal regions with ice-cap climate? Describe the temperature conditions.
Mountain climate

60. What are two characteristics of insolation in mountains? 61. Why are many cities located at high elevations in the tropics? Give examples. 62. What are the two principal climatic assets of the Colorado Rockies? 63. What type of cloud is often seen in summer in many mountains? at what time of day? Why? What is the rain shadow? Give an example. 64. In what ways is the abundant precipitation in mountains of much importance?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. Study three maps of the world, one showing annual rainfall, another the types of climate, and a third the density of population. From the study of these three maps, suggest as many relationships as possible. 2. Chicago and Rome are in about the same latitude. Contrast the climates of the two cities. 3. On a large wall outline map of North America, color the climatic

186

THE

EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

regions. Paste or pin labels on the map showing economic products of the different regions. 4. Outline on a map the spring- and winter-wheat regions of North America. Contrast the two regions climatically. 5. Compare the climate of Fairbanks, Alaska, with that of Bergen, Norway. They are not greatly different in latitude. 6. Choose a definite location in the regions discussed in this chapter, and write a short paper on why you would prefer to live in that particular place. N O T E : Other activities may be found in the laboratory manual.
TOPICS FOR CLASS REPORTS

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Economic Products of Mediterranean Countries Climatic Contrasts within the State of California Florida versus California as a Winter Resort State Citrus-Fruit Production in the Gulf States T h e Climate of India Great Deserts of the World A Comparison of the Climates of Seattle and New York T h e Pacific Coast Forests of the United States T h e Climate of Spring- and Winter-Wheat Regions
REFERENCES

See list at end of Chapter 6.

CHAPTER

8.

Composition and Changes of the Earth's Crust

What do you see when you walk out into any stretch of open country? Rocks, soils, hills, valleys, rivers, lakes, seas, plains, mountains, plateaus. These features, in endless combinations, distinguish the regions of the earth quite as much as do the factors of climate discussed in preceding chapters. W h a t features distinguish your own locality? I n studying the earth's crust, or lithosphere, we shall consider (1) the materials of which it is composed, (2) the general nature of the agents, forces, and processes that are concerned in changing the earth's crust, and (3) the characteristics of various surface features or landforms that make it possible for us to recognize them.
EARTH MATERIALS

T h e earth's crust is composed mainly of rocks. A rock is a group of two or more minerals, although some rocks consist almost entirely of one mineral. Minerals are combinations of chemical elements. 1 Of the 92 naturally occurring chemical ele-

ments, many are very rare. Of the more important elements, oxygen is most abundant. In combination with other elements it comprises about 46 percent of the known crust of the earth. Silicon is next in abundance. In its combination with oxygen it forms quartz (Si0 3 ), which, when broken into fine particles, makes sand. In many combinations with various elements, silicon comprises nearly 28 percent of the lithosphere. Six other elements together make up 24 percent of the total. They are, in the order of their abundance, aluminum, iron, calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. T h e remaining 2 percent of the lithosphere includes a long list of elements, some of which are of great importance in human affairs but exist in very small quantities. Among these are radium, platinum, gold, silver, and various precious minerals, such as the diamond.
Minerals. A mineral is a natural

inorganic substance having a nearly constant chemical composition and


A list of chemical elements a n d their symbols is given in Appendix H .
1

188

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

fairly definite physical characteristics. Some minerals consist of one element, such as pure gold, copper, or sulfur. These, however, are relatively rare. T h e great majority of minerals are chemical compounds, such as oxides, sulfides, and carbonates. Minerals are identified by color, structure, specific gravity, hardness, luster, and so forth. These properties are explained more fully in Appendix F. T h e color of a mineral is sometimes a reliable characteristic, sometimes not. A few minerals that are rather easily identified by color are given in the following table.
Mineral Composition Color

is used in making radio tubes, electric toasters, and electric irons. Another mineral easily recognized by
s t r u c t u r e is asbestos (chrysolite). It

occurs as fibers, resembling the deli-

Azurite Malachite Galena

C o p p e r ore C o p p e r ore L e a d ore

Blue Fig. 143. Quartz is one of the most abundant Green Black (metallic luster) Yellow P i n k (glassy luster) Brownish-yellow (dull) minerals. It exists in many forms. Sand consists of quartz grains. Crystalline quartz, shown in this picture, is hexagonal. Many excellent specimens of crystalline quartz come from a region near Hot Springs, Arkansas. (Courtesy Natural N. .) Science Establishment, Inc., Ward's Rochester,

Sultur

Native

R o s e q u a r t z Silicon dioxide Limonite I r o n ore

Some minerals occur in crystals of definite form. T h e study of the many crystalline forms exhibited by minerals is called crystallography. T h e quartz crystal, for example, is hexa g o n a l (Fig. 143). Galena a n d halite

(rock salt) often occur as cubes. Structure is a valuable clue in identifying some minerals. Mica, for example, occurs in sheets, as thin as the paper in a book and sometimes transparent. Because it is a good electric insulator and will not burn, mica

cate fibers of silk. Asbestos will not burn, and, therefore, is used in making many fireproof materials. It is mined largely in Ontario, north of New York. Some minerals are fluorescent; others are phosphorescent. W h e n exposed to certain kinds of light, such as ultraviolet, in a dark room, these minerals glow in brilliant colors. Among the most vivid and beautiful fluorescent minerals in the world are
willemite and calcite, which are

found in certain rocks in New Jersey

C O M P O S I T I O N A N D C H A N G E S OF T H E E A R T H ' S C R U S T

189

Fig.

144.

Relatively recent lava

flow,

or igneous extrusion, Junkin.)

in Craters of the Moon

National

Monument, southern Idaho. (Photograph by Delia

Willemite, a zinc silicate, fluoresces a bright green; calcite, a brilliant red. In some rock specimens, they occur together. Scheelite, a tungsten ore, fluoresces mainly a deep blue. Ultraviolet light is used by prospectors to locate such ores as scheelite. Collecting minerals is a fascinating hobby. Over a period of years a person may accumulate a collection of considerable value. By means of inexpensive advertisements placed in magazines devoted to this subject, mineralogists in widely scattered localities are able to exchange mineral specimens at relatively low cost. Some collectors who cut and polish minerals become proficient in this art, called lapidary (from the Latin word lapis, a stone). Polishing a mineral brings out its brilliant colors. Especially is this true of agate. A yellowbrown variety of quartz, called tiger-

eye, when properly cut and polished, makes a most attractive setting for a ring. T w o valuable minerals, limonite and hematite, are the two most important iron ores. An ore is a rock or mineral containing enough metal, such as iron, copper, aluminum, zinc, gold, and so forth, to make its mining worth while. Limonite, the brownish-yellow oxide of iron, is familiar iron rust. Hematite is another oxide of iron, ranging in color from

red to almost black. These are the ores mined in the Mesabi iron range north of Duluth, Minnesota, in the upper peninsula of Michigan, and near Birmingham, Alabama. Much of the yellow, red, and brown coloring in soils and rock is from the oxides of iron. Minerals often occur in veins. Hot water enters through the many tiny

190

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

openings in bedrock and dissolves mineral matter. This mineralized water may find its way into a crack or fissure in the bedrock. Cooling of the

are more abundant than others, so it is with rocks. With the processes of formation as a basis, rocks are divided into three general classes: (1) igneous, (2) sedimentary, and (3) metamorphic.
Igneous rocks. I g n e o u s rocks are

those which have been solidified from a molten state. W h e n lava pours forth from a volcano and cools, solid rock
- v * ' 9 ? '. -" < .
" * . ' .

* .
' t r^f:

*/

* -> *

;>

mineral porphyry, formation. minerals easily crystals is

>
imbedded and in some kind such can N. Y.) of a be

Fig. 145. Some rocks are composed of many ground mass. The rock shown here, called a igneous illustrates feldspar Ward's In some specimens of granite, the quartz, mica, and (Courtesy Natural

recognized.

Science Establishment,

Inc., Rochester,

water and evaporation may ultimately cause the fissure to be filled with mineral matter, forming a vein. Such veins may vary in width from a fraction of an inch to several feet. Rocks. Most rocks are composed of mineral crystals, each mineral retaining its own characteristics. Since there are hundreds of minerals that can be locked together in many different combinations, it is obvious that numerous kinds of rocks must exist in the earth's crust. Just as some chemical elements and some minerals

Fig. 146. The Mount Rushmore National Monument is carved in the resistant granite of the Black Hills of South Dakota. Numerous joint 60planes show in the uncarved rock. These Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and

foot likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Abraham Studio, Lincoln will be destroyed by weathering over a period of years. (Photograph by Bell Rapid City, S. D.)

forms on the earth's surface. This is called extrusive igneous rock (Fig. 144). Molten rock may fill a crevice or cavity deep in the earth. W h e n it

COMPOSITION

A N D C H A N G E S OF T H E

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191

Fig. 147. Layers, or strata, of sedimentary rock can be seen close to Lake Mead. This immense lake, which has been formed by Hoover (Boulder) Dam, is located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado Airline.) River on the boundary line between Arizona and Nevada. (Courtesy Trans World

cools, the igneous rock formed is called intrusive. As the earth's surface is eroded, intrusive rocks come to light. Extrusive rock cools quickly, allowing little time for crystals of minerals to form. It is, therefore, known
as fine-grained crystalline rock. In

Sedimentary

rocks.

Sedimentary

some cases no crystals form at all, and the resulting material is volcanic glass, or obsidian. Deeply buried intrusive rock, on the other hand, may not become entirely cooled for hundreds of years. During that time various chemical elements combine to form distinct and often large mineral crystals (Fig. 145). A good example
of such coarse-grained crystalline

rock is granite (Fig. 146). In some specimens of granite it is easy to see three different minerals.

rocks are composed of sediment which collects mainly at the bottoms of large bodies of water. Many materials are carried to the sea by rivers. Some, such as salt and lime, are carried in solution. Others, such as fine clay and sand, are carried in suspension and cause river water to appear very muddy. Upon reaching the sea, this sediment is deposited on the sea floor. T h e processes and conditions of deposition appear to have been interrupted many times, so that different materials were laid down at different times. T h e sediment usually appears in distinct layers, or strata, and for that reason sedimentary rocks often are called stratified rocks (Fig. 147). Most stratified rocks are deposited in a horizontal posi-

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THE EARTH AND ITS

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tion, or nearly so. When they are observed in positions greatly inclined from the horizontal, it is an indication that there has been a disturbance of the strata after their deposition.
Kinds of sedimentary rocks. The

most important sedimentary

rocks

Fig.

148.

Conventional

symbols

for

different sandstone; Which is

rocks: LS,

limestone; S, shale; S S , rocks is impervious?

G, granite or other igneous rock. Which of the sedimentary porous?

truding features on the earth's surface. Economically, sandstone is valuable as a building stone. Also, it is a porous rock, or one through which water can seep. T h u s layers of this rock supply the source of water for many deep wells which provide water for farms and towns. Shale is formed when sediment consists of clay and mud. T h e dominant color is gray, although shades of red, green, and purple often are observed. Since shale is composed of such fine material, it is an extremely fine-grained rock, so fine that it strongly resists the seepage of water. For this reason it is called an impervious rock, although it seldom is hard. If shale underlies sandstone, water will seep through the sandstone along the top surface of the shale. On the other hand, shale is more easily weathered and washed away by running water or rain than is either sandstone or limestone. Soil resulting from the weathering of shale is usually of a heavy clay nature. Shale splits into thin layers, is easily scratched with a knife, and when moistened has a distinct clay odor. Limestone is formed by the compacting of limy deposits or the shells of small marine animals. In some places are found thick deposits of nearly pure limestone (calcium carbonate). More commonly they contain admixtures of other materials, especially sand, clay, and limonite. Sometimes bodies composed mainly of quartz are found in limestones

are (1) sandstone, (2) shale, and (3) limestone (Fig. 148). T h e distinction between them is not always sharp. Mixing of sediments may produce a sandy limestone, a limy shale, or other combination. Sandstone is composed mainly of sand particles cemented together. Coarse sand forms a coarse-grained sandstone, which, if poorly cemented, is easily broken. Fine sand, if firmly cemented, may form a fine-grained sandstone valuable as a building stone. At times the sand layers may be colored with lime, and at times with red or yellow iron oxide. T h e result is colored sandstones or those having a banded appearance. Many sandstones are very resistant to the processes of rock wear and form pro-

C O M P O S I T I O N A N D C H A N G E S OF T H E E A R T H ' S C R U S T

193

and are recognized as bands or masses of chert or flint (Fig. 149). Some limestones are compact and hard; others, soft and porous. T h e latter are called
chalk.

Unlike most rocks, limestones are readily soluble in ground water. Long-continued solution may cause the development of interior cavities or even great caverns such as Mammoth Cave of Kentucky and the Carlsbad Caverns of southeastern New Mexico. Limestone can be recognized by (1) the color, usually ranging from buff or light gray to white; (2) its effervescence, or bubbling, in acid; and (3) the fossils of small marine animals, which ordinarily are more numerous than in shale or sandstone. Limestone is a very abundant and valuable rock. It is mixed with shale, heated, and pulverized or powdered to form the all-important portland cement. Limestone alone when heated loses carbon dioxide, and the remaining material is commercial lime, or calcium oxide, a substance having many uses. Limestone is crushed to the size of fine gravel and is used in building roads. It is used also in the smelting of iron ore, a process by which iron is separated from other materials in the ore. In many places limestone is employed as a building stone. T w o notable American regions of building limestone are worthy of mention. T h e one located at Bedford, Indiana, has supplied gray stone for hundreds of large buildings in American cities. T h e other, at Carthage, Missouri,

markets a fine limestone which approaches marble in texture. Many of the great buildings in London are made of limestone obtained from the Isle of Portland on the south coast of England. Not all sedimentary rocks were deposited in seas or oceans. Some were

Fig. 149. A dark, gray-black flint covered with a coating of soft, white mineral matter. tesy Ward's Rochester, Natural N. Y.) Science Establishment, (CourInc.,

formed in shallow, coastal bays or marshes. T h e accumulation of vegetation in swamps ultimately resulted in the formation of a sedimentary rock called coal. Other organic deposits, containing considerable iron, formed bog iron ore or limonite and other iron formations. Still others are believed to have resulted from deposits in the evaporating waters of interior basins or coastal swamps in arid climates. Such deposits are rock
salt a n d gypsum.

Conglomerate is a sedimentary rock composed of rounded pebbles cemented together (Fig. 150). It resembles man-made concrete.

194

THE

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ITS

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Metamorphic rocks.

means to change form. Metamorphic rocks are derived from rocks of any other sort by processes of change. T h e most common causes of change are pressure, heat, and the cementing action of underground waters. Great pressure and heat may be produced by the warping and bending of great layers of rocks and by the introduction of molten lavas into older rocks. At times, both processes may take place together. Other rocks are changed by the extremely slow

Fig. 150. Conglomerate is a sedimentary rock. In this specimen many individual pebbles are clearly visible. (Courtesy ence Establishment, Ward's Natural N. Y.) SciInc., Rochester,

process of alteration or replacement of minerals by underground water. Metamorphism in some rocks has involved a change so great as to produce minerals not present in the parent rock. Both igneous and sedimentary

rocks may be metamorphosed into rocks of different kinds. Under the influence of pressure and heat, the minerals of granite arrange themselves in rough bands, forming gneiss (nis). T h u s the layers of mica, quartz, and feldspar may be plainly visible. Sandstone changes to a more compact, hard rock called quartzite, which is sometimes misnamed granite. Shale becomes harder, splits into thin layers, and is familiar as black slate, quarried especially in Pennsylvania and Vermont. It is used as roofing, as blackboards in schoolrooms, and as the "floor" in billiard tables. A pure limestone becomes somewhat harder, sometimes takes on a translucent or waxy appearance, and is called marble. W h e n polished, this is a most beautiful stone and is used for ornamental building purposes. Important marble quarries are located in Vermont, Georgia, and Tennessee. Metamorphosed bituminous coal becomes anthracite. T h e outstanding region producing pure anthracite is located in northeastern Pennsylvania. If the metamorphosis of coal is carried far enough, the resulting material may be graphite, which is pure carbon. Graphite when mixed with certain amounts of clay forms the "lead" of lead pencils.
Rock and mantle rock. F o r t h e m o s t

part, the solid rock of crust is buried beneath layer, thin or thick, of and decomposed rock

the earth's a covering broken-up fragments.

COMPOSITION

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195

This material is named mantle rock, or regolith, and the upper part of it includes the soil. Not everywhere is the mantle rock sufficiently thick to cover the underlying rock. On many steep slopes, and in some regions over large areas generally, the bare and solid rock may be seen. These exposures of solid bedrock are called outcrops. From the nature and position of the rocks displayed in widely scattered outcrops, geologists are able to form intelligent opinions as to the kind, distribution, and extent of the rocks buried beneath the mantle rock.
Bedrock of the United States. T h e

Mountains and the Sierra Nevada are largely igneous.


FORCES THAT MOLD THE EARTH'S SURFACE

importance of the kind of bedrock is shown by its influence on (1) the relief features of the earth's surface, (2) the kind of soils that overlie certain rocks, and (3) the occurrence of natural resources, such as deposits of valuable ores. Maps showing underlying bedrock often are very complex. However, a few general statements can be made about the distribution of the principal kinds of rock in the United States. Some parts of New England and the Appalachian Mountains are formed of ancient crystalline rocks; others, of stratified rocks. T h e vast interior lowlands from the Appalachians to the Rockies are, for the most part, underlain by sedimentary rocks. T h e Rocky Mountains are composed of mixed types, granite and gneiss forming extensive areas. The Colorado Plateau consists mainly of sedimentary rocks; the Columbia Plateau and the Cascade

T h e major subdivisions of the earth from the standpoint of relief or inequality of surface elevation are the great depressions that contain the oceans and the broad elevations that are the continents. Upon the continents there are many features of a smaller order of size with which people have daily and intimate concern. These landforms are the high mountain masses, the broad plateaus, rough hill regions, and extended plains. Of a still smaller size are numerous low hills interrupted by many valleys.
What causes landforms? L a n d f o r m s

are made by forces that act upon the earth's surface through longer or shorter periods of time. Some of the forces may be described as earth forces, some as climatic; still others are produced by plants and animals. They accomplish their various kinds of work by processes that will be considered in Chapter 9. Forces and processes of different kinds, acting upon rocks of varying hardness, produce the interesting features of the land surface. So remarkable are these features in certain localities that they are set aside as national parks.
Landform changes involve great lengths of time. A s w e s t u d y l a n d -

forms and the processes by means of which they have been made, we must adopt a different concept of time

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from that employed in considering the events of h u m a n history. Although some natural processes are sudden and violent, accomplishing notable results in a short space of time, these are the exception rather than the rule. Most of the landforms have been produced by the slow and long-continued operation of forces and processes still at work. T h e earthchanging forces produce little effect in the span of h u m a n life. Instead, they r e q u i r e thousands of years. It is estimated by earth scientists that the age of the earth is about 4 billion years. Of this vast length of time the record of the first billion years is so ancient that it is vague. More is known of the last 500 million years of earth history. But even that time is so long that it makes the many years of h u m a n history seem b u t a m o m e n t by comparison. In the study of earth history, the fossils of plants and animals are of m u c h importance. These fossils have been preserved in the sedimentary rocks. T h e y are the principal means by which the relative ages of different rocks in the later part of earth history are determined.
Forces responsible for the surface

molding of the earth. T h e

various

forces involved in the production and alteration of landforms may be grouped: (1) tectonic, forces that originate within the earth, and (2) gradational, forces that originate without or beyond the earth. Tectonic forces derive their energy mainly f r o m changes occurring in the earth's interior. These changes

are caused by (1) heating, (2) expansion or contraction, and (3) the moving of liquid material f r o m one place to another. These tectonic forces are subdivided into two general groups: 1) Diastrophismthe warping, folding, or bending, a n d breaking of the earth's crust. 2) Volcanismthe action of volcanoes in the movement or expulsion of molten rock from the interior. T h e tendency of tectonic forces and their processes is to produce differences in elevation on the earth's surface. In some places rock layers are bent up; in others, down. Molten rock may p o u r f r o m an opening in the earth's crust, greatly increasing the elevation of the land in that locality. Gradational forces operate largely through the work of agents such as wind, r u n n i n g water, moving snow and ice, and living organisms. T h e tendency of these forces is to level the earth's surface by reducing land to u n i f o r m slopes, or grades. T h e processes of gradation are subdivided into 1) Degradationprocesses that operate to wear away or reduce land elevations to the final level, or grade. 2) Aggradationprocesses that tend to fill the sea margins a n d depressions of various kinds a n d thus to build them up. Degradation involves rock decay and the transportation of rock materials f r o m higher to lower elevations. Aggradation is the deposition of sedim e n t in low places.

COMPOSITION

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EARTH'S

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197

T h e two great groups of forces, tectonic, on the one hand, and gradational, on the other, are at work continuously and, therefore, are in endless conflict. T h e one causes earth features having differences in elevation; the other tends to reduce them to low and uniform plain. T h e hills, valleys, and other relief features that now exist are the present, but temporary, expression of the state of this perpetual battle.

earth must resemble the cracked glaze on a piece of antique china. However, the joints become smaller

Fig. 152. The development of a fault in sedimentary rock: A, the strata before faulting; B, fault, showing direction of displacement and the fault scarp; C, the reduction of the fault Fig. 151. Joint planes commonly occur in sets, or groups, all the members of which trend in the same direction. The sets may be vertical, inclined, or horizontal. (Courtesy U. S. cal Survey.) Geologiscarp by erosion to a dissected fault-line scarp.

and fewer with depth and are believed not to exist below a dozen miles or so. This cracked surface

Breaking of surface rocks. I t is w e l l

known that any rock, under sufficient strain, will break. Terrific strains are placed on the outer shell of the earth by the expansion or shrinkage of the earth as a whole. Strains also are produced by the removal of molten rock or surface sediments from place to place. As a result, surface rocks everywhere are characterized by many cracks, called joints (Fig. 151). These are so numerous that the hard exterior of the

Fig. 153. Block faulting and the formation of a graben and a horst are illustrated diagram. apart. The center block (graben) in this moves

downward when the supporting walls are pulled

zone is called the zone of fracture. T h e joints permit the water of the ground to circulate more freely within the rocks and enable the

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T H E E A R T H AND I T S

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Fig. 154. An example of the folding, or bending, of rock strata, Glacier National Park. (Courtesy U. S. Geological Survey.)

agents of gradation to work more readily. Sometimes rocks not only break but also actually move along the plane of breakage. T h e position of rock layers owing to such breaking and slipping is called a fault (Fig. 152). T h e motion that produces dislocation of rock often is sudden but usually is limited in amount to fractions of an inch or a few feet. If the displacement is vertical, the rocks on one side may be elevated enough to produce a cliff, which is called a fault scarp. T h e rock movement, however, may be horizontal as well as vertical. W h e n many successive faults occur along the same plane at intervals during thousands of years, the resulting fault scarp may attain the size of hills or even mountains. Most

of the basin ranges in Nevada are a result of faulting where great masses of rock have been uptilted. T h e towering east lace of the Sierra Nevada in California is a huge fault scarp, and so is the Lewis Range in Montana, in Glacier National Park. These giant displacements required a tremendous length of time during which the agents of degradation carved the highest segments into mountain peaks. In a few places in the world, parallel faults of great length have permitted the blocks of earth between them to drop (Fig. 153). These become broad valleys, flanked on each side by fault scarps, and are known
as rift valleys, or graben, from the

German word meaning trough. Of this origin are such famous valleys as the Lowlands of Scotland, the upper

COMPOSITION

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EARTH'S

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199

Fig. 155. Synclinal and anticlinal mountains. The complicated folds and faults of some mountains have been studied and, from the eroded remnants that make up the present mountains, great structures have been projected. These probably never existed, because they were eroded as they were formed.

Rhine Valley, the depression in which the Dead Sea lies, and those vast trenches in East Africa which are occupied in part by Lakes Tanganyika and Nyassa. In some places the land between parallel faults has been uplifted. T h e result is the formation of a blocklike mountain uplift called a horst.
Folding of surface rocks. Just as a

cause the agents of degradation have greatly altered their general appearance. Similar to folding but less intense, although no less important, are those broad bends in the earth's crust

board warps and bends, so does the earth's surface. T h e close bending of rock layers is called folding (Fig 154). T h e folds may be very small or large enough to form mountains. They may be simple or complex. In some mountain reions, sedi mentary rock strata have been under such enormous pressure that they have been pushed u p into a series of wavelike folds. T h e arch, or crest, of one of these folds is called an anticline, and the trough of the wave, a syncline (Figs. 155, 156). In the Alps and some other mountains, the upward bends have been closed and tipped . Such mountain formations are further complicated by faulting and, in some cases, the intrusion of molten rocks. Seldom do anticlines and synclines appear as corresponding ridges and valleys, be'

Fig.

156.

portion

of

buried

anticlinal

structure that has been exposed in a stream valley. (Courtesy U. S. Geological Survey.)

which may be called warping. Such changes in crustal shape probably are continuously in progress but require thousands of years to produce notable results. T h r o u g h warping, broad areas of lowland, such as the North Sea basin, have been lowered slowly a few feet or a few scores of feet and added to the shallow sea bottoms. By the same process, shallow sea bottoms have been elevated slowly and

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THE EARTH AND

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Fig. 157. The principal volcanic regions of the world. (Denoyer's Semielliptical

Projection.)

added to the areas of the continents. For example, most of the state of Florida is a relatively recent addition to the area of North America. Warping accounts for the great areas of sedimentary rocks with their thousands of fossils of marine animals, now located far in the interior of the continents. T h e r e are evidences that some areas were alternately elevated above and depressed below sea level.
Volcanism. Volcanism is t h e term

shaped mountain with an opening, or crater, at the top (Fig. 158). Minor eruptions in the vicinity of the main volcano may form a n u m b e r of cinder cones. Following a volcanic outburst near the ocean, floating pumice stone sometimes covers the water.
Types of volcanic eruptions. Two

applied to all those processes by means of which molten rock is transferred from deep-seated sources to or toward the surface of the earth (Fig. 157). This molten rock is of considerable environmental significance, since it is the direct or indirect cause of several classes of landforms.
Volcanic products. T h e principal

main types of volcanic eruptions are recognized, although some eruptions are intermediate; that is, they seem to fall between the two main types: the explosive and the quiet. T h e explosive type of volcano is the most violent and destructive. Explosions of pent-up gases, mainly steam, cause enormous quantities of gas and dust to be thrown into the air to form great clouds. On February 20, 1943, a volcano burst out of the cornfield of a farmer living near the village of Paricutin, located about 200 miles west of Mexico City, Mexico (Fig. 159). T h e new cone grew rapidly, reaching a height of 500 feet in one week, more than 1000 feet in 10 weeks, and, at the end of a year's time, more than 1500 feet.

product of volcanic extrusion is lava, or molten rock. Certain lavas are accompanied by poisonous gases and steam. In addition, there are various other products, such as pumice stone, volcanic dust, ashes, cinders, and slag. A typical volcano is a cone-

Fig. 158. Mount Capulin, an extinct volcano in northeastern New Mexico. This cone is of relatively recent origin and consists of volcanic cinders, or scoria. It rises about 1500 feet above the surrounding plain and about 8 0 0 0 feet above sea level. From the top other small cones can be seen. Volcanic dust from the volcanoes of New Mexico is found in parts of Kansas. (.Courtesy U. S. Geological Survey.)

Fig. 159. Eruption of Paricutin Volcano, Mexico. Lava, still warm, is shown in the foreground. (Photograph by V/. C. Lowdermilk, U. S. Soil Conservation Service.)

201

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THE EARTH AND ITS

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Volcanic ash and dust covered the countryside for miles, some even reaching Mexico City. From cracks in the earth, near the cone, lava spread in all directions, in some places changing the courses of streams. Volcanic bombs and rocks were thrown high into the air. Falling to earth, they stripped trees of leaves and small branches. Vegetation over a large area was literally smothered by a covering of fine, black dust. In some places the depth of volcanic ash and dust reached 20 feet. During the eruption, great volumes of water vapor were thrown into the atmosphere, aiding in the formation of huge cumulonimbus clouds with accompanying lightning and thunder. Thus, the combined processes and forces of nature produced a new volcanic cone, called Paricutin. It now takes its place in a chain of such cones that extends east and west from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific in the latitude of Mexico City. Krakatao (kra-ka-ta'5) Volcano, located in Sunda Strait, between Sumatra and Java, erupted in 1883 with one of the most violent explosions the world has ever known. Much of the small island, on which the volcano was located, was blown away. T h e disturbance produced huge waves in the sea, which did great damage to villages located on the shores of some of the East Indies, resulting in a loss of life estimated in excess of 30,000. Other explosive volcanoes may be mentioned. Mount Pelee is located

on the island of Martinique, northeast of Venezuela. In 1902 it completely destroyed the city of St. Pierre. Vesuvius, near Naples, Italy, which probably has been studied more than any other volcano in the world, has periods of activity. In A.D. 79 it destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. On the Alaskan Peninsula and Aleutian Islands are many active volcanoes. In 1912 Katmai, a volcano in this region, gave vent to a most violent eruption. T h e great cone of Mount Etna, on the eastern end of the island of Sicily, rises more than 10,000 feet above the Mediterranean Sea and, from time to time, is subject to explosive eruptions. In Mexico, Central America, and the Andes are a n u m b e r of volcanoes that occasionally become active. Many volcanoes of past centuries are now extinct, and their cones exist today as high, snow-covered peaks. Mount Shasta and Mount Rainier are extinct volcanoes. Other, older cones have been greatly eroded. T h e Devil's Tower National Monument, in northeastern Wyoming, is the central core, or "neck," of an ancient volcano, which rises several hundred feet above the surrounding plains. In the quiet type of volcano, lava overflows the crater and flows down the sides of the cone. Steam and other gases escape, b u t there is no violent explosion. Hawaiian volcanoes are noted as representatives of this type. T h e Hawaiian Islands themselves are volcanic mountains built up on the ocean floor, a result

COMPOSITION

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203

of enormous overflows of lava. Mauna Loa (13,680 feet), a volcano on the island of Hawaii, has received widespread attention because of its

-22N

Q *

Honolulu 0 -20N 50 Miles 100

CCP
MAUI

HAWAII

160 W Fig. 160. T h e

158 W

I56W Islands

largest of the Hawaiian

are shown here. These islands, some 2 0 0 0 miles southwest of California, are volcanic in origin. A national On Loa, park this has largest been island established are two on high B, of Hawaii. Mauna

volcanic cones: A, M a u n a Kea, 1 3 , 7 8 0 feet; 1 3 , 6 8 0 feet. A t is the volcanic crater, Kilauea. 1 9 4 6 tidal wave. Note the location

famous by the

earth history, there has issued lava so liquid and so abundant that layer after layer, at intervals, has flooded and buried the original surface for many thousands of square miles. Great expanses of igneous rocks were the result. T h e Columbia Plateau in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho is an example of igneous extrusion. Here successive lava flows, over a long period, covered a total area of more than 100,000 square miles to an average depth of half a mile. In the process, valleys were filled, hills were buried, and mountains were left standing like islands in a nearly level sea of lava plains. Among the other great lava flows of the world are those of the Deccan (peninsular India), Ethiopia (Abyssinia), and southern Brazil.
Igneous intrusions. M o l t e n r o c k , o r

the city of Hilo, which was damaged

activity. On the same island is the crater of Kilauea with its lake of liquid and semiliquid lava. Lava that overflows from Mauna Loa is whitehot, having a temperature in excess of 1000F. As it flows down the mountain side, the top surface cools and becomes dark in color. Occasionally the flows reach the Pacific, resulting in a tremendous hissing of steam as the molten rock comes in contact with the water (Fig. 160).
Igneous extrusions. I n m a n y p l a c e s

magma, may be thrust into openings beneath the local, or country, rock in a great variety of forms. Sometimes

B'
Fig. fied 161. T h i s drawing represents a block the of rock with igneous intrusions. W h e n called a dike. The or horizontal sheet. solidiat

lava forms a vertical wall as at A , it is layer shown

6 is called a sill,

there are flows of solidified lava whose extent is measured in square miles or scores of square miles. In a few places, and at various times in

the magma solidifies in a vertical crevice and forms a dike (Figs. 161, 162). When erosion later removes the less resistant rock adjacent, the

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THE

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dike may stand in bold, wall-like relief in the landscape or even form a considerable range of hills. Horizontal layers of intruded magma are called sills.

the previously existing sedimentary or other rocks and metamorphose those which they touch. Water, seeping through the earth's crust, is heated when it comes in contact with the magma and later may come to the surface as a hot spring. T h e chemical action (solution and deposition) of hot underground water sometimes results in the formation of valuable veins of ore. Igneous intrusions often are noted for their ore deposits.
Hot springs and geysers. I n some

Fig. 162. An igneous dike that stands in relief, because it is more resistant to erosion than the rocks on each side of it. (Courtesy U. S. logical Survey.) Geo-

regions underlain by hot volcanic rock, certain surface features are of interest. Such a region is illustrated by Yellowstone National Park. From several hundred openings in the surface rock, steam and other gases are given off into the air. These openings are called fumaroles. T h e r e are

At times the molten rock, coming from below, will spread out between layers of rock and slowly force the overlying layers to bend upward, forming a laccolith (Fig. 163). T h e upper layers of sedimentary rocks are in time eroded away, exposing the igneous dome. T h e Henry Mountains in southern Utah exhibit several stages in laccolith erosion. Many buttes are eroded laccoliths, an example being Bear Butte in the vicinity of the Black Hills, South Dakota (Figs. 164, 165). T h e igneous cores of many mountain systems are the result of upheavals of molten rock. These great masses of magma, in a variety of forms, dissolve, displace, or uplift

Fig. 163. A illustrates the effects of the intrusion of a giant laccolithic mass into sedimentary rocks; B, features resulting from later by streams. erosion

many hot springs, some of which are continually boiling. These hot waters bring to the surface considerable quantities of mineral matter in solution. As the water cools or evap-

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205

Fig. 164. Bear Butfe, east of the Black Hills in western South Dakota, rises about 1400 feet above the surrounding plains. The center core is igneous rock. Accumulations of rock waste can be seen on the lower slopes. Slopes such as these are called talus slopes. Upturned edges of sedimentary rocks surround the base. (Courtesy U. S. Geological Survey.)

Fig. 165. Bear Butte is a plug of igneous rock forced up through the sedimentary layers. Note the fault on the left side. The Dakota sandstone is an important formation. It is one of the layers that provides water for the numerous artesian wells in eastern South Dakota. (After diagram U. S. Geological Survey.) by

orates, the mineral matter accumulates on the earth's surface near the spring. Hot springs that erupt from time to time at more or less regular intervals are called geysers (Fig. 166). T h e geyser tube extends deep into the earth, reaching hot rock. It fills with water from underground seepage.

T h e boiling point of water under ordinary atmospheric pressure at sea level is 212F. As pressure on the surface of the water is increased, the boiling point rises. Thus, deep in the geyser tube, the boiling point is considerably higher, because of the weight of all the water above. This deep water, in contact with the hot

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rock, finally reaches its boiling point, bursts into steam, and drives the upper water out of the tube, causing the geyser eruption. In the case of the famous Old Faithful geyser in

Fig. 166. Old Faithful geyser in eruption, Yellowstone National Park. W h a t cloud type appears in the background? (Courtesy Pacific Railway.) Northern

Yellowstone National Park, the time between eruptions is about 65 minutes. In many springs, however, this time interval varies considerably. Other regions noted for geysers are found in New Zealand and Iceland. Earthquakes. Earthquakes are relatively small, wavelike movements of the earth's crust. T h e surface of the

earth is in constant vibration, but the movements usually are too small to be felt. Occasionally, tremors of such violence are set u p that they spread over large areas and may even travel around and through the earth. These are recorded by instruments called seismographs. T h e principal causes of earthquakes are (1) faulting of bedrock and (2) volcanic activity. In certain volcanic regions, earth tremors occur frequently. Hundreds of minor earthquakes are recorded on the island of Hawaii every year. These vibrations, as a rule, are not serious. Faulting has been largely responsible for the disastrous earthquakes in human history. T h e displacement of great masses of rock along a fault plane creates a wavelike motion in the surface rocks. This wave travels in all directions. It is more marked and does greater damage near the point of origin. Rocks may slip along a fault at intervals of a few months or years. A region in which many faults have been mapped is likely to be one of more or less frequent earthquakes. Southern California is an example. One of the better known faults in California is the San Andreas rift which extends from near San Francisco southeast for a distance of more than 500 miles. T h e disastrous earthquake in San Francisco in 1906 resulted from horizontal shifting of rocks along this fault, in places as much as 20 feet.
Destructiveness. " O n S e p t e m b e r 1,

1923, the gates of Hell swung open

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207

in central Japan." So begins a vivid description of perhaps the most destructive earthquake the world has ever known. T w o of Japan's great cities, Tokyo and Yokohama, were severely crippled. Nearly 150,000 people were killed, and the property loss was estimated at more than 2 billion dollars. Severe earthquakes may occur in remote parts of the world and cause little destruction; but when they strike in densely populated areas, the damage is tremendous. It is not the amount of the earth's movement that matters so much as the suddenness and sharpness of the shock. This may be illustrated by standing a piece of chalk on a table and striking the latter a cpiick, sharp blow underneath. T h e vibration of the table top may be too small to be seen, but the chalk may be thrown some distance upward and toppled over. A writer who was in Tokyo at the time of the 1923 earthquake says that to appreciate the sharpness of the shock one should imagine himself standing on a board and to have it struck from beneath by a huge hammer in the hands of a giant. W h e n such quick movements of the earth's surface occur, persons are thrown to the ground; buildings collapse; people are killed by falling debris rather than by the earthquake itself; water mains below ground are destroyed; and fire, once started, cannot be controlled. In January, 1939, a disastrous earthquake caused great damage and the Joss of nearly 50,000 lives in

southern Chile. Especially in the cities of Chilian and Concepcion the destruction of life and property was extremely severe. In December of the same year, several highly destructive earthquakes visited Turkey, especially its northern and eastern districts, causing great loss of life and property in this old and densely settled region. W h e n an earthquake occurs on the bottom of the sea, huge water waves are created, which become larger as they reach shallow coastal waters. These are commonly, and erroneously, called "tidal waves." They have no relation to the true tide. These large waves may reach such proportions that they travel much farther inland along level coasts than do ordinary waves. I n densely populated portions of the coast of southeastern Asia, tidal waves have, upon occasions, destroyed thousands of human lives. I n April, 1946, an earthquake on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean caused tidal waves to spread to the Hawaiian Islands, California, and Alaska. At Hilo, on the east coast of Hawaii, more than 100 people were killed, and a million-dollar breakwater was severely damaged (Fig. 160). At Honolulu, Oahu, some 200 miles northwest of Hilo, damage in the harbor was estimated at many thousands of dollars. One observer at Hilo reported: "About 6 A.M. I noticed that the ocean floor was bare. Shortly afterward, nine huge waves invaded the city. Large warehouses were crumbled by the force of the

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M dfe fo a mp o ii d r m a b N.H.Heck.in the^-j, y Geogr. Review. Vol.

Fig. 167. There are three extensive regions where earthquakes have been more or less frequent: (1) the west coasts of North and South America; (2) a belt across southern Eurasia; and (3) a belt that includes the Japanese Islands, the Philippines, and the East Indies. (Denoyer's tical Projection.) Semiellip-

water." In Alaska, one lighthouse that reached 100 feet above the sea was destroyed, with the loss of 10 lives. Some damage was done on the coast of California, b u t it was minor compared with that in the Hawaiian Islands. In August, 1940, scores of persons were killed and more than 1000 fishing boats were destroyed when a tidal wave struck Hokkaido Island, Japan. Following a tidal wave at Santa Cruz del Sur, on the south coast of Cuba, in November, 1932, more than 2000 people were reported dead or missing, and the entire city was destroyed.
Regions of frequent earthquakes.

ocean deeps offshore contributes to the frequency of earthquakes in that region. T h e same is true of the eastern side of the Pacific. Small earthquakes are frequent on the coasts of the American continents from Cape Horn to Alaska. Several severe shocks have occurred in Chile, Mexico, California, and Alaska since the beginning of the present century. It is said that in Tokyo a sensible shock occurs on the average once every three days.
SUMMARY

T h e earth may be subdivided into 1) T h e atmosphere, mainly nitrogen and oxygen 2) T h e hydrosphere, or oceans, seas, lakes, etc. 3) T h e lithosphere, composed of a) Solid rock b) Mantle rock, or regolith T h e composition sphere includes of the litho-

Since earthquakes are due largely to tectonic forces, the regions of frequent occurrence correspond closely with the zones of volcanic activity and faulting (Fig. 167). Parts of those zones, however, are more subject to earth tremors than are others. T h e great difference in elevation between the mountains of Japan and the great

COMPOSITION

A N D C H A N G E S OF T H E

EARTH'S

CRUST

209

1) Minerals, such as quartz, calcite, feldspar, and mica 2) Rocks, which are classified as a) Igneous, such as granite and basalt b) Sedimentary, such as limestone, sandstone, shale, and conglomerate c) Metamorphic, such as gneiss, marble, and slate

T h e forces that mold the earth's surface are of two types: tectonic and gradational. T h e tectonic forces operate through three processes 1) Diastrophism 2) Volcanism 3) Earthquakes T h e gradational forces will considered in Chapter 9. be

QUESTIONS

1. Define lithosphere; rock. 2. What are the principal chemical elements found in the lithosphere? 3. Define () mineral; (b) ore; (c) lapidary; (d) crystallography. 4. What is the value of ultraviolet light in prospecting? 5. What is the commercial value of (a) galena, (b) mica, (c) tigereye, (d) asbestos, (e) limonite? 6. Mention three localities noted for iron ore production. 7. Explain how a vein of mineral is formed. 8. What are igneous rocks? extrusive rocks? intrusive rocks? 9. What is obsidian? 10. In what two ways does water transport its mineral load? 11. Why are sedimentary rocks said to be stratified? 12. Describe sandstone. Why is it sometimes banded in appearance? 13. Define porous and impervious rock. Name examples of each. 14. What is shale? What type of soil does it produce? What are some tests by which shale can be identified? 15. How is limestone formed? What is chert? chalk? 16. By what process were Carlsbad Caverns formed? 17. By what tests can limestone be identified? 18. What are the principal uses of limestone? Mention two noted regions that produce building limestone. 19. Explain the formation of coal; of beds of rock salt. 20. What are metamorphic rocks? How are rocks metamorphosed? 21. Name five metamorphic rocks and the original rock from which each was formed. 22. Where are slate and marble quarried? Name the uses of each. 23. What is graphite? What are some of its uses? 24. Define mantle rock; outcrop. 25. Define tectonic and gradational forces.

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THE

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26. Define diastrophism: volcanism. 27. Define degradation; aggradation. 28. What are joints in rocks? What is the zone of fracture? 29. Define fault; fault scarp. 30. How were the basin ranges and the Sierra Nevada formed? 31. Diagram and explain the formation of a rift valley. Name and locate several such formations. 32. Define folding; anticline; syncline. 33. Explain warping of the earth's crust. What are some of the results? Give examples. 34. Name the products of volcanic eruption. 35. What are the two general types of volcanic eruptions? How do they differ? 36. W h a t and where are the following: (a) Krakatao, (b) Hilo, (c) Parfculin, (d) Oahu, (e) Devil's Tower, (/) Aleutian, (g) Mauna Loa, (h) Etna, () Bear Butte, (j) Rainier? 37. Notice Fig. 160. What are the longitude and latitude of Honolulu? When is the noon sun slightly north of this city? 38. Locate the Columbia Plateau. How was it formed? 39. What is magma? Diagram and explain dike; sill; laccolith. 40. Explain the cause of fumaroles; hot springs; geysers. 41. Name and locate three regions noted for geysers. 42. What is an earthquake? What instrument records earthquakes? 43. What are the two principal causes of earthquakes? Which is responsible for the most destructive shocks? 44. What causes a tidal wave? Where have tidal waves done considerable damage?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. Make a list of building stones and earth materials used in the construction of some familiar building. 2. Find sources of building stones used in your own community. 3. Secure and examine specimens of various rocks. 4. In three boxes, or trays, arrange the rocks according to the classification: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. 5. Examine specimens of lime, cement, and concrete. 6. Weigh a piece of thoroughly dried sandstone. Put it in water for several hours, and weigh it again. Explain results. Repeat, using other rocks. 7. On a large wall outline map of the United States, roughly outline and color the areas of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. (Maps of the U. S. Geological Survey are useful for this purpose.) 8. Using a band saw, cut wooden specimens to show folding and fault-

COMPOSITION

A N D C H A N G E S OF T H E

EARTH'S

CRUST

211

ing. Cut one curve to show an anticline; another, a syncline. Cut a third block along a fault plane. Paint the rock layers different colors. 9. Select a talented fellow-student to paint a large map of the island of Hawaii to show volcanoes and lava flows. 10. Make a list of a dozen or more active volcanoes, and print the names at the correct locations on a map of the world. 11. O n the same map print the names and dates of disastrous earthquakes in the correct places. 12. Using molding clay or plaster of paris, mold a relief model of a typical volcanic cone. Make a model of the island of Hawaii. 13. Draw a large map of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Outline and color the Columbia Lava Plateau. N O T E : Other activities may be found in the laboratory manual.
TOPICS FOR CLASS REPORTS

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

The Uses of Limestone Manufacture of Portland Cement T h e Island of Hawaii Vesuvius Yellowstone National Park T h e San Francisco Earthquake of 1906
REFERENCES

L. Getting Acquainted with Minerals. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1934. F I E L D , R I C H A R D M. Geology (outline of principles). Barnes & Noble, Inc., New York, 1955. F O R D , W. E. Dana's Manual of Mineralogy. John Wiley X: Sons, Inc., New York. Revised 1941 by C. S. Hurl hut. L O N G W E L L , C. R.. and F L I N T , R. F . Introduction to Physical Geology, [ohn Wiley &: Sons, Inc., New York, 1955. P E A R L , R I C H A R D M. HOW to Know the Minerals and Rocks. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1955. P I R S S O N , I,. V. Rocks and Rock Minerals (3d ed.). John Wiley Sons, Inc., New York. 1947. R A P P O R T , S A M U E L , and W R I G H T , H E L E N , editors. The Crust of the Earth. New American Library, New York, 1955. State Geological Survey of your own state. Ask for list of publications.
ENGLISH, GEORGE

C H A P T E R

9 .

Wearing Away and Building U p of the Land

Among the various agents that reduce the surface features of the land to lower levels, the most important are water, ice, and wind. They derive their energy mainly from the sun and the force of gravity. Year after year these forces operate slowly but surely to wear away the land surface in some places and to build it u p in others. They are aided by certain organic agents, such as plants, animals, and man, all of which may be
c a l l e d t h e agents of gradation.

Landforms mark various stages in the process of gradation. Many kinds of landforms originate from steps and incidents in the gradational process. Some of them are forms carved in the solid rocks by the agents of degradation. Others result from the temporary (in the geological sense) deposition and peculiar arrangement of material on its way to the sea. Climatic conditions greatly influence all the processes of gradation.
STATIC PROCESSES Weathering. T h e t e r m weathering

T h e agents of gradation work in many ways. Some are completely without motion, their products remaining essentially where they were formed. These may be called the static processes. Others involve motion in which materials are picked up, transported, and put down. These are called mobile processes. T h e static processes prepare rock for removal; the mobile processes bring about its removal and cause its redeposition. T h e mobile processes include both degradation, or wearing away, and aggradation, or building up, of the land.

is applied to all processes that cause rocks to crumble and decay. These processes are divided into two groups: chemical and mechanical. They are, however, usually operating at the same time.
Chemical weathering includes the

processes that cause rock to decompose, or rot. Some of the minerals in the rock undergo chemical change (Fig. 168). T h e principal chemical changes are oxidation, carbonation, hydration, and solution.

272

W E A R I N G A W A Y A N D B U I L D I N G UP OF T H E L A N D

213

1) Oxidation is the uniting of oxygen with another element. Thus, iron combines with oxygen to form iron oxide. 2) Carbonation is the action of carbon dioxide (CO a ). It is illus-

4) Solution is the dissolving of various substances by water. Rock salt, for example, is easily dissolved and carried away by rain water. Vastly more important results of solution are () the leaching of soils, that is, the removal of the lime content, which lowers the fertility of the soil, and (b) the formation of caves

Fig.

168.

The

weathering

of

granite,

shown rock.

here, is due partly to the chemical decomposition of the minerals that (Courtesy Wisconsin make up the Survey.) Geological

trated by the solution of limestone, or calcite (calcium carbonate, CaC0 3 ), by weak carbonic acid (H 2 CO s ) which is formed by a combination of water and carbon dioxide. Here, indeed, is a most important process of chemical weathering. Limestone is not dissolved to any extent by rain water and, therefore, can be used as a building stone. Ground water, on the other hand, because of its contact with other substances, is in reality a very weak acid, containing not only carbonic acid b u t other acids. T h e carbonic acid changes the limestone to a soluble form, which is dissolved and carried away. 3) Hydration is the chemical union of water with other elements. T h u s , limonite is a combination of iron oxide and water; gypsum, of calcium sulfate and water.

Fig. 169. This cliff, 1000 feet high, in the Grand River Valley, near Palisade, Colorado, is an example of differential weathering. The vertical walls are resistant sandstone; the steep slopes, largely shale. (Courtesy U. S. Geological vey.) Sur-

by the solution of underground layers of limestone. All the processes of chemical weathering are promoted by high

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T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig.

170.

Exfoliating

granite on a summit of the Sierra Survey.)

Nevada,

Alpine

County,

California.

(Courtesy

U. S. Geological

temperatures and abundant moisture. Chemical weathering, therefore, is more rapid in warm than in cold climates and in humid than in dry climates. Different rocks and even different parts of the same rock weather at different rates, even under the same general conditions. Therefore, after prolonged weathering, some parts of a rock may be greatly changed, but others are so little changed that they stand out in bold relief after the weathered material is removed. Such features are said to be
t h e r e s u l t of differential weathering includes

(Fig. 169).
Mechanical weathering

all processes by which solid rock is broken into fragments but is left chemically unchanged. T h e following are the more effective of such processes:
1) T h e f o r m a t i o n of joint planes

by diastrophism. Water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide are able to penetrate solid rock along these openings and

to carry on the work of chemical weathering deep in the earth's crust. 2) T h e expansive force of freezing water in rock crevices pries apart the adjacent minerals or even large blocks of rock. When water freezes, it expands about one-tenth its volume. It is a familiar fact that iron pipes often are broken when water is allowed to freeze in them. Under ideal conditions the pressure exerted by ice may be even greater than that inside a steam-engine boiler. 3) Tree roots growing in crevices exert a wedgelike force that aids in prying apart masses of rock. T h e amount of force exerted is illustrated by some sidewalks where blocks of concrete have been broken loose and lifted u p by growing tree roots beneath. 4) Sometimes several processes of weathering operate together. In some places, especially in mountains and deserts, one may observe the shelling off of the outer layers of rocks. This

WEARING

AWAY AND

BUILDING

U P OF T H E L A N D

215

is probably due to a combination of chemical weathering of the outer layers, the wedge work of ice, and expansion and contraction of the rock caused by daily heating and cooling. This shelling-off process is known as exfoliation (Fig. 170).
Results of weathering. Without

question the most important residt of weathering is die formation of soil, which is the upper part of mantle rock. T h e nature of underlying bedrock often determines to a considerable extent the type of soil that is formed. A second important result is the solution and later concentration of valuable minerals. A third is the slow disintegration and crumbling of great mountains, which provides the loose material carried by thousands of streams on their way to the sea (Fig. 171).
MOBILE PROCESSES

moving snow and ice, (4) waves, and (5) wind. T h e rate at which weathered material is transported by the agents of erosion depends to a considerable degree on the slope of the land. On steep cliffs, gravity itself removes weathered rock fragments about as fast as they are loosened. T h i s leaves the rock of the cliff bare. On flat surfaces, even in rainy regions, the products of weathering tend to accumulate to greater depdis. Transportation on flat surfaces must, in most cases, necessarily be slow. Deposition. T h e agents of erosion pick up, transport, and deposit rock particles. It is, of course, during the period of transportation that erosion of bedrock takes place. Ultimately, however, the transported material is laid down, perhaps temporarily or for thousands of years. This deposition of sediment is aggradation. An example of such deposition is the familiar sand bar in a stream or the delta at the mouth of a river. Aggradation functions to fill slowly the depressions and basins of the earth's surface with loose rock waste. By this process certain landforms, such a? floodplains, are developed. In many instances, such landforms are of vital importance in the environment of a given locality.
GROUND WATER CHANGES THE LAND

Erosion. T h e weathering processes commonly are followed, but not always immediately, by degradational processes which remove the weathered rock fragments from the places of their origin. As these rock particles are moved from place to place, they r u b against and wear away the surface of the earth. Erosion is the term applied to the grinding of rock on rock and the removal of rock waste. It should be emphasized that transportation is the essential factor in erosion. This transportation is accomplished mainly by the following agents of erosion: (1) underground water, (2) surface r u n n i n g water, (3)

Ground water exists in the pore spaces of mantle rock, in porous rocks, and in the joint cracks and

216

T H E EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

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O

"D "O

'd

vo I
s

J*

^ *I 1
a

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WEARING

AWAY AND BUILDING

U P OF T H E L A N D

217

Fig. 172. The undulating surface of a ground-water table and its relation to the land relief and drainage features.

other crevices of all rocks as far down as crevices and pore space extend. T h e greater part of the pore space and, therefore, of the water is within a few hundred feet of the earth's surface. Many impervious or tightly capped rocks at great depths are essentially dry. T h e ground-water supply is maintained principally by the part of precipitation that penetrates the mantle rock. At depths that vary greatly, all pore space is filled with water, and the ground is said to be saturated.
T h e water table is d e f i n e d as t h e top

surface of the zone of the earth's crust that is saturated with water (Fig. 172). It is sometimes called the
ground-water level, b u t its s u r f a c e is

by no means level. Its depth varies with water supply, elevation, and slope of the land. In humid regions it is nearer the earth's surface than in dry lands. It is usually deeper in hills than in lowlands and often comes to the surface as a spring.
Gradational work of ground water.

T h e gradational work of ground water is mainly chemical, because in most rocks it moves too slowly to accomplish much mechanical erosion. Landslides and soil-creep on slopes result largely from the "lubricating"

effect of ground water; that is, the presence of underground water increases the tendency of soils to slip down slopes. However, the principal work of ground water as it influences landforms has to do with solution and the redepositing of dissolved minerals. Solution, a phase of chemical weathering, is widespread. It is a process capable of giving rise to certain landforms. T h e solution of limestone by ground water containing weak carbonic acid may honeycomb the underlying bedrock of a region. Caverns and other cavities may be so close to the earth's surface that their roofs collapse. T h e land surface in such a region is likely to be dotted with numerous depressions and is said to have karst topography. Rain that falls on such a region tends to disappear into underground channels instead of forming the usual network of surface streams. Under favorable conditions ground water may become overcharged with dissolved mineral matter and be forced to deposit some of it. T h e main causes of such deposition are evaporation of some of the water and a decrease in temperature. T h e r e are other causes of a chemi-

218

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

cal nature. T h e deposited minerals are chemical precipitates. A familiar example is the lime in a teakettle or the salt that remains when salt water evaporates. In most limestone caves, water drips from the roof in many places. As it clings to the roof, some evaporation takes place, and over a long period of time a stalactite is formed of the mineral matter, mainly calcite, carried in solution. When

Fig.

173. A cave caused

by the solution

of

limestone. Note the following: A, stalactite; B, stalagmite; C, column; D, sinkhole. Much of the rainfall in such a region seeps into the ground through sinkholes and other crevices that lead to the cave.

water carrying silica or lime. A buried tree trunk, for example, is removed, molecule by molecule, and replaced with silica or quartz of various colors, often keeping even the microscopic details of internal structure. T h e removal and replacement of minerals by ground water is an important factor in the formation of certain earth resources. T h e valuable deposits of mineral ores are largely a result of this process. T h e deposit may be in the form of a large vein of ore, such as lead sulfide, or galena; or tiny quantities of a pure metal, such as gold, may be deposited in small cavities scattered throughout a vein of quartz. T h u s an important function of ground water, from the economic standpoint, is the collecting of valuable minerals from great masses of rock and redepositing them in a more concentrated form.
RUNNING WATER CHANGES THE LAND

the water drops to the floor, further evaporation causes the formation of a stalagmite (Fig. 173). In some cases the two deposits combine to form a column (Fig. 174). In Carlsbad Caverns these formations reach considerable size. One stalagmite is more than 15 feet in diameter at the base and about 62 feet in height. Of greater importance are certain less spectacular types of deposition. For example, ground water charged with lime may enter a bed of sand, cementing the sand grains to form a limy sandstone. Silica or lime may be deposited in crevices to form veins. Wood, bones, and shells are petrified by the action of ground

T h e most widespread erosion done by running water is that accomplished by the immediate runoff, that part of the precipitation which does not soak into the ground or evaporate into the air. T h e runoff may start its work as a sheet of water; but ordinarily, within a short distance, it collects into a stream.
Erosional work of streams. As

streams grow larger, they are maintained by springs and seepage of underground water. Streams flow in valleys, and most valleys start as

W E A R I N G A W A Y A N D B U I L D I N G UP OF T H E L A N D

219

Fig. 174. A view inside Carlsbad Caverns, a national park located in southeastern New Mexico. Bedrock in this region is limestone. Shown here are huge stalagmites, composed mainly of calcium carbonate. The largest one is 62 feet high and 16 feet in diameter. Smaller stalactites, resembling icicles, hang from the ceiling. The " B i g Room" in Carlsbad Caverns is some 4 0 0 0 feet long, with a ceiling about 3 0 0 feet above the floor. The daily tour through Carlsbad, conducted by rangers of the National Park Service, requires several hours. The portion of the cave inhabited by those remarkable mammals, batsanimals with the " r a d a r ears"is not disturbed. In the late evening thousands of bats may be observed flying from the mouth of the cave. (Courtesy Santa Fe Railway.)

gullies. R u n n i n g water makes them longer, deeper, and wider. A normal gully begins at the base of a slope and grows in length by erosion at the point where surface

water pours in at its upper end. This


is called headiuater erosion (Fig. 175).

New gullies branch from the sides of the first one and lengthen in the same manner. Where mantle rock is

220

THE E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

pier --

^^^'''^^

Fig. 175. This large gully is slowly gnawing its way into a fairly level field. Numerous temporary waterfalls result from heavy rains in nearby hills. The chunks of soil that have fallen into the gully soon will be washed away. This is an example of headwater erosion. Such gullying has ruined many fields. (.Courtesy U. S. Soil Conservation Service.)

somewhat uniform, gullies normally have a branching, or treelike, relation to one another. Gullies of this kind may grow on unprotected slopes in such numbers as to create a serious problem in the control of soil erosion. This pattern of drainage increases in size until it may cover a large area. T h e major stream with all its tributaries is called a river system. T h e depression, or channel, that each stream has cut for itself is a valley. T h e entire area of land drained by a river system is called a drainage basin. An irregular line along an upland separating two adjacent drainage basins is called a
divide.

Valleys

are

deepened

by

their

streams, which, using sand or gravel as tools, erode the bedrock and remove the loose material. T h e rate of valley deepening depends upon (1) the velocity of the stream, (2) its volume, (3) the kind and amount of tools available, and (4) the resistance of the bedrock. T h e velocity of a stream is determined mainly by its gradient, or degree of slope from source to mouth. Streams with steep gradients are swift and, given tools, are able to deepen their valleys more rapidly than other streams of similar volume b u t with lower gradients. In a river system the newer tributaries and headwater streams usually have steeper gradients than the waters of the middle and lower courses where

WEARING

AWAY

AND

BUILDING

U P OF T H E L A N D

221

1 .
1 _

I 1 i uiifrl^ , \ -.. ^-_ I

erosion has been longer in progress. For that reason, the tributary streams may be eroding rapidly; and the main stream, in its lower course, may have a gradient so low that it no longer cuts downward, and more material collects in its channel than it is able to transport. Streams of high velocity transport much more sediment than those of similar volume but low velocity. In time, a channel may deepen to a gradient so low that the stream flows sluggishly. T h e n it barely transports the material supplied to it by its tributaries, and it will deposit sediment temporarily in its valley bottom. Such is said to be a graded
stream, o r a stream at grade. O v e r a

long period of time, a stream will reach the lowest gradient at which it can flow. T h e n it will not transport any material and, therefore, will not degrade its valley further. Such a stream is said to have reached its
base level. Young streams and their valleys.

Fig.

176. Changes in the profile of a valley:

A, V-shaped profile of a young valley; B, start of meandering; C, retreat of valley bluffs; D, meander belt and long meander; E , meander cut off and floodplain widened by trimming is measof bluffs. The width of the ured from bluff to bluff. floodplain

Young streams, because of steeper gradients, usually have high velocities. They cut downward more vigorously than they cut sidewise. T h e i r valleys are widened at the top as the rock waste, loosened by weathering and rain, falls to the bottom. T o an observer looking upstream or downstream, such valleys appear typically V-shaped (Fig. 176). In loose material which washes easily, the V is likely to be broad and open; in hard rock it tends to be narrow and gorgelike. In plateaus and mountains young

222

THE

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RESOURCES

valleys are often canyons or gorges. In lowlands they are only a few feet deep but maintain the V shape. Both are young in terms of stage of devel-

many young streams to be interrupted by waterfalls and rapids (Fig. 177). In older streams, which are nearing grade, time has permitted erosion to carve away even the hardest rocks, and falls and rapids tend to disappear.
Mature streams and their valleys. As

a stream approaches base level, both stream and valley take on new characteristics. T h e stream becomes less swift and is readily turned aside. It begins to swing against its valley walls, cutting at their bases and pushing them apart by undercutting. Widening becomes more rapid than deepening. T h e stream swings from side to side on a widening valley floor in broad loops called meanders (Fig. 178).
Surface relief of the land. A s y o u

travel from place to place, observe

Fig. 177. Waterfalls and rapids are more numerous in young streams than in either mature or old. Young valleys are typically V-shaped and range in size from tiny gullies in a plowed field to deep canyons. (Photograph by M. H. Shearer.)

opment, although there may be a vast difference in their ages measured in terms of years. Young streams, rapidly eroding, often find their courses through rocks of unequal resistance which erode at different rates. T h e abrupt changes in gradient, which result from unequal erosion, cause the courses of

Fig. 178. A stream meandering in an alluvial floodplain between rock walls. (Courtesy U. Geological Survey.) S.

the nature of the land surface. Are most of the valleys young, mature, or old? Note how the agents of erosion have influenced the slope of the land.

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T h e degree to which erosion has changed the land surface makes it possible for us to identify three types of landscape: (1) youth, (2) maturity, and (3) old age. As stream valleys develop, so do the relief features of the regions through which they flow. In some areas, streams generally are young, and valleys are narrow. T h e tributaries are undeveloped and few. T h e uplands between streams are broad and relatively flat. T h e streams have only begun the task of reducing the land toward base level. Such a region is said to be in the stage of youth (Fig. 1794). As erosion continues, many new tributary streams and a large n u m b e r of gullies are formed. These cut into the former broad uplands. Valleys grow deeper and wider. T h e whole area becomes one of rolling hills. Divides between drainage basins are easily traced. Such a region is said to have a mature surface (Fig. 179). Progress of erosion beyond maturity enables the streams, first the larger ones and then the tributaries, to reach their respective grades. Beyond this point there is still a slow reduction of the land surface by weathering and slope wash. T h e region ultimately acquires broadly open and level-floored valleys, or floodplains, which are separated by low rolling divides. This stage in surface development is referred to as old age (Fig. 179C).
How streams deposit material. A

material is forced to deposit some of its sediment at various places. T h e term alluvium is applied to such stream deposits. T h e action of running water tends to sort the transported material roughly according to

Fig.

179. Development of a land surface

by

stream erosion from youth A, through maturity B, to old age C. The dotted white line indicates the base level toward which the streams are working.

stream that is overloaded with rock

the weight of the particles. This sorting action results in the formation of layers of gravel, sand, silt, and clay. Water-deposited sediments, therefore, tend to be stratified. Streams become overloaded with sediment for several reasons: (1) A decrease in velocity decreases carrying power. It is a well-known fact that the faster a stream flows, the more sediment it can carry. (2) Tributaries may bring more sediment than the main stream can carry. It

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Fig.

180. The small stream is widening its valley bottom by undercutting on the outside and courtesy Chicago, Burlington, Railroad.)

depositing on the inside of a bend. (Photograph by F. W . Lehmann, and Quincy

is possible for a n u m b e r of streams to transport so much sediment to a main river that the channel of the river may become choked. (3) A decrease in volume of the stream may result from a decrease in rainfall, from seepage of water into the ground, or from evaporation. For example, a stream that originates in mountains where rainfall is abundant and then flows across a desert is almost certain to have its volume reduced and, consequently, its capacity to carry sediment. T h e slowing-up of a stream is perhaps the most common cause of deposition. This is especially marked at the base of mountains where the stream gradient is suddenly lessened and at places where streams flow into lakes or seas. Also, on the insides of

the bends of rivers there are spots of quiet water where sediment is deposited.
Where streams deposit. On the in-

side of the curve. As a stream swings around a bend in its channel, the water on the inside of the curve will have the lower velocity (Fig. 180). It is here that sand bars are formed. Sand bars and m u d flats choke the stream channel and increase the danger of floods at the time of high

water. Gradually, by swinging out against the valley wall on one side and depositing on the other, the stream produces the broad, flat valley of old age. During floods, this valley is covered with alluvium. Such level land next to a river is called a floodplain. Along stream hanks. S o m e t i m e s a

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225

Fig. 181. Conformation of a small, fairly steep alluvial fan in Nevada. The apex of the fan lies at the mouth of the gully from which the material was eroded. (Photograph by John C. Weaver.)

stream, loaded with sediment, rises in time of flood and overflows its channel. It spreads out upon the floodplain. Much material is deposited immediately along the stream banks where the water first goes out of its proper channel and loses its velocity. On the banks, therefore, the alluvial accumulation is thickest. It generally forms low, broad ridges bordering the stream. These low ridges, which are slightly higher than the rest of the floodplain, are called
natural levees. N e a r l y all At the stream mouth.

enters a lake or sea, deposition results. T h e extensive accumulations of sediment at such locations are called deltas. Deltas fail to develop in some cases because (1) the sea water may be too deep and (2) strong waves and currents remove the sediment. As the delta becomes larger, the main stream overflows into several outlets across the muddy surface. These additional outlets are called
distributaries. At sharp decreases in valley gradi-

streams are able to carry some sediment down their entire courses and out at their mouths. Where the velocity of the stream is checked as it

ent. T h e velocities of mountain streams are checked suddenly where their courses extend out upon adjacent plains. It is here that broad, fan-shaped or conical accumulations of sediment are deposited. These are

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Fig. 182. Iceberg Glacier and Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park. (Photograph courtesy Great Northern Railway.)

by

Hileman,

c a l l e d alluvial fans (Fig. 181). I n h u -

GLACIERS

mid regions many mountain streams have sufficient volume to carry their sediment farther down their courses and, therefore, do not form such deposits. It is in dry regions that alluvial fans reach their greatest development. T h e r e the mountain streams are sometimes dry, sometimes flooded. Such conditions favor the development of alluvial fans, and they may grow until they reach a radius of several miles. Along the bases of some mountain ranges, every stream has its alluvial fan, large or small, and the fans are so crowded that adjacent fans spread and join, making one
c o n t i n u o u s piedmont (Piedmont mountain.) alluvial plain. of the m e a n s at the foot

A glacier is a body of ice that moves slowly over the earth's surface (Fig. 182). In cold climates, either in high latitudes or in high mountains, accumulations of snow form snow fields. Alternate melting and freezing ultimately change the snow to ice, which, partly as a result of the force of gravity, slowly moves downhill. T h e perennial snows of high mountains give rise to valley glaciers. As the snow accumulates, the mass of ice becomes larger, expands, and pushes its lower portions down the valley. As long as the supply of snow is renewed from above, the glacier will continue to move. T h e protruding ice tongue that

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creeps slowly forward conforms to the shape of the valley in which it lies. Its rate of motion depends largely upon the thickness of the ice and the steepness of the valley gradient. It is usually a few feet per day. However, some glaciers in Alaska and Greenland have been known to flow 40 to 50 feet per day. T h e advancing end of the ice tongue, extending down a mountain valley, ultimately reaches lower elevations where higher average temperatures prevail, and the ice wastes by melting. As long as the average forward movement of the ice is greater than the amount lost by melting, the front of the ice tongue will continue to advance. When the rates of advance and melting are equal, the ice front will remain stationary. If melting predominates, the front edge will retreat u p the valley, although the ice is still moving downward. Some valley glaciers in high latitudes, for example in Alaska and Greenland, are able to push so far down their valleys that they reach the sea. They are called tidal glaciers. Instead of melting away in the sea, the ends of the glaciers are continually broken off by the buoyance of the sea water, and great chunks float away in the form of icebergs. T w o or more valley glaciers may combine at the base of a mountain. An example is the great Malaspina Glacier in southern Alaska. It is about 25 miles in width and extends back into the mountains for 60 to 70 miles.

T h e surface of a glacier is by no means smooth. Pressure may cause great masses of ice to be pushed above the general level. Huge cracks in the ice, known as crevasses, are often of unknown depth and constitute a dangerous hazard to travel over the glacier surface. On top of stagnant parts of the Malaspina Glacier, broken rocks and earth have collected to a depth sufficient to support the growth of trees.
Continental glaciers. G r e a t conti-

nental ice sheets now cover most of Greenland and Antarctica. In Greenland, the great mass of ice is more than a mile thick near the center and covers more than 700,000 square miles. This is an area greater than that of the tier of states from Texas to North Dakota, inclusive. T h e ice sheet pushes outward in all directions, forming many coastal valley glaciers. Some of these which reach the sea on the west side break off as icebergs, which are carried south by the Labrador Current into the path of ocean liners plying between New York and Europe. T h e antarctic ice sheet is considerably larger than the United States. Extensive continental glaciers formerly covered the northern half of North America and much of northwestern Europe (Fig. 183). They had their origin as huge snow fields which changed to ice and, by expansion, moved outward, especially toward the south. It is a mistake to assume that these great ice sheets were produced by ex-

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treme changes in climate. T h e only requirement for continental glaciation is that snowfall be somewhat greater, or the temperature some-

ice margin moves equatorward until it reaches a position where loss by melting equals the rate of advance. T h e disappearance of such a glacier, conversely, results from a decrease in snowfall or an increase in temperature. T h e time required for either growth or disappearance probably runs into tens of thousands of years. tion. T h e European ice sheet radiated from centers located in the Baltic Sea region and Scotland and extended southward into England, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Russia. T h e centers of North American glaciation were on each side of Hudson Bay. From the American centers the ice spread outward but more extensively southward. It reached a line that trends from New York City westward across southern New York state to northeastern Ohio and from there along nearly the present courses of the Ohio and Missouri rivers to the Rocky Mountains. Within this boundary the only district to escape burial beneath the ice sheets was a large area located in southwestern Wisconsin and adjacent parts of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. It is known as the driftless area. At the time of the continental ice sheets, there were much larger glaciers than now exist in the mountains of both North America and Europe.
How glaciers erode. C l e a n glacial Areas of former continental glacia-

Fig.

183. Maximum extent of the indicate the Keewatin,

continental and B.

glaciers of North America and Europe. A. The letters Patrician, Labradorean centers of glacial movement.

The principal center of European glaciation was in Sweden or the present site of the Gulf of Bothnia.

what lower, than at present. If the temperature is low enough, then the snow of one year is not quite all melted when that of the next year begins to fall. If that condition prevails, the accumulation spreads inch by inch and century by century. T h e

ice is able to erode rock mainly by pushing and by "plucking." Rock pinnacles or other unstable or detached rocks are readily toppled over

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Fig. 184. Glacial striae and polish on granite, upper valley of Ireland Creek, in the Sierra Nevada, California. Such striae, or grooves, on bedrock indicate the direction in which the glacier moved. (.Courtesy U. S. Geological Survey.)

by the great weight of the advancing glacier, and loose earth is plowed u p by it or frozen into the ice and carried forward. Using as tools the rocks thus obtained, the moving ice accomplishes a tremendous amount of erosion. T h e tools, in their slow motion, gouge, groove, scratch, and polish the rock surfaces over which they pass. In the process the tools themselves are scoured, scraped, and reduced in size. They lose their sharp angularity and become partially rounded. T h e parallel scratches that may be observed on such rocks and on glaciated bedrock are called glacial striae (Fig. 184). How glaciers deposit. T h e l o a d of

a glacier is comprised of rocks and

earth intermingled without regard to size or weight. It is carried in part upon the ice surface or frozen into the ice mass, but even more in its bottom, because that is where most of it is obtained. T h e lower layers of ice in some glaciers are so crowded with clay, sand, and boidders that the earthy material is more abundant than the ice. When the glacier melts, the rock waste remains as boulder clay, or till. Mixed with the soil and gravel are large glacial boulders called erratics. They are often entirely different from local bedrock. Granite boidders, for example, are found in regions of sandstone. T h e layer of boulder clay in some places is very

230

THE

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thin; in others it reaches a thickness of scores of feet. Where roads are cut through glacial deposits, the earth materials usually are not stratified, which is in contrast with water-laid sediments. T h e glacial drift that forms the till sheet over extensive areas is called ground moraine. Other types of moraine are formed hy moving ice. As the front end of the glacier advances, it pushes rock waste ahead of it, forming end moraines. These are often observed as long, continuous ridges of glacial drift, in places more than 100 feet high. Rock waste accumulates along the sides of a valley glacier and on top of the ice, at times becoming thick enough to support the growth of trees. Much of the glacial load, however, does not stop under the ice or upon the moraines about its margin. This material is carried beyond the glacier margin by the streams of water that result from the melting of the ice. Like all stream-transported earth, it is sorted somewhat according to weight, the fine muds being carried farthest and the coarser, heavier materials being put down close in front of the ice. Broad deposits of such sediment are known as outwash plains. Much of Long Island, New York, is an outwash plain. Glacial erosion and deposition disturb the normal processes of stream development. In some ice-scoured valleys several rock basins may be eroded, and these become the sites of small lakes. Unequal resistance of

bedrock produces many waterfalls. Regions covered with recent glacial drift have little order or pattern in their drainage systems. Differences in the age of glacial drift in various localities indicate that North America was invaded by continental glaciers at least three times, all within a comparatively recent period in earth history.
WAVES AND CURRENTS

T h e oceans, seas, and lakes of the earth cover more than 71 percent of its surface and are important agents in the making and changing of landforms. T h e work of such water bodies is accomplished chiefly by waves and currents, which are caused mainly by the wind (Fig. 185). Most erosion and deposition done by waves and currents take place along the margins where land and sea meet and shallow water prevails. land. Most marine erosion is accomplished by waves. In shallow water, waves stir up and agitate the materials of the ocean floor. W i t h the help of currents, this material is shifted to lower places. This process results in a general leveling of the sea floor. T h e r e is little forward motion of the water in the waves of the open sea. T h e wave form moves forward, just as waves may be seen to r u n across a field of standing grain or may be sent along a shaken rope. As a wave enters shallow water, it eventually topples over, or breaks. This
How waves and currents wear away

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Fig. 185. Wave erosion in Acadia National Park, on the coast of Maine. (Courtesy ment of the Interior.)

U. S.

Depart-

motion throws forward a considerable amount of water. T h e water thrown forward by breaking waves rushes upon the shore. T h e r e it loses speed and runs back, under the pull of gravity, beneath the oncoming waves. T h e returning water, flowing seaward along the ocean floor, is called the undertow. It has sufficient force to be a factor in erosion. T h e erosive work of waves is accomplished (1) by the forward motion or slap of the water as the waves break and (2) by the sand and rocks that they carry and use as tools. In either case the principal work is done where the waves break. On exposed coasts, where deep water lies immediately offshore, even

great waves do not break until they reach the shoreline. T h e r e the force exerted by the sheer weight of the water in great waves is truly impressive. Blows of a ton or more per square foot are not uncommon. This is sufficient to dislodge and move about rock fragments of great weight. T h e effect of the undertow is to move the broken fragments away from the shore into deeper water where they are caught by oncoming waves and moved shoreward again. This ceaseless shifting of sand, pebbles, and even boulders grinds away at the ocean shore. T h e general effect is to cut back coastal projections, decreasing the area of the continent and straightening the coast.

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Where winds more or less parallel the .shore, shore currents are set up, which serve to transport sediment from one part of the coast to another.
How waves and currents aggrade

WIND CHANGES THE LAND SURFACE How wind degrades land. T h e w i n d

land. T h e products of wave erosion together with the sediment emptied into the sea by rivers are shifted about and deposited by waves and currents. Because wave activity does not extend to great depths, the sediment does not spread far from shore. T h e coarser rock fragments are deposited first, and the finest are carried farthest out. This process results in a general assortment of shore deposits according to their sizes. Silt and clay are carried to greater depths or are deposited in bays of quiet water. Sand covers extensive areas of the ocean bottom near shore. In some places calcium carbonate accumulates, together with the limy shells of small marine organisms. This is the origin of the muds, sands, and limes that form shale, sandstone, and limestone. These sedimentary rocks in many regions have been uplifted from shallow sea margins and have become parts of the continents.
Where waves and currents aggrade.

T h e deposition of sediment alongshore modifies the coast in several ways and influences its adaptability for human use. Deposition, for the most part, takes place in shallow waters, in protected bays or lagoons, and on the leeward side of projecting coastal features. T h e more important shore features thus developed will be discussed in Chapter 14.

is an important transporting agent. T h e air is never without dust in suspension. Winds of high velocity are capable of moving sand for some distances. Some of the materials carried by wind are thrown into the air by volcanic explosions, but the greater part is obtained by the wind directly from the earth. This process of surface degradation, during which earth is whipped u p by the wind and is transported from one place to another, is called deflation. Deflation is least effective in humid regions where vegetation protects the soil from wind action. It is most effective in semiarid lands and deserts, along sandy coasts, and over freshly plowed fields. From large areas of the desert surface most of the fine material has been removed by the wind. This leaves a desert 2^avement of the heavier gravels and boulders (Fig. 119). T h e process of deflation is to some extent aided by wind erosion, or abrasion. T h e wind-carried sand particles scratch, polish, and reduce one another and, to some extent, the solid rock (Fig. 186). As the rock particles become finer, they may be moved long distances.
How wind aggrades. W i n d , like

streams and waves, deposits its load of coarse material promptly. However, it is able to carry fine particles

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233

Fig. 186. Toadstool Parle, near Adelia, Sioux County, Nebraska. The erosion has been caused mainly by wind-blown sand. Between the protruding thin layers of resistant sandstone are softer layers of clay. (Courtesy U. S. Geological Survey.)

farther and distribute them more widely. Loose sands are supplied in abundance by the weathering of desert rocks or by wave deposition on the shorelines. Where the sands are not anchored by vegetation or moisture, they are whipped up by the wind and drift into the shelter of some obstruction. T h u s begins the growth of a sand dune, or sand hill, which, by its own height, provides its own shelter and promotes its own growth. Some sand dunes move slowly, because the wind drives the sand u p the windward side and down the leeward. T h e dust supplied by rock weathering and abrasion in dry regions is

scattered by prevailing winds over wide expanses. T h e r e probably is a considerable quantity of wind-blown dust in most soils. However, such dust is particularly abundant and may attain great thickness in regions that are visited by dry, dusty winds coming from arid lands. Considerable accumulations of wind-deposited dust are called loess. In northern China the northwest winter winds from T h e Gobi have formed loess deposits that in places are more than 100 feet thick (Fig. 187). Other extensive deposits are found in central United States and central Europe (Fig. 188). Loess covers much of eastern Washington.

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This chapter deals with the processes by which the features of the land are made. T h e gradation processes are divided into static and mobile. T h e static processes, or weathering, are subdivided into (1) chemical, such as oxidation, carbonation, hydration, and solution; and (2) mechanical, such as jointing, expansion of freezing water, and exfoliation. T h e mobile processes are subdivided into degradation and aggradation. Degradation is the wearing away of the land surface by underground water, rivers, glaciers, waves, and wind-blown sand. Aggradation

is the building u p of certain land features by these same agencies. T h e next several chapters will consider mainly the results of these proc-

Fig.

188. The

principal

loess deposits of the U. S. Depart-

United States. (After C. F. Marbut, ment of Agriculture.)

esses which operate to change the surface of the land.

QUESTIONS

1. W h a t is the difference between static and mobile processes of gradation? 2. Define weathering. 3. Define chemical weathering. List the principal chemical changes involved in weathering. 4. Explain carbonation. 5. Give an example of hydration; of solution. State two important results of solution. 6. W h a t is differential weathering? 7. Explain the more important processes of mechanical weathering. 8. Mention three important results of weathering. 9. Define erosion. Name the agents of erosion. 10. Define aggradation. 11. Give five examples of mass wasting. 12. Define water table. 13. What are the results of solution by ground water? 14. What causes ground water to precipitate its mineral load? 15. Explain the formation of caves; of stalactites and stalagmites. 16. Explain the formation of petrified wood; of veins of ore. 17. What is immediate runoff of rain water? headwater erosion?

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18. Define river system; drainage basin; divide. 19. What factors determine the rate of valley deepening? 20. Define gradient of a stream. What effect does gradient have on stream velocity? 21. How does the velocity of a stream affect its ability to carry sediment? 22. What is a graded stream? What is base level? 23. Describe young streams and their valleys. 24. Why are waterfalls and rapids characteristic of young valleys? 25. Describe mature streams and their valleys. What is a meander? 26. Describe the three stages in the development of the general surface relief of the land. 27. What is alluvium? Why is it usually stratified? 28. Why do some streams become overloaded with sediment? 29. Where are sandbars usually formed? Why? 30. What is a floodplain? a natural levee? How is each formed? 31. What is a delta? a distributary? Why do deltas fail to develop at the mouths of some rivers? 32. Explain how and where alluvial fans are formed. What is a piedmont alluvial plain? 33. What are valley glaciers? How fast do they move? 34. Explain the following: tidal glaciers; iceberg; crevasse. 35. Discuss the Greenland ice cap. 36. What climatic changes would be necessary to start another ice age? 37. Locate areas of former continental glaciation in Europe and North America. 38. Where is the driftless area? 39. How do glaciers erode? What are striae? 40. Define or explain erratics; ground moraine. Explain how to differentiate between moraine and water-deposited sediments. 41. Name and describe the two principal types of moraines. 42. Explain how an outwash plain is formed. 43. How is the erosive work of waves accomplished? 44. What ocean sediment forms shale? sandstone? limestone? 45. Where do waves and shore currents deposit sediment? 46. What is deflation? desert pavement? wind abrasion? 47. What is a sand dune? Why do some slowly move? 48. Explain how loess deposits are formed. Why are they so deep and widespread in northern China?

I
WEARING AWAY AND BUILDING UP OF T H E L A N D 237 SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. If possible, make local field trips to selected places to study the work of weathering, erosion, and deposition. 2. Sketch a map to show the general drainage and relief features of your community. 3. T r y to find examples of differential weathering or erosion in your community. 4. Make cross-sectional or profile drawings of valleys in different stages of development. Use various topographic maps for this purpose. 5. Using molding material, make relief models of different types of valleys. 6. Observe soil ("sheet") erosion in your locality. Find out the methods of combating such erosion. 7. Make a relief model of an imaginary region partly covered by a glacier. Use different colors to show the ice sheet, moraines, outwash plains, and other glacial features. 8. Make a small relief model to show stalactites, stalagmites, and columns. 9. Weigh a rock in air. T h e n tie a string around it, submerge it in water, and weigh it. How do the two weights compare? How is this of importance in river and shoreline erosion? 10. Observe streams or rivers in your locality to determine whether they are aggrading or degrading. 11. Put some fine gravel, coarse sand, fine sand, and clay in a quart jar. Fill with water and shake well. Observe resulting sedimentation. 12. Perhaps you can obtain motion pictures or slides that will show some results of weathering, erosion, and deposition of rock material. N O T E : Other activities may be found in the laboratory manual.
TOPICS FOR CLASS REPORTS

1. Examples of Weathering in Our Community 2. Weathering and Erosion of Local Bedrock 3. Study of Local Valleys 4. T h e Nature of Local Relief Features 5. T h e Garden of the Gods, Colorado (An Illustration of Weathering and Erosion) 6. Famous Caves 7. Common Minerals T h a t Are Oxides and Carbonates 8. Weathering in Deserts versus H u m i d Regions

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HOW MAN CHANGES A RIVER

Shown in the above illustration are two large oxbow curves in the Missouri River, located a short distance east of Kansas City, Missouri. These big bends, about ten miles apart, were a severe hindrance to river navigation. Even experienced river navigators in charge of tugboats pushing several barges loaded with steel, coal, wheat, lumber, cement, etc., had trouble navigating these treacherous waters. During times of heavy rains such sharp bends in a river also retard the rapid drainage of flood waters. Huge earth-moving machines were used in digging the new and much
o o

shorter channels, through which the river now flows. All water has virtually disappeared from the old oxbow on the left. Spectators were astonished to see a million-dollar bridge being built on dry land, where U. S. 71 crosses the new channel. After the bridge was completed the river was forced to flow under it. By straightening a river and by building dams, man can control flood waters to a considerable extent. T h e worst flood in the history of Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, often referred to as the "billiondollar flood," occurred in July 1951, and was caused mainly by heavy rains in Kansas. Since that time, river engineers have done much in an effort to prevent a recurrence of such a disaster.

CHAPTER

. River-Made Plains

Lying east of the Rocky Mountains and stretching from the Rio Grande northward into western Canada is a vast area of gently rolling land, covered for the most part by short grass.
H e r e are t h e great high plains. Cli-

matically, we know them as middlelatitude steppes. Eastward from the high plains to the Appalachian highlands extend the interior lowlands, wherein are found some of the finest agricultural lands in the world. Of the four great classes of landformsplains, plateaus, hill country, and mountainsplains rank first in area and as the home of man. Vast portions of the world's plains, however, are sparsely populated, largely because of insufficient rainfall or a poor distribution of precipitation during the year. On the other hand, favorable soil, drainage, and climate enable some large areas to support moderate to dense populations. Small areas of very dense populations in many instances are supported by manufacturing and commerce. Plains constitute the great agricultural lands of the world, many of which are well supplied with a network of railroads and highways. In some parts of the American corn belt, an area that extends from cen-

tral Kansas to eastern Ohio, as much as 70 to 80 percent of the total land area is plowed and planted to crops. That leaves but 20 to 30 percent to be devoted to permanent pasture, wood lots, farm buildings, roads, towns, and all other uses. This could not possibly be true of plateaus, hill regions, or mountains. Plains are characterized by gentle slopes. T h e local reliefthat is, the difference in elevation between the highest and lowest points within a limited areais usually less than 500 feet. In high mountains the local relief may be severaf thousand feet. A study of the location and distribution of the world's great plains reveals the fact that considerable areas are tributary, both physically and commercially, to the Atlantic Ocean. This situation accounts somewhat for the tremendous amount of world trade that moves along the routes of that particular ocean. T h e Pacific Ocean, on the other hand, is bordered largely by young and growing mountains. With regard to location, plains are divided into two great groups: (1) Coastal plains border the sea. Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains of the United States belong to this group.

240 (2) Interior

THE

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plains a r e l o c a t e d i n t h e

interiors of continents. T h e great high plains and interior lowlands of the United States and the extensive plains of central Russia belong to this group. Rivers are responsible for the formation of some plains and account for many of the surface features of plains. Rivers accomplish mainly two types of work: (1) the erosion, or wearing away, of the land; and (2) aggradation, or the building up, of the land by deposition of sediment.
STREAM-ERODED PLAINS

tribute ocean sediments evenly, the surfaces of continental shelves are smooth and essentially flat.
Formation of coastal plains. W h e n

Flat to gently rolling coastal plains are found along many continental

a portion of a continental shelf is slowly uplifted, a low and almost featureless plain is added to the continental margin. As the land emerges, inch by inch, it is attacked by the agents of degradation. Streams, originating far inland, continue their courses across the new land of the coastal margin. Rainwash develops tributary gullies in it. Thus, the land surface is modified by stream erosion. T h e valleys of low coastal plains, however, cannot be deep, because base level is not far below the plain surface. Many shallow depressions that develop on such a flat coastal plain become swamps. T h e r e are several plains of the world whose characteristic landforms indicate that they belong to the newly emerged class. Among them is the portion of the United States included in the coastal margins of the states of Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and parts of the Gulf coast from Florida to Texas. Most of this plain is flat, the local relief being less than 50 feet. There are large areas of swamps. Examples of unusually large swamps are shown by the Everglades of Florida (Fig. 191) and the Dismal Swamp of North Carolina and Virginia. T h e swamps of this coastal plain comprise nearly twothirds of all the ill-drained lands of the United States.
Fall line. T h e A t l a n t i c coastal p l a i n

Fig.

189.

Relative elevation of coastal

plain,

plateau, and mountains. The continental shelf is a submerged portion of the continental margin. A slight uplift of the shore region would bring a part sea level. of the continental shelf above

margins. Offshore is the submerged edge of the continent, called the


continental shelf (Fig. 189). S h a l l o w

seas cover the continental shelves. A slight elevation of the land in such localities would add to the area of the coastal plain. A slight submergence would decrease the area (Fig. 190). Because waves and currents dis-

is bordered on the west by the Pied-

RIVER-MADE

PLAINS

241

Scale 0 100 200 Miles

500 Kilometers

Fig. 190. The black areas show the coastal margins that would be submerged if the land were to sink 100 feet. The dotted areas would be submerged if the land sank 5 0 0 feet. (From duction to Geology," by E. B. Branson and W. A. Tarr, McGraw-Hill Book Co.) "Intro-

Fig. 191. The flat, swampy surface of the Florida Everglades, part of a newly emerged plain. (Photograph by V. C. Finch.)

242
'

THE EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

mont region, a higher area underJain by hard, crystalline rocks. As the streams pass from the more resistant rocks of the Piedmont on to the weaker rocks of the coastal plain,

energy, together with other factors, has stimulated manufacturing and industry in the southeastern states. Especially is this true with respect to cotton manufacturing.
Interior stream-eroded plains. Ex-

tensive interior plains are located in Russia, United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia. For the most part, these plains are underlain by more or less horizontal layers of sedimentary rocks. In North America, the vast plains area stretches from the Appalachians to the Rocky Mountains. Near the Rockies the plains are about 5000 feet above sea level and slope gently downward to the Mississippi River, then upward toward the Appalachian hill region. Most of this great interior plain is drained by the Mississippi River and its thousands of tributaries. In the great high plains area of the United States, broad, smooth, treeless uplands stretch for miles (Fig. 193). Because of the level surface, strong winds blow much of the time, both day and night. At intervals, narrow, steep-walled valleys traverse the plain, trending in general from west to east. Along these valleys are to be found the narrow strips of trees so typical of the Great Plains. T h e flat uplands between the valleys are the agricultural lands, devoted largely to grazing and dry farming. Some streams, such as the Arkansas and Platte rivers, develop wide valleys containing rich soil. Highways and railroads take advantage of these level valley floors. Irrigation projects, such as the one near

Fig.

192. The fall line lies along the western the

margin of the Atlantic coastal plain. The Piedmont region is higher and rougher than rock. coastal plain and is underlain by much harder

they tend to develop waterfalls and rapids. Waterfalls and rapids have been harnessed in many places to provide hydroelectric power. As a result, a n u m b e r of important cities, such as Augusta, Columbia, Raleigh, and Richmond, are located near these sources of power. A line trending from northeast to southwest and passing through a n u m b e r of these power sites is often referred to as the fall line (Fig. 192). T h e available electric

RIVER-MADE

PLAINS

243

Fig. 193. The great high plains of eastern Colorado are covered with the short grass typical of middle-latitude steppes. The parallel markings on the hill are plowed furrows made along contour lines to check soil erosion. (Photograph by M. H. Shearer.)

N o r t h Platte, N e b r a s k a , supply the m u c h n e e d e d w a t e r that greatly increases the a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i o n of these valleys. T h e Bad L a n d s of w e s t e r n S o u t h D a k o t a r e p r e s e n t a p e c u l i a r interr u p t i o n in t h e o t h e r w i s e level to r o l l i n g G r e a t Plains area (Fig. 194). H e r e , i n a semiarid climate, is f o u n d a n o n r e s i s t a n t b e d r o c k t h a t is m a i n l y shale. Occasional d o w n p o u r s of r a i n result i n effective r a i n erosion, crea t i n g steep-sided gullies a n d d e e p valleys. S h a r p - p o i n t e d hills m a y rise several h u n d r e d feet a b o v e a d j a c e n t valley floors. M a n y fossils of prehistoric a n i m a l s have b e e n discovered in t h e B a d L a n d s . A n excellent auto-

mobile highway through the region makes it possible f o r tourists to view the p e c u l i a r erosional l a n d f o r m s f r o m several v a n t a g e points. I n t h e i n t e r i o r lowlands (Fig. 195), w h e r e a n n u a l r a i n f a l l is g r e a t e r t h a n i n the G r e a t Plains, t h o u s a n d s of streams wear away t h e surface of t h e land. A m a j o r s t r e a m w i t h its h u n dreds of t r i b u t a r i e s presents a treelike a p p e a r a n c e o n a m a p . Such is called a dendritic d r a i n a g e p a t t e r n . S o m e streams in t h e i r d o w n w a r d c u t t i n g e n c o u n t e r rocks of u n e q u a l hardness a n d d e v e l o p falls a n d rapids. M a n y of these waterfalls a r e n o t h i g h . H o w e v e r , if they occur in the courses of large streams of u n i f o r m

244

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

flow, they m a y have great capacity for producing water power. E x a m p l e s of n o t a b l e r a p i d s o r low w a t e r f a l l s are (1) M u s c l e Shoals, Ala-

Fig. 194. The rock formations of the Bad Lands, a national monument in western South Dakota, are composed of almost scarce. Erosion by horizontal of a layers of temporary heavy rain. H. sedimentary rocks, mainly shale. Vegetation is hundreds streams takes place following

sufficient to cause a n i m p o r t a n t int e r r u p t i o n to river n a v i g a t i o n u n t i l they were m a d e passable by a canal w i t h locks. T h r o u g h o u t m u c h of t h e i n t e r i o r lowlands t h e l a n d surface is gently rolling, largely because most of the valleys have r e a c h e d various stages of m a t u r i t y . Some of t h e larger rivers have d e v e l o p e d valleys of old age. T h e sloping l a n d provides good soil d r a i n a g e . T h e r o l l i n g plains, u n d e r t h e i n f l u e n c e of h u m i d c o n t i n e n t a l climate, c o m p r i s e the extensive agric u l t u r a l lands of m i d d l e A m e r i c a . Farmlands are divided into units by m e a n s of a system of t o w n s h i p s a n d sections. A t o w n s h i p is 6 by 6 miles, o r 36 s q u a r e miles (Fig. 196). O n e s q u a r e m i l e is called one section a n d is d i v i d e d i n t o 640 acres. T h e average f a r m consists of 160 acres. I n the n o r t h e r n p o r t i o n s of the i n t e r i o r lowlands t h e plains w e r e m o d i f i e d considerably by a n c i e n t c o n t i n e n t a l glaciers. T h e s e glaciated plains will be discussed in C h a p t e r
11. KARST PLAINS

In such a region, geologists find many fossils of prehistoric animals. (Photograph by M. Shearer.)

b a m a , o n the T e n n e s s e e R i v e r , (2) the r a p i d s of t h e Mississippi at Keok u k , Iowa, a n d (3) the O h i o Falls at Louisville, w h e r e t h e O h i o R i v e r falls 2G feet in a short distance. H u g e h y d r o e l e c t r i c p l a n t s have b e e n cons t r u c t e d at b o t h Muscle Shoals a n d K e o k u k . T h e falls at Louisville w e r e

I n various parts of the w o r l d t h e r e are small plains, a n d some of conside r a b l e size, whose distinctive surface features result f r o m t h e s o l u t i o n of rocks by u n d e r g r o u n d water. T h e y m a y be called karst plains. R e g i o n s of this k i n d a r e u n d e r l a i n by sedim e n t a r y rocks t h a t i n c l u d e layers of p u r e limestone. I n some karst plains t h e s o l u b l e limestones m a k e u p t h e

!
RIVER-MADE PLAINS 245

Fig. 195. Major plains and lowlands of the United States: A, Atlantic coastal plain; 8, Gulf coastal plain; C, Mississippi floodplain; D, interior lowlands; E, Great Plains; F, Puget Sound G, Great California Valley; H, Imperial Valley; I, Wyoming basin. lowlands;

surface rock f o r m a t i o n s a n d are cove r e d only by a layer of soil. I n o t h e r regions they lie b e n e a t h some thickness of o t h e r rocks. I n e i t h e r case, however, t h e surface f e a t u r e s show evidence of t h e r e m o v a l of m a t e r i a l b e n e a t h t h e surface. T h i s is accomplished m a i n l y by g r o u n d w a t e r cont a i n i n g w e a k c a r b o n i c acid (see C h a p ter 9). T h i s acid aids in the dissolvi n g a n d r e m o v a l of limestone.
Characteristics of karst plains. In

Some of these depressions are prod u c e d by surface solution, t h e w a t e r f i n d i n g its o u t l e t t h r o u g h t h e b o t t o m


R . JW T.3N R.2W R.1W R.IE R.2E R. 3E

E to i < ^ CL UJ
z

T.2N

6mi>

T.IN <\SE T.IS

LINE i

(1 l e i )

< T.2S

contrast w i t h s t r e a m - e r o d e d plains, karst plains are d i s t i n g u i s h e d by a general absence of valleys. T h e r e are e x c e p t i o n s in t h e case of large streams t h a t o r i g i n a t e o u t s i d e a n d t h e n flow across the karst area. A n o t h e r s t r i k i n g characteristic of karst plains is t h e presence of m a n y depressions w i t h o u t visible outlets.

One town ship is d' vided z cc into 36 s q mi or sections CL

T.3S

One section is 640 acres 1 Roads

Fig. 196. Over most of the United States, land is divided into townships and sections. often follow township and section lines. Township A is described as Township 2 North, Range 2 East. Give the descriptions for 8, C, and D.

246

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 197. Karst-plain features. Sinks of various types are shown in relation to features of limestone solution underground.

i n t o u n d e r g r o u n d caverns. Some, o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , a p p e a r to be the result of the collapse of roofs of caves. Such depressions are called sinks. Some are m a n y feet deep, steepsided, a n d have obvious o p e n i n g s t h r o u g h w h i c h t h e surface d r a i n a g e r u n s u n d e r g r o u n d . O t h e r s are so shallow t h a t they almost escape notice. Occasionally t h e b o t t o m o u t l e t becomes clogged w i t h clay o r o t h e r materials, a n d t h e basin becomes a s w a m p o r lake. Associated w i t h the u n d e r g r o u n d d r a i n a g e of karst plains is the format i o n of n u m e r o u s caverns. I n some regions these caverns t h o r o u g h l y h o n e y c o m b t h e soluble limestones b e n e a t h (Fig. 197). Fed by surface d r a i n a g e , the waters of m a n y und e r g r o u n d cavities pass a l o n g j o i n t planes o r dissolved c h a n n e l s a n d s o m e t i m e s j o i n to f o r m s u b t e r r a n e a n streams of c o n s i d e r a b l e size. T h e y m a y c o m e to t h e surface of t h e e a r t h as springs of r e m a r k a b l e v o l u m e . Notable karst regions. Areas w h e r e surface f e a t u r e s are d u e largely to s o l u t i o n of u n d e r l y i n g rock take t h e i r n a m e f r o m t h e Karst. T h i s is a r o u g h l i m e s t o n e u p l a n d t h a t lies back of t h e A d r i a t i c shore of Yugo-

slavia. T h e same l i m e s t o n e struct u r e p r o d u c e s similar f e a t u r e s in the " h e e l " of Italy. I n N o r t h A m e r i c a t h e most extensive karst areas are f o u n d i n Florida, C u b a , a n d t h e p e n i n s u l a of Y u c a t a n . I n the r o l l i n g u p l a n d p l a i n of central Florida, sinkholes of all sizes are s e p a r a t e d by sandy ridges (Fig. 198). Small caverns are n u m e r o u s . U n d e r g r o u n d d r a i n a g e issues in springs, o n e of w h i c h has the largest flow of w a t e r of a n y s p r i n g i n t h e U n i t e d States. T h e e n t i r e r e g i o n is characterized by t h e p r e s e n c e of lakes, p o n d s , a n d pools of w h i c h t h e r e are thousands. A n o t h e r karst r e g i o n is in s o u t h central K e n t u c k y . C o n s i d e r a b l e parts of this area are so d o m i n a t e d by sol u t i o n f e a t u r e s t h a t sinks a n d ridges are the principal relief features. M a m m o t h Cave in this r e g i o n is widely k n o w n f o r its g i a n t cavities a n d great u n d e r g r o u n d e x t e n t .
ALLUVIAL PLAINS

T h e t e r m alluvium is a p p l i e d to weathered and eroded material that is c a r r i e d a n d d e p o s i t e d by streams. For the most p a r t this a l l u v i u m is deposited in t h e f o r m of plains a n d

RIVER-MADE usually i n flat plains. H e r e it is spread o u t w h e r e it awaits f u t u r e r e m o v a l to lower elevations. I n t e r m s of geologic time, alluvial plains a r e t e m p o r a r y structures. Some i n d e e d are of very r e c e n t origin, a n d t h e i r a c c u m u l a t i o n is still in progress. O t h e r s of m u c h g r e a t e r age are characterized by f e a t u r e s t h a t m a r k stages in the progress of t h e i r d e s t r u c t i o n . T h e y a r e called plains of older alluvium. T h e p r i n c i p a l classes of alluvial p l a i n s are (1) delta plains, (2) floodplains, (3) p i e d m o n t alluvial plains, a n d (4) plains of o l d e r a l l u v i u m . Great delta plains. A delta p l a i n is t h e surface of a c c u m u l a t i o n s of r i v e r s e d i m e n t d e p o s i t e d at t h e m o u t h of a s t r e a m w h e r e t h e s t r e a m enters a b o d y of q u i e t water. N o t all great streams h a v e deltas, b u t all great deltas are t h e deposits of large streams. A m o n g the m o r e extensive delta p l a i n s is t h a t of t h e N i l e R i v e r in t h e M e d i t e r r a n e a n Sea. It is characterized b y a t r i a n g u l a r shape resemb l i n g t h e G r e e k l e t t e r , f r o m w h i c h all s i m i l a r alluvial deposits d e r i v e t h e i r n a m e . O t h e r deltas of n o t e are s i t u a t e d at t h e m o u t h s of t h e Po, R h i n e , I n d u s , Ganges, I r r a w a d d y , H w a n g H o , a n d Mississippi. T h e r e a r e o t h e r large deltas, less well k n o w n , a n d t h o u s a n d s of smaller ones. Delta surface. T h e delta surface usually has a local relief of less t h a n 50 feet. T h e seaward m a r g i n is t h e lowest p o r t i o n , a n d slightly h i g h e r l a n d is s i t u a t e d u p s t r e a m . Occasional floods a d d to t h e elevation of t h e

PLAINS

247

delta a n d p u s h its b o u n d a r i e s seaw a r d . T h e r i v e r c u r r e n t , except a t t i m e of flood, is very sluggish. T h e difference i n surface elevation is n o t

Fig.

198. Numerous sinks, lakes, and swamps

dot this Florida karst plain, but there are almost no surface streams.

great even o n large deltas. T h e highest p o r t i o n s of t h e u p p e r delta of the Mississippi, w h i c h lie n e a r l y 200 miles f r o m t h e r i v e r m o u t h , are only a b o u t 40 feet h i g h e r t h a n the delta m a r g i n (Fig. 199). T h e f e a t u r e s of greatest relief o n t h e delta surface are t h e natural levees (Fig. 200). T h e s e are low, b r o a d ridges of a l l u v i u m t h a t b o r d e r

248

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig.

199. The Mississippi River delta has fringing areas of salt-marsh grass, belts of wooded

swamp, and strips of tilled levee lands. Note that the levee lands grow narrow downstream and disappear.

the s t r e a m c h a n n e l s o n each side. T h e y are f o u n d a l o n g t h e m a i n s t r e a m a n d the d i s t r i b u t a r i e s . T h e y are h i g h e s t n e a r t h e b a n k s of the stream t h a t b u i l d s t h e m b u t , at least o n t h e Mississippi delta, rise n o m o r e t h a n 15 o r 20 feet a b o v e t h e a d j a c e n t delta surface. N e w O r l e a n s , L o u i s i a n a , is b u i l t partly o n a n a t u r a l levee. A l t h o u g h the surface of t h e levee a p p e a r s flat, there is a g e n t l e slope f r o m t h e r i v e r t o w a r d t h e a d j o i n i n g marshes. T h i s slope m a k e s possible a degree of d r a i n a g e of these alluvial deposits. T h e levees a n d fresh-water swamps of t h e u p p e r Mississippi d e l t a forNatural levee
R

m e r l y s u p p o r t e d a g r o w t h of g u m w o o d a n d cypress trees. T h e seaward m a r g i n of the delta, however, is covered m a i n l y by vast expanses of tall, coarse grasses, t h e h a b i t a t of n u m berless m u s k r a t s . Because levees a r e t h e highest a n d best d r a i n e d p o r t i o n s of t h e delta surface, they are the p r i n c i p a l sites of h u m a n s e t t l e m e n t . Farms, houses, a n d towns are f o u n d o n t h e m , a n d roads a n d railways t e n d to follow t h e m a n d to parallel t h e streams. For p r o t e c t i o n against river overflow, n a r r o w artificial levees are b u i l t in some places n e a r t h e stream o n t o p of t h e n a t u r a l levees. I n times of
^ .Artificial , ' J f c vlevee c c

'\er J^

Fig. 200. Profiles of natural and artificial levees. The vertical scale is considerably exaggerated.

RIVER-MADE h i g h w a t e r o n t h e Mississippi delta, t h e river surface m a y rise nearly to t h e t o p of the artificial levees o r even overflow t h e m . A t such times the r i v e r stands several feet h i g h e r t h a n the roads a n d f a r m s o n t h e n a t u r a l levees a n d m a n y feet a b o v e the s w a m p s b e y o n d . A b r e a k in the artificial levees at t h a t t i m e p e r m i t s t h e flooding of a large p a r t of the delta surface, a n d w a t e r m a y c o m p l e t e l y s u b m e r g e t h e smaller levees of t h e lesser streams or even the great levees themselves. Populous delta plains. Some deltas h a v e very large h u m a n p o p u l a t i o n s . T h e alluvial soil is r i c h because its silts a n d clays w e r e d e r i v e d f r o m a great variety of rocks a n d soils f o u n d in t h e h e a d w a t e r s of n u m e r o u s t r i b u taries. T h e n a t u r a l f o o d - p r o d u c i n g capacity of such soil is great. I n popu l o u s deltas, the n e e d f o r a d d i t i o n a l acreage of t h e fertile soil has caused m a n to c h a n g e the n a t u r a l surface d r ainage i n m a n y places. These a r e i l l u s t r a t e d by t h e deltas of the R h i n e a n d t h e Nile. T h e N e t h e r l a n d s coast includes t h e m e r g e d deltas of t h e R h i n e , Meuse, a n d Scheldt rivers (Fig. 201). O r i g i n a l l y t h e r e g i o n h a d t h e features c o m m o n to delta surfaces. T h r o u g h several c e n t u r i e s a g r o w i n g n e e d f o r l a n d has e n c o u r a g e d t h e i n h a b i t a n t s of this r e g i o n to r e c l a i m the m a r s h l a n d s . Actually, they h a v e c r o w d e d t h e sea off the delta m a r g i n . Small areas of lower levee a n d s w a m p l a n d h a v e b e e n m a d e secure f r o m floods by the c o n s t r u c t i o n of

PLAINS

249

dikes, or artificial levees. Each enclosed area, called a polder} is k e p t sufficiently d r a i n e d f o r a g r i c u l t u r e by a n e t w o r k of d r a i n a g e ditches leadi n g to a p u m p at the lowest c o r n e r . T h i s p u m p lifts t h e w a t e r f r o m t h e polder into a bordering stream or
C 3 0 L D LAND DELTA L A N D ABOVE SEA L E V E L M P O L D E R LAND BELOW SEA LEVEL NEW POLDER LANDS RECLAIMED FROM THE ZUIDER ZEE

Fig. 201. The extent of reclaimed land in the Netherlands in relation to the area of the Rhine delta. (After K. Jansma.)

canal w h i c h lies b e t w e e n t h e dikes or really o n t o p of t h e m . T o d a y large areas of d r a i n e d lands lie b e t w e e n 5 a n d 10 feet, a n d some as m u c h as 15 feet, below sea level. T h e o l d e r polders w e r e p u m p e d by p i c t u r e s q u e w i n d m i l l s . T h e n e w e r ones, designed w i t h m o d e r n e n g i n e e r i n g skill, are p u m p e d by engines. T h e newest a n d greatest p r o j e c t has b e e n designed to cut off a n d d r a i n t h e Z u i d e r Zee. T h i s was a great a n d shallow coastal bay, m u c h like L a k e P o n t c h a r t r a i n n e a r N e w Orleans.

250

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

T h e great delta of n o r t h e r n C h i n a is c o m p r i s e d largely of yellow loess soil derived f r o m t h e h i g h l a n d s of n o r t h e r n C h i n a a n d d e p o s i t e d by t h e H w a n g H o a n d some o t h e r streams. T h e color of the s e d i m e n t a c c o u n t s
S O M E OF T H E MANY D E L T A COURSES OF T H E HWANG HO E^lHISHLANDS I IPELTA

gation. A t times of low w a t e r t h e i n h a b i t a n t s r e m o v e large q u a n t i t i e s of soil f r o m t h e s t r e a m bed. T h i s is d o n e p a r t l y to k e e p t h e c h a n n e l o p e n a n d p a r t l y because of t h e v a l u e of the m u d as fertilizer. D u r i n g severe floods t h e r i v e r has s h i f t e d its course to the opposite side of t h e Shant u n g P e n i n s u l a . Such a change, o n a densely p o p u l a t e d p l a i n , is a m a j o r disaster. T h u s t h e H w a n g H o is k n o w n as " C h i n a ' s S o r r o w . "
Great delta plains of arid lands. A

Fig. 202. The great delta of northern its relation to the Shantung

China, and

Peninsula,

some of the many channels occupied by the river within historic times. (After maps by G. B. Cressey and D. W. Mead.)

f o r t h e n a m e s Yellow River a n d Yellow Sea. So a b u n d a n t are t h e depos its t h a t they h a v e filled a considerable p o r t i o n of t h e Yellow Sea. T h e y half s u r r o u n d a large, m o u n t a i n o u s island t h a t f o r m e r l y stood i n it. W h a t was o n c e t h a t island is n o w t h e Shant u n g P e n i n s u l a (Fig. 202). T h e H w a n g H o flows across t h e n o r t h e r n p a r t of t h e delta o n a b r o a d levee ridge, w h i c h in places is as m u c h as 20 feet h i g h . O w i n g to d e p o s i t i o n of s e d i m e n t in its channel, t h e river is of little use f o r navi-

few of t h e great d e l t a plains of the w o r l d are o n desert coasts. T h e y are b u i l t by large streams w h i c h are fed by t h e a b u n d a n t p r e c i p i t a t i o n of m o u n t a i n regions. Such streams h a v e sufficient v o l u m e to flow completely across t h e desert areas w h e r e few t r i b u t a r i e s exist. F i n a l l y they discharge t h e i r loads of s e d i m e n t i n t o t h e b o r d e r i n g sea. T h e s e are called exotic streams. O u t s t a n d i n g a m o n g t h e m are the N i l e , t h e T i g r i s E u p h r a t e s , the I n d u s , a n d t h e Colorado. T h e delta of t h e N i l e has a density of p o p u l a t i o n c o m p a r a b l e w i t h t h a t of the p l a i n of n o r t h e r n C h i n a . T h e p e o p l e are s u p p o r t e d by a g r i c u l t u r e t h a t d e p e n d s almost wholly u p o n t h e practice of i r r i g a t i o n . U n l i k e the N e t h e r l a n d s , the m a i n p r o b l e m in these a r i d - l a n d deltas is to distribu t e t h e w a t e r over t h e d e l t a surface. D a m s are c o n s t r u c t e d , a n d gravity carries i r r i g a t i o n w a t e r t h r o u g h ditches. T h e deltas a n d floodplains of t h e m a j o r exotic streams, therefore, c o n s t i t u t e o n e class of desert

RIVER-MADE oasis. T h e y a r e t h e largest a n d most p r o d u c t i v e oases in the w o r l d . T h e N i l e has two i m p o r t a n t t r i b u taries. T h e W h i t e N i l e has its head-

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d e p o s i t e d o n t h e d e l t a h e a d a n d so little a b o u t t h e m a r g i n s t h a t t h e surface has a fair slope. T h i s p r e v e n t s floods a n d m a k e s soil d r a i n a g e easier. N e a r l y t h e w h o l e surface is cultivated, a n d lakes a n d swamps a r e f o u n d only a b o u t t h e delta m a r g i n s . T h i s is i n s t r i k i n g contrast to conditions o n the Mississippi delta. T h e C o l o r a d o R i v e r delta has b e e n b u i l t i n t o a n d across t h e n o r t h e r n p o r t i o n of the l o n g tectonic depression o c c u p i e d by t h e Gulf of Calif o r n i a (Fig. 204). I t was started o n t h e east side, a n d by p u s h i n g across to the west wall of t h e depression it b l o c k e d off a b o u t 150 miles of t h e u p p e r e n d of t h e G u l f . T h e w a t e r i n the depression n o r t h of t h e delta

Fig. 2 0 3 . The Nile delta is built into the Mediterranean Sea. The delta of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is built into the northern end of the Persian Gulf.

w a t e r s in L a k e Victoria o n the equator; t h e B l u e N i l e originates as the overflow of L a k e T a n a i n E t h i o p i a (Fig. 203). P e r i o d i c r a i n s i n E t h i o p i a cause the B l u e N i l e to flood. T h e s e floodwaters are i m p o u n d e d by dams, such as t h e h u g e o n e at Aswan, a n d are r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e p e r e n n i a l irrig a t i o n of the floodplain. I n its l o w e r course t h e N i l e traverses 1000 miles of desert, w h e r e it loses v o l u m e by the r e m o v a l of w a t e r f o r i r r i g a t i o n , by e v a p o r a t i o n , a n d b y seepage. O n the delta so m u c h m o r e w a t e r is r e q u i r e d f o r i r r i g a t i o n t h a t only a little is discharged t h r o u g h the distributary mouths into the M e d i t e r r a n e a n . So m u c h s e d i m e n t is

Fig. 2 0 4 . The apex of the delta fan

of the

Colorado River is at the east side of the long embayment into which it is built. The location and extent of Salton Sink are indicated by the broken line. Salton Sea lies in its lowest portion; its bottom is 2 7 5 feet below sea level.

evaporated, f o r m i n g Salton Sink, a p a r t of whose floor lies 275 feet below sea level. I r r i g a t i o n canals carry t h e w a t e r

252

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 2 0 5 . The overflow of a river left 1 to 5 inches of silt deposited over a portion of this ball park. Later drying of the silt produced the intricate network of sun cracks. (Courtesy U. S. Conservation Service.) Soil

from the Colorado River near Yuma to t h e surface of t h e delta. I n 1904 a n d 1905 the r i v e r flooded, b r o k e t h r o u g h t h e canals, a n d p o u r e d i n t o

/ / If z ^ 7
1
Contour Interval = 20 Ft Profile along line A~B

^
T

i t .
<
ifi"
CM-

Salton Sink, f o r m i n g Salton Sea, a n i n l a n d lake some 50 miles l o n g a n d f a r b e l o w sea level. T h e area just s o u t h of Salton Sea is called t h e Imperial Valley. S o m e of it is b e l o w sea level. U n d e r irrigat i o n a n d w i t h an all-year w a r m clim a t e , it is a h i g h l y p r o d u c t i v e agric u l t u r a l r e g i o n . I r r i g a t i o n facilities h a v e b e e n i m p r o v e d by t h e construct i o n of the A i l - A m e r i c a n C a n a l . Floodplains. F l o o d p l a i n s are t h e alluvial deposits spread by a g g r a d i n g streams u p o n t h e floors of t h e i r valleys d u r i n g the process of valley w i d e n i n g a n d s t r e a m overflow (Fig. 205). T h e floodplain begins to f o r m i n t h e l o w e r course of the s t r e a m w h e r e it first reaches grade. N e a r t h e river m o u t h , delta a n d floodplain b l e n d together, a n d it is difficult to say j u s t w h e r e o n e begins a n d t h e

Miles

Fig. 2 0 6 . Contour map and profile drawing of a large river and its floodplain. A contour line is one that passes through points that are at the same elevation above sea level. W h a t the elevation of the floodplain? is How high are

the bluffs above the floodplain? How was the lake probably formed? W h a t is the width of the river? of the floodplain?

RIVER-MADE o t h e r ends. F l o o d p l a i n s are c o n f i n e d b e t w e e n the bluffs c u t b y t h e lateral erosion of a m e a n d e r i n g s t r e a m (Figs.

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253

large r i v e r valleys. W i d t h usually increases d o w n s t r e a m . T h e Mississippi floodplain, w h e r e the s t r e a m flows b e t w e e n I o w a a n d Wisconsin, is f r o m 1 to 3 miles wide; in t h e l a t i t u d e of s o u t h e r n Illinois it is a b o u t 6 miles, b u t below C a i r o it broadens rapidly and, including the plains of m i n o r streams t h a t j o i n it, ranges b e t w e e n 25 a n d 75 miles in w i d t h . A t Kansas City the floodplain of t h e Missouri R i v e r is several miles w i d e . T h e level l a n d provides a m p l e space f o r n u m e r o u s i n d u s t r i e s a n d f o r two large a i r p o r t s (Fig. 209). Floodplain surface. F l o o d p l a i n s are s o m e w h a t similar to t h e u p p e r p a r t of a delta. T h e y c o m p r i s e p r i n c i p a l l y a m o n o t o n o u s l y flat surface, u p o n w h i c h areas of levee l a n d a l t e r n a t e w i t h areas of swamps. T h e valley

Y o u n g valley Fig. 207. Contour map showing Missouri River floodplain at Leavenworth, Kansas. The river forms the Missouri-Kansas boundary line. The contour interval is 50 feet. The entire area is 9 by 14 miles. How wide is the floodplain? W h a t is its elevation? About how high are the bluffs along the edge of the floodplain? The dotted areas in the river represent sand bars. Explain how the three lakes probably Both were Missouri and Platte rivers flow toward the south. formed. (After map by U. S. Geological Survey.) Fig. 208. Profiles of various types of valleys. Broad floodplains are characteristic of old-age valleys.

206, 207). T h e bluffs usually a r e m u c h gullied. T h e w i d t h of the floodplain is t h e distance f r o m o n e valley wall to t h e o t h e r (Fig. 208). T h i s w i d t h varies f r o m a few yards in t h e case of small, a g g r a d i n g creeks to several miles in

floor is at times a place of r a p i d change. Its f e a t u r e s are r e s h a p e d a n d m o d i f i e d by erosion a n d deposition w h i c h take place at t h e same t i m e .

254

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 209. The floodplain of the Missouri River, shown in the background, provides level land for two large airports. Near the center of the picture is a bridge leading to the Kansas City, Missouri, Municipal Airport. North across the river and beyond the Missouri airport is Fairfax Airport, adjacent to Kansas City, Kansas. Both fields are protected by artificial levees. At the extreme left may be seen the Kansas River entering the Missouri River. In the foreground is the main business district of Kansas City, Missouri. Disadvantages of such airport location are (1) poor visibility, especially in the cool months, caused by valley fogs and smoke from nearby industrial plants, and (2) flood danger and underground seepage of water. (Photo Service, Kansas City, Mo.)

M e a n d e r s swing back a n d f o r t h f r o m o n e valley wall to t h e o t h e r . Erosion o n the o u t s i d e a n d deposition o n the inside of a curve cause

Fig. 2 1 0 . Formation of an oxbow lake. The river breaks through the narrow neck of land at A. The abandoned channel of the river is the .basin occupied by the oxbow lake.

the m e a n d e r to c h a n g e shape. It s o m e t i m e s h a p p e n s that a river will c u r v e in such a way as to f o r m almost a c o m p l e t e loop. U l t i m a t e l y the stream cuts t h r o u g h t h e n a r r o w neck of l a n d s e p a r a t i n g t h e two ends of t h e loop; a n d the long, horseshoe-shaped m e a n d e r is a b a n d o n e d a n d r e m a i n s o n t h e floodp l a i n as a lake, called oxboiu lake (Fig. 210). O x b o w lakes are k n o w n locally as sloughs or, in s o u t h e r n U n i t e d States, bayous. I n t i m e these o x b o w lakes are filled by s e d i m e n t

RIVER-MADE d e p o s i t e d d u r i n g general river floods, by r a i n w a s h e d s e d i m e n t f r o m t h e adj a c e n t surface, a n d by t h e g r o w t h a n d decay of vegetation.

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255

the m a i n s t r e a m some distance, find a place of e n t r a n c e . T h e j u n c t i o n of t h e St. Francis a n d Yazoo rivers w i t h the Mississippi illustrates this condit i o n (Fig. 211). Alluvial terraces. S u p p o s e t h a t t h e u p p e r e n d of a n old valley is u p l i f t e d several feet. T h e stream is given ren e w e d velocity. It cuts a n e w valley in the old one. Flat benches f o r m e d by the r e m n a n t s of t h e old floodplain will b e f o u n d a l o n g the sides of t h e n e w valley. T h e s e benches a r e called alluvial terraces (Fig. 212). S o m e valleys e x h i b i t several such terraces. A l t h o u g h alluvial terraces seldom are h i g h o r c o n t i n u o u s , they freq u e n t l y c o n t a i n m a n y acres, a n d sometimes m a n y s q u a r e miles, of land. Because such terrace l a n d is sufficiently a b o v e p r e s e n t r i v e r level to be f r e e f r o m floods, it generally is well d r a i n e d a n d a d m i r a b l y a d a p t e d to c u l t i v a t i o n . Sites of this k i n d are

Fig. 2 1 1 . After the upper headwaters of the Yazoo River enter the broad bottomlands, the stream follows the bluffs f o r it enters the Mississippi. 175 miles before

Fig. 212. Development of alluvial terraces. Natural levees border the present stream course.

Small streams e n t e r i n g t h e p l a i n f r o m the b o r d e r i n g ing the main natural stream

flood-

uplands bethe turn

are s o m e t i m e s p r e v e n t e d f r o m joinat once they cause of t h e u p w a r d slope of levees. Instead, and, after downstream

paralleling

s u i t a b l e f o r the b u i l d i n g of r i v e r towns a n d cities. P a r t of St. P a u l , M i n n e s o t a , is b u i l t o n alluvial terraces. River floods. Floods d o t h e i r greatest d a m a g e in old-age valleys, because t h e valley floor is level a n d easily flooded a n d because such valleys o f t e n a r e densely p o p u l a t e d w i t h i n

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T H E E A R T H AND I T S

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Fig. 2 1 3 . High water on the lower Mississippi

floodplain.

The artificial levee is the only

land

remaining unsubmerged. The main channel of the river is seen in the far distance. The locations of several natural levees associated with minor channels are indicated by the belts of submerged woodlands and the town. (Official photograph, U. S. Army Air Force.'

l i m i t e d areas (Fig. 213). A m o n g t h e m a j o r causes of river floods are abn o r m a l l y heavy rains a n d t h e r a p i d m e l t i n g of d e e p snows i n m o u n t a i n s . T h e c u t t i n g of forests increases t h e i m m e d i a t e runoff of r a i n water. M o r e w a t e r is c a r r i e d to t h e m a i n r i v e r t h a n its levee b a n k s can h o l d . M e a n s of flood c o n t r o l are b e i n g established in m a n y A m e r i c a n rivers. A n u m b e r of d a m s have b e e n b u i l t across t h e Mississippi R i v e r to imp o u n d floodwaters a n d to aid navig a t i o n . Millions of dollars have b e e n spent o n t h e O h i o a n d Missouri rivers. T h e Missouri R i v e r , w i t h its great d a m at F o r t Peck, M o n t a n a ,

is b e i n g c o n f i n e d to a s t r a i g h t e r c h a n n e l by m e a n s of dikes a n d rev e t m e n t s , o r r e t a i n i n g walls. Artificial levees a l o n e the lower Missis

sippi h a v e b e e n increased in h e i g h t . Floods, h o w e v e r , c o n t i n u e to d o great damage. T h e l o w e r Mississippi flooded disastrously i n t h e s p r i n g of 1927; t h e lower Missouri flooded in 1935, 1943, 1944, a n d 1947. Conside r a b l e loss r e s u l t e d f r o m t h e 1936 floods of t h e C o n n e c t i c u t a n d o t h e r eastern rivers. O n e of t h e most severe floods in the history of t h e U n i t e d States o c c u r r e d in t h e O h i o Valley in F e b r u a r y , 1937. T h e flood p r o b l e m is by n o m e a n s solved. R e f o r e s t a t i o n

RIVER-MADE a n d t h e b u i l d i n g of flood-control d a m s s h o u l d h e l p considerably. Drainage of floodplains. W h e r e v e r possible, floodplain soils are d r a i n e d of excess w a t e r . T h i s d r a i n a g e is acc o m p l i s h e d by d i g g i n g h u g e ditches, w h i c h carry the w a t e r to the river, a n d by laying tile l e a d i n g i n t o the ditches. T h e r i c h alluvial soils, w h e n p r o p e r l y d r a i n e d , usually are h i g h l y p r o d u c t i v e . T h e h i g h e r p o r t i o n s of t h e floodplain, especially the n a t u r a l levees, are m o r e v a l u a b l e as f a r m l a n d because they a r e m o r e easily d r a i n e d . T h e w a t e r t a b l e is n e v e r very far b e l o w the surface, a n d d u r i n g d r o u t h s crops in floodplains m a y survive w h i l e those o n a d j o i n i n g uplands suffer serious i n j u r y . Alluvial fans. As e x p l a i n e d in C h a p t e r 9, alluvial fans f o r m at the base of m o u n t a i n s a n d a r e m o r e characteristic of a r i d a n d s e m i a r i d lands t h a n of h u m i d regions. P i e d m o n t

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257

o r h e a d , of t h e f a n ; t h e finer are spread o u t over the m a r g i n s . As the f e a t u r e grows in size, t h e o r d i n a r y flow of t h e s t r e a m t h a t produces it m a y b e wholly a b s o r b e d by seepage i n t o t h e coarse u p p e r f a n

Fig.

214.

The

branching

pattern

of the

dis-

tributaries of the (1) Kings, (2) Kaweah, and (3) Tule rivers, California, on their alluvial fans. (Courtesy U. S. Geological Survey.)

alluvial plains are m a d e u p of alluvial fans so closely spaced that t h e i r m a r g i n s a r e m e r g e d i n t o o n e continuous plain. Streams w i t h steep g r a d i e n t s f u r nish a great deal of s e d i m e n t , some of it coarse i n t e x t u r e . T h i s sedim e n t clogs t h e s t r e a m c h a n n e l at t h e p o i n t w h e r e the m o u n t a i n g r a d i e n t changes to that of the b o r d e r i n g p l a i n . T h e c h o k e d s t r e a m breaks over its b a n k s i n t o several distributary channels. A n e t w o r k of such c h a n n e l s p r o d u c e s an alluvial deposit w i t h a nicely r o u n d e d o r semicircular o u t l i n e a n d o - i v e s the f e a t u r e its

deposits. H e r e the stream deposits m u c h of its s e d i m e n t . T h u s t h e u p p e r p a r t of the f a n has steeper slopes t h a n t h e lower. H o w e v e r , n o t even t h e u p p e r slopes of a great f a n are very steep. T h e o u t e r m a r g i n s are so g e n t l y s l o p i n g as to seem a n almost flat a n d featureless p l a i n . Because t h e slopes of the f a n r a d i a t e f r o m t h e apex, i r r i g a t i o n w a t e r app l i e d at its u p p e r e n d may b e distribu t e d by gravity to all p a r t s of the f a n surface. Piedmont alluvial plains. T h e size of a p i e d m o n t alluvial p l a i n d e p e n d s u p o n t h e v o l u m e a n d deposits of the

f a n l i k e s h a p e (Fig. 214). T h e coarser materials a r e deposited at the apex,

258

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

several streams d r a i n i n g the m o u n t a i n f r o n t . T h e heads, o r highest p o r t i o n s , of t h e several fans m a y b e d i s t i n g u i s h e d at t h e m o u t h s of t h e valleys. T h e s e heads are c o m p o s e d largely of gravel a n d sand. T h e i r surfaces o f t e n a r e strewn w i t h b o u l d e r s d i s t r i b u t e d by floodwaters f o l l o w i n g t o r r e n t i a l rains i n t h e m o u n t a i n s . H e r e are to be f o u n d coarse soils t h a t are u n a b l e to r e t a i n i r r i g a t i o n water. For these reasons t h e h i g h e r parts of the fans are s o m e w h a t a v o i d e d f o r intensive a g r i c u l t u r a l use. H o w e v e r , they m a y f u r n i s h sand a n d gravel for c o n s t r u c t i o n a l purposes. M a n y p i e d m o n t alluvial plains a r e covered only w i t h desert s h r u b s or sparse grasses. T h e finer soils, however, are rich in m i n e r a l c o n t e n t a n d u n d e r i r r i g a t i o n are h i g h l y p r o d u c tive. I r r i g a t i o n w a t e r is s u p p l i e d by t h e streams t h a t h a v e f o r m e d the fans a n d by wells d r i l l e d b e l o w the w a t e r table b e n e a t h t h e f a n surface. I n some cases t h e w a t e r is c a r r i e d b e y o n d t h e f a n a n d used to irrigate floodplains that occur at l o w e r elevations. Some p i e d m o n t alluvial plains t h a t are p r o p e r l y i r r i g a t e d are well k n o w n f o r t h e i r a g r i c u l t u r a l wealth. A m o n g t h e m are t h e S a c r a m e n t o a n d San J o a q u i n valleys of C a l i f o r n i a , the Vale of C h i l e , the Valencia district of Spain, t h e S a m a r k a n d district of R u s s i a n T u r k e s t a n , t h e T a r i m basin, a n d m a n y others. T h e valleys of t h e San J o a q u i n a n d S a c r a m e n t o rivers c o n s t i t u t e t h e G r e a t C a l i f o r n i a Valley. T h i s valley lies b e t w e e n t h e Sierra N e v a d a a n d

the Coast R a n g e s . It is o f t e n called a filled valley, like t h e Vale of C h i l e , because of t h e t r e m e n d o u s a m o u n t of a l l u v i u m t h a t has b e e n d e p o s i t e d over the valley floor. T h e most n u m e r o u s alluvial fans are f o u n d a l o n g the w e s t e r n slopes of t h e Sierras. O n e , f o r m e d by t h e King's R i v e r , e x t e n d s o u t w a r d i n t o the valley f o r 50 miles f r o m t h e m o u n t a i n base. T h e m e l t i n g snows of t h e Sierras f u r n i s h large supplies of i r r i g a t i o n water. T h e c o m b i n a t i o n of rich alluvial soil, i r r i g a t i o n , a n d w a r m , d r y c l i m a t e m a k e s this r e g i o n excellent for fruit production.
Plains of older alluvium. C e r t a i n of

the w o r l d ' s i m p o r t a n t plains a r e plains of o l d e r a l l u v i u m . T h e material f o r m i n g t h e m is m u c h o l d e r t h a n t h a t of recently f o r m e d deltas a n d alluvial fans. T h e largest plains of this type are d i s t r i b u t e d b e y o n d t h e m a r g i n s of great m o u n t a i n systems a n d w e r e n o d o u b t , at t h e t i m e of t h e i r f o r m a t i o n , vast p i e d m o n t alluvial plains. A t p r e s e n t these plains a r e traversed by t h e valleys of streams t h a t o r i g i n a t e in t h e n e a r b y m o u n tains. I n northern India the broad middle a n d u p p e r valleys of the G a n g e s a n d I n d u s rivers are filled to great d e p t h w i t h o l d e r a l l u v i u m . I n t o this p l a i n the p r e s e n t streams that d r a i n the Himalaya m o u n t a i n front have c u t n e w valleys. P a r t of the P o p l a i n in n o r t h e r n Italy consists of o l d e r a l l u v i u m f r o m t h e s o u t h e r n slopes of the Alps. T h e P a m p a s of A r g e n t i n a are u n d e r l a i n by d e e p a c c u m u lations of s e d i m e n t t h o u g h t to have

RIVER-MADE b e e n w a s h e d f r o m the eastern slopes of t h e Andes. I n the U n i t e d States almost t h e e n t i r e eastern f r o n t of t h e R o c k y M o u n t a i n s is b o r d e r e d by plains of o l d e r a l l u v i u m . T h i s is the G r e a t P l a i n s region. I t is b e i n g w o r n d o w n

PLAINS

259

very slowly by streams t h a t o r i g i n a t e i n t h e Rockies a n d flow east. J u s t east of the m o u n t a i n s i n n o r t h e r n C o l o r a d o , these plains are i r r i g a t e d a n d c o n s t i t u t e t h e l e a d i n g sugar-beet area of the U n i t e d States. T h i s h i g h l y p r o d u c t i v e r e g i o n is k n o w n as the Colorado piedmont.
SUMMARY

L a n d f o r m s caused by r i v e r deposit i o n a r e deltas a n d sandbars, alluvial fans, alluvial terraces, floodplains, p i e d m o n t alluvial plains. Vast areas of t h e w o r l d ' s plains have gently r o l l i n g surfaces, resulti n g largely f r o m r i v e r a n d stream erosion. Such a r o l l i n g surface makes f o r b e t t e r soil d r a i n a g e . W h e r e slopes are too steep, however, c u l t i v a t i o n of the l a n d is difficult, a n d m u c h r a i n w a t e r is lost by i m m e d i a t e surface runoff. F l o o d p l a i n s a n d d e l t a plains, composed as they a r e of r i c h alluvial soil, are h i g h l y p r o d u c t i v e a g r i c u l t u r a l lands w h e n they can b e p r o p e r l y d r a i n e d . I r r i g a t e d alluvial fans a n d o t h e r alluvial deposits c o n s t i t u t e m u c h of t h e r i c h f r u i t lands of Calif o r n i a a n d o t h e r w e s t e r n states.

L a n d f o r m s caused by r i v e r erosion a r e valleys, divides, canyons, gorges, waterfalls, a n d rapids.

QUESTIONS

1. N a m e t h e f o u r great classes of l a n d f o r m s . W h i c h is most extensive? 2. W h y are some parts of plains sparsely p o p u l a t e d ? some densely p o p u lated? 3. W h a t is local relief? 4. W h a t is a c o n t i n e n t a l shelf? 5. W h a t type of p l a i n is p r o d u c e d by slow e m e r g e n c e of a c o n t i n e n t a l shelf? Describe its surface. 6. W h e r e are the Everglades? W h e r e is t h e D i s m a l Swamp? 7. W h e r e is t h e fall line? W h a t use is m a d e of waterfalls a l o n g this line? 8. N a m e several cities a l o n g t h e fall line. 9. I n t h e LTnited States, w h e r e are the great h i g h plains? t h e i n t e r i o r lowlands? 10. Describe the great h i g h plains. W h a t use is m a d e of these r o l l i n g plains? 11. E x t e n s i v e i r r i g a t i o n is d o n e a l o n g t h e Arkansas a n d P l a t t e rivers. Locate these rivers. 12. Locate a n d describe the Bad L a n d s . W h a t caused this area? 13. W h a t is d e n d r i t i c drainage?

260

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

14. Locate K e o k u k ; Muscle Shoals; O h i o Falls. 15. W h a t factors c o m b i n e to m a k e t h e i n t e r i o r lowlands a n i m p o r t a n t a g r i c u l t u r a l region? 16. W h a t is a township? a section? 17. E x p l a i n h o w karst plains are f o r m e d . Describe such a r e g i o n . 18. Locate several n o t e d karst plains. 19. W h y d o some karst plains have few large surface streams? 20. D e f i n e a l l u v i u m . 21. N a m e t h e f o u r p r i n c i p a l classes of alluvial plains. 22. D e f i n e delta p l a i n . W h a t is t h e o r i g i n of t h e n a m e delta? 23. N a m e 10 rivers that have large deltas. Locate each (using atlas). 24. W h a t is t h e u s u a l local relief of a delta plain? 25. W h a t is a n a t u r a l levee? H o w is it f o r m e d ? W h y is it i m p o r t a n t ? 26. Describe t h e n a t u r a l vegetation of t h e Mississippi delta. 27. W h a t is a n artificial levee? W h e r e is such a levee o f t e n b u i l t ? 28. W h y d o p e o p l e i n L o u i s i a n a say: " W e go u p to see t h e river"? 29. W h y are soils t h a t are d e r i v e d f r o m a great variety of rocks likely to b e rich? 30. W h a t rivers f o r m t h e N e t h e r l a n d s delta? W h a t is a polder? H o w is it d r a i n e d ? 31. W h e r e is t h e S h a n t u n g P e n i n s u l a ? Is it densely or sparsely p o p u l a t e d ? 32. W h a t k i n d of s e d i m e n t does t h e H w a n g H o carry? W h a t is its source? its color? 33. H o w does t h e H w a n g H o c h a n g e its course d u r i n g b a d floods? W h a t is t h e result? 34. W h a t is a n exotic stream? N a m e a n d locate f o u r . 35. N a m e t h e t w o i m p o r t a n t t r i b u t a r i e s of t h e Nile. Locate the source of each. 36. W h y a r e t h e p e r i o d i c rains of E t h i o p i a of vital i m p o r t a n c e to Egypt? 37. W h y does t h e N i l e b e c o m e smaller in its lower course? 38. W h y does t h e N i l e delta have a fair slope? W h y is this i m p o r t a n t ? 39. E x p l a i n h o w Salton Sink was f o r m e d . Locate it. 40. E x p l a i n h o w Salton Sea was f o r m e d . 41. W h e r e is I m p e r i a l Valley? W h y is it h i g h l y p r o d u c t i v e ? 42. D e f i n e f l o o d p l a i n . 43. H o w is t h e w i d t h of a floodplain m e a s u r e d ? H o w does the w i d t h of t h e Mississippi f l o o d p l a i n vary? 44. E x p l a i n h o w o x b o w lakes are f o r m e d . By w h a t o t h e r n a m e s are they called? A r e they of any value? W h y d o they disappear? 45. H o w a r e alluvial terraces f o r m e d ? 46. W o u l d you p r e f e r a f a r m o n a n alluvial terrace o r o n a floodplain? Why?

RIVER-MADE PLAINS

261

47. W h y d o floods cause greatest d a m a g e in old-age valleys? 48. M e n t i o n the p r i n c i p a l causes of floods. 49. W h a t steps are b e i n g t a k e n to p r e v e n t floods? 50. T h e Missouri R i v e r c h a n n e l is b e i n g s t r a i g h t e n e d a n d m a d e m o r e p e r m a n e n t by dikes a n d r e v e t m e n t s . W h a t will be t h e a d v a n t a g e of this? 51. H o w are f r o m soil? floodplains d r a i n e d ? W h y s h o u l d excess w a t e r b e r e m o v e d

52. E x p l a i n the d e p o s i t i o n of s e d i m e n t o n a n alluvial f a n . 53. W h y is i r r i g a t i o n of an alluvial f a n n o t a difficult m a t t e r , p r o v i d e d sufficient w a t e r is available? 54. W h y a r e the h i g h e r parts of alluvial fans less v a l u a b l e f o r a g r i c u l t u r e t h a n the lower margins? 55. W h a t are the possible sources of i r r i g a t i o n w a t e r f o r alluvial fans? 56. N a m e a n d locate five well-known p i e d m o n t alluvial plains. 57. W h a t t w o p r i n c i p a l rivers occupy t h e G r e a t C a l i f o r n i a Valley? W h y is this s o m e t i m e s called a filled valley? 58. W h a t t h r e e c o n d i t i o n s c o m b i n e to m a k e the C a l i f o r n i a Valley n o t e d for fruit production? 59. H o w does o l d e r a l l u v i u m differ f r o m the soil of a recently f o r m e d alluvial fan? 60. W h y is old a l l u v i u m in h u m i d climates generally leached? 61. N a m e a n d locate several i m p o r t a n t plains of o l d e r a l l u v i u m . 62. W h e r e is the C o l o r a d o p i e d m o n t ? Discuss its i m p o r t a n c e .
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. O n an o u t l i n e m a p of the world, locate a n d label every place ment i o n e d in this c h a p t e r . 2. M a k e a c h a r t as follows: O n t h e left m a r g i n p r i n t t h e n a m e s of t h e c o n t i n e n t s . U n d e r each c o n t i n e n t list the p r i n c i p a l rivers. Across t h e top of t h e c h a r t p r i n t the f o l l o w i n g c o l u m n headings: " I n w h a t c o u n t r y ? " "Flows in w h a t d i r e c t i o n ? " " E m p t i e s i n t o w h a t body of water?" " I m p o r t a n t cities o n delta or floodplain?" 3. O n a n o u t l i n e m a p of the w o r l d d r a w 25 to 50 i m p o r t a n t rivers. N u m b e r t h e m . T e s t y o u r k n o w l e d g e of location by t r y i n g to n a m e each o n e correctly. N a m e at least 25 in the U n i t e d States. 4. O n a m a p of t h e U n i t e d States, color a n d label t h e p r i n c i p a l governm e n t i r r i g a t i o n projects. 5. D r a w a m a p of the T e n n e s s e e R i v e r r e g i o n . Locate a n d label the various dams. 6. C o n t r a s t in as m a n y ways as possible t h e N i l e a n d Mississippi deltas.

262

T H E E A R T H AND

ITS

RESOURCES

RIVERS

River

Location

Length, miles

River

Location

Length miles

1. Amazon 2. Amur 3. B r a m a p u t r a 4. Colorado 5. Columbia 6. Congo 7. D a n u b e 8. Dnieper 9. Euphrates-Tigris 10. Ganges 11. H w a n g H o 12. I n d u s 13. I r r a w a d d y 14. Lena IS. Mackenzie 16. Mekong 17. Mississippi-Missouri 18. Nelson

South America Northeast Asia Southeast Asia United States United States Africa Europe Europe West Asia India China Pakistan Southeast Asia Russia Canada Southeast Asia United States Canada

3900 2900 1800 1650 1270 2900 1725 1400 1700 1455 2700 2000 1250 2860 2500 2600 3988 1660

19. Niger 20. Nile 21. Ob 22. Ohio 23. Orange 24. Orinoco 25. P a r a n a 26. Rio Grande 27. Rhine 28. Seine 29. St. Lawrence 30. Tennessee 31. Uruguay 32. Volga 33. Yangtze 34. Yenisei 35. Yukon 36. Zambezi

West Africa N o r t h Africa Russia United States South Africa South America South America United States Europe France Canada LInited States Uruguay Russia China Russia Alaska South Africa

2600 4000 3200 1300 1300 1600 2450 1800 700 500 2150 860 1100 2300 3100 2800 2100 1600

Each of the f o l l o w i n g cities is s i t u a t e d o n o n e of the a b o v e rivers. C a n you n a m e the r i v e r o n w h i c h each city is located? Paris, F r a n c e Rosario, A r g e n t i n a Nanking, China St. Louis, Missouri Cologne, G e r m a n y Montreal, Canada Baghdad, Iraq Cairo, Egypt Mandalay, Burma Kiev, Russia Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Quebec, Canada
'S
'

M a n a u s , Brazil Budapest, H u n g a r y Brownsville, T e x a s Omaha, Nebraska Stalingrad, Russia N e w Orleans, Louisiana Portland, Oregon Louisville, K e n t u c k y

REFERENCES ON RIVERS
COOPER, LANE, GORDON.

Along

the Great

Rivers.

Philosophical

Library,

Inc.,

N e w York, 1953. F. C. The Earth's Grandest Rivers. N e w York, 1949.

D o u b l e d a y & C o m p a n y , Inc.,

chapter

n .

Glaciated Plains

I m a g i n e t h a t Fig. 215 r e p r e s e n t s a a n d n o r t h w e s t e r n E u r o p e . T h e s e glap l a i n a b o u t 500 miles long. A gla- ciers greatly m o d i f i e d or c h a n g e d t h e cier, c e n t e r e d at A, slowly pushes f e a t u r e s of the land. O v e r w i d e areas its way s o u t h w a r d . T h e m o v i n g ice erodes a n d scours t h e u p p e r half of t h e p l a i n . M u c h of t h e loose rock a n d soil at A is c a r r i e d s o u t h w a r d and deposited over the lower part of t h e p l a i n m a r k e d B. T h e n comes a slight c h a n g e in c l i m a t e w h i c h causes t h e glacier to m e l t slowly. M a n y streams issue f r o m t h e f r o n t edge of t h e ice, a n d m u c h of t h e area l a b e l e d is covered w i t h waterd e p o s i t e d s e d i m e n t . F i g u r e 215 shows t h a t a large glacier m a y c h a n g e t h e l a n d surface by glacial scour or erosion, by the d e p o s i t i o n of rock waste o r glacial d r i f t , a n d by d e p o s i t i o n of s e d i m e n t by streams issuing f r o m t h e ice. N o w i m a g i n e that, a f t e r the glacier has d i s a p p e a r e d , we can travel over t h e e n t i r e area. A t A we can study t h e f e a t u r e s of a p l a i n r e s u l t i n g m a i n l y f r o m glacial scour. At we c a n study a p l a i n i n f l u e n c e d m a i n l y t h e l a n d surface is t h e r e s u l t m a i n l y by d e p o s i t i o n of glacial d r i f t . O u r of glacial erosion. O v e r o t h e r areas observations show t h a t t h e two types d e p o s i t i o n of glacial d r i f t p r e d o m i of plains d i f f e r considerably. nates. I t is possible, t h e r e f o r e , to T h o u s a n d s of years ago, h u g e con- distinguish two g e n e r a l types of glat i n e n t a l glaciers m o v e d slowly south- ciated plains: ice-scoured plains, w a r d o v e r n o r t h e r n N o r t h A m e r i c a w h e r e erosion p r e d o m i n a t e d , a n d

264

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 216. The rounded hills and rock basins of an ice-scoured surface in northern Canada where vegetation is scant. Note the different elevations of the lakes. (Courtesy Royal Canadian Air Force.)

drift plains, w h e r e d e p o s i t i o n dominated.


ICE-SCOURED PLAINS

pre-

T h e s t r e a m - e r o d e d hills a n d valleys t h a t previously existed o n the plains over w h i c h t h e great contin e n t a l glacier c r e p t were r e s h a p e d by the o v e r p o w e r i n g w e i g h t of t h e m o v i n g ice. A n g u l a r rock f e a t u r e s w e r e c h a n g e d to smooth, r o u n d e d forms. O v e r the valley floor was dep o s i t e d a t h i n c o a t i n g of glacial d r i f t . T h e d r i f t of ice-scoured plains is neither continuous nor deep enough to b e u s e d f o r a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c t i o n except in patches o r localities. It is s t r e w n w i t h b o u l d e r s t o r n f r o m a d j a c e n t slopes by t h e ice. I t may, however, s u p p o r t a stand of trees, especially the shallow-rooted conifers, such as pines. T h r o u g h the glacial d r i f t p r o j e c t t h e s m o o t h e d

a n d r o u n d e d tops of r o c k hills, m a n y of w h i c h are e n t i r e l y w i t h o u t soil covering (Fig. 216). Such surfaces, scoured a n d p o l i s h e d by ice erosion, o f t e n b e a r t h e grooves a n d striations scratched u p o n t h e m by ice-pushed pebbles. Some of these m a r k s are as fresh as if they h a d b e e n f o r m e d only recently instead of t h o u s a n d s of years ago. F r o m studies of these scratches m u c h has been l e a r n e d a b o u t the nat u r e a n d directions of ice m o t i o n d u r i n g t h e t i m e of glaciation.
Drainage of ice-scoured plains. S u r -

face changes p r o d u c e d b y ice scour w e r e sufficient to c h a n g e considerably the pre-existing d r a i n a g e . Glacia t e d areas d o n o t h a v e t h e c o m p l e t e system of s t r e a m d r a i n a g e typical of m a n y u n g l a c i a t e d regions. Lakes are n u m e r o u s (Fig. 217). M a n y of these lakes lie in rock basins g o u g e d o u t of the surface rock by t h e ice. T h e larger lakes o f t e n are d o t t e d w i t h

GLACIATED

PLAINS

265

Fig. 217. Sprawling lakes, mainly in rock basins, occupy much of the ice-scoured plain of western Ontario. They are proving a valuable resource in the development of the summer-resort industry. (.After Map 24A, Department of Surveys, Province of Ontario.)

n u m e r o u s islands w h i c h are t h e r o u n d e d tops of m o r e resistant rock masses. T h e s e lakes t e n d to b e m o r e perm a n e n t t h a n those f o r m e d in o t h e r ways for several reasons: (1) I n c o m i n g streams, flowing over h a r d rock, carry little s e d i m e n t . (2) Overflow w a t e r is clear a n d , t h e r e f o r e , erodes t h e place of overflow very little. (3) Forests check t h e i m m e d i a t e runoff of r a i n w a t e r t h a t w o u l d collect sedim e n t a n d t e n d to fill t h e lake basins. T h e rock basins e r o d e d by t h e ice s o m e t i m e s differ considerably in ele-

vation. C o n s e q u e n t l y , streams flowi n g f r o m o n e basin to a n o t h e r o f t e n are characterized by r a p i d s a n d waterfalls. Because of t h e h a r d rock a n d lack of s e d i m e n t carried by these streams, the waterfalls are m o r e perm a n e n t t h a n those existing u n d e r diff e r e n t conditions. Ice-scoured plains, t h e r e f o r e , r a n k h i g h i n available water power.
Extensive ice-scoured plains. The

most extensive ice-scoured plains in the w o r l d are f o u n d close to t h e centers f r o m w h i c h t h e great glaciers of Europe and North America radiated.

266

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 218. The lake-dotted, forest-clad plain of ice-scoured crystalline rocks north of Lake Superior. (Courtesy Royal Canadian Air Force.)

T h e s e regions are (1) t h e L a u r e n t i a n uplanda large p a r t of C a n a d a n o r t h of t h e G r e a t Lakes a n d the St. Lawr e n c e R i v e r ; (2) F i n l a n d a n d Sweden in n o r t h e r n E u r o p e . T h e landscape in each of these regions a p p e a r s as a n irregularly rolli n g p l a i n , covered in large p a r t by c o n i f e r o u s forest. M u c h of the forest is t h i n a n d p o o r . K n o b s o r patches of b a r e rock o u t c r o p at f r e q u e n t intervals. B e t t e r forests are f o u n d in t h e depressions, m a n y of w h i c h are swampy. A m o n g t h e w o o d l a n d s lie t h o u s a n d s of r o c k - r i m m e d lakes, most of t h e m small, others large e n o u g h t o c o n t a i n several islands. A m a p of F i n l a n d a n d o n e of t h a t p a r t of O n t a r i o n o r t h a n d west of L a k e S u p e r i o r will reveal t h e r e m a r k a b l e n u m b e r of lakes (Fig. 218). T h e r e are m o r e t h a n 35,000 lakes i n F i n l a n d .

T h e n u m e r o u s lakes of western O n t a r i o a t t r a c t t h o u s a n d s of summ e r tourists, especially those interested in fishing. T h e so-called "Arr o w h e a d C o u n t r y " of M i n n e s o t a , n o r t h of L a k e S u p e r i o r , contains glacial lakes c o n n e c t e d by streams. Ely is a small city w h e r e fishing parties are o u t f i t t e d to travel by canoe f r o m o n e lake to a n o t h e r , s o m e t i m e s reaching and going beyond the Canadian b o r d e r . T h e large L a k e of t h e W o o d s is d o t t e d w i t h h u n d r e d s of islands of solid rock u p o n w h i c h a t h i n coveri n g of soil s u p p o r t s t h e g r o w t h of conifers. T h i s lake a n n u a l l y yields great q u a n t i t i e s of fish.
DRIFT PLAINS

T h e d r i f t plains of the p r i n c i p a l regions of c o n t i n e n t a l glaciation a r e

GLACIATED of greater area a n d of m u c h g r e a t e r h u m a n significance t h a n are the icescoured plains. T h e y occupy most of t h e b r o a d o u t e r m a r g i n s of the areas

PLAINS

267

surface deposit a n d is t h e f o u n d a t i o n u p o n which other features may be b u i l t . I t consists of rock materials of all degrees of size f r o m large boulders d o w n to t h e finest of clay o r rock flour. T h e s e i n g r e d i e n t s are t h o r o u g h l y m i x e d a n d show n o sepa r a t i o n i n t o strata of d i f f e r e n t size o r w e i g h t classes such as are d e p o s i t e d by r u n n i n g w a t e r (Fig. 220). Glacial d r i f t usually is c o m p o s e d of materials t h a t largely are of local

Fig. 219. upon

Different effects of glacial

deposits rock

previous rock surfaces: A, a hilly

surface made more smooth by drift; 6, a rock surface of considerable relief partly buried by drift; C, a smooth rock surface made irregular by the deposition of rough moraine.

t h a t w e r e covered by ice i n b o t h Europe and N o r t h America. Over them is s p r e a d a t r e m e n d o u s q u a n t i t y of rock waste. T h e d r i f t is of v a r i a b l e thickness (Fig. 219). I n valleys it is sometimes very deep. O n t h e tops of n e a r b y , r o u n d e d , ice-scoured hills it m a y b e t h i n . I n some localities d r i f t completely b u r i e s t h e rock surface u n d e r an u n b r o k e n mantle which may be several tens of feet or even 400 to 500 feet i n thickness. I n general, t h e l a n d surface covered by d r i f t was m a d e s m o o t h e r a n d m o r e level. T h i s res u l t e d f r o m t h e erosion of h i l l t o p s a n d t h e filling of valleys. Ground moraine. T h e m a n t l e of unassorted drift deposited undern e a t h glacial ice is k n o w n as ground moraine. I t is a widely d i s t r i b u t e d

Fig. 220. An exposure of glacial till drift) in a road-cut through unassorted a long, drumlin. The clay,

(glacial narrow and

pebbles, Survey.)

boulders of which it is composed are clearly visible. (Courtesy U. S. Geological

origin. I n regions of s a n d s t o n e bedrock, t h e d r i f t c o m m o n l y has a large p e r c e n t a g e of sand. I n regions of shale, it has a large p e r c e n t a g e of

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clay. Usually, however, foreign materials are p r e s e n t also. Some are fine materials, such as sand, clay, a n d pulverized limestone, b r o u g h t f r o m regions of d i f f e r e n t kinds of rocks. O t h e r s are p e b b l e s a n d b o u l d e r s of h a r d e r s e d i m e n t a r y rocks o r of igneous or m e t a m o r p h i c rocks. T h e s e m a y h a v e b e e n t r a n s p o r t e d scores or even h u n d r e d s of miles f r o m t h e i r

N e w E n g l a n d are a b o u t e q u a l l y the result of ice scour a n d d e p o s i t i o n of rock waste. T h e f e a t u r e s of y o u n g g r o u n d mor a i n e m a y b e observed in parts of t h e n o r t h c e n t r a l states a n d in w e s t e r n N e w York (Fig. 222). Its surface appears m a i n l y as a r o l l i n g p l a i n w i t h b r o a d , low hills a n d wide, shallow depressions. T h e s e depressions, o r basins, o f t e n have n o outlets. T h e y residt f r o m t h e u n e q u a l d e p o s i t i o n of the g r o u n d m o r a i n e . T h e r e is n o systematic a r r a n g e m e n t of hills a n d depressions. Local relief c o m m o n l y is less t h a n 100 feet, a l t h o u g h it is m o r e in some places. I n a few localities t h e r e are hills of c o n s i d e r a b l e h e i g h t t h a t are composed e n t i r e l y of glacial d r i f t . T h e exact m a n n e r of f o r m a t i o n of these p e c u l i a r hills is n o t k n o w n . T h e y are c o m m o n l y s h a p e d like t h e half of a n egg. T h e y are called drumlins (Figs. 223, 224). S o m e of t h e m reach h e i g h t s of 100 feet o r m o r e a n d m a y b e a m i l e long, b u t m a n y are smaller. W h e r e c o n d i t i o n s u n d e r t h e ice w e r e f a v o r a b l e for the f o r m a t i o n of o n e d r u m l i n , they a p p a r e n t l y w e r e e q u a l l y f a v o r a b l e to the f o r m a t i o n of others, f o r c o m m o n l y they are f o u n d in g r o u p s t h a t occupy m a n y s q u a r e miles. T h e i n d i v i d u a l d r u m l i n s of a g r o u p are separated by the u n d u l a t ing, o r wavelike, surface of t h e d r i f t p l a i n f r o m w h i c h they rise s o m e w h a t a b r u p t l y . M a n y d r u m l i n s , because of t h e i r steep slopes, r e m a i n w o o d e d w h i l e t h e i n t e r v e n i n g p l a i n is cultivated, save w h e r e pockets of marsh-

i Fig. 221. A subangular boulder showing glacial striae. (Courtesy U. S. Geological Survey.)

nearest k n o w n sources. Such rocks o f t e n are c o n s p i c u o u s because of t h e i r large size o r t h e i r h a r d a n d unw e a t h e r e d c o n d i t i o n . Because they are obviously f o r e i g n to t h e i r prese n t situations, they are called erratic boulders. M a n y of t h e m show scratches, o r striae, caused by grinding against o t h e r b o u l d e r s o r against b e d r o c k (Fig. 221). I n some regions e r r a t i c b o u l d e r s are so n u m e r o u s in t h e till sheet as to i n t e r f e r e seriously w i t h the cultiv a t i o n of the soil. I n parts of S o u t h Dakota, Minnesota, and other northe r n states, f a r m e r s collect t h e erratics a n d p i l e t h e m a l o n g fences o r in little-used places. T h i s is t r u e especially in N e w E n g l a n d , w h e r e t h e glacial d r i f t is t h i n . T h e surface f e a t u r e s i n

GLACIATED

PLAINS

269

Fig. 222. The undulating surface of a till plain. (Courtesy Wisconsin

Geological

Survey.)

Fig. 223. Drumlins rise somewhat abruptly from the surface of a plain of glacial drift. They are frequently strewn with boulders, (Courtesy U. S. Geological like those on the surface of the drumlin in the foreground. Survey.)

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l a n d are i n c l u d e d . O n e r e g i o n n o t e d f o r its d r u m l i n s lies s o u t h of L a k e O n t a r i o . T h e r e is a n o t h e r a few miles n o r t h e a s t of M a d i s o n , Wiscon-

d r i f t a n d h a v e e n c o u n t e r e d ledges of b e d r o c k over w h i c h they flow to f o r m m o r e p e r m a n e n t waterfalls. E x a m ples of p e r m a n e n t waterfalls are Niagara Falls i n western N e w York a n d St. A n t h o n y Falls i n t h e Mississippi R i v e r at M i n n e a p o l i s . T h e p o w e r f u r n i s h e d by these falls has p r o m o t e d the d e v e l o p m e n t of i n d u s t r y i n nearby localities. Niagara Falls. T h e overflow of L a k e Erie at Buffalo f o r m s the Niagara River, w h i c h flows n o r t h to L a k e Ontario. A b o u t halfway between the two lakes, t h e river flows o v e r Niagara Falls, w h e r e t h e w a t e r d r o p s vertically some 160 feet (Figs. 225 a n d 336). T h e falls a r e s e p a r a t e d i n t o t w o parts by G o a t Island. T h e larger, called t h e Canadian, or Horseshoe, Falls, lie west of G o a t Island. T h e smaller American Falls lie b e t w e e n

ance of drumlins east of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The contour interval is 2 0 feet. The largest drumlins are about 1 mile in length.

sin. B u n k e r H i l l , in Boston, Massachusetts, is a d r u m l i n . T h e u n e v e n a n d patternless d u m p i n g of g r o u n d m o r a i n e is responsible f o r t h e ill-developed a r r a n g e m e n t of the streams in such areas. T h e d r a i n age in g e n e r a l is p o o r . Streams wand e r aimlessly over t h e surface a n d , like those in ice-scoured plains, are y o u t h f u l . T h e i r courses are interr u p t e d by swamps, lakes, falls, a n d rapids. L a t e r erosion has caused t h e d i s a p p e a r a n c e of m a n y waterfalls. Some streams h a v e cut t h r o u g h t h e

Fig. 225. Map of Niagara to Lake Ontario. The

Falls and vicinity. escarpment is

The Niagara River flows north from Lake Erie Niagara shown just south of the city of Lewiston, New York. This escarpment is some 2 0 0 feet high.

t h e island a n d t h e N e w York shore of t h e river. T h e falls recede u p s t r e a m a b o u t 4 feet each year. I n so doing, they have

GLACIATED c u t a gorge f r o m n e a r Lewiston, N e w York, to t h e i r p r e s e n t location. A t L e w i s t o n t h e r e is a h i g h bluff w h i c h e x t e n d s east a n d west f o r m a n y miles. T h i s is t h e Niagara escarpment. It is h e r e t h a t N i a g a r a Falls h a d t h e i r b e g i n n i n g , p r o b a b l y n e a r t h e e n d of t h e last ice age. N i a g a r a Falls recede u p s t r e a m by a process of u n d e r c u t t i n g (Fig. 226). T h e surface rock at t h e falls is limestone w h i c h is u n d e r l a i n m a i n l y by a s o f t e r shale. T h e shale is e r o d e d by great c h u n k s of l i m e s t o n e w h i c h are c h u r n e d a r o u n d at t h e base of t h e falls. As t h e shale is w o r n away f r o m b e n e a t h t h e limestone, t h e l i m e s t o n e in t u r n b r e a k s off in great blocks. T h e s e fall to t h e b o t t o m a n d b e c o m e t h e " t o o l s " used by t h e p o w e r f u l w a t e r f a l l in u n d e r m i n i n g its o w n brink. T h e fall of the w a t e r is utilized f o r p o w e r by several h y d r o e l e c t r i c plants, o n b o t h t h e A m e r i c a n a n d t h e C a n a d i a n side of the N i a g a r a River. The Great Lakes. I n basins t h a t are m a i n l y r i v e r valleys m o d i f i e d by glaciation lie t h e G r e a t Lakes. I n some places, ice scour enlarged these valleys. I n others, d a m s of glacial d r i f t b l o c k e d t h e m . C o n t i n e n t a l glaciat i o n has w o r k e d to t h e a d v a n t a g e of m a n k i n d in m o r e ways t h a n o n e . T h e G r e a t Lakes, f o r instance, cons t i t u t e t h e greatest i n l a n d w a t e r w a y in t h e w o r l d , even t h o u g h they cann o t b e used d u r i n g t h e w i n t e r months. Cheap water transportation and abundant mineral, timber, and a g r i c u l t u r a l resources in n e a r b y areas

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271

h a v e b e e n responsible f o r t h e g r o w t h of large i n d u s t r i a l cities. Ships may pass f r o m a n y o n e lake to all others. T w o canals are necessary because of rock ledges over w h i c h the c o n n e c t i n g streams flow, causing u n n a v i g a b l e rapids a n d falls. T h e W e l l a n d C a n a l connects L a k e E r i e a n d L a k e O n t a r i o a n d is a few

Fig. 2 2 6 . Principal rock formations at Niagara Falls. The blocks of limestone at the base of the falls are churned around and slowly wear away the softer shale.

miles west of N i a g a r a Falls. T h e C a n a d i a n a n d A m e r i c a n " S o o " Canals are necessary because of r a p i d s in t h e St. Marys R i v e r w h i c h flows f r o m L a k e S u p e r i o r to L a k e H u r o n . N o falls o r r a p i d s exist in the vicinity of L a k e St. Clair. O c e a n - g o i n g vessels n o w are able to reach all lake cities since the comp l e t i o n of t h e G r e a t L a k e s - S t . Lawr e n c e waterway. T h i s project, fin a n c e d by the g o v e r n m e n t s of the U n i t e d States a n d C a n a d a , h a d to d o m a i n l y w i t h t h e d e e p e n i n g of t h e St. L a w r e n c e R i v e r . O n e i m p o r t a n t result of this i m p r o v e d seaway is that iron o r e f r o m Q u e b e c , Venezuela, etc., can n o w be s h i p p e d by w a t e r to various cities o n the lakes. T h e N e w York state b a r g e canal,

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RESOURCES
THE PRINCIPAL THE

LAKE

SUPERIOR

GLACIAL DEPOSITS
IN OF THE

GREAT LAKES REGION


UNITED STATES LEGEND
U T I L L PLAINS H MARGINAL MORAINES E 3 OUTWASH PLAINS AND VALLEY TRAINS H I GLACIAL L A K E D E P O S I T S UNDIFFERENTIATED DRIFT OF EARLIER GLACIATIONS D R 1 F T L E S S REGIONS
GENERALIZED FROM A MANUSCRIPT MAP OF THE GLACIAL GEOLOGY OF NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES COMPILED BY K A R L GRAETZ AND F. T. THWAITES. UNIV. OF WISCONSIN, 1933.

Fig. 227.

or E r i e Canal, follows the M o h a w k l o w l a n d f r o m the H u d s o n R i v e r n e a r A l b a n y west to L a k e Erie. I t was cons t r u c t e d f o r t h e p u r p o s e of p r o v i d i n g water transportation from the Great Lakes to t h e A t l a n t i c seaboard.
Other glacial lakes. T h e numerous

lakes t h a t occupy depressions in the

g r o u n d m o r a i n e are n o t so p e r m a n e n t as those f o u n d in ice-scoured plains. T h e r e are several reasons: (1) T h e lakes f o r the most p a r t are shallow; (2) inflowing d r a i n a g e is a b u n dantly supplied with sediment which t e n d s to fill t h e lake basins; (3) outflowing d r a i n a g e in a relatively short

GLACIATED t i m e is able to cut a n o t c h in the soft m o r a i n a l r i m ; (4) as o n e lake is d r a i n e d , the l o w e r i n g of the w a t e r table may lower t h e level of n e a r b y lakes; a n d (5) the g r o w t h of vegetat i o n aids in filling t h e lake basin. As t h e shallow basins are filled w i t h s e d i m e n t a n d vegetation, they b e c o m e areas of m a r s h l a n d . Some are p a r t l y filled w i t h peat, w h i c h is half-decayed r e m a i n s of r a n k vegetative growths. Some lake basins a r e n o w covered w i t h grasses a n d a p p e a r as m a r s h meadows. O t h e r s are cove r e d by spongy mosses. I n n o r t h e r n M i n n e s o t a , n o r t h of R e d Lake, t h e r e is o n e c o n s i d e r a b l e area k n o w n as a floating peat bog. I n the n o r t h central states, t h o u s a n d s of acres of such marsh- a n d l a k e l a n d have b e e n artificially d r a i n e d a n d p u t to agricult u r a l o r p a s t u r a l use. Marginal moraines. W h i l e t h e great glaciers w e r e in existence, t h e r e occ u r r e d p e r i o d s of balance b e t w e e n t h e r a t e of glacial a d v a n c e a n d t h e r a t e of m e l t i n g . T h i s s o m e t i m e s perm i t t e d t h e position of t h e ice margin to r e m a i n stationary o r to c h a n g e o n l y slightly for m a n y years. D u r i n g such a t i m e t h e m o v i n g ice continu e d to d r a g f o r w a r d in its b o t t o m o r to carry f o r w a r d in its mass o r o n its surface great q u a n t i t i e s of d r i f t . T h i s was deposited a b o u t the relatively stationary m a r g i n of the ice to form marginal moraines. T h u s were c r e a t e d ridges, or belts, of d r i f t of g r e a t e r thickness t h a n the g r o u n d m o r a i n e . I n a p p e a r a n c e , these belts differ considerably f r o m g r o u n d moraine.

PLAINS

273

Hills of glacial d r i f t t h a t w e r e left a b o u t t h e m a r g i n of t h e ice at its most a d v a n c e d position are called terminal, or end, m o r a i n e s . T h e r a t e of r e t r e a t of t h e ice margin was most i r r e g u l a r . T h i s was p r o b a b l y d u e to slight changes in a t m o s p h e r i c c o n d i t i o n s w h i c h influe n c e d the a n n u a l snowfall or degree of m e l t i n g . L o n g pauses, d u r ing which marginal moraines were

f o r m e d , a l t e r n a t e d w i t h periods of r a t h e r steady r e t r e a t . T h i s is indicated by successive m o r a i n a l ridges separated by areas of t h e till p l a i n (Fig. 227). ' T h e r o u g h a n d k n o b b y surface p e c u l i a r to belts of m a r g i n a l mor a i n e sometimes is called kame-andkettle topography (Fig. 228). Kames are r o u n d e d or i r r e g u l a r hills of glacial gravel. Kettles are steep-sided hollows, o f t e n q u i t e r o u n d , in t h e d r i f t . T h e m o r a i n e surface c o m m o n l y is d o t t e d w i t h lakes w h i c h lie in t h e kettle holes. Lakes of this k i n d vary f r o m small r o u n d p o n d s to some of c o n s i d e r a b l e size (Fig. 229). M a n y of t h e m h a v e n e i t h e r visible i n l e t n o r visible o u t l e t . T h e y are m a i n t a i n e d by surface d r a i n a g e a n d by springs in t h e glacial deposits. Pleasantly irr e g u l a r surfaces, n u m e r o u s lakes, a n d scattered w o o d l a n d s cause belts of m a r g i n a l m o r a i n e to b e s o u g h t as s u m m e r p l a y g r o u n d s by t h e i n h a b i t ants of a d j a c e n t flatter plains.
Plains formed by glacial water.

D r a i n a g e f r o m a l o n g ice f r o n t was discharged t h r o u g h m a n y small, temporary, a n d s h i f t i n g streams. T h e s e streams flowed t h r o u g h crevasses o r

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Fig. 2 2 8 . Two views showing the rough kame-and-kettle surfaces of marginal moraines. (Photographs by John R. Randall.)

t u n n e l s at the b o t t o m of the ice. O f t e n they w e r e o v e r l o a d e d w i t h s e d i m e n t . B e y o n d t h e m a r g i n a l moraines this water-carried s e d i m e n t was d e p o s i t e d to f o r m o u t w a s h plains (Fig. 230). T h e s e plains h a v e flat surfaces a n d consist largely of sands, gravels, a n d small b o u l d e r s . Because of t h e materials of w h i c h o u t w a s h plains are composed, they c o m m o n l y are of r a t h e r low agricul-

t u r a l p r o d u c t i v i t y as c o m p a r e d w i t h ground moraine. Even though their surfaces are very flat, they are i n some places stony a n d i n o t h e r s sandy. Usually they are s u b j e c t to d r o u t h because of t h e gravelly subsoil a n d f r e e u n d e r d r a i n a g e (Fig. 231). T h e y are, h o w e v e r , p r o v i d e d with naturally crushed and rudely assorted sands a n d gravels. T h e s e a r e v a l u a b l e f o r c o n s t r u c t i o n a l use, a n d

GLACIATED

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275

Fig. 229. Small kettle ponds surrounded by boulder-strewn kames in a marginal moraine near Whitewater, Wisconsin. (Photograph by V. C. Finch.)

Fig. 230. The relationship of several classes of glacial and glacial-stream deposits to the parts of the glacier by which they were formed. A shows a plain partly covered by the margin of a stagnant glacier; B, the same plain after the complete melting of the ice.

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Fig. 231. The flat or gently undulating surface of an outwash plain. (Courtesy Wisconsin Survey.)

Geological

the s u p p l y is a b u n d a n t , since some of t h e o u t w a s h deposits are m a n y feet thick. T h e large gravel pits of the G r e a t Lakes r e g i o n m a i n l y are located in o u t w a s h plains. R o u g h l y , the n o r t h e r n half of L o n g Island, w h i c h lies south of C o n n e c t i c u t , consists of m a r g i n a l m o r a i n e s ; a n d the s o u t h e r n half, of a n o u t w a s h p l a i n . I n S o u t h D a k o t a , M i n n e s o t a , Michigan, a n d o t h e r n o r t h e r n states, the t h o u s a n d s of miles of gravel roads reflect a n o t h e r use to w h i c h the a b u n d a n t glacial deposits have b e e n put.
Drift plains of America and Europe.

T h o s e parts of glaciated N o r t h Amei - ica a n d E u r o p e in w h i c h the f e a t u r e s m a d e by glacial d e p o s i t i o n p r e d o m i n a t e o v e r those w h i c h result f r o m ice scour are r o u g h l y i n d i c a t e d in Figs. 232 a n d 233. T h e d r i f t plains n o t only are extensive b u t i n c l u d e a large p a r t of t h e most p o p u l o u s a n d highly d e v e l o p e d sections of those

c o n t i n e n t s . T h e y c o n t a i n localities of d i f f e r e n t a p p e a r a n c e a n d utility. T h e r e are p o o r areas a n d p r o d u c t i v e areas. Each c o n t i n e n t has its areas of lake-dotted m a r g i n a l m o r a i n e a n d its areas of g r o u n d m o r a i n e w i t h d r u m lins, marshes, a n d g e n t l y rolling, cultivated land. New drift plains and old. T h e characteristic f e a t u r e s of d r i f t plains, as they h a v e b e e n described, are m a i n l y those of r e c e n t glacial deposits. Such d r i f t plains h a v e b e e n little a l t e r e d by w e a t h e r i n g a n d erosion since t h e i r deposition. I n b o t h N o r t h A m e r i c a a n d Eur o p e , however, are extensive plains t h a t b e a r u n m i s t a k a b l e evidence of b e i n g ice deposited b u t clearly are m u c h o l d e r . G r a d a t i o n a l processes h a v e largely erased t h e typical features of d r i f t plains a n d have c r e a t e d n e w features. M o r a i n a l ridges have been reduced, kames worn down, kettles filled, a n d lakes d r a i n e d o r

GLACIATED filled. O n l y t h e most resistant e r r a t i c b o u l d e r s r e m a i n . Areas of old d r i f t p l a i n s are f o u n d , f o r e x a m p l e , in p a r t s of Iowa, w e s t e r n Illinois, a n d n o r t h e r n Missouri.

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277

S o m e t i m e s t h e glacial f r o n t ret r e a t e d by m e l t i n g d o w n a g e n t l e slope. W h e n this h a p p e n e d , a lake was f o r m e d , because t h e glacier f r o n t acted as a d a m . Such a lake w o u l d increase in area a n d elevation u n t i l it f o u n d a n overflow at t h e lowest place in its r i m (Fig. 234). T e m p o rary f o r m e r glacial lakes of t h a t k i n d are k n o w n as marginal lakes. T h e

ica distinguished as to the dominance of older drift, newer drift, and ice scour.

Differences in the o l d e r d r i f t give evidence of the a d v a n c e a n d r e t r e a t of several d i f f e r e n t c o n t i n e n t a l glaciers s e p a r a t e d by intervals of m a n y t h o u s a n d s of years. T h e easily observed f e a t u r e s of the n e w e r d r i f t in t h e n o r t h e r n states show t h a t the last ice age was, in terms of geologic time, relatively recent.
Glacial lakes and lake plains. I t h a s

final w i t h d r a w a l of the ice b a r r i e r back of a m a r g i n a l lake r e m o v e d t h e d a m t h a t caused it. T h e d r a i n a g e then f o u n d a new and lower outlet, a n d the lake d w i n d l e d in size o r disa p p e a r e d entirely. D u r i n g the periods of t h e i r existence, m a r g i n a l lakes m o d i f i e d t h e l a n d surface. T h e areas t h a t they cove r e d are n o w called lake plains. S u c h plains a r e exceedingly flat. T h e y are c o m p o s e d of t h e wave-worked clays,

b e e n p o i n t e d o u t t h a t most glacial lakes of t h e p r e s e n t result f r o m some k i n d of glacial o b s t r u c t i o n of p r e s e n t d r a i n a g e . T h i s is in some degree t r u e even of t h e G r e a t Lakes. H o w e v e r , in a n earlier stage of t h e i r history, t h e d r a i n a g e of the G r e a t Lakes was o b s t r u c t e d by t h e ice of t h e glacier itself. T h i s was t r u e also of o t h e r lakes t h a t today h a v e p a r t l y o r wholly disappeared.

Fig. 233. The regions of older and newer glaciation in Europe, the latter subdivided as in Fig. 232.

silts, a n d sands of t h e glacial d r i f t . M a r g i n a l lakes w e r e generally shallow. Waves a n d c u r r e n t s s h i f t e d sedim e n t o v e r t h e lake floor, filling t h e

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Fig. 2 3 4 . Formation of a temporary lake between the margin of a glacier and a low divide across which the surplus drainage escapes. Glacial-lake deposits are seen in the lake bottom.

depressions. As a result, w h e n t h e lakes w e r e c o m p l e t e l y or partially d r a i n e d , plains a p p e a r e d that r a n k a m o n g t h e flattest in the w o r l d . Shore features, such as beach ridges a n d deltas, are spread over t h e m at intervals. T h e s e m a r k successive stages in the l o w e r i n g of t h e o u t l e t a n d t h e decrease of t h e lake area. Important lake plains. Glacial lake plains are f o u n d i n certain parts of E u r o p e . Several of great area a n d u n u s u a l e c o n o m i c significance are located in N o r t h A m e r i c a . N o t a b l e a m o n g these are t h e L a k e Agassiz P l a i n , c e r t a i n m a r g i n s of t h e G r e a t Lakes, the O n t a r i o clay belt, a n d the p l a i n of c e n t r a l W i s c o n s i n (Fig. 235). T h e L a k e Agassiz P l a i n is s i t u a t e d in n o r t h w e s t e r n M i n n e s o t a , eastern N o r t h D a k o t a , a n d M a n i t o b a . Lakes W i n n i p e g a n d W i n n i p e g o s i s in M a n itoba at p r e s e n t occupy t h e lowest p o r t i o n s of t h e p l a i n (Fig. 236). I n this r e g i o n t h e glacier f r o n t acted as a d a m across a shallow a n d widespread depression w i t h n o r m a l surface d r a i n a g e t o w a r d H u d s o n Bay.

For a l o n g t i m e t h e h u g e lake overflowed to the s o u t h t h r o u g h w h a t is today t h e M i n n e s o t a River, w h i c h empties i n t o t h e Mississippi a t M i n neapolis. O n e of t h e early scientists to study this r e g i o n was L o u i s Agassiz (ag'ase), a n o t e d Swiss geologist a n d zoologist. H e traced t h e shorelines of the a n c i e n t lake. H i s discoveries led to the use of his n a m e in c o n n e c t i o n w i t h t h e area. T h i s r e g i o n is sometimes r e f e r r e d to as t h e Red River Valley. M o r e correctly it s h o u l d b e called t h e Red River basin, because the R e d R i v e r , w h i c h slowly m e a n ders its way n o r t h w a r d across t h e flat surface, occupies a n a r r o w , shallow valley t h a t is only a very small fract i o n of t h e e n t i r e lake p l a i n . Soils are rich over m u c h of t h e Agassiz P l a i n . Especially is this t r u e i n t h e vicinity of Fargo, M o o r h e a d , a n d G r a n d Forks. I n o t h e r localities it is sandy a n d u n d e r l a i n by gravel beds, like so m a n y soils f o u n d t h r o u g h o u t t h e area of r e c e n t glacial d r i f t . S u c h soils dry o u t by u n d e r -

GLACIATED g r o u n d seepage m u c h faster t h a n cert a i n o t h e r types. T h e Agassiz P l a i n is n o t e d for its p r o d u c t i o n of s p r i n g w h e a t , potatoes, a n d flax. B a r r i n g occasional d r o u t h , it is a highly productive region.

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m a r g i n m u s t h a v e p r o d u c e d large v o l u m e s of d r a i n a g e water. It w o u l d be strange if streams of sufficient size to carry so m u c h w a t e r h a d n o t left t h e i r m a r k s u p o n t h e landscape. T h e p r i n c i p a l m a r k s are a n c i e n t spillways. T h e y are recognized as b r o a d b u t short valleys. M a n y such spillways are k n o w n , in b o t h E u r o p e a n d N o r t h A m e r i c a . Several of t h e m are n o w o c c u p i e d by streams t h a t seem ridiculously small in valleys t h a t app e a r to have b e e n e r o d e d by streams of t h e size of t h e Mississippi. F i g u r e 235 shows the location a n d d r a i n a g e r e l a t i o n s h i p s of t h e princi-

Fig. 235. Principal glacial-lake plains and glacial spillways of North America.

While the continental glacier b l o c k e d t h e St. L a w r e n c e Valley, t h e G r e a t Lakes n o t only overflowed t h r o u g h d i f f e r e n t outlets b u t also covered m o r e territory. As a result, r a t h e r extensive lake plains are f o u n d a r o u n d certain m a r g i n s of the p r e s e n t lakes, especially i n western N e w York, eastern M i c h i g a n , a n d n o r t h e r n O h i o . T h e city of Chicago stands in large p a r t u p o n such a p l a i n . A very extensive lake plain, k n o w n as t h e Ontario clay belt, is located a b o u t m i d w a y b e t w e e n L a k e H u r o n a n d J a m e s Bay. I n c e n t r a l W i s c o n s i n t h e r e is a flat, sandy, a n d i n f e r t i l e lake p l a i n . I n such sandy plains, r a i n w a t e r sinks q u i c k l y i n t o t h e g r o u n d a n d is of little use to shallow-rooted plants.
Important glacial spillways. Sum-

Fig. 2 3 6 . Extent of ancient glacial Lake Agassiz. After Upham, "Introduction and W. A. Tarr, U. S. Geological to Geology," McGraw-Hill Survey. B. From Branson by E.

Book Co.)

m e r m e l t i n g a l o n g a n e x t e n d e d ice

p a l A m e r i c a n spillways. I t will bcrecognized at o n c e t h a t some of t h e m are of u n u s u a l significance as r o u t e s of present-day t r a n s p o r t a t i o n . T h e Chicago outlet provided a naturally g r a d e d site t h a t m a d e possible the

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e c o n o m i c a l c o n s t r u c t i o n of t h e Illinois a n d M i c h i g a n C a n a l a n d later t h e C h i c a g o Sanitary a n d S h i p C a n a l w h i c h r u n s t h r o u g h the city of Chi-

these g r a d e d courses to link together t h e n a t u r a l waterways of t h e c o u n t r y .


SUMMARY

T h e most i m p o r t a n t results of cont i n e n t a l glaciation in N o r t h A m e r i c a m a y be listed as follows: 1) T h e ice-scoured L a u r e n t i a n upland, with t h e e x c e p t i o n of c e r t a i n b a r e spots, is covered w i t h a t h i n soil t h a t s u p p o r t s the g r o w t h of forests of shallow-rooted conifers. 2) W e s t e r n O n t a r i o a n d n o r t h eastern M i n n e s o t a c o n t a i n h u n d r e d s of lakes o c c u p y i n g rock basins t h a t r e s u l t e d f r o m ice scour. 3) T h e ice-scoured plains h a v e n u m e r o u s waterfalls a n d r a p i d s available for w a t e r p o w e r . 4) T h e n o r t h c e n t r a l states of t h e U n i t e d States are covered largely w i t h r e c e n t glacial d r i f t . B e t w e e n

Fig. 2 3 7 . For a long period of time the Great Lakes were prevented from draining into the Atlantic through the St. Lawrence River because the continental glacier acted as a dam across that river. The four principal spillways at that time were the St. Croix-Mississippi, the Illinois, the Wabash, and the Mohawk-Hudson.

cago. I t is traversed also by railway lines a n d a n i m p o r t a n t h i g h w a y . T h e M o h a w k Valley o u t l e t t o w a r d the H u d s o n R i v e r f u r n i s h e s t h e lowest a n d best g r a d e d r o u t e across the A p p a l a c h i a n h i g h l a n d s (Fig. 237). It b e c a m e a busy t h o r o u g h f a r e a f t e r the c o n s t r u c t i o n of the E r i e C a n a l a n d n o w carries a h i g h c o n c e n t r a t i o n of rail, highway, a n d a i r p l a n e traffic. F i g u r e 238 shows t h e n e t w o r k of spillways t h a t c a r r i e d d r a i n a g e f r o m the r e t r e a t i n g ice f r o n t s of E u r o p e . T h e c h a n n e l s m a d e by this d r a i n a g e c u t across t h e p r e s e n t t r e n d of t h e r i v e r valleys of t h e N o r t h E u r o p e a n p l a i n a n d p r o v i d e n a t u r a l access f r o m o n e of t h e m to a n o t h e r . T h e G e r m a n system of canals utilizes

long

European "Das

ice front toward the west Eiszeitalter.")

at Paul

various stages of its disappearance. (After Woldsledt,

t h e m a n d t h e O h i o a n d Missouri rivers a r e areas of o l d e r d r i f t . 5) T h e glacial d r i f t has c o n t r i b u t e d to the f o r m a t i o n of some of the richest soils in A m e r i c a .

GLACIATED 6) N u m e r o u s lakes i n t h e till sheet are sites f o r s u m m e r resorts. 7) T h e G r e a t Lakes, t h e greatest i n l a n d w a t e r w a y in t h e w o r l d , are a r e s u l t of ice scour a n d glacial deposition in preglacial valleys. 8) T h e t h o u s a n d s of lakes yield a b u n d a n t supplies of food fish. 9) T h e Agassiz P l a i n a n d o t h e r lake plains are v a l u a b l e a g r i c u l t u r a l lands.

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10) T h e glacial spillways p r o v i d e important transportation thoroughfares. 11) I n contrast to some glaciated regions characterized by r i c h soils are others w h e r e soils a r e m a d e m o r e or less i n f e r t i l e by the presence of a b u n d a n t s a n d a n d gravel. 12) I n some localities, e r r a t i c b o u l ders i n t e r f e r e w i t h t h e c u l t i v a t i o n of the land.

QUESTIONS

1. W h a t are t h r e e ways in w h i c h c o n t i n e n t a l glaciers affect a l a n d sur face? 2. W h a t are t h e two great types of glaciated plains? H o w is each f o r m e d ? 3. Describe t h e surface of a n ice-scoured p l a i n . 4. W h a t are striations? W h a t d o they sometimes indicate? 5. Describe t h e d r a i n a g e of ice-scoured plains. 6. W h y are rock basins a n d waterfalls n u m e r o u s in ice-scoured plains? 7. N a m e a n d locate two extensive ice-scoured plains. 8. Of w h a t e c o n o m i c v a l u e a r e t h e lakes of O n t a r i o ? 9. W h e r e is t h e A r r o w h e a d C o u n t r y of M i n n e s o t a ? t h e L a k e of the Woods? 10. W h e r e is t h e most n o r t h e r l y p o i n t of t h e U n i t e d States? 11. W h e r e are the d r i f t plains w i t h respect to t h e ice-scoured plains? 12. W h a t is t h e thickness of t h e drift? 13. D e f i n e g r o u n d m o r a i n e , o r till p l a i n . 14. H o w can you d i f f e r e n t i a t e b e t w e e n glacial d r i f t a n d t h e s e d i m e n t s d e p o s i t e d by water? 15. W h y is t h e presence of n u m e r o u s e r r a t i c b o u l d e r s a h a n d i c a p to farming? 16. W h y are n u m e r o u s depressions w i t h o u t outlets f o u n d in g r o u n d moraine? 17. W h a t is a d r u m l i n ? W h e r e are d r u m l i n s f o u n d ? 18. W h y is t h e d r a i n a g e of g r o u n d m o r a i n e generally poor? 19. Locate N i a g a r a a n d St. A n t h o n y waterfalls. Discuss t h e i m p o r t a n c e of each. 20. H o w d i d glaciation c o n t r i b u t e to t h e f o r m a t i o n of t h e G r e a t Lakes? 21. W h y a r e large i n d u s t r i a l cities located in t h e G r e a t Lakes region? 22. W h y is t h e W e l l a n d C a n a l necessary? t h e " S o o " Canals? Locate each.

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23. M e n t i o n several reasons w h y t h e St. L a w r e n c e R i v e r s h o u l d b e deepe n e d to a c c o m m o d a t e ocean liners. W h a t are some a r g u m e n t s against t h e project? 24. W h e r e is t h e M o h a w k River? t h e E r i e Canal? 25. W h y are lakes in g r o u n d m o r a i n e less p e r m a n e n t t h a n those i n icescoured plains? 26. W h a t is peat? 27. W h i c h state, M i n n e s o t a o r Iowa, has m o r e s w a m p l a n d ? W h y ? 28. H o w w e r e m a r g i n a l m o r a i n e s f o r m e d ? 29. W h y w e r e t h e r e p e r i o d s of h a l t i n g in the m o v e m e n t of t h e ice front? 30. W h a t a r e e n d , o r t e r m i n a l , moraines? 31. C o m p a r i n g regions of g r o u n d a n d m a r g i n a l m o r a i n e s : W h i c h w o u l d you expect to b e m o r e hilly? m o r e swampy? 32. W h a t is a kame? a kettle? 33. H o w is a n o u t w a s h p l a i n f o r m e d ? 34. W h y are o u t w a s h plains of r a t h e r low a g r i c u l t u r a l value? 35. W h a t c o n s t r u c t i o n a l materials are secured f r o m o u t w a s h plains? 36. W h e r e is L o n g Island? Of w h a t glacial f e a t u r e s is it composed? 37. L o c a t e t h e d r i f t plains of E u r o p e a n d N o r t l i A m e r i c a . 38. H o w d o old d r i f t plains differ f r o m n e w drift? 39. I n w h a t parts of w h a t states a r e o l d d r i f t plains to b e observed? 40. H o w w e r e m a r g i n a l lakes f o r m e d ? W h y d i d they wholly o r partly disappear? 41. W h y a r e lake plains e x t r e m e l y flat? 42. Locate several n o t a b l e lake plains in N o r t h A m e r i c a . 43. W h a t lakes occupy t h e lowest p o r t i o n s of t h e Agassiz Plain? 44. W h y is t h e n a m e Agassiz a p p l i e d to this plain? 45. W h y is it i n c o r r e c t to r e f e r to t h e Agassiz P l a i n as t h e R e d R i v e r Valley? 46. F o r w h a t a g r i c u l t u r a l crops is t h e Agassiz P l a i n noted? 47. W h e r e a r e lake plains located a r o u n d t h e G r e a t Lakes? 48. Locate t h e p r i n c i p a l glacial spillways in N o r t h A m e r i c a . F o r w h a t are they used today? 49. State several results of c o n t i n e n t a l glaciation in N o r t h A m e r i c a . 50. W h y a r e some glacial soils infertile?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. Secure a large m a p of O n t a r i o , a n d c o u n t t h e lakes. C a n m a n y of t h e m b e r e a c h e d by railroad? b y highway? 2. D r a w a large m a p of t h e L a k e of t h e W o o d s . N o t e t h e railroads a n d highways in t h e r e g i o n . D r a w t h e i n t e r n a t i o n a l b o u n d a r y l i n e in this lake. Look u p t h e history of t h a t line.

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3. L e a r n to sketch a m a p of t h e G r e a t Lakes f r o m m e m o r y . L a b e l imp o r t a n t cities a n d t h e f o u r i m p o r t a n t canals. 4. Secure a good m a p s h o w i n g t h e system of canals at Sault Sainte M a r i e . H o w m a n y canals a r e there? F o r w h a t are they used? 5. O u t l i n e t h e c o r n belt o n a m a p of t h e U n i t e d States. Use d i f f e r e n t colors to show t h e p o r t i o n s of this belt covered by n e w a n d old glacial d r i f t . 6. If possible, secure some e r r a t i c b o u l d e r s s h o w i n g striae. 7. Secure a u t o m o b i l e h i g h w a y m a p s of t h e n o r t h c e n t r a l states, N e w E n g l a n d , a n d N e w York. N o t e t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n of lakes. Some c o u n t i e s in M i n n e s o t a have 40 o r m o r e s u m m e r resorts. A r e these c o u n t i e s n o r t h o r s o u t h of St. Paul? w e r e most lakes in n o r t h c e n t r a l M i n n e s o t a f o r m e d ? H o w a b o u t t h e lakes of Maine? 8. Describe t h e r o u t e that you w o u l d follow in m a k i n g a s u m m e r t o u r of t h e G r e a t Lakes r e g i o n . 9. L o o k u p the area a n d d e p t h of each of t h e G r e a t Lakes. 10. If you live in t h e glaciated area, m a k e field trips to study any local evidences of glaciation. 11. Secure m o l d i n g materials, a n d m a k e a relief m o d e l of N i a g a r a Falls, u s i n g the c o n t o u r m a p of t h e r e g i o n to d e t e r m i n e elevations a n d distances. 12. M a k e a relief m o d e l to show d r u m l i n s . Use t h e S u n P r a i r i e , Wisconsin, q u a d r a n g l e (U. S. Geological Survey). 13. Secure several t o p o g r a p h i c m a p s of a certain glaciated r e g i o n that you wish to study. T r i m off t h e edges of each m a p , a n d fasten t h e m t o g e t h e i to p r o v i d e a m a p of a m o r e extensive area. N O T E : O t h e r activities may be f o u n d in the l a b o r a t o r y m a n u a l .
TOPICS FOR CLASS REPORTS

1. T h e L a u r e n t i a n U p l a n d 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Finland T h e A r r o w h e a d C o u n t r y of M i n n e s o t a T h e L a k e of the W o o d s N i a g a r a Falls T h e G r e a t Lakes-St. L a w r e n c e W a t e r w a y to the O c e a n T h e M o h a w k L o w l a n d as a T r a n s p o r t a t i o n T h o r o u g h f a r e T h e Surface F e a t u r e s of L o n g Island A g r i c u l t u r e in R e g i o n s of O l d e r D r i f t T h e L a k e Agassiz P l a i n


REFERENCES

S t a n d a r d t e x t b o o k s o n geology.

chapter

i2.

Plateaus and Hill Country

I n o u r study of e n v i r o n m e n t we are m u c h c o n c e r n e d w i t h l a n d f o r m s , because they have a great deal to d o w i t h t h e way in w h i c h p e o p l e m a k e a living in t h e various regions of the earth. P l a i n s t h a t h a v e g o o d c l i m a t e a n d soil are used by m a n for agricult u r a l p u r s u i t s . I n c e r t a i n localities where transportation and commerce are favorable, m a n u f a c t u r i n g m a y attract t h o u s a n d s of people. I n such relatively small areas t h e density of p o p u l a t i o n o f t e n is very great. Enorm o u s p o r t i o n s of t h e w o r l d ' s plains, however, are sparsely o r t h i n l y populated, m a i n l y because of u n f a v o r able climate. C h a p t e r s 10 a n d 11 dealt w i t h l a n d f o r m s that m a y b e observed o n plains, l a n d f o r m s r e s u l t i n g largely f r o m erosion a n d d e p o s i t i o n by rivers a n d glaciers. I n C h a p t e r s 12 a n d 13 we shall c o n s i d e r l a n d f o r m s of a more rugged nature and higher a b o v e sea level t h a n plains: plateaus, hill c o u n t r y , a n d m o u n t a i n s . I n general, these r o u g h e r a n d h i g h e r landf o r m s a r e m o r e sparsely p o p u l a t e d t h a n a r e plains. T h e r u g g e d n a t u r e of t h e l a n d m a k e s t r a n s p o r t a t i o n m o r e difficult. A g r i c u l t u r e is l i m i t e d largely to t h e grazing of cattle a n d sheep. M i n i n g , however, in some lo-

calities, is of c o n s i d e r a b l e i m p o r tance. C l i m a t e is o f t e n severe, especially in w i n t e r .


PLATEAUS

A plateau is a large area t h a t has c o n s i d e r a b l e elevation above sea level (Fig. 239). Most of t h e great plateaus of t h e e a r t h have a n average elevation of at least 2000 feet above sea level. T h e y h a v e c o n s i d e r a b l e local relief of 500 feet or m o r e a n d usually have a n a b r u p t e s c a r p m e n t , o r bluff, at least o n o n e side. W e shall study t h r e e types of p l a t e a u s : intermontane, meaning betiveen mountains; piedmont; a n d continental plateaus, o r t a b l e l a n d s (Fig. 240). Intermontane plateaus. I n t e r m o n t a n e p l a t e a u s are h i g h l a n d surfaces s u r r o u n d e d m o r e o r less b y m o u n tains. T h e p l a t e a u of T i b e t , n o r t h of I n d i a , is a n eastward-sloping highland. M u c h of its surface lies at a n elevation b e t w e e n 10,000 a n d 15,000 feet a b o v e sea level. O n t h e s o u t h rise t h e great h e i g h t s of t h e H i m a layas. M o u n t a i n s o n the o t h e r sides are lower, yet of sufficient elevation to cause m u c h of t h e p l a t e a u to h a v e interior drainage. Interior drainage m e a n s t h a t surface waters flow i n t o

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Fig. 239. In the background is the fairly flat surface of the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona. This plateau surface ranges from 6 0 0 0 to 9 0 0 0 feet above sea level. In the foreground sedimentary rocks exposed in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. (.Courtesy Trans Airline.) are World

lakes o r seas t h a t h a v e n o o u t l e t to t h e ocean. S u r p l u s w a t e r escapes t h r o u g h deeply c u t valleys a n d gorges that n o t c h t h e m o u n t a i n margins. A similar p l a t e a u in Bolivia has a n elev a t i o n b e t w e e n 10,000 a n d 15,000 feet. T h e s e are the h i g h e s t of t h e i n t e r m o n t a n e plateaus. O t h e r s of lower elevation are t h e dry plateaus of M o n g o l i a , t h e T a r i m basin in Asia, a n d in t h e U n i t e d States the G r e a t Basin a n d the C o l u m b i a Plateau. M e x i c o is largely a h i g h p l a t e a u , b o r d e r e d o n t h e east a n d west by r u g g e d m o u n t a i n s . T h i s p l a t e a u has a d e c i d e d effect o n c l i m a t e in that it m a k e s n i g h t t e m p e r a t u r e s m u c h lower t h a n they otherwise w o u l d be.

T h e c l i m a t e of M e x i c o City, almost 8000 feet above sea level, is very pleasant t h e year r o u n d . Days m a y be w a r m to hot, b u t nights are usually cool. T h i s contrasts w i t h the c o n t i n u o u s l y hot, h u m i d c l i m a t e of Veracruz, w h i c h lies east of Mexico City o n t h e shore of t h e Gulf of Mexico. T h e rugged plateau and mountains of M e x i c o h a v e m a d e t h e buildi n g of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n lines difficult a n d expensive. O n l y w i t h i n r e c e n t years has a c o n c r e t e h i g h w a y b e e n c o m p l e t e d f r o m T e x a s to M e x i c o City. Especially does t h e n o r t h e r n p o r t i o n of the M e x i c a n p l a t e a u suffer f r o m scanty r a i n f a l l . T h e southe r n p a r t is m o r e favored, a n d it is

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h e r e t h a t cereals, especially corn, are p r o d u c e d in c o n s i d e r a b l e q u a n t i t i e s . T h i s p l a t e a u f o r years has b e e n fam o u s as t h e w o r l d ' s greatest pro-

lel blocks s o m e w h a t like the G r e a t Plains of the U n i t e d States. H o w ever, instead of g r a d i n g i n t o l o w e r plains, as d o the G r e a t Plains, the P a t a g o n i a n p l a t e a u ends n e a r t h e A t l a n t i c in a n a b r u p t e s c a r p m e n t 300 to 600 feet h i g h . T h e C o l o r a d o p l a t e a u s i n southwestern U n i t e d States are, in a sense, p i e d m o n t plateaus. T h e y are bord e r e d o n t h e n o r t h a n d east by t h e h i g h ranges of t h e W a s a t c h , U i n t a , Rocky, a n d San J u a n M o u n t a i n s . O n t h e west a n d south they s t a n d a b o v e the a d j a c e n t basins i n e s c a r p m e n t s t h a t are f r o m a few h u n d r e d s to as m u c h as 5000 feet in h e i g h t . Continental plateaus. T h e s e plateaus, or tablelands, rise w i t h some abruptness from bordering lowlands or f r o m t h e sea. I n general they d o n o t have c o n s p i c u o u s m o u n t a i n r i m s Some e x a m p l e s of great t a b l e l a n d s are the p e n i n s u l a s of I n d i a , Spain, a n d A r a b i a ; s o u t h e r n A f r i c a ; parts of A u s t r a l i a ; a n d ice-covered G r e e n l a n d and Antarctica.

Fig. 240. The three types of plateaus: A, intermontane; , piedmont; C, continental plateau, or tableland.

d u c e r of silver. O t h e r metals, especially gold, a r e m i n e d w i t h t h e silver. Piedmont plateaus. T h e r e are m a n y small p i e d m o n t plateaus; few large ones. T h e y lie b e t w e e n m o u n t a i n s a n d b o r d e r i n g plains or the sea. T h e p l a t e a u of P a t a g o n i a , i n s o u t h e r n A r g e n t i n a , lies east of t h e A n d e s M o u n t a i n s . Streams h a v e c u t this p l a t e a u surface i n t o r o u g h l y paral-

T a b l e l a n d s in g e n e r a l are areas of relatively r e c e n t crustal u p l i f t . Such u p l i f t m a y p r o d u c e a r e g u l a r shorel i n e w i t h very few i n d e n t a t i o n s . Africa, f o r e x a m p l e , has a very regular shoreline. T h i s m e a n s a lack of n a t u r a l h a r b o r s a n d is a h a n d i c a p to the d e v e l o p m e n t of c o m m e r c i a l ports. T h e c o n t i n e n t a l p l a t e a u , o r tableland, c h a r a c t e r of A f r i c a is clearly shown by t h e g r a d i e n t s of its m a j o r streams. A r i s i n g in i n t e r i o r u p l a n d s , each of t h e great A f r i c a n rivers, t h e N i l e , Zambezi, L i m p o p o , O r a n g e ,

P L A T E A U S AND HILL C o n g o , a n d N i g e r , has a m i d d l e course of relatively g e n t l e g r a d i e n t , a f t e r w h i c h it p l u n g e s over t h e plat e a u e s c a r p m e n t i n falls o r r a p i d s w h i c h m a k e it u n n a v i g a b l e . T h e fall of t h e N i l e is d i s t r i b u t e d a m o n g its six f a m o u s cataracts w h i c h are sepa r a t e d f r o m each o t h e r by distances of 150 to 200 miles. T h e C o n g o , n e a r its m o u t h , descends n e a r l y 1000 feet f r o m t h e p l a t e a u surface over a stretch of wild rapids. T h e Zambezi R i v e r leaves t h e plateau by m e a n s of Victoria Falls. T h e s e falls a r e twice as h i g h as N i a g a r a b u t only half as wide. T h e r i v e r t h e n descends t h r o u g h a 40-mile gorge a n d over a series of r a p i d s b e f o r e it reaches t h e level of t h e coastal p l a i n . E v e n t h e smaller O r a n g e R i v e r has a 300-foot w a t e r f a l l in its lower course. T h e impossibility of r e a c h i n g t h e i n t e r i o r of t h e c o n t i n e n t by u n i n t e r r u p t e d stream n a v i g a t i o n is o n e of t h e reasons w h y A f r i c a was the last of the c o n t i n e n t s to b e p e n e t r a t e d by Europeans. T h e C o l o r a d o p l a t e a u s are located in p a r t s of Arizona, U t a h , C o l o r a d o , a n d N e w M e x i c o (Fig. 241). T h i s vast r e g i o n is e q u a l i n area to the c o m b i n e d areas of O h i o , I n d i a n a , a n d Illinois. S e d i m e n t a r y rocks, m a i n l y sandstone, limestone, a n d shale, totali n g several t h o u s a n d s of feet in thickness, lie i n a n e a r l y h o r i z o n t a l posit i o n u p o n a f o u n d a t i o n of crystalline rocks (Fig. 242). H e r e o n e observes a l a n d surface t h a t is m a i n l y flattish, table-like o r steplike i n f o r m a t i o n . T h e v a r i o u s plateaus are separated by canyons or b o l d escarpments. T h e

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K a i b a b P l a t e a u in n o r t h e r n Arizona, o n e of the g r o u p , reaches a n elevat i o n of some 9000 feet a b o v e sea level. T h e e n t i r e r e g i o n is a r i d to semiarid. T h e C o l u m b i a P l a t e a u i n Washi n g t o n , O r e g o n , a n d I d a h o is a n out-

Columbia Basin

plateaus

in

relation

to the

Great

and western

mountains.

s t a n d i n g e x a m p l e of a lava p l a t e a u . I n this region, lavas have covered a n area as large as t h a t of the c o m b i n e d states of N e w York, N e w Jersey, a n d P e n n s y l v a n i a . T h e lavas o c c u r in n e a r l y h o r i z o n t a l flows of variable thickness (Fig. 243). T h e successive layers b u r y a n u n e v e n surface of f o r m e r erosion. T h r o u g h this plateau, w h i c h e x t e n d s to Yellowstone N a t i o n a l P a r k , t h e S n a k e R i v e r , in parts of its course, has c u t d e e p canyons. I n t h e walls of t h e c a n y o n the layers of e x t r u d e d , solidified lava are exposed.

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Fig. 242. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. The narrow inner gorge, cut in crystalline rock, is in striking contrast to the intricately carved steps eroded in the sedimentary rocks above. (Photograph by V. C. Finch.)

T h e igneous rocks of this p l a t e a u over c o n s i d e r a b l e areas are covered by a fairly r i c h soil. L y i n g o n t h e leew a r d side of t h e Cascade M o u n t a i n s , this area is s e m i a r i d . R a i n f a l l , however, is sufficient f o r t h e g r o w t h of w h e a t , a n d t h e r e g i o n a r o u n d Spokane, W a s h i n g t o n , is n o t e d f o r t h e p r o d u c t i o n of this cereal. Plateaus in dry climates. C l i m a t i c c o n d i t i o n s largely d e t e r m i n e t h e characteristic f e a t u r e s of t h e p l a t e a u surface. T h e g r e a t e r n u m b e r of the world's plateaus h a v e a r i d o r semia r i d climates f o r t h e f o l l o w i n g reasons: 1) Some p l a t e a u s are i n regions of the t r a d e winds.

2) I n t e r m o n t a n e p l a t e a u s are almost c e r t a i n to lie o n t h e leeward side of m o u n t a i n barriers. 3) C e r t a i n plateaus have t h e i r h i g h sides f a c i n g t h e p r e v a i l i n g winds. M o d e r a t e or a b u n d a n t prec i p i t a t i o n falls o n t h e w i n d w a r d slopes, b u t t h e p l a t e a u surface is relatively dry. 4) P l a t e a u s in r e g i o n s of a b u n d a n t r a i n f a l l d o n o t l o n g r e t a i n t h e i r plat e a u features. I n a relatively short time, geologically speaking, such a p l a t e a u becomes m u c h dissected or c u t u p . T h e n it changes to a hill r e g i o n o r m o u n t a i n mass.
Arid plateau valleys. T h e valleys of a r i d p l a t e a u s generally have t h e fea-

P L A T E A U S AND HILL tures t h a t are characteristic of y o u n g valleys. Streams that o r i g i n a t e outside t h e p l a t e a u in regions of plentif u l r a i n , called exotic streams, are

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289

p o r t a t i o n . Its n a r r o w b o t t o m offers little space for r a i l r o a d o r highway. T h e s t r e a m itself is likely to h a v e a h i g h velocity a n d to be i n t e r r u p t e d by great boulders, rapids, a n d waterfalls. M o r e o v e r , t h e s t r e a m is s u b j e c t to r a p i d a n d large changes in v o l u m e . T h e c a n y o n floor is r e a c h e d only by a steep c l i m b d o w n a p r e c i p i t o u s valley wall o r by the difficult r o u t e of a t r i b u t a r y canyon. A t the p l a t e a u surface, t h e canyon walls are usually so f a r a p a r t that b r i d g i n g is o u t of t h e q u e s t i o n . It is evident, t h e r e f o r e , t h a t

Fig. 243. An exposure of the Columbia Plateau basalts showing beds that result from successive lava flows. (Courtesy vey.) U. S. Geological Sur-

likely to f o r m canyons. T h e same is t r u e of some t r i b u t a r y streams. U n d e r certain conditions, a n a t u r a l b r i d g e m a y b e f o r m e d (Fig. 244). T h e d e v e l o p m e n t of canyons is largely t h e r e s u l t of the f o l l o w i n g conditions: 1) O r o g r a p h i c r a i n f a l l i n n e a r b y m o u n t a i n s may p r o v i d e sufficient wat e r f o r a r i v e r to cross a p l a t e a u a n d to descend to t h e sea b e y o n d . 2) A swift r i v e r c a r r y i n g sand a n d gravel has great e r o d i n g p o w e r . 3) T h e p l a t e a u surface is h i g h a b o v e its base level. 4) T h e solid rocks are able to s t a n d in steep slopes. 5) T h e slow r a t e of w e a t h e r i n g a n d small a m o u n t of slope wash in a r i d lands t e n d to preserve the steepness of t h e valley walls. T h e typical c a n y o n is n o t favorable to t h e various m e a n s of trans-

Fig.

244.

Rainbow

Natural

Bridge,

southern

Utah. This unusual landform has been caused mainly by stream erosion.

canyons greatly increase t h e inaccessibility of p l a t e a u regions. T h e G r a n d C a n y o n of t h e Color a d o R i v e r , i n n o r t h e r n Arizona, is t h e most m a g n i f i c e n t of its k i n d , a n d f o r t h a t reason p a r t of it has b e e n

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i n c l u d e d in o n e of t h e n a t i o n a l parks. T h i s great canyon has b e e n carved i n solid rock by t h e swift Colo r a d o River, w h i c h originates in the R o c k y M o u n t a i n s of C o l o r a d o a n d flows across high, a r i d p l a t e a u s o n its way to t h e Gulf of C a l i f o r n i a . Few permanent tributaries join the main stream. I n o n e p a r t of its valley t h e Color a d o R i v e r has c u t t h r o u g h m o r e t h a n 4000 feet of nearly h o r i z o n t a l s e d i m e n t a r y rocks a n d m o r e t h a n 1000 feet i n t o crystalline rocks ben e a t h t h e m (Figs. 239, 242). T h e erosion of t h e latter has p r o d u c e d a n a r r o w i n n e r gorge, a b o v e w h i c h t h e walls of s e d i m e n t a r y rocks rise in a series of giant steps. T h e s e steps w e r e p r o d u c e d by t h e u n e q u a l resistance to river erosion of such rocks as shale a n d sandstone. T h e exposed edges of the m o r e resistant s e d i m e n t a r y strata f o r m t h e almost vertical walls of t h e canyon; t h e less resistant layers app e a r as i n t e r v e n i n g slopes. A t its t o p t h e h u g e valley varies f r o m 8 to 12 miles in w i d t h , b u t t h e b o t t o m is little m o r e t h a n t h e w i d t h of t h e river itself. T o a t t e m p t to describe t h e scenic g r a n d e u r of t h e G r a n d C a n y o n is i n d e e d a difficult task. T h e walls of solid rock p r e s e n t h u n d r e d s of intricate f o r m s . F r o m c e r t a i n p o i n t s o n the canyon rim, the Colorado River is seen as a tiny r i b b o n of water, a m i l e below, persistently g r i n d i n g its channel deeper and deeper into the solid e a r t h . B u t even m o r e impressive t h a n t h e rock f o r m a t i o n s is t h e display of b e a u t i f u l colors s h o w n

by t h e various kinds of rocks. R e d dish sandstones, gray-blue shales, a n d whitish limestones i n t e r m i n g l e to p r o d u c e a pleasing variety of colors. Especially at s u n d o w n , the b l e n d i n g of colors a n d the ceaseless c h a n g e in color c o m b i n a t i o n s p r e s e n t o n e of the most f a s c i n a t i n g sights i n t h e world. T h e e n o r m o u s size of t h e G r a n d C a n y o n compels t h e traveler to consider t h e vast a m o u n t of t i m e req u i r e d f o r geological processes to p r o d u c e such a f e a t u r e o n the e a r t h ' s surface. For h u n d r e d s of millions of years t h e e n t i r e r e g i o n was covered by the sea. Sands, m u d s , a n d limes collected o n the sea floor to f o r m successive layers of sandstone, shale, a n d limestone, n o w t h o u s a n d s of feet thick. T h e n c a m e t h e slow u p l i f t of t h e s e d i m e n t a r y rocks, the disapp e a r a n c e of t h e sea, a n d t h e carving of the canyon, r e q u i r i n g o t h e r millions of years. As o n e b e h o l d s t h e G r a n d C a n y o n , h e is deeply conscious of t h e earth's great age. T h e span of h u m a n life seems, b y comparison, t r u l y insignificant. Mesas and buttes. I n A m e r i c a n dry lands, a p l a t e a u u p l a n d of small to m o d e r a t e size w i t h a flat t o p a n d steep sides is called a mesa (Fig. 245). Usually mesas are p o r t i o n s of larger plateaus t h a t have b e e n d e t a c h e d by t h e f o r m a t i o n a n d w i d e n i n g of canyons o r arroyos (a Spanish n a m e applied to flat-bottomed, steep-sided valleys). A resistant layer of rock, such as s a n d s t o n e o r some f o r m of solidified lava, usually f o r m s t h e t o p of a mesa. T h e m o r e r a p i d erosion

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Fig, 245. Hoover (Boulder) Dam on the Colorado River. Note the large mesa in the background. (Courtesy il. S. Department of the Interior.)

of less resistant rocks b e n e a t h is responsible f o r the table-like appearance of this p l a t e a u f e a t u r e . F o r m a tions of s i m i l a r o r i g i n b u t of smaller size a r e called buttes. Mesas are especially characteristic of N e w M e x i c o a n d Arizona; buttes, of M o n t a n a , t h e Dakotas, a n d W y o m i n g . Interior drainage. I n t e r i o r drainage, you will recall, refers to d r a i n a g e in w h i c h surface waters flow i n t o int e r i o r basins t h a t h a v e n o o u t l e t to t h e sea. T h i s type of d r a i n a g e is f o u n d in c e r t a i n dry plains, such as t h e plains of T u r k e s t a n a n d Russia w h i c h d r a i n i n t o t h e Caspian a n d

A r a l seas, a n d those a r o u n d L a k e Eyre in Australia. Some a r i d p l a t e a u s have i n t e r i o r d r a i n a g e . Especially is this t r u e of i n t e r m o n t a n e plateaus. H e r e , a l o n g t h e m o u n t a i n sides, m a y b e observed n u m e r o u s alluvial fans a n d , over the basin floor, dry s t r e a m beds a n d occasional sand dunes. S u c h f e a t u r e s m a y be observed i n t h e G r e a t Basin of the U n i t e d States, w h i c h is located m a i n l y in N e v a d a . T h e lakes that o c c u p y t h e lowest p o r t i o n s of i n t e r i o r basins o f t e n contain salt water, because streams carry salt to t h e lakes a n d because evapora-

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t i o n of t h e lake w a t e r causes the percentage of salt to increase. E x a m p l e s of salt lakes i n p l a t e a u basins are s h o w n by G r e a t Salt Lake, U t a h ; M o n o Lake, California; Koko Nor in c e n t r a l Asia; a n d the lakes of I r a n

soon b e c o m e dry a n d cracked. T h e y are called playa lakes. Plateaus in humid climates. P l a t e a u s s i t u a t e d in h u m i d climates t e n d to be m u c h m o r e dissected o r cut u p by stream valleys t h a n those in t h e dry climates. S o m e are so dissected t h a t they h a v e lost most of t h e i r p l a t e a u characteristics. T h e eastern h i g h l a n d of Australia, the eastern f r o n t of t h e Brazilian p l a t e a u , a n d the western f r o n t of t h e Deccan P l a t e a u of I n d i a receive c o n s i d e r a b l e r a i n f a l l . T h e y h a v e b e e n dissected i n t o h i l l regions, locally called mountains. M o r e c o n t i n u o u s s t r e a m erosion a n d t h e g r e a t e r r a p i d i t y of t h e weatheringprocesses c h a n g e t h e p l a t e a u surface i n t o o n e of b r o a d divides w i t h r o u n d e d a n d i r r e g u l a r u p l a n d areas. Such dissected p l a t e a u s are f o u n d i n certain parts of t h e AlleghenyC u m b e r l a n d h i g h l a n d of t h e U n i t e d States a n d i n o t h e r parts of t h e world. Great ice plateaus. Vast sheets of ice cover most of G r e e n l a n d a n d Antarctica. T h e y are probably m u c h like t h e great ice sheets t h a t o n c e covered large parts of N o r t h A m e r ica a n d E u r o p e . B o t h m a y b e reg a r d e d as ice plateaus. T h e G r e e n l a n d ice cap (Fig. 246) is largely h e l d within fringing mountain walls. T h a t of A n t a r c t i c a , f o r t h e most p a r t , rises a b r u p t l y f o r several scores of feet. T h e n it slopes r a p i d l y u p to a flattish i n t e r i o r w h i c h has a n average elevation of a b o u t 7000 feet a n d a m a x i m u m of m o r e t h a n 9000 feet in the r e g i o n of t h e g e o g r a p h i c a l S o u t h Pole. Its vast e x p a n s e i n c l u d e s

Fig. 2 4 6 . The continental glacier of Greenland.

(Persia). N o t all lakes similarly located c o n t a i n salt water, because they overflow i n t o o t h e r lakes at lower elevations. T h i s is t r u e of L a k e T i t i caca, Bolivia, t h e highest large body of w a t e r in t h e w o r l d , a n d of U t a h Lake, w h i c h overflows t h r o u g h t h e J o r d a n R i v e r i n t o G r e a t Salt Lake. I n t h e G r e a t Basin, m a n y shallow lake beds c o n t a i n w a t e r only a f t e r occasional rains. A t o t h e r times they a p p e a r as flat expanses of m u d , which, u n d e r t h e h e a t of t h e sun,

P L A T E A U S AND HILL

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293

Fig. 247. Tongues from the Greenland mountains. (Photograph by Rasmussen,

ice plateau

protrude

coastward through Review.")

the

fringing

courtesy

"Geographical

a n area a b o u t o n e a n d two-thirds times that of t h e U n i t e d States, almost e n t i r e l y ice covered. I n general, t h e surface of the Antarctic ice p l a t e a u is flat. I n places t h e r e are cracks, or crevasses, some of great d e p t h . A r o u n d most of its m a r g i n , t h e glacier e x t e n d s i n t o the sea, so that t h e exact position of t h e s h o r e l i n e of the c o n t i n e n t is n o t k n o w n . T h e glacier edge a p p e a r s a h i g h ice cliff, m a n y miles i n l e n g t h . F r o m this cliff h u g e masses of ice b r e a k off to f o r m the largest icebergs in t h e w o r l d . I n G r e e n l a n d , tongues of ice e x t e n d d o w n valleys to the sea (Fig. 247). T h e y p r o d u c e icebergs that are a h a z a r d to n a v i g a t i o n w h e n they d r i f t s o u t h w a r d i n t o the N o r t h A t l a n t i c s t e a m s h i p lanes in t h e spring.

Fig. 248. Hill regions of the eastern states: A, Appalachian hill region; B, ridge-and-valley region; C, Blue Ridge region; D, Piedmont region; E , Atlantic coastal plain.

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Fig. 2 4 9 . Looking up the valley of the Gauley River, near Swiss, W e s t Virginia, in the AlleghenyCumberland hill region.

HILL LANDS

Fig. 2 5 0 . Dendritic pattern is characteristic of stream development in the maturely dissected Allegheny-Cumberland hill region.

T h e m i s f o r t u n e of t h e w o r d hill in c o m m o n use is that it is a p p l i e d to elevations t h a t r a n g e all t h e way f r o m m o u n d s to m o u n t a i n s . H i l l lands are d i f f e r e n t f r o m plains, even r o u g h plains, in t h a t they have, by d e f i n i t i o n , c o n s i d e r a b l y g r e a t e r local relief. T h e y r e s e m b l e m o u n t a i n regions in t h a t they i n c l u d e l a n d of w h i c h a large p a r t is i n steep slopes. Some very r o u g h hills are m o u n t a i n like in c o m p a r i s o n w i t h a d j a c e n t plains a n d locally are called mountains. H o w e v e r , in most hill regions the f e a t u r e s are less massive t h a n those of m o u n t a i n s , t h e i r parts are less c o m p l i c a t e d , a n d t h e i r detailed

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Fig. 2 5 1 . Mount Hope, West Virginia, a coal town of some 2 0 0 0 Cumberland hill region is famous for its extensive coal deposits.

population. The Allegheny-

f e a t u r e s are of a smaller o r d e r of size. H i l l l a n d may be t h o u g h t of as a r e g i o n (1) h a v i n g a high p e r c e n t a g e of fairly steep slopes, (2) w i t h uplands of small s u m m i t area, a n d (3) h a v i n g a local relief of f r o m a b o u t 500 to 2000 feet.
Allegheny-Cumberland hill region.

T h e A p p a l a c h i a n hill r e g i o n also goes by t h e n a m e of Appalachian plateaus. It e x t e n d s f r o m n o r t h e r n P e n n s y l v a n i a to n o r t h e a s t e r n Alab a m a (Figs. 248, 249). T h i s is a region d e v e l o p e d m a i n l y by s t r e a m erosion in a h u m i d c l i m a t e a n d w h e r e b e d r o c k consists of h o r i z o n t a l s e d i m e n t a r y strata. Local relief in g e n e r a l is f r o m 500 to 2000 feet. I n places it reaches 3000 feet o r m o r e , g i v i n g t h e landscape t h e a p p e a r a n c e of low m o u n t a i n s . T h e s t r e a m pat-

t e r n of a large p a r t of t h e area is d e n d r i t i c , o r t r e e l i k e (Fig. 250). T h e m a j o r streams have b r o a d e n e d t h e i r valleys a n d d e v e l o p e d small flood plains. T h e secondary streams oc cupy V-shaped valleys w h i c h , however, may be f o l l o w e d by roads or railroads. T h e m i n o r t r i b u t a r y valleys a r e of great n u m b e r . I n t h e western p a r t of this r e g i o n , good roads a n d well-developed f a r m s occupy t h e spacious valleys. T h e r o u n d e d hills are p a s t u r e d , a n d only the steeper slopes r e m a i n in woodland. I n the r o u g h e r areas f a r t h e r east, c r o p l a n d is l i m i t e d i n e x t e n t , since b o t h b o t t o m l a n d s a n d flat uplands are nearly lacking. Most of the slopes are wooded, b u t some of s u r p r i s i n g steepness are cultivated. Roads, railroads, a n d s e t t l e m e n t s are

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in t h e n a r r o w valleys. M a n y of t h e larger settlements, mostly coal-mini n g camps, are s t r u n g a l o n g t h e valleys (Fig. 251). Some, especially in eastern K e n t u c k y , h a v e little contact w i t h t h e o u t s i d e w o r l d . T h i s particular hill r e g i o n is o u t s t a n d i n g i n o n e respect. I t contains some of t h e most extensive coal deposits in t h e world.

I n a d d i t i o n to the A l l e g h e n y a n d O z a r k h i l l lands, t h e r e a r e o t h e r s d e v e l o p e d u n d e r similar c o n d i t i o n s . A m o n g t h e m are regions located i n s o u t h e r n G e r m a n y , i n p a r t s of peni n s u l a r I n d i a , a n d east of t h e Drakensberg Mountains in southeastern Africa.
Appalachian ridge-and-valley re-

Sedimentary rocks

Fig. 252. The Ozark sedimentary

y-^Xrys/o/f/ne rocks 9fonife,A V/VT dome in southeastern

Missouri, showing how the crystalline rocks outcrop to form the St. Francis "Mountains." Some rocks that are 1600 feet above sea level in the vicinity of the St. Francis "Mountains" are 1000 feet below sea level in western Missouri.

Ozark hill lands. T h e O z a r k hill lands a r e s i t u a t e d m a i n l y in southe r n M i s s o u r i a n d n o r t h e r n Arkansas. H e r e t h e s e d i m e n t a r y strata d i p slightly d o w n w a r d f r o m t h e u p l i f t e d g r a n i t e d o m e t h a t f o r m s t h e St. Francis " M o u n t a i n s " in s o u t h e a s t e r n Missouri (Fig. 252). Few railroads p e n e t r a t e the m o r e hilly sections. D e n d r i t i c d r a i n a g e carries surface waters to the Missouri a n d Mississippi rivers. Because t h e hills are well covered w i t h a g r o w t h of dec i d u o u s h a r d w o o d s , several n a t i o n a l forests h a v e b e e n established in the r e g i o n . T h e larger streams are of such v o l u m e t h a t some h a v e b e e n d a m m e d to create artificial lakes a n d to p r o v i d e h y d r o e l e c t r i c p o w e r .

gion. C e r t a i n hill regions are characterized b y ridges a n d valleys t h a t a r e r o u g h l y parallel. T h e s e c o n t r a s t sharply w i t h hills h a v i n g t h e dend r i t i c valley p a t t e r n . T h e parallel a r r a n g e m e n t results f r o m t h e erosion of crustal w r i n k l e s i n s e d i m e n t a r y rocks of u n e q u a l resistance. T h e App a l a c h i a n ridge-and-valley r e g i o n is t h e most n o t a b l e e x a m p l e in t h e w o r l d of such hill c o u n t r y (Fig. 253). It e x t e n d s f r o m c e n t r a l Pennsylvania s o u t h w e s t w a r d i n t o northeaste r n A l a b a m a a n d lies i m m e d i a t e l y east of t h e A l l e g h e n y - C u m b e r l a n d area. F o l d i n g of t h e s e d i m e n t a r y rocks was p r o d u c e d by compression f r o m east a n d west. T h e synclines a n d anticlines that w e r e p r o d u c e d have b e e n greatly e r o d e d a n d , i n places, f a u l t e d . T h e p r e s e n t ridges are largely t h e u p t u r n e d edges of m o r e resistant rocks, such as s a n d s t o n e a n d c o n g l o m e r a t e . T h e valleys are e r o d e d in softer rocks, m a i n l y shale a n d l i m e s t o n e (Fig. 254). T h e m a j o r ridges r a n g e in h e i g h t f r o m 500 to 1500 feet a b o v e t h e a d j a c e n t valleys. C e r t a i n large rivers cut across the f o l d e d A p p a l a c h i a n s , some a l m o s t at r i g h t angles to t h e long, parallel hills. T h e i r valleys n o w f o r m n o t c h e s

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Fig. 2 5 3 . A view across the parallel ridges and valleys of one section of the folded Appalachians. W a t e r gaps cut two of the ridges at the extreme right. In many parts of the ridge-and-valley region, the valleys are much wider than those shown here and contain large areas of farmland. (Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc.)

i n the ridges. T h e s e n o t c h e s are k n o w n as water gaps a n d are utilized by east-west railroads a n d highways (Fig. 255). A m o n g the m o r e n o t a b l e w a t e r gaps are those c u t by the Leh i g h , Delaware, S u s q u e h a n n a , a n d P o t o m a c rivers. O n e e x p l a n a t i o n offered f o r t h e f o r m a t i o n of some w a t e r gaps is that t h e streams h a d e n o u g h erosive p o w e r to d e g r a d e t h e i r c h a n n e l s i n t o t h e rock layers t h a t w e r e b e i n g p u s h e d u p w a r d across t h e i r courses. T h e y are called antecedent streams, because they a n t e d a t e t h e t i m e w h e n the rocks w e r e u p l i f t e d . T h i s explan a t i o n applies to certain w a t e r gaps in the A p p a l a c h i a n ridges a n d to t h a t f o r m e d by t h e C o l u m b i a R i v e r t h r o u g h t h e Cascade M o u n t a i n s . I n some case;: t h e irotches in u p l i f t e d rocks h a v e b e e n a b a n d o n e d by t h e

streams that c u t t h e m . Such notches are called wind gaps. I n t h e A p p a lachian r e g i o n , smaller streams flow t h r o u g h the parallel valleys a n d e m p t y i n t o t h e larger a n t e c e d e n t rivers. T h u s is d e v e l o p e d a somew h a t r e c t a n g u l a r o a t t e r n of drain x

age, called trellis drainage (Fig. 256). Some of the valleys in this r e g i o n are n o t e d f o r t h e i r c o n t i n u i t y , and a few f o r t h e i r a g r i c u l t u r a l p r o d u c tivity. T h e most f a m e d is t h e G r e a t A p p a l a c h i a n Valley w h i c h e x t e n d s f r o m N e w York to A l a b a m a . T h i s is. n o t a single, c o n t i n u o u s valley like o n e o c c u p i e d by a river. It is composed of a n u m b e r of valleys, a m o n g w h i c h two of the best k n o w n are the T e n n e s s e e a n d S h e n a n d o a h . T h e T e n n e s s e e Valley is well k n o w n as the site of t h e f a m o u s h y d r o e l e c t r i c a n d flood-control p r o j e c t k n o w n as

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Fig. 254. Development of linear ridges, parallel valleys, and enclosed valleys: A, horizontal strata; 6, anticlinal and synclinal folding, with pitching anticlines; C, erosional mountains cut in the reeroded. folded structures; D , the region baseleveled; E, the peneplain slightly elevated and are of the types seen in the Appalachians.

Linear ridges, broad valleys, enclosed or canoe-shaped valleys, and water gaps are shown. They

t h e Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). N o t far from Norris Dam in eastern T e n n e s s e e is the O a k R i d g e l a b o r a t o r y of the A t o m i c Energy C o m m i s s i o n . T h e S h e n a n d o a h Valley is a r e s u l t of t h e erosion of less resistant layers of l i m e s t o n e . It is f a m o u s n o t o n l y f o r b e a u t y of landscape b u t also f o r a g r i c u l t u r a l wealth. Crystalline Appalachian highland. T h e crystalline A p p a l a c h i a n highl a n d of t h e S o u t h is located m a i n l y in w e s t e r n Virginia, N o r t h C a r o l i n a , a n d G e o r g i a . T h e r e g i o n is k n o w n

p o p u l a r l y as t h e Blue Ridge Mountains. It is c o m p r i s e d of igneous a n d m e t a m o r p h i c rocks of great age a n d s t r u c t u r a l c o m p l e x i t y . T h e widest p o r t i o n of the r e g i o n , w h e r e local relief is over 2000 feet, is in w e s t e r n N o r t h C a r o l i n a (Fig. 257). Most of the area is a h i l l r e g i o n of great irregularity. At t h e w e s t e r n m a r g i n , some rocks of e x c e p t i o n a l resistance f o r m t h e G r e a t Smoky M o u n t a i n s . Other hill regions. S o m e hill regions h a v e b e e n d e v e l o p e d u n d e r conditions d i f f e r e n t f r o m a n y of those described above.

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Fig. 255. A ridge in the folded Appalachians. Note the water gap where the river cuts the ridge at right angles. The fields of the cultivated valleys are snow covered; the wooded ridge shows dark. The river is nearly Inc.) ice covered. (Fairchild Aerial Surveys,

Fig. 256.

The type

of drainage

pattern

de-

veloped in association with relief features and rock structures such as those in Fig. 2 5 3 .

Fig. 257. The subdued relief and eroded basins, or coves, of the crystalline Appalachians western North Carolina. (Photograph by C/ine.)

in

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1) T h e C a l i f o r n i a Coast R a n g e s , especially those s o u t h of San Francisco, are c o m p o s e d of s e d i m e n t a r y rocks of several k i n d s a n d degrees of resistance, t o g e t h e r w i t h some igneous a n d m e t a m o r p h i c rocks. T h e rocks h a v e b e e n severely f o l d e d a n d

since m o d i f i e d these surfaces b u t has n o t e n t i r e l y r e m o v e d t h e volcanic features. S u b d u e d volcanic cones rem a i n a n d also d o m e l i k e hills w h i c h are t h e w e a t h e r e d s t u m p s of t h e lava cores, or plugs, t h a t led to t h e f o r m e r volcanic outlets (Fig. 258). A somew h a t similar r e g i o n is located in n o r t h e a s t e r n N e w M e x i c o in t h e vicinity of M o u n t C a p u l i n , a n e x t i n c t volcano. T h i s m o u n t a i n is a n a t i o n a l monument. 4) T h e most extensive a n d least k n o w n h i l l r e g i o n in t h e w o r l d is located in eastern Asia. It includes n o t only large m a i n l a n d areas in Siberia, M a n c h u r i a , a n d c e n t r a l a n d s o u t h C h i n a b u t also most of Korea a n d J a p a n . H e r e i n are rocks a n d s t r u c t u r e s of great diversity. T h e r e are hill r e g i o n s of v a r i o u s p a t t e r n s of a r r a n g e m e n t a n d c o n t a i n i n g m a n y k i n d s of features. T h e large h u m a n p o p u l a t i o n of those regions is distribu t e d t h r o u g h the l i m i t e d valley a n d basin areas a m o n g t h e hills.
Ice-scoured hill regions. I n C h a p t e r 11, t h e f e a t u r e s of ice-scoured plains r e s u l t i n g f r o m ice erosion w e r e described. W i t h i n t h e areas of contin e n t a l glaciation a r e h i l l r e g i o n s t h a t w e r e similarly e r o d e d . T h e i n t r i c a t e p a t t e r n s caused by p r e v i o u s g u l l y i n g w e r e erased. I n t h e i r place are f o u n d r o u n d e d f e a t u r e s generally d e v o i d of p i n n a c l e d p r o m o n t o r i e s o r s h a r p contours. M a n t l e rock was largely swept away a n d r e p l a c e d by t h i n , stony soils o r b a r e rock. S o m e of t h e iceshaped hills have steep slopes a n d c o n s i d e r a b l e local relief. Associated w i t h t h e hills are b r o a d , o p e n valleys,

Fig. 2 5 8 . Domelike hills in central France that are remnants of ancient volcanic cones. photograph by Tempest Anderson.) (After

are a r r a n g e d in a parallel ridge-andvalley p a t t e r n . T h e s e hills have b e e n s u b j e c t to r e c e n t f a u l t i n g . T h e faults b e a r a close r e l a t i o n to t h e positions a n d a r r a n g e m e n t of the parallel valleys. 2) T h e Black Hills h a v e b e e n carved f r o m a d o m e - s h a p e d u p l i f t caused by a laccolithic i n t r u s i o n . T h e igneous rock is exposed in the c e n t r a l area of t h e hills. T h e eroded, u p t u r n e d edges of s e d i m e n t a r y rocks s u r r o u n d the c e n t r a l core. Local relief is a b o u t 2000 feet. 3) I n the c e n t r a l h i g h l a n d of F r a n c e a n d t h e Eifel of western Germ a n y are hill regions of a type f o u n d in m o d i f i e d f o r m in o t h e r parts of t h e w o r l d . LTpon a p l a t f o r m of o l d e r rocks are t h e r e m a i n s of lava flows a n d volcanic cones. Erosion has l o n g

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Fig. 259. A valley in the glaciated hill region near the Finger Lakes of western New York. The hills are ice scoured, but the valley floor is underlain by glacial drift. (Courtesy U. S. Survey.) Geological

usually thin-soiled a n d boulderstrewn. A g r i c u l t u r a l l a n d is scant a n d poor, except in areas w h e r e considerable glacial d r i f t a c c u m u l a t e d . Some ice-scoured hills h a v e n o agric u l t u r a l use b u t are given over wholly to t i m b e r . I n others, m e a d o w s a n d pastures occupy t h e g r e a t e r p a r t of t h e area, a n d t h e slopes a n d uplands b e a r only p o o r t i m b e r or shrubby heath. T h e d r a i n a g e of ice-scoured hills, like that of ice-scoured plains, shows a b u n d a n t evidence of glacial disturbance. W a t e r f a l l s a n d rapids, large a n d small, i n t e r r u p t t h e courses of streams. Lakes a n d swamps also a b o u n d , even a m i d t h e h i g h l a n d s . Some are small m o r a i n a l p o n d s o r marshes of t e m p o r a r y n a t u r e . O t h e r s occupy ice-eroded rock basins a n d are b e a u t i f u l l y set a m i d forested hills.

M a n y ice-scoured hill regions are situated in regions of a n c i e n t crystalline rocks. T h e m o r e r u g g e d portions of eastern C a n a d a , t h e A d i r o n dack M o u n t a i n s , parts of N e w England, the H i g h l a n d s of Scotland, a n d parts of the a n c i e n t h i g h l a n d of Scandinavia are examples. T h e y have m a n y f e a t u r e s in c o m m o n . W i t h some exceptions they are c l o t h e d m a i n l y w i t h c o n i f e r o u s forests, are deeply snow covered in w i n t e r , a n d have little a g r i c u l t u r a l d e v e l o p m e n t . I n such regions, the p r i n c i p a l occ u p a t i o n s are (1) p a s t u r i n g of cattle a n d sheep, (2) the u t i l i z a t i o n of forest resources, (3) t h e e m p l o y m e n t of w a t e r p o w e r in t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of w o o d p r o d u c t s a n d p a p e r , a n d (4) t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n a n d o p e r a t i o n of resorts t h a t a t t r a c t t h o u s a n d s of summ e r vacationists. Ice scour was s o m e w h a t d i f f e r e n t

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in regions w h e r e b e d r o c k differed. I n the h o r i z o n t a l s e d i m e n t a r y strata of western N e w York, a p o r t i o n of the A l l e g h e n y hill r e g i o n was glaciated. Hills w e r e s u b d u e d , a n d valleys w e r e p a r t l y filled w i t h glacial m o r a i n e s a n d o u t w a s h s e d i m e n t s . Such valleys

level, usually 2000 feet or m o r e . T h e y are of t h r e e types: i n t e r m o n tane, p i e d m o n t , a n d c o n t i n e n t a l . T h e highest p l a t e a u in t h e w o r l d is T i b e t , located n o r t h of I n d i a . M u c h of M e x i c o is a p l a t e a u . S o u t h e r n A f r i c a provides t h e best examp l e of a large c o n t i n e n t a l p l a t e a u . T h e G r a n d C a n y o n of t h e C o l o r a d o R i v e r has b e e n c u t i n t h e a r i d Color a d o P l a t e a u of s o u t h w e s t e r n U n i t e d States. G r e e n l a n d a n d A n t a r c t i c a a r e e x a m p l e s of ice plateaus. H i l l l a n d s h a v e a local relief of some 500 to 2000 feet. T h e Alleg h e n y - C u m b e r l a n d h i l l r e g i o n is n o t e d f o r its extensive coal deposits. I n t h e A p p a l a c h i a n ridge-and-valley region, c e r t a i n a n t e c e d e n t rivers, such as t h e S u s q u e h a n n a , have c u t w a t e r gaps t h r o u g h t h e parallel ridges. I n t h e C a l i f o r n i a Coast Ranges, m u c h f a u l t i n g has o c c u r r e d . S o m e h i l l regions, such as t h e Adir o n d a c k s a n d c e r t a i n parts of N e w E n g l a n d , h a v e b e e n m o d i f i e d by ice scour. I n most of t h e c o n t i n e n t s are to b e f o u n d c o m p a r a t i v e l y small areas w h e r e t h e local relief is greater t h a n t h a t in h i l l c o u n t r y . T h e s e are t h e m o u n t a i n s of the e a r t h a n d will be c o n s i d e r e d in C h a p t e r 13.

Fig. 260. The Finger Lakes in the glaciated hill region of western New York.

are m u c h m o r e suited to a g r i c u l t u r e (Fig. 259). I n several n o r t h - s o u t h valleys s o u t h of L a k e O n t a r i o , m o r a i n a l d a m s h a v e o b s t r u c t e d the s o u t h w a r d flow of preglacial streams a n d t h u s have c r e a t e d valley lakes w h i c h are called t h e Finger Lakes (Fig. 260). T h e s e long, s l e n d e r lakes a d d m u c h to t h e b e a u t y of landscape i n western N e w York.
SUMMARY

P l a t e a u s are large areas t h a t have considerable elevation above sea

QUESTIONS

1. W h a t are t h e elevation a n d local relief of most plateaus? 2. W h a t is a n i n t e r m o n t a n e plateau? N a m e a n d locate seven. W h i c h two are t h e highest? 3. W h a t is a p i e d m o n t plateau? G i v e t w o examples. 4. P a t a g o n i a a n d t h e G r e a t Plains b o t h lie east of great m o u n t a i n systems. H o w d o they differ?

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5. W h a t m o u n t a i n s p a r t l y b o r d e r t h e C o l o r a d o P l a t e a u ? 6. W h a t is a c o n t i n e n t a l plateau? N a m e a n d locate five. W h i c h is largest? 7. W h a t is the n a t u r e of t h e s h o r e l i n e of Africa? I n w h a t way is it a h a n d i c a p to c o m m e r c i a l activities? 8. N a m e a n d locate t h e great A f r i c a n rivers. I n w h a t respect a r e they similar? 9. W h a t is m e a n t by t h e cataracts of t h e Nile? H o w m a n y are there? 10. L o c a t e Victoria Falls. By w h a t r i v e r are they f o r m e d ? H o w d o they c o m p a r e w i t h N i a g a r a Falls? 11. M e n t i o n o n e o r two reasons w h y A f r i c a was t h e last of the c o n t i n e n t s to b e p e n e t r a t e d by E u r o p e a n s . 12. T h e C o l o r a d o plateaus are c o m p o s e d m a i n l y of w h a t rocks? 13. Locate the C o l u m b i a P l a t e a u . I t is c o m p o s e d m a i n l y of w h a t rock? I t is n o t e d f o r p r o d u c t i o n of w h a t cereal? 14. W h a t r i v e r has c u t a c a n y o n i n t h e C o l u m b i a Plateau? W h e r e does this r i v e r originate? I n t o w h a t river does it empty? 15. Give f o u r reasons w h y m a n y p l a t e a u s are arid o r semiarid. 16. W h a t are exotic streams. T h e i r valleys i n p l a t e a u s are usually of w h a t t o p o g r a p h i c age? 17. W h a t c o n d i t i o n s a r e best f o r the d e v e l o p m e n t of canyons? 18. W h y are canyons n o t f a v o r a b l e to v a r i o u s m e a n s of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n ? 19. L o c a t e G r a n d C a n y o n N a t i o n a l P a r k of t h e U n i t e d States. 20. W h e r e is t h e source of t h e C o l o r a d o River? I n t o w h a t b o d y of w a t e r does it empty? 21. Describe t h e walls of the G r a n d C a n y o n . H o w d e e p is it? H o w wide? 22. W h a t p r i n c i p a l geological processes w e r e involved in f o r m a t i o n of t h e G r a n d Canyon? 23. W h a t is a mesa? H o w is it f o r m e d ? W h e r e are m a n y mesas located? W h a t is a n arroyo? 24. H o w d o b u t t e s differ f r o m mesas? 25. W h a t is i n t e r i o r drainage? W h e r e is it f o u n d in plains? 26. W h a t basin p l a t e a u of t h e U n i t e d States has i n t e r i o r drainage? Bet w e e n w h a t m o u n t a i n s does it lie? 27. W h y a r e salt lakes c o m m o n i n i n t e r i o r basins? Give examples. 28. Locate L a k e T i t i c a c a a n d L a k e U t a h . W h y are they n o t salt lakes? 29. W h a t is a playa lake? 30. W i t h respect to dissection, h o w d o p l a t e a u s of h u m i d r e g i o n s differ f r o m those of arid lands? W h y ? 31. N a m e a n d locate t h e two great ice plateaus. 32. D e s c r i b e briefly t h e a n t a r c t i c ice p l a t e a u . 33. W h y are icebergs f r o m G r e e n l a n d a g r e a t e r m e n a c e t h a n those f r o m Antarctica?

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34. W h a t a r e t h e t h r e e m a i n characteristics of hill lands? 35. Locate t h e A l l e g h e n y - C u m b e r l a n d h i l l r e g i o n . W h a t is the n a t u r e of bedrock? of surface drainage? F o r w h a t n a t u r a l resource is this r e g i o n noted? 36. Locate a n d briefly describe t h e O z a r k h i l l r e g i o n . 37. Locate t h e A p p a l a c h i a n ridge-and-valley r e g i o n . By w h a t processes w e r e t h e parallel ridges f o r m e d ? 38. W h a t is a w a t e r gap? Of w h a t e c o n o m i c i m p o r t a n c e is it? N a m e a n d locate f o u r rivers t h a t have f o r m e d w a t e r gaps i n t h e A p p a l a c h i a n ridges. 39. W h a t is o n e e x p l a n a t i o n offered f o r t h e f o r m a t i o n of w a t e r gaps? 40. Sketch s t r e a m p a t t e r n s to illustrate d e n d r i t i c a n d trellis d r a i n a g e . 41. Locate t h e T e n n e s s e e a n d S h e n a n d o a h valleys. For w h a t is each n o t e d ? 42. Locate t h e crystalline A p p a l a c h i a n h i g h l a n d c o m m o n l y k n o w n as t h e Blue R i d g e M o u n t a i n s . Briefly describe this r e g i o n . 43. Discuss t h e o r i g i n of each of t h e f o l l o w i n g hill regions: t h e Black Hills; t h e C a l i f o r n i a Coast Ranges; t h e c e n t r a l h i g h l a n d of F r a n c e a n d Eifel of western G e r m a n y . 44. W h a t a n d w h e r e is M o u n t C a p u l i n ? 45. W h e r e is t h e most extensive h i l l r e g i o n i n t h e world? 46. D e s c r i b e t h e surface of ice-scoured hills. 47. Is f a r m l a n d i n ice-scoured hills scarce o r p l e n t i f u l ? W h y ? 48. W h a t is t h e n a t u r e of surface d r a i n a g e in ice-scoured hills? 49. N a m e a n d locate five regions of ice-scoured hills. W h a t are t h e principal o c c u p a t i o n s in such regions? 50. Locate t h e F i n g e r Lakes. H o w w e r e they f o r m e d ?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. L e a r n t h e exact location of t h e m o r e i m p o r t a n t places a n d regions m e n t i o n e d in this c h a p t e r . 2. C o n t r a s t in as m a n y ways as possible t h e C o l u m b i a a n d C o l o r a d o plateaus of t h e U n i t e d States. 3. R e v i e w t h e r e p o r t s of e x p e d i t i o n s to t h e a n t a r c t i c ice p l a t e a u . 4. Study t h e p l a t e a u of T i b e t f r o m t h e s t a n d p o i n t of elevation, climate, and drainage. 5. T h e r e g i o n of t h e Black H i l l s of S o u t h D a k o t a is n o t only i n t e r e s t i n g b u t of c o n s i d e r a b l e e c o n o m i c i m p o r t a n c e . A d e t a i l e d survey of this a r e a m a y b e m a d e by s t u d y i n g t h e geological folio available f r o m t h e S u p e r i n t e n d e n t of D o c u m e n t s , W a s h i n g t o n , D. C. 6. O n a m a p of t h e U n i t e d States, o u t l i n e , label, a n d color t h e p l a t e a u s a n d h i l l regions discussed i n this c h a p t e r . 7. U s i n g t h e B r i g h t A n g e l , Arizona, q u a d r a n g l e (U. S. Geological Sur-

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vey), m o l d a relief m o d e l of t h e p o r t i o n of t h e G r a n d C a n y o n shown. Exagg e r a t e the vertical scale. If desirable, m a k e t h e relief m o d e l twice t h e size of the q u a d r a n g l e . N O T E : O t h e r activities m a y b e f o u n d in t h e l a b o r a t o r y m a n u a l . TOPICS FOR CLASS REPORTS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. T h e P l a t e a u of T i b e t T h e P l a t e a u of M e x i c o T h e D e c c a n P l a t e a u of I n d i a T h e P l a t e a u of Bolivia T h e C o l u m b i a P l a t e a u of t h e U n i t e d States T h e C o l o r a d o P l a t e a u s of t h e U n i t e d States T h e G r a n d C a n y o n of the C o l o r a d o R i v e r T h e G r e a t Basin of t h e U n i t e d States W a t e r G a p s of t h e A p p a l a c h i a n Ridges T h e T e n n e s s e e Valley T h e B l u e R i d g e R e g i o n of N o r t h C a r o l i n a a n d V i r g i n i a T h e A d i r o n d a c k s of N e w York REFERENCES a n d B E R G S M A R K , D. R . Modern World Geography, C h a p . 25. J . B. L i p p i n c o t t C o m p a n y , Chicago, 1943. F E N N E M A N , N . M. Physiography of Western United States. M c G r a w - H i l l Book C o m p a n y , Inc., N e w York, 1931. .Physiography of Eastern United States. M c G r a w - H i l l Book C o m p a n y , Inc., N e w York, 1938. L O B E C K , A . K . Geomorphology: An Introduction to the Study of Landscapes. M c G r a w - H i l l Book C o m p a n y , Inc., N e w York, 1939. M I L L E R . G E O R G E J., a n d P A R K I N S , A. E. Geography of North America, C h a p . 13. 16. J o h n W i l e y & Sons, Inc., N e w York, 1934.
CASE, EARL C . ,

CHAPTER

13.

Mountains

M a n y of the most i n t e r e s t i n g a n d awe-inspiring f e a t u r e s of the earth's surface are e x h i b i t e d w i t h i n some of t h e great m o u n t a i n masses of t h e var i o u s c o n t i n e n t s . Especially i n high, glaciated m o u n t a i n s , f e a t u r e s resulti n g f r o m l o n g - c o n t i n u e d ice scour are s h a r p a n d bold; a n d almost vertical walls of solid rock m a y rise a b r u p t l y f o r several t h o u s a n d feet. I n some such localities are to b e observed glaciers, o r r e m n a n t s of glaciers, whose m e l t i n g ice feeds clear, s p a r k l i n g m o u n t a i n streams w h i c h cascade over n u m e r o u s r a p i d s a n d waterfalls. I n a single glaciated valley t h e r e may be several small, mirror-like lakes whose p e r f e c t reflection of p i n e , spruce, a n d m o u n t a i n t o p is the d e l i g h t of artist a n d c a m e r a m a n . T r u l y t h e scenery of such regions is a m o n g t h e most b e a u t i f u l in t h e world. M o u n t a i n s are t h e highest l a n d s of the e a r t h . I n area, they c o n s t i t u t e a m u c h smaller p e r c e n t a g e of t h e total l a n d surface of t h e c o n t i n e n t s t h a n d o plains. C o m p a r e d w i t h hills, m o u n t a i n s are m o r e massive, r u g g e d , a n d c o m p l i c a t e d . I n general, t r u e m o u n t a i n s m a y b e c o n s i d e r e d as havi n g a local relief ( f r o m the lowest to t h e highest p o i n t ) i n excess of 2000

feet. T h i s figure e l i m i n a t e s f r o m t h e list of m o u n t a i n regions m a n y areas of r o u g h surface that locally are called mountains. T h e greatest m o u n t a i n mass in t h e w o r l d lies in s o u t h e r n Asia, n o r t h of I n d i a . H e r e , in the Himalayas, rises M o u n t Everest, elevation 29,140 feet, t h e highest m o u n t a i n i n the w o r l d . J u s t east of t h e P h i l i p p i n e s is the deepest place in the ocean, 35,400 feet. T h e vertical distance f r o m t h e t o p of t h e highest m o u n t a i n to t h e greatest d e p t h of t h e ocean, m o r e t h a n 12 miles, is called t h e total relief of the earth. E v e n this great vertical distance, h o w e v e r , is e x t r e m e l y small w h e n c o m p a r e d w i t h t h e earth's diameter.
Distribution of great mountains.

T h e b o r d e r s of the Pacific O c e a n are characterized n o t only by great m o u n t a i n s b u t also, in places, by occasional e a r t h q u a k e s a n d volcanic activity. T h i s suggests a p r o b a b l e rel a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n crustal d i s t u r b ances a n d m o u n t a i n g r o w t h . A l o n g a n d almost c o n t i n u o u s l i n e of m o u n tains e x t e n d s f o r t h o u s a n d s of miles f r o m Alaska to C a p e H o r n . Across s o u t h e r n E u r o p e a n d Asia, f r o m Spain to F r e n c h I n d o - C h i n a , stretches a n o t h e r vast area characterized by

306

MOUNTAINS

307

Fig. 2 6 1 . Various ways in which mountains may be formed: A, volcanic cone; B, laccolith; C, uplifted igneous rock from which the sedimentary rocks have been partly eroded; D , folded mountains; E, block mountains caused by faulting. The steep face (E, center) is called the fault scarp.

great m o u n t a i n s . A glance at t h e m a p shows t h a t t h e East I n d i e s n o t o n l y are larger b u t also are f a r m o r e m o u n t a i n o u s t h a n t h e W e s t Indies. Africa, w h i c h consists largely of plateau a n d t a b l e l a n d , has a few small, isolated areas of h i g h m o u n t a i n s , especially i n E t h i o p i a a n d in the vicinity of L a k e Victoria. A u s t r a l i a is b o r d e r e d by h i l l lands a l o n g its easte r n m a r g i n b u t , like Africa, lacks any extensive area of h i g h m o u n t a i n s .
How mountains are formed. The

M o u n t a i n s of U t a h . (3) F o l d i n g m a y cause rock strata to b e b e n t u p w a r d several t h o u s a n d s of feet. (4) Some block m o u n t a i n s are caused by faulting; t h e u p l i f t e d block of rock usually has o n o n e side a steep face called a fault scarp a n d o n t h e o t h e r a m o r e gently sloping surface (Fig. 261).
Classes of mountain features. The

processes by w h i c h m o u n t a i n s are f o r m e d m a y b e s u m m a r i z e d briefly as follows: (1) Volcanic cones a r e f o r m e d b y t h e e r u p t i o n of great q u a n t i t i e s of lava, ash, a n d o t h e r materials. (2) T h e u p l i f t of h u g e masses of igneous rocks, especially granite, gives rise to m a n y m o u n tains. Some laccoliths f o r m d o m e mountains, for example, the H e n r y

processes j u s t described h a v e prod u c e d m o u n t a i n u p l i f t s of m a n y shapes, sizes, a n d arrangements. T h e s e are a t t a c k e d by w i n d , water, a n d ice, even as they grow, a n d arc carved i n t o e q u a l l y varied features. T h e m o r e i m p o r t a n t f e a t u r e s may be defined. 1) Peaks are t h e highest p o i n t s in a m o u n t a i n mass. 2) A range is a s o m e w h a t continuous a r r a n g e m e n t of peaks, ridges, a n d valleys.

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3) A system is a g r o u p of m o u n tain ranges. 4) A cordillera is a large r e g i o n a l g r o u p i n g of m o u n t a i n systems. 5) A volcanic cone is a f o r m of m o u n t a i n peak t h a t in some cases is e n t i r e l y isolated f r o m a r a n g e o r system. Cordilleran regions. Most of the great m o u n t a i n s of the e a r t h are f o u n d i n f o u r c o r d i l l e r a n regions. T h e y are (1) t h e N o r t h A m e r i c a n cordillera, w h i c h includes t h e R o c k y M o u n t a i n system, the Sierra M a d r e in Mexico, the Basin Ranges, the Alaska-British Columbia Coast M o u n t a i n s , t h e Cascade-Sierra Nevada systems, a n d t h e Coast R a n g e s of t h e U n i t e d States; (2) the cordillera of t h e Andes; (3) t h e cordillera of s o u t h e r n E u r o p e , w h i c h includes the C a r p a t h i a n s , the Alps, t h e Pyrenees, a n d the m o u n t a i n s of Spain a n d n o r t h e r n A f r i c a ; (4) t h e Asian cordillera, w h i c h is c o m p r i s e d of the Himalaya, Kunlun, Tien Shan, H i n d u R u s h , a n d t h e P a m i r s , tog e t h e r w i t h the Caucasus M o u n t a i n s a n d o t h e r smaller ranges. T h e arr a n g e m e n t of these m o u n t a i n s s h o u l d be s t u d i e d w i t h t h e aid of a n atlas. I n these great m o u n t a i n masses, f a u l t i n g , e a r t h q u a k e s , a n d volcanic activity f r e q u e n t l y occur. T h i s indicates t h a t m a n y , if n o t most, of t h e m are y o u n g a n d even n o w i n t h e process of g r o w t h . I n o t h e r parts of t h e same c o n t i n e n t s certain a n c i e n t m o u n t a i n s , n o w r e d u c e d b y erosion, i n d i c a t e t h e existence of o t h e r cordill e r a n g r o u p s in earlier p e r i o d s of e a r t h history.

M o u n t a i n systems are i m p o r t a n t e l e m e n t s of e n v i r o n m e n t . T h e y may act as b a r r i e r s to t h e m o v e m e n t s of people. T h e y affect h u m a n life indirectly t h r o u g h t h e i r i n f l u e n c e o n climate. T h e effectiveness of m o u n t a i n b a r r i e r s d e p e n d s largely u p o n the height, c o n t i n u i t y , n u m b e r , a n d a r r a n g e m e n t of the m o u n t a i n f o r m s . P e r h a p s t h e most n o t a b l e of these b a r r i e r s is t h a t f o r m e d by t h e A n d e s M o u n t a i n s of S o u t h A m e r i c a , w h i c h make a natural boundary between C h i l e a n d A r g e n t i n a . A r a i l r o a d was b u i l t across this h i g h l a n d f r o m B u e n o s Aires to V a l p a r a i s o at enorm o u s expense. A n o t h e r good example of a m o u n t a i n b o u n d a r y is t h a t f o r m e d by the P y r e n e e s b e t w e e n F r a n c e a n d Spain. Mountain ranges. Some m o u n t a i n s consist of r o u g h l y p a r a l l e l ranges. I n m a n y cases the ridges are f o r m e d of m o r e o r less c o n t i n u o u s masses of resistant rock. C e r t a i n ranges t h a t t r e n d f r o m n o r t h to s o u t h in t h e R o c k y M o u n t a i n s show a s o m e w h a t parallel a r r a n g e m e n t . B e t w e e n t h e f r o n t , or eastern range, of the Rockies in C o l o r a d o a n d those f a r t h e r west are b r o a d basins, called parks, some 8000 to 9000 feet a b o v e sea level (Fig. 262). A b o u t 100 miles west of C o l o r a d o Springs is the great Sawatch R a n g e i n w h i c h are several m a g n i f i c e n t peaks such as M o u n t H a r v a r d , M o u n t P r i n c e t o n , a n d M o u n t Yale. D u r i n g t h e s u m m e r m o n t h s t h o u s a n d s of sheep graze o n these h i g h m o u n t a i n tops w h e r e t h e cooler w e a t h e r causes t h e l a m b s to m a t u r e r a p i d l y a n d

MOUNTAINS

309

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SCALE OF MILES

4wS'
by Guy-Harold Smith. by N. M. Fenneman, McGraw-Hill Book Co.)

Fig. 262. Index map of the southern Rocky Mountain province. (Drawn From "Physiography of Western United States,"

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T H E E A R T H AND I T S

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Fig. 263. Yosemite Valley, in Yosemite National Park, California, is a glaciated valley. Some of the huge granite mountains rise 3 0 0 0 feet above the valley floor. (Courtesy of the Interior.) U. S. Department

to p u t o n heavier coats of wool. T h r o u g h o u t t h e Rockies m a n y n a m e s are a p p l i e d to i n d i v i d u a l ranges, a n d this also is t r u e of o t h e r m o u n t a i n systems. T h e Sierra N e v a d a of C a l i f o r n i a are block m o u n t a i n s . T h e y f o r m a r a n g e some 400 miles in l e n g t h . T h e steep face of t h e block, or f a u l t scarp, faces t h e east, o r t h e state of N e v a d a , a n d in places is 2 miles h i g h . T h e m o r e g e n t l y s l o p i n g surface faces the west a n d provides a b u n d a n t supplies of w a t e r f o r t h e i r r i g a t i o n of the n u m e r o u s alluvial fans a l o n g t h e eastern side of t h e G r e a t C a l i f o r n i a Valley. Glaciers a n d streams have deeply e r o d e d t h e h i g h e r p o r t i o n s of

this r a n g e . O n e of t h e canyons is t h e f a m o u s valley of Yosemite N a t i o n a l P a r k , located almost d u e east of San Francisco (Fig. 263). T h e bold, west-facing f r o n t of the W a s a t c h M o u n t a i n s , j u s t east of G r e a t Salt Lake, U t a h , is likewise the result of t h e b r e a k i n g a n d s l i p p i n g of h u g e masses of rocks. T h i s western slope, like t h a t of t h e Sierras, provides i r r i g a t i o n w a t e r f o r the alluvial deposits at t h e base of t h e m o u n t a i n s . T h e s e i r r i g a t e d slopes f o r m a highly p r o d u c t i v e r e g i o n w h i c h e x t e n d s for m a n y miles n o r t h a n d s o u t h of Salt L a k e City. Some of t h e m a n y Basin R a n g e s i n U t a h a n d N e v a d a also are e r o d e d f a u l t blocks. T h e y show a

MOUNTAINS general n o r t h - s o u t h a r r a n g e m e n t a n d o f t e n are s e p a r a t e d by i n t e r i o r basins. Certain m o u n t a i n ranges are largely c o m p o s e d of m a t e r i a l s e r u p t e d

311

Fig. 2 6 4 . A giant eruptive cloud above Colima Volcano, Mexico. (Photograph Arreola.) by Jose Maria

be f o u n d b o t h active volcanoes a n d m a n y volcanic cones b u i l t d u r i n g form e r periods of activity (Fig. 264). Some of the great volcanoes are surr o u n d e d by lesser cones a n d also by m o u n t a i n peaks carved by erosion in t h e massive u p l i f t s of w h i c h t h e volcanoes are a p a r t . O t h e r s s t a n d alone u p o n lowlands a n d are n o t e d f o r t h e i r b e a u t y of f o r m . T h e volcano F u j i , w h i c h is n o t n o w active, is located i n J a p a n . T h i s h i g h peak rises over 12,000 feet a b o v e the sea a n d is a m o r e s t r i k i n g landscape f e a t u r e because it attains its f u l l h e i g h t w i t h i n 15 miles of t h e sea (Fig. 265). O t h e r cones of great s u m m i t elevation are less c o n s p i c u o u s because they a r e located in h i g h l a n d regions. Some volcanic peaks of great f a m e a n d b e a u t y are M o u n t E g m o n t , not active, in N e w Z e a l a n d ; Mount

f r o m b e n e a t h the earth's surface. T h e volcanic cones thus f o r m e d s o m e t i m e s are a r r a n g e d in a m o r e o r less straight line, a n d the ranges t h u s f o r m e d m a y b e c o n s i d e r e d volcanic, even t h o u g h they rest u p o n rocks of greater age. T h e islands of J a v a a n d S u m a t r a a n d others of the East I n d i e s are of t h a t o r i g i n . Several of the p r i n c i p a l peaks, such as M o u n t Baker, M o u n t R a i n i e r , a n d M o u n t H o o d , a n d m a n y of t h e lesser ones of t h e Cascade M o u n t a i n s in O r e g o n , W a s h i n g t o n , a n d British C o l u m b i a also are volcanic cones r o u g h l y a r r a n g e d in this m a n n e r . Volcanic cones. T h e g e n e r a l distrib u t i o n of volcanic regions was n o t e d in C h a p t e r 8. I n these regions are to

Fig. 2 6 5 . The symmetrical cone of Fuji Mountain near Tokyo, Japan, rises more by H. than Suito.) 12,000 feet above Suruga Bay and its bordering alluvial plains. (Photograph

M a y o n , in s o u t h e r n L u z o n ; near Naples, Italy. Such

Mount famous

E t n a , in Sicily; a n d M o u n t Vesuvius, A m e r i c a n volcanic cones as R a i n i e r ,

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T H E E A R T H AND

ITS

RESOURCES

H o o d , Shasta, P o p o c a t e p e t l , and C h i m b o r a z o (with a n elevation of 20,700 feet) are m u c h h i g h e r t h a n F u j i b u t are n o t m o r e i n s p i r i n g sights. T h e H a w a i i a n cones reach elevations of b e t w e e n 10,000 a n d 14,000 feet a b o v e sea level. Most volcanoes are c o m p o s e d of layers of lava i n t e r b e d d e d a m o n g layers of ash a n d o t h e r f o r m s of volcanic p r o d u c t s e r u p t e d at d i f f e r e n t times. T h e layers are p e n e t r a t e d by dikes of lava w h i c h arise f r o m the central d u c t . T h r o u g h some of the crevices thus o p e n e d , materials reach t h e surface a n d f o r m secondary, o r parasitic, cones u p o n the sides of t h e principal one. Certain long-extinct volcanoes, like M o u n t Shasta a n d M o u n t R a i n ier, h a v e t h e i r flanks deeply scarred

by glacial a n d stream erosion (Fig. 266). O n t h e flanks of M o u n t R a i n i e r are to b e f o u n d t h e longest valley glaciers in t h e U n i t e d States (Fig. 267). T h e v e n t t h r o u g h w h i c h t h e volcanic p r o d u c t s are e r u p t e d is called the crater. C r a t e r s differ greatly in f o r m . Some are small a n d f u n n e l shaped; o t h e r s are of c o n s i d e r a b l e d i a m e t e r . C e r t a i n large craters, called calderas, are believed to be t h e result of t h e s i n k i n g in or s u b s i d e n c e of the t o p of the cone, caused by w i t h d r a w a l of lava f r o m b e n e a t h . C r a t e r Lake, in the Cascade M o u n tains of O r e g o n , occupies such a caldera (Fig. 268). T h e lake is 4 to 5 miles i n d i a m e t e r a n d almost 2000 feet d e e p . N e a r t h e west m a r g i n is W i z a r d Island, a p e r f e c t volcanic

Fig. 2 6 6 . Mount Shasta, snow-capped landmark of northern California, rises 14,161 feet above sea level. Melted snow from this peak is the principal source of water f o r the Sacramento River. A great dam has been built on this river under supervision of the Bureau of Reclamation. impounds waters of the Sacramento, Pit, and McCloud rivers. The dam, named Shasta, Bureau of Reclamation.) navigation and flood control. Much of the impounded water is used for irrigation. (.Courtesy U. It S. aids

MOUNTAINS

313

Fig. 267. Emmons Glacier, on the eastern slope of Mount Rainier, Washington. This is the largest glacier in continental United States. Much larger of the Interior.) and longer glaciers are found in Alaska. (.Courtesy U. S. Department

c o n e w i t h a small crater in its top. Because of its great b e a u t y , C r a t e r L a k e has l o n g b e e n o n e of the nat i o n a l parks.
STREAM EROSION OF MOUNTAINS

Valleys. M o u n t a i n streams generally have h i g h velocities. T h e w a t e r is usually clear, except a f t e r heavy rains. Especially in t h e i r lower courses, such streams have considera b l e e r o d i n g p o w e r because of g r e a t e r v o l u m e a n d because of the sand a n d gravel t h a t are r o l l e d a l o n g t h e s t r e a m b e d . U n l i k e t h e q u i e t streams of plains, those in m o u n t a i n s are

noisy a n d t u r b u l e n t as they t u m b l e d o w n w a r d . T h e i r courses in m a n y instances consist of almost c o n t i n u ous r a p i d s a n d small waterfalls. T h e s e streams are t h e h o m e of m o u n tain trout. Because of h i g h velocity, it is e v i d e n t t h a t d o w n w a r d erosion by m o u n t a i n streams will b e m o r e r a p i d t h a n side c u t t i n g . T h e r e s u l t is the f o r m a t i o n of m a n y V-shaped valleys. W h e r e rocks are resistant, t h e valley walls m a y be steep a n d close t o g e t h e r , f o r m i n g a gorge, or c a n y o n (Fig. 269). E x a m p l e s of the n a r r o w a n d steep-sided type of valley a r e provided by the Royal G o r g e of t h e

Fig. 2 6 8 . The surface of Crater Lake, Oregon, is about 6 0 0 0 feet above sea level. W i z a r d Island, silhouetted against the f a r shore, is an extinct volcanic cone. (Courtesy U. S. Department Interior.) of the

Fig. 269. One of the high peaks in the Andes Mountains of Chile, South America. Note the steepsided, V-shaped valleys so typical of mountain regions. When such valleys are unusually deep and narrow, they are called canyons. Smooth, uniform slopes in this picture give evidence of Airways, Inc.) rock slides. Chile, like Japan, is a country with high mountains located a relatively short distance f r o n extremely deep water offshore. (Courtesy Pan American-Grace

314

MOUNTAINS

315

Fig. 270. A rough mountain region in Peru, South America. The crest of each ridge constitutes a divide. Note how numerous small valleys lead to larger valleys. The smooth divides shown here were produced mainly by water erosion. They contrast sharply with the steep-sided divides characteristic of glaciated mountains pictured in Fig. 2 8 1 . Scarcity of trees in these valley, may be seen the Great W a l l of Peru. (Courtesy Pan American World Airways.) Peruvian mountains is indicative of light rainfall. On the right side of the picture, following a crooked

Arkansas R i v e r a n d several o t h e r canyons t h a t c u t t h r o u g h the f r o n t r a n g e of the R o c k y M o u n t a i n s in C o l o r a d o . T h e s e p a r t i c u l a r valleys are of i m p o r t a n c e especially in t h r e e ways: (1) T h e y p r o v i d e t h e r o u t e s of a n u m b e r of roads t h a t p e n e t r a t e t h e m o u n t a i n s . (2) T h e i r streams provide t h e a l l - i m p o r t a n t w a t e r t h a t is n e e d e d to i r r i g a t e t h e plains i m m e diately east of the m o u n t a i n s . (3) D a m s b u i l t across t h e valleys p r o v i d e storage w a t e r f o r several hydroelectric p l a n t s w h i c h f u r n i s h p o w e r f o r D e n v e r , C o l o r a d o Springs, B o u l d e r ,

a n d o t h e r cities located a l o n g the eastern base of t h e Rockies. I n some places, a fairly b r o a d m o u n t a i n valley m a y c h a n g e suddenly to a n a r r o w gorge. Such a gorge is sometimes used as a site for the e c o n o m i c a l c o n s t r u c t i o n of a d a m to i m p o u n d w a t e r i n a great reservoir. A n excellent e x a m p l e o! such c o n s t r u c t i o n is the S h o s h o n e D a m , west of Cody, Wyoming, W h e r e t h e S h o s h o n e R i v e r flows t h r o u g h a n e x t r e m e l y n a r r o w canyon. o n e of t h e highest d a m s in the w o r l d has b e e n b u i l t . T h e waters im-

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T H E E A R T H AND I T S

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p o u n d e d are used for i r r i g a t i o n in the Bia; H o r n basin, which lies be


7

tween the Big H o r n M o u n t a i n s o n the east a n d t h e A b s a r o k a R a n g e o n the west. I n m a n y m o u n t a i n valleys t h e r e are waterfalls of c o n s i d e r a b l e size. Such falls o f t e n are s u i t a b l e sites f o r the location of h y d r o e l e c t r i c plants. I n t h e Cascade M o u n t a i n s , n u m e r o u s streams w i t h falls a n d r a p i d s result from a b u n d a n t precipitation. These m o u n t a i n s are n o t e d f o r t h e i r trem e n d o u s p o t e n t i a l , or " s t o r e d - u p , " water power. Divides. B e t w e e n m o u n t a i n valleys are u p l a n d s w h i c h are t h e r e m n a n t s of t h e o r i o i n a l elevation. W h e n r a i n

falls on these u p l a n d s , t h e w a t e r separates a c c o r d i n g to t h e surface slopes a n d descends by countless r i v u l e t s i n t o a d j a c e n t valleys. T h e s e r i v u l e t s are tiny t r i b u t a r i e s of a large d r a i n age system. A c r o o k e d l i n e t h a t connects the highest p o i n t s b e t w e e n t w o d r a i n a g e systems is called a divide (Fig. 270). Divides are n o t l i m i t e d to m o u n tains. T h e y are p r e s e n t also in plains, plateaus, a n d h i l l regions. S o m e divides are m o r e c o n s p i c u o u s t h a n others. T h e c o n t i n e n t a l d i v i d e of t h e U n i t e d States follows the R o c k y M o u n t a i n s f r o m n o r t h to south, passi n g t h r o u g h w estern C a n a d a a n d the states of M o n t a n a , I d a h o , W y o m i n g ,

Fig. 271. Brown Pass, in Glacier National Park, viewed from a higher pass. The saddle shape of this notch is distinct. The white arrow point touches the crest of the pass, which also is a part of the continental divide. (Courtesy National Park Service.)

M O U N T A I N S 323

Fig. 272. A view of the Rocky Mountains west of Denver, Colorado. At the lower right is the entrance to the Moffat Tunnel (elevation about 9 0 0 0 feet) which passes under the continental divide. The trees are coniferous, mainly pine and spruce. The timberline can be clearly traced across the center of the photograph. The upper slopes of these mountains exhibit features Railroad.) resulting from glacial erosion and deposition. (Courtesy Denver and Rio Grande Western

C o l o r a d o , a n d N e w Mexico, a n d s o u t h w a r d t h r o u g h Mexico. It separates waters t h a t flow u l t i m a t e l y to t h e A t l a n t i c a n d Pacific oceans. I n places, this divide is u n u s u ally h i g h ; a n d its lowest points, called passes, m u s t be utilized by t r a n s p o r t a t i o n routes. Such passes o f t e n are t h e result of vigorous erosion by o p p o s i n g h e a d w a t e r streams o r by glaciers (Fig. 271). W e s t of D e n v e r , C o l o r a d o , w h e r e the c o n t i n e n t a l divide is crossed by

U. S. H i g h w a y 40 at B e r t h o u d Pass, the elevation is o v e r 11,000 feet. N o t far f r o m this pass is t h e M o f f a t T u n nel, 6 miles l o n g a n d a b o u t 9000 feet in elevation (Fig. 272). By u s i n g the t u n n e l , trains b e t w e e n D e n v e r a n d Salt L a k e City a r e saved the slow a n d expensive c l i m b over t h e cont i n e n t a l d i v i d e . P a r a l l e l i n g a n d only a few feet f r o m the M o f f a t T u n n e l is a n o t h e r o n e of m u c h smaller size (Fig. 273). I t is used d u r i n g a p a r t of the year to c o n d u c t w a t e r f r o m

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THE EARTH AND ITS

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Fig. 273. The east end of the water tunnel that parallels the Moffat Tunnel west of and ultimately reaches Denver. (Photograph by M. H. Shearer.)

Denver,

Colorado. W a t e r flows from the western to the eastern slopes of the Rockies through this tunnel

Fig. 274. The Cascade Tunnel, more than 7 miles long, is located in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle, Washington. The Pacific Northwest is noted f o r its great water-power resources. The water power is employed to generate electric energy, part of which is used by railroads. (Courtesy Great Northern Railway.)

MOUNTAINS the western slope of t h e Rockies to t h e eastern slope. T h i s w a t e r is conveyed to t h e city of D e n v e r f o r domestic a n d c o m m e r c i a l use. T h e longest railway t u n n e l i n N o r t h A m e r i c a is t h e Cascade T u n nel o n t h e G r e a t N o r t h e r n Railway a b o u t 75 miles east of Seattle, W a s h i n g t o n (Fig. 274). It was b u i l t at a cost of 14 m i l l i o n dollars, is m o r e t h a n i y 2 miles long, a n d is cut t h r o u g h a p o r t i o n of t h e Cascade Mountains. Available hydroelectric p o w e r m a k e s it possible to use electric locomotives in t h e Cascade T u n nel. T h i s e l i m i n a t e s t h e c o n s i d e r a b l e expense of c o n t i n u a l l y blowing s m o k e o u t of the t u n n e l , w h i c h is necessary at t h e M o f f a t T u n n e l . T h e Cascade T u n n e l is a b o u t 2800 feet a b o v e sea level, whereas t h e M o f f a t T u n n e l is over 9000 feet. I n the Alps t h e f a m o u s St. G o t t h a r d a n d Simplon tunnels, both longer than the Cascade T u n n e l , are used by railway lines b e t w e e n Switzerland a n d Italy. Mountain peaks. M o u n t a i n peaks a r e the d i s t i n g u i s h i n g f e a t u r e s of

319

w h i l e a d j a c e n t rocks have b e e n red u c e d to lower levels. W e l l - k n o w n Pikes Peak, n e a r C o l o r a d o Springs, a n d Longs Peak, in R o c k y M o u n t a i n N a t i o n a l P a r k , a r e e x a m p l e s of this. I t is a r a t h e r r e m a r k a b l e fact t h a t all t h e highest peaks in the U n i t e d States a r e b e t w e e n 14,000 a n d 14,500 feet in elevation.
GLACIAL EROSION OF MOUNTAINS

H i g h m o u n t a i n s , even in the tropics, p r o j e c t above t h e line of p e r e n n i a l snow. O t h e r s , n o t so high, w e r e snow-capped d u r i n g t h e most r e c e n t glacial p e r i o d . So c o m m o n are t h e f o r m s of m o u n t a i n glaciation t h a t they have greatly i n f l u e n c e d p o p u l a r ideas c o n c e r n i n g t h e features of m o u n t a i n s i n general a n d of the g r a n d e u r of m o u n t a i n scenery. T h e snow-capped peak, t h e ice-filled valley, a n d the carvings a n d fillings of f o r m e r glaciers a t t r a c t a n d inspire the m o u n t a i n visitor as o t h e r k i n d s of m o u n t a i n f e a t u r e s c a n n o t . E v e n to t h e casual observer, t w o "lines," o f t e n well defined, m a y b e observed in h i g h m o u n t a i n s . Ascendi n g the m o u n t a i n slope, the first enc o u n t e r e d is t h e timberline, w h i c h is the u p p e r l i m i t of tree g r o w t h . T h e n e x t is t h e snowline, w h i c h is the lower l i m i t of p e r e n n i a l snow. A b o v e t h e s n o w l i n e are snow fields a n d glaciers. S o m e valley glaciers, however, e x t e n d below b o t h the snowline and the timberline. Mountain snow fields. Snows are c o m m o n to all high m o u n t a i n s . I n

m o u n t a i n u p l a n d s . T h e i r varied f o r m s h o l d m u c h of the attractiveness of m o u n t a i n scenery. S o m e m o u n t a i n peaks are the r e s u l t of f a u l t i n g , a n d m a n y are volcanic cones. By far t h e g r e a t e r n u m b e r of t h e countless peaks of t h e earth, however, are t h e result of erosion i n t h e u p l a n d of w h i c h they are a p a r t . O w i n g to s u p e r i o r resistance, to cond i t i o n s of s t r u c t u r e , to accident of position, o r to o t h e r causes, peaks have b e e n p r o t e c t e d f r o m erosion

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Fig. 275. A mountain glacier and its snow fields. Crevasses are visible in the nearer ice. Ridges of lateral moraine flank the ice tongue, and moraine streaks its surface. (Ewing Galloway.)

m i d d l e a n d h i g h latitudes, t h e seasonal a l t e r n a t i o n f r o m w i n t e r w h i t e to t h e variety of warm-season colors, p r o d u c e d by rocks a n d v e g e t a t i o n , works a p r o f o u n d c h a n g e in the landscape. T h e snows of m a n y m o u n t a i n s are, however, p e r m a n e n t . T h e y owe t h e i r p r e s e r v a t i o n to the decrease of temperature with altitude. T h e s n o w l i n e in t h e tropics is high, b u t in s u b p o l a r regions it approaches sea level. I t is lower o n shady t h a n o n s u n n y m o u n t a i n slopes. I n regions of similar t e m p e r a ture, the s n o w l i n e is lower w h e r e snowfall is a b u n d a n t a n d h i g h e r w h e r e it is n o t a b u n d a n t . If these variations are allowed for, it m a y be said t h a t the l o w e r limits of snow fields are as follows: in t h e tropics, 14,000 to 20,000 feet above sea level;

i n the m i d d l e latitudes, 5000 to 10,000 feet above sea level; in t h e s u b p o l a r regions, 0 to 2000 feet a b o v e sea level. B a r r i n g c e r t a i n exceptions caused m a i n l y by climatic conditions, the f o l l o w i n g r u l e holds t r u e : As latitude increases, timberline and snowline decrease in elevation. Mountain glaciers. A p a r t f r o m t h e m o u n t a i n f o r m s caused by t h e i r erosion, m o u n t a i n glaciers are themselves i m p o r t a n t relief features. Fed by f r e q u e n t snowfall, a h i g h l a n d snow field becomes heavy. P o r t i o n s of it slip a n d p l u n g e by avalanche i n t o the nearest valley h e a d (Fig. 275). T h e r e the d e e p e n i n g mass changes, first i n t o g r a n u l a r ice, t h e n b y m e l t i n g a n d r e f r e e z i n g i n t o solid ice.

MOUNTAINS

321

Fig. 276. The black areas on this map of Alaska show the approximate

location of existing

glaciers. Some piedmont glaciers extend into the sea. On Mount McKinley are several valley glaciers. This mountain, the highest in North America, reaches 2 0 , 3 0 0 feet. It is a national park. Mount Katmai, with its remarkable "Valley of 10,000 Smokes," is a national monument. The Matanuska Valley, site of recent agricultural development, is about 100 miles north of Seward. Bering Strait, less than 100 miles wide, is the only passageway between the Pacific and Arctic oceans. The Strait is frozen over much of the year. (Sources: "Alaska," 1945; "Glacial Map of North America," Geological Society of America, U. S. Dept. 1945.) of Interior,

U l t i m a t e l y , however, the m a i n acc u m u l a t i o n in a valley h e a d grows to such p r o p o r t i o n s that, u n d e r its o w n weight, it moves. I n the f o r m of a n

ice t o n g u e , it pushes d o w n its valley a n d becomes a valley glacier. It progresses in its o w n p e c u l i a r way, its lower edge m e l t i n g a n d p r o v i d i n g w a t e r f o r a m o u n t a i n stream. I n its course, the surface of t h e ice u n d e r goes c o n s i d e r a b l e change. I r r e g u l a r i ties of t h e valley floor b e n d a n d twist

t h e solid ice. T h i s causes t h e ice to break, f o r m i n g d e e p cracks, o r crevasses. R o c k waste a c c u m u l a t e s a l o n g the sides of the glacier to f o r m lateral moraines. W h e r e two valley glaciers j o i n , a streak of rock waste m a y m a r k the c e n t e r line a l o n g w h i c h the two ice t o n g u e s m e e t . A t t h e lower e n d of the glacier, wastage by m e l t i n g is r a p i d . H e r e the rock waste carried a n d p u s h e d

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a l o n g by the ice accumulates, in some cases, to such a n e x t e n t t h a t t h e ice is covered. T h i s m a t e r i a l forms a n e n d m o r a i n e . W h e n t h e glacier

l a t i t u d e s a n d in regions of m a r i n e west-coast type of climate, are so a b u n d a n t l y p r o v i d e d w i t h snow t h a t t h e ice tongues e x t e n d to the sea. T h i s is n o t a b l y t r u e at p r e s e n t of a p a r t of t h e coast of Alaska (Fig. 276), a n d it has b e e n t r u e of m o r e ext e n d e d coasts i n t h e past. S o m e t i m e s great masses of ice b r e a k off f r o m t h e f r o n t edge of the glacier a n d float away as icebergs. Some glaciers, like those w h i c h descend f r o m t h e ice plateaus of G r e e n l a n d a n d Antarctica, are t h e source of m a n y icebergs.
Glaciated mountain valleys. The

A,

glaciers are shown

occupying

all

valleys.

Glacial erosion is more effective in deepening the main valley than the tributary valleys. In 8, the ice has disappeared. T w o hanging valleys and waterfalls are to be seen on the f a r wall of the main valley. Waterfalls developed in this manner sometimes make advantageous sites for the building of hydroelectric plants.

disappears, this e n d m o r a i n e a p p e a r s as a ridge across t h e valley. Some m o u n t a i n valleys, formerly o c c u p i e d by valley glaciers, n o w e x h i b i t several such e n d m o r a i n e s , a few of w h i c h m a y form n a t u r a l dams. C e r t a i n valley glaciers, especially those of coastal m o u n t a i n s in h i g h

typical ice-scoured valley is d e e p e n e d , its sides are m a d e steeper, a n d its bottom widened and broadened. Compared with the stream-eroded valley, it is U-shaped r a t h e r t h a n V-shaped. Ice scour tends to s m o o t h a n d s t r a i g h t e n the valley. G l a c i a t e d valleys seldom h a v e a c o n t i n u o u s , u n i f o r m slope d o w n w a r d f r o m t h e valley h e a d . T h e glacier gouges basins i n t h e valley bott o m w h i c h b e c o m e t h e sites of small lakes w h e n t h e ice disappears. I n add i t i o n to these basins, o t h e r s are f o r m e d by m o r a i n a l d a m s across t h e valley. Most glaciated valleys have o n e or m o r e such basins, a n d some h a v e a succession of t h e m . I n these basins, w a t e r collects to f o r m lakes, ponds, or marshes. I n valleys of flat g r a d i e n t , especially n e a r t h e m a r g i n s of m o u n t a i n regions, glacial d e e p e n i n g a n d mor a i n a l d a m s are c a p a b l e of p r o v i d i n g basins of large size. T h e basins of t h e b e a u t i f u l Lakes Maggiore, C o m o ,

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Fig. 2 7 8 . The glaciated Torngat Mountains of Labrador. A long ice-scoured valley curves into the distance where it is flanked by cirques. Other cirques are to be seen at the right center and in the background. An alluvial delta fan and lake are visible in the foreground. Galloway.) (Ewing

a n d G a r d a at t h e s o u t h e r n base of t h e Alps are of t h a t o r i g i n . So are those of several l o n g lakes i n Glacier N a t i o n a l P a r k , L a k e L o u i s e in t h e C a n a d i a n Rockies, a n d m a n y lakes i n t h e A n d e s of s o u t h e r n A r g e n t i n a . I n t h e process of glaciation a m a i n valley m a y b e m o r e deeply e r o d e d t h a n its t r i b u t a r y valleys. A f t e r the w i t h d r a w a l of t h e ice f r o m t h e region, the level of t h e m a i n valley floor may lie tens o r even h u n d r e d s of feet below t h e ends of its t r i b u t a r y valleys. T h e s e t r i b u t a r y valleys t h e n

a p p e a r as notches u p o n the side of t h e wall of the s t e e p e n e d m a i n valley a n d a r e called hanging valleys (Fig.
277).

T h e streams issuing f r o m h a n g i n g valleys m u s t p l u n g e in r a p i d s or waterfalls to reach t h e m a i n valley floor. Falls of this k i n d are of great scenic a t t r a c t i o n . E x a m p l e s are the falls of Yosemite Valley, C a l i f o r n i a , a n d m a n y others i n t h e R o c k y M o u n tains, Switzerland, N o r w a y , and o t h e r regions of m o u n t a i n glaciation. T h e y also are most c o n v e n i e n t

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Fig. 279. Grinnell Lake and Glacier in Glacier National Park, northwestern Montana. The ice occupies the lower portion of a large cirque. Streams cascade down from the glacier to the lake. The sharp, bold mountain features were produced by glaciation. (Photograph Great Northern Railway.) by Hileman, courtesy

places f o r t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of water p o w e r . Even a small stream, w i t h so great a fall as some h a n g i n g valleys provide, can d e v e l o p a n a s t o n i s h i n g q u a n t i t y of p o w e r . T h e valley h e a d , in a r e g i o n of m o u n t a i n glaciation, is t h e collecting g r o u n d f o r t h e snow t h a t crystallizes i n t o a glacier. Erosion b e n e a t h the f o r m i n g ice b r o a d e n s a n d sharply steepens the valley h e a d u n t i l it is r o u n d e d , steep-sided, a n d a m p h i theater-shaped. It is called a cirque (Figs. 278 to 280). I n t h e b o t t o m of m a n y c i r q u e s are rock basins cont a i n i n g lakes. T h e s e a d d b e a u t y to this h u g e erosional f e a t u r e w i t h its

steep rock walls. H u n d r e d s of such cirques, large a n d small, may b e observed in t h e glaciated m o u n t a i n regions of N o r t h A m e r i c a , E u r o p e , Asia, S o u t h A m e r i c a , a n d New Zealand. It s h o u l d be e m p h a s i z e d t h a t glaciated m o u n t a i n s e x h i b i t f e a t u r e s w i t h m u c h s h a r p e r detail t h a n those r e s u l t i n g f r o m s t r e a m erosion (Fig. 281). Glacial scour m a y p r o d u c e a " k n i f e - e d g e " divide. So close is t h e a p p r o a c h of some o p p o s i n g cirques t h a t in places t h e t h i n divide bet w e e n t h e m c r u m b l e s t h r o u g h , leavi n g the crest m e r e l y a r o w of altern a t i n g p i n n a c l e s a n d notches. T h e

MOUNTAINS

325

Fig. 2 8 0 . Scenery of glacial origin in the Canadian Rockies. At the right is a cirque lake. Its drainage falls to the level of the second lake, and from that it must fall f a r below to the level of Lake Louise, part of which may be seen at the left in the main valley. (Photograph from Ewing Galloway.) by De ,

G a r d e n W a l l in G l a c i e r N a t i o n a l P a r k is such a f o r m a t i o n , a n d it happens also to b e t h e c o n t i n e n t a l divide. Some h i g h m o u n t a i n peaks, t h e i r bases w h i t t l e d by ice erosion, a r e red u c e d to s h a r p e n e d r e m n a n t s . T h e y c o m m o n l y a p p e a r steep a n d a n g u l a r . A good e x a m p l e is t h e M a t t e r h o r n in t h e Alps. The Rocky Mountains. By s t u d y i n g t h e c o m p o s i t i o n , fossil c o n t e n t , struct u r e , a n d position of m a n y rock layers a n d f o r m a t i o n s , geologists are a b l e to trace e a r t h history w i t h considerable accuracy. D o w n w a r p i n g of a c o n t i n e n t will p e r m i t t h e sea to i n v a d e t h e l a n d ; u p w a r p i n g will

b r i n g t h e ocean floor above sea level, or even result in f o r m a t i o n of great dome mountains. I n his excellent book o n geomorphology, Dr. Philip Worcester, of C o l o r a d o University, states that, in o n e p e r i o d of e a r t h history, t h e area n o w o c c u p i e d by t h e s o u t h e r n Rockies (mainly C o l o r a d o ) was covered by the sea f o r some 60 to 70 million years. 1 D u r i n g this t i m e sedim e n t s m o r e t h a n a m i l e thick w e r e deposited. T h e n c a m e u p l i f t of the c o n t i n e n t , p l a c i n g these s e d i m e n t s
3 P h i l i p G. W o r c e s t e r . Textbook of Geomorphology, p p . 540-552. D. V a n N o s t r a n d Co., N e w York, 1939.

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Fig. 281. The rugged, glaciated Sierra Nevada, in Yosemite National Park. Glacial erosion on opposite sides of a rocky ridge produces a saw-tooth divide. The steep slopes shown here are in contrast to the more gentle slopes of water-eroded mountains. (Courtesy U. S. Department the Inferior.) of

far a b o v e sea level, w h e r e they have b e e n s u b j e c t e d to erosion f o r millions of years. Also in the geological past, t h e r e was m u c h volcanic activity in the s o u t h e r n Rockies. As a result, in the San J u a n M o u n t a i n s of s o u t h e r n C o l o r a d o t h e r e w e r e f o r m e d large areas of extrusive volcanic rocks. A t a later p e r i o d c a m e extensive glaciation, w h e n t h o u s a n d s of s q u a r e miles of the h i g h m o u n t a i n o u s area w e r e covered by ice sheets. O n e valley glacier in t h e San J u a n s was a b o u t 40 miles long. T h e s e n u m e r o u s glaciers have d i s a p p e a r e d , a n d today only a few small ones are to b e observed. T h e m a n y i n t e r e s t i n g f e a t u r e s of

glacial scour a n d d e p o s i t i o n are f o u n d in a b u n d a n c e in t h e Rockies. F o l d i n g a n d f a u l t i n g of t h e rocks also o c c u r r e d . F a u l t i n g p r o d u c e s m a n y o p e n i n g s in b e d r o c k . I n time, these o p e n i n g s m a y b e filled partially or entirely by m i n e r a l deposits resulting from solution and deposition b y c i r c u l a t i n g u n d e r g r o u n d water. I n t h e s o u t h e r n Rockies are m a n y m i n e s t h a t p r o d u c e a variety of m i n erals. A t t h e p r e s e n t time, C o l o r a d o has f a r m o r e high m o u n t a i n peaks t h a n a n y o t h e r state. A b o u t 50 peaks t o w e r m o r e t h a n 14,000 feet a b o v e sea level, a n d a b o u t 300 reach a n elevation of m o r e t h a n 13,000 feet.

MOUNTAINS Value of mountains. T h e n a r r o w /alleys, steep slopes, a n d t h i n soils of m o u n t a i n regions a r e n o t favora b l e to dense h u m a n h a b i t a t i o n . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , m o u n t a i n s are valua b l e to m a n k i n d i n m a n y ways: (1) T h e great expanses of grassy slopes serve as grazing lands. (2) T h e a b u n d a n t p r e c i p i t a t i o n in m a n y m o u n tains creates streams whose waters may be used f o r i r r i g a t i o n or p o w e r (see C h a p t e r 15). (3) T h e forests of c e r t a i n m o u n t a i n s p r o v i d e excellent sources of l u m b e r (see C h a p t e r 16). (4) T h e c o m p l i c a t e d s t r u c t u r e of m o u n t a i n s is largely responsible f o r t h e f o r m a t i o n of v a l u a b l e o r e deposits (see C h a p t e r 18). (5) M o u n tains a d j a c e n t to great centers of p o p u l a t i o n o n plains attract m a n y vacationists, especially i n s u m m e r . T h e reasons f o r such a t t r a c t i o n are t h e cooler climates at h i g h e r elevations, t h e variety a n d b e a u t y of scenery, a n d m o u n t a i n sports of various kinds.
SUMMARY

327

T r u e m o u n t a i n s m a y b e considered as h a v i n g a local relief of 2000 feet or m o r e . A g r o u p of m o u n t a i n systems is called a cordillera. O n e system, such as t h e Rockies, consists of m a n y ranges. M o u n t a i n s m a y be f o r m e d by u p l i f t of great masses of igneous rocks, by volcanic activity, by f o l d i n g , a n d by f a u l t i n g . M o u n tains s o m e t i m e s serve as n a t u r a l boundaries between countries. T h e y o f t e n c o n t a i n rich m i n e r a l deposits. T h e y a r e e r o d e d by streams a n d glaciers. O n some h i g h m o u n t a i n s b o t h t i m b e r l i n e a n d s n o w l i n e m a y b e observed. I n t h e p r e c e d i n g c h a p t e r s w e have given o u r a t t e n t i o n m a i n l y to t h e l i t h o s p h e r e , or t h e solid rock crust of the earth, a n d its c o v e r i n g of m a n t l e rock. I n C h a p t e r 14 we shall consider t h e h y d r o s p h e r e , or t h e gia n t oceans t h a t cover so m u c h of t h e earth's surface.

QUESTIONS

1. I n general, w h a t m a y b e considered the local relief i n t r u e m o u n t a i n s ? 2. W h a t is t h e total relief of t h e earth? H o w is it calculated? 3. Locate M o u n t Everest. W h a t is its elevation above sea level? 4. Locate t h e East a n d W e s t I n d i e s . N a m e several islands in each g r o u p . C o m p a r e t h e t w o g r o u p s w i t h respect to h e i g h t a n d area of m o u n t a i n masses. 5. E x p l a i n a n d d i a g r a m t h e f o u r p r i n c i p a l ways in w h i c h m o u n t a i n s are formed. 6. D e f i n e the five m a j o r classes of m o u n t a i n features. 7. N a m e a n d locate f o u r p r i n c i p a l c o r d i l l e r a n regions. 8. W h y are m o u n t a i n systems sometimes i m p o r t a n t e l e m e n t s of environment? 9. I n t h e Rockies, w h e r e is t h e f r o n t range? t h e Sawatch? W h y are h u g e flocks of sheep t a k e n to the m o u n t a i n t o p s f o r the s u m m e r m o n t h s ?

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10. D e s c r i b e t h e Sierra N e v a d a R a n g e . W h i c h slope, east o r west, receives the heavier p r e c i p i t a t i o n ? W h y ? W h a t use is m a d e of t h e w a t e r of n u m e r o u s streams? 11. W h e r e are t h e W a s a t c h M o u n t a i n s ? H o w w e r e they f o r m e d ? Surface streams a r e used to i r r i g a t e w h a t area? 12. Locate Java a n d S u m a t r a . H o w w e r e these m o u n t a i n o u s islands formed? 13. Locate M o u n t Baker, M o u n t R a i n i e r , a n d M o u n t H o o d . E x p l a i n h o w they w e r e f o r m e d . 14. T h e only active volcanic m o u n t a i n in t h e U n i t e d States is M o u n t Lassen. Exactly w h e r e is it? 15. W h y are some volcanic cones m o r e c o n s p i c u o u s features of the landscape t h a n others? G i v e a n e x a m p l e . 16. N a m e a n d locate 10 volcanic peaks. 17. E x p l a i n w h a t is m e a n t by a parasitic cone. 18. W h a t is a crater? a caldera? H o w are calderas t h o u g h t to have b e e n formed? 19. Locate a n d briefly describe C r a t e r Lake. 20. C o n t r a s t m o u n t a i n streams w i t h those of plains. 21. W h a t is t h e characteristic shape of s t r e a m - e r o d e d m o u n t a i n valleys? Why? 22. L o c a t e t h e R o y a l G o r g e . By w h a t river has it b e e n eroded? W h a t uses are m a d e of some valleys in the f r o n t r a n g e of t h e Rockies? 23. W h a t is t h e a d v a n t a g e of the location of Shoshone D a m ? T h e imp o u n d e d w a t e r is used f o r w h a t purpose? 24. W h a t is m e a n t by " t h e Cascade M o u n t a i n s are n o t e d f o r their trem e n d o u s p o t e n t i a l w a t e r - p o w e r resources"? 25. D e f i n e divide. W h e r e is t h e c o n t i n e n t a l divide of the LTnited States? 26. M e n t i o n several ways in w h i c h t h e c o n t i n e n t a l d i v i d e of S o u t h A m e r ica differs f r o m t h a t of N o r t h A m e r i c a . 27. W h y c a n n o t t h e A p p a l a c h i a n d i v i d e be called a continental divide? 28. I n w h a t c o u n t r y is t h e d i v i d e b e t w e e n t h e D a n u b e a n d R h i n e rivers? 29. W h a t is a m o u n t a i n pass? I n w h a t ways may m o u n t a i n passes b e f o r m e d ? W h a t use is m a d e of t h e m ? G i v e a n e x a m p l e . 30. W h e r e is t h e M o f f a t T u n n e l ? W h y was it constructed? W h a t is t h e p u r p o s e of t h e w a t e r t u n n e l t h a t parallels t h e railway t u n n e l ? 31. U s i n g a m a p of Switzerland, d e t e r m i n e the exact location of t h e St. G o t t h a r d a n d S i m p l o n t u n n e l s . W h y w e r e they constructed? 32. Most m o u n t a i n peaks are a result of w h a t process? 33. Locate Pikes Peak a n d L o n g s P e a k . H o w h i g h are they? 34. W h a t is t h e r a n g e of elevation of the highest peaks in the U n i t e d States?

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35. W h a t is t h e t i m b e r l i n e ? t h e snowline? 36. H o w does increase i n l a t i t u d e generally affect the snowline? Why? 37. Describe t h e o r i g i n of a valley glacier. 38. W h e r e d o lateral m o r a i n e s f o r m ? e n d moraines? H o w d o e n d moraines a p p e a r w h e n the glacier has d i s a p p e a r e d ? 39. A c c o u n t for t h e fact t h a t m a n y valley glaciers in Alaska e x t e n d to t h e sea. I n w h a t two localities d o similar glaciers p r o d u c e great icebergs? 40. H o w are valleys c h a n g e d by glacial erosion? 41. I n w h a t two ways are lake basins f o r m e d in a glaciated valley? 42. T h e glaciers o n M o u n t R a i n i e r are m u c h larger t h a n those in Glacier N a t i o n a l P a r k . E x p l a i n why. 43. O n l y a few small glaciers exist today in the R o c k y M o u n t a i n s of Colorado. Explain. 44. W h y are glaciers in the Alps m u c h larger t h a n those i n t h e Rocky M o u n t a i n s of t h e U n i t e d States? 45. W h y are t h e r e n o glaciers in some h i g h m o u n t a i n s ? Give a n e x a m p l e . 46. E x p l a i n h o w h a n g i n g valleys are f o r m e d . W h y a r e they of e c o n o m i c i m p o r t a n c e in some localities? 47. Locate Yosemite Falls. If possible, study a t o p o g r a p h i c m a p of the Yosemite Valley to d e t e r m i n e t h e h e i g h t of t h e falls. 48. W h a t is a cirque? H o w is it f o r m e d ? If possible, study t o p o g r a p h i c m a p s of R o c k y M o u n t a i n a n d G l a c i e r n a t i o n a l parks. Y o u will find t h a t m a n y cirques, large a n d small, are clearly s h o w n . 49. H o w d o t h e f e a t u r e s of glaciated m o u n t a i n s differ f r o m those prod u c e d by s t r e a m erosion? 50. W o u l d you expect w e a t h e r i n g to be m o r e or less r a p i d in glaciated t h a n in s t r e a m - e r o d e d m o u n t a i n s ? W h y ? 51. S u m m a r i z e five steps o r stages of d e v e l o p m e n t in t h e history of t h e southern Rocky Mountains. 52. M e n t i o n several ways in w h i c h m o u n t a i n s are of v a l u e to m a n .
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. O n a m a p of t h e world, locate a n d label 15 m o u n t a i n systems. L a b e l a n u m b e r of t h e highest peaks i n t h e w o r l d , n o t i n g t h e elevation of each. 2. O n a m a p s h o w i n g m a n y rivers in w e s t e r n U n i t e d States, d r a w t h e c o n t i n e n t a l divide. N a m e t h e states a n d n a t i o n a l parks t h r o u g h w h i c h it passes. O n t h e same o r a similar m a p , trace t h e A p p a l a c h i a n divide. 3. Sketch a large m a p of Switzerland. L a b e l the larger glacial lakes, t h e i m p o r t a n t railway t u n n e l s , a n d o t h e r f e a t u r e s of interest. 4. P l a n a t r i p d u r i n g w h i c h you w o u l d visit Glacier, Yellowstone, a n d R o c k y M o u n t a i n n a t i o n a l parks. M a k e a list of t h e i n t e r e s t i n g f e a t u r e s that

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you w o u l d w a n t to observe. D o the same f o r a t r i p that w o u l d i n c l u d e t h e Sierra N e v a d a a n d Cascade M o u n t a i n s . 5. Secure post r o u t e m a p s of several western states f r o m t h e S u p e r i n t e n d e n t of D o c u m e n t s , W a s h i n g t o n , D. C. T h e s e a r e large m a p s a n d are r e a s o n a b l e in price. T h e y can b e used f o r m a n y purposes. O n the m a p of C o l o r a d o , f o r e x a m p l e , color t h e n a t i o n a l parks. Use a m e t h o d to e m p h a s i z e the i n t e r e s t i n g m o u n t a i n f e a t u r e s of t h e state. D r a w a heavy r e d line over highways t h a t w o u l d e n a b l e you to visit most of t h e d e s i g n a t e d places. 6. L e a r n to locate exactly every m o u n t a i n system, range, peak, o r o t h e r f e a t u r e m e n t i o n e d in this c h a p t e r . 7. U s i n g t h e M o u n t Shasta, C a l i f o r n i a , q u a d r a n g l e (U. S. Geological Survey), m a k e a profile d r a w i n g of a typical volcanic cone. 8. U s i n g a c o n t o u r m a p of C r a t e r Lake, O r e g o n , a n d p r o p e r m o l d i n g materials, m a k e a relief m o d e l of the region. 9. M a k e a r o u g h relief m o d e l of M o u n t R a i n i e r (use c o n t o u r m a p ) . P a i n t t h e glaciers w h i t e a n d t h e m o u n t a i n slopes green. N O T E : O t h e r activities may be f o u n d in the l a b o r a t o r y m a n u a l .
TOPICS FOR CLASS REPORTS

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Rocky M o u n t a i n N a t i o n a l P a r k M o u n t Rainier National Park Glacier National Park Yosemite N a t i o n a l P a r k Crater Lake National Park T h e R o y a l G o r g e of t h e Arkansas R i v e r T h e Shoshone Dam and Irrigation Project Volcanic C o n e s of t h e U n i t e d States M o u n t a i n R a n g e s as B o u n d a r y Lines T h e C a n a d i a n Rockies T h e Sierra N e v a d a
REFERENCES

N . M . Physiography of Western United States, C h a p . 2, 4, 5, 9. M c G r a w - H i l l Book C o m p a n y , Inc., N e w York. 1931. L O B E C K , A. K. Geomorphology, C h a p . 15-19. M c G r a w - H i l l Book C o m p a n y , Inc., N e w York, 1939. V O N E N G E L N , O . D . Geomorphology, C h a p . 1 5 - 1 7 . T h e M a c m i l l a n Company, N e w York, 1943. W O R C E S T E R . P. G. Textbook of Geomorphology, C h a p . 1 6 . D . V a n N o s t r a n d C o m p a n y , Inc., P r i n c e t o n , N . J., 1939.
FENNEMAN,

CHAPTER

I4.

Oceans and Their Shores

It was noted in C h a p t e r 9 that the oceans occupy a b o u t 71 percent of the surface of the earth. T h e y are so unsuited to h u m a n h a b i t a t i o n that they are, in a sense, great deserts. However, they are both interesting a n d useful to m a n in m a n y ways. Sometimes the ocean surface is smooth a n d inviting; sometimes its great waves are extremely dangerous. Yet m a n has long since learned to c o n q u e r these a n d to m a k e use of the oceans as convenient avenues of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n r a t h e r t h a n to accept t h e m as p e r m a n e n t barriers between the continents. Ships n o w move freely over the i m p o r t a n t lanes of ocean traffic. Airplanes seek the shortest routes between seaports or m a k e use of i n t e r v e n i n g islands as l a n d i n g bases. T h e climatic effects of the ocean a n d the actual resources of the sea a n d its shores are of great economic importance. Ocean water contains a vast assortment of animal life. Strange, highly colored, phosphorescent fish occupy the ocean depths. I n the surface waters are larger m a r i n e animals, i n c l u d i n g m a n y fish of great value as h u m a n food. T h e s e resources are treated m o r e fully in C h a p t e r 18.

T h e shores of the oceans also vary greatly in their usefulness to man. Some are regular in o u t l i n e a n d o f t e n are b o r d e r e d by shallow water, which makes approach in ships difficult or dangerous. Others are deeply i n d e n t e d or are carved by waves a n d currents into features that provide shelter for ships or considerable scenic attraction for m a n . Cool sea breezes, rocky promontories, or sandy beaches are resources n o less real t h a n the fish of the sea. T h e y attract to the seashores of the world thousands of visitors and millions of dollars of income each year for those w h o live there.
Composition of ocean water. F r o m

the b e g i n n i n g of the world the oceans have received the streams that drain the land a n d have r e t u r n e d the water to the land again t h r o u g h evaporation a n d winds. T h u s there is in sea water all the m i n e r a l substance carried by river waters in solution. Some of these substances, such as lime, are used continually by m a r i n e animals in m a k i n g their bones and shells a n d so do n o t acc u m u l a t e in the ocean water. O t h e r minerals, however, are n o t so readily taken o u t of solution. Ocean water now contains a b o u t 3.5 p o u n d s of

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T H E E A R T H AND I T S

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dissolved m i n e r a l m a t t e r p e r 100 p o u n d s of water. A b o u t t h r e e - f o u r t h s of this is c o m m o n salt. I n some localities, sea w a t e r is evaporated, a n d the salt is o b t a i n e d for h u m a n use.

the b o i l i n g p o i n t . If b o i l e d w a t e r is i m m e d i a t e l y cooled a n d p u t in a n a q u a r i u m , t h e fish will suffer f r o m lack of air. In the ocean, considera b l e air is w h i p p e d i n t o the w a t e r by wave action. Of great i m p o r t a n c e also are c e r t a i n w a t e r p l a n t s whose leaves give off oxygen i n t o t h e sea water. O n l y the u p p e r layers of ocean w a t e r are w a r m e d to any e x t e n t by t h e sun. T h e t e m p e r a t u r e of surface waters n e a r t h e e q u a t o r may r e a c h 80F; n e a r t h e poles it may b e as low as 29F, w h i c h is a b o u t the f r e e z i n g p o i n t of ocean water. Most of t h e s u b s u r f a c e w a t e r of the ocean is very cold, h a v i n g a t e m p e r a t u r e of less t h a n 45F. T h e pressure of ocean w a t e r at great d e p t h s is e n o r m o u s . It is a b o u t 1 ton p e r s q u a r e i n c h at a d e p l h of 1 mile. It is a b o u t 6 tons p e r s q u a r e inch at a d e p t h of 6 miles in t h e deepest parts of t h e ocean. U n l i k e air, w a t e r is only slightly compressed by great w e i g h t . C o n s e q u e n t l y , water at great d e p t h s has a b o u t t h e same density as t h e u p p e r layers. Any o b j e c t t h a t will sink in t h e surface w a t e r will go to t h e b o t t o m of t h e ocean. Depth of the ocean. T h e d e p t h of t h e ocean is usually expressed in f a t h o m s . O n e f a t h o m is 6 feet. T h e r e are t w o m e t h o d s of d e t e r m i n i n g t h e d e p t h : (1) I n shallow water, a w e i g h t fastened to a line is l o w e r e d u n t i l it rests o n t h e ocean floor, a n d t h e l e n g t h of the line is n o t e d . (2) A faster m e t h o d is p r o v i d e d by a n ins t r u m e n t called a fathometer, w h i c h

Fig.

282.

sound-wave

broadcast at the

from

the

bottom of the ship, traveling floor

rate of

about 4 8 4 0 feet per second, reaches the ocean and is reflected back. By using the time interval between broadcast and reception, the depth of the ocean can be quickly calculated.

T i n y particles of air also exist in sea w a t e r . T h i s air supplies t h e oxygen f o r m a r i n e life. W h e n sea o r lake w a t e r is h e a t e d , the air particles e x p a n d a n d can b e seen c o m i n g to t h e surface b e f o r e t h e w a t e r reaches

OCEANS AND T H E I R m a k e s use of the fact that s o u n d waves travel t h r o u g h w a t e r at the r a t e of a b o u t 4840 feet p e r second. 1 T h i s is a b o u t 4 times as fast as s o u n d waves travel t h r o u g h air. A flexible

SHORES

333

by h u r r i c a n e w i n d s have i n v a d e d the coasts of F l o r i d a a n d T e x a s a n d have d o n e t r e m e n d o u s d a m a g e , especially in cities located n e a r sea level. Big waves t r a v e l i n g at h i g h speed have great p o w e r . T h e y p o u n d against rocky coasts. T h e y dislodge a n d toss rocks i n t o the air. Such wave-tossed rocks h a v e b e e n k n o w n to b r e a k windows in lighthouses m o r e t h a n 100 feet a b o v e the ocean surface. T h e wave m o t i o n is p r i n c i p a l l y a n u p - a n d - d o w n m o v e m e n t of t h e water. H o w e v e r , surface w a t e r moves slowly in the d i r e c t i o n t o w a r d w h i c h the w i n d is b l o w i n g . As a wave comes i n t o t h e shallow w a t e r n e a r t h e shore, its lower p a r t m a y b e r e t a r d e d by t h e ocean floor. T h e t o p of t h e wave, h a v i n g greater m o m e n t u m , pitches f o r w a r d , causing t h e breakers that m a y be observed o n m a n y coasts. F r o m the line of breakers, smaller

Fig. 283. Parts of a wave and the names used in referring to them.

d r u m is exposed to the ocean w a t e r i n t h e stern of the ship. A s o u n d wave f r o m this d r u m goes to t h e ocean floor a n d is reflected back a n d received by a h y d r o p h o n e in t h e bow of t h e ship (Fig. 282). If the t i m e i n t e r v a l b e t w e e n broadcast a n d rec e p t i o n of t h e s o u n d wave is 6 seconds, t h e n the d e p t h of t h e ocean is 14,520 feet, or 2420 f a t h o m s . Numerous measurements have s h o w n that the average d e p t h of t h e ocean is a b o u t 2 to 2% miles. T h e deepest parts of t h e ocean basins are called deeps. T h e greatest d e p t h k n o w n is 35,400 feet a n d is just east of t h e P h i l i p p i n e Islands. O n e of the deepest parts of the A t l a n t i c O c e a n lies just n o r t h of P u e r t o Rico.
Movements of ocean water. The

Fig. 284. The change in form and final toppling of waves in shallow water. In the foreground, the line of breakers is some distance from the shoreline and a beach has been formed. headland, and a cliff has been cut. In the background waves break directly upon a

waves of the ocean are caused by t h e f r i c t i o n of w i n d w i t h its surface. W i n d s of gale velocity m a y cause waves to reach a h e i g h t of 25 to 50 feet (Fig. 283). H u g e waves d r i v e n

waves m o v e o n s h o r e as f a r as possible a n d r e t u r n to the ocean as a n u n d e r c u r r e n t k n o w n as t h e undertow (Fig. 284). T h e i n c o m i n g waves o n W a i 1 This velocity varies somewhat, being influenced by the temperature, depth, a n d salinity of the water.

334

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 2 8 5 . Pearl Harbor, about 8 miles west of Honolulu, on the south side of the island of Oahu, Hawaiian Islands. Not f a r from this harbor is Waikiki beach. The Hawaiian Islands, 2 0 to 2 2 N lat., are in the northeast trades. (Official U. S. Navy photograph.)

kiki b e a c h n e a r H o n o l u l u are so pron o u n c e d t h a t e x p e r t s u r f b o a r d riders are a b l e to e n j o y a r i d e of a b o u t a q u a r t e r of a m i l e at a speed of 25 miles p e r h o u r o r m o r e (Fig. 285). T i d a l waves, as e x p l a i n e d in Chapter 8, r e s u l t f r o m e a r t h q u a k e s o n the ocean floor. T h e s e are the largest a n d most d e s t r u c t i v e of all waves. A r e m a r k a b l e i n s t r u m e n t is used in t h e study of waves. It rests o n the ocean floor a short distance f r o m shore a n d a u t o m a t i c a l l y records t h e characteristics of waves.
TIDES

T h e r e g u l a r rise a n d fall of the level of the sea is called t h e tide. T i d e s are caused m a i n l y by t h e att r a c t i o n of the m o o n a n d to a lesser e x t e n t by t h a t of t h e sun. T h e attrac-

t i o n of the m o o n causes the ocean w a t e r to b u l g e o u t o n the side of t h e earth facing the moon. T h i s bulge causes the h i g h tide. T h e r e is a similar b u l g e o n the side of the e a r t h away f r o m t h e m o o n . T h u s are crea t e d o n o p p o s i t e sides of the e a r t h two h i g h tides b e t w e e n w h i c h are t w o low tides. As the e a r t h rotates o n its axis once every 24 hours, it is evident t h a t any given shore p o i n t m i g h t b e expected to h a v e two high a n d two low tides p e r day. T h e t i m e b e t w e e n h i g h a n d low tide, t h e r e f o r e , w o u l d be a p p r o x i m a t e l y 6 hours. H o w e v e r , t h e m o o n travels a r o u n d t h e e a r t h in its o r b i t i n a b o u t 28 days, a n d its a d v a n c e m e n t in its o r b i t each day influences t h e t i m e of tides. T h u s t h e t i m e b e t w e e n high, o r flood, a n d low, or ebb, tide is usually a b o u t h o u r s 13 m i n u t e s a n d

OCEANS AND T H E I R

SHORES

335

SPRING _

NEAP

isun
TIDES ~

;
TIDES

FIRST QUARTER Fig. 2 8 6 . T h e relation o f the moon, in its different phases, and of the sun to the occurrence o f ocean tides.

f r o m h i g h to h i g h tide 12 h o u r s 25 minutes. D u r i n g new moon and full moon, t h e e a r t h , sun, a n d m o o n are almost in a straight line. A t such times t h e t i d e - p r o d u c i n g forces of the m o o n a n d s u n c o m b i n e to p r o d u c e a h i g h e r flood tide, a n d c o n s e q u e n t l y lower e b b tide, t h a n u s u a l (Fig. 286). T h e s e are called spring tides, b u t it s h o u l d be r e m e m b e r e d t h a t they have n o r e l a t i o n w h a t s o e v e r to the season called spring. T h e vertical distance, m e a s u r e d i n feet, b e t w e e n h i g h a n d low t i d e is called t h e tidal range. T h e greatest tidal r a n g e occurs at t h e t i m e of s p r i n g tides. A t t h e t i m e of first a n d t h i r d q u a r ter phases of t h e m o o n , the forces of the s u n a n d m o o n are a c t i n g at r i g h t angles w i t h r e l a t i o n to t h e e a r t h . As a result, t h e tidal r a n g e is r e d u c e d . T i d e s at such times are r e f e r r e d to as neap tides (Fig. 286). Since t h e phases of the m o o n are a b o u t 1 week a p a r t , it follows t h a t t h e t i m e interval b e t w e e n s p r i n g tides is a p p r o x i m a t e l y 2 weeks. T h e same is t r u e of n e a p tides. Tides on different shores. U n d e r ideal c o n d i t i o n s , e q u a l h i g h tides

s h o u l d succeed each o t h e r at intervals of 12 h o u r s 25 m i n u t e s . H o w ever, t h a t is n o t t h e a c t u a l c o n d i t i o n in m a n y places. A t a n y given station t h e r e is a c o n s i d e r a b l e v a r i a t i o n in the h e i g h t of successive tides a n d in the intervals b e t w e e n t h e m . T h i s is because of the t r e n d s a n d o u t l i n e s of d i f f e r e n t coasts, t h e d e p t h of coastal
0b 6h I2h I8h 0h 6h
,2h

1111ii 11 i 1 i 11 J u j i 1 m i 11 n II i

I8h

24h

A
1

Fig. 2 8 7 . (After

* \ / \\ / \ i/ \I \\J \ \\ \ /

April 22

April 23

Intervals

and

amounts

of tidal

rise

and f a l l at N e w York during a 48-hour period H. A. Marmer.)

waters, t h e shapes a n d sizes of t h e several oceans, a n d o t h e r causes. I n general, t h e tides of t h e Atlantic O c e a n are most n e a r l y like t h e ideal type. T h i s m a y be i l l u s t r a t e d by a c u r v e s h o w i n g the a c t u a l rise a n d fall of the tide at N e w York (Fig. 287). O n some shores, n o t a b l y parts of s o u t h e r n Asia a n d t h e C a r i b b e a n a n d Gulf shores of A m e r i c a , t h e r e

336

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

is b u t o n e h i g h tide p e r day. T h e shores of the Pacific O c e a n generally are characterized by w h a t m a y b e called mixed tides. I n t h e m each alt e r n a t e h i g h tide is m u c h lower t h a n the preceding one. T h i s condition m a y b e i l l u s t r a t e d by a c u r v e showi n g t h e actual tidal rise a n d fall at H o n o l u l u (Fig. 288).
Variation in tidal range. In the

o p e n ocean the tidal r a n g e is so slight as n o t to be n o t i c e a b l e . As t h e tidal


0h 6 h 12h . I8h ph "eh I2h ish 24^ I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 l i l l l l i l l l l Ml 1 1 1 1 I I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

L i v e r p o o l , E n g l a n d , have r e q u i r e d expensive i m p r o v e m e n t s to offset t h e disadvantages of t h e c o n t i n u o u s rise a n d fall of t h e w a t e r level w h i l e ships are l o a d i n g a n d u n l o a d i n g cargo at t h e wharves. Places of great tidal r a n g e are s i t u a t e d m a i n l y u p o n f u n nel-shaped bays w h e r e t h e tide wave t e n d s to pile u p as it moves landw a r d . C h e r b o u r g , France, has a n average tidal r a n g e of 17 feet; a n d Liverpool, 29 feet. T h e h e a d of t h e Bay of F u n d y , N o v a Scotia, has 42 feet a n d , at t i m e of s p r i n g tide, sometimes as m u c h as 50 feet of e x t r e m e tidal range.
Tidal behavior in rivers. T h e in-

April 22

April 23

Fig. 2 8 8 . fall of a

Intervals tide of

and

amounts type

of at

rise

and

mixed

Honolulu, Marmer.)

during a 48-hour period. (Af/ H. A.

bulges, o r waves, a p p r o a c h coasts, however, they t e n d , like o t h e r waves, to increase in h e i g h t . T h e a m o u n t of the increase is d e t e r m i n e d by a n u m b e r of factors. T h e tides of nearly enclosed bodies of water, such as t h e M e d i t e r r a n e a n a n d Baltic seas, are so slight as to b e negligible. I n shelt e r e d waters, such as t h e Gulf of M e x i c o a n d t h e C a r i b b e a n Sea, t h e r a n g e is small, usually less t h a n 2 feet. C o m m o n tidal ranges o n exposed coasts are b e t w e e n 5 a n d 10 feet, t h o u g h in some places less a n d in others more. I n a few localities, some of t h e m t h e sites of i m p o r t a n t c o m m e r c i a l ports, t h e tidal r a n g e is so great t h a t it is a distinct h a n d i c a p to t h e use of t h e shore. S o m e h a r b o r s , n o t a b l y

c o m i n g h i g h tide advances u p m a n y rivers t h a t e m p t y i n t o t h e sea. T h i s is k n o w n as t h e tidal bore. D e p t h of w a t e r is t h u s increased, n o t only at the m o u t h of t h e r i v e r b u t in some cases f o r m a n y miles u p s t r e a m . T h i s increased d e p t h facilitates the navig a t i o n of larger ships. A most pron o u n c e d tidal b o r e is observed in t h e P e t i t c o d i a c R i v e r of N e w B r u n s w i c k , w h e r e t h e tide advances u p s t r e a m in the f o r m of a n o t i c e a b l e wave. A m o n g o t h e r rivers e x h i b i t i n g similar, b u t less p r o n o u n c e d , t i d e beh a v i o r are t h e H u d s o n , St. L a w r e n c e , A m a z o n , Seine, a n d c e r t a i n rivers a l o n g the coasts of C h i n a a n d I n d i a .
OCEAN DRIFTS AND CURRENTS

T h e m o v e m e n t of most of the surface w a t e r of the o c e a n is very slow, a v e r a g i n g a b o u t 2 miles p e r h o u r . T h i s slow m o v e m e n t is r e f e r r e d to as a drift. T h e t e r m ocean current is

OCEANS A N D T H E I R

SHORES

337

338

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

a p p l i e d to the m o r e r a p i d l y m o v i n g waters w h i c h s o m e t i m e s a t t a i n a r a t e of 2 o r 3 times t h a t of a d r i f t (Fig. 289). O c e a n d r i f t s a n d c u r r e n t s are caused m a i n l y by t h e p r e v a i l i n g w i n d s of t h e e a r t h . Since the t r a d e w i n d s b l o w f r o m easterly to westerly directions, they cause the surface waters of t h e ocean to d r i f t t o w a r d t h e west. I n h i g h e r latitudes t h e stormy westerlies cause t h e surface w a t e r s to m o v e t o w a r d t h e east. Of lesser imp o r t a n c e i n c a u s i n g m o v e m e n t of ocean waters is the difference i n density of w a t e r itself caused b y differences in t e m p e r a t u r e a n d salinity, o r saltiness. Of course, t h e p a t h t h a t a n ocean c u r r e n t follows m a y b e modified by o n e or m o r e of the f o l l o w i n g : (1) t h e shape of t h e ocean basin, (2) s u b m a r i n e barriers, (3) t h e t r e n d of t h e coastline, a n d (4) t h e r o t a t i n g of the e a r t h o n its axis. O n each side of the e q u a t o r are the North and South Equatorial d r i f t s w h i c h m o v e slowly t o w a r d t h e west o w i n g to t h e f r i c t i o n of t h e t r a d e w i n d s w i t h the ocean surface. T h e s e drifts, w i t h t h e a c c o m p a n y i n g steady t r a d e winds, are utilized b y sailing vessels w h e n t r a v e l i n g f r o m east to west. I n t h e A t l a n t i c O c e a n the E q u a t o r i a l D r i f t flows t o w a r d S o u t h A m e r i c a w h e r e it divides, p a r t flowing south as t h e Brazil C u r r e n t , a n d p a r t m o v i n g n o r t h i n t o t h e Cari b b e a n Sea, t h e n t h r o u g h t h e Yucat a n C h a n n e l i n t o t h e Gulf of Mexico. T h e basin o c c u p i e d by t h e Gulf of M e x i c o is c o n t i n u o u s l y r e c e i v i n g e n o r m o u s q u a n t i t i e s of w a t e r f r o m

the Equatorial Drift and n u m e r o u s rivers, of w h i c h the Mississippi is of o u t s t a n d i n g i m p o r t a n c e . T h i s great inflow of w a t e r m u s t find a n o u t l e t f r o m the G u l f , a n d t h a t o u t l e t is t h r o u g h F l o r i d a Strait, c r e a t i n g t h e Gulf Stream. B e t w e e n F l o r i d a a n d C u b a , t h e Gulf S t r e a m is m o r e t h a n 100 miles wide, has c o n s i d e r a b l e d e p t h , a n d moves at a r a t e of 4 to 5 miles p e r h o u r . T h i s is p r o b a b l y t h e strongest of all ocean c u r r e n t s . Leavi n g F l o r i d a Strait, t h e Gulf S t r e a m joins o t h e r n o r t h w a r d - m o v i n g waters. I n the vicinity of t h e 40th parallel of n o r t h l a t i t u d e these waters are d r i v e n eastward across t h e A t l a n t i c by westerly winds, f o r m i n g t h e N o r t h A t l a n t i c D r i f t . T h i s d r i f t reaches t h e British Isles a n d t h e coast of N o r w a y . O p p o s i t e Spain, p a r t of t h e eastw a r d - m o v i n g waters t u r n s s o u t h . A l o n g the n o r t h w e s t coast of A f r i c a it is called the Canary Current. T h i s c u r r e n t finally r e j o i n s the N o r t h E q u a t o r i a l D r i f t . T h u s a h u g e circular m o t i o n of water, r o t a t i n g clockwise, is c r e a t e d in t h e N o r t h Atlantic. A c o r r e s p o n d i n g c i r c u l a t i o n occurs in t h e N o r t h Pacific, w h e r e a s south of t h e e q u a t o r in the Pacific, Atlantic, a n d I n d i a n oceans t h e circ u l a t i o n is counterclockwise. N e a r t h e c e n t e r of the great N o r t h A t l a n tic w h i r l , w h i c h coincides w i t h t h e location of t h e s u b t r o p i c a l high, o r horse latitudes, t h e m o v e m e n t of ocean w a t e r is negligible. T h e g r o w t h of seaweed, o r sargassum, has given t h e n a m e Sargasso Sea to this p a r t of the ocean. T h e G u l f S t r e a m a n d its exten-

OCEANS AND T H E I R sion, t h e N o r t h A t l a n t i c D r i f t , are c o n t i n u a l l y c a r r y i n g relatively w a r m w a t e r to t h e A r c t i c O c e a n . T o comp e n s a t e f o r this r e c e i p t of w a r m water, t h e A r c t i c discharges cold water w h i c h flows s o u t h w a r d o n e i t h e r side of G r e e n l a n d . B e t w e e n C a n a d a a n d G r e e n l a n d , this cold, s o u t h w a r d flowing w a t e r is k n o w n as t h e Labrador Current. T h i s is t h e c u r r e n t t h a t carries icebergs f r o m G r e e n l a n d s o u t h i n t o t h e p a t h s of ocean liners t r a v e l i n g across t h e N o r t h A t l a n t i c . Its nearness to the Gulf S t r e a m in t h e vicinity of N e w f o u n d l a n d causes the e x t r e m e l y dense fogs in t h a t locality. I n t h e N o r t h Pacific, t h e J a p a n C u r r e n t , o r K u r o Siwo, moves eastward f r o m t h e J a p a n e s e Islands t o w a r d N o r t h A m e r i c a . I n the latit u d e of P u g e t S o u n d it divides, p a r t flowing n o r t h w a r d a l o n g t h e coast of s o u t h e r n Alaska, a n d p a r t southw a r d off t h e coast of C a l i f o r n i a , w h e r e it is k n o w n as t h e California Current. In the Southern Hemisphere, the westerlies drive surface waters completely a r o u n d t h e w o r l d in t h e vicinity of t h e 50th a n d 60th parallels. T h i s is t h e W e s t W i n d D r i f t a n d is a cold c u r r e n t because of its h i g h l a t i t u d e a n d its contact w i t h the glaciers of A n t a r c t i c a . T w o offshoots of this great c u r r e n t t u r n n o r t h w a r d t o w a r d the e q u a t o r , f o r m i n g the Peruvian, or H u m b o l d t , C u r r e n t along t h e coast of C h i l e a n d P e r u a n d t h e B e n g u e l a C u r r e n t a l o n g t h e west coast of s o u t h e r n Africa. T h e s e are cold c u r r e n t s , since t h e i r waters are

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relatively colder t h a n a d j a c e n t ocean water. T h e m a p of ocean c u r r e n t s (Fig. 289) shows that the surface waters are p u l l i n g away f r o m t h e coast of C a l i f o r n i a a n d t h e n o r t h w e s t coast of Africa. W h e n surface w a t e r flows away f r o m a shoreline, d e e p e r a n d colder w a t e r moves u p w a r d to take its place. T h i s is called t h e upwelling of s u b s u r f a c e waters. C a l i f o r n i a coastal waters a r e several degrees colder t h a n a d j a c e n t w a t e r a few miles offshore. Moist air m o v i n g f r o m t h e ocean t o w a r d C a l i f o r n i a m u s t cross t h e belt of u p w e l l i n g cold w a t e r a l o n g s h o r e a n d is chilled sufficiently to cause c o n d e n s a t i o n of water vapor which produces dense fogs.
AVERAGE M O N T H L Y T E M P E R A T U R E SURFACE O C E A N W A T E R J A N U A R Y A N D JULY * FOR OF

January Place C Key West, Fla. Galveston, Tex. Los Angeles harbor Astoria, Ore. 22 15 13 5 F 71 59 55 41 C 30 30 19 18

July F 86 86 66 64 Survey

* From U. S. Coast and Bulletins T W - 1 and T W - 2 .

Geodetic

U p w e l l i n g cold w a t e r carries m u c h food f o r fish. C o n s e q u e n t l y these areas of the ocean are well k n o w n to c o m m e r c i a l fishermen. O b s e r v a t i o n of i s o t h e r m a l m a p s of the w o r l d f o r J a n u a r y a n d July (Figs. 34, 35) shows that certain ocean

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c u r r e n t s decidedly i n f l u e n c e the course of isotherms in some localities. F o r e x a m p l e , isotherms, especially o n t h e J a n u a r y m a p , are b e n t n o r t h w a r d over the N o r t h A t l a n t i c O c e a n as a result of t h e relatively w a r m w a t e r c a r r i e d n o r t h w a r d by t h e Gulf S t r e a m . I n the S o u t h e r n H e m i s p h e r e it will b e n o t i c e d t h a t isotherms b e n d e q u a t o r w a r d over b o t h the Per u v i a n a n d the B e n g u e l a c u r r e n t s . T h e p r i n c i p a l climatic effects of ocean c u r r e n t s are as follows: 1) W h e r e w a r m c u r r e n t s lie offshore a n d w i n d s b l o w f r o m sea to land, t e m p e r a t u r e s on t h e l a n d are considerably m o d e r a t e d . T h u s winter t e m p e r a t u r e s in n o r t h w e s t e r n Eur o p e are m u c h less severe t h a n in c o r r e s p o n d i n g l a t i t u d e s in L a b r a d o r . A s i m i l a r c o n d i t i o n exists a l o n g t h e Pacific coast f r o m O r e g o n to Alaska. T h e w a r m c u r r e n t s also t e n d to increase a t m o s p h e r i c h u m i d i t y w h i c h , in t u r n , causes a n increased a m o u n t of c l o u d y a n d r a i n y w e a t h e r , especially i n the cooler seasons. 2) W h e r e w a r m a n d cold c u r r e n t s c o m e close together, t h e moist air f r o m o v e r t h e w a r m c u r r e n t may b e chilled by colder a i r over t h e cold c u r r e n t , causing fogs. A good example, previously m e n t i o n e d , is t h e region of dense fogs a r o u n d N e w f o u n d land. 3) C o l d c u r r e n t s a l o n g shores in low l a t i t u d e s (10 to 30) have t h e p e c u l i a r effect of p r o d u c i n g m u c h foggy w e a t h e r b u t little r a i n . Such is t h e case a l o n g t h e coast of P e r u a n d n o r t h e r n C h i l e a n d the s o u t h w e s t e r n coast of Africa. T h e fogs are caused

by the c h i l l i n g of o c e a n breezes as they pass over the cold ocean c u r r e n t n e a r shore. W h e n t h e cool air comes onshore, it is h e a t e d by the m u c h w a r m e r land. As air is h e a t e d , its capacity f o r w a t e r v a p o r increases, a c o n d i t i o n that is j u s t the reverse of t h a t necessary to p r o d u c e r a i n .
FEATURES OF THE OCEAN SHORE

T h e line at w h i c h the sea meets the l a n d is a line of c o n s i d e r a b l e imp o r t a n c e . O n its two sides are differe n t scenes a n d d i f f e r e n t m e t h o d s of c o m m u n i c a t i o n . A t t h a t line the flow of t r a d e f r o m o n e c o u n t r y to a n o t h e r m u s t b e h a n d l e d because of the c h a n g e in t r a n s p o r t a t i o n . Most countries e x p o r t certain s u r p l u s c o m m o d ities. T h e s e c o m m o d i t i e s are s h i p p e d f r o m t h e h i n t e r l a n d , or f r o m l a n d a d j a c e n t to a seaport, to t h e ocean shore by m e a n s of railroads, t r u c k lines, o r r i v e r barges. T h e r e they are placed o n b o a r d ocean vessels. It is a w e l l - k n o w n r u l e t h a t at c e r t a i n f a v o r e d places w h e r e a b r e a k i n transp o r t a t i o n takes place, cities t e n d to develop. M o v e m e n t s of t h e earth's crust over l o n g periods of t i m e have caused t h e ocean shore in m a n y places slowly to fall or rise. D u r i n g t h e t i m e of such m o v e m e n t , a coastline moves landiuard as l a n d is submerged. It creeps seaxvard as l a n d emerges. T h u s t w o p r i n c i p a l classes of shorelines are recognized: (1) shorelines of s u b m e r g e n c e a n d (2) shorelines of e m e r g e n c e . T h e m a j o r shapes of shore out-

OCEANS AND T H E I R lines are d u e to s i n k i n g or rising of t h e land, b u t m o r e d e t a i l e d f e a t u r e s r e s u l t f r o m changes caused by a n y o n e o r several of t h e f o l l o w i n g : (1)

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341

Fig. 2 9 0 . Stages in the development of a shoreline of submergence: A, erosion of the headlands has begun, and beaches, spits, and hooks are forming; B, depositional features are extensive, shoreline is retreating; C, shoreline is worn well back, and all features are approaching old-age stage.

c o n s i d e r a b l e i r r e g u l a r i t y , especially w h e r e t h e coastal p l a i n has b e e n e r o d e d by streams (Fig. 290). W i d e , shallow valleys are s e p a r a t e d by b r o a d , low areas b e t w e e n the streams. Valleys of t h a t k i n d have such low g r a d i e n t s t h a t even slight s u b m e r gence p e r m i t s t h e sea to e n t e r t h e m f o r some distance, f o r m i n g bays. T h e h i g h e r areas b e t w e e n streams, at the same time, are only partly s u b m e r g e d a n d a p p e a r as i r r e g u l a r p e n i n s u l a s o r as islands. T h e s i n k i n g of a m a i n valley with its t r i b u t a r i e s p r o d u c e s a very i r r e g u l a r coast, such as Chesap e a k e Bay. I n o t h e r cases o n l y t h e lower p o r t i o n of t h e m a i n valley is s u b m e r g e d . T h e d r o w n e d m o u t h of a river is called a n estuary (Figs. 291, 292). M a n y estuaries f o r m excellent h a r b o r s a n d are t h e sites of i m p o r tant c o m m e r c i a l cities. Most of the eastern shore of the U n i t e d States is o n e of s u b m e r g e n c e a n d c o n t a i n s a n u m b e r of i m p o r t a n t

wave w o r k , (2) shore c u r r e n t s , (3) w i n d action, (4) glaciation, a n d (5) stream deposition. Consequently a s h o r e l i n e u n d e r g o e s a slow developm e n t d u r i n g w h i c h p r o j e c t i n g headl a n d s m a y b e w o r n back a n d bays slowly filled.
SHORELINES OF SUBMERGENCE

Fig. 291. The estuary of the Thames River in southeastern of water. England. the passes Numerous location the of dams and locks on the 200-mile river control the depth Note Greenwich, meridian of through which zero

longitude.

T h e slow s u b m e r g e n c e , or sinking, of l o w l a n d coasts results first in t h e f o r m a t i o n of shorelines of

estuaries. C h e s a p e a k e Bay (Fig. 293) is a n e x a m p l e of t h e b r a n c h i n g type of estuary. Some, like D e l a w a r e Bay, t h e H u d s o n R i v e r , the l o w e r St.

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L a w r e n c e , a n d others of smaller size, are simple in o u t l i n e . Estuaries a b o u n d also o n the shorelines of western E u r o p e . T h e coasts

of erosion are strong, sea cliffs a n d b o l d h e a d l a n d s are p r o d u c e d . T h e erosion of cliffs c o m p o s e d of a single k i n d of weak rock is likely to p r o c e e d w i t h c o m p a r a t i v e evenness. I n resistant rocks of u n e q u a l hardness, however, erosion is n o t u n i f o r m . T h e less resistant rocks w e a r

NEW JERSEY

Fig. 292. The estuary of the Columbia provides deep water for ocean vessels

River that

reach Portland. However, considerable dredging of the channel is necessary in some places to maintain sufficient depth of water. Co.) (Courtesy Puget Sound Navigation

of t h e N o r t h Sea a n d t h e Baltic in general have shorelines of s u b m e r gence, as t h e i r i r r e g u l a r o u t l i n e s show. T h e estuaries of t h e rivers Mersey, T h a m e s , Elbe, Seine, a n d G i r o n d e are the sites of great commercial ports. S u b m e r g e n c e provides t h e d e e p w a t e r necessary f o r ocean vessels. A n i m p o r t a n t estuary of S o u t h A m e r i c a is t h a t of t h e Plata R i v e r o n w h i c h the city of B u e n o s Aires is located.
Other shore features. A s h o r e l i n e is

VIRGINIA

N.CAROLINA

Fig. 293. T w o important bays on the Atlantic coast of estuaries. the United States. These bays are B, Can you name the cities at A,

C, D, and E? From A to D is about 125 miles. Using this scale, estimate the length of Chesapeake Bay. Washington, D. C., is on the estuary of what river? About how far is Philadelphia from Bay? the Atlantic Ocean via Delaware

subject to attack a n d m o d i f i c a t i o n by the erosion of waves a n d c u r r e n t s . Such erosion p r o d u c e s c e r t a i n characteristic shore features. W a v e erosion is most effective n e a r average sea level. A n o t c h is c u t in t h e rock at this p o i n t . T h i s n o t c h is e n l a r g e d by u n d e r c u t t i n g ; a n d w h e r e t h e forces

away m o r e r a p i d l y t h a n t h e m o r e resistant ones. As a result, p e c u l i a r a n d i n t e r e s t i n g shore f e a t u r e s are f o r m e d . A m o n g t h e m are sea caves,

OCEANS AND T H E I R d e t a c h e d chimney-like p i n n a c l e s of rock, a n d h a l f - s u b m e r g e d p r o j e c t i o n s u p o n t h e sea floor (Fig. 294). Obviously, such a coast is e x t r e m e l y dangerous d u r i n g s t o r m y w e a t h e r , a n d lighthouses are o f t e n b u i l t to w a r n navigators to k e e p a safe distance f r o m shore. I n some places t h e erosion of a sea cliff results in a gently sloping s h o r e called a wave-cut terrace. Offshore a n d below sea level, the rock waste a c c u m u l a t e s to f o r m a wavebuilt terrace (Fig. 295). T h e sand, gravel, a n d o t h e r material e r o d e d f r o m rocky shores a r e m o v e d a b o u t by waves a n d c u r r e n t s . Especially in t h e q u i e t waters of p r o t e c t e d bays, this s e d i m e n t accum u l a t e s to f o r m beaches. C u r r e n t s m o v i n g a l o n g s h o r e may carry the sedi m e n t across t h e e n t r a n c e to a bay. H e r e it g r a d u a l l y a c c u m u l a t e s as a r i d g e o n t h e ocean floor. E v e n t u a l l y t h e r i d g e is b u i l t a b o v e t h e w a t e r to f o r m a p o i n t of s a n d a n d gravel, called a spit. I n t h e m o u t h of a b r o a d bay, t h e i n w a r d m o v e m e n t of waves a n d c u r r e n t s past t h e p r o j e c t i n g p o i n t of a spit may cause it to c u r v e t o w a r d the shore. T h e n it is called a recurved spit, or hook. E x a m p l e s of such f e a t u r e s are s h o w n by Sandy H o o k , at t h e e n t r a n c e to N e w York

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Bay, a n d t h e c u r v e d t i p of C a p e C o d (Fig. 312). T h e e n t r a n c e to a n a r r o w bay may be c o m p l e t e l y sealed by a s a n d b a r d e p o s i t e d by waves a n d currents. I n m a n y h a r b o r s , d r e d g i n g is necessary to m a i n t a i n sufficient d e p t h to a c c o m m o d a t e ocean vessels.

Fig. 2 9 4 . The features of a wave-cut cliff on the exposed graph way.) coast of Cornwall, Holmes, England. Ewing (PhotoGalloby Burton from

As soon as beach sands b e g i n to b e t h r o w n u p by waves, they a r e readily d r i e d a n d are t h e n slowly m o v e d by the w i n d . O n some low, flat coasts the sand f o r m s i n t o low hills called shore dunes. W h e r e t h e s u p p l y of sand is a b u n d a n t a n d s t r o n g o n s h o r e w i n d s exist, shore d u n e s m a y m i g r a t e i n l a n d f o r a m i l e o r m o r e (Fig. 296). T h e southeast shore of L a k e Mich-

Fig. 2 9 5 . Association of features on an eroding shoreline.

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igan, f r o m Gary, I n d i a n a , to Michigan City a n d n o r t h w a r d , is n o t e d for such sand hills. C o n s i d e r a b l e areas of d u n e sand are f o u n d o n t h e low coastal m a r g i n of C a p e Cod, parts of N e w Jersey, Virginia, a n d o t h e r sections of t h e east-facing coast of the U n i t e d States. I n general these are n o t so large in area a n d d o n o t m o v e

Fig. 296. A shore dune in North Carolina encroaching logical upon woodland. Its steep U. leeward S. Geoslope is clearly shown. (Courtesy Survey.)

so far i n l a n d as the d u n e s of the low, west-facing coasts of southweste r n France, B e l g i u m , N e t h e r l a n d s , a n d D e n m a r k . I n those c o u n t r i e s att e m p t s at c h e c k i n g the m i g r a t i o n of t h e d u n e s h a v e involved great expense.
Submerged mountain coasts. Par-

tially s u b m e r g e d m o u n t a i n s a n d hills of s t r e a m erosion have shorelines of great i r r e g u l a r i t y . As o n a s u b m e r g i n g p l a i n , t h e sea creeps i n t o every coastal valley, f o r m i n g a bay. Streame r o d e d slopes o r small delta plains f u r n i s h excellent locations f o r commercial seaports. H o w e v e r , t h e inf e r i o r p r o d u c t i v i t y a n d difficulty of p e n e t r a t i o n of r o u g h h i n t e r l a n d s d o

n o t favor seaport d e v e l o p m e n t . Some e x a m p l e s of the i r r e g u l a r shores of s u b m e r g e d h i g h l a n d s are the coast of n o r t h w e s t e r n Spain, t h e shores of t h e A e g e a n a n d A d r i a t i c seas, the coast of J a p a n , a n d t h e hilly coast of s o u t h China. Glaciated m o u n t a i n coasts are characterized by long, steep, p e n i n sular h e a d l a n d s w h i c h a l t e r n a t e w i t h n a r r o w , deep, a n d steep-walled bays, some of w h i c h are u n u s u a l l y long. T h e bays vary a great deal in shape. Some are s u b m e r g e d , glaciated, Us h a p e d m o u n t a i n valleys. T o these long, n a r r o w arms of the sea, t h e N o r w e g i a n n a m e fiord is a p p l i e d . F i o r d e d coasts p r o v i d e some of t h e finest scenery in t h e w o r l d . H i g h a n d rocky walls, mist s h r o u d e d , rise o n e i t h e r h a n d , a n d occasional cascades p l u n g e f r o m the m o u t h s of hangi n g valleys. S h a r p b e n d s a n d rocky islands o b s t r u c t t h e view, a n d a narr o w h o r i z o n seems to s h u t o u t t h e w o r l d a n d to create c o m p l e t e isolat i o n . Yet t h e q u i e t , gray waters of t h e fiord are easily accessible, since they are so d e e p t h a t they may b e navigated in safety, even by ocean-going ships (Fig. 297). T h e p r i n c i p a l regions of fiorded m o u n t a i n coasts are in t h e h i g h e r m i d d l e latitudes. H e r e , d u r i n g t h e glacial p e r i o d , m a n y valley glaciers d e s c e n d e d to sea level. T h e fiords are best d e v e l o p e d in h i g h l a n d s t h a t a r e characterized by the m a r i n e westcoast type of climate. I n such localities a b u n d a n t o r o g r a p h i c snowfall fed the m a n y i n d i v i d u a l glaciers t h a t

OCEANS AND T H E I R S H O R E S

345

Fig. 297. A view from the head of a fiord in Norway. The village occupies a small delta; the rocky island, the steep walls, and the presence of a ship indicate deep water. (Ewing Galloway)

occupied, deepened, and reshaped n u m e r o u s valleys. T h e r e are d e e p fiords in t h e west coast of N o r w a y , t h e west coast of N o r t h A m e r i c a f r o m P u g e t S o u n d to Alaska, the coast of s o u t h e r n Chile, a n d t h e west coast of S o u t h Island, N e w Z e a l a n d (Fig. 298). O t h e r s of lower a l t i t u d e a n d less g r a n d e u r are f o u n d a l o n g parts of t h e coasts of Scotland, Iceland, G r e e n l a n d , L a b r a d o r , a n d the a r c t i " islands. I t is p r o b a b l e that m a n y fiords are ice-scoured valleys that have b e e n s u b m e r g e d by s i n k i n g of the shorel i n e since t h e t i m e of t h e i r format i o n . I n s o m e cases, the great d e p t h of w a t e r can h a r d l y be e x p l a i n e d otherwise. It is p r o b a b l e also t h a t m o u n tain-valley glaciers t h a t reach the sea are able, by reason of t h e great d e p t h

o r thickness of t h e ice tongues, to erode t h e i r valley floors well b e l o w sea level. A f t e r the d i s a p p e a r a n c e of the ice, the valley floor is o c c u p i e d by sea water, sometimes deeply a n d far i n l a n d . T h e d i m e n s i o n s of some fiords are i n d e e d interesting. P o r t l a n d Canal, a fiord t h a t f o r m s p a r t of the b o u n d ary b e t w e e n Alaska a n d British Col u m b i a , is 90 miles long, f r o m % to 2 miles wide, a n d , in m i d - c h a n n e l , ranges f r o m 90 to 1250 feet i n d e p t h . T h e Sogne Fiord, t h e longest i n Norway, has a l e n g t h of 112 miles a n d an average w i d t h of 4 miles, a n d its w a t e r reaches a m a x i m u m d e p t h of 4000 feet. As h a r b o r s , fiords seldom suffer f r o m shallow w a t e r . Instead, the great d e p t h of w a t e r m a y b e a h a n d i c a p in t h a t it p r e v e n t s t h e

346

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

a n c h o r chains of ships f r o m r e a c h i n g bottom. P u g e t S o u n d , in western W a s h i n g ton, is a glaciated a n d s u b m e r g e d

s h o r e l i n e creeps seaward a h e a d of a newly f o r m i n g land. Such a shorel i n e is fairly straight. Seaward, shallow w a t e r covers t h e g e n t l y i n c l i n e d ocean floor. L a n d w a r d stretches a very flat coastal plain, possibly crossed by shallow valleys of streams f r o m n e a r b y h i g h l a n d s . T h i s simple shoreline, h o w e v e r , is in t i m e c h a n g e d by t h e a c t i o n of waves a n d c u r r e n t s . Offshore bars. I n t h e shallow waters of a r e c e n t l y e m e r g e d coast, t h e waves that a p p r o a c h shore c h a n g e

Fig. 2 9 8 .

coastal r e g i o n (Fig. 299). Glacial ice scoured d e e p valleys a n d left great deposits of m o r a i n a l materials. T h e d e e p valleys, partially s u b m e r g e d , acc o u n t f o r the fact that in some places the waters of P u g e t S o u n d are almost 1000 feet deep.
SHORELINES OF EMERGENCE

Fig. 299. Puget Sound is a glaciated and partly submerged coastal area in Washington. Seattle and Tacoma are busy commercial cities. Farther north is Vancouver, British Columbia, one of the principal seaports of Canada. Puget Sound Navigation Co.) (Courtesy

B o r d e r i n g m a n y coastal plains are s u b m e r g e d c o n t i n e n t a l shelves w h i c h are essentially flat or slightly i n c l i n e d t o w a r d d e e p e r w a t e r . W h e n such a flat sea b o t t o m slowly emerges, the

f o r m a n d e v e n t u a l l y t o p p l e over o r b r e a k . T h e l i n e of b r e a k e r s m a y b e several h u n d r e d s o r even t h o u s a n d s of feet f r o m t h e shoreline. As t h e

OCEANS AND T H E I R waves break, they wash f o r w a r d loose b o t t o m materials only to d r o p t h e m j u s t l a n d w a r d of the l i n e of breakers, f o r m i n g a s u b m a r i n e ridge n e a r l y parallel to t h e coast. As this f e a t u r e grows in h e i g h t , it a p p e a r s first a b o v e sea level as a series of n a r r o w islands. F u r t h e r deposit i o n by waves a n d the d r i f t of alongshore c u r r e n t s fill gaps b e t w e e n some of t h e islands a n d c o n n e c t t h e m i n t o long, low offshore bars (Figs. 300, 301). B e t w e e n these a n d the m a i n l a n d are long, shallow bodies of w a t e r called lagoons. D r a i n a g e f r o m t h e m a i n l a n d discharges i n t o t h e lagoons. N a r r o w o p e n i n g s called tidal inlets d e v e l o p in t h e offshore bars. T h r o u g h these inlets the sea w a t e r flows landw a r d w i t h the c o m i n g of h i g h t i d e a n d s e a w a r d as t h e t i d e ebbs. T h e r u s h i n g of t i d e w a t e r t h r o u g h such small o p e n i n g s or t h r o u g h n a r r o w straits b e t w e e n islands is t e r m e d the tidal race. S u c h a tidal race may scour a tidal i n l e t to such a n e x t e n t t h a t it is d e e p e n o u g h to a c c o m m o d a t e ships of m o d e r a t e size. Such coasts are of little v a l u e f o r c o m m e r c i a l s h i p p i n g , m a i n l y because of shallow water. D u r i n g severe storms, ships that are too close to shore may be d r i v e n a g r o u n d . T h e lagoons are so shallow as to accomm o d a t e oniy small craft. I n time, t h e lagoons a r e filled by s e d i m e n t c a r r i e d by i n f l o w i n g streams a n d tidal currents. As salt-water v e g e t a t i o n spreads in t h e lagoon, it may a p p e a r at low t i d e as a n expanse of featureless m a r s h l a n d . Eventually, t h e depression may b e filled, a n d t h e seaward

SHORES

347

side of t h e offshore b a r may b e c o m e the ocean shoreline. I n time, the w o r k of shore c u r r e n t s a n d waves m a y e n t i r e l y r e m o v e the offshore b a r a n d t h e s e d i m e n t s d e p o s i t e d in the lagoon. T h e o c e a n shore is a place

Fig.

300.

Stages

in

the

development

of

shoreline of emergence: A, the new shoreline is little eroded before a protecting bar begins to form; B, the growth of an offshore bar laflanked by lagoons; C, owing to wave pounding, the bar migrates shoreward and the goons narrow, fill, or disappear.

of ceaseless change.
Low coasts

but
of

extremely
emergence.

slow
The

S o u t h A t l a n t i c a n d G u l f coasts of t h e U n i t e d States, e x c e p t f o r t h e Mississippi R i v e r delta, show generally t h e features of y o u n g coasts of emergence. P a d r e a n d M a t a g o r d a Islands, o n the coast of T e x a s , a r e offshore bars. B e h i n d t h e m are extensive lagoons. T h e city of Galveston, T e x a s ,

348

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 301. The sea wall, at Corpus Christi, Texas, which resembles a stairway, was built at a cost of several million dollars. Offshore bars form shallow lagoons along this southern Gulf coast of Texas. (Photograph by McGregor, courtesy Charles Roster.)

is b u i l t o n a low island (Figs. 302, 303). I n d i a n R i v e r , o n the east coast of F l o r i d a , is a long, n a r r o w lagoon.

Fig. 302. A

break

in the shoreline of important

Texas

provides the sites of two the two cities is about 40

seaports, broken

Galveston and Houston. The distance between miles. The line is the route of the Houston Ship Canal. At Houston there is a turning basin for ships that use the canal-

Beyond it lies an offshore b a r w h i c h e x t e n d s coastwise f o r m o r e t h a n 100 miles, i n t e r r u p t e d only by n a r r o w tidal inlets. T h i s b a r b r o a d e n s n o r t h w a r d to f o r m the d u n e - c o v e r e d projection of C a p e C a n a v e r a l (Fig. 304). Similar f e a t u r e s are f o u n d o n m a n y o t h e r l o w l a n d coasts. A t l a n t i c City, N e w Jersey, is b u i l t o n a n offshore bar. T h e N o r t h Sea coast f r o m the N e t h e r l a n d s to D e n m a r k is f r i n g e d b y the l o n g c h a i n of t h e Frisian Islands w h i c h are s e p a r a t e d f r o m the m a i n l a n d by shallow lagoons. T h e large coastal lakes, o r Haffs, o n t h e coast of eastern G e r m a n y are c u t off f r o m the Baltic by long, c u r v i n g bars. A l t h o u g h lotv coasts of e m e r g e n c e are not favorable for commercial s h i p p i n g , they nevertheless h a v e cer-

OCEANS AND T H E I R

SHORES

349

Fig. 303. The Galveston, Texas, soa wall, built to protect the city from damage by hi^h waves.

t a i n advantages. T h e c o n s t r u c t i o n of railroads a n d highways a l o n g such coasts is n o t a difficult m a t t e r . T h e sandy n a t u r e of the soil in m a n y places makes vegetable g a r d e n i n g a p r o f i t a b l e o c c u p a t i o n . T h e shallow w a t e r a n d long, smooth, sandy shoreline e n c o u r a g e the b u i l d i n g of seaside resorts. Emerged mountain coasts. Shorelines of e m e r g e n c e b o r d e r i n g m o u n tain coasts, like those b o r d e r i n g plains, are simple a n d r e g u l a r in o u t l i n e . T h e 6000 miles of shore b o r d e r i n g the g r o w i n g m o u n t a i n s a n d coastal hills b e t w e e n O r e g o n a n d the 40tli parallel i n C h i l e is rem a r k a b l e f o r its r e g u l a r i t y . I n t h a t e n t i r e distance t h e r e are only a few coastal i n d e n t a t i o n s sufficiently large or well p r o t e c t e d to b e good comm e r c i a l h a r b o r s . O n e of these i n d e n tations, caused by s i n k i n g of t h e land,

is San Francisco Bay, today a n ext r e m e l y i m p o r t a n t c o m m e r c i a l region (Figs. 305, 306). A l o n g most of this coast the cont i n e n t a l shelf is n a r r o w or lacking, a n d d e p t h of w a t e r is great. H u g e waves b r e a k directly o n s h o r e in m a n y places. Bold, rocky capes a n d wavee r o d e d cliffs f e a t u r e such a coast. O n shore are to b e observed m a r i n e terraces, n o w f a r a b o v e sea level, w h i c h give evidence of successive u p l i f t s (Fig. 307). I n o n e section of the Calif o r n i a coast 10 or m o r e such terraces exist, t h e highest ones b e i n g - m o r e
7

t h a n 1500 feet above level.

present

sea

MISCELLANEOUS SHORELINES

Some shorelines e x h i b i t f e a t u r e s of s u b m e r g e n c e ; others, of emergence. Some extensive shores have

350

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

tions in w h i c h these things m a y b e associated i n t h e f o r m a t i o n of differe n t shorelines are endless. T h e C a r o l i n a - N e w Jersey shorel i n e is o n e in w h i c h t h e f e a t u r e s of both emergence and submergence are p r o m i n e n t . D u r i n g t h e p e r i o d of t h e e m e r g e n c e of this low coastal plain, offshore bars a n d extensive lagoons w e r e developed. S u b s e q u e n t l y , a c o n s i d e r a b l e s u b m e r g e n c e has res u l t e d in t h e d r o w n i n g of the l o w e r river valleys a n d t h e f o r m a t i o n of b r a n c h i n g estuaries such as Cliesa-

Fig. 305. San Francisco Bay, created by sinking Fig. 3 0 4 . The offshore bars and lagoons of the eastern coast of Florida. of the land, is one of the few breaks in the Pacific shore San Francisco from is Oregon an to central seaport. Chile. The important

Golden Gate, a strait leading from the ocean

p r o m i n e n t f e a t u r e s of b o t h classes. O t h e r s show t h e effects of d e l t a building, glacial erosion, glacial deposition, or coral g r o w t h . T h e c o m b i n a -

to San Francisco Bay, is about Three great bridges are

1 mile wide. Golden

shown: the

Gate Bridge, the San Francisco-Oakland Bridge, and farther south the San Francisco Bay Bridge. About 1,500,000 people live in this area.

OCEANS A N D T H E I R

SHORES

351

Fig. 306. A portion of San Francisco Bay, California. In the foreground appears about one-halt of the 8-mile double-decked San Francisco-Oakland Bridge, which spans San Francisco Bay via Yerba Buena Island. A portion of the city of San Francisco appears on the left. Docks extend into the bay. This picture is taken looking toward the west. In the upper right may be seen the mile-wide strait called the Golden Gate, leading from the bay to the Pacific Ocean, visible in the background. Across the strait is another huge and very high bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a pronounced tidal race in the strait below this bridge. (Photograph Son Francisco Chamber of Commerce.) by Moulin, courtesy

Fig. 3 0 7 . Marine terraces on the coast of California, in Santa Cruz County. The steplike profiles of the terraces may be seen in the background and the surface of one of the terraces in the foreground. (Courtesy U. S. Geological Survey.)

352

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 308. The picturesque coast of Maine, at Acadia National Park. (Courtesy U. S. of the Interior.)

Department

p e a k e Bay. T h e s u b m e r g e n c e , however, has n o t b e e n sufficient to destroy t h e bars. O n t h e N o r t h Carol i n a coast, the s u b m e r g e n c e , tog e t h e r w i t h t h e p r e s e r v a t i o n of the bars, has p r o d u c e d Pamlico, Albem a r l e , a n d C u r r i t u c k sounds a n d has r e s u l t e d in a s h o r e l i n e of a h i g h degree of i r r e g u l a r i t y . U n d e r the influence of various c u r r e n t s , t h e offshore bars t h e r e have b e c o m e a n g u l a r in o u t l i n e , b u t those of N e w Jersey have r e m a i n e d n e a r l y straight. T h e N e w E n g l a n d s h o r e l i n e is o n e of great i r r e g u l a r i t y . T h e coast of M a i n e is largely t h e result of s t r e a m erosion, glacial scour, a n d s u b m e r gence. T h e sea p e n e t r a t e s i n l a n d by filling s u b m e r g e d valleys t h a t w e r e d e e p e n e d by glacial erosion. B e t w e e n t h e valleys, the u p l a n d s of h a r d crystalline rocks f o r m p e n i n s u l a s a n d islands. T h i s is i n d e e d a p i c t u r e s q u e shore. A p o r t i o n of it has b e e n set

aside as A c a d i a N a t i o n a l P a r k (Fig.
308).

T h e s h o r e l i n e of most of N e w Engl a n d a n d eastern C a n a d a is very irr e g u l a r . M a n y of t h e f e a t u r e s of subm e r g e n c e h a v e b e e n s o m e w h a t modified by wave a n d c u r r e n t action. Some of t h e e m b a y m e n t s , o r i n d e n t a tions i n t h e shore, a r e of great size, such as L o n g Island S o u n d , t h e Bay of F u n d y , a n d the l o w e r St. Lawrence. Glacial scour played a n imp o r t a n t p a r t in t h e f o r m a t i o n of t h e M a i n e coast. C a p e C o d a n d L.ong Island, o n t h e o t h e r h a n d , are largely t h e result of d e p o s i t i o n of m o r a i n e s a n d o u t w a s h plains. I n Boston Bay t h e r e are islands c r e a t e d by t h e partial s u b m e r g e n c e of a g r o u p of d r u m lins. Coral-reef shorelines. T h e shallow waters of m a n y tropical coasts are characterized b y reefs of limestone. A reef is a r i d g e of r o c k at o r n e a r

OCEANS AND T H E I R

SHORES

353

Fig. 309. One of several small coral islands in the Ulithi group, about 1 0 N lat., 1 4 0 E

long.

Note the runway or airstrip on the left side of the island. Does the line of breakers show more clearly on the right or the left side? In what wind belt are these islands? In what direction is Manila, Philippine Islands? (Official U. S. Navy photograph.)

the surface of the w a t e r . L i m e s t o n e reefs are c o m p o s e d of the c r u m b l e d skeletal s t r u c t u r e s of tiny m a r i n e a n i m a l s called corals. T h e r e are m a n y kinds of coral. T h e tiny animals, or polyps, live o n the o u t e r surface of t h e coral mass. D u r i n g its lifetime, each a n i m a l adds its limy skeleton to t h e b u l k of t h e mass. I n time, the a c c u m u l a t i o n m a y f o r m an island or a reef. W a r m ocean currents with temperatures above 70F carry a b u n d a n t food to the polyps. T h e G r e a t B a r r i e r Reef off the n o r t h e a s t coast of A u s t r a l i a is t h e longest coral reef in t h e w o r l d . It parallels t h e shore for 1000 miles. Between t h e reef a n d t h e m a i n l a n d is a b r o a d lagoon. Ships u n d e r the g u i d a n c e of special pilots are a b l e to

navigate the lagoon a n d t h u s to b e sheltered f r o m the s t o r m y seas bey o n d the reef. A b a r r i e r reef is somew h a t s i m i l a r to a n offshore b a r w i t h the e x c e p t i o n that its lagoon is usually d e e p e r . M a n y tropical islands are f o r m e d of corals (Fig. 309). Some small islands, p e r h a p s volcanic a n d w i t h coral reefs b u i l t a r o u n d t h e i r shores, seem to have u n d e r g o n e slow subm e r g e n c e . At t h e same t i m e t h a t the island was slowly sinking, f r i n g e cont i n u e d to grow. C i r c u l a r coral reefs resulted. Such e n c i r c l i n g reefs n o w a p p e a r at the surface as low, a n d m o r e o r less complete, coral rings, called atolls, w h i c h enclose c i r c u l a r lagoons (Fig. 310, 311). A fringing reef is b u i l t o n o r very

354

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES
WAKE ISLAND 19 18' N, 166'35'E: .CORAL MIDWAY I S L A N D S 28IS'N, m 2 0 ' W

n e a r shore. Such a reef may g r o w so r a p i d l y t h a t the shoreline is p u s h e d seaward in spite of wave a n d c u r r e n t erosion. M a n y islands off the southern Atlantic coast of the United fringed Keys are States, such as t h e B e r m u d a s a n d the Bahamas, have shorelines Florida

0 12 MILES 3 0

'

W
12 3 MILES

w i t h coral. T h e

partly of coral o r i g i n . T h e s e islands are p r o b a b l y r e m n a n t s of a o n c e continuous limestone-coral peninsula. T h e city of Key West, s i t u a t e d at t h e e n d of t h e Keys, is t h e s o u t h e r n m o s t p o i n t of t h e U n i t e d States. By bridgi n g f r o m o n e island to t h e next, a picturesque automobile highway southern has b e e n b u i l t f r o m the t i p of F l o r i d a to Key West.

ENIWETOK H30 t N,l62 o l5 , E

JALUIT 6N, I6930'E

( \ VJ
0 5 10 MILES

sJ^NGEB!

ENIWETOK 0

5 MILES

4 V

i V>
S
'/

Fig. 3 1 1 . Atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Inside the coral reef is a lagoon where the quiet water is suitable f o r the take-off and landing of flying

boats. O n some atolls, the highest point is less than 20 feet above sea level. Eniwetok and is

Jaluit are near the

in the Marshall International

Islands. M i d w a y Line.

Date

Midway,

W a k e Island, and Guam have long been used by aircraft flying between Hawaii and the

Philippines and China. These latter islands are mainly in what wind belt?

HARBORS

Most of t h e i m p o r t a n t h a r b o r s of t h e world, w h i c h are t h e sites of great seaports, w e r e caused by sinki n g of the l a n d . Some, however, w e r e p r o d u c e d in o t h e r ways. G r e a t commercial
Fig. coral 310. Development about pace of atolls: B, A, fringing coral reefs islands; with growing

cities

are

located

on

the

shores of m a n y estuaries whose rivers sometimes offer the a d d e d a d v a n t a g e of w a t e r t r a n s p o r t a t i o n inland for must m a n y miles. A good h a r b o r

deposits

keep

submerging corals

islands; replace

C, atolls fringed

wrth

growing

the mountainous islands.

OCEANS AND T H E I R S H O R E S m e e t several r e q u i r e m e n t s , some of w h i c h a r e as follows: 1) D e p t h sufficient to accommod a t e large vessels 2) P r o t e c t i o n f r o m storms at sea 3) Size large e n o u g h to allow ships to m o v e a b o u t easily 4) R e l a t i v e f r e e d o m f r o m ice most of t h e year 5) A d e e p c h a n n e l l e a d i n g to t h e sea w h e r e i n tidal c u r r e n t s are n o t too s t r o n g 6) A m o d e r a t e tidal r a n g e 7) A s h o r e l i n e of sufficient l e n g t h a n d c h a r a c t e r to p e r m i t t h e b u i l d i n g of n u m e r o u s docks I n a d d i t i o n , a h a r b o r t h a t is to bec o m e t h e site of a n i m p o r t a n t seaport m u s t h a v e (1) a good location w i t h respect to t h e flow of t r a d e b e t w e e n n a t i o n s ; (2) excellent t r a n s p o r t a t i o n facilities to t h e i n t e r i o r ; a n d (3) a n adjacent interior region, or hinterland, t h a t is r i c h a n d p r o d u c t i v e a n d n o t only f u r n i s h e s m a n y c o m m o d i ties f o r e x p o r t b u t also r e q u i r e s n u merous imports. N e w Y o r k h a r b o r m a y b e t a k e n as a n e x a m p l e of o n e of t h e w o r l d ' s great h a r b o r s (Fig. 312). It has several h u n d r e d miles of shoreline. T h e w i d t h of t h e H u d s o n R i v e r , a b o u t 1 mile, m a k e s it possible to b u i l d docks o n b o t h t h e east ( M a n h a t t a n ) a n d t h e west ( N e w Jersey) shores. T h e r i v e r is so d e e p t h a t vessels of f a i r size m a y go u p s t r e a m to A l b a n y . T h e East R i v e r , b e t w e e n M a n h a t t a n I s l a n d a n d L o n g Island, also is w i d e a n d d e e p e n o u g h to a c c o m m o d a t e docks o n o p p o s i t e shores (Fig. 313).

355

U p p e r a n d lower bays are c o n n e c t e d by T h e N a r r o w s . T h e d e e p c h a n n e l l e a d i n g to t h e ocean is t h e d r o w n e d valley of t h e H u d s o n R i v e r a n d lies a b o u t m i d w a y b e t w e e n Sandy H o o k a n d C o n e y Island.

Fig.

312.

Upper

and

lower

New

York

Bay.

Sandy Hook extends northward into the lower bay. Lower Manhattan appears at the top of the map. The York. Hudson River is so deep that New some ocean-going vessels reach Albany,

N e w York h a r b o r is o n e of the few h a r b o r s of t h e w o r l d t h a t is c a p a b l e of a c c o m m o d a t i n g t h e largest passenger vessels, such as t h e Queen Elizabeth a n d the Queen Alary. T h e harb o r has facilities f o r h a n d l i n g practically all k i n d s of ocean traffic. L e a d i n g f r o m N e w York i n t o a rich and productive interior are numerous railways, highways, a n d airlines a n d t h e w a t e r r o u t e via t h e H u d s o n R i v e r a n d E r i e C a n a l to t h e G r e a t

356

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 313. Aerial view of New York City, showing the Hudson River on the left (west) side of Manhattan Island and the East River on the right. Docks extend from both shores of the two rivers. (Courtesy Eastern Air Lines.)

Lakes. T h e city lies i n t h e p a t h of t r a d e b e t w e e n t h e U n i t e d States a n d E u r o p e . All these factors c o m b i n e to m a k e N e w York City by f a r the leadi n g seaport of t h e U n i t e d States. M o r e good h a r b o r s are f o u n d o n t h e A t l a n t i c t h a n o n t h e Pacific coast of t h e U n i t e d States. M a n y eastern seaports, such as P h i l a d e l p h i a , Baltim o r e , C h a r l e s t o n , Savannah, Jacksonville, a n d others, are s i t u a t e d o n estuaries. O n t h e west coast, the two largest h a r b o r s are p r o v i d e d by San Francisco Bay, o n w h i c h San Francisco a n d O a k l a n d are located, a n d P u g e t S o u n d , w i t h its two i m p o r t a n t seaports Seattle a n d T a c o m a . Less spacious are t h e h a r b o r s of Los Angeles a n d San Diego. P o r t l a n d , O r e g o n , utilizes t h e estuary of the C o l u m b i a

R i v e r . O n t h e Gulf of M e x i c o are t h e i m p o r t a n t ports of Galveston, Houston, and T a m p a . N e w Orleans, o n the Mississippi R i v e r , is some 90 miles f r o m the G u l f .
CANALS

I n a few places i n the w o r l d , opposite shorelines are separated by relatively n a r r o w strips of land. T h e s e strategic p o i n t s have b e c o m e t h e sites of i m p o r t a n t canals. T h e P a n a m a C a n a l (Fig. 314) was m a d e possible (1) by b u i l d i n g a d a m across t h e Chagres R i v e r , c r e a t i n g a large lake a b o u t 85 f e e t above sea level, a n d (2) by c o n s t r u c t i n g canals f r o m t h e lake to t h e C a r i b b e a n Sea o n o n e side a n d the Pacific O c e a n o n t h e o t h e r (Fig. 315). B e t w e e n t h e

OCEANS AND T H E I R lake a n d t h e sea, locks are r e q u i r e d to raise a n d lower ships. T h e P a n a m a C a n a l has so shorte n e d the w a t e r r o u t e b e t w e e n t h e east a n d west coasts of the U n i t e d States t h a t a t r e m e n d o u s a m o u n t of f r e i g h t b e t w e e n t h e two coasts is s h i p p e d by w a t e r . T h i s has r e s u l t e d i n a decreased a m o u n t of f r e i g h t carr i e d by c e r t a i n t r a n s c o n t i n e n t a l railroads. T h e canal also shortens t h e ocean r o u t e f r o m the west coast of S o u t h A m e r i c a to p o r t s in eastern U n i t e d States a n d w e s t e r n E u r o p e . Ships m o v i n g f r o m N e w Z e a l a n d a n d A u s t r a l i a to E n g l a n d are able to avoid the s t o r m y waters a r o u n d C a p e H o r n by u s i n g this canal. T h e Suez C a n a l connects the M e d i t e r r a n e a n Sea a n d t h e G u l f of Suez, w h i c h is a n a r m of t h e R e d Sea. U n like t h e P a n a m a Canal, t h e Suez is a sea-level canal, w i t h n o locks. J u s t as t h e P a n a m a C a n a l was b u i l t to m a k e unnecessary t h e l o n g t r i p a r o u n d C a p e H o r n , so the Suez m a k e s it possible to avoid the j o u r ney a r o u n d the C a p e of G o o d H o p e , s o u t h e r n A f r i c a . T h e two most heavily traveled ocean r o u t e s in the w o r l d a r e (1) f r o m western E u r o p e to easte r n U n i t e d States a n d (2) f r o m weste r n E u r o p e to s o u t h e a s t e r n Asia a n d a d j a c e n t islands. T h e second of these two r o u t e s m a k e s use of the Suez Canal.
SUMMARY

SHORES

357

A t a d e p t h of 1 m i l e the pressure of ocean w a t e r is a b o u t 1 ton p e r s q u a r e inch. T i d e s i n t h e ocean a r e d u e m a i n l y to t h e a t t r a c t i o n of t h e m o o n . T i d a l waves are caused by earthq u a k e s o n the ocean floor. I n general, w a r m ocean c u r r e n t s m o v e polew a r d ; cold c u r r e n t s , e q u a t o r w a r d .
j.// GULF

"Gatun La ond Dam

g i / W
CAN A L ' J M

?tJ'Pedro Miguel Locks ^Ajpvj Mircrflores Locks


LATITUDE '/"PARALLLL^A Oh'

V^Balboc

'anama

S C A L E OF MILES

8 E I I N OF mONGITUDEr 0M RDA Fig. 3 1 4 . Map of the (Courtesy W. O. Panama Canal region.

Blanchard.)

T h e s e c u r r e n t s are caused m a i n l y by f r i c t i o n of p r e v a i l i n g w i n d s o n t h e surface water. Some ocean shores a r e t h e r e s u l t of s u b m e r g e n c e of t h e coast; others, of e m e r g e n c e . S u b m e r g e d shores are likely to b e i r r e g u l a r . Estuaries a r e the d r o w n e d m o u t h s of rivers a n d o f t e n m a k e good h a r b o r s . A n e m e r g e d c o n t i n e n t a l shelf usually p r o d u c e s a r a t h e r straight s h o r e l i n e w i t h relatively shallow w a t e r offshore. Coral p r o d u c e s l i m e s t o n e islands a n d reefs i n tropical waters. M o r e good h a r b o r s are f o u n d o n the A t l a n t i c coast of t h e U n i t e d

O c e a n w a t e r c o n t a i n s a b o u t 3.5 p e r c e n t m i n e r a l m a t t e r , mostly salt.

358

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

Fig. 315. Most of the Panama Canal is approximately 85 feet above sea level. An enormous amount of rock had to be blasted and removed in the construction of this waterway. (.Courtesy The Panama Canal, Washington Office.)

States t h a n o n t h e Pacific. T h e Suez C a n a l shortens t h e sailing r o u t e bet w e e n E u r o p e a n d eastern Asia; t h e P a n a m a Canal, t h a t b e t w e e n the east a n d west coasts of t h e U n i t e d States. M a n has l e a r n e d to m a k e use of

m a n y things f o u n d o n or i n t h e earth's crust, i n c l u d i n g water, vegetation, soils, fuels, a n d m i n e r a l s . T h e y are p a r t of o u r e n v i r o n m e n t a n d will b e discussed i n t h e chapters t h a t follow.

QUESTIONS

1. M e n t i o n several ways in w h i c h oceans are of c o n s i d e r a b l e i m p o r t a n c e to m a n . 2. W h a t m i n e r a l m a t t e r is in s o l u t i o n in ocean water? Of w h a t i m p o r tance is it? 3. W h a t is t h e source of oxygen r e q u i r e d by m a r i n e animals? 4. Discuss t h e pressure a n d density of ocean water. 5. W h a t m e t h o d s are used to find the d e p t h of the ocean? W h e r e is t h e deepest k n o w n p o i n t of all oceans? W h a t is the d e p t h ?

OCEANS AND T H E I R

SHORES

359

6. T h e t i m e i n t e r v a l i n d i c a t e d by a f a t h o m e t e r test is 10 sec. W h a t is t h e d e p t h of t h e ocean? 7. E x p l a i n t h e cause of waves; breakers; u n d e r t o w ; tidal waves. 8. W h a t is the p r i n c i p a l cause of tides? 9. D e f i n e t i d a l r a n g e . H o w does it differ at the t i m e of s p r i n g a n d n e a p tides? 10. U n d e r ideal conditions, w h a t is t h e t i m e i n t e r v a l b e t w e e n h i g h a n d low tides? b e t w e e n successive h i g h tides? 11. W h a t is the t i d a l r a n g e i n t h e Gulf of Mexico? i n the Bay of F u n d y ? at L i v e r p o o l ? W h e r e is t h e Bay of F u n d y ? 12. E x p l a i n w h a t is m e a n t by t h e tidal bore. N a m e a n d locate several rivers w h e r e t h e b o r e is n o t i c e a b l e . 13. W h a t is the p r i n c i p a l cause of ocean currents? 14. A c c o u n t f o r the s t r e n g t h of t h e Gulf S t r e a m in F l o r i d a Strait. 15. I n w h a t d i r e c t i o n d o ocean waters circulate in t h e N o r t h e r n H e m i sphere? in t h e S o u t h e r n H e m i s p h e r e ? 16. N a m e a n d locate t h r e e w a r m a n d t h r e e cold c u r r e n t s . 17. W h a t is the average J u l y t e m p e r a t u r e (F) of ocean w a t e r at Key West, Florida? at Los Angeles? E x p l a i n w h y they differ. 18. M e n t i o n several climatic effects of ocean c u r r e n t s . 19. W h y d o cities t e n d to d e v e l o p w h e r e t h e r e is a b r e a k in transportation? 20. E x p l a i n h o w a n estuary is f o r m e d . N a m e a n d locate ten. N a m e o n e city o n each. 21. W h a t states b o r d e r C h e s a p e a k e Bay? O n w h a t estuary is W a s h i n g t o n , D. C.? 22. A r e e r o d e d shore f e a t u r e s m o r e likely to d e v e l o p o n a coast of unif o r m rocks or o n o n e c o m p o s e d of rocks of u n e q u a l resistance? W h y ? 23. W h a t d a m a g e m a y b e d o n e by shore dunes? 24. E x p l a i n the f o r m a t i o n of wave-built terraces; of r e c u r v e d spits, such as Sandy H o o k . 25. D e s c r i b e a s u b m e r g e d , glaciated, m o u n t a i n o u s coast. 26. N a m e a n d locate several coasts h a v i n g d e e p fiords. 27. W h a t are the d i m e n s i o n s of t h e Sogne Fiord? W h e r e is it? 28. D e s c r i b e briefly t h e P u g e t S o u n d r e g i o n . 29. D e s c r i b e a coastline t h a t m a y result f r o m t h e e m e r g i n g of a contin e n t a l shelf. 30. E x p l a i n t h e f o r m a t i o n of a n offshore b a r ; the causes of a tidal race. 31. Does t h e u p l i f t e d c o n t i n e n t a l shelf p r o d u c e a coastline u s e f u l to comm e r c i a l shipping? Locate several such coastlines. 32. W h a t is t h e g e n e r a l c h a r a c t e r of t h e Pacific s h o r e l i n e f r o m O r e g o n to c e n t r a l Chile?

360

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

33. Describe briefly the San Francisco Bay r e g i o n . 34. W h a t m a j o r influences h a v e s h a p e d the coastline f r o m S o u t h Carol i n a to N e w York h a r b o r ? 35. D e s c r i b e briefly the N e w E n g l a n d shoreline. 36. W h a t is coral? C o r a l deposits r e s u l t in t h e f o r m a t i o n p r i n c i p a l l y of w h a t rock? 37. L o c a t e t h e G r e a t B a r r i e r R e e f . W h a t is a n a d v a n t a g e of t h e lagoon f o r m e d b y this reef? 38. E x p l a i n t h e f o r m a t i o n of a n atoll; a f r i n g i n g reef. 39. N a m e f o u r atolls. W h y is a n atoll of p a r t i c u l a r v a l u e to transoceanic airlines? 40. M e n t i o n several r e q u i r e m e n t s of a good h a r b o r . 41. W h y are some fairly good h a r b o r s n o t t h e sites of i m p o r t a n t cities? 42. M e n t i o n several advantages of N e w York h a r b o r . 43. L o c a t e t h e p r i n c i p a l seaports of t h e U n i t e d States. 44. C o n t r a s t t h e P a n a m a a n d Suez canals f r o m t h e s t a n d p o i n t of p r o b lems of c o n s t r u c t i o n caused by l a n d relief. 45. W h y is c o n t r o l of t h e P a n a m a C a n a l a d v a n t a g e o u s to t h e U n i t e d States? 46. H o w have t h e P a n a m a a n d Suez canals i n f l u e n c e d c e r t a i n m a j o r r o u t e s of ocean vessels?
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

1. W r i t e to t h e U . S. H y d r o g r a p h i c Office, W a s h i n g t o n , D . C., f o r a list of p u b l i c a t i o n s . E x c e l l e n t m a p s of i m p o r t a n t h a r b o r s may b e p u r c h a s e d at a r e a s o n a b l e cost. 2. Y o u r class or school m a y wish to secure back copies of pilot charts of t h e v a r i o u s oceans by m a k i n g t h e r e q u e s t t h r o u g h a congressman. T h e s e charts are issued every m o n t h by t h e U . S. H y d r o g r a p h i c Office. T h e y are excellent f o r t h e s t u d y of oceans. 3. If you live n e a r the ocean or a large lake, m a k e field trips to s t u d y s h o r e l i n e f e a t u r e s a n d t h e w o r k of waves a n d c u r r e n t s . 4. O n a large m a p of N e w York h a r b o r t h a t shows t h e d e p t h of water, sketch in a few c o n t o u r lines to show t h e s u b m e r g e d valley of t h e H u d s o n River. 5. M a k e a list of t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s of a good h a r b o r . 6. D r a w a large m a p of t h e coastline f r o m M a i n e to M i a m i , F l o r i d a . I n d i c a t e t h e C a p e C o d C a n a l . L a b e l v a r i o u s shore f e a t u r e s m e n t i o n e d i n this c h a p t e r t h a t are i l l u s t r a t e d b y this coastline. 7. Secure a large m a p of L o n g Island. T h e s o u t h e r n p a r t of the island consists of a n o u t w a s h p l a i n . C o n t r a s t its s h o r e l i n e w i t h t h a t of M a i n e .

OCEANS AND T H E I R

SHORES

361

8. M o l d a relief m o d e l s h o w i n g a s h o r e l i n e w i t h a n a r r o w coastal p l a i n , c o n t i n e n t a l shelf, a n d o n e o r two valleys l e a d i n g i n t o t h e sea. Fix the m o d e l in such a way t h a t w a t e r can b e p o u r e d o n it. I n c r e a s i n g t h e d e p t h of w a t e r will illustrate s u b m e r g e n c e ; decreasing it will illustrate e m e r g e n c e . 9. M o l d a relief m o d e l of a glaciated, m o u n t a i n o u s coast. W a t e r p r o o f the surface. A r r a n g e t h e m o d e l so that by u s i n g w a t e r the ocean shore can b e shown. T h e w a t e r will e x t e n d i n l a n d in the d e e p glaciated valleys, illust r a t i n g the f o r m a t i o n of fiords. 10. Secure a set of slides or a m o t i o n p i c t u r e d e a l i n g w i t h t h e P a n a m a C a n a l . A n i n t e r e s t i n g class r e p o r t can be m a d e o n t h e history of this canal. 11. If possible, p u r c h a s e f r o m the U. S. Geological Survey t h e f o u r topog r a p h i c m a p s that, w h e n p r o p e r l y g l u e d together, will show N e w York City a n d vicinity. D o the same for o t h e r i m p o r t a n t seaports. N O T E : O t h e r activities m a y b e f o u n d in t h e l a b o r a t o r y m a n u a l .
TOPICS FOR CLASS REPORTS

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Harnessing the T i d e N e w York H a r b o r T h e C h e s a p e a k e Bay R e g i o n D e l a w a r e Bay a n d the P o r t of P h i l a d e l p h i a T h e Coast of F l o r i d a T h e Coast of T e x a s I m p o r t a n t Estuaries of E u r o p e T h e Pacific Coast of the U n i t e d States Acadia N a t i o n a l P a r k T h e G r e a t B a r r i e r Reef of A u s t r a l i a T h e Panama Canal
REFERENCES

R A C H E L L . The Sea Around Us. O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y Press, N e w York, 1951. A f a s c i n a t i n g a n d a u t h o r i t a t i v e story of t h e sea. C o n t a i n s bibliography. M E A R S , E L I O T G. Pacific Ocean Handbook. J a m e s L. D e l k i n , p u b l i s h e r . S t a n f o r d University Press, S t a n f o r d , Calif., 1944. Scientific American. The Planet Earth. S i m o n a n d Schuster, Inc., N e w York, 1957. P a r t 4. CARSON,

CHAPTER

is.

Water Resources of the Land

T h e good e a r t h provides m a n y natu r a l resources t h a t c o n t r i b u t e greatly to m a n ' s e n j o y m e n t of life. T h e early p i o n e e r s of A m e r i c a cut t h e forests, p l o w e d t h e v i r g i n soil, a n d p u s h e d o n w a r d to n e w e r f r o n t i e r s . T h e desire to seize n e w lands a n d n e w resources r e s u l t e d in m u c h careless t r e a t m e n t of soil a n d forest. Witness, for e x a m p l e , t h e m a n y b a d l y e r o d e d f a r m l a n d s in c e r t a i n parts of the U n i t e d States a n d t h e m a n y s q u a r e miles of cut-over forests. O u r p r o b l e m today is o n e of conservation. T h e days of " n e w f r o n tiers" are g o n e forever. O n e step t o w a r d conservation is a c e r t a i n a m o u n t of g o v e r n m e n t r e g u l a t i o n , wisely a d m i n i s t e r e d . A n o t h e r step is e d u c a t i o n . P e o p l e m u s t b e t a u g h t to a p p r e c i a t e the v a l u e of wise use of o u r n a t u r a l resources. W e s h o u l d all desire to i m p r o v e the living c o n d i t i o n s of f u t u r e generations. C a n such b e the case if we are careless, reckless, a n d w a s t e f u l w i t h t h e earth's resources? A g l a r i n g a n d d i s h e a r t e n i n g e x a m p l e of waste is s h o w n by t h e e n o r m o u s loss of n a t u r a l gas. T h i s gas has b e e n called

by some engineers t h e most p e r f e c t f u e l k n o w n to m a n . A n d yet i n the effort to secure p e t r o l e u m , w h i c h occurs w i t h n a t u r a l gas, m i l l i o n s of c u b i c feet of the gas h a v e b e e n allowed to escape i n t o t h e a t m o s p h e r e . T h i s is only o n e of several e x a m p l e s t h a t c o u l d b e cited. T h e r e m a i n i n g c h a p t e r s in this b o o k deal w i t h the n a t u r a l resources of t h e e a r t h . As we s t u d y t h e occurr e n c e a n d uses of these resources, we s h o u l d k e e p in m i n d t h e needs of f u t u r e generations. First, let us consider the resources of t h e e a r t h as a whole. T h e n we shall give o u r attent i o n to i n d i v i d u a l resources: (1) t h e w a t e r s u p p l y of t h e l a n d ; (2) vegetat i o n a n d a n i m a l life; (3) soils; a n d (4) coal, p e t r o l e u m , a n d o t h e r m i n erals. Earth resources as a whole. M a n y materials of the earth's c o m p o s i t i o n o r of its n a t u r a l vegetable o r a n i m a l life are used by m a n . Because they are o b t a i n e d f r o m t h e n a t u r a l e a r t h o r exist in or u p o n it, they are called natural, o r earth, resources. The n u m b e r of such resources used by p r i m i t i v e m a n was n o t large. T h e

W A T E R RESOURCES OF T H E a d v a n c e of m a t e r i a l civilization, however, has greatly increased t h e list. Because of t h e i r vital i m p o r t a n c e in m o d e r n affairs, a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e o c c u r r e n c e a n d d i s t r i b u t i o n of these resources is f u n d a m e n t a l w h e n t h e h u m a n activities a n d p r o b l e m s of c o u n t r i e s a n d regions are considered. T h e n a t u r a l resources available f o r t h e use of m a n are of two principal classes: 1) Inorganic, such as water, m i n eral fuels, metallic ores, b u i l d i n g stones, a n d t h e v a l u a b l e chemical r a w materials of e a r t h or air 2) Organic, such as wood, n a t u r a l pasture, w i l d game, a n d fish T h e soil, a resource of t r e m e n d o u s i m p o r t a n c e , is m a d e u p of b o t h ino r g a n i c a n d o r g a n i c materials. W i t h i n o r g a n i c rock f r a g m e n t s , w h i c h are t h e basis of soils, are m i n g l e d varia b l e q u a n t i t i e s of p l a n t a n d a n i m a l r e m a i n s a n d a w o r l d of microscopic organisms. Some o r g a n i c f o r m s in t h e n a t u r a l e n v i r o n m e n t of m a n can h a r d l y be c o n s i d e r e d as resources. W o r t h l e s s or p o i s o n o u s p l a n t s a n d certain f o r m s of insect o r of microscopic life a r e f o u n d i n m a n y regions. T h e y constit u t e hazards of life a n d o f t e n h i n d e r m a n in his efforts to m a k e a living. E a r t h resources m a y b e classified f u r t h e r a c c o r d i n g to t h e i r p e r m a nency, o r lasting qualities, as follows: 1) Inexhaustible resources, such as air, sand, a n d c o m m o n clay 2) Renewable resources, such as w o o d , water, a n d n a t u r a l p a s t u r e

LAND

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3) Nonrenewable resources, such as coal, iron, p e t r o l e u m , a n d chemical salts P e o p l e today are d e p e n d e n t u p o n a variety of i m p o r t a n t e a r t h resources. T h e r e is n o t h i n g to i n d i c a t e that f u t u r e g e n e r a t i o n s will not n e e d most of these resources. Conseq u e n t l y , it is clear that p r e s e n t generations have a responsibility t o w a r d the f u t u r e . P a r t i c u l a r l y is this t r u e w i t h respect to t h e n o n r e n e w a b l e resources that n o w are b e i n g p r o d u c e d or wasted in large q u a n t i t i e s . It is, in fact, t h e responsibility of t h e prese n t g e n e r a t i o n to secure to society, b o t h n o w a n d i n the f u t u r e , t h e m a x i m u m b e n e f i t f r o m the use of those materials p r o v i d e d b y n a t u r e . T h e discharge of t h a t responsibility calls f o r m u c h k n o w l e d g e a n d plann i n g . Efforts to g a t h e r i n f o r m a t i o n a n d solve p r o b l e m s c o n c e r n i n g this c o m p l i c a t e d m a t t e r m a y b e conside r e d a p a r t of t h e field of t h e conserv a t i o n of n a t u r a l resources.
WATER RESOURCES

W a t e r , like air, is a n a t u r a l resource d e m a n d e d in great q u a n t i t y by b o t h p l a n t a n d a n i m a l life. T h e waters of t h e l a n d are derived, e i t h e r directly o r indirectly, f r o m atmosp h e r i c p r e c i p i t a t i o n . F o r t h a t reason, regions of a b u n d a n t p r e c i p i t a t i o n usually, b u t n o t always, have a b u n d a n t supplies of water, a n d t h e i r inh a b i t a n t s are a b l e to use it lavishly. I n a r i d regions, w a t e r is t h e e l e m e n t of first i m p o r t a n c e i n r e s t r i c t i n g the s e t t l e m e n t a n d use of land, a n d t h e

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supply of it is used w i t h u t m o s t economy. Uses of water. W a t e r supplies a n d water bodies are useful to m a n in m a n y d i f f e r e n t ways, some of the m o r e i m p o r t a n t of w h i c h are 1) F o r n u m e r o u s uses a r o u n d the home 2) F o r i n d u s t r i a l purposes 3) For t h e i r r i g a t i o n of crops 4) For the p r o d u c t i o n of mechanical p o w e r 5) As routes of i n l a n d transportation 6) As a d d e d attractiveness to scenic o r recreational areas T h e a m o u n t of w a t e r used for d r i n k i n g a n d h o u s e h o l d supply varies greatly. A m o n g desert peoples it is small. O n the o t h e r h a n d , in m o d e r n cities t h e daily p e r capita allowance may be 100 gallons o r more. I n d u s t r i a l establishments vastly increase the q u a n t i t y of w a t e r n e e d e d . G r e a t m a n u f a c t u r i n g cities m u s t supply several times as m u c h w a t e r p e r capita of t h e i r p o p u l a t i o n as actually is used in t h e homes. T h e total daily c o n s u m p t i o n of w a t e r f o r all kinds of uses in m a n y cities in the U n i t e d States is several h u n d r e d m i l l i o n gallons. In N e w York it may exceed o n e billion gallons. T h e m u n i c i p a l system of Chicago supplies each day to its h o m e s a n d factories a q u a n t i t y of w a t e r a m o u n t i n g to several h u n d r e d gallons p e r person. T h i s city has o n e of the highest rates of c o n s u m p t i o n in the U n i t e d States, a n d doubtless m u c h of it is wasted because of the a b u n d a n t supply close at h a n d in Lake M i c h i g a n .

Sources of water supply. T h e large q u a n t i t i e s of w a t e r r e q u i r e d by m o d e r n u r b a n a n d i n d u s t r i a l centers are o b t a i n e d f r o m wells, springs, large lakes, large rivers, a n d reservoirs
'

'

f o r m e d by d a m s b u i l t across small streams. O n l y a b o u t o n e o u t of f o u r of t h e p r i n c i p a l A m e r i c a n cities obtains its w a t e r s u p p l y f r o m wells. T h e r e m a i n d e r , a n d especially t h e largest cities, use surface waters.

H o w e v e r , a b o u t two-thirds of the total p o p u l a t i o n of t h e c o u n t r y live in small cities, in villages, a n d o n farms. In these localities, g r o u n d water, o b t a i n e d f r o m wells a n d springs, is the p r i n c i p a l source of supply. For the i r r i g a t i o n of crops, surface waters supply a b o u t threefourths and ground water one-fourth of t h e total q u a n t i t y of w a t e r used.
GROUND-WATER SUPPLY

The water table. R a i n w a t e r r u n s off the l a n d surface in streams, seeps i n t o the g r o u n d , or evaporates. T h a t w h i c h seeps i n t o the g r o u n d is the source of u n d e r g r o u n d water. It percolates slowly d o w n w a r d a n d eventually fills all p o r e space in a p o r t i o n of t h e g r o u n d . T h e t o p surface of the layer that is s a t u r a t e d w i t h water is called the ivater table (Tig. 172). T h e water stored b e l o w the w a t e r table is the source of s u p p l y f o r springs a n d wells. D u r i n g wet w e a t h e r the w a t e r t a b l e rises closer to t h e surface of t h e e a r t h . In dry w e a t h e r it m a y sink so low that m a n y wells go dry. I n that case f a r m e r s h a u l water.

W A T E R RESOURCES OF T H E LAND I n regions of a b u n d a n t a n d welld i s t r i b u t e d p r e c i p i t a t i o n , the p o r e space in the e a r t h is likely to be well filled. I n a r i d regions, however, t h e r a p i d e v a p o r a t i o n of m o i s t u r e a n d the light o r i n f r e q u e n t rains d o n o t p e r m i t d e e p p e n e t r a t i o n of water. S u b s u r f a c e waters in a r i d regions are, t h e r e f o r e , m a i n l y those w h i c h have m o v e d slowly, d e e p u n d e r g r o u n d , f r o m m o r e h u m i d regions. T h e s u p p l y of g r o u n d water in a n y given locality d e p e n d s u p o n (1) t h e n a t u r e of r a i n f a l l , (2) t h e k i n d of e a r t h m a t e r i a l s that u n d e r l i e t h e region, a n d (3) the a m o u n t of p o r e space or o t h e r o p e n i n g s in the earth's crust. M o r e a b u n d a n t p o r e space is p r o v i d e d by beds of gravel or sand, p o r o u s sandstones, a n d some limestones in w h i c h t h e r e are m a n y cavities. T h e s e a r e called cavernous limestones. C o m p a c t clays a n d shale, slightly b r o k e n igneous rocks, a n d some o t h e r f o r m a t i o n s p r o v i d e b u t little storage capacity f o r water. N e i t h e r are they f a v o r a b l e f o r t h e flow of u n d e r g r o u n d water. S a n d s t o n e is n o t a b l e a m o n g the rocks f o r its ability to carry g r o u n d w a t e r (Fig. 165). Its p o r e space comm o n l y exceeds 25 p e r c e n t a n d sometimes reaches 40 p e r c e n t of t h e volu m e of t h e rock. Massive limestones o f t e n are 10 p e r c e n t p o r e space, a n d c a v e r n o u s limestones m u c h m o r e . I n solid granite, t h e p o r e space is seldom more than 1 percent. N u m e r o u s cracks, h o w e v e r , in igneous a n d meta m o r p h i c rocks greatly increase t h e i r w a t e r - h o l d i n g a n d water-yielding capacities.
Qualities of ground water.

365
No

g r o u n d w a t e r is f r e e f r o m dissolved minerals. H o w e v e r , t h e n a t u r e a n d q u a n t i t y of t h e c h e m i c a l m a t t e r carr i e d in s o l u t i o n differ widely f r o m r e g i o n to region. A f e w dissolved m i n e r a l s , such as s u l f u r a n d iron, i m p a r t to w a t e r a disagreeable taste o r r e n d e r it u n f i t f o r c e r t a i n industrial processes. S o m e m i n e r a l waters have tonic, laxative, or o t h e r medicinal qualities. A m o n g t h e most a b u n d a n t of the s o l u b l e substances f o u n d i n g r o u n d w a t e r are comp o u n d s of c a l c i u m o r lime, s o d i u m , a n d m a g n e s i u m . I n desert regions, seepage waters c o m m o n l y are c h a r g e d w i t h c o m p o u n d s of these a n d o t h e r substances to a degree t h a t r e n d e r s t h e m almost, if n o t q u i t e , u n f i t f o r h u m a n use. I n t h e U n i t e d States these are k n o w n as alkali waters. I n h u m i d regions, l i m e s t o n e a n d certain o t h e r rocks f u r n i s h to g r o u n d w a t e r supplies of c a l c i u m a n d magn e s i u m w h i c h cause h a r d water. T h i s q u a l i t y does n o t c h a n g e the taste of w a t e r m u c h b u t does affect its domestic a n d i n d u s t r i a l utility. H a r d water r e q u i r e s s o f t e n i n g w h e n it is used w i t h soap. I n some localities, city w a t e r o b t a i n e d f r o m d e e p wells is so h a r d t h a t most of t h e residences are p r o v i d e d w i t h cisterns i n w h i c h r a i n w a t e r is collected. R a i n w a t e r is soft a n d can b e used for w a s h i n g a n d o t h e r p u r p o s e s f o r w h i c h t h e city's h a r d w a t e r is ill suited. H a r d w a t e r presents m a n y p r o b lems i n various k i n d s of industries. W h e n used, f o r e x a m p l e , i n steam boilers, it causes chemical reactions

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a n d deposits of c h e m i c a l substances that are h a r m f u l . R a i l r o a d s o f t e n h a v e w a t e r tanks located n e a r streams w h e r e a supply of soft w a t e r is available. Some cities h a v e s p e n t large sums of m o n e y f o r e q u i p m e n t necessary to soften w a t e r b e f o r e it is p u m p e d t h r o u g h t h e supply lines.

g r o u n d water t h a t supplies such a s p r i n g m a y b e l o w e r e d . T h e n it will cease to flow u n t i l t h e w a t e r level is raised by t h e d o w n w a r d seepage of a d d i t i o n a l rains. T h e site of a s p r i n g m a y b e caused by t h e m o v e m e n t of w a t e r d o w n w a r d t h r o u g h a p o r o u s r o c k a n d t h e n horizontally a l o n g t h e t o p of a n i m p e r v i ous rock layer (Fig. 3162?). Sands, sandstones, or p o r o u s limestones, u n d e r l a i n by c o m p a c t clays or shales, supply c o n d i t i o n s of t h a t k i n d a n d o f t e n p r o d u c e m a n y springs, all at a b o u t t h e same level. W a t e r f r o m a w i d e area of rocks sometimes may be concentrated u p o n a s p r i n g by m e a n s of m a n y cracks in t h e rocks (Fig. 316C). I n some regions w a t e r t h u s collected is c a r r i e d d e e p u n d e r g r o u n d w h e r e it comes u n d e r t h e i n f l u e n c e of h o t igneous rocks. T h e n it m a y c o m e to t h e earth's surface as a h o t spring. I n Yellowstone N a t i o n a l P a r k , the e r u p t i n g h o t springs, o r geysers, are resources of c o n s i d e r a b l e v a l u e because of t h e t o u r i s t business t h a t they b r i n g . U n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s of u n d e r g r o u n d d r a i n a g e , springs a t t a i n t h e p r o p o r t i o n s of c o n s i d e r a b l e rivers. T h a t is n o t a b l y t r u e i n regions of c a v e r n o u s limestones o r of p o r o u s lavas. I n such locks, g r o u n d w a t e r descends f r o m t h e surface t h r o u g h numerous openings and ultimately collects in a n u n d e r g r o u n d c h a n n e l in some v o l u m e . T h e r e are in t h e U n i t e d States a b o u t 60 springs w i t h sufficient flow so t h a t each w o u l d s u p p l y all t h e

Fig. 316. Some of the many possible conditions of surface, material, and structure that are related to the occurrence of springs.

Springs. A s p r i n g is a c o n c e n t r a t e d n a t u r a l outflow of water f r o m u n d e r g r o u n d . It m a y flow e i t h e r c o n t i n u ously o r only occasionally. Its w a t e r m a y b e e i t h e r cold o r w a r m , h a r d o r soft. S o m e t i m e s a s p r i n g occurs o n the side of a valley t h a t has b e e n e r o d e d b e l o w t h e level of t h e local w a t e r t a b l e (Fig. 316/1). Springs of t h a t type are c o m m o n in glacial d r i f t a n d o f t e n are t h e m a i n sources of supply of small streams at the headwaters of rivers. A f t e r a p e r i o d of p r o l o n g e d d r o u t h , t h e level of t h e

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E

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Fig. 3 1 7 . Most of the large springs of the United States occur in a few regional groups. Those in Florida, Missouri, and Texas are associated mainly with areas of cavernous limestones; those of Idaho, Oregon, and California occur largely in porous lava formations.

water required by a city of half a million people. Most of these large springs are concentrated in the limestone regions of northern Florida; in the Ozark region of southern Missouri; and in the porous lava regions of southern Idaho, western Oregon, and northern California (Figs. 317, 318). Thousands of farmhouses and many villages in the United States are located upon sites originally chosen because spring water was found there by a pioneer settler. Some of these springs are still in existence; others have disappeared, largely because of the lowering of the water table. Some spring waters, because of purity or reputed medical properties, are bottled and sold commercially. Health resorts

have been established where certain types of springs exist, for example, Hot Springs, Arkansas; Hot Springs, South Dakota; Excelsior Springs, Missouri; and Saratoga Springs, New York. There are many such spots in Europe. Wells. A well should be dug below the water table so that ground water may be collected in sufficient quantity to be lifted, usually by pumps, to the earth's surface. Many dug wells have only temporary supplies of water, but others are permanent. Figure 319 shows the relation of three wells to a fluctuating or changing water table. Well No. 1 is a modern drilled well that reaches below the lowest possible position of the water table and has never run dry. Well No. 2 is a dug well that

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Fig. 313. Some of the "Thousand S p r i n g s " that issue from beds of broken or porous lava in the Snake River Canyon, southern Idaho. (Courtesy U. S. Geological Survey.)

reaches below the ordinary water table and has water at all times except after periods of prolonged drouth. Well No. 3 is dry except for a short time after a long period of rains which considerably raise the water table. A modern deep well, like No. 1, is made by drilling a small hole scores or hundreds of feet into the deeper waters of some known waterbearing formation, such as a porous sandstone. Steel pipe usually is placed in the hole to prevent surface waters

from seeping into the deep well and contaminating the deep-water supply. A smaller pipe, through which the water is pumped to the surface, extends below the ordinary level of water in the well. Note the arrangement of wells in Fig. 319. Well No. 2 is situated higher up the slope than No. 1 and appears to be in a safe position with respect to pollution. Such, however, is not the case. T h e porous rock formation below the surface carries seepage from barns and cesspool di-

Fig. 319. W e l l No. 2 is higher than No. 1 and appears to be a safer water supply; but in fact it is not so because of the rock structures concerned. The stippled areas indicate porous, waterbearing formations. The dashed lines show positions of the ground-water table: (1) in wet seasons, (2) at ordinary level, (3) in dry seasons.

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Fig. 320. One type of artesian structure. W e l l No. 1 (left) reaches the water-bearing formation, but its top is as high as the level of ground-water entrance, and it would require pumping. The others should provide flowing water.

rectly toward the house well rather than away from it, as the surface slope would indicate. Many wells are located badly because of ignorance of the nature of ground-water movement and of the structure or porosity of the rocks that govern ground-water movement in the locality in which they are constructed. Certain diseases are spread rapidly by polluted water. T o prevent epidemics due to such a cause, it often is advisable to have water tested for the quantity and nature of bacteria present. Artesian wells. Deep wells that have an abundant supply of water are called artesian wells. Some artesian wells overflow on the earth's surface. Many, however, that are drilled and furnish a water supply for towns or cities require pumping. Figure 320 illustrates a situation favorable to the occurrence of artesian wells. Such a situation includes the following conditions: (1) A waterbearing formation of sandstone or some other porous material must be present. (2) T h e porous formation must outcrop or be exposed at the

surface in a region of sufficient precipitation to fill it with water. (3) The formation must dip slightly downward beneath a capping layer of some impervious rock, such as shale. (4) It must lead toward a region where the land surface is lower than the exposed end of the porous formation. (5) There must be no free exit from the porous rock at an elevation lower than the region of the wells. A well drilled through the impervious layer and into the waterbearing formation taps a supply that is under pressure owing to the weight of the water that is backed up in the higher end of the porous formation. A large region of artesian wells is located in the northern Great Plains of the United States. There a series of water-bearing formations, especially the Dakota sandstone (Fig. 165), outcrop at considerable elevation near the Rocky Mountains and Black Hills. These formations dip eastward under suitable capping layers toward the lower plains. They yield artesian waters far out in the eastern part of the Dakotas. In general this water is pure but extremely

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hard. T h e town of Artesian, South Dakota, was so named because of a number of flowing wells, many of which have now ceased to flow. T h e degree to which a waterbearing formation may be tapped depends much upon the quantity of water supplied by rain, especially where the porous rock outcrops. So many wells have been drilled into the Dakota sandstone that towns and cities thus supplied are giving much attention to economy in water usage. Other artesian regions that deserve mention are (1) the Paris basin in France, (2) the vast area lying west of the east Australian highlands, (3) central Argentina, and (4) the Atlantic coastal plain of the United States. There are many limited artesian structures and spring sites in American dry lands, and in those of other countries as well, that furnish water for the irrigation of a few acres of crops in addition to that required for other uses.
Conservation of ground water. Sev-

the water table is likely to become steadily lower. Then communities and individuals must cooperate in reducing the amount of water used or in securing new supplies. Lakes act as basins in which to catch rain water and surface drainage. Water from these basins seeps downward and replenishes the supply of ground water. There are localities where men have drained numerous lakes and nearby swamps, and it is believed by some that such drainage may have caused a lowering of the water table. In contrast to this policy of surface drainage, the people in some communities, especially in semiarid lands, have been encouraged to build numerous earthen dams across small streams. These dams create hundreds of small ponds. Such ponds serve as (1) storage basins for surface drainage, (2) a source of supply for ground water, and (3) watering places for livestock. Forests check the force of a heavy rain and retard the rapid runoff of water. More rain water will seep into the ground in a forested area than in one where trees are absent. Conservation of ground water also demands a careful watch over the causes of pollution. Care must be exercised in the disposal of sewage, the waste products of factories, and farm manures.
SURFACE-WATER SUPPLY

eral factors bring about lowering of the water table. Some of these are (1) excessive pumping of ground water for city use or for irrigation, (2) the draining of lakes and swamps to provide more land for cultivation, (3) removal of forests, and (4) drouths. Man has no control over drouths. T h e first three items, however, deserve serious consideration. In areas where much ground water is pumped, the depth of the water table should be watched closely. If the demands on the supply are excessive,

T h e surface waters of the earth in streams and lakes constitute a nat-

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E

LAND

371

ural resource of great importance. This is because of their relation to the following: municipal water supply, irrigation, hydroelectric projects, inland navigation, flood control, soil erosion, and recreation. People who live in humid lands give little thought to the supply of water. They turn on the faucet, let the water run, and carelessly waste several gallons per day. Multiply this waste by millions of users, and the total is staggering. In arid and semiarid lands, water is so valuable that efforts are made to reduce waste to a minimum. In many localities, both arid and humid, the surface waters are used for several of the purposes listed above. Hence strict laws are necessary to govern the amount of water that may be used for each purpose or the amount that may be used by different communities located on the same stream or lake.
Municipal w a t e r supply. O f t h e 3 0 0

principal cities of the United States, three-fourths are supplied with surface waters obtained from large lakes, rivers, or, more commonly, relatively small streams. 1 Generally, surface waters are not so hard as ground waters of the same region, because they are derived in part from the immediate runoff of rain water. During drouths the surface supply fails, and the streams, fed mainly by springs, have increased hardness. This works to the disadvantage of certain industries that require relatively soft water. Underground waters are fairly clear as the result of filtration caused by seepage through

rock materials. Surface waters, on the other hand, are likely to contain large quantities of sediment and organic matter, including bacteria. For that reason many cities find it necessary to treat their water supplies for the destruction of bacteria and for the removal of sediment by some method of filtration. Chlorine gas is widely used for killing bacteria. Alum is added to dirty river water. It serves to increase the rapidity of sedimentation in settling basins and, therefore, to decrease the amount of filtration necessary. When one considers that many cities dump their sewage into large rivers whose waters are used by other cities farther downstream, the necessity of excellent methods of purification and of daily bacteriological testings becomes evident. T h e Great Lakes supply water for several cities. Chicago and Milwaukee use water from Lake Michigan; Cleveland and Buffalo, from Lake Erie; Detroit, from Lake St. Clair; and Duluth, from Lake Superior. This lake water is relatively soft compared with the deep-well water of many middle-western towns. Some cities dump sewage and industrial wastes into the very lakes from which drinking water is secured. In some cases the sewage is treated chemically. Nevertheless, contamination results. This is detrimental to the fish rei National Resources Board. Report o?i National Planning and Public Works in Relation to Natural Resources, p. 330. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., 1934.

372

T H E E A R T H AND I T S

RESOURCES

source of the lakes and demands more careful and expensive methods of purification of the water before it can be used as a city supply. The
contamination or pollution of lake and river water presents one of the serious problems in the field of conservation of natural resources. Waters for irrigation. T h e soils of

are much employed in the irrigation of alluvial fans and nearby plains.
Water-power production. The ca-

arid lands generally are abundantly supplied with the mineral elements of soil fertility and require only water to make them productive. Adequate supplies of water are not easy to obtain, for the actual water requirement of crops is large. Also, much water is lost by seepage and evaporation in the course of getting it to the crops. T o secure so much water, every type of source is drawn upon. However, surface waters provide most of the supply. Except in the monsoon countries of southeastern Asia, irrigation is most practiced in lands that have less than 20 inches of average annual precipitation. T h e surplus rainfall of a large area is necessary to irrigate a small area, for the reasons mentioned above. From this fact it is necessary to conclude that only a small part of the dry lands of the earth ever can be irrigated. Where ground water is used for irrigation, the dissolved minerals contained therein may in time make the soil unfit for agricultural use. Waters derived directly from mountain precipitation and the melting of mountain snows are particularly free from this defect and

pacity of water to do work is attained by virtue of the sun. Solar energy causes the winds that evaporate and transport water from sea to land. Then the water flows from land to sea under the force of gravity. T h e essential conditions required to produce water power are water and fall. A small volume of water falling a great distance may have the same capacity to do work as a large volume of water falling a short distance. A small stream having considerable fall usually is capable of being more economically harnessed for power than is a large stream of low gradient. An ideal situation for water-power production might include the following conditions of physical environment: 1) T h e stream should (a) be of large size; (b) have a large drainage region, where rainfall is abundant and uniformly distributed throughout the year; and () be regulated in its flow by the presence of forests, swamps, or lakes. 2) A precipitous fall is necessary in the lower course of the stream where the entire weight of the falling water may be harnessed at low cost.
Land relief and water power. Us-

able water-power sites were limited to those regions where power T h e power had to be place of its production.

at one time available in was wanted. used at the Today much

WATER

R E S O U R C E S OF T H E

LAND

373

374

THE EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

water power is used for the generation of electric energy. T h e two essential machines in any hydroelectric plant are (1) a water turbine, or enclosed water wheel, and (2) a dynamo, or electric generator. Electricity may be conveyed many miles over great transmission lines. This to some extent has made the place of power production independent of the place of its use. It is not yet economical, in most regions, to send electricity by wire more than 300 or 400 miles. Most power sites are chosen because of the benefit of some natural advantage such as waterfalls or narrows, which provide an economical location for a dam. Glaciated regions and mountain valleys furnish numerous sites for water-power development. Many of these are not used because of the distance from suitable market. T h e construction of hydroelectric plants in the United States is increasing. They are located on advantageous sites and in many cases provide relatively cheap electricity. Figure 321 shows the distribution of potential or possible water-power resources for the world. It will be noted that Africa outranks other continents in this respect. This is chiefly because several large rivers descend in falls or rapids from the interior plateau to the coast. In North America the glaciated western mountains, especially the Cascades, have the greatest water-power possibilities. Next in rank is the glaciated region of eastern Canada and northeastern

United States. In Europe the glaciated highland regions of Scandinavia and the Alpine countries are outstanding; in Asia the southern slopes of the Himalayas and the hill region of China; and in South America the highlands of eastern Brazil and the slopes of the Andes Mountains.
IRRIGATION AND HYDROELECTRIC PROJECTS
J

The total area of irrigated lands in our western states is not great when compared with the total area of the states themselves (Fig. 322). Yet these irrigated regions produce great quantities of agricultural products. Especially is this true in the Southwest where mild winter temperatures make crop production possible the year round. In most of the irrigated areas, water is stored in large reservoirs by means of dams. T h e water is then released as needed. T h e dams also provide water power for the generation of electric energy. Figure 323 shows the location of the federal irrigation projects. Thousands of square miles of irrigated lands, however, are not connected with federal projects but are financed by states, cities, individuals, or groups of individuals. T h e waters of the Colorado River are used extensively for irrigation. This river has its source in Rocky Mountain National Park, northern Colorado. It has hundreds of tributaries, many of which are fed by the melting snows of the Rocky Mountains. T h e three major dams on the

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E

LAND

375

Fig. 322. The relation of western irrigated lands to forested watersheds. (Courtesy U. S. Service.)

Forest

Colorado are Hoover Dam, on the boundary between Arizona and Nevada; Parker Dam, about 150 miles farther south; and Imperial Dam, just north of Yuma, Arizona.
Hoover Dam. Hoover (Boulder)

Dam, 727 feet high, is the highest in the world (Fig. 324). It cost more

than 100 million dollars and required about 5 years for completion. The lake formed by this great structure is Lake Mead and is about 115 miles long. At the dam are two spillway tunnels, each having a diameter of 50 feet (Fig. 324). Hoover Dam and Lake Mead illus-

376

T H E E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

...

SUN

MILK RIVER / LOWER JT -LOWSTONE ^fSidr G n i ; | l d/ c v HUNTLE'

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Fig. 323. Western (Courtesy

part of the United States, showing of Reclamation.)

location of federal

irrigation

projects.

U. S. Bureau

trate how one project in the field of water conservation may serve several purposes. These are
1) Flood control: The Colorado

stream. Its floods formerly caused great damage. Now the floodwaters are stored in Lake Mead.
2) Hydroelectric power: T h e elec-

River in the oast was a treacherous

tricity generated at the dam is used

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E

LAND

377

Fig. 324. Hoover (Boulder) Dam on the Colorado River, northwestern Arizona. The dam, which is more than 7 0 0 feet high, was completed in 1935. Lake Mead, formed by the dam, is about 115 miles long. (Courtesy U. S. Bureau of Reclamation.)

Fig. 325. Poised on the roof of the Nevada wing of the power plant at Hoover (Boulder) Dam are the take-off structures for electric current. Electricity generated here travels as far west as Los Angeles, California, a distance of 250 miles. It is said that income from the sale of electricity will pay for the cost of the dam in about 50 years. (Courtesy U. S. Bureau of Reclamation.)

378

THE E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES of ivildlife: Lake

over a large area (Fig. 325). Transmission lines carry it to Los Angeles. Power generation was begun September 11, 1936, when President

4) Conservation

Mead is well stocked with fish and is a haven for numerous wild fowl. 5) Recreation: T h e region has become a recreational area of considerable importance. Parker Dam. About 15 miles north of Parker, Arizona, is Parker Dam. From the reservoir formed by this dam, the water of the Colorado River is taken to Los Angeles and other cities in a large aqueduct. This aqueduct is about 250 miles long. In several places it passes through tunnels. T h e route of the aqueduct is by no means a level one. Therefore it is necessary to lift the water at a number of points. This is accomplished by powerful pumps driven by motors

Fig. 326. A section of country where water is the all-important element of environment. The electric transmission line from Hoover (Boulder) Dam to Los Angeles, the aqueduct from Parker Dam to Los Angeles, the All-American which canals carry irrigation water to Canal land and of in Imperial Valley, and the Laguna Dam from around Yuma are shown. Just north of Salton Sea are the San Bernardino Mountains; north of them, in the vicinity of Barstow, is the Mojave Desert. (Courtesy U. S. Department the Interior.)

Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington pushed a key that started the first generator. T h e location of Hoover Dam is typical of many hydroelectric plants in that it is far from the densely poptdated areas that it serves. T h e necessary longdistance transmission lines are costly. 3) Irrigation: Lake Mead serves as an enormous reservoir for storing irrigation water.

Fig. and cities

327.

large

irrigated

field

of the

winter winter

lettuce, not far from Phoenix, Arizona. Lettuce vegetables, of of the grown during months, find a ready market in the United States. Bureau Reclamation.) northern U. S.

(Courtesy

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E

LAND

379

Fig. 328. A herd of Hereford cattle pasturing on irrigated lands near Phoenix, Arizona. Feeding beef cattle in winter is an important industry in the Salt River Valley, Arizona. Alfalfa is the principal hay crop. (Courtesy U. S. Bureau of Reclamation.)

that use electric energy from Hoover Dam. Imperial and Laguna dams. Just north of Yuma, Arizona, are the Imperial and Laguna dams. T h e AllAmerican Canal carries irrigation water from the Imperial Dam to Imperial Valley (Fig. 326). Other canals carry water to irrigated lands east and south of Yuma. Mild winters in this region make crop production possible the year round, and the variety of crops is great. Alfalfa, valuable as hay, is generally cut four or five times per year. Cotton is a major crop. Others include winter vegetables, lettuce, melons, small grains,

grapefruit, grapes, and figs. This is a region where shade temperatures may range from 20 to 120F during the year and where annual rainfall is about 3 or 4 inches. It is also that part of the United States which experiences the highest percentage of possible sunshine. Salt River project. In south central Arizona, in the vicinity of Phoenix, are the extensive and highly productive irrigated lands of the Salt River project. T h e irrigable land totals some 240,000 acres. Water is impounded by several dams on the Salt River. T h e oldest of these is the Roosevelt Dam, completed in 1911.

380

THE E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

T o conserve the floodwaters of the Verde River, the Bartlett Dam has been built about 25 miles above the point where it joins the Salt River. T h e crops produced in this region are similar to those of the Yuma-Imperial Valley area Tigs. 327, 328).

OREGON Fig. 329. The state of Washington. most of the area Coulee inside the dotted Ultimately line will Valley is

be irrigated by water impounded by the Grand Dam. Much of the Yakima irrigated. The waters of the Snake River are

used f o r irrigation in Idaho. Note the location of Bonneville Dam. Mounts Baker, Rainier, and Adams are three high peaks of the Cascade Range. Not shown on the map are about ten additional dams on the Columbia River and on the Snake River.

T h e dams provide an abundance of hydroelectric power.


Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams.

Two well-known dams are located on the Columbia River (Figs. 329, 330). Grand Coulee is in central 'Washington, and Bonneville is a short distance upstream from Portland, Oregon. T h e Grand Coulee Dam is the largest man-made structure in the world. It contains enough concrete to make two 16-foot highways from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. It

is not so high as Hoover Dam, yet it is 2 t i m e s greater in volume. T h e waters impounded will be used to generate electricity and to irrigate a large area lying south of the reservoir. In this region the frost-free period is about 160 days. During the irrigation season from April to October the days are hot and nights cool. Annual rainfall is about 8 inches. This region is adapted to general farming. Important crops are hay, grain, fruits, and vegetables. Bonneville Dam, unlike the Grand Coulee, was built mainly to improve navigation on the lower Columbia River and to provide hydroelectric power. Since great numbers of salmon spawn in the upper reaches of the Columbia River, provision had to be made whereby the fish could get around the dam. This is accomplished by a "ladder," or steplike series of concrete basins. Tennessee Valley. T h e Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA, is chiefly a federal project (Figs. 331, 332). T h e authority was created by Congress in 1933 and later amended in 1935. T h e work is administered by a board of directors consisting of three men appointed by the President of the United States. T h e Tennessee River is much larger than any other tributary of the Ohio River. It is located in a region that has an annual average rainfall of 45 to 50 inches and where the maximum has reached 70 to 80 inches. In past years heavy downpours of rain in the Tennessee Valley have resulted in disastrous floods

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E

LAND

381

and excessive soil erosion. T h e high waters of the Tennessee River also have contributed to floods in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. Because of lower latitude, the growing season in this area is considerably longer than in such cornbelt states as Iowa and Nebraska. Climatically, this is a much favored region. Much of the soil, however, is of inferior quality. T h e chief purpose of the Tennessee Valley Authority is to develop the water resources of the valley. This work included the building of 26 dams, together with necessary locks

and hydroelectric plants (Fig. 333). These projects serve the following functions: flood control, improvement of river navigation, development of electric energy, control of erosion alons; river banks. In addition to these functions, the Tennessee Valley Authority has in its program other types of work, which include (1) control of soil erosion (on badly-eroded hill slopes this is accomplished by the planting of trees, shrubs, and grasses); (2) improvement of soil fertility by proper rotation of crops and by employing better methods of general farming;

Fig. 3 3 0 . At the time this photograph was made, all 11 drum gates at the crest of the Grand Coulee Dam were lowered sufficiently to allow water to plunge over the spillway, creating the first full waterfall of the season. The reservoir was at elevation 1277, 13 feet below the maximum, and the flow of water over the spillway was approximately 3 5 , 0 0 0 cubic feet per second. As 3 0 , 0 0 0 cubic feet per second was passing through the turbines of the west powerhouse, the total stream flow on this occasion was 6 5 , 0 0 0 Reclamation.) cubic feet per second. (Courtesy U. S. Bureau of

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PROFILE OF THE T E N N E S S E E RIVER

KNOXVILLE

Fig. 331. The chain of dams and lakes that harness the Tennessee River and its tributaries from the alluvial plains of western Kentucky to the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. Draining an area of 4 0 , 9 1 0 square miles in seven states, the Tennessee, with its 2 6 multipurpose dams providing flood control, navigation, and power, is the most completely developed river system in the world. (Courtesy Tennessee Volley Authority.)

Fig. 332. W i l s o n Dam, in northern Alabama, aids navigation by eliminating 15 miles of shoals, converts the power of falling water into electricity, and serves industry. Started during War World I and completed in 1925, it is 137 feet high and 4 8 6 0 feet long, with a reservoir area

of about 16,100 acres extending 15 miles up the Tennessee River to Wheeler Dam. This project, now under the supervision of the Tennessee Valley Authority, has generating equipment with a capacity of 1 8 4 , 0 0 0 kilowatts. (Courtesy Tennessee Valley Authority.)

382

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E

LAND

383

(3) manufacture and sale of commercial fertilizers; (4) manufacture of chemicals needed in the munitions industry.

this alternative is provided by steam plants that use coal for fuel. As a matter of fact, the demand for power from T V A has far exceeded the hydroelectric capacity of the Tennessee River system. One big reason for this is the need for power of the Atomic Energy Commission's plants at Paducah and at Oak Ridge. T o help meet this need, the T V A is building seven steam plants. When completed, the combined capacity of these seven plants will be about 5 million kilowatts. Steam plants play an important part in a system like T V A .
Keokuk and Bagnell projects. The

Fig.

333.

Completion

of

the

TVA

system River

of

dams has provided a commercially useful navigation adding channel 650 on the Tennessee to to Knoxville, the from inland Paducah, Kentucky, miles Tennessee,

deep-water

Keokuk Dam is one of several that have been built across the upper Mississippi River. Located at Keokuk, in southeastern Iowa, it serves three purposes: (1) generation of electric energy, (2) flood control, and (3) improvement of river navigation. Electricity from the Keokuk project is used in much of the surrounding region. It is carried by transmission lines as far south as St. Louis. T h e Bagnell Dam is located on the Osage River, about 40 miles southwest of Jefferson City, Missouri. T h e lake formed by this dam, called The
Lake of the Ozarks, is o n e of the

waterway system of the United States. Loaded oil barges, destined f o r an upstream terminal on the Tennessee River, are Coal in bulk shown and on entering pig river. the navigation lock at Guntersville Dam near Guntersville, modities (Courtesy now Alabama. moving coke, the iron, grain, and forest products are other comTennessee Valley Authority.)

A hydroelectric system, of course, is dependent upon water. Because rainfall is erratic, it is necessary to have an alternative source of power. In the T V A system,
Steam plants.

largest artificial lakes in the world (Fig. 334). It is more than 100 miles long and has a shoreline of some 1200 miles. This extensive shoreline, much greater than that of Lake Mead, is due to the sharp meanders of the Osage River and to the numerous tributary valleys (Fig. 335). Lo-

Fig. 334. Bagnell Dam and the Lake of the Ozarks. (Courtesy Union Electric

Co.)

Fig.

335.

The

Lake

of the Ozarks,

southern Fig. 336. Niagara Falls, in western New York, is an important source of hydroelectric power. (Courtesy Buffalo Niagara Electric Corp.) numerous

Missouri. The

1200-mile shoreline of this lake

results largely from the flooding of tributary valleys.

384

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E

LAND

385

cated in the wooded Ozark hills, this beautiful lake has become a prominent pleasure resort and represents a commendable use of water resources. Transmission lines carry electric current from Bagnell Dam to St. Louis. Keokuk and Bagnell are controlled by a private utility company. Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls provide an example of one of the most valuable water resources in the world (Fig. 336). T h e Niagara River has great volume and uniform flow. T h e water is relatively free from sediment, because it is the overflow of great settling basins, Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. T h e drop at the falls is about 160 feet. Hydroelectric plants have been built on both the Canadian and the American sides of the river. Some are below the falls; others, above. T h e total amount of electric energy generated is enormous.
OTHER USES OF SURFACE WATERS Streams for inland navigation. In

nearly all parts of the world, except in deserts and on mountains, streams are used as avenues of interior transportation (Fig. 337). T h e great advantage of river transportation is its low cost. This is due to the relatively small amount of power needed and the great quantity of freight that can be moved in one shipment. A single tugboat moves upstream or downstream with several modern steel barges loaded with various commodities (Fig. 338). These commodi-

ties consist largely of bulky materials, such as coal, lumber, grain, or building materials, that do not necessarily demand the fast shipment provided by railroad or truck. Huge sums of money have been spent on certain rivers, such as the Rhine, Mississippi, and Missouri, to develop straighter and deeper channels. T h e Amazon, on the other hand, is so deep that fair-sized ships ascend its waters for some 2000 miles. An important river from the standpoint of commerce is the Yangtze, which is the principal means of shipping goods to and from the far interior of China. River transportation suffers, however, from the following defects: (1) T h e depth of water may fluctuate considerably during the year. (2) T h e channel may shift from time to time or be obstructed by sandbars. (3) Where winters are severe, ice may cause navigation to cease for several months. (4) It is sometimes difficult to build the necessary facilities for handling freight on the banks of a shifting river. (5) T h e movement of river craft is comparatively slow. Most people agree that the great rivers of the United States, and of the world, should be harnessed to serve mankind in a far more efficient manner than in the past. Regardless of arguments pro and con, it is now a recognized fact that the development of the Tennessee River ranks today as one of the outstanding engineering feats of all time. It is only logical to assume that other great

386

THE EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

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Waterways

Operators,

river systems will be developed in like manner. Either the T V A method of development should be employed, or some other method equally efficient. Meanwhile, disastrous floods

and erosion are causing losses that total many millions of dollars.
Lakes for inland navigation. The

use of the large lakes or inland seas of the world for navigation presents

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E

LAND

387

Fig. 338. Modern river transportation on the Ohio River. A single tugboat is shown moving several barges loaded mainly with steel products. (Courtesy U. S. Army Engineers.)

less difficult problems than does the use of rivers. Some are closed by ice part of the time, but not many are troubled by variable depths or obstructed channels. Owing to their fortunate position between the principal iron-ore and coal regions of the continent, the Great Lakes of North America have been developed into one of the most effective routes of transportation in the world. They have played a large part in the historical and industrial development of the region in which they lie. Although there is not the same opportunity for special service in other regions, some of the lakes of other continents serve the transportational needs of their regions well.

Among the most used are the three great lakes in eastern Africa, Victoria, Tanganyika, and Nyasa; and the Caspian Sea and Lake Baikal in Asia.
Lakes and streams for recreation.

T o most persons a visit to a lake or stream affords a pleasant diversion from the daily routine. T h e exhilarating sports found in swimming, fishing, and various forms of boating serve as an attraction so strong that large numbers of people make at least a brief annual trip to some body of inland water for purposes of recreation. In recent years the building of good roads and the conveniences afforded by the automobile have permitted a widespread gratification of

388

THE EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

this desire. As a result, large amounts of money are spent by vacationists, and the lakes and streams that attract them have become physical assets of great value to the regions in which they lie. T h e greatest number of attractive lakes is found in regions of glaciation. Some are the morainal lakes of regions of glacial deposition, but the larger number is found in regions of ice scour or of ice scour with associated morainal damming. It often happens also that the conditions of ice scour that are responsible for the lakes have conspired with climate to render the surrounding land of low agricultural value. This in turn has tended to keep the region in a forested or wild condition which increases the attractiveness of the lakes and their recreational value. Lake-dotted areas are found in mountain, hill, and plain lands alike. T h e glacial lakes of the Alpine countries, Rocky Mountain region, high Sierras, or southern Andes add mountain scenery to their attractiveness. More accessible are the lakes of the hill lands of New England and the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Thousands of lakes in the plains of the Great Lakes region, eastern Canada, Scandinavia, Finland, and Germany draw ever larger numbers of people to their shores. They constitute a resource worthy of studied conservation and development.

SUMMARY

Nature has endowed the earth with many natural resources of tremendous value to man. The conservation of these resources demands serious and constant attention. T h e ground-water supply is endangered by overusage and by pollution. Surface waters, especially in rivers and lakes, furnish many cities with ample supplies of water. Such waters in some places are being contaminated by sewage disposal and by the waste products of industrial establishments and mines. Both surface and ground waters are used for irrigation. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in the construction of great dams that create huge reservoirs of water to be used for irrigation and hydroelectric power. Enormous sums of money have been spent in improving the rivers of the United States for navigation. Such improvements also reduce the danger of disastrous floods. T h e Great Lakes constitute the greatest inland waterway in the world. T h e growth of native plants in the various regions of the world is much influenced by the amount and seasonal distribution of rain. Chapter 16 deals with the natural vegetation resources of the earth and with associated animal life.

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E
QUESTIONS

LAND

389

1. Write a definition of natural resources. 2. What are the classes of natural resources? Give examples of each. 3. How are natural resources classified according to their permanency? Give examples of each. 4. What do you think is meant by the conservation of natural resources? 5. Mention five important uses of water. 6. What is the daily per capita consumption of water in Chicago? What is it in your community? 7. From what sources may large supplies of water be secured? 8. What are the principal sources of water supply for large cities? What is the principal source in your city? 9. Define water table. 10. How does the depth of the water table below the earth's surface vary during wet and dry weather? 11. What three factors largely determine the supply of ground water in any given locality? 12. What rock is notable for its ability to carry ground water? Why? 13. Why do sulfur and iron sometimes make ground water unfit for use? 14. What are the most abundant soluble salts found in ground water? 15. What causes alkali water? 16. What is hard water? What are some of its objectionable qualities? 17. What underground conditions may result in the formation of a spring? a hot spring? 18. Locate the regions where unusually large springs occur. 19. Locate several health resorts that make use of either mineral or hot springs or both. 20. Why do some dug wells have only temporary supplies of water? 21. What care should be exercised in selecting a location for the drilling of a deep well? 22. What is an artesian well? What five conditions are favorable to the occurrence of artesian wells? 23. Explain the underground rock formations responsible for the man) artesian wells of South Dakota. 24. Locate several noted artesian regions. 25. Mention several conservation measures that pertain to ground water. 26. Mention six or seven ways in which surface waters are important to man. 27. In general, which is harder, ground water or surface? Why?

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THE EARTH AND ITS

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28. Surface water, such as river water, usually must be given what treatment before it can be used? 29. What are several objections to the dumping of city sewage into rivers? 30. How is the water of the Great Lakes being contaminated? 31. In what two ways is much irrigation water lost before it can be used? 32. Only a small part of the dry lands of the earth ever can be irrigated. Why? 33. What are two or three objections to using the ground-water supply for irrigation? 34. What conditions contribute to an ideal situation for water-power production? 35. What are the two essential machines in a hydroelectric plant? 36. Why can hydroelectric plants be built many miles from the locality where the electricity is to be used? 37. What determines the location of most water-power sites? 38. State several facts concerning the world distribution of water-power resources. 39. Name and locate the three principal dams on the Colorado River. 40. What five functions do Hoover Dam and Lake Mead serve? 41. Why are the irrigated lands of the Yuma district and Imperial Valley extremely productive? Mention several important crops. 42. Locate the Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams. What are the purposes of these projects? 43. What are the four principal purposes for which the Tennessee Valley Authority was created? 44. Mention two or three arguments for and against the Tennessee Valley Authority project. 45. Locate Keokuk and Bagnell dams. Account for the extensive shoreline of the Lake of the Ozarks. 46. What are some advantages of Niagara Falls from the standpoint of developing hydroelectric power? 47. What are two advantages of river transportation? What commodities especially are shipped via rivers? Why? 48. For how many miles is the Amazon River navigable? 49. What river is an important transportation artery of China? 50. Mention several objections to river development. 51. How have the Great Lakes of North America contributed to commercial and industrial development in that region? 52. Locate the following lakes: Victoria; Tanganyika; Nyasa; Baikal. 53. Mention five regions where attractive lakes suitable for recreational purposes are found. Why are they found mainly in glaciated regions?

W A T E R R E S O U R C E S OF T H E
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

LAND

391

1. If possible, make field trips to observe and study wells, springs, artesian wells, or water-supply methods of the local community. On such trips inquire about the position or depth of the water tabLe. 2. Find out about the water used in your city. What is its source? How is it treated before being delivered to the people for consumption? Is it hard or soft? If it is hard, find out the cost of equipment necessary to change it to soft water. How much water is consumed daily by the city? How does daily consumption vary with the seasons? 3. Using a small sand table, arrange layers of sand and clay in such a manner that the occurrence of hillside springs and artesian wells will be illustrated. 4. On a large wall outline map of the United States use different colors or symbols to show major regions of big springs, artesian wells, hot springs, and the location of a few major irrigation and hydroelectric projects. 5. If possible, secure, perhaps from the physics department, a small water turbine and dynamo so that you may see the two principal machines used in hydroelectric projects. 6. Make a trip of several miles around the local community, and note the location of deep wells. Do you find any whose waters might be polluted by underground seepage? NOTE: Other activities may be found in the laboratory manual.
TOPICS FOR CLASS R E P O R T S

1. T h e Water Supply of the Local Community 2. Health Resorts in the United States Dependent upon Hot Springs and Mineral Springs 3. Artesian Waters of the Atlantic Coastal Plain 4. Artesian Wells in North and South Dakota 5. T h e Water Supply for New York City 6. Pollution of Inland Waters 7. Irrigation in the Vicinity of Yuma, Arizona 8. T h e Hoover Dam Project 9. T h e Grand Coulee Project 10. Modern River Transportation in the United States

392

T H E E A R T H AND I T S
REFERENCES

RESOURCES

A Water Policy for the American

People,

Future, Vol. II. Reprint of the President's Water Resources Policy Commission, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., 1950.
Developed a7id Potential Water Power of the United States and Other

Vol. I. Ten Rivers in

America's

Countries of the WorldDecember,

cular 367, Washington, D. C., 1955.


MCGUINNESS, C.

1954. U. S. Geological Survey, Cir-

cial Reference
SMITH,

Washington, D. C., 1951. G U Y - H A R O L D (editor). Conservation of Natural Resources. John Wiley 8c Sons, Inc., New York, 1950. T H O M A S , H. E. The Conservation of Ground Water. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1951. U . S. D E P A R T M E N T O F A G R I C U L T U R E , Yearbook 1 9 5 5 , Water. U . S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C. W H I T A K E R , J. R., and A C K E R M A N , E . A . American Resources. Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc., New York, 1951.

L . The Water Situation in the United States with Speto Ground Water. U . S. Geological Survey, C i r c u l a r 114,

c h a p t e r

i 6 .

Native Vegetation and Animal Life

Among the natural resources of the earth, few are more important than native vegetation and associated animal life. T o be sure, certain native plants and animals have been modified and improved by man's scientific methods. Nevertheless, remaining natural forests are our principal source of lumber; natural grass-covered areas are valuable grazing lands; and native animals of land and sea are sources of food, skins, and fur. More and more, attention must be given to the conservation of these natural resources. Such conservation may involve one or all of the following: (1) the sensible and economic consumption of resources now existing, (2) the protection of certain animals and plants almost exterminated by man, and (3) the replenishing of supplies of natural resources wherever possible for the use of future generations. One needs to think only of the enormous daily consumption of lumber to realize the terrific drain on natural forests and the necessity of reforestation. T h e plowing of native grasslands in certain sections of semi-

arid United States has had a twofold detrimental effect: T h e natural grazing land has been ruined, temporarily if not permanently, and the loose soil has been whipped up by the wind and carried away in duststorms. Wise governmental supervision or regulation of man's use of natural resources is an absolute necessity, because man's desire for individual profit too often completely destroys any thought of the needs of future generations.
Plant life reflects environment. N a -

tive vegetation is mainly a reflection of climatic conditions, both past and present. Other environmental factors, such as soils, landforms, and drainage, are also important modifiers of the plant cover. Certain types of vegetation are associated with certain climates. An example is the short grass of the middle-latitude steppes. Native vegetation often has been helpful in determining the value of a region for human use. T h e suitability of virgin soil for certain types of land use and crops is often clearly indicated by the vegetation cover. In

394

THE EARTH AND

ITS

RESOURCES

this chapter we shall give our attention to (1) the principal plant groups, (2) their relationships to environmental conditions, and (3) their world distribution. Animal life. It is impossible to classify animals in terms of environment, as one classifies plants. Plants cannot move about as animals do. They therefore must adapt themselves to their environment by their forms and structures. Animals can, within certain limits, change their environment by migrating or burrowing. T h e plant is a captive of its environment and is compelled to wear the evidences of its captivity by exhibiting certain structural forms where everyone may see them. Animals, on the other hand, adjust themselves to their physical surroundings by what they do, rather than through their structures and forms. No attempt is here made to classify animals into great groups, as is done for plants; however, brief comments occasionally are made concerning the representative animal life associated with certain vegetation groups.
PLANT ASSOCIATIONS, OR GROUPS

are not composed of identical species. Thus the tropical rainforest of the Amazon basin and the Congo, separated by wide expanses of ocean, are, nevertheless, relatively similar in general appearance and type of plants. So are the prairie lands of Argentina, the United States, and Hungary (Fig. 339).
Temperature and water. Unlike

many animals, plants do not generate heat. Because of this, their very existence and their characteristics are greatly influenced by the temperature of the air and soil. For every species of plant there appear to be three critical temperatures: (1) the lower and (2) upper limits, beyond which it cannot exist, and (3) the best temperature, the one in which it grows most vigorously. Different species resist cold in different ways. Some make the adjustment by retarding growth. Such may be shown by the falling of leaves from middle-latitude deciduous trees, such as the oak, elm, and maple. Certain other plants, represented by coniferous trees, such as pine and spruce, relapse into a dormant, or inactive, period without any apparent outward change. In some species the plant completes its entire life cycle during the warm season, reproducing itself by means of seeds. These are called annuals and are represented by many vegetables and cereals. They stand in contrast to perennials, such as trees, grass, and alfalfa, the vegetative parts of which live on year after year. No plants can live entirely with-

Most of us have observed that the plant life in swamps differs markedly from the vegetation cover of higher and drier ground. This example, of course, involves small areas. However, similar environments over great areas in widely separated parts of the earth are likely to have plant covers that are much alike in general aspect. This is true even though the plants

NATIVE VEGETATION AND ANIMAL

LIFE

395

396

THE EARTH AND ITS

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out water. It is taken in at the roots and is used by the plant in the formation of sap. Mineral matter in solution in sap is carried to all parts of the plant.

resistant plants. Such plants have deep or widespread root systems, shorter stems, with smaller and thicker leaves sometimes covered with wax to check the loss of water into the air. In some species a thick, corky bark may develop; in others leaves may be replaced by thorns. T h e desert sagebrush is a good example of a drouthresistant plant. In some climates certain plants are adapted to the use of considerable water during a wet season but develop drouth-resistant characteristics during a dry season. Bunch grass, scrub oak, sumac, and the wild lilac of the California chaparral are examples.
Soils. T e m p e r a t u r e a n d water are

Fig. 340. The General Grant tree, Kings Canyon National Park, California. This tree, 40 feet in diameter, quoia. is an example of one of the sequoias are more than most 3000 or magnificent trees in the world, the giant seSome years old and reach heights of 2 5 0 feet by M. H. Shearer.)

more. (Photograph

the two principal physical elements that determine the character of the earth's vegetation. Some modifications, however, may be caused by soils of different types. Sandy or stony soils, which are very porous, are likely to develop drouth-resistant plants. Excessive salt in a soil may entirely prevent plant growth. A proportion of over 3 percent of lime in soil is likewise injurious to most vegetation. Alkali soils are barren or, at best, produce a very scanty vegetation.
Principal classes of vegetation. We

Certain water-loving plants live in water or in very damp and humid regions. Their steins are generally long and relatively fragile; leaves are large and usually thin; roots are likely to be shallow. T h e banana tree, characteristic of the wet tropics, is an example of such plants. At the opposite extreme are drouth-

shall give our attention to three principal classes of natural vegetation: (1) forests, (2) grasslands, and (3) desert shrub, including tundra. In general, forests occupy the regions of wettest climate; and desert shrub, the driest; whereas grasses are intermediate in their requirements.

NATIVE VEGETATION AND ANIMAL Forests. In the woodland or forest the tree is the essential plant (Fig. 340). Other woody plants, such as bushes and shrubs, together with grasses, may be present as well. T h e tree is not only the most powerful but also the most exacting creature of the vegetable kingdom. When trees grow in a closed formation and are so close together that their crowns touch, the result is a genuine forest. Three ways of classifying trees should be kept in mind: (1) softwood or hardwood, (2) needle leaf or broadleaf, (3) deciduous or evergreen. Most broadleaf trees are hardwoods; the needle trees, such as pines, are softwoods. Evergreens are those which retain some foliage throughout the year, whereas deciduous trees periodically lose their leaves and are therefore bare for a portion of the year. Hardwoods are both evergreen and deciduous, although the conifers are rarely deciduous.

LIFE

397

Forests require more water than the other great vegetation types. Strong, dry winds which cause excessive evaporation are harmful to tree growth. A good forest climate is one with a warm vegetative season, a continuously moist subsoil, and low wind velocity, especially in winter.
Grasslands. T h e v e g e t a t i o n cover

names of prairies and steppes. Grasslands in wet and poorly drained areas are called meadows. Since most grasses are relatively shallow rooted, they suffer from prolonged drouth if it coincides with the warm period or growing season. During the resting period, which is winter in middle latitudes, grasses can endure great drouth with little injury. Climatically, then, grasslands are typical mainly of semiarid regions where most of the rain falls during the warm season. Desert shrubs. As far as plant life is concerned, deserts are of two types. One is represented by the hot Sahara, where little water is present in any form. T h e second is the cold desert of polar regions, frozen much of the year. Here the water that is present is in the form of snow and ice for many months and is not accessible to plants. In both types of desert, however, lowly, widely spaced, drouthresistant plants predominate. Rarely are there sharp boundaries separating woodland, grassland, and desert, but almost always we find gradual transitions, or changes, from one to the other.
LOW-LATITUDE FORESTS Tropical rainforest. Tropical rain-

of grasslands consists principally of perennial grasses, although other plants may be present in considerable numbers. In the low latitudes, grasslands often are called savannas; in the middle latitudes they go by the

forest occupies mainly the warm tropical lowlands where rainfall is heavy and well distributed throughout the year, with no marked dry season. T h e Amazon basin, in northern South America, and west central

398

THE EARTH AND ITS

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Fig.

341.

Aerial Rice

view of tropical

rainforest,

with

clearing,

in the

Amazor.

basin.

(Courtesy

Hamilton

Expedition.)

Africa are the two largest areas of tropical rainforest. It is found also along many rainy coasts and islands in the tropics. Luxuriant and complex! Such is the character of the tropical rainforest (Fig. 341). In external appearance it presents a richly varied combination of many colors. Gray, olive, brown, and yellow tints are more common than the fresh green of middle-latitude woodlands. T h e skyline, too, is different. T h e crown of the tropical forest is irregular and jagged with many crests and furrows. This comes from the great variety of trees of varying heights. No other forest equals it in richness of species. These are intricately intermingled. Seldom is there a large stand of a single kind of tree, as is usually the case in forests of middle latitudes.

Tropical rainforest is evergreen broadleaf in character. There is no general dormant period, each tree shedding its foliage as the new leaves grow (Fig. 342). Just as the climate is without seasonal change, the vegetation is likewise. As a result of the continuousness of the addition and fall of leaves, the forest is never bare and without foliage. Leaves are usually broad and thin, and needle trees are seldom seen. An internal view shows the tropical rainforest to be composed of tall trees, often over 100 feet high, with large diameters, growing close together. It is not a "single-storied" forest, because there is usually an "understory" of smaller trees. T h e result is a dense shade with very subdued light underneath. In the Congo forest, Shantz found that the time

N A T I V E V E G E T A T I O N AND ANIMAL

LIFE

399

required for a photograph (Fig. 343) was 20,000 times the normal exposure in the open. T h e trees have few lower branches, and their trunks are smooth, resembling a conifer more than an oak. Lianas, climbing plants, epiphytes, and parasites are relatively abundant. 1 This mass of vines and creepers appears almost to suffocate the trees that are its supports. Within the forest the tall, branchless trunks resemble gigantic dark columns supporting an almost impenetrable cover composed of the interlocking crowns of the trees, vines, and creepers. In the virgin forest, because of deep shade, undergrowth is not extremely dense. However, it is often sufficient to obstruct distant views. In regions of deepest shade, only a thick mat of herbs or ferns covers the floor, so that one can proceed in all directions without following paths or even chopping new ones. Typical jungle conditions, with a thick and impenetrable undergrowth, chiefly are characteristic of sections where light reaches the forest floor. They may be observed along rivers and coasts, on steep wet slopes, and in abandoned agricultural clearings (Fig. 341). Largely because of the abundant moisture in the surface soil, tropical rainforest trees are shallow rooted, their great trunks commonly being held upright by giant supporting roots. Animal life of the tropical rainforest varies in kind and abundance from one region to another. In the

crown of the forest, where there is an abundance of food a great variety of birds and some climbing animals, such as monkeys and apes, exist. On

Fig.

342.

The

abundance

of

lianas and crown

the are rainof

dense, almost impenetrable forest in Brazil. Undergrowth conspicuous. Natural Courtesy History.)

forest is not

clearly shown in this view of a tropical Chicago Museum

unusually

the darkened floor below, large animals usually are not numerous. In Africa, the hippopotamus inhabits the river margins, and elephants,
1 Lianas are ropelike plants which entwine themselves around trunks and branches. Epiphytes, of which orchids are a common example, characteristically grow on the branches of tropical trees and spread their roots among the cracks in the bark. T h e y frequently have hanging roots. Parasites are plants that feed from the sap of the tree on which they grow.

400

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 343. Interior of the tropical rainforest in the Belgian Congo. Undergrowth appears to be more dense than in Fig. 342. (Courtesy American Geographical Society.)

giraffes, and the bis; catlike animals


'

may penetrate the forest for some distance. Snakes and some amphibians are relatively abundant. It is chiefly in insect life that the tropical forest abounds. T h e hum and sing of insects are ever present. Ants are numbered in billions. Termites, small insects that destroy wood, are likewise abundant. Not only in the tropical forest but throughout most poorly drained areas in the low latitudes are to be found parasitic disease-carrying insects. Some of them are dangerous alike to man and animals. Yellow fever, sleeping sickness, and malaria, dreaded diseases of the tropics, are all transmitted to man through the bites of insects. Lighter tropical forest. Lighter tropical forest has temperature require-

ments similar to those of the tropical rainforest. It occupies, however, regions of less rainfall or, more typically, regions where there is a distinct, but short, dry season. Relatively large areas of this forest type are found in southeastern Asia and often are known as monsoon forests (Fig. 344). A somewhat similar type, the savanna forest, occupies transitional belts between tropical rainforest and the drier, true savannas (Fig. 345). Trees are more widely spaced and are mainly broadleaf deciduous in character. Tall bamboo thickets are common in the monsoon forests. Valuable tropical trees. T h e wild rubber tree was first discovered in the rainforest of Amazonia. It has since been planted in a number of localities in the humid tropics. There

N A T I V E V E G E T A T I O N AND ANIMAL

LIFE

401

- , ,*..

Forest

Fig. 344. Buffaloes dragging teak logs in a Burma forest, eastern India. (Courtesy U. S. Service.)

Fig. 345. Lighter tropical forest in the Belgian Congo. Large trees are sufficiently f a r apart so that they do not cast a dense shade. Grass mantles the forest graphical Society.) floor. (Courtesy American Geo-

402

T H E E A R T H AND ITS

RESOURCES

Fig. 346. Mediterranean woodland in California, showing an open stand of dwarf oak merging with California grassland. (Courtesy U. S. Forest Service.)

are extensive areas devoted to rubber-tree plantations especially in the Malay Peninsula and East Indies and to a lesser extent in parts of Brazil and west central Africa. T h e banana tree is produced on a large scale especially in hot, humid coastal lowlands of the tropics. Honduras and Jamaica are leading exporters of bananas. Chicle is a gummy substance made from the juice of a tropical tree found in Central and South America. It is an important export from Guatemala. It is treated, flavored, and put on the market as the familiar chewing gum. T h e bark of the cinchona tree is the source of quinine, a valuable drug. Java, Colombia, and Ecuador are leading producers of cinchona bark. Mahogany trees are found in cer-

tain parts of the American tropics. Much mahogany is exported from British Honduras. T h e trees characteristically are widely scattered in the forest. Great difficulty often is encountered in getting the trees to water, where they can be floated to concentration points. This partially accounts for the relatively high price of mahogany lumber. Near the southern edge of the tropics in South America, in the Gran Chaco of Paraguay and northern Argentina, is found the quebracho tree. This is a most important source of tannin, a substance needed for the treatment of hides of animals in the making of high-grade leather. Tannin is a principal export from Paraguay, and much of it comes to the United States. Teakwood (Fig. 344) is well known for its durability, especial'y in the

NATIVE VEGETATION AND ANIMAL

LIFE

403

Fig. 347. Mediterranean graphical Society.)

chaparral

in Cape Province, South Africa.

(Courtesy

American

Geo-

building of ships. It is an important export from Burma and Siam. There are many other tropical woods and products of tropical trees besides those which we have mentioned.
MIDDLE-LATITUDE FORESTS Mediterranean. M e d i t e r r a n e a n is a

relatively rare type of forest because it consists of broadleaf evergreens in a climate that has a summer drouth. T h e trees have developed protective devices against rapid loss of water so that they retain their foliage even during the dry season. This unique Mediterranean woodland is found in subtropical regions with mild, rainy winters and long, dry, warm-to-hot summers. T h e largest representative area is the Mediterranean Sea borderland, with smaller areas in California, middle Chile, southern Aus-

tralia, and the Cape Town region of Africa. Mediterranean woodland is mainly a mixed forest of low, or even stunted, trees and woody shrubs (Fig. 346). Tall trees are rare. T h e virgin forest under the more favorable conditions of climate and soil is composed of low, widely spaced trees. T h e ground is completely or partly covered with a pale, dusty bush vegetation. As a protection against evaporation, the tree trunks are encased in a thick bark. T h e cork oak of Spain and Portugal has an unusually thick bark which is peeled from the tree, moistened, and flattened out. It is then cut into many forms of cork and sold throughout the world. In addition to a thick bark, the trees of Mediterranean woodlands develop leaves that are small, thick, and leathery, with hard surfaces. T h e

404

T H E E A R T H AND

ITS

RESOURCES
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N A T I V E V E G E T A T I O N AND A N I M A L

LIFE

405

olive tree, with its massive trunk, gnarled branches, thick bark, and small, stiff, leathery leaves is very representative of the Mediterranean type of tree. Even more common than the woodland composed of low trees and shrubs described above is a vegetation mantle consisting principally of shrubs and bushes in which there may be some stunted trees (Fig. 347). In California this bush thicket is known as chaparral.
Broadleaf, or hardwood, forests.

trees, however, continues to provide a good supply of lumber for furniture manufacturing. Some of the more beautiful woods are becoming scarce, therefore more

Within the more humid parts of the middle latitudes are found two great forest groups: the broadleaf trees, or hardwoods, and the needle-leaf conifers, or softwoods. Over large areas they exist as mixed conifer-broadleaf forests. Temperate hardwood forests vary widely in composition. In the eastern half of the United States two general hardwood-forest areas are distinguished (Fig. 348), as follows: 1) T h e northeast area in northern Wisconsin and Michigan, New York, and southern New England. Principal treesbirch, beech, and maple, but with a large number of hemlock and other conifers (Fig. 349). 2) T h e central and southern area extending from Pennsylvania to Missouri and Arkansas. Principal treesoak, hickory, chestnut, and poplar (Fig. 350). This was originally the finest and most extensive area of hardwoods anywhere in the world. Much of the forest was removed years ago when land was being cleared for agricultural use. T h e remaining stand of

Fig. 349. Mixed hardwood-conifer forest (birch, beech, maple, and hemlock) in Michigan. Much of this type of forest once occupied lands that were not well suited to agriculture, so that its removal has resulted in extensive areas of relatively barren, desolate, cut-over land. (Courtesy U. S. Forest Service.)

expensive. An example is walnut. Much furniture is now constructed of cheaper wood which has a thin veneer, or covering, of walnut glued on the outside. In this great region, fairly extensive areas of virgin forest still remain, particularly in the rougher Appa-

406

THE EARTH AND ITS

RESOURCES

lachian country and in Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas. Much of this timberland has been set aside as national forests. By far the greater part of the forest is decid-

Coniferous, or softwood, forests. C o -

niferous trees are almost exclusively evergreen. T h e addition and fall of needles make a continuous process, not confined to any particular period or season. Unlike broad leaves, however, the needles of conifers are drouth resistant, so that shedding is not necessary to protect against a cold or dry season. In general, soils that develop under coniferous forests are not so fertile as those of the broadleaf hardwoods. T h e subarctic belt of conifers is noted for its great area. It extends across northern Canada and northern Eurasia. T h e name taiga has been given to this region (Fig. 351). T h e northern edge of the taiga, in the neighborhood of the Arctic Circle, blends into the treeless tundra, a region thoroughly hostile to tree growth. T h e Eurasian taiga forms the single largest continuous forest area on earth. Conifers such as larch, spruce, fir, and pine predominate, although there is a scattering of deciduous trees. Tn these regions of long, cold, dry winters and short, cool summers, trees are relatively small in size, usually not more than 1% feet in diameter, and growth is slow (Fig. 352). On the shaded forest floor, vegetation is meager, mosses and lichens being the most common plant forms. Little humus, which is decayed vegetation, is made available to the soil, because needle leaves are a poor source of humus. In addition, the low temperatures and deep shade act to retard decomposition and to dis-

Fig.

350.

mixed

hardwood

forest

(oak,

hickory) in northern Indiana. Much of this type of forest once occupied good agricultural land and as a consequence was destroyed process of settlement. (Courtesy ment of Agriculture.) U. S. in the Depart-

uous, the trees dropping their leaves during the winter season. Outside the United States, relatively large areas of temperate hardwoods or mixed forests are to be found in Japan, Korea, southeastern China, central Russia, southwestern Siberia, western Europe, southern Chile, southeastern Australia, and New Zealand.

NATIVE V E G E T A T I O N AND ANIMAL

LIFE

407

Fig. 351. Swamp taiga of western Siberia. This region did not suffer glaciation. The subarctic belt of conifers shown in this aerial photograph extends across northern Russia for a distance of more than 4 0 0 0 miles. It is easily the world's largest and most continuous forested area. One handicap, however, is that trunks of trees have relatively small diameters. Similar taiga stretches across northern Canada and central Alaska. Note these regions on Fig. 339. Is there any taiga in the Southern Hemisphere? (Photographed from Luftschiffbau graphical Society of New York.) Zeppelin, courtesy American Geo-

Fig. 352. Taiga in Yukon, Canada. Note the relative smallness of the trees. Many fur-bearing animals are found in these regions. (Courtesy U. S. Forest Service.)

Fig.

353.

Interior

of

the

Pacific

Douglas

fir

forest. This is one of the world's finest softwood forests. Trees are of large size, and the stand is dense. (Courtesy U. S. Forest Service.)

408

THE EARTH AND ITS


J

RESOURCES

courage the activity of soil fauna, especially earthworms. Animal life is not so abundant as in the middle-latitude forests farther south. However, many fur-bearing animals inhabit the taiga, and trap-

quality of wood, and are more accessible. In western North America, broken belts of conifers extend southward from the taiga. They follow the rainier highland chains of the Pacific coast mountains and the Rocky Mountains to beyond the Mexican border. T h e rainy slopes of the Coast Ranges, Cascades, and Sierras support magnificent forests. At present the state of Oregon ranks first in lumber production. Among the finer timber trees in Washington and Oregon is the Douglas fir (Fig. 353). Farther south in the Coast Ranges of northern California are the great redwood forests, and in the Sierras of central California is the giant sequoia, the largest of all trees (Fig. 340). Another area of conifers extends southward from the taiga into southeastern Canada; the northern portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan; the Adirondacks in New York; and much of Maine (Fig. 354). This region is outstanding at present for its tremendous production of wood pulp used in the manufacture of paper. T h e most valuable timber trees, especially white pine, have been cut from this forest, leaving behind extensive areas of waste and cut-over land of little value. Many writers point to this region as a glaring example of the ruthless destruction of a great natural resource, with little effort being made toward replenishing the supply. South of the taiga, in Eurasia, valuable coniferous forests occupy the slopes of the Alps, Carpathians, and

Fig. 354. This mixed stand of Norway and jack pines in white northern Minnesota U. S. is representative Department f of the northeastern pine forest of jack, red, and pines. (Courtesy Agriculture.)

ping is an important occupation. T h e long-continued cold tends to make for heavy pelts. Wolf, bear, fox, otter, mink, ermine, squirrel, lynx, and sable are representative animals. In the lower middle latitudes are other areas of needle trees which are more valuable as a timber resource than the taiga. This is because the trees are larger, produce a better

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Fig. 355. The southern pine forest (longleaf, loblolly, and slash pines) of the United States is typical of the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plain. (Courtesy U. S. Forest Service.)

other highland regions as well as certain sandy areas of coastal plains. Separated from this northern belt of conifers by extensive broadleaf forests is the southern pine forest of the United States. It occupies the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plain. It is com