MR. J. Y. BUCHANAN has been invited to accompany the expedition which sailed last week from the Thames to survey the route and lay the cables connecting Cadiz and the Canary Islands, and these islands with Senegal, on the west coast of Africa. During the laying of the cable from Lisbon to Madeira, over a route that had been carefully sounded, into what was believed to be close on 2000 fathoms, it suddenly parted. Soundings taken immediately revealed the existence of a bank with no more than 110 fathoms of water on it, which had been missed while surveying the route. Again, quite recently—indeed, during the last two weeks—the French exploring vessel Talisman, which has been investigating this part of the ocean with a numerous scientific staff, under the direction of the veteran Milne-Edwards, discovered another bank to the southward of the “Seine Bank,” with as little as 70 fathoms on it. This bank was found to be about thirty miles long from east to west, and six miles broad from north to south. Apart from the special investigation of these banks, the survey of the line o route, which is carried out by two ships working in concert along a zigzag course, sounding every seven miles, must necessarily furnish much important information. Between Madeira and the Canary Islands lies the small group of the Salvage Islands, which may be said to be almost unknown. It is intended to carry the soundings round them, so as to determine whether they are connected with any of the new banks or with known land. It is also intended to land on the islands, from which interesting collections may be expected. In addition to the instruments ordinarily carried in the ships, Mr. Buchanan takes out a new sounding tube, constructed for use with the ordinary wire sounding apparatus. With it it will he possible at every station to secure a good sample of the mud and of the water from the bottom without altering the routine work of the ship. As the route crosses the mouth of the Mediterranean it will thus be possible to determine the extent to which the dense warm water which leaves that sea as a bottom current affects the density and temperature of the deep water of the North Atlantic in its neighbourhood. The ships to be used are the Dacia and the International, both belonging to the Telegraph Construction and Maritime Company.

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    Notes . Nature 28, 531–533 (1883).

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