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The dust in the polar regions, which Hansen speaks of so many times, and which was a source of such annoyance while drifting in the ocean many miles from land, comes from somewhere; it does not grow; is a commodity without life; cannot reproduce itself; yet it is found in such great quantities that it colors the snow black. In the sky it looks like great clouds, and falls on ships in such abundance that it becomes a source of irritation. Hansen declares it was one of his principal reasons for wanting to go home.
This ought to be accounted for in some reasonable way. So far as I have been able to learn, it is dust from a stray comet, and, when analyzed, is found to contain carbon and iron, supposed to come from some exploding volcano. If it came from a passing comet, it probably started about
the same time as the shooting stars, which fall so frequently near the poles! After traveling millions and millions of miles, the dust and shooting stars fall almost continuously; whereas a comet appears only once in several years. Comets must distribute dust and shooting stars sufficient to last till they come again; say, in ten or twenty years. This shows how nonsensical the explanation is; yet, in order to make things clear, it sometimes becomes necessary to show how ridiculous some theories are. This comet theory is most absurd, and does no credit to the first century,--to say nothing of the twentieth.
If it were true that the dust, falling so densely and continuously in the Arctic, came from a comet millions of miles away, the amount necessary to cover the space would shut out the rays of the sun from the earth, which would be veiled in darkness. This dust does not come from a comet; it comes from the earth, and not a great many miles from where it is found.
Dust, as a source of annoyance in the Arctic, is what one would hardly expect in
that region, if the earth be not hollow. Imagine dust as a great annoyance in the middle of the Arctic Ocean! Nansen says: "The years are passing here, and what do they bring? Nothing but dust, dust, dust, which the first wind drives away."
Will some one who does not believe the earth is hollow tell me where that dust comes from? It isn't an article or commodity that accumulates very fast on ice, or open water; yet Nansen says: "Let us go home; what have we to remain here for? Nothing but dust, dust, dust."
If you hold that the earth is solid, there is no answer to this perplexing question. When it is understood, however, that the earth is hollow, and the dust comes from the eruption of a volcano in the interior of the earth, the puzzle is easily explained without accusing a passing comet millions of miles away of scattering dust over all the Arctic and Antarctic regions. If the earth is found to be solid, then the people can congratulate themselves that the dust is mainly confined to or near the poles,
where the inhabitants are few in number. But there is no danger of that being ever proved.
Next: Chapter XI. Open Water at Farthest Point North and South