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THE VALLEY CE GLACIERS

OBSERVATIONS ON A JOURNEY FROM CHINESE TIBET
TO THE INDIAN CAUCASUS, THROUGH THE

UPPER VALLEYS OF THE HIMALAYA

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PREFACE.

In the twenty-ninth chapter of this work, I have fully explained how the phrase “ Abode of Snow" is a literal translation of the Sanscrit compound “ Himálaya,” and therefore forms an appropriate title for a work treating of those giant mountains. The Abode of Snow par excellence is not in the Himalaya, or even in the Arctic region, but (setting Saturn aside) in the Antarctic region. Owing to the greater preponderance of ocean in the southern hemisphere, the greatest accumulation of ice is round the South Pole ; and hence the not improbable theory that, when the accumulation has reached a certain point, the balance of the earth must be suddenly destroyed, and this orb shall almost instantaneously turn transversely to its axis, moving the great oceans, and so producing one of those cyclical catastrophes which, there is some reason to believe, have before now interfered with the development and the civilisation of the human race.

How near such a catastrophe may be, and whether, when it occurs, a few just men (and, it is to be hoped, women also) will certainly be left in the upper valleys of the Himalaya, I am unable to say ; but it is well to know that there is an elevated and habitable region of

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