[John Muir]


[Joseph] Le Conte


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[3]swedging down among the crooked & dome blocked channels below ---------------------- Glaciers have made every mountain form of this whole basin, & even the summit mountains are only fragments remrants of their first preglacial selves. Every summit wherein are laid the sources -the wombs of glaciers is steeper upon the North than the south side because of the difference in depth & duration between exposed & sheltered glaciers, & this difference in steepness between the N & South sides of summits is greater in the lower summits as those of the Obelisk group. This tells us something of the glacial climate. Such mtns as [illegible] [West?] Starr King Cathedral peak etc do not come under this general law because their cont[illigible] were determined by the ice wh flow- ed above them, but even among these basin mtns we frequently find marked difference of steepness upon their N & S sides because many of these mtns continued to shelter & feed fragmentary glaciers long after the main trunks to wh they belonged were dead, like those of the present day crouching behind Mt Lyell, Red mtn, Black mtn, etc. - steepening all their north sides. The streams of this region were never much larger than they are at present. None of the upper Merced streams give any record of floods greater than the spring floods of today. The bottom portion of this section with perpendicular sides is here about 2 ft in depth & was cut by the water the Nevada here [drawing with writing] never was more than four or five feet deep [writing on drawing as follows:] & all of the bank records of all the upper streams cross section of glacial say the same thing of no season of floods & water basin of Nevada a few miles above Little Yo Sem glacier stri[illegible] clear & unwashed as low as point [illegible] by arrows, also at the same point there is unmoved glacial boulders



Date Original

1871 Dec 17


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0621

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

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The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date


Page Number

Page 3


John Muir, correspondence, letters, author, writing, naturalist, California, correspondent, mail, message, post, exchange of letters, missive, notes, epistle