Saddle Island indicate a broad, relatively shallow (fifteen to twenty-three fathoms) plain south of the deep channel.
North of the channel above described there appears to be a branch channel, deepest along the north side of Saddle Island (S), apparently itself joined by a minor tributary still farther north. It is possible that the branch channel might be deep enough and broad enough to hold small lake north of the island, as shown in Fig. 4B, but it seems equally probable that no such expansion of the river would occur. Farther north-east there is evidence of another small channel heading west of Indian Harbour. It may join the main channel within the limits of the figure, or more probably farther east. Between George Island (G) and the mainland near West Bay Head (W),
soundings are relatively shallow, but ten or twelve miles south-east of George Island there is a belt of deep soundings.* Whether the main channel just north of George Island turns south-east to this belt, or continues eastward or north-eastward to another belt of deep soundings, is not evident from the available data.
No special significance should be attached to the precise locations or dimensions of the lakes and channels described above and represented on Fig. 4B. As to these details there can be no doubt that more abundant and more accurate data would justify significant changes. This much, however, is certain. The kind of hydrography represented in Fig. 4B would not be at all changed by any new data. Whatever errors of detail are inherent in the Hamilton Inlet portion of Fig. 4B, due to lack of abundant soundings, there
* See also Chart No. 222.
is no doubt that a drop of sea-level such as we are assuming would reveal in this area a single main river and some minor tributaries either continuous or interrupted by small lakes. The funnel-shaped inlet would disappear entirely, and in its place would come a river system bearing no resemblance whatever to the former water body it replaced.
How different is the case with Lake Melville and the Narrows stream. Under the new conditions Lake Melville is still there. Some shore details are changed with the moderate fall of lake-level, but the general pattern of the lake remains much as before. One can even trace such details as Mulligan Bay (M), Nebavik Point (N), Sebaskachu Bay (Sb), and Goose Bay (Go), now better called Goose Lake because of its slightly higher level. The Narrows show no other modification than the change in level and breadth, while the west arm no longer connects with the lake. The pattern and character of the gorge remain the same, and the lake continues to discharge through it as before.
Suppose an explorer, furnished with a proper map of Lake Melville, the Narrows and Hamilton Inlet (Fig. 4A) were to enter this region following the imagined drop in sea-level, and hence were to find conditions as shown in Fig. 4B, what would his verdict be? It would run something like this “ The lake is undoubtedly the one named Lake Melville on the map, for while there are inaccuracies in the map, the general form of the lake, its tread, and even many of its details are easily recognized, leaving no question that this is Lake Melville. So, too, with the outlet channel marked 'The Narrows' on the map. The identity of the present outlet with that shown on the map is remarkably close. The only noticeable error is found where the map continues the west arm of the outlet valley clear back to the lake, and this is pardonable, for on the ground there is a distinct depression or low pass connecting this arm with the lake. But eastward from this point the map is hopelessly wrong. It shows a funnel-shaped bay of the sea called 'Hamilton Inlet.' As a matter of fact there is nothing in this region bearing the slightest resemblance to such an inlet. The Hamilton River continues eastward for many miles, flowing through occasional small lakes and receiving small tributary streams, right where the sea inlet is supposed to be.”
Such a test emphasizes the essential point brought out by a study of the physical features of the district. Lake Melville and the Narrows are terrestrial water bodies, a true lake and a true river, merely modified to a limited extent by accidental entrance of the sea. Remove the sea and they remain intact. Hamilton Inlet is a marine water body, a true arm of the sea, dependent on the sea for its very existence. Remove the sea and it disappears entirely. The point where the true sea inlet ends and the Hamilton River system begins is thus clearly indicated. It is at the inner end of the disappearing bay, at Tikoralak Head.