Perilous Balloon Ascension.—On the afternoon of the 13th inst., John Wise, the celebrated aerial navigator, while repairing his mammoth balloon named the " Hercules," in an open lot in the city ol Lancaster, Pa., was taken up in a very unceremonious manner, which nearly proved disastrous. While it was partly inflated with atmospheric air, and the workmen were engaged in giving it a fresh coat of varnish, it became necessary to turn the balloon for the purpose of coating the other side. It had been kept in its place by heavy sand bags, and during that time the air in it became extremely rarified. In order to turn it over, it required a person to go inside for an instant to see that all was right there, and for this purpose Mr. Wise entered it. When he entered, the weights outside were taken off too quickly, allowing a sudden expansion of air inside, and in an instant the balloon was up and off, Mr. Wise enfolded in it. The workmen were so confounded as to be perfectly at a loss what to do, and the balloon gradually rising, went across the field until it turned with its mouth downward, and spilled Mr. Wise out at the bottom, giving him a severer fall and bruises than -he ever received at any regular ascension. PROF. AGASSIZ ; ZOOLOGY.—This eminent naturalist has beep,making a tour of some of the south and western" States, studying, lec-turing,!and observing. With his usual diligence and penetration he has discovered many unclassified species of fish in southern waters. In a letter to Prof. Dana, of Cambridge, he states that he has collected about sixty new species, one is like the blind fish of the Mammoth Cave, though provided with eyes. He has been among the rice fields, and has obtained new specimens from the ditches; the waters of the Gulf, the Mississippi and other rivers have furnished him with an excellent collection, and he will probably present a paper on the subject at the meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Science, at Cleveland. In a paper read by Sir Charles Lyell, a short time previous to his arrival in this city, before the Royal Society in London, on the coal fields of Nova Scotia, he entered into speculations respecting the solid matter contained in the carbonilerous formation of that country. He believes tt&t it was once a delta like that of the Mississippi, and that the formations were produced by river inundation drilts. The average thickness of the whole of the coal measures is three miles, and the area, including the fields of New Brunswick, &c, may comprise 36,000 square miles, or 108,000 cubic miles, but taking the half ot this, it would be 54,000 cubic miles of solid matter. It would take more than two millions of years for the Mississippi River to convey to the Gulf of Mexico an equal amount ol solid matter at the rate of 450,000 cubic feet per second, as calculated by Mr. Forshey.— This is a subject for deep reflection and examination by all Biblical geologists especially. Sir Charles Lyell found fossil reptilian remains, and a land-shell in the interior of a fossil tree in a Nova Scotia coal field.
This article was originally published with the title "Events of the Week" in Scientific American 8, 46, 365 (July 1853)