The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), March 23, 1885

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Three Fourths of Lake Ontario Free of Ice

Navigation Prospects Good

[Oswego Palladium]

The Buffalo Express publishes an item regarding the unprecedented amount of ice now in the great lakes, and deduces very uncomfortable prospects for the opening season. However true this may be of Lake Erie and Buffalo harbor, which the Express thinks may be blocked till June, it certainly does not apply to Lake Ontario, which is vastly deeper than Lake Erie. An item on the subject in the Palladium of March 11th, which has been widely copied, showed when all the ice in the lake had been crowded down to this end by a westerly gale, the floating field extended about 25 miles west of Oswego, and an equal distance northward - the ice sailing off freely with a change of wind. This would make a field of about 30 by 50 miles, which equals less than one-fourth of the lake area, so that at least three-fourths of the lake is now free from ice. This immense covering for the water acts as does the blanket of snow upon the earth, and keeps the water warmer than it would be if exposed to the colder air. At the most only the upper twenty feet of the lake water is at all affected by the cold; the average temperature of the whole mass varying but a few degrees from winter to summer.

The Express predicts disastrous results from the sinking of the ice when it becomes porous. Evidently the writer is not familiar with plain ice and water in their natural combination. Ice never sinks in the open lake. On the contrary it rises as the top is melted by the sun and wind, and thus is gradually acted upon by the water which settles through it, until the mass becomes separated into a myriad of crystals, shaped like innumerable lead pencils standing on end, side by side, and ready to fall apart and disintegrate at the least touch. When the ice reaches this state the entire field often disappears as if by magic in an hour, leaving blue water with whitecaps in place of what was an apparently solid ice-field. Ice never sinks except on the shore or in a running stream, where its under side is coated with stones and gravel picked up from shoals, or where the confined current impinges upon its top and forces it down. The melting of the ice will somewhat lower the temperature of the lake surface, but this will be more than offset by the warmth which the ice blanket has enabled the deep water to retain.

Our Canadian friends can safely arrange to bring their schooners over here as soon as their harbors shall open to let them out.

p.2 Incidents Of the Day - Mr. A.W. Stevenson left this afternoon for Port Hope to prepare the str. Norseman on the opening of navigation. Extensive repairs are to be made, with the addition of new furniture, etc.

p.3 Garden Island Appointments - The following gentlemen will have command of the Garden Island fleet during the coming season:

Str. D.D. Calvin - Capt. A. Malone; mate, A. Derush; second mate, J. Ferguson.

Schr. Prussia - Capt. G. Abrien; mate, F. Lawrence; second mate, R. Crosby.

Schr. Bavaria - Capt. A. Milligan, sr.; mate, W. Allen; second mate, Thomas Harris.

Schr. Norway - Capt. J. Marshall; mate, Joseph Ashey; second mate, H. Smith.

Schr. Denmark - Capt. L. Julien; mate, F. Campeau; second mate, John Snell.

The schr. D.D. Calvin and consort will make two trips from Hamilton to Garden Island with timber.

March 24, 1885

nil (pages 1 & 2 missing)

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March 23, 1885
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), March 23, 1885