Notes respecting the respecting the Recent Change in the Apex of Mount Cook,
3. A letter respecting the Recent Change in the Apex of Mount Cook, received from Mr. Edmund Barff, was communicated by Dr. Hector.
“2nd July, 1873.—When I visited the southern parts of Westland in your company several years since, you remarked, on one occasion, that if ever a favourable opportunity should present itself for making the ascent of Mount Cook, an effort should be made to explore the mountain. It appears to me that there is such an opportunity at the present time. There has been an immense landslip on the south-western side of the peak, which appears to have originally covered a surface of at least a mile and a half in diameter, and which, viewed through a telescope at this distance, is seen to be scattered over the side of the mountain in immense irregular masses of rock. The slip occurred three weeks since, and it is a somewhat strange circumstance that the miners who are working in close proximity to the Francis Joseph Glacier heard no sound
which led them to suppose that any unusual event had happened. It was observed, however, that the boiling springs which were situate near the glacier suddenly ceased playing, and afterwards found their way to the surface at a distance of a quarter of a mile from their old position. This appears to indicate that the pressure caused by the slip was almost inconceivably great, and that the mass of rocks detached from the mountain is also very great. I may mention that the peak appears to be almost undermined at the place where the slip has occurred. Although the season of the year appears to present considerable, if not insuperable, obstacles in the way of anything like a thorough exploration, I deemed it advisable to communicate the above facts to you, as the circumstances to which I have alluded are, to say the least of them, at all events a little outside the limits of the ordinary changes which are going on over the surface of the earth in this part of the world. Should you require further information, I do not doubt that in the course of a few days I shall be in possession of further particulars.