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From the April 1919 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Now and then the venturesome mountain climber in the upper heights of the Alps chances upon a row of small stones nearly the same in size and uniform in color, usually red or blue, extending across the body of a glacier and well up the bank at either side. These stones are set in place by some student of glaciology for use as a basal line, the better to enable him to measure the rate of movement, that is, the flow of the ice river.