A journey in Brazil - PDF book by Louis Agassiz

A journey in Brazil 

A journey in Brazil

Excerpt from the diaries 

April 2d, 1865. — Our first Sunday at sea. The weather is delicious, the ship as steady as anything on the water can be, and even the most forlorn of our party have little excuse for seasickness. We have had service from Bishop Potter this morning, and since then we have been on deck reading, walking, watching a singular cloud, which the captain says is a cloud of smoke, in the direction of Petersburg. We think it may be the smoke of a great engagement going on while we sail peacefully along. What it means, or how the battle ends, if battle it be, we shall not know for two months perhaps.

 Mr Agassiz is busy today in taking notes, at regular intervals, of the temperature of the water, as we approach the Gulf Stream. Tonight we cut it at right angles, and he will remain on deck to continue his observations. April 3c?. — The Professor sat up last night as he intended, and found his watch, which was shared by one or two of his young assistants, very interesting. 

We crossed the Gulf Stream opposite Cape Hatteras, at a latitude where it is comparatively narrow, some sixty miles only in breadth. Entering it at about six o'clock, we passed out of it a little after midnight.

 The western boundary of the warm waters stretching along the coast had a temperature of about 57°. Immediately after entering it, the temperature began to rise gradually, the maximum being about 74°, falling occasionally, however, when we passed through a cold streak, to 68°. 

These cold streaks in the Gulf Stream, which reach to a considerable depth, the warm and cold waters descending together in immediate contact for at least a hundred fathoms, are attributed by Dr Bache to the fact that the Gulf Stream is not stationary. It sways as a whole sometimes a little toward the shore, sometimes a little away from it, and, in consequence of this, the colder water from the coast creeps in, forming these vertical lay-ers in its midst. 

The eastern boundary is warmer * On the 17th of May, nearly a month after our arrival in Rio, this cloud was interpreted to us. It was, indeed, charged with the issues of life and death, for it was on this day and the following that the final assaults on Petersburg were made, and the cloud which marred an otherwise stainless sky, as we were passing along the shores of Virginia, was, no doubt, the mass of smoke gathered above the opposing lines of the two armies than the western one, 

the book details :
  • Author: Louis Agassiz
  • Publication date: 1867
  • Company: Boston: Houghton, Osgood and Company

  • Download 27 MB
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