Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 1, 1884)
THE WEST SHORE.
THE GREAT NORTHWEST.
In the provio.13 cumber of this eoiios I uieuliowed the
great tidal wave which was observed by Jeremiah Lam
son, Esq., referring to it as an evidence of a "bank" not
far distant Anxious that even the most non-scientific
reader may have a clear understanding of the matter, I
will now make some explanations.
In navigation a bank is understood to mean "an eleva
tion of the bottom of the sea," which in no way resembles
the bank of a lake or river. If the bank is tolerably
smooth on its surface, it is called a flat, shoal or shallow;
if rocky, a ridge, reef or key. Cod and other fish Beek
these banks for the purpose of feeding, spawning, etc.,
and it is worthy of note that the color of the codfish par
takes of the color of the bank which he inhabits or fre
quents. Hence, those caught on banks where the dark.
golden seaweed abounds are of a rich, golden hue, and on
the Atlantic coast are called rock cod. I frequently
caught them there in my younger years, having once
been engaged for several months as a hand on board a
fishing schooner in Penobscot and Frenchman's bays. I
have never seen any of the " golden fish " caught by the
Indians off Salmon River, and therefore cannot pronounce
them a species of the cod, but from the description given
me by a half-breed, who had eaten them, I am of the
opinion that they belong to the same getwra, if not
species, as the codfish. The " rock cod " I consider only
a variety and of the same species as the cod of commerce
I return to the tidal wave seen by Mr. Lamson.
The upheavals of the bottom of the ocean are spas
modic, or convulsive. Imagine, then, several thousand
acres suddenly raised a hundred feet perpendicularly.
The water immediately above would be raised seventy-five
feet, at least perhaps more. Then, as water always
seeks its level, it would roll away in all directions, con
stantly diminishing in altitude until the desired level is
found. It is not very unfrequent that these huge waves
are encountered by vessels at sea. Many a ship has
sailed from port and never been heard of again, even at
times when no violent storms prevailed. May they not
have been engulfed in a tidal wave?
I have conversed with intelligent mariners engaged in
the coast trade between Victoria and San Francisco, who
inform me that they have often found shallow water at
various distances from the shore along the coast, even
more than fifty miles away, and some have told me of
catching fish on these shoals while becalmed. It seems
to me that all these pointers furnish stronger presump
tive evidence of the existence of a bank near the eastern
shore of the Pacific than Columbus had of the existence
of a " new world." True, cod have been caught off this
coast, and a few men make a business of it, but I am
satisfied that the real, bank has never been discovered.
. Furthermore, I feel assured that if discovered it will
prove a Bource of greater national wealth than any dozen
gold mines ever have.
The geological history of North America, as recorded
in the rocks, demonstrates that the growth of our oonti.
nent has been the result of upheavals along the western
coast, while on the east, instend of gaining by upheavals,
Hocretions or by any other process, it is obsorvod to be
gradually disappearing ugain bonoath the waters. At
Cape May, from 1804 to 1820, the ocean encroached upon
the land the alarming distance of 144 foot, as proved by
measurement Seasoning by analogy, Columbus con
cluded that there should be a grent continent far away in
the weBt, as a compensating balance for the continents in
the east . Adopting thiw style of logic, we must conclude
that the law of compensation will raise up dry land in the
west, ns an atonement for its disappearing in the oast
Finally, not only geology, but anthroixilogy, proves that
for thousands of years progress and new development
have tended constantly in a westerly direction. It has
even passed into a proverb, " Westward the Btar of empire
takes its way. Koiontists have estimated that 1,000
Urns of earthly matter are transported Bcaward from
the coast of Long Island every day. Throe hundred and
sixty-five thousand tons every year! It is only u question
of time when Long Island will be no more. A similar
state of affairs exists at Long Branch, and, in fact, all
aloug the coast But in the great Northwest, instead of
constantly losing a portion of our territory, wo have roa
son to expect its extension many miles westward by addi-
Let us take a broad and comprehensive view of the
subject Judging the future by tho past, upheavals upon
the west, and depredations on the oast, continuing for un
told thousands of years, it is only a question of time when
the upheavals on the west will span our globe. New
York will then calmly' repose at the Itottom of a
mighty ocean. Monsters of the deep will swim alove it,
and great ships, carrying the commerce of the world, will
sail proudly over what was once the greatest city on tho
earth. But as the ages roll on it shall be again resur
rected perhaps a coral reef or sandy waste, again to
mature into a home for the deer and buffalo, finally for
man himself, and again Ijccoiiiq the metropolis of a conti-'
nent It is thus that great Nature works.
Or it may be that after a few more ages perhaps ten
thousand -of depredations upon the eastern line of North
America, another of thoso sublime catastrophes, when
land and water suddenly chango places, may in a momont
sond our continent to the lxittom of tho ocean and return
Atlantis, " the lost continent," once more to the surface.
But we need not Bjcculato, for the solution of problems
liko these Itelong to tho unknown and unknowable.
A vast region, large enough for a powerful kingdom,
lies between the Rocky Mountains and Coast Rango.
Reading Nature's hieroglyphics, according to tho estab
lished rules of scienco, there was a time in the remote
past when the Rocky Mountains formed tho eastern shoro
of the Pacific Ocean. Even after the Cascade system
had appeared above the waters, forming grou of islands,
the tireless waves of the grand old Pacific still continued
to beat upon the flanks of the Rockies. Grande Rondo
Valley, in Eastern Oregon, a beautiful circular plain,