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Nature volume 50, pages 235236 | Download Citation



American Journal of Science, June.—Notes from the Bermudas, by Alexander Agassiz. The story of their present condition is practically that of the Bahamas, with the exception that at the Bermudas we have an epitome, as it were, of the physical changes undergone by the Bahamas. The development of the true reef builders, of the massive corals, is insignificant. Subsidence has brought about the existing outlines of the islands, but there is no evidence to show that the original annular coral reef was formed during subsidence. That reef has disappeared, and nothing is left of it except the remnants of the æolian ledges extending to sixteen or seventeen fathoms outside the reef ledge flats, ledges which owe their existence to the material derived from it: the former æolian hills of the proto-bermudian land.—Discovery of Devonian rocks in California, by J. S. Diller and Charles Schuchert. During the field seasons of 1884 and 1893, the U.S. Geological Survey acquired six lots of Devonian fossils, comprising about thirty species, mostly corals. They demonstrate the undoubted presence of middle Devonian deposits in California, where rocks of this age have long been looked for by geologists, more particularly since the recent discovery of Silurian fossils.—New method of determining the relative affinities of certain acids, by M. Carey Lea. This method is based on the principle that the affinity of any acid is proportional to the amount of base which it can retain in the presence of a strong acid selected as a standard of comparison for all acids. When to free sulphuric acid a salt is added in sufficient quantity to cause the whole of the sulphuric acid to saturate itself with the salt base, it is possible by means of the herapathite test to determine the exact point of such saturation. From this we can deduce the exact nature of the resulting equilibrium. A series of equilibria thus obtained with different salts enables us to determine the comparative strength of the affinities of the acids of these salts. The fact that even small quantities of weak acids added to sulphates will set free a certain quantity of sulphuric acid, can be rendered visible to the eye by a well-marked chemical reaction.—A recent analysis of Pele's Hair and a stalagmite from the lava caves of Kilauea, by A. H. Phillips. The stalagmite is of the kind characteristic of the lava caverns of Kilauea, differing very slightly from Pele's Hair in constitution, but widely from ordinary stalagmites formed by undoubted solution. They are suggestive of fused drops, which falling one on the other are at the time sufficiently plastic to be quite firmly welded together and congealed in a slightly drooping position.

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