FULLSIZE
page 6  (21 pages)
22to next section

HOT SPRINGS AND SILICATE TERRACES IN AUSTRALIA. The Royal Geographical Society of Australasia held a meeting on Oct. 5, presided over by Sir Edward Strickland,. K.C.B., when Mr. A. J. Vogan, of Auckland, New Zealand, gave an interesting account, of his explorations last year in Northern Queensland. Mr. Vogan, who accompanied in 1885 the expedition sent by that society into the interior of New Guinea, - will be remembered also by our readers as having furnished us with Sketches and a Map of the Tarawera volcanic eruption in New Zealand. We have repeatedly described and illustrated the wonderful hot springs and cascades, and beautiful terraces of coloured or white silicate deposit, formerly existing at Lake Rotomahana, which were destroyed by the Tarawera eruption. Similar phenomena exist in the Yellowstone River Park of North America, and in one of the Philippine Islands; but it was not until now generally known that there were any such hot springs, and curious terraces of matter deposited by them, in the interior of the Australian continent. The northerm part of Queensland, beyond Townsville and the Burdekin district, extends about 7 deg. of latitude towards the Equator, terminating in Cape York, having the Gulf of Carpentaria on its western shore and the Pacific Ocean to the east. A strip of fertile and well-watered land averaging fifteen miles wide, along the Pacific sea-coast, available for the cultivation of tropical produce, is separated by the coast range of mountains from a rocky table-land of igneous formation, which yields large quantities of tin and copper ore near Herberton and Watsonville; a series of basaltic rocks, attaining an elevation of 2000 ft. or 3000 ft. rests on the granite and the schists and slates of the Mulgrave gold-fields. Beyond, to the west, are beds of "Desert sand- stone" extending to the shore of the Gulf of Carpentaria, which receives several large rivers—the Lynd and its tributary the Palmer; the Gilbert, which is joined by the Einsleigh river, and one that flows by the Croydon gold-fields to Normanton and Kimberley, on the Gulf shore. Mr. Vogan travelled entirely across this region, a journey of several hundred miles, from Normanton to Cairns, on the east coast; and when at Georgetown, about midway, he was informed by Mr. Cook, whom he met there, of the existence of hot springs on the Einsleigh which only two white men had ever seen. In July last, Mr. Vogan went out of his way to examine these springs, of which he is the first to give a particular report, and we are indebted to him for sketches and notes concerning them. It must be confessed that they are very inferior in grandeur and beauty to those frequently described in New Zealand, but they are of the same character, forming the basins and terraces of silica represented in our Illustrations. The water has a temperature of 180 deg. to 185 deg. Fahrenheit, and holds in solution an amount of silica, lime, soda, and other foreign substances, much less than some other hot springs contain. There are thermal springs at Woolleigh, near Herberton, which have been resorted to for medicinal purposes. We understand that Mr. Vogan proposes shortly to visit the Kermadec Islands, to the north-east of New Zealand, where there are remarkable aqueous volcanic phenomena; and, in May next, to accompany the Governor of New Guinea, Mr. S. Macgregor, in an important exploring trip to the north coast of New Guinea, from which we hope to obtain information of still greater interest. 5.1.1889