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Evidences of a Tropical Climate Buried Beneath the Ice.

An Absolute Change Of Zones.

Geological Evidence to Show That It Came With Suddenness.

Argument Against Glacial Action

[Written for the Dispatch]

In science there are no royal, gilt-edged roads. Impartial nature presents him two avenues of approach --analysis and synthesis -- all else is delusion. Such problems as the habitability of the stars, the geometrical lines on the planet Mars, and many other interesting questions concerning orbs out in space, must be approached from a correct understanding of what is presented to our "perceptions" here on earth. Here are presented our elementary lessons.

To grasp these elementary principles thoroughly, and to secure a chain of facts as stepping stones to higher truths, is the only way to make a real advance.

Probably the most remarkable modern oversight in science is the failure to seize and properly interpret a most significant fact, related especially to the Siberian side of the Arctic region. This is the great fact, open as the day, attested by unbounded testimony, of a transposition from a tropical to a frigid climate. In other words, this side of the North Polar area presents the plain evidence that this icy region is either on or near a former equatorial belt, and this being the case, it follows inevitably that the South Polar district is at present also thus situated.

Evidence is furnished of a still more astounding fact, namely, that while this climatic transposition was most radical, the change was also accomplished with such suddenness as to extinguish in one fell swoop over tens of millions of square miles, the entire horizon of animated nature! A world of tropical zoology lies entombed in that northern ice. Islands and river valleys are made up of the skeletons of myriads of the uncouth forms of the earlier world. These animals were warm-bred climatically, and their remains repose where vegetation is now extinct, and where for many thousands of years an Arctic rigor has held continuous sway.

Evidences In The Ice

On the shores of the New Siberian Islands, the waves of the Arctic ocean are still casting up fossil ivory, and in the ice, from time to time, huge carcasses are found, skin, flesh, stomach contents, eyes, even, preserved through millenniums (sic) of refrigeration.

Less interesting, perhaps, but corroboratively significant, is the fact of evidence of a corresponding flora, concomitantly associated with and destroyed when this stupendous and appalling operation marked the close of one and the beginning of another of nature's great cycles.

Now, while for the present we may close our eyes to what these phenomena indicate, how shall we stand when that bolder searchlight of the future shall be turned on by those who shall get hold of the meaning of these facts, and shall unravel them as a tangled skein?

It will be in vain to attempt to hide behind our geological text books, or in the shadow of a continental glaciation, erected by the imagination as a refuge for our ignorance.

What sort of a commentary will this be on our professional interpreters of the record of past action, that we failed to see what was so discernible? That we failed to grasp what confronted us on every hand, but instead, erected hypotheses utterly impossible in physics, and that irreconcilably antagonized the old testament of a dead world to its successor? There is no escape from the conclusion that this anomalous condition found so centralized on the Siberian side of the North Pole means an absolute change of zones, from which the deduction is irresistible, that the earth was swung from her former polar points and that the glacial theory as taught in our schools and held by the leading geologists of the world is simply a conception without logical support and whenever weighed in the balance must be found utterly wanting.

Then what?

Lessons Have Been Mislearned

Then some of the most important elementary lessons in geology have been mislearned. Then huge errors have been perpetrated, and just as surely as if done in mathematics such errors must lead to a false conclusion and so far as any benefit can accrue, must end in disaster.

This is not the worst aspect of the situation. If we are clearly wrong on this matter, then such error came about from lack of discriminating discernment, or in jumping at conclusions after the manner of an acrobat; and this being the case, such lack of discriminating discernment must undoubtedly be operative when we address ourselves to the solution of other problems and especially are we then liable to exhibit a limp in our intellectual gait, when we leave the earth which we misconceive to solve the phenomena of other worlds. Error is never safe.

Of the scores of expeditions that have gone northward in quest of the pole, many of which encountered this bygone tropical evidence, there is no record that any of them were impressed with its full significance. Many of these men saw before them, not merely the fossil imprints impressed on rocks, but a world of skeletons, the myriads of bony structures, palpable and in as good a state of preservation as when, rejoicing in strength and life, they roamed in the flesh.

Nature usually buries her dead from sight when on a continental scale she slays her own. She hides her tombs beneath overforming rocks, and we see the epitaphs only where ages of erosion have slowly wrought exposure. But this Arctic graveyard has its dead still in sight, as if they would plead not to be passed by, but that the great lesson of a suddenly destroyed world might be recognized, and that the mightiest operation bearing on all animation be fully understood. It is but a small secret that may be disclosed in discovering the mere location of the Pole.

Significance of the Phenomena.

It is a hundred fold more important to grasp and interpret the significance of the phenomena that is so open to inspection, and which has been so long passed by.

No one may logically contend that a change of climate from a tropical to a frigid condition could ensue from the slow process recognized as glacial action. It is not conceivable that glaciation could so instantly transform climate as to hold flesh ere it had time to decay. And yet in quest of confirmation for the evident misconception known as glaciation, learned men journey to Greenland to behold in a local operation, due to Arctic isotherms, what they premise must have been a fact under conditions that must have been entirely dissimilar and, when subject to analysis, be found to be utterly impossible.

Now, it is not so hard to see why these Northern skeletons and carcasses have so withstood the ravages of time. It could not be otherwise in a perpetually refrigerated region. There is an abundance of evidence of a wide zone of sudden and simultaneous death far as the explored land surface extends in that direction, but where the operations wrought by changing seasons have taken place, during thousands of years, this evidence is more indistinct. The entire region of North America, on both flanks of the Rocky Mountain chain, is one vast cemetery of simultaneously extinguished animation. New Mexico, Arizona and California abound with this evidence, while in Colorado, Wyoming Idaho and Oregon, the astounding zone of death is still more distinct. Especially is this the case in the "Bad Lands" region and the country surrounding Fossil Lake. Without a question, this chain of evidence must hold good throughout the Rocky Mountain region of the Dominion of Canada, for the causes would call for this and future exploration will verify it.

The Evidences Are Widespread.

Not only is this evidence confined to a western parallel of North America, but, scattered throughout the great valley of the Mississippi and throughout New England, in numerous borings and excavations, deep buried vegetation and remains of antediluvian forms have been encountered. But nowhere in such amazing numbers as in Arctic Siberia. Nowhere else have been found literal hills of these remains, indicating the drifting together of such countless carcasses of animal forms after having met death in the universal catastrophe.

Neither does it follow necessarily that when a portion of these remains has been found that such animal was aboriginal to the region where such part was discovered. These may represent detached specimens from the main body of drift, far away from the creature's habitat. The evidence is almost conclusive, in view of the fact that more frequently the complete skeleton is not found, but generally only a single feature. We cannot possibly be prepared to decide intelligently on the aspects presented by any neighboring planets unless we thoroughly grasp the past phases of our own world.

Whatever the amount of mere pole-hunting, past, present and to come, it must all fall short of its real value, unless there be a clear understanding of the surrounding Arctic prenomena (sic). It is not surprising that the interesting lines on Mars are regarded as canals, or as a colossal scheme of irrigation, and are referred to a human agency superior to the genus homo that dominates the earth. This is just what we should expect from those who have so utterly failed in the interpretation of terrestrial nature, whose countless dead have not succeeded in impressing them with their revelations.

It may be humiliating, but the fact is coming home to us, that nearly all the pages in ethnology must be gone over again; that important leaves in geological history must be rewritten and when cleared of now popular error the entire field of anthropology and particularly its biological department must be subject to thorough re-arrangement.

It will be a sorrowful figure that we shall cut in the full glare of twentieth century intelligence, in having tramped all over the "glaciated" earth for evidence which we failed to see, much as Yankee Doodle failed to see the town, owing to the multiplicity of houses.


Reproduced with permission: L.L. Lewis, Explorations (Newspaper Clippings Related to Polar Exploration), Vol. 1 & 2. University Archives, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries, Lawrence, KS.


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Original Source:
  Pittsburg Dispatch, Pittsburg, PA, April 5, 1896.  
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  Jennifer Holvoet, Ph.D.  
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