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of the whole, only in reduced pattern. The network which all the tributaries make is often surprisingly intricate. The symmetry with which the main characteristics of a river system are carried into the details, even of its smallest accessories, can only be compared to that observable in the architectural regularity of a tree, as it expands from the main trunk into the countless symmetrical branches. There are some rivers which are entirely independent of tributaries—which pursue their way to the sea entirely alone. Such rivers, however, never belong to the first class; they are always of subordinate magnitude, and the humblest of them are mere coast torrents, like those west of the Andes. Others find their way to no ocean, but lose themselves in an inland sea or lake, as the Volga does in the Caspian; as the Gihon and the Sihon do in the Aral; as the Jordan does in the Dead Sea. Others disappear in sand wastes or in morasses; such are the rivers of the African steppes. Others are blocked up, as it were, by the tidal wave of the ocean, and are thus converted into estuary lakes.

There are some rivers, also, which remain equally or nearly equally full the whole year through; there are others which have their seasons of overflow: the Nile, for instance, and many rivers whose basin lies within the region of tropical rains; there are temporary rivers, now full, now empty, which, if they do not leave, like the torrents of Arabia, a perfectly dry bed, are traced in the dry season by a row of stagnant lakes, such, for example, as are found in the swampy lands of Australia.


Rivers more closely considered.

What is peculiar to every river is determined by the abundance of its sources, the forking of its tributaries, the rate of its descent, the distance from its most remote springs to its mouth, the main direction of its course, and the greater or less sinuosities of its channel, as occasioned by the structure of the country which it traverses.

The abundance of its waters is conditioned by the greater or less amount of snow which finds the highest springs, the heavy rains which it receives in tropical countries, and the exceedingly varied influences which temperate climates may exert upon it. The fall softens from the rush and plunge of the mountain district, first to an arrowy swiftness, then to a moderate course, then to a beautiful gliding motion, to end with an almost imperceptible flow just before entering the sea.

The direction of rivers is determined :

1. By the structure of the region which they traverse, the layers being in some places horizontal, and in others tilted to a vertical position; here grouped, as in the granite Carpathian chain, in such a way that the river courses which begin there run in parallel lines, radiating like the rays of a star from a central point; then grouped in such a manner that a stream may receive tributaries from two nearly contiguous ranges, as among the spurs of the Ural Mountains, the Rhone in Valais, receiving waters from the Bernese Alps at the north, and Pennine Alps at the south; the Isère, in like manner, the Upper Rhine in Grisons, the whole Upper Inn in Tyrol.

2. The direction is also determined by the mutual action of tributaries and the main stream at the point of confluVery often the union of two powerful currents


gives rise to a third direction, according to the law known as the parallelogram of the forces. This generally occurs when no obstacle stands in the way of their taking a normal course, and is exemplified in the cases of the Kama and Volga, the Theiss and Danube, the Rhine and Main, the Saone and Rhone. Where an obstacle stands in the way, their abnormal direction is manifested in the abrupt bendings of the river bed. An instance is found in the bending of the Rhone northward as it emerges from Valais. Its lower course, from Lake Geneva to Lyons, betrays the same angularities, resulting from the obstacles which it meets and cannot remove. The Rhine, breaking through the Jura at Basel, is another instance; the Rhine, between Bingen and Caub, and the Dal-Elf, in Sweden, also exemplify the same.

In case that rivers meet in their course large masses of stratified rocks, they force their way through them in a zigzag direction, making sharp angles always, and not unfrequently right angles, even. Instances of this are found in the Rhine, between Mayence and Coblentz, and in the Moselle, between Treves and Coblentz. When the river passes beyond these rocky barriers, and meets with obstructions of a more movable character, it crowds them more gently and gracefully aside, and leaves a path more. sinuous and wave-like; and yet more gentle are its curves, as it opens a way through the plains where nothing obstructs its course. The last is strikingly exemplified in the rivers of eastern Europe, especially in all those of middle and southern Russia. The practised eye can determine the structure of the soil with considerable certainty, by merely tracing the course of rivers when represented on a faithful map. For, unless there be other reasons to prevent, rivers always force their way where

there is the least resistance to overcome. In stratified rocks, where the tilt is so great as to make the strata vertical, the river beds usually run parallel with the lines of stratification. Instances are found among the Alpine rocks, in Valais along the Rhone, in Tyrol along the Inn and Adige, in Grisons, and among the Jura along the Rhine. Where the lines of stratification are horizontal, rivers usually take their course through the most marked ravines and fissures.

In most mountains, however, the lines of stratification are neither vertical nor horizontel, but intermediate between them, more or less sloping, as in most marked ranges of central Germany, for example. In such cases, the process of excavating river beds has been determined by various circumstances and conditions, and the direction of their channels does not alone depend upon the extent and tilt of the strata, but also on other forces which have exercised a favoring or a retarding influence on their direct course. The stratification has its influence, indeed, but it is general rather than specific. Still, it is very largely felt when it happens to coincide in its main lines with the direction of the mountain range, but is comparatively insignificant when it does not. We have instances in the Alps where the axis of stratification coincides with that of the main chain, from south-southwest to north-northeast; in the Jura, from southwest to northeast; and in the Scandinavian range, from south to north.

The different geological formations found in mountain districts have a very important influence in determining the direction of rivers. Mountains do not generally consist of rocks of one kind of structure, but of several. What stratification is to mountains whose geological formation is the same throughout, the superposition of

different kinds of rocks is to those of composite materials. The layers may be divided into superior, inferior, and adjacent. These usually vary in respect to age, and may be traced in a regular geological seniority, as for example sandstone, gypsum, limestone, gray-wacke, and granite. These formations are either closely contiguous, or are separated merely by valleys, as for instance in the Carpathian chain, where the central granite knot is separated by valley plains from the more southern limestone chain; an example of contiguity is found on the west spur of the same Carpathian range. Wherever mountain systems of varied geological structure approach each other very closely, rivers seldom break their way through either one, but find their way along the roots of the mountains, till at last they come to a less confined place. Such river courses are often very large and deep; for the mountain streams which meet and are hemmed in by the narrow pass between the two contiguous ranges sweep all loose obstructions before them, and not only leave their path clear, but continually deepen it. We find this in the Ural, the Isère, the Rhone, Aar, Inn, in all the long and winding Alpine valleys, and in the Ebro, fed by the parallel ridges of the Pyrenees. The circle of rivers which girds the central Carpathian knot is an illustration of what was said a moment since. The Poprad, Dunayic, Arva, and Waag are found where the true Carpathian chain, which is granitic, is closely contiguous to subordinate ranges of limestone and gray-wacke. In any accurate map, the long, winding course between these two chains may be easily traced. Looking at the point where the Hartz Mountains and the Thuringian ridge touch at their roots, the groups are seen to be insulated, as it were, by the rivers which gird their bases. In the great streams of southern and southwestern

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