An interesting paper was recently read before the Academy of Sciences in Paris, on an expedition sent out to the East Indies in 1854, by the King of Prussia, for scientific purposes. The members of the expedition consisted of three brothers, namely, Hermann, Adolphus, and Robert Schlagentweit, two of whom returned last year ; the third, Adolphus, is still exploring among the Himalaya Mountains, but is expected to return soon. During the winter of I854-55, these enterprising travelers visited the region lying between Bombay and Madras; in the following summer Hermann explored the eastern part of the Himalaya, the Sikkim, Bhootan, and Kossni mountains, where he measured the altitudes of several peaks. The highest of all the summits known throughout the world appears by his measurements to be the Gahoorishanke, situated in the eastern portion of Nepaul—the same announced as such by Colonel Waugh, but called by him Mount Everest, because he had been unable to ascertain its real name in the plains of Ilindostan. This peak is somewhat more than 29,000 feet in hight. The oilier two brothers, Adolphus and Robert, penetrated by different roads into the central parts of the Himalaya, Ivumaon, and Gur-walil; they then visited Thibet in disguise, and ascended the Ibi-Gamine, 22,2G0 feet in hight, that being, we believe, an altitude never before attained in any part of the world. The chief results obtained from this careful exploration of Asia are the following :—The Himalaya mountains everywhere exercise a decided influence over all the elements of the magnetic force ; the declination everywhere presents a slight deviation, causing the needle to converge towards the central parts of that enormous mass, and the magnetic intensity is greater than anywhere else under an equal latitude. Irregular local variations in terrestrial magnetism are rare in these regions. In the Deccan and Bahar the rocks are magnetic. On the Himalaya, at altitudes of 17,000 and 20,000 feet, the daily maximum and minimum variations of the barometer occurred nearly about the same hours as in the plains below. Great storms of dust frequently occur in India, during which the disk of the sun appears of a blue color; if small bodies are made to project their shadows on a white surface under such circumstances the shadow is of an orange color, which is complementary to blue. The travelers also tested the transparency of the rivers Ganges, Indus, and Burram-pooter. By carefully lowering a white stone into them, they found that it became invisible at a depth varying from, six to ten inches, * thus showing that these waters are highly charged with earthy particles, for in the still waters of the sea at the tropics, such a stone is visible at a depth of thirty feet, and in Lake George in the northern part of the State of New York, a white stone may be seen at a depth of from thirty to forty feet.
This article was originally published with the title "The Highest Mountain in the World" in Scientific American 13, 13, 104 (December 1857)