1. 6 by 4 and 2, square 6, Le Tour du Monde en 80 jours (The Bridge).

    The suspension bridge of Medicine-Bow is broken, but the train of Phileas Fogg crosses it with great velocity.

    What is the oldest suspension bridge in the world?

    Using Britannica Online Sampler on the keyword suspension bridge produces that the earliest surviving metal suspension bridge is the Menai Bridge between Bangor, Wales, and the island of Anglesey (the Menai Strait.) This was originally built 1819 through 1826 by Thomas Telford, the engineer considered the father of the modern suspension bridge.

    Pay a simple fine and go to square 12, Le Pilote du Danube.

    Serge Ladko, alias Ilia Brusch, begins his voyage in Donaueschingen, where the Breg and the Brigach flow together and form the Danube.

    Find information on Donaueschingen.

    Most of this information is in German.

    Photo of the sources of the Danube
  2. Met by Aline and Gilles. Pay a simple fine and go to square 10, Les indes noires. 6 by 4 and 2, square 16, De la Terre a la Lune.

    In order to reach the Moon, the projectile has to leave the Earth at escape velocity.

    Find an explanation of what escape velocity is, and a derivation of a formula for it.

    A formula for computing an escape velocity:

    Vesc = sqrt(2 M G / r),

    where M = Total mass of orbiting and orbited bodies, G = Gravitational constant (6.673 10-11 N m2/kg2), r = radius of orbit (measured from center of mass of system).

  3. 6 by 4 and 2, square 22, Mirifiques Aventures de Maître Antifer.

    The island Julia, on which Kamylk-Pacha has buried his treasures, has disappeared in the waters of the Mediterranean.

    What is the origin of volcanic islands, and how can they disappear?

    A book review of Islands, by H.W. Menard, which review mentions volcanic islands as the basic form of “oceanic islands” and also reveals the secret of rising and sinking islands (plate tectonics).

  4. 10 by 6 and 4, square 32. Redouble the number of points, square 42, Voyage au centre de la Terre (The Labyrinth).

    Otto Lidenbrock, Axel and Hans are lost in a real underground labyrinth, where they travel through the successive layers of the geological history of the Earth. In these layers, there are many fossils.

    How are fossils formed?

    On the page Fossil Formation:

    Most fossils are those of animals of creatures that died accidentally long ago. These animals died in a way that there bodies were covered up easily. For instance an animal that drowned near the mouth of a river will almost immediately be covered in silt and other ocean deposits. Also an animal that falls into a swamp or is covered by sand in a storm in the desert and dies later like the animal in the river will be fossilized.

    Pay a simple fine and go to square 30, Le phare du bout du monde.

    The lighthouse at the edge of the world prevents vessels from wrecking on the treacherous coasts of Staten Island.

    Find information on a lighthouse in South America.

  5. 7 by 5 and 2, square 37, Le testament d’un excentrique.

    At the second turn, commodore Hodge Urrican has to go to square 58, California, Death Valley. This is one of the driest places on earth.

    Find information on Death Valley.

  6. 8 by 5 and 3, square 45. Redouble the number of points, square 53, Aventures de trois Russes et de trois Anglais.

    The adventurous scientists learn a lot of their companion Mokoum. For example, they see him eating grasshoppers and ants.

    Find information on insects as a meal.

    There is quite a lot of material on the Web about edible insects. Some of the richer sites are:

  7. 4 by 3 and 1, square 57, La Chasse au Météore. Met by Andrew and Davor. Pay a simple fine and go to square 62, Un Capitaine de quinze ans.

    The survivors of the Pilgrim are captured by slave traders in Eastern Africa. Even after the abolition in the United States, slave trade did not cease to exist.

    Find information on slave trade in Africa.

    • The slave trade still exists in Africa (as well as other parts of the world.) Much in the news these days is slaving in the Sudan, whose long-standing civil war has made many tribes vulnerable to raiding. (A situation Verne would immediately recognize from Archipelago on Fire). A discussion by the American Anti-Slavery Group of slavery in the Sudan.

    • Historical information about the slave trade is one of those topics where the Web has an embarrasment of riches. The History Museum of Slavery in the Atlantic site not only discusses the transAtlantic slave trade, but also the Arab slave trades across the Sahara and the Indian Ocean.

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