miles wide and two thousand feet deep, is a tremendous river. If all the
rivers of the world were put together their volume would not equal that
of the Gulf Stream.
But from where does the Gulf Stream come? Where does it get
its heat? What sets the huge river in motion? What keeps it going winter
and summer and why does it not flow south or east instead of north?
Scientists have tried to answer these questions but even today they are
not entirely certain that they know all there is to be known about the
Gulf Stream and other ocean currents.
Every ocean shifts ponderously about, very sluggishly, but with a
deliberate and well defined movement. In the north Pacific Ocean, the
Kuro Siwo, Japanese for "Blue Salt Current," or "Black Stream," drifts
up along the shores of Japan, pushes eastward to warm southern Alaska,
and then sweeps down our western coast to give California its
wholesome climate. These two currents, the Gulf Stream and the Japan
Current, move around in a rough circle as the hands move around the
face of a clock.
South of the equator the currents move in the opposite direction.
Thus, in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean, there is another current
which carries cold Antarctic waters northward along the western coast
of South America. William Beebe, in his book The Arcturus Adventure,
tells how this current makes certain islands not far from the Panama
Canal comfortably habitable for the penguin-a bird usually found in the