WE cannot do better than quote part of the translator's preface, wherein he states that the book “bears the same relation to the strictly scientific treatment of the subject as a popular lecture on art to instruction in the studio; a ramble through a museum to a lecture on science; or a short pleasure-sail on the coast, with here and there an opening glimpse of the scenery,” &c. M. Sonrel devotes the first portion of his book to submarine orography, with full explanations of deep-sea soundings, configuration of sea-bottom, submarine scenery, the various charts of the sea-bottom, and the like. The phenomenon of phosphorescence is explained; and the colour and temperature of the ocean are also dwelt on; next comes submarine life, with a long description of wonderful sponges, polypi, and corals. He relates, also, many legends with regard to marine monsters. Then we have man, and his work at the bottom of the sea, divers, diving apparatus, raising of ships, construction of bridges, submersion of towns, submarine volcanoes—all are graphically described. The last part is devoted to the action of rivers and currents on the sea-bottom, the dunes of Gascony, and villages buried beneath them. M. Sonrel lastly illustrates the insignificance of man compared with the ocean, by telegraphic cables, with an engraving of a fossilised cable. The following passage ends this interesting volume:—“If the intelligence of man has placed him at the head of the creation, the feeble influence that he can exercise over Nature ought to humble his pride. All that he can accomplish by physical labour is almost imperceptible by the side of the work effected by the microscopic infusoria; man, the giant, is dwarfed in results by the almost invisible atom !” This book is well illustrated throughout, and is admirably adapted to those who require light scientific reading.
The Bottom of the Sea.
By L. Sonrel. Translated and Edited by Elihu Rich. Pp. 402, 67 Illustrations. (London: S. Low, Son and Co. 1870.)
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The Bottom of the Sea. Nature 2, 65 (1870). https://doi.org/10.1038/002065a0