As already stated, it is impossible for an iceberg to form at any place where it is warmest at the mouth of the stream or canon. If it be warmer at the mouth than farther inland, the mouth would be the last to freeze over, and there would be no water to pass over the ice to make an iceberg. If one was formed--it being warmer at the mouth--it would commence to thaw there first, and where would water come from to break it loose and push it into the ocean? It could not start until the whole length of the. river was thawed loose, and would then have to come down as a whole, as there would be nothing to break it. It is simply out of the question for an iceberg to form in any location yet discovered. On the other hand, the interior of the earth--back from the mouth of the rivers or cañons--being warmer, is just suited for the formation
of icebergs. The mouth freezes first, and the river, continuing to flow to the ocean, overflows the mouth, and freezes for months, until spring. As the warm weather of summer advances, and, owing to the warmth from the earth, the bergs are thawed loose, the water from the rains in the interior rushes down, they are shoved into the ocean, and tidal waves are started.
Note the difference. On earth, the whole length of a stream is frozen, and the farther inland the harder the freezing, while in the interior only the mouth is frozen, and the open water is well supplied with rains to produce the bergs. In the interior of the earth, also, there is not only plenty of water to produce these bergs, but plenty to shove them into the ocean, while on earth there isn't water for either purpose.
For the last three hundred years a fairly steady stream of explorers have been trying to reach the poles--Arctic and Antarctic--and the shores of the Arctic region have been traveled by thousands, including
the natives, yet no one has ever seen an iceberg leaving its original location, and plunging into the ocean. The reason that mention of such an occurrence has never been recorded is that it has never been seen. Hall, it is true, reports having seen a landslide, and Kane saw a large piece of ice break from a projecting cliff; but not an iceberg. Yet bergs are so numerous, that the oceans are full of them. Isn't it strange that no one has thought of asking about the place of their origin? No, it is not so strange when one stops to think that heretofore the general belief has been that the earth is solid, and that the icebergs must come from some location near the poles.
What is to be found in the Antarctic Ocean to bear out the theory that icebergs come from the interior of the earth, and cannot be formed on earth? Bernacchi says: "There was less than two inches of rainfall in eleven and one-half months, and while it snowed quite frequently, it never fell to any great depth."
Under those conditions, where would
materials be found to produce an iceberg? Yet the greatest one on earth is there--one so large that it is called the Great Ice Barrier, rather than an iceberg--being over four hundred miles long and fifty miles wide. It is grounded in two thousand one hundred feet of water, and extends from eighty to two hundred feet above water.
Now, it would be impossible for this berg to form in a country having practically no rain or snow. As icebergs are made from frozen water, and there is no water to freeze, it evidently was formed at some place other than where it now is; the berg itself, being of fresh water, lies in mid-ocean of salt water.
"Where could such an iceberg be formed?" In the interior of the earth; in a long, wide, deep, and straight river. How do I know this? Just as I know anything that I have not seen, or that has not yet come to pass. How do I know that the temperature next July will be warmer than it was last January? Because one of the great laws, of the universe declares
it shall be so. We get our heat from the sun, and next July the earth will be directly opposite to it; therefore the rays of the sun will strike the United States more squarely. In January the sun strikes the United States slanting, or obliquely, and we do not get so much heat. That is why I know this Barrier was formed in the interior of the earth.
Again, how do I know that that Great Ice Barrier came from the interior of the earth, and from the kind of river described? First, it could not come from the earth, as icebergs are not formed on earth. Second, the river that that berg was frozen in must have been twenty-five hundred feet deep, fifty miles across, and from four to five hundred miles long: for those are the present dimensions of the berg: the river had to be straight, or the berg could not have passed out without breaking. It passed through a comparatively level country, for the surface is still flat. Probably the berg took thousands of years to freeze, and was released only when some burning volcano reached a point near
enough to thaw it loose; heavy rains then shoved it to its present location.
Another proof that the interior of the earth is level near the Antarctic entrance, is that many of the icebergs found in the Antarctic are long and slim. They are called "ice-tongues," which indicates that they came out of rivers running nearly on a level. The bergs found in the Arctic, on the other hand, are more chunky, indicating that they come from a more mountainous country, where the fall of streams is more abrupt, causing the bergs to be shorter and probably thicker.
Should anyone ask why Livingstone or Stanley had never spoken of icebergs while exploring Darkest Africa, they would be dubbed "crazy." Yet conditions are more favorable for the production of icebergs in Africa than in the Arctic Circle, so far as is known. Consider how an iceberg is formed, then see if Africa has not more advantages in the way of forming icebergs than the Arctic Circle. To state again briefly: An iceberg is formed by water running down a stream, where
the mouth freezes early in the fall, and as the water continues to pass over the frozen mouth it freezes until spring, when the warmth from the sun and the water washing down loosens and plunges it into the ocean. In Africa there is the stream with plenty of rain to furnish water to freeze, but in the Arctic Circle no rain or water is found to produce an iceberg. If there were, the mouth, being warmer than the interior, would be the last to freeze, which would stop the flow of water, the stream being already frozen; and there being no rain or melted snow, there would be no water to shove the berg into the ocean.
So, it will be observed, while it is absolutely impossible for an iceberg to be formed in Africa, it is not more so than in the Arctic Circle. Africa lacks only the cold mouth to the stream, while the Arctic Circle lacks the cold mouth, the warm interior, and the water to freeze.
Peary has something of intense interest to say on page 33, where he writes about the conditions he found on his trip to the
Arctic, and the approach to the Arctic Ocean through Greenland:
"There, the accumulated snow-precipitation of centuries, in a latitude and altitude where it is practically correct to say that it never rains, and the snow does not melt, even in the long summer day, has gradually filled all the valleys of the interior, until it has leveled them even with the mountain summits, and, still piling higher through the centuries, has at last buried the highest of these mountain summits, hundreds and even thousands of feet deep in snow and ice.
"The interior of Greenland to-day is simply an elevated, unbroken plateau of snow, lifted from five thousand to eight thousand, and even ten thousand feet above the level of the sea; a huge, white, glistening shield twelve hundred miles in length, and five hundred miles in width, resting on the supporting mountains. It is an Arctic Sahara, in comparison with which the African Sahara is insignificant. For on this frozen Sahara of inner Green-land occurs no form of life, animal or
vegetable; no fragment of rock, no grain of sand is visible. The traveler across its frozen wastes, traveling as I have week after week, sees, outside of himself and his own party, but three things in all the world, namely, the infinite expanse of the frozen plain, the infinite dome of the cold, blue sky, and the cold, white sun--nothing but these."
This shows that Greenland is not the country, nor has it the conditions for forming icebergs, as there is no rain, or melted snow; and, so far as I have been able to learn, the discharge from the glaciers is water and not ice. The cold end of the streams or cañons, which could furnish water for icebergs, is to the south, or inland, and the warm end is to the farthest point north. These conditions must be reversed in order to produce an iceberg.
In the following quotation from "The World's Wonders," page 704, a theory is advanced as to how icebergs may be formed:
"Is it not possible that the commonly accepted theory as to the manner in which
icebergs are formed is false? If repeated congelation destroys the saline crystallization of sea water, may not a similar chemical decomposition take place under continuous congealment? The rivers of Greenland, to whose debouchment the formation of icebergs is ascribed, are yet to be discovered, though the point of apparent iceberg formation has been visited. It is an open question yet whether these ice mountains are not created under atmospheric influence. If, as seems to be well proved, there is a comparatively warm climate prevailing about the poles, the proximity of excessive cold and warm currents would be productive of the most violent paroxysms of the air, such as cyclones, waterspouts, etc. These might suck up vast quantities of sea water, which would be precipitated again at certain points, like the vapor of the Gulf-Stream, which condenses and falls over England because it there first meets with a counter cold current. If this uplifted water, now vaporized, should strike against the mountain barriers along the Greenland coast it
would certainly be precipitated in the form of rain, and, meeting with an intensely cold atmosphere, would congeal as it gradually fell, thus building up great peaks of fresh water ice, just as we see them. This theory might extend further with perfect consistency, to account for icebergs of fresh water by repeated congelations, for it is plausible to assume that there are air strata of hot and cold at altitudes above the poles, passing through which the sea water would alternate from rain to hail, until the chemical change to fresh water is complete. Not infrequently icebergs, or rather, glaciers, form in the interior of Greenland, and always at the feet of mountains or slopes to the sea; after reaching a certain size, gravity causes them to break loose and sweep into the sea, carrying with them great boulders, driftwood, or anything in their path."
When one takes into account the round-about way in which this writer goes at forming icebergs, my theory of just plain water flowing into the Arctic Ocean, where the mouth freezes, and the balance
of the stream keeps open, with water flowing over the frozen mouth, for seven to ten months, will be more successful in producing an iceberg than where dependence is placed upon rain--especially in a country where there is no rain. Remember, Peary says it never rains, and the snow does not melt. In proof of that assertion, he furthermore says the snow is from five to ten thousand feet deep.
Bernacchi mentions huge icebergs traveling northwest at about four knots per hour, coming from the southeast right out of the open sea, on their way north. Could they have left a track, it would have led to the interior of the earth--which is where they had their origin.
Concerning the scarcity of rain and snow in the Arctic regions, which precludes the possibility of furnishing a sufficient quantity of water to produce an iceberg, Nansen says, on page 335, "Why will it not snow? Christmas is near, and what is Christmas without snow, thickly falling snow? We have not had one snow-fall all the time we have been drifting."
Click to enlarge
A SECTION OF THE GREAT ICE-BARRIER.
A monster iceberg in the Antarctic Ocean, four hundred miles long, fifty miles wide, grounded in twenty-one hundred feet of water, and extending from one hundred to two hundred feet above the ocean; frozen from fresh water, not attached to land. How did it get there?
When Bernacchi was voyaging in the Antarctic Circle, he wrote:
"During the next two days (11th and 12th) we passed some thousands of icebergs, as many as ninety being counted from the bridge at one time. There was very little variety of form among them, all being very large and bounded by perpendicular cliffs on all sides; they were on an average one hundred and twenty feet in height. Each one of them was a centre of condensation, for over each was a white, vaporous cloud. Could an eye from aloft look down upon the scene, the upper side of the cloud stratum would present somewhat the appearance of an immense cauldron boiling and bubbling and inter-mixing in the upper air. These icebergs facilitate the formation of clouds and pro-mote precipitation. There was a considerable fall in the specific gravity of the sea, due to the presence of a large quantity of fresh water at the surface, derived from the number of icebergs." (Page 60.)
How does this account accord with your notion of how icebergs are formed in a
country where Bernacchi reports less than two inches of rainfall in a whole year, and but small quantities of snow? Where is the water to come from that will produce such great quantities of icebergs averaging a thousand feet in thickness, and many of them several miles long? Those icebergs were on their way north--never to return--yet the ocean will always be filled with them, as others will come from the place whence they came. Where is that place? There is no rain or melted snow to furnish the water to freeze into an iceberg. Bergs can come from one place only--the interior of the earth.
Bernacchi's speaking of fresh water, in connection with the ice, leads me to believe that that fresh water was held in position just as his ship was--by an unusually strong centre of gravity, it being about the turning point, or half-way round the entrance, to the interior of the earth at the south. My reason for thinking so is, that if it was not an unusually strong centre of gravity, the fresh water would mix with the salt. Gravity draws the heaviest
substance strongest. Salt water, being heavier than fresh water, is drawn so firmly that it keeps the two from mixing. This is just what Nansen found in the Arctic, which he called dead water,--where the fresh water lay on the salt water, and did not mix, but moved with the Fram--the bottom of the ship passing down into the salt water was almost like being aground in mud. He could scarcely make any headway, and turned his ship in every direction to free himself of it, but with little success. It was a great relief to find himself free of the dead water, which he had labored to clear his ship of for three days. I know no other reason why fresh and salt water should come together and not mix. If this be the correct explanation, it will account for so much ice being held in large drifts at certain locations, and being shoved along by very heavy winds, or replaced by other large floes which push it on. It will be remembered that Nansen drifted in this ice five months, and only advanced one degree.
On page 263 Bernacchi speaks of the
[paragraph continues] Great Ice Barrier, and refutes what others have written about it. "It appears as if the ice barrier is nothing more than a huge tongue of ice flowing eastward into the ocean for a distance of perhaps five hundred miles, and possibly not more than fifty miles in width." "The heavy ice-pack met with near this spot tends to prove the existence of a considerable tract of ocean to the south, whose frozen surface breaks up only late in the year, and moves out and around the extremity of the Great Ice Tongue, or Barrier, in the usual northwesterly direction. If an extensive land-area were behind, or farther east, such a large mass of sea-ice would be impossible." "Sir James Ross reported the 'appearance of land' to the south of a spot near where we landed on the barrier. We did not, however, sight any, although we had exceptionally fine, clear weather."
I contend that the greatest of all icebergs found in the Antarctic Ocean--called the Great Ice Barrier--is an iceberg, while not formed as most icebergs are,
and not at all like those found in the Arctic Ocean--where they are much shorter, showing that the streams they come from flow through a more hilly or mountainous country than will be found leading to the opening of the interior of the earth at the south. The long icebergs that Bernacchi speaks of--he calls them "tongues of ice"--are just the same as this monster, only smaller. Writers who claim that the Great Ice Barrier is a glacier, are surely in error. Why should the Great Ice Barrier be the shape of the other ice tongues found in the Antarctic Ocean? And how could a glacier form without land to start on? Glaciers are not of that shape.
This berg undoubtedly came from the interior of the earth. Why not ascribe a plain, reasonable construction to the origin of this great iceberg, in preference to some absurd theory that cannot be understood? And if understood, cannot be believed. Are we still to believe that the earth stands still, and is solid or flat? Then it matters but little what the Great Ice Barrier is called, or how it was formed.