The United States Fish Commission has lately received a letter from Mr. Alexander Agassiz which was written from Palette Harbor in the island of Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean. It was dated September 30.
Mr. Agassiz left San Francisco on August 23 last, in the "Albatross," which had been loaned him by the government for the purpose of investigation. When about three hundred miles off Point Conception, he began to make soundings; and, of these, he made seventy-two before reaching Tahiti. By means of the soundings, the depths of the unexplored parts of the Pacific were ascertained and the basins located. Mr. Agassiz suggested in his letter that the deepest and largest of these basins, found in the Central Pacific, be named the "Moser Basin."
In addition to the soundings, a number of hauls were made, and, although these could only be made on the surface, the results were very gratifying. An extensive collection of surface animals was obtained, among which were found many interesting forms. From the evidence obtained from the hauls, the conclusion was reached that there is little animal life at a considerable distance from land, at great depths, and away from the ocean currents. On the way to Tahiti, Mr. Agassiz spent a few days in examining the western atolls of the Paumotus, where he paid special attention to coral formations.
The last cable message to the Agassiz museum states that Mr. Agassiz reached the Fiji Islands on December 21.