Aspects of Nature in Different Lands and Different Climates with Scientific Elucidations (Complete) Aspects of Nature in Different Lands and Different Climates with Scientific Elucidations (Complete)

Aspects of Nature in Different Lands and Different Climates with Scientific Elucidations (Complete‪)‬

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A widely extended and apparently interminable plain stretches from the southern base of the lofty granitic crest, which, in the youth of our planet, when the Caribbean gulf was formed, braved the invasion of the waters. On quitting the mountain valleys of Caraccas, and the island-studded lake of Tacarigua whose surface reflects the stems of plantains and bananas, and on leaving behind him meads adorned with the bright and tender green of the Tahitian sugar cane or the darker verdure of the Cacao groves, the traveller, looking southward, sees unroll before him Steppes receding until they vanish in the far horizon.

Fresh from the richest luxuriance of organic life, he treads at once the desolate margin of a treeless desert. Neither hill nor cliff rises, like an island in the ocean, to break the uniformity of the boundless plain; only here and there broken strata of limestone, several hundred square miles in extent, appear sensibly higher than the adjoining parts. “Banks” is the name given to them by the natives; as if language instinctively recalled the more ancient condition of the globe, when those elevations were shoals, and the Steppes themselves were the bottom of a great Mediterranean sea.

Even at the present time nocturnal illusion still recalls these images of the past. When the rapidly rising and descending constellations illumine the margin of the plain, or when their trembling image is repeated in the lower stratum of undulating vapour, we seem to see before us a shoreless ocean. Like the ocean, the Steppe fills the mind with the feeling of infinity; and thought, escaping from the visible impressions of space, rises to contemplations of a higher order. Yet the aspect of the clear transparent mirror of the ocean, with its light, curling, gently foaming, sportive waves, cheers the heart like that of a friend; but the Steppe lies stretched before us dead and rigid, like the stony crust of a desolated planet.

In every zone nature presents the phenomena of these great plains: in each they have a peculiar physiognomy, determined by diversity of soil, by climate, and by elevation above the level of the sea.

In northern Europe, the Heaths, which, covered with a single race of plants repelling all others, extend from the point of Jutland to the mouth of the Scheldt, may be regarded as true Steppes,—but Steppes of small extent and hilly surface, if compared with the Llanos and Pampas of South America, or even with the Prairies of the Missouri and the Barrens of the Coppermine river, where range countless herds of the shaggy buffalo and musk ox.

A grander and severer aspect characterises the plains of the interior of Africa. Like the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean, it is only in recent times that attempts have been made to explore them thoroughly. They are parts of a sea of sand, which, stretching eastward, separates fruitful regions from each other, or encloses them like islands; as where the Desert, near the basaltic mountains of Harudsh, surrounds the Oasis of Siwah rich in date trees, and in which the ruins of the temple of Ammon mark the venerable site of an ancient civilisation. Neither dew nor rain bathe these desolate plains, or develope on their glowing surface the germs of vegetable life; for heated columns of air, every where ascending, dissolve the vapours, and disperse each swiftly vanishing cloud.

GENRE
Science & Nature
RELEASED
2022
September 4
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
643
Pages
PUBLISHER
Library of Alexandria
SELLER
The Library of Alexandria
SIZE
1.3
MB

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