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Science in Russia

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    THE Kazan Society of Naturalists continued last year its valuable explorations of Eastern Russia, and we have before us several new fascicules of its Memoirs and Proceedings.1 M. Ivanitsky publishes a list of plants of the Government of Vologda, which contains 804 Spermatophytse, GymnospermEB, and Sporophyte. As to these last, only 6 Equisetacese, 5 Licopodiacese, and 20 ferns being given, the list obviously will be much extended by subsequent research. The flora of Vologda, which is situated on the limits of the middle and Arctic Russian floras, offers a certain special interest, and M. Ivanitsky has not neglected to mention the wild and cultivated plants which find their northern limits within the province. It consists chiefly of Compcsitece (107 species), 49 Cyperacese, 48 Graminea;, 41 to 34 each of Ranunculacese, Caryophyllete, Rosaces, and Cruciaeerte, 27 to 22 Papilionacea;, Scrophulariae, Labiatoe, Salicineae, and Polygonacese, and 21 to 19 UmbelH-fera;, Filices, and Orchidere. The list of plants is prefaced by a masterly sketch of the physical conditions of separate parts of the province. The same volume contains a paper by. M Mis-lavsky on the irritability of the nervous-muscular system, being an inquiry into the causes of the well-known differences of the effects of electrical irritation on the frog, when measured by the methods of Dubois-Reymond. All causes which may depend upon the conditions of the experiments themselves having been eliminated, there still remain notable differences which must be ascribed to the state of the system altogether. A paper, by Th. Tsomakion, on the laws of transmission of electricity through gases, embodies the results of several new experiments in this field. In a former inquiry the author, by introducing into the chain of condensation a discharger where the discharge could take place only at close contact of the two electrodes, had experimentally proved the law, already deduced by Forselman and Heer, that the whole amount of heat produced at the discharge of the condensator does not depend upon the composition of the chain. But as soon as he introduced a layer of gas between the electrodes, he found that his results widely differed from all previously obtained by other students; he undertook a series of experiments for discovering the sources of that discrepancy of results, and he has arrived at a long series of conclusions which are of great interest, but ought to be submitted to a closer inquiry. This last is continued.—To the same vol. xiii. M. Zaitseff contributes a paper on the petrography of the crystalline rocks in the neighbourhood of Krasnovodsk, on the eastern shore of the Caspian. The chief rock in the Shakh-Adam Mountains, which reach about 600 feet above the sea, is a massive, unstratified quarcz-dioritic porphyrite (according to the classification of Herr Rosenbusch). Between the bays of Mura-vioff and Soymonoff the rocks are closely akin to the above, and might be described as a quartz-mica-diorite. The former extends also for some miles east of Krasnovodsk, and is intersected by veins of a muscovite-granite (according to Herr Rosenbusch's classification) and quartz porphyry of rare occurrence, its magnesia! mica being replaced by a potassium mica.—The same author contributes two papers on the petrography of the Soymonoff valley in the south-east part of the district of Ekaterinburg, which incloses the 3200 feet high Yurma summit and several high ridges of mountains. The author makes a detailed inquiry into the structure of the crystalline rocks of this locality (granites, gneisses, and various schists), and is inclined to admit that at least one part of the olivine-bearing serpentines endow their origin to the metamorphism of the actinolite schists. The iron ores and gold-bearing deposits are also described, the age of these last being undoubtedly settled as Post-Pliocene, as they contain numerous remains of Mammoth, Bos primigenius, Cer-vus tarandus, and Ceivus alces. We may remark that the very high position of several gold-bearing deposits on the slopes of the valleys and their structure is one testimony more in favour of their glacial origin, but the author does not touch this interesting question. He mentions also—a fact which has often been doubted, but is now confirmed more and more—that the gold of these deposits is derived from the decomposition of the chloritic slates. The papers are accompanied by a geological map. In the same volume (fasc. 4) we find a preliminary report, by S. Korzinsky, on a botanical excursion into the delta of the Volga. The list of plants is not yet given by the author, and he publishes only a valuable sketch of the general characters of the delta, distinguishing in it two different regions: the delta proper, which consists of fluviatile deposits; and the Steppe region, covered with the so-called bougry, or a kind of kames, first described by Karl Bear and still bearing his name, about which bounry the author holds a different opinion as to their origin, denying-with full right, we suppose-their origin from the retreat of the Caspian.

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