HIGH MOUNTAINS OF SCAN DINAVIA 508. The mountains of the north.—Europe has one more high mountain region, which is off by itself in Norway and Sweden—the Scandinavian Mountains. They are not so high as the Alps, but they are so far north that they have the same zones of climate as do the Alps, with large areas of snow field.
In summer, the farmers of Norway, on one side of the mountains, and of Sweden, on the other side, drive their cattle, sheep, and goats to the upland pastures, as do the Swiss. The rough land and the cool, moist winds from the Atlantic make farming almost impos sible and haying very difficult. (Fig. 330.) Some of the hayfields are in places which are so steep and rocky that a wagon cannot reach them, so the hay is brought down on little overhead trolleys that run on wires stretched from high cliffs. It is no wonder that the people who have been able to make a living in such a hard country become prosperous when they go to a land of better opportunity, such as the United States and Canada.
509. Water power.—This mountain region is rich in water power, which is its greatest resource. What do you know • about its rainfall? (Fig. 318.) The streams that come down from Scandinavian snowfields and glacial lakes have much water and many waterfalls. Some of the best water-power plants in the world are there, and many more can be built. If the people should fully de velop the water power, what will they do with it? Will they make textiles and other ar ticles that require many workers and many cities, or will they use the electricity in elec tric furnaces which require few workers to smelt iron ore, or will they use it to make ni trates for fertilizer? (Sec. 256.) In these northern lands the winter is so long, cold, and dark that it is not as pleasant a place in which to live and work as are England, France, the Low Countries, and western Germany. At present the furnace, not the factory, uses most of the Scandinavian water power. There is a plan to carry electric power by cable from the mountains of Norway under the sea to Denmark, whose flatness leaves her almost entirely without water power.
Thus the Kiolen Mountains, like the Si erra and the Alps, may send the means of livelihood to people who never saw their snow-clad summits or forest-clad slopes.
510. The future of these high mountains. —For the future, as in the present, all these high mountain ranges of Europe must remain for the most part in forests and partly in pastures, with farms only in the little valleys and on the lower slopes. The forests on the
Alps and those on the French side of the Pyrenees are as well cared for as any in the world. The Spanish and Russian forests have been neglected, and can be greatly improved if the governments are made more efficient.
In these mountain regions there is one great resource yet largely unused—water power. It has been only a short time since we learned how to make wheels strong enough to use big waterfalls or high waterfalls. It has been only a short time, also, since we learned how to turn the power into electricity and to carry it on wires to places far away. We have only begun to do these things.
It is estimated that France alone has enough waterfalls on the north slope of the Pyrenees and on the west slope of the Alps to make power every minute, night and day, equal to 7,000,000 horses working at their best. If Franee had to get that much power from coal, it would take about 40, 000,000 tons a year, which is about twice as much coal as France digs in a year. There is unused water power, also, on the south slope of the Pyrenees, in the Swiss and the Austrian Alps, in the Caucasus, and in Scan dinavia.
Recently, plans have been made to build big water-power plants in all of these moun tains, and doubtless many such plants will be built, and the power may be carried by wire to distant places. The Pacific States show the way to do this (Fig.
194); so does Italy.
In north Italy, water wheels in the Alps furnish light and power for the cities of Milan and Turin.
The Europeans speak of this power from the snowfields as "white coal". It lasts longer than black coal, be cause nature furnishes a new supply each year.
Europe does not have much coal. It is possible that thousands of years hence, when the mines of England, Germany, and Penn sylvania have yielded all their coal, the beautiful mountain barriers of Europe will still have their zones of snowfields, their zones of pastures, and their zones of forests. Their valleys may be filled with gardens and nestling towns and cities, where millions of people may work in factories and live in houses heated and lighted by electricity which comes from distant waterfalls.