Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: Volcanoes in Genera...
 Chapter II: Volcanoes of Icela...
 Chapter III: Mount Vesuvius
 Chapter IV: Mount Etna
 Chapter V: Lipari Islands
 Chapter VI: Peak of Teneriffe
 Chapter VII: Jorullo
 Chapter VIII: Hawaii, Sandwich...
 Chapter IX: Atolls, or Coral...
 Chapter X: Volcanoes of Java
 Chapter XI: Mud and Air Volcan...
 Chapter XII: New Zealand
 Chapter XIII: Underground...
 Chapter XIV: Extinct Volcanoes
 Back Cover

Group Title: Wonders of creation : a descriptive account of volcanoes and their phenomena.
Title: Wonders of creation
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00048323/00001
 Material Information
Title: Wonders of creation a descriptive account of volcanoes and their phenomena
Alternate Title: Wonders of creation, volcanoes and their phenomena
Physical Description: 120 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publication Date: 1879
Subject: Volcanoes -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Volcanic eruptions -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Physical sciences -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Glory of God -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1879
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
General Note: Frontispiece printed in colors.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00048323
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002239919
notis - ALJ0457
oclc - 61656803

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Chapter I: Volcanoes in General
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Chapter II: Volcanoes of Iceland
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Chapter III: Mount Vesuvius
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
    Chapter IV: Mount Etna
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    Chapter V: Lipari Islands
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Chapter VI: Peak of Teneriffe
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
    Chapter VII: Jorullo
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    Chapter VIII: Hawaii, Sandwich Islands
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
    Chapter IX: Atolls, or Coral Islands
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
    Chapter X: Volcanoes of Java
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
    Chapter XI: Mud and Air Volcanoes
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
    Chapter XII: New Zealand
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
    Chapter XIII: Underground Sounds
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
    Chapter XIV: Extinct Volcanoes
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    Back Cover
        Cover 3
        Cover 4
Full Text


The Baldwin Library
B ofuniti
fkir f~la

S.... .. f"- -.

-' .. 4 ,

,. ,x *_

~' 1r IF ~'S




T S His preseN e."-NAxsu S i.




hT xref a ct.

EING intended for the Young, this work
treats of Volcanoes only in a popular way.
Scientific details and philosophical specu-
lations are accordingly avoided. Nevertheless, a per-
usal of the following pages may so stimulate the
curiosity of youthful minds, that some, on attaining
to riper years and more mature understanding, inay
be inspired with 'a longing to inquire more deeply
into this interesting subject. They may be stimu-
lated to investigate, in a philosophical spirit, all
the marvellous facts and phenomena connected with
volcanic agency, and to speculate on their causes
and modes of operation. Some also, on reaching
their manhood, may be induced to ascend one or
more of the nearer active volcanoes, and examine
their phenomena for themselves. The facilities of
travel are now so great, that a visit to Vesuvius or
Etna is no longer beyond the limits of a holiday
trip. Even the more remote Hecla with the playful


Geysers may be reached within a reasonable time.
Perhaps a very few, who are now scientific travellers
in embryo, may call to remembrance what they may
have read in these pages, when, many years hence,
they may be climbing the cone of Cotopaxi, or peer-
ing into the crater of Kilauea.
Apart from these considerations, a perusal of this
work may enable the young mind to form a more
lively idea of the tremendous energy of the forces
which are imprisoned in the bowels of the earth.
Such a vivid conception will naturally lead to a
higher appreciation of the wisdom and power of Him
who guides the operation of those forces by his laws,
and has set bounds to their activity which they
cannot overpass.

69 contents.

Volcanoes in general-Origin of the Name-General Aspect-
Crater-Cone-Subordinate Cones and Craters-Peak of
Teneriffe-Lava-Streams-Cascades and Jets of Lava-
Variations in its Consistency-Pnmice-Different Sorts of
Lava--Obsidian -Olivine Sulphur-Dust, Ashes, &c.-
Volcanic Silk-Volcanic Islands-Volcanic Fishes-Hot
Water, Mud, Vapours, &c.-Volcanic Storm-Explosions
-Number of Volcanoes-King of the Volcanoes- Artificial
Volcano ................ .......................... 9


Volcanoes of Iceland-Mount Hecla-Earliest Eruption-Great
Eruption in 1845-Skaptir Ybkul-Terrible Eruption in 1783
-Rise and Disappearance of Nyol--Katlugaia-The Gey-
sers-A very hot Bath-Californian Geysers-Iceland-spar
Jan Mayen.... ........ .... .................... 21


Mount Vesuvius-Origin of Name-Former Condition-Erup-
tion of A.D. 79-Death of Pliny-Destruction of Pompeii
and Herculaneum-Appearance of the Mountain before and

after Eruption-Formation of Monte Nuovo-Eruption of
Boiling Water-Coloured Vapours-Cascade of Lava-Dis-
covery of Remains of Herculaneum and Pompeii-The Build-
ings of Pompeii-Street of Tombs-Skeletons-Sundry
Shops-Ascents of Vesuvius-Crater-Temple of Serapis... 30


Mount Etna-Its Appearance and Height-Ancient Eruptions
-Pindar's Allusion -Virgil's Description- Subordinate
Cones and Craters-Caverns-Val de Bove-Formation of
Monti Rossi-Eruption of 1852-Whirlwinds-Lava Torrents
-Cascades of Lava-Description of Crater-Empedocles-
Enceladus--Craters of 1865-Cyclopean Isles-Homer's
Legend-Volcanic Origin-Other Basaltic Groups.......... 44


Lipari Islands-Stromboli-Origin of Name-Position of Crater
-Description of Crater-New Volcanic Island named Julia
-Phenomena preceding its Elevation-Description of Island
and Crater-Its Disappearance-Rise of Islands at Santorin 55


Peak of Teneriffe-Its Crater-Eruption of Chahorra-Palma-
Great Caldera-Lancerote-Great Eruption-Sudden Death
-Fuego, Cape de Verde Islands-Cotopaxi-Its Appearance
-Great Eruptive Force-Tunguragua-Great Eruption of
Mud and Water-Fish thrown out-Quito--Its Overthrow -
Pichinca-Humboldt's Ascent-Narrow Escape-Antisana
-Sangay-Rancagua-Chillan-Masaya ................. 65


Jorullo-Great Monument-Jorullo's Estate--Interruption to
his Quiet-His Estate Swells-Swallows Two Rivers-

Throws up Ovens--Becomes a Burning Mountain-Popo-
catepetl- Spanish Ascents-Orizaba-Milller's Ascent -
Morne-Garou-Pelte-La SoufriBre.................... 72


Hawaii, Sandwich Islands-Crater of Kilauea-Its awful Aspect
-Fiery Lake and Islands-Jets of Lava-Depth of Crater
and Surface of Lake-Bank of Sulphur-Curious Rainbow-
Mouna-Kaah and Mouna-Loa-Eruption of the Latter in
1840-Recent Eruption-Great Jet and Torrent of Lava-
Burning of the Forests-Great Whirlwinds-Underground
Explosions-Other Volcanoes in the Pacific................. 83


Atolls, or Coral Islands-Their strange Appearance-Their Con-
nexion with Volcanoes-Their Mode of Formation-Ant-
arctic Volcanoes-Diatomaceous Deposits................. 89


Volcanoes of Java-Papandayang-Mountain Ingulfed-Great
Destruction of Life and Property- Galoen-gong-Destructive
Eruption-Mount Merapia-Great Eruption, with Hurri-
cane-Another, very destructive-Mud Volcano-Crater of
Tankuban-Prahu-Island of Sumbawa-Volcano of Tom-
boro-Terrific Eruption-Timor-A Volcano quenches
itself-Cleaving of Mount Machian-Sangir-Destructive
Eruption-Bourbon....................................... 96


Mud and Air Volcanoes-Luss-Macaluba--Taman-Korabetoff
New Island in the Sea of Azof-Jokmali-Fires of Baku-
Mud Volcano in Flank of Etna-Air Volcanoes of Turbaco,
Cartagena, and Galera-Zamba......................... 103


New Zealand-Boiling Fountains and Lakes.................... 108


Underground Sounds-Quito-Rio Apure-Guanaxuato- Melida
-Nakous................. .. ........................ 111


Extinct Volcanoes-Auvergne-Vienne-Agde-Eyfel-Italy-
Lacus Cimini-- Grotto del Cane- Guevo Upas-Talaga
Bodas-The Dead Sea................................... 114




Volcanoes in general-Origin of the Name-General Aspect- Crater
-Cone-Subordinate Cones and Craters-Peak of Teneriffe-
Lava-Streams-Cascades and Jets of Lava-Variations in its
Consistency-Pumice-Different Sorts of Lava-Obsidian-Oli-
vine-Sulphur-Dust, Ashes, &c.-Volcanic Silk--Volcanic
Islands-Volcanic Fishes-Hot Water, Mud, Vapours, &c.-
Volcanic Storm-Explosions-Number of Volcanoes-King of
the Volcanoes-Artificial Volcano.

MONG the many wonderful works of God,
none exhibits so much of awful grandeur
as an active volcano. This name for a
burning mountain was first applied to that which
exists in the island anciently called Hiera, one of
the Lipari group. It is derived from the name of
the heathen god Vulcan, which was originally spelt
with an initial B, as appears from an ancient altar
on which were inscribed the words BOLCANO SAC. ARA.
This spelling indicates the true derivation of the
name, which is simply a corruption of Tubal-cain,


who was an instructor of every artificer in brass and
iron" (Gen. iv. 22). The ancient heathen, having
deified this personage, imagined, on first seeing a
burning mountain, that Tubal-cain, or Vulcan, must
have established his forge in the heart of it, and so,
not unnaturally, named it Volcano-an appellation
which the Island of Hiera retains to the present day.
The Cyclops-the supposed descendants of Vulcan,
who were fabled to have been of gigantic stature, and
to have had each only one eye in the centre of the
forehead-were imagined to be the workmen who
laboured in these underground forges. The noises,
proceeding from the heart of the mountain, were
attributed to their operations. It is to the Island
of Hiera that Virgil alludes in the Eneid, lib. viii
416. The passage is thus rendered by Dryden:-
"Sacred to Vulcan's name, an isle there lay,
Betwixt Sicilia's coasts and Lipare,
Raised high on smoking rocks, and deep below,
In hollow caves the fires of Etna glow.
The Cyclops here their heavy hammers deal;
Loud strokes and hissings of tormented steel
Are heard around; the boiling waters roar,
And smoky flames through fuming tunnels soar."
A volcano generally presents itself to the imagina-
tion as a mountain sending forth from its summit
great clouds of smoke with vast sheets of flame, and
it is not unfrequently so described. The truth is,
however, that a real volcano seldom emits either true
smoke or true flame. What is mistaken for smoke
consists merely of vast volumes of fine dust, mingled
with much steam and other vapours-chiefly sul-
phurous. What appears like flames is simply the
glare from the glowing materials which are thrown



up towards the top of the mountain-this glare being
reflected from the clouds of dust and steam.
The most essential part of a volcano is the crater,
a hollow basin, generally of a circular form. It is
often of large dimensions, and sometimes of vast
depth. Some volcanoes consist of a crater alone,
with scarcely any mountain at all; but in the majority
of cases the crater is situated on the top of a moun-
tain, which in some instances towers to an enormous
height. The part of the mountain which terminates
in the principal crater is usually of a conical form-
much like a glass-house chimney, and is therefore
named the cone. It is generally composed of loose
ashes and cinders, with here and there masses of
stone, which have been tossed into the air by the
volcanic forces. In some mountains the cone rises
out of a hollow at a considerable height from the
base. A hollow of this kind is generally regarded
as having been a former crater, which had become
extinct before the existing cone was raised. There
are sometimes formed lower down the mountain
subordinate craters, smaller than that which occupies
the summit of the cone. Within the crater itself
there are frequently numerous little cones, from which
vapours are continually issuing, with occasional volleys
of ashes and stones.
One of the largest and most perfect of the volcanic
cones in the world is that of the Peak of Teneriffe,
of which you have here a representation. It conveys
a good idea of the general form of the cone, and has
long been a conspicuous and useful landmark to
mariners. It is upwards of twelve thousand feet in


height, and is said to be visible in very clear weather
at a distance of a hundred miles.
The most interesting products of an active volcano
are the streams of lava which it pours forth-some-
times from the principal crater on the summit-
sometimes from the smaller craters lower down. This
lava consists of melted stone. When it issues from
the mountain its heat is intense and it glows like a
furnace, so that, during the night especially, these
fiery rivers present a grand yet awful spectacle. The
streams spread themselves till they sometimes attain
a breadth of several miles, with a depth of several
hundred feet, and they flow onward till their length
sometimes reaches fifty miles.
Lava, not being so liquid as water, does not flow
so rapidly: nevertheless, when it is careering down
the sides of a mountain, or where the slope of the
ground is considerable, it advances with great speed.
Even when at its hottest, it is somewhat viscid, like
treacle, and this viscidness increases as it cools.
Hence on a level plain, and at some distance from its
source, the lava-stream advances at a leisurely pace.
In such circumstances the cooling proceeds so quickly
that a crust of considerable thickness is soon formed
on the top of the current, and persons who are bold
enough may cross the stream by means of this natural
bridge. Even where the current continues flowing
rapidly, this crust may be formed on its surface; and
a man, whose curiosity exceeds his prudence, may
stand on the top of it, bore a hole through the crust,
and see the lava flowing underneath his feet I
Nothing can resist the progress of the lava-flood;


trees, houses, everything yields to its massive assault.
The trees take fire before its approach, and when it
reaches them they emit a hissing noise almost amount-
ing to a shriek, and then plunging into the molten
flood are seen no more. Even the sea cannot with-
stand the lava-stream, but retires on its approach;
so that promontories stretching to a considerable
distance from the shore are formed in this manner,
when the molten matter hardens into stone.
The eruptions of lava are sometimes attended by
peculiarities which impart to them much additional
grandeur. Instances have occurred in which the
fiery stream has plunged over a sheer precipice of
immense height, so as to produce a glowing cascade
exceeding in breadth and perpendicular descent the
celebrated Falls of Niagara. In other cases, the lava,
instead of at once flowing down the sides of the
mountain, has been first thrown up into the air as a
fiery fountain several hundred feet in height. This
happens when the great crater at the summit of the
cone is full of liquid lava but does not overflow.
Then, on the formation of an opening in the side of
the cone, a good way down, the lava issuing from it
is projected upwards to nearly the same height that
it occupies in the interior of the crater at the top of
the cone. It is hardly possible for the fancy to
picture to itself anything so magnificent as such a
fountain of liquid fire must be. A simple jet of
water of considerable volume, thrown into the air to
the height of a hundred feet, is itself a beautiful
spectacle. What then must be a huge jet of glowing
white lava projected to the height of several hundred


feet, and with what an awful thundering sound must
it come tumbling to the ground, thence to rush as a
roaring torrent down the mountain's side !
Lava, when congealed, differs in its consistency
according as it is near the top or near the bottom of
the stream. When near the top it is porous, owing
to its rapid cooling; when near the bottom it is
dense, owing to its slow cooling and the great pressure
to which it is subjected. When the lighter super-
ficial lava is brought suddenly into contact with
water, as when a lava-stream enters the sea, it be-
comes still lighter and more porous-forming the
well-known substance called pumice, so much used
for polishing. It may be regarded as the solidified
froth of lava, and is so light that it floats on the
surface of water.
The lavas of different mountains, when cooled and
hardened, differ much in their appearance and com-
position. Among those of Iceland is found the
beautiful black volcanic glass named obsidian. It is
a good deal used for ornamental purposes; for it
possesses the peculiar property of presenting a differ-
ent appearance according to the manner in which
it is cut. When cut in one direction it is of a beau-
tiful jetty black; when cut across that direction it is
glistering gray. The lavas of Vesuvius are generally
of a brown colour, and are also used in the arts. In
them are found the beautiful olive-green crystals of
the mineral called olivine, sometimes used by jewel-
lers. But the most useful of all volcanic productions
is native sulphur, in which Mount Etna has been
very prolific. It is to this mountain chiefly, there-


fore, that we are indebted for our beautiful fire-works
-our squibs, crackers, Roman candles, serpents,
Catherine-wheels, and sky-rockets. Would it had
produced nothing more harmful than these But it
has also supplied one of the ingredients of that vil-
lainous gunpowder, which has been the means of
thrusting so many of our fellow-creatures prematurely
out of the world. Etna, however, can hardly be held
responsible for this sad misuse of the valuable sub-
stance which it affords; while even gunpowder itself
has, on the whole, been of vast benefit to mankind.
Could we only refrain from shooting each other with
it, we might regard it as an almost unmixed good;
for it has helped us greatly in forming our roads,
railways, and tunnels, and in working our quarries
and mines.
In all great eruptions the flow of the lava is pre-
ceded by the ejection of vast quantities of volcanic
dust, ashes, dross, slag, and loose stones. These are
tossed into the air with tremendous violence, conse-
quently, to a great height. The stones thus ejected
are sometimes of immense size. A rock, whose weight
is estimated at two hundred tons, was thrown from
the summit of Cotopaxi to the distance of more than
ten miles. Large stones have been tossed up by
Vesuvius to the estimated height of three thousand
six hundred feet. The dust of the volcano of St.
Vincent was carried more than two hundred miles to
the eastward in the teeth of the trade wind; conse-
quently it must have been thrown to an enormous
height, in order to its falling at so vast a distance
from its source.

Besides the usual volcanic dust and ashes, there is
sometimes thrown from the crater of a volcano a
substance resembling spun-glass or asbestos. It
possesses the flexibility and lustre of silk. The vol-
cano of Salazes, in the Island of Bourbon, is remark-
able for this substance, and it has there been seen to
form a cloud covering the entire surface of the moun-
tain. But it has also been found in other places.
How curious it would be to have this volcanic silk
spun into threads, and knitted into stockings or woven
into a garment! Who can tell what may happen in
these days of adventure and invention? Who knows
but what some young reader, whose eye is now rest-
ing on this page, may yet live to present his lady-
love with a pair of knitted gloves composed of the
volcanic silk of Salazes?
Great as the contrast is between this filmy ma-
terial and the ponderous blocks tossed into the air by
Cotopaxi and Etna, it is not greater than that be-
tween the latter and other masses which have from
time to time been upheaved by volcanic forces. In-
stances have occurred of whole islands having been
raised from the bed of the ocean, or whole mountains
upreared on the surface of the land, far away from
the sea, and that too in the short space of a few
hours. But of such we shall have occasion to speak
more at large in the sequel.
Of all the extraordinary productions that have ever
been thrown up by volcanoes, the strangest of all are
fishes. How droll to dine upon fish cooked in a
volcano I A queer fish it must be that likes to dwell
in the bowels of a mountain-more especially of one
225 2


whose entrails are mostly of liquid fire. But of this
also more fully anon.
In addition to the solid materials thrown out by
volcanoes, there are sometimes poured forth torrents
of boiling water and liquid mud. More frequently,
however, the water issues in the form of vast columns
of steam and sulphurous vapour. These ascend to
great heights in the air, and becoming gradually
chilled, they form immense masses of dark heavy
clouds, similar to those we observe before a thunder-
storm. Nor is this resemblance apparent only. For
the clouds that overhang an active volcano during
an eruption of its vapours are, in reality, thunder-
clouds highly charged with electricity. They accord-
ingly produce what Baron Humboldt calls the vol-
canic storm. It includes all the most terrible of
atmospheric phenomena-lightnings of extraordinary
vividness; thunders that peal and reverberate as if
they would rend the echoes asunder; torrents of rain
that pour down upon the mountain and its neigh-
bourhood, hissing like thousands of serpents when
they fall on the glowing lava-torrent; and whirlwinds
that sweep the volcanic ashes round and round in
vast eddies, and before whose violence no man of
mortal mould is able for a moment to stand.
Beyond and above this din of contending elements
are heard the hoarse bellowings of the mountain
itself, which, meanwhile, trembles to its very core.
The detonations from the volcano far exceed in loud-
ness any other earthly noise. Compared with these,
the pealing of the loudest thunder is but as the report
of a musket contrasted with the simultaneous dis-


charge of a thousand pieces of heavy ordnance. The
explosions of Tomboro, and the vibrations accom-
panying them, have been heard and felt at almost in-
credible distances. Judge, then, of the immensity
of the forces which are thus brought into play, and
the overwhelming grandeur of the scene which such
an eruption, with all its accompaniments of storm
and tempest, must present to the bewildered eye and
ear. Even to read of it sends a thrill through the
nerves: what, then, must it be to listen and behold ?
So far do we dwell from the nearest volcanoes, and
so little are we familiar with the names except of
a few, that not many persons are aware of the large
number of burning mountains on the face of our globe.
The total number, however, of those which are known
to have been active within historic times is fully
two hundred. Of these, the most familiar to us for
its classic fame and its restless activity is Mount
Vesuvius, which stands alone in its grandeur on the
continent of Europe. The most violent in its activity
is Tomboro, in the island of Sumbdwa. The highest
is Cotopaxi, in the range of the Andes, which rises
far into the region of perpetual snow. Its height is
16,800 feet above the levelof the sea. Strange it seems,
that volcanic fires should glow at such a height in the
midst of snow and ice. But in this particular Cotopaxi
does not stand alone. The Peak of Teneriffe, Mount
Etna, and several others, also rise above the snow-line;
while the burning mountains of Iceland, Greenland,
and Kamtschatka, with those which rear their heads in
the frozen regions near the South Pole, are for the most
part enveloped in ice and snow from head to foot.


Before proceeding to describe to you some of the
more interesting of the individual volcanoes and vol-
canic groups, it may be well to let you into a secret
worth knowing. You would doubtless like to have
a volcano all to yourself. Here is the receipt: Buy
several pounds of clean iron filings, and a somewhat
larger quantity of the flowers of sulphur. Mix the
two together and knead them well with water into a
stiffish paste. Then wrap this pudding in a cloth,
and put another cloth about it, which has been
smeared with common or coal-tar. Dig a hole in some
quiet corner of your garden, pop your dumpling into
it, and cover it well up with earth, treading it down
firmly with your feet. Not many hours will elapse
before you will see the ground swell like a mole-
hill; an eruption will ensue, and you will be the
happy possessor of a Stromboli of your own I


Volcanoes of Iceland-Mount Hecla-Earliest Eruption-Great
Eruption in 1845-Skapt5r Yakul-Terrible Eruption in 1783-
Rise and Disappearance of NyoE--Katlugaia-The Geysers-A
very hot Bath-Californian Geysers-Iceland-spar-Jan Mayen.

E shall begin with the volcanoes of Iceland,
of which the most interesting and active
is Mount Hecla. The annexed woodcut
will give you an idea of its appearance. You will
observe the column of volcanic vapour ascending from
the snow-clad summit of the cone, and how dreary
and desolate is the aspect of the country at its base.
The earliest recorded eruption of Mount Hecla took
place in the ninth century of the Christian era; but
probably there had been many before that date. Since
then there have been between twenty and thirty con-
siderable eruptions of this mountain, and it has some-
times remained in a state of activity for upwards
of six years with little intermission. It took a long
rest, however, of more than sixty years' duration, prior
to the year 1845, when it again burst forth. After a
violent storm on the night of the 2nd of September
in that year, the surface of the ground in the Ork-
ney Islands was found strown with volcanic dust.
There was thus conveyed to the inhabitants of Great
Britain an intimation that Hecla had been again at


work. Accordingly, tidings soon after arrived of a
great eruption of the mountain. On the night of
the 1st of September, the dwellers in its neighbour-
hood were terrified by a fearful underground groan-
ing, which continued till mid-day on the 2nd. Then,
with a tremendous crash, there were formed in the
sides of the cone two large openings, whence there
gushed torrents of lava, which flowed down two
gorges on the flanks of the mountain. The whole
summit was enveloped in clouds of vapour and vol-
canic dust. The neighboring rivers became so hot
as to kill the fish, and the sheep fled in terror from
the adjoining heaths, some being burnt before they
could escape.
On the night of the 15th of September, two new
openings were formed--one on the eastern, and the
other on the southern slope-from both of which lava
was discharged for twenty-two hours. It flowed to
a distance of upwards of twenty miles, killing many
cattle and destroying a large tract of pasturage.
Twelve miles from the crater, the lava-stream was
between forty and fifty feet deep and nearly a mile
in width. On the 12th of October a fresh torrent of
lava burst forth, and heaped up another similar mass.
The mountain continued in a state of activity up to
April 1846; then it rested for a while, and began
again in the following month of October. Since
then, however, it has enjoyed repose.
The effects of these eruptions were disastrous.
The whole island was strown with volcanic ashes,
which, where they did not smother the grass out-
right, gave it a poisonous taint. The cattle that ate

,--- I~ -, __ -- _= -1-__ ,,"

-5 I' o To

- .- _~- 4



of it were attacked by a murrain, of which great
numbers died. The ice and snow, which had gathered
about the mountain for a long period of time, were
wholly melted by the heat. Masses of pumice weigh-
ing nearly half a ton were thrown to a distance of
between four and five miles.
Mount Hecla is not the only volcano in Iceland.
There are several others; and from one of them,
named Skapthr Yokul, there was, in the year 1783,
an eruption still more violent than that from Hecla
above described. It began on the 8th of June, and
raged with little abatement till the end of August,
whence onward it continued, but with less violence,
till the following year. The lava, in this case, poured
from numerous openings; but these rivulets ulti-
mately united themselves into two large currents,
which flowed onwards to the sea. In their progress,
these burning torrents filled up the beds of two con-
siderable rivers. The greater of the two streams,
after it had ceased to flow and had become a solid
mass of rock, measured fifty miles in length, and
between twelve and fifteen miles in breadth. Its
average depth on the plains was about a hundred
feet; but in the bed of the river, which it had filled,
it was not less than six hundred feet. The snow
and ice, which had previously covered the mountain,
were not only melted, but the water that flowed from
them was raised to the boiling point, and poured
down with destructive effect on the plains. The
dust. and ashes thrown into the air darkened the sun;
and they were then strown over the surface of the
island, destroying all the pastures, so that many


thousands of cattle, horses, and sheep perished. But
worse than that, upwards of nine thousand persons
lost their lives by this dreadful catastrophe.
About a month before this great eruption of Skap-
thr Y6kul, a volcanic island was thrown up from the
sea, at a distance of about seventy miles from Iceland.
So great was the quantity of ashes and dross ejected
from its crater, that it overspread the sea to a dis-
tance of a hundred and fifty miles, forming a crust
which obstructed the progress of ships. Portions of
this crust floated as far as the Shetland and Orkney
islands. The King of Denmark named this fiery
apparition Nyoe," or "New Island," and doubtless
prided himself not a little on this addition to his
limited dominions. But, alas, for human ambition!
About a year after the date of its first appearance,
Nyo6 sank into the depths out of which it arose,
and its position is now marked only by a moderate
It is not by their ejected lavas alone that the vol-
canoes of Iceland produce their destructive effects.
Disastrous consequences have frequently resulted
from the sudden melting of their snows and glaciers,
on which the volcanic fires operate far more rapidly
than does the heat of the sun. It is chiefly by the
vast quantities of earth, sand, stones, and broken
fragments of rock, which they hurry along with
them in their wild career, that the waters, so sud-
denly freed, produce the greatest amount of damage.
During an eruption of Katlugaia, one of the southern
icelandic volcanoes, in 1756, the mass of material
thus carried down by the melted snows and glaciers


was so great, that, advancing several leagues into
the sea, it formed three parallel promontories, which
rose above the sea-level, where there had formerly
been a depth of forty fathoms of water. Vast ra-
vines were, at the same time, scooped out of the
sides of the mountain by the erosion of the waters.
Another eruption of this volcano in 1860 produced
similar results.
Still more interesting than the volcanic mountains
of Iceland are its Geysers, or intermittent springs of
boiling water. The chief of these is the Great Gey-
ser. A jet rises to a vast height, and is accom-
panied by much steam. Indeed, it is quite at the
The little mound, from the top of which the jet
appears to rise, is composed of a substance named
siliceous sinter, and is a deposit from the water of the
fountain. At the top of this mound, which is between
six and seven feet in height, there is an oval basin,
measuring about fifty-six feet in one direction, and
about forty-six in the other; its average depth is
about three feet. In the centre of this basin is a
round hole, about ten feet in diameter, out of which
the water springs. This hole is the mouth of a cir-
cular well, between seventy and eighty feet in depth.
It is down this well that the jet retires on its disap-
pearance; and it drags along with it all the water
out of the basin, leaving both basin and well quite
empty, without even a puff of steam coming out of
the hole. In this state of emptiness the basin and
well remain for several hours. Suddenly the water
begins to rise in the well, overflowing till it fills the


basin. Loud explosions are heard from below, and
the ground trembles. Then, with amazing violence,
up springs a vast column of boiling water, surmounted
by clouds of steam, which obscure the air. This
first jet is followed by several others in rapid suc-
cession, to the number of sixteen or eighteen; the
last jet being usually the greatest of all, and attain-
ing a height of nearly a hundred feet. In some in-
stances it has risen to a height of a hundred and fifty
feet; and one particular jet was measured which rose
to the amazing height of two hundred and twelve feet.
The action of the fountain seldom continues more
than about five minutes at a time, and then a repose
of several hours ensues. If left to itself, the periods
of the fountain's activity, though not quite regular,
generally recur at intervals of six or seven hours.
But they may be hastened by throwing big stones
down the well. This not only hurries the eruption
of the jet, but increases its energy, and the stones
are thrown out with great force by the column of
boiling water; the loudness of the explosions being
also considerably augmented.
There are several other geysers in the island be-
sides this big one. Their jets are smaller, but to
compensate this deficiency, they are more frequent in
their ascent; so that travellers who are too impatient
to await the eruptions of the Great Geyser, content
themselves with visiting the little ones.
Would it not be very convenient to live near a
geyser? We might have our victuals cooked by it,
and have pipes led from it all round our house, to
keep us comfortable in winter; and we might have


nice hot baths in our dressing-rooms, and even a
little steam-engine to roast our meat and grind our
coffee. But perhaps you may think it might not be
altogether pleasant to be kept so continually in hot
Were any of the water from the geyser to fall on
your hands, you would doubtless feel it rather sore;
still more so, were you to be so rash as to thrust
your hand fairly into the jet of boiling water, as it
ascends into the air. Nevertheless, strange as it
may seem, it would be possible for you, without feel-
ing any pain or sustaining any injury, to thrust
your hand right into the glowing lava as it flows from
the crater of Hecla. The only precaution needful
to be observed, is first to plunge the hand into cold
water, and then dry it gently with a soft towel, but
so as to leave it still a little moist. This discovery
was made by a French philosopher, M. Boutigny,
and has been practically proved both by him and
M. Houdin, the celebrated conjuror, by thrusting
their hands into molten iron,. as it flowed from the
furnace. The latter describes the sensation as like
what one might imagine to be felt on putting the
hand into liquid velvet.* The reason why this ex-
periment proves so harmless is that between the
skin and the glowing substance there is formed a
film of vapour, which acts as a complete protection.
It is this elastic cushion of vapour which imparts that
feeling of softness described by M. Houdin; for it
is with it alone that the hand comes into contact.
Geysers have been recently discovered in Califor-
Houdin's Autobiography, ii 270.


nia; but the jets do not rise higher than twenty or
thirty feet. They are, however, very numerous, there
being upwards of a hundred openings within a space
of half a mile square. The vapour from the whole
group rises to upwards of a hundred and fifty feet
into the air. The boiling water issues from conical
mounds, with great noise. The whole ground around
them is a mere crust, and when it is penetrated
the boiling water is seen underneath. The Cali-
fornian geysers, however, are impregnated, not with
silica, like those of Iceland, but with sulphur, of
which they form large deposits. The sulphurous
vapours from the water corrode the rocks near the
fountains; nevertheless trees grow, without injury to
their health, at a distance from them of not more
than fifty feet.
Besides obsidian, already mentioned as a product
of its volcanoes, Iceland is famed for another mineral
of great scientific value. It is that fine variety of
carbonate of lime named Iceland-spar. Transparent
and colourless, like glass, this mineral possesses the
property of double refraction-any small object viewed
through it in a particular direction appearing double.
It is much used for optical purposes-especially for
obtaining polarized light.
There is another volcano lying far to the north-
ward of Iceland. It is in the island of Jan Mayen,
off the coast of Greenland, and has on its summit a
vast crater, 2000 feet in diameter, and 500 in depth.


Mount Vesuvius-Origin of Name-Former Condition-Eruption of
A.D. 79--Death of Pliny-Destruction of Pompeii and Hercu-
laneum-Appearance of the Mountain before and after Eruption
-Formation of Monte Nuovo-Eruption of Boiling Water-
Coloured Vapours-Cascade of Lava-Discovery of Remains of
Herculaneum and Pompeii-The Buildings of Pompeii-Street
of Tombs-Skeletons-Sundry Shops-Ascents of Vesuvius-
Crater-Temple of Serapis.

OUNT VESUVIUS is the only active vol-
cano on the continent of Europe, and it is
highly interesting both from its historical
associations and the frequency of its eruptions. It is
situated on the coast of the Bay of Naples, about six
miles to the eastward of the city and at a short dis-
tance from the shore. It forms a conspicuous feature
in the beautiful landscape presented by that bay,
when viewed from the sea, with the city in the fore-
Mount Vesuvius was in ancient times held sacred
to the deified hero Hercules, and the town of Her-
culaneum, built at its base, was named after him.
So also, it is said, was the mountain itself, though
in a more round-about way. Hercules, as you will
doubtless learn, was feigned to have been the son of
the heathen god Zeus and Alcmena, a Theban lady.
Now one of the appellations of Zeus was "Ys, which


was applied to him as being the god of rains and
dews-the wet divinity. Thus Hercules was"Yqrov-
vids, the son of Ves. How this name should have
become corrupted into Vesuvius," you can be at no
loss to perceive.
Vesuvius was not always a volcano. It was for
many ages a very peaceable and well-behaved moun-
tain. Ancient writers describe it as having been
covered with gardens and vineyards, except at the
top which was craggy. Within a large circle of
nearly perpendicular cliffs, was a flat space sufficient
for the encampment of an army. This was doubtless
an ancient crater; but nobody in those times knew
anything of its history. So little was the volcanic
nature of the mountain suspected, that the Roman
towns of Stabia, Pompeii, and Herculaneum had
been erected at its base, and their inhabitants dwelt
in fancied security.
In the year A.D. 63, however, the dwellers in the
cities got a great fright; for the mountain shook
violently, and a good many houses were thrown
down. But soon all became quiet again, and the
people set about rebuilding the houses that had fallen.
They continued to live in apparent safety for some
time longer. They danced, they sung, they feasted,
they married, and were altogether as merry a set of
citizens as any in southern Italy. But the 24th of
August A.D. 79 at length arrived. Then, woe to
Stabim woe to Pompeii I woe to Herculaneum!
Pliny the elder was that day in command of the
Roman fleet at Misenum, which was not far off.
His family were with him, and, among others, his

nephew, Pliny the younger, who has left an inter-
esting account of what happened on the occasion.
He observed an extraordinary dense cloud ascending
in the direction of Vesuvius, of which he says:-" I
cannot give you a more exact description of its
figure, than by resembling it to that of a pine tree;
for it shot up to a great height in the form of a
tall trunk, which spread out at the top into a sort of
branches. It appeared sometimes bright, and some-
times dark and spotted, as it was either more or less
impregnated with earth and cinders."
On seeing this remarkable appearance, the elder
Pliny, who was a great naturalist and a man of
inquiring mind, resolved to go ashore and inspect
more narrowly what was going on. But a rash
resolve it proved. Steering towards Retina (now
Resina), a port at the foot of the mountain, he was
met, on his approach, by thick showers of hot cinders,
which grew thicker and hotter as he advanced-fall-
ing on the ships along with lumps of pumice and
pieces of rock, black but burning hot. Vast frag-
ments came rolling down the mountain and gathered
in heaps upon the shore. Then the sea began sud-
denly to retreat, so that landing at this point became
impracticable. He therefore steered for Stabiam, where
he landed, and took up his abode with Pomponianus
-an intimate friend.
Meanwhile, flames appeared to issue from several
parts of the mountain with great violence-the dark-
ness of the night heightening their glare. Pliny
nevertheless went to sleep. Soon, however, the
court leading to his chamber became almost filled




with stones and ashes; so his servants awoke him,
and he joined Pomponianus and his household. The
house now began to rock violently to and fro; while
outside, stones and cinders were falling in showers.
They, notwithstanding, thought it safer to make their
way out from the tottering mansion; so, tying pillows
upon their heads with napkins, they sallied forth.
Although it was now day, the darkness was deeper
than that of the blackest night. By the aid of
torches and lanterns, however, they groped their way
towards the beach, with a view to escape by sea; but
they found the waves too high and tumultuous. Here
Pliny, having drunk some cold water, lay down upon
a sailcloth which was spread for him; when almost
immediately flames, preceded by a strong smell of
sulphur, issuing from the ground, scattered the com-
pany and forced him to rise. With the help of two
of his servants he succeeded in raising himself; but,
choked by some noxious vapour, he instantly fell
down dead.
Nor was he alone in his death; for although many
of the inhabitants of the devoted cities were able to
effect their escape; yet, so suddenly did the over-
whelming shower of ashes, cinders, and stones fall
upon them, that not a few of them perished in their
dwellings or their streets. As for the cities them-
selves, they were utterly buried completely out of
sight, and, like other things that are long out of sight,
they soon became also buried out of mind. For
many centuries they remained entirely forgotten.
You will doubtless like to know how Vesuvius
looked, after doing so much mischief. Here is a



picture showing what like it was immediately before
the eruption; and one showing its appearance soon
after the event. On comparing the two, you will
observe the mountain had undergone a great change.
It was no longer flat on the top, but had formed for
itself a large cone, from the summit of which dense
vapours ascended. This cone was composed entirely
of the ashes, cinders, and loose stones, thrown up
during the eruption. It had become separated by
a deep ravine from the remainder of the former
summit, which afterwards came to be distinguished
by the name Monte Somma. The whole of the
forests, vineyards, and other luxuriant vegetation,
which had covered that portion of the sides of Vesu-
vius where the eruption took place, were destroyed.
Nothing could be more striking than the contrast
between the beautiful appearance of the mountain
before this catastrophe, and its desolate aspect after
the sad event. This remarkable contrast forms the
subject of one of Martial's Epigrams, lib. iv. Ep. 44.
It is thus rendered by Mr. Addison:-
"Vesuvius covered with the fruitful vine
Here flourished once, and ran with floods of wine.
Here Bacchus oft to the cool shades retired,
And his own native Nysa less admired.
Oft to the mountain's airy tops advanced,
The frisking Satyrs on the summit danced.
Alcides here, here Venus graced the shore,
Nor loved her favourite Lacedasmon more.
Now piles of ashes, spreading all around,
In undistinguished heaps deform the ground.
The gods themselves the ruined seats bemoan,
And blame the mischiefs that themselves have done."
Since the eruption of A.D. 79, Vesuvius has had
many fits of activity with intervals of rest. In A.D.


472, it threw out so great a quantity of ashes, that
they overspread all Europe, and filled even Constan-
tinople with alarm. In A.D. 1036 occurred the first
eruption in which there was any ejection of lava.
This eruption was followed by five others, the last
of which occurred in 1500. To these succeeded a
long rest of about a hundred and thirty years, during
which the mountain had again become covered with
gardens and vineyards as of old. Even the inside of
the crater had become clothed with shrubbery.
In this interval, however, there was an extraor-
dinary eruption-not of Vesuvius itself, but at no
great distance from it, in the Bay of Baive, on the
opposite shore of the Bay of Naples. The whole of
this neighbourhood is a volcanic country, and was
anciently named the Phlegrean Fields. It contains
a crater in a state of subdued activity, called the
Solfatara; an extinct volcano having a large crater
called Monte Barbaro; and Lake Avernus, also sup-
posed to be an extinct volcanic crater. Between
Monte Barbaro and the sea, there was formerly a
flat piece of ground bordering on the Lucrine Lake,
which is separated from the Bay of Baire by a
narrow strip of shingle. On the 29th of September
1538, the flat piece of ground above mentioned
became the scene of a great eruption, which resulted
in the throwing up of a new elevation to the height
of four hundred and thirteen feet, and with a circum-
ference of eight thousand feet. It received the name
of Monte Nuovo, and is now covered with a luxuriant
In 1631 there was another dreadful eruption of


Mount Vesuvius, which covered with lava most of the
villages at the foot of the mountain. To add to the
calamity, torrents of boiling water were, on this occa-
sion, thrown out by the volcano, producing awful
There have been since that time numerous erup-
tions, which it would be tedious to mention in detail;
but two of them are worthy of notice. During an
eruption in February 1848, a column of vapours
arose from the crater about forty feet high, presenting
a variety of colours; and a short time afterwards
there arose ten circles, which were black, white, and
green, and which ultimately assumed the form of a
cone. A similar appearance had been observed in
1820. More recently, in May 1855, a great stream
of glowing lava, about two hundred feet in breadth,
flowed towards a vast ravine nearly a thousand feet
in depth. The first descent into this chasm is a
sheer precipice, over which the lava dashed heavily,
forming a magnificent cascade of liquid fire.
Of the buried cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii
no traces were discovered till the year 1713, when
some labourers, in digging a well, came upon the
remains of Herculaneum about twenty-four feet
underground. Little attention, however, was paid
to the discovery at that time; but in 1748 a peasant,
digging in his vineyard, stumbled on some ancient
works of art. On sinking a shaft at this spot to the
depth of twelve feet, the remains of Pompeii were
found. This discovery led to further researches, and
the exact positions of the two cities were erelong
ascertained. The work of disinterment has continued


with little interruption from that to the present
time, and many valuable specimens of ancient art
have been brought to light.
The greatest progress has been made at Pompeii;
because the stuff, in which it was buried, is far looser
than that which covers Herculaneum. In the former
city, although it was anciently reckoned only a third-
rate place, there have already been discovered eight
temples, a forum, a basilica, two theatres, a magnifi-
cent amphitheatre, and public baths. The ramparts,
composed of huge blocks of stone, have also been
exposed. One of the most remarkable places is the
Cemetery. It consists of a broad path covered with
pavement, and bordered on either side with stately
monuments, placed over the tombs of the wealthy
citizens of the place, and in which whole families
have been interred.
The houses were found filled with elegant furni-
ture, the walls of the apartments adorned with beau-
tiful paintings. Numerous statues, vases, lamps, and
other elegant works of art, have been recovered.
Many skeletons have also been found, in the exact
positions in which the living men were caught by
the deadly shower of suffocating ashes. The exca-
vators came upon the skeleton of a miser, who had
been attempting to escape from his house, and whose
bony fingers were still clutching the purse which con-
tained the treasure he loved. There were also found
in the barracks at Pompeii the skeletons of two
soldiers chained to the stocks; and the writings
scribbled by the soldiers on the walls are still quite
legible. In the vaults of a villa in the suburbs were


discovered the skeletons of seventeen persons, who
had probably sought refuge there, and been entombed.
The stuff in which they were imbedded had been
originally soft, but had become hardened through
time. In this substance was found a cavity, contain-
ing the skeleton of a female with an infant in her
arms. Although nothing but the bones remained,
the cavity contained a perfect cast of the woman's
figure-thus showing that she must have been im-
bedded in the substance while alive. Round the
neck of this skeleton there was a gold chain, and on
the fingers jewelled rings.
In many of the houses the names of the owners
over the doors are still legible, and the fresco-paint-
ings on the inner walls are still quite fresh and
beautiful. The public fountains are adorned with
shells formed into patterns; and in the room of a
painter there was found a collection of shells in per-
fectly good order. A large quantity of fishing-nets
was found in both the cities, and in Herculaneum
some pieces of linen retaining its texture. There
also was discovered a fruiterer's shop, with vessels
full of almonds, chestnuts, carubs, and walnuts. In
another shop stood a glass vessel containing moist
olives, and a jar with caviare-the preserved roe of
the sturgeon. In the shop of an apothecary stood a
box that had contained pills, now reduced to powder,
which had been prepared for a patient destined never
to swallow them-a happy circumstance for him, if
he eventually escaped from the city. Very recently
there has been laid open a baker's shop, with the
loaves of bread on the shelves, all ready for his cus-


tomers, but doomed never to be eaten. These loaves
are of the same form as those still made in that
country, and on being analyzed were found to consist
of the same ingredients as modern bread.
Mount Vesuvius rises rather abruptly from the
plain on which it stands. The circuit of the base is
about twelve miles, and the height of the summit
above the level of the sea about three thousand feet.
This latter measurement, however, alters from time
to time, owing to the variable height of the cone.
Its moderate elevation, and the ease with which it
may be approached, have induced many travellers to
ascend the mountain; and not a few have recorded
their experiences. So frequent are the eruptions of
the volcano, however, and so much do they change
the aspect of the crater, that any description remains
correct for only a limited time.
Within the last hundred years the crater has been
five times wholly altered, in consequence of its in-
terior having been completely blown out, and its
walls having crumbled down. When Sir William
Hamilton ascended the mountain in 1756, it had no
less than three craters and cones, one within another.
The outermost was a very wide-mouthed cone.
Within it rose centrically another, smaller in size
and narrower in the mouth; and within that again
was the third and highest, having a smaller base and
still narrower opening at the top, whence the greatest
volume of vapour ascended. In 1767 this innermost
cone merged in the second, which was greatly en-
larged; and by a subsequent eruption the interval
between the first and second was obliterated, so that


only a single cone remained. In 1822 the whole
interior of the cone was blown out, and its walls
crumbled down, so as to lower the height of the
mountain several hundred feet. But within the vast
gulf, nearly a mile in diameter, which was thus left
yawning open, there soon began to be formed a new
cone, which showed itself erelong above the jagged
edge of the crater. Eventually this cone increased,
by the accumulation of ejected matters, to such an
extent as to obliterate the division between it and
the rim of the former crater-thus once more estab-
lishing a continuous cone. Since that time, the cone
and crater have twice undergone similar changes.
The most usual appearance of the crater, when in
comparative repose, is that of a vast circular or oval
hollow basin, with nearly perpendicular walls, broken
in their continuity, every here and there, by large
projecting dykes, formed by the injection of more
recent lavas into fissures rent in those which had
previously become consolidated. Below the per-
pendicular walls is a rapid slope, composed of fine
ashes or sand, descending to the floor of the crater,
which is, for the most part, nearly flat. It is much
rent by fissures, which during the night are seen to
glow with a ruddy glare, emanating from the hot
materials beneath, and giving to the floor the ap-
pearance of being overspread with a fiery tissue, like
a spider's web. From the bottom there usually rise
one or two small craters of eruption, whence continu-
ally issue sulphurous fumes, and which, at pretty
regular intervals, discharge showers of stones heated
to whiteness.


The exterior of the cone is composed entirely of
loose cinders, ashes, and stones, so that the ascent is
very laborious. The region of the mountain beneath
the cone presents no difficulties, and that part of the
ascent may be performed on donkeys or mules. The
view from the top is magnificent. The contrast
between the desolate aspect of the interior, of the
crater, and the smiling prospect which may be seen
from its edge, has been well compared to looking out
of Tartarus into Paradise.
Near Puzzuoli, in the Bay of Baie, and not far
from Monte Nuovo, stand the ruins of the Temple
of Serapis, so interesting to geologists. These re-
mains, consisting chiefly of the shafts of three marble
columns, still erect, though with a slight inclina-
tion sea-ward, afford distinct proofs, confirmed by
other phenomena in the neighbourhood, that, since
the beginning of the Christian era, the level of the
coast in relation to that of the sea has changed twice
-the land having first sunk and been then raised
again, each time to the extent of upwards of 20 feet.
The evidence of the submergence of the pillars con-
sists mainly of a zone commencing at the height of
about 12 feet above their pedestals, and extending 9
feet upwards, in which are numerous perforations,
made by a marine bivalve mollusc. The uprising
again of the ground on which the temple stands, to
nearly its original height, appears to have occurred
about the time of the formation of Monte Nuovo.


Mount Etna-Its Appearance and Height-Ancient Eruptions-Pin-
dar's Allusion Virgil's Description Subordinate Cones and
Craters-Caverns-Val del Bove-Formation of Monti Rossi-
Eruption of 1852-Whirlwinds-Lava Torrents--Cascades of
Lava-Description of Crater-Empedocles-Enceladus-Craters
of 1865-Cyclopean Isles-Homer's Legend-Volcanic Origin-
Other Basaltic Groups.

OUNT ETNA may well be called the Queen
of European Volcanoes, so majestic does
she look, with her lofty summit glistening
in the sunbeams white with snow, yet pouring forth
volumes of vapour. This mountain, as you will
observe from the annexed woodcut, is altogether more
massive in its appearance than Vesuvius. It is
about three times higher, rising to nearly eleven
thousand feet above the level of the sea, and it has
a circuit of about eighty-seven miles at its base.
Etna has been a volcano from time immemorial;
but of its more ancient eruptions only vague tradi-
tions have survived. The Greek poet Pindar is the
earliest writer who makes mention of its activity.
He refers to it in his first Pythian Ode, Strophe B,
1. 1. The passage is thus rendered by Carey:-
From whose caverned depths aspire,
In purest folds upwreathing, tost
Fountains of approachless fire-
By day a flood of smouldering smoke
With sullen gleam the torrents pour."


, u - -F,

I M467 4



The ode in which this allusion occurs is said to have
been written about B.C. 470; and the eruption to
which it refers probably took place shortly before
that date.
Virgil also describes the mountain very forcibly
in the ,Eneid, lib. iii. 570. Dryden renders the
passage thus:-
"The port capacious, and secure from wind,
Is to the foot of thundering Etna joined.
By turns a pitchy cloud she rolls on high:
By turns hot embers from her entrails fly,
And flakes of mounting flames, that lick the sky.
Oft from her bowels massy rocks are thrown,
And shivered by the force come piece-meal down.
Oft liquid lakes of burning sulphur flow,
Fed from the fiery springs that boil below."

Since the one to which Pindar alludes, there have
been recorded about sixty eruptions; but in the pre-
sent century Etna has been less frequently active
than Vesuvius.
Owing to the great height of Mount Etna, the
lava seldom rises so far as to flow from the summit.
It more frequently bursts forth from the flanks of
the mountain; and in this manner there have been
formed numerous smaller cones, of which several have
craters of their own. Hence Etna is rather a group
of volcanoes than a single cone; but all these sub-
ordinate volcanic hills cluster round the flanks of the
great central summit. Etna may thus be regarded
as a fertile mother of mountains, with all her chil-
dren around her. Some of these hills, her offspring,
are covered with forests and rich vegetation-such
having enjoyed a lasting repose. Others are still
arid and bare, having been more recently formed.


Owing to this peculiarity in its structure, Etna does
not present that conical aspect which characterizes
most other volcanoes. Strange as it may seem,
there are, on the sides of the mountain, caverns
which the Sicilians use for storing ice. Some of
these caverns are of vast extent. One called Fossa
della Palomba measures, at its entrance, 625 feet in
circumference, and has a depth of about 78 feet.
This great cavity, however, forms merely the vesti-
bule to a series of others, which are perfectly dark.
Another striking feature of Mount Etna is the
Val del Bove. It is a deep valley, presenting, when
viewed from above, somewhat of the appearance of
an amphitheatre. It stretches from near the summit
down to the upper limit of the wooded region'of the
mountain, and has a remarkably desolate aspect-
presenting a vast expanse of bare and rugged lava.
Of the numerous eruptions of Etna, one of the
most memorable was that of 1669, when on the
flank of the mountain above Nicolosi, about half way
between Catania and the top of the great crater,
there was formed an immense rent about twelve miles
long, from which a vast torrent of lava descended.
After flowing for several miles, and destroying a
part of Catania in its course, it entered the sea, and
formed a small promontory, which has since proved
very useful as a breakwater. But besides this stream,
there were at the same time thrown up such immense
quantities of ashes, cinders, stones, and other matters,
that they formed two conical hills, more than three
hundred feet in height above the slope of the moun-
tain from which they rose, and measuring nearly two

miles in circumference at their base. These hills
were named Monti Rossi.
Mount Etna was in activity as lately as 1865; but


a previous eruption in 1852 was of greater violence.
It began, as usual, with hollow underground rumblings,
and the ascent of dense columns of vapour, mingled


with dust and ashes, high into the air. These were
speedily whirled into enormous eddies by fierce whirl-
winds. Two new mouths were formed on the side
of the mountain, and these vomited forth immense
streams of lava, which rushed with the vehemence
of a torrent down the steep. The violence of the
commotion increasing, the two mouths were, by the
crumbling of the intervening rocks, blended into one,
and then huge fragments of the broken rock were
hurled to a great height, along with vast quantities
of hot stones, cinders, and black sand. Increasing
quantities of lava were now poured from the greatly
enlarged opening, and these formed on the plains
below a great river of liquid fire, nearly two miles in
breadth, and between seven and eight feet in depth,
which advanced at the rate of upwards of a hundred
feet in an hour, carrying before it devastation and
ruin. Its course being through a highly cultivated
country, the damage it inflicted was immense. This
eruption continued for several months, with only
short intervals of rest.
It has more than once happened, that the lava-
streams of Etna, in their descent from the crater of
eruption, have come to a precipitous wall of rock,
over which they have plunged in a cascade similar to
that formed by the lava of Vesuvius in 1855, but on
a less magnificent scale, as respects the height of the
fall. One of these occasions was during the eruption
of 1771, and another during that of 1819.
The principal cone of Mount Etna was ascended in
1834 by Messrs. Elie de Beaumont and Leopold von
Buch. The former describes what they saw in the
'225; 4


following terms :-" It was to us a moment of sur-
prise difficult to describe, when we found ourselves
unexpectedly on the margin-not, indeed, of the
great crater-but of an almost circular gulf, nearly
three hundred feet in diameter, which does not touch
the great crater save at a small part of its circum-
ference. We peered eagerly into this nearly cylin-
drical funnel; but vain was our search into the secret
of its volcanic action. From the almost horizontal
tops of the nearly vertical steeps, nothing can be
described but the upper cone. On trying to reckon
those one below another, vision becomes gradually
lost in the perfect darkness beneath. No sound
issues from this darkness. There are only exhaled
slightly sulphurous white vapours, chiefly steam.
The dismal aspect of this black and silent gulf, in
which our view was lost-its dark moist sides, along
which crept, in a languid and monotonous manner,
long flakes of vapour of a sombre gray-the great
crater to which this narrow gulf is attached, with
its confused heap of diverse substances, coloured
yellow, gray, red, like the image of chaos-all pre-
sented around us an aspect quite funereal and sepul-
The French geologist, in having escaped from his
visit to the crater with nothing worse than a fit of
the vapours, came off better than Empedocles, the
Sicilian philosopher, in the days of old: for, as the
story goes, this inquisitive sage, being very anxious
to have a peep into the crater, and venturing too
near, toppled in altogether, and nothing more was
seen of him, except one of his sandals, which was

CRATERS OF 1865. 51

vomited up by the volcano-thus conveying to his
friends an intimation of the manner of his death.
Some incredulous persons allege that this story has
no better foundation than the fable of the poets,
that the giant Enceladus, son of Titan and Terra,
having offended Jupiter, the infuriated god first felled
him with a thunderbolt, and then put Mount Etna
as a sort of extinguisher on the top of him-his
restlessness underneath fully accounting for all the
commotions of the mountain.
Soon after the eruption which took place towards
the end of January 1865, the craters then opened
were visited by M. Fouqu6, a French geologist. At
the time of his visit, 10th March, they were seven in
number, and he thus describes their modes of action:-
The three upper craters produced two or three
times a minute, powerful detonations like thunder-
claps. The lower craters, on the contrary, incessantly
gave forth a succession of reports too rapid to be
reckoned. These sounds, although unremitting, were
clear and distinct, the one from the other. I can
find no better comparison for them than the strokes
of a hammer falling on an anvil. Had the ancients
heard a similar noise, I can readily conceive whence
arose the idea of their imagining a forge in the centre
of Etna, with the Cyclops for workmen."
Off the eastern coast of Sicily, and not far from
Mount Etna, lie the Cyclopean Isles, of one of which
the annexed woodcut gives a representation. You
will observe what a singular appearance it presents,
with its rows of basaltic columns piled one above
another. The other isle is close by, and there is an


ancient tradition that they at one time formed part
of the mainland of Sicily. Homer has a curious
story about the manner in which they became de-
tached. The passage occurs towards the end of the

.- ---_ -_--
_-----. _--


ninth book of the Odyssey. He tells that, at the time
Ulysses visited Sicily, it was inhabited by the Cyclops,
who, as already mentioned, were said to have had
each only one eye, situated in his forehead. Their
king's name was Polyphemus, a huge giant, who


beguiled Ulysses and a portion of his crew into a
cave, where he killed some of the crew and devoured
them for his supper. Ulysses, fearing his turn
might come next, persuaded Polyphemus to taste
some strong wine he had with him, and filled him
so tipsy that he fell fast asleep. While he was in
this state, Ulysses burnt out his one eye with a red-
hot iron. The giant awoke in agony, but Ulysses
contrived to escape from his clutches, and, after
getting into his ship, began taunting and jeering
the monster. Thereupon Homer says:-

"These words the Cyclops' burning rage provoke:
From the tall hill he rends a pointed rock;
High o'er the billows flew the massy load,
And near the ship came thundering on the flood.
It almost brushed the helm, and fell before:
The whole sea shook, and refluent beat the shore."
POPE's translation.

The huge missile having thus missed its mark,
Ulysses, with great impudence, renewed his jeers,
taunting the giant, and telling him who it was that
had poked out his eye; whereupon Polyphemus in-
vokes the vengeance of Neptune upon him, and-
"A larger rock then heaving from the plain,
He whirled it round-it rung across the main:
It fell and brushed the stern: the billows roar,
Shake at the weight, and refluent beat the shore."
POPE'S translation.

The rocks of which the Cyclopean Isles are com-
posed are entirely of volcanic origin, and it is far
from improbable that they may have at one time
been attached to Sicily, and severed from it by some
great volcanic convulsion. A careful examination of
these large piles of basaltic columns led Dr. Daubeny


to the conclusion, that the lavas from which they
have been formed were consolidated under great
pressure, and probably at the bottom of the sea,
whence they have been afterwards upheaved. He
also concludes, from certain appearances, that the
two islands were at one time united.
The Cyclopean Isles strongly resemble, in their
general aspect, the well-known Giant's Causeway on
the northern coast of Ireland, and the Isle of Staffa
off the western coast of Scotland. The latter, which,
around its whole sea-girt outline, presents ranges of
basaltic columns, some of them disposed in curious
fantastic groups, most nearly resembles the Sicilian
pair. These differ from it chiefly in their having
the columns piled in terraces, one above another.
Staffa, however, can boast of a far more striking
feature-the celebrated Cave of Fingal-its stately
basaltic columns inspiring every beholder with ad-
miration, not unmixed with awe, while its brightly-
tinted floor rivals in brilliancy of colouring the most
beautiful mosaics.
In the Island of Iceland, also, there are some
remarkable ranges of basaltic columns. One in
particular, named the Ruins of Dverghamrar, is in
the form of a semicircle skirting the sea-coast.
Another group, still more wonderful, forms a curious
natural Gothic arch, surmounted by pinnacles. It
is so picturesque that an architect might study it
with advantage, and derive from it valuable hints in
designing the entrance to a cathedral.


Lipari Islands-Stromboli-Origin of Name-Position of Crater-
Description of Crater-New Volcanic Island named Julia-
Phenomena preceding its Elevation-Description of Island and
Crater-Its Disappearance-Rise of Islands at Santorin.

TIE Lipari Islands are all of volcanic origin.
The most interesting among them, for the
length of time it has been in action and
the constancy of its activity, is Stromboli. This
name is a corruption of the ancient Greek name
YrpoyysXA, which was given to it because of its
round swelling form. This is a very fussy little
volcano, for it keeps perpetually puffing, growling,
and fuming. It throws out columns of steam, and
at intervals stones, cinders, and ashes, which are for
the most part drifted by the wind into the sea.
This restless volcano has been in almost uninter-
rupted activity since at least the third century be-
fore the Christian era-however much further back.
Several enterprising travellers have ascended to
the crater of Stromboli. It was examined with
great care in 1828 by M. Hoffmann, a celebrated
Prussian geologist, who, while being held fast by his
companions, leant over the crag immediately abovp
the crater, and looked right down into one of its
active mouths. He thus describes what he saw:-

Three active mouths were seen at the bottom
of the crater. The principal one, in the middle, was
about two hundred feet in diameter; it shows nothing
remarkable, only fuming slightly; and numerous
yellow incrustations of sulphur coat the walls of its
chimney. Close by this mouth is another, somewhat
nearer the precipice, only twenty feet wide, in which
I could observe the play of the column of liquid
lava, which at intervals poised itself at a level.
This lava did not look like a burning mass vomiting
flames, but as glossy as molten metal-like iron
issuing from the smelting furnace, or silver at the
bottom of a crucible.
This melted mass rose and fell-evidently urged
by the powerful tension of elastic vapours pressing
it upwards from beneath; and it was easy to per-
ceive the balance of effect between the weight of the
molten masses and the pressure of the steam which
resisted them. The surface rose and fell rhythmi-
cally: there was heard a peculiar sound, like the
crackling of air from bellows entering the door of a
furnace: A bubble of white vapour issued at each
crack, raising the lava, which fell down again imme-
diately after its escape. These bubbles of vapour
dragged to the surface of the lava red-hot cinders,
which danced as if tossed by invisible hands in
rhythmic sport above the brink of the opening.
"This play, so regular and attractive, was inter
rupted, every quarter of an hour or so, by more
tumultuous movements. The mass of whirling
vapour then rested motionless for a moment-even
making a jerking motion of return, as if inhaled by



the crater, from the bottom of which the lava rose
more strongly as if to encounter it. Then the
ground trembles, and the walls of the crater starting
bend. It was quite an earthquake. The mouth ot
the crater uttered a loud rolling bellow, which was
followed by an immense bubble of vapour, bursting
at the surface of the lava with a loud thundering
report. The whole surface of the lava, reduced to
glowing splinters, was then tossed into the air.
The heat struck our faces forcibly; while a
flaming sheaf rose right into the air, and fell back
in a shower of fire all around. Some bombs ascended
to a height of about 1200 feet, and in passing over
our heads described parabolas of fire. In mediately
after such an eruption, the lava withdrew to the
bottom of the chimney, which then yawned black
and gaping. But erelong there was seen re-ascend-
ing the shining mirror of the surface of lava, which
then recommended the rhythmic play of its ordinary
less violent bubblings."
What an agreeable visit this must have been!
Don't you think, between ourselves, that the German
philosopher must, on this occasion, have greatly re-
sembled an Irishman in love, seeing he was so eager
to reach the mouth of the crater?
Before passing on to the description of other
existing volcanoes, it may entertain you to hear
something about Julia. This interesting crater had
a short and troubled existence. She was not born
like others of her name, but rose suddenly and
majestically out of the sea, as the poets feign that
Venus did of old. She did not, however, keep her


head long above water, but after raging and fuming
for about a couple of months, she plunged again
under the waves. This happened in the year 1831.
On page 57 is a picture showing you how she
looked in August of that year, about a month after
she made her appearance. You see what a fury of
a crater she must have been. It was a French philo-
sopher (Constant Pr6vost) who christened her Julia;
but it is hard to divine what prompted him to act
so ungallantly. Perhaps, at the moment, he may
have had in his eye some Julia of his acquaintance,
with very red hair and a very fiery temper.
This volcanic island rose out of the Mediterranean,
about midway between the Island of Pantellaria and
the village of Sciacca on the southern coast of Sicily.
From about the 28th of June to the 2nd of July
1831, the inhabitants of Sciacca felt several slight
shocks, which they imagined to have proceeded from
Etna. On the 8th of July the crew of a Sicilian
ship, which was sailing at a distance of about six
miles from Sciacca, suddenly observed in the sea a
jet of water about 100 feet high. It rose into the
air with a thundering noise, sustained itself for about
ten minutes, and then fell down. Similar jets con-
tinued to rise in succession, at intervals of about a
quarter of an hour, and produced a thick mist over-
spreading the surface of the sea, which was much
agitated and covered with a reddish scum. Shoals of
dead fishes were drifted on the waves. On the third
day the jetswere between 800 and 900 feet indiameter,
and between 60 and 70 feet in height, while the steam
from them rose to nearly 1800 feet.


On the 12th of July the inhabitants of Sciacca had
their nostrils assailed by a strong smell of sulphur,
and beheld the surface of the sea covered with black

'-_.i-----=-- -. z--= -- N


porous cinders, which, being drifted ashore, formed
a bed of some thickness on the beach. So great
was the drift of volcanic ashes, that boats could
hardly struggle through the water, and multitudes


of dead fishes floated on its surface. Next morning
they saw rising out of the sea a column of dark
vapour, which, however, towards night became lurid
red. From time to time, during both the day and
night, they heard loud reports, and saw bright sparks
of fire through the dusky vapour.
On the 18th of July the captain of the Sicilian ship
discovered that an island had arisen out of the sea
at the spot whence the appearances before described
had proceeded. It had already attained a height of
nearly twelve feet, and had in its centre a crater,
which vomited forth immense jets of steam, along
with ashes, cinders, stones, &c. The water which
boiled in this crater was reddish, and the cinders,
which covered the sea all round the island, were of
a chocolate colour. The island subsequently attained
a height of upwards of 90 feet at its highest point,
and a circumference of about three-quarters of a mile.
A channel of communication was also opened be-
tween the sea and the interior of the crater, which
had a diameter of about 650 feet. The vapours and
other matters thrown up from the mouth of the vol-
cano formed a luminous column upwards of 200 feet
in height.
On the 29th of September it was visited by the
French gentleman who gave it the name of Julia, and
it then presented the appearance which we have
sketched. He landed with a party and proceeded to
examine the crater, in which he found a circular basin
filled with reddish water, almost boiling hot, and fresh.
This basin was nearly 200 feet in diameter. There
rose from the water bubbles of gas, which made


it appear as if it were boiling. The water was not
quite at the boiling point, however, yet the bubbles
of gas were sufficiently hot to burn the fingers.


These bubbles rose from a great depth, and each,
on bursting, which it did with a feeble report, threw
out sand and cinders. At a short distance from the
crater there rose sulphurous vapours, which deposited


sulphur and salt. The loose dust and ashes forming
the soil of the island were hot, and walking on them
was difficult. The foregoing woodcut will give you
an idea of the appearance which the crater presented
to those visitors.
In the following month of October nothing re-
mained of this wonderful island but a hillock of sand
and cinders; and at the end of six months it had quite
vanished. Soundings taken a few years ago show ten
feet of water over the spot, so that, although the
island has disappeared, there is still a shoal left behind.
This temporary volcano is best known in England
under the name of Graham's Island; so called after
an English naval officer of that name, who was the
first to set foot on it, and who planted upon it the
English flag, so claiming it for his sovereign. The
Sicilians allege this to be the reason why it disap-
peared so soon-that it was in a hurry to escape from
under the English yoke.
Similar phenomena have been taking place during
the past year, 1866, in the Bay of Santorin, situated
in the island of that name, which lies to the north-
ward of Crete. There are several islands in the bay,
all apparently of volcanic origin, and one of them
was thrown up about three centuries before the
beginning of the Christian era. Last year their
number was increased by a series of eruptions similar
in their attendant circumstances to those which ac-
companied the upheaval of Julia. The first warnings
were given on the 30th of January 1866, by low
underground rumblings, and slight movements of the
ground at the south end of New Kammeni, one of

64 "GEORGE.'

the formerly upheaved islands in the bay. Next day
these phenomena increased in violence, and quantities
of gas bubbled up from the sea. On the 1st of
February, reddish flames ascended from the water,
and on the 2nd there rose, out of the harbour of
Voulcano, an island, which was christened George."
The volcanic agitation was prolonged during Feb-
ruary and March-the upheaval of other two islands
being the result. Whether these additional islands
will continue permanently above water remains to be

~ 1


Peak of Teneriffe-Its Crater-Eruption of Chahorra-Palma-Great
Caldera Lancerote Great Eruption-Sudden Death-Fuego,
Cape de Verde Islands-Cotopaxi-Its Appearance-Great Erup-
tive Force-Tunguragua-Great Eruption of Mud and Water-
Fish thrown out-Quito-Its Overthrow-Pichinca-Humboldt's
Ascent-Narrow Faeape-Antisana-Sangay-Rancagua-Chil-

HE Island of Teneriffe is celebrated for its
magnificent snow-clad peak. On referring
to the woodcut of this volcano at page 11,
you will observe in what a sharp point the cone ter-
minates, and how slender is the column of vapour at
its summit. The crater at the top is comparatively
small-its greatest diameter being 300, and its
smallest 200 feet, while its depth is only about 100
feet. From this crater there has been no eruption
since 1706, when the finest harbour in the island
was destroyed. But from the side of the peak there
rises a supplementary mountain named Chahorra, on
the top of which there is also a crater, whence there
was an eruption in 1798. So great was its violence,
that masses of rock were thrown to a height of
upwards of 3000 feet. In the neighboring island
of Palma there is a volcanic crater named the Great
Caldera, whose depth is said to be upwards of 5000
"25) 5


Almost due east of Palma, and much nearer the
African coast, lies the Island of Lancerote, on which
are a great many volcanic cones, arranged nearly in
a straight line. These were for the most part formed
by a long series of eruptions which took place during
the years from 1730 to 1736. Such immense quan-
tities of lava were poured forth in the course of
those six years, that about a third of the surface of
the island was covered by them, and many towns
and villages were destroyed. St. Catalina, a populous
and thriving town, was first overflowed by a lava-
stream, and then a new crater burst forth on its
very site, raising over it a hill 400 feet high. All
the cattle in the island fell down dead in one day,
and nearly about the same time-they were suffo-
cated by deadly vapours that rose from the ground.
The volcanic activity of this island was renewed in
August 1824, when there was formed, near the port
of Rescif, a new crater, which vomited forth such
quantities of stones, ashes, and other volcanic matters,
that in the short space of twenty-four hours they
formed a hill of considerable height.
The Cape de Verde Islands, lying to the south-
westward of the Canaries, are also volcanic. In
1847 a volcano named Fuego, situated in one of
them, after remaining at rest about fifty years, burst
into fresh activity. No less than seven new vents
were formed; and from these were poured forth great
streams of lava, which wrought immense damage in
the cultivated parts of the island. The inhabitants
sustained great loss by the destruction of their cattle
and crops.


Passing over to the South American continent, we
come to the range of the Andes, which contains
numerous volcanoes. Among these the most con-
spicuous is Cotopaxi, the highest volcano in the
world, situated in the territory of Quito. So per-
fect is the form of the cone, that it looks as if it
had been turned in a lathe. Its coating of snow gives
it a dazzling appearance, and so sharply is the snow-
line defined that it seems almost as if the volcano-
king wore a white night-cap instead of a crown.
The eruptions of this mountain are rare. One of
the greatest of them lasted for three years, and deso-
lated an immense extent of country with floods of lava.
On this occasion, it is said, columns of fire rose to
the height of nearly 5000 feet, so great was the
energy of the volcanic force.
A little to the southward of Cotopaxi, but con-
cealed from it by the intervening mass of Chim-
borazo, lies the volcano of Tunguragua, from which
there was an extraordinary eruption in the year 1797,
that proved very destructive to the cities in its
neighbourhood. Indeed, so terrible was the convul-
sion of the ground, which lasted four minutes, that
the cities of Riobamba and Quero were reduced to
heaps of ruins. Then the base of Tunguragua was
rent, and from numerous apertures there were poured
out streams of water and mud, the latter gathering
in the valleys to the depth of 600 feet. This mud
spread itself far and wide, blocking up the channels
of rivers, and forming lakes, which remained upwards
of two months. But, strangest of all, quantities of
dead fishes were found in the water which burst from


the volcano. These fishes are supposed to have been
bred in subterranean lakes contained in caverns in the
interior of the mountain, considerably removed from
the volcanic fires in the centre. It is probable that,
when the rent was formed near the base, one of
those caverns was broken open, and that the waters
from it were discharged along with their finny in-
Here is a picture of one of those fishes, which
was taken by Baron Humboldt. When you see what


a queer-looking fish it is, you will wonder the less at
its having chosen so strange an abode.
Quito, the capital of the province of that name,
is the highest of cities-being situated at an eleva-
tion of between nine and ten thousand feet above
the level of the sea. It is built on a plain, lying on
the flanks of the volcano Pichinca, of which a view
is given in the annexed woodcut. Poor Quito has
suffered severely from this dangerous neighbourhood;
for, on the 22nd of March 1859, a violent shaking
of the mountain laid the whole city in ruins.
Pichinca, you will observe, has a most irregular
outline, but very graceful withal. Instead of a single
cone like Cotopaxi, it has a group of cones, some of

EJ~~~_ -' T zp




which are very pointed. It has four principal sum-
mits, of which the most southerly contains the active
crater. Here the celebrated traveller Baron Hum-
boldt nearly lost his life. Having ascended the cone
and approached the edge of the crater, he peered into
the depths of the dark abyss, and there beheld the
glowing lava boiling as if in a huge caldron. A
thick mist coming on, he unwarily advanced to within
a few feet of the rapid slope descending into the
crater, and was within an ace of toppling over into
the fiery gulf beneath. What a pity it would have
been had he fallen in We should have had no
"Personal Narrative," no Cosmos."
There are in this region of South America other
two great volcanoes, named Antisana and Sangay.
The former has not been in action since 1718, but is
remarkable for the immense beds of lava which it has
amassed around it during its former eruptions. San-
gay, again, has ever since 1728 been in a state of
almost perpetual activity-in this respect resembling
Stromboli, which, however, it far exceeds in height,
its summit being nearly 18,000 feet above the level
of the sea. The eruptions of this mountain are
accompanied by loud explosions, which are heard at
great distances, and they succeed each other with
immense rapidity. The fumes emitted are sometimes
gray, sometimes orange; and the matters ejected are
cinders, dross, and spherical masses of stone. These
last are often two feet in diameter, and in strong
explosions as many as sixty of them may be thrown
out at a time. They are glowing at a white heat,
and for the most part they fall back into the vent of


the crater. Sometimes, however, they alight on the
edge of the cone-imparting to it a temporary brill-
iancy; but the mass of the cone, being composed of
loose black cinders, has a most dismal aspect.
Another very active South Anerican volcano is
Rancagua in Chili. It is, however, of moderate
height, and thus in its general character resembles
Stromboli, which it rivals in restlessness. Another
of the volcanoes of Chili, named Chillan, which had
long been in a state of repose, renewed its activity in
November 1864. Its usually snow-clad summit
became covered in a short time with a thick layer of
volcanic ashes, which greatly altered its appearance.
Streams of lava were also thrown out by the moun-
tain on this occasion.
There are several volcanoes in Central America.
One of them, named Masaya, was very active during
the sixteenth century. It is situated near the lake
of Nicaragua, in the territory of that name. It
was visited in 1529 by the Spanish historian Gon-
zales Fernando de Oviedo, from whose description it
seems to have presented phenomena resembling those
seen in the crater of Stromboli. In its ordinary
state," he says, the surface of the lava, in the midst
of which black scoria are continually floating, re-
mains several hundred feet below the edges of the
water. But sometimes there is suddenly produced
an ebullition so violent, that the lava rises almost to
the very brim."


Jorullo-Great Monument- Jorullo's Estate-Interruption to his
Quiet-His Estate Swells-Swallows Two Rivers-Throws up
Ovens-Becomes a Burning Mountain-Popocatepetl-Spanish
Ascents -Orizaba Mller's Ascent Morne-Garou-Pel6e- -
La Soufriere.

HAT a fortunate man was Mr. Jorullo! Old
Cheops, king of Egypt, spent vast sums of
money, many long years, and the labour of
myriads of his subjects, in erecting the Great Pyramid
as a monument to his memory. But Mr. Jorullo, with-
out his having to lay down a single Mexican dollar,
and without any labour, either of his own or of his
servants, had a magnificent monument raised to his
memory in a single night. Jorullo's monument, too,
is far bigger than the pyramid of Cheops-being
nearly four times the height, and occupying a much
larger extent of ground. Whether it will last as
long as the pyramid has done, time only can show.
You would doubtless like to know how this great
monument was reared. Here is the story:-Don
Pedro di Jorullo was a Mexican gentleman who lived
about the middle of the last century. He was a
landed proprietor-the owner of a nice little farm of
great fertility, situated to the westward of the city of
Mexico, and about ninety miles from the coast of the
Pacific Ocean. The ground was well watered by arti-

-_-- ,- :" -r- -- -=------ --------


.,, i*1

"4 ..:4, W_-- ..---

_-_ .. :- _- ._ .. ~r,, ._ -
-- -- ---- --1---P,-,1,..C . - _-- _



ficial means, and produced abundant crops of indigo
and sugar-cane. Thus Mr. Jorullo was a very thriv-
ing well-to-do sort of man.
This gentleman's prosperity continued without in-
terruption till the month of June 1759, when, to the
great alarm of his servants dwelling on the estate,
strange underground rumblings were heard, accom-
panied by frequent shakings of the ground. These
continued for nearly two months; but at the end of
that time all became quiet again, and Mr. Jorullo's
servants slept in fancied security. On the night of
the 28th of September, however, their slumbers were
suddenly broken by a return of the horrible under-
ground rumblings-thundering more loudly than be-
fore. The next night, these subterranean thunders
became so loud, that the Indian servants started from
their beds, and fled in terror to the mountains in the
neighbourhood. Gazing thence, after day had dawned,
they beheld to their astonishment that a tract of
ground from three to four square miles in extent,
with their master's farm in the middle of it, had been
upheaved in the shape of an inflated bladder. At
the edges this singular elevation rises only about
thirty-nine feet above the old level of the plain; but
so great is the general convexity of the mound, that
towards the centre it swells up to five hundred and
twenty-four feet above the original level.
The Indians affirmed that they saw flames issue
from the ground throughout an extent of more than
half a square league, while fragments of burning
rocks were thrown to enormous heights. Thick clouds
of ashes rose into the air, illuminated by glowing


fires beneath; and the surface of the ground seemed
to swell into billows, like those of a tempestuous sea.
Into the vast burning chasms, whence these ejections
were thrown, two rivers plunged in cataracts; but
the water only increased the violence of the erup-
tion. It was thrown into steam with explosive force,
and great quantities of mud and balls of basalt were
ejected. On the surface of the swollen mound there
were formed thousands of small cones, from six to ten
feet in height, and sending forth steam to heights
varying from twenty to thirty feet.
Out of a chasm in the midst of these cones, or
ovens, as the natives call them, there rose six large
masses, the highest of which is sixteen hundred feet
in height, and constitutes the volcano of Jorullo.
The eruptions of this central volcano continued till
February 1760 with extreme violence-the crater
throwing out large quantities of lava; but in the
succeeding years it became less turbulent in its
activity. It still, however, continues to burn; and
the mountain emits from the wide crater at its sum-
mit several jets of vapour. The foregoing woodcut
gives a view of this volcano, and of the little steam-
ing ovens which stud the whole ground around it,
giving it at a distance the appearance of the sea in
a storm. And now confess that Mr. Jorullo's monu-
ment is far grander than the pyramid of Cheops.
Surely the loss of his farm was amply compensated
to him, by the perpetuation of his memory and his
name, through the rearing of such a marvellous ceno-
For a long time after the first eruption, the ground


for a great distance round the volcano was too hot
to be habitable or capable of cultivation. It is now,
however, so much cooled down, that it is once more
covered with vegetation; and even some small por-
tions of the raised ground containing the ovens have
been again brought under culture.
Besides this volcano, so recent in its origin, Mexico
contains other five-Orizaba, Toluca, Tuxtla, Popo-
catepetl, and Colima. What is rather remarkable,
these five, together with Jorullo, all lie nearly in a
straight line running east and west. The tracts of
country which these volcanoes have desolated with
their lavas are called by the Mexicans the Malpays."
The most remarkable of these mountains is Popo-
catepetl. Although it has long remained in com-
parative quiet, it was very active at the time of the
Spanish invasion under Cortes. Of the first approach
of the Spaniards to this volcano, and of the attempts
made by some of them to climb to the top, Mr.
Prescott, in his history of the conquest of Mexico,
gives the following graphic account:-
They were passing between two of the highest
mountains on the North American continent, Popo-
catepetl, the hill that smokes,' and Iztaccihuatl, or
white woman;' a name suggested, doubtless, by the
bright robe of snow spread over its broad and broken
surface. A puerile superstition of the Indians re-
garded these celebrated mountains as gods, and
Iztaccihuatl as the wife of her more formidable
neighbour. A tradition of a higher character de-
scribed the northern volcano as the abode of the
departed spirits of wicked rulers, whose fiery agonies


in their prison-house caused the fearful bellowings
and convulsions in times of eruption. It was the
classic fable of antiquity. These superstitious legends
had invested the mountain with a mysterious horror,
that made the natives shrink from attempting its
ascent, which, indeed, was, from natural causes, a
work of incredible difficulty.
The great volcan, as Popocatepetl was called,
rose to the enormous height of 17,852 feet above the
level of the sea; more than 2000 feet above the
'monarch of mountains'-the highest elevation in
Europe. During the present century it has rarely
given evidence of its volcanic origin, and 'the hill
that smokes' has almost forfeited its claim to the
appellation. But at the time of the conquest it was
frequently in a state of activity, and raged with un-
common fury while the Spaniards were at Tlascala;
an evil omen, it was thought, for the natives of
Anahuac. Its head, gathered into a regular cone by
the deposit of successive eruptions, wore the usual
form of volcanic mountains, when not disturbed by
the falling in of the crater. Soaring towards the
skies, with its silver sheet of everlasting snow, it was
seen far and wide over the broad plains of Mexico
and Puebla; the first object which the morning sun
greeted in his rising, the last where his evening rays
were seen to linger, shedding a glorious effulgence
over its head, that contrasted strikingly with the
ruinous waste of sand and lava immediately below,
and the deep fringe of funereal pines that shrouded
its base.
The mysterious terrors which hung over the spot.,


and the wild love of adventure, made some of the
Spanish cavaliers desirous to attempt the ascent, which
the natives declared no man could accomplish and live.
Cortes encouraged them in the enterprise, willing to
show the Indians that no achievement was above the
dauntless daring of his followers. One of his cap-
tains, accordingly, Diego Ordaz, with nine Spaniards,
and several Tlascalans, encouraged by their example,
undertook the ascent. It was attended with more
difficulty than had been anticipated.
The lower region was clothed with a dense
forest, so thickly matted, that in some places it was
scarcely possible to penetrate it. It grew thinner,
however, as they advanced, dwindling by degrees into
a straggling stunted vegetation, till, at the height of
somewhat more than 13,000 feet, it faded away
altogether. The Indians, who had held on thus far,
intimidated by the strange subterraneous sounds of
the volcano, even then in a state of combustion, now
left them. The track opened on a black surface of
glazed volcanic sand and of lava, the broken fragments
of which, arrested in its boiling progress in a thousand
fantastic forms, opposed continual impediments to
their advance. Amidst these, one huge rock, the
Pico del Fraile, a conspicuous object from below, rose
to the perpendicular height of 150 feet, compelling
them to take a wide circuit. They soon came to the
limits of perpetual snow, where new difficulties pre-
sented themselves, as the treacherous ice gave an
imperfect footing, and a false step might precipitate
them into the frozen chasms that yawned around.
To increase their distress, respiration in these aerial


regions became so difficult, that every effort was
attended with sharp pains in the head and limbs.
Still they pressed on, till, drawing nearer the crater,
such volumes of smoke, sparks, and cinders were
belched forth from its burning entrails, and driven
down the sides of the mountain, as nearly suffocated
and blinded them. It was too much even for their
hardy frames to endure, and, however reluctantly,
they were compelled to abandon the attempt on the
eve of its completion. They brought back some
huge icicles-a curious sight in those tropical regions
-as a trophy of their achievement, which, however
imperfect, was sufficient to strike the minds of the
natives with wonder, by showing that with the
Spaniards the most appalling and mysterious perils
were only as pastimes. The undertaking was emi-
nently characteristic of the bold spirit of the cavalier
of that day, who, not content with the dangers that
lay in his path, seemed to court them from the mere
Quixotic love of adventure. A report of the affair
was transmitted to the Emperor Charles V.; and the
family of Ordaz was allowed to commemorate the
exploit by assuming a burning mountain on their
The general was not satisfied with the result.
Two years after he sent up another party, under
Francisco Montaio, a cavalier of determined resolu-
tion. The object was to obtain sulphur to assist in
making gunpowder for the army. The mountain
was quiet at the time, and the expedition was at-
tended with better success. The Spaniards, five in
number, climbed to the very edge of the crater,


which presented an irregular ellipse at its mouth,
more than a league in circumference. Its depth
might be from 800 to 1000 feet. A lurid flame
burned gloomily at the bottom, sending up a sul-
phureous steam, which, cooling as it rose, was pre-
cipitated on the sides of the cavity. The party cast
lots, and it fell on Montafo himself to descend in a
basket into this hideous abyss, into which he was
lowered by his companions to the depth of 400 feet!
This was repeated several times, till the adventurous
cavalier had collected a sufficient quantity of sulphur
for the wants of the army."
The more tranquil state of the volcano in modern
times having rendered the summit no longer so diffi-
cult of access as it was in those days, the ascent has
been several times achieved-twice in 1827, and
again in 1833 and 1834. The crater is now a large
oval basin with precipitous walls, composed of beds
of lava, of which some are black, others of a pale
rose tint. At the bottom of the crater, which is
nearly flat, are several conical vents, whence are
continually issuing vapours of variable colour, red,
yellow, or white. The beds of sulphur deposited in
this crater are worked for economical purposes. Two
snowy peaks tower above its walls.
Not less magnificent in its proportions is the vol-
cano of Orizaba, which is nearly of the same height
as Popocatepetl. It was very active about the middle
of the sixteenth century, having had several great
eruptions between 1545 and 1560; but since then it
has sunk into comparative repose. This mountain
was ascended by Baron Miiller in 1856. A first


attempt proved unsuccessful; but by passing a night
in a grotto near the limit of perpetual snow, he was
able on the following day, after a toilsome ascent, to
reach the edge of the crater-not, however, till near
sunset. His experiences, and the scene which was
presented to his wondering gaze, he describes in the
following terms:-
I have achieved my purpose, and joy banishes
all my griefs, but only for a moment; suddenly I fell
to the ground, and a stream of blood gushed from
my mouth.
On recovering, I found myself still close to the
crater, and I then summoned all my strength to gaze
and observe as much as possible. My pen cannot
describe either the aspect of those regions, or the
impressions they produced on me. Here seemed to
be the gate of the nether world, enclosing darkness
and horror. What terrible power must have been
required to raise and shiver such enormous masses,
to melt them and pile them up like towers, at the
very moment of their cooling and acquiring their
actual forms 1
A yellow crust of sulphur coats in several places
the internal walls, and from the bottom rise several
volcanic cones. The soil of the crater, so far as I
could see, was covered with snow, consequently not
at all warm. The Indians however affirmed that, at
several points, a hot air issues from crevices in the
rocks. Although I could not verify their statement,
it seemed to me probable; for I have often observed
similar phenomena in Popocatepetl.
My original intention of passing the night on the
(225) 6


crater had for overpowering reasons become imprac-
ticable. The twilight which, in this latitude, as
every one knows, is extremely short, having already
begun, it was necessary to prepare for our return.
The two Indians rolled together the straw mats
which they had brought, and bent them in front so
as to form a sort of sledge. We sat down upon
these, and stretching out our legs, allowed ourselves
to glide down on this vehicle. The rapidity with
which we were precipitated increased to such a
degree, that our descent was rather like being shot
through the air, than any other mode of locomotion.
In a few minutes we dashed over a space which it
had taken us five hours to climb."
There are several of the West Indian islands of
volcanic origin; and three of them-St. Vincent,
Martinique, and Guadaloupe-contain active vol-
canoes. The most remarkable is the volcano of
Morne-Garou, in St. Vincent, the eruptions from
which have been particularly violent. In 1812 the
ashes which it threw out were so great in quantity,
and projected to so vast a height, that they were
carried to a distance of two hundred miles in the
teeth of the trade-wind. From Mount Pel6e, in
Martinique, there was an eruption in August 1851.
La SoufriBre, the volcano in Guadaloupe, is said to
have been cleft in twain during an earthquake. Its
activity has long been in a subdued state; but it is
remarkable for its deposits of sulphur.


Hawaii, Sandwich Islands-Crater of Kilauea-Its awful Aspect-
Fiery Lake and Islands-Jets of Lava-Depth of Crater and
Surface of Lake-Bank of Sulphur-Curious Rainbow-Mouna-
Kaah and Mouna-Loa-Eruption of the Latter in 1840-Recent
Eruption-Great Jet and Torrent of Lava-Burning of the Forests
-Great Whirlwinds-Underground Explosions-Other Volca-
noes in the Pacific.

AWAII is well known in history as being
the island where the celebrated navigator
Captain Cook was killed. The name used
to be written Owhyhee; but a better apprehension
of the native pronunciation has led to its being
altered into Hawaii. No one who visits it in the
present day need be afraid of sharing the fate of poor
Captain Cook; for the descendants of the savages
who, in his time, inhabited the island, have now,
through the labours of Christian missionaries, become
a very decent sort of quiet, well-behaved Christian
Hawaii, which is the largest of a group called the
Sandwich Islands, can boast of the greatest volcanic
crater in the world. It is called sometimes Kirauea,
sometimes Kilauea; for the natives seem not very
particular about the pronunciation of their I and their
r; but where one uses I another as pertinaciously
employs r, while a third set use a sound between
the two, as you may have heard some people do at


home. Situated on the lower slopes of a lofty moun-
tain called Mouna-Roa, or Loa (for there is the same
dubiety about the I and the r here as in the former
case), the crater of Kilauea is a vast plain between
fifteen and sixteen miles in circumference, and sunk
below the level of its borders to a depth varying
from two hundred to four hundred feet-the walls oi
rock enclosing it being for the most part precipitous.
The surface of the ground is very uneven, being
strown with huge stones and masses of volcanic rock,
and it sounds hollow under the tramp of the foot.
Towards the centre of the plain is a much deeper
depression. Those who have ventured to approach
it, and look down, describe it as an awful gulf, about
eight hundred feet in depth, and presenting a most
gloomy and dismal aspect. The bottom is covered
with molten lava, forming a great lake of fire, which
is continually boiling violently, and whose fiery billows
exhibit a wild terrific appearance. The shape of the
lake resembles the crescent moon; its length is esti-
mated at about two miles, and its greatest breadth
at about one mile. It has numerous conical islands
scattered round the edge, or in the lake itself, each
of them being a little subordinate crater. Some of
them are continually sending out columns of gray
vapour; while from a few others shoots up what re-
sembles flame. It is, probably, only the bright glare
of the lava they contain, reflected upwards. Several
of these conical islands are always belching forth
from their mouths glowing streams of lava, which
roll in fiery torrents down their black and rugged
sides into the boiling lake below. They are said

O RA_ _R O .. ..-_-' .....



sometimes to throw up jets of lava to the height of
upwards of sixty feet. The foregoing woodcut can
convey only an imperfect idea of this immense crater.
The outer margin of the gulf all round is nearly
perpendicular. The height of the bounding cliffs is
estimated at about four hundred feet above a black
horizontal ledge of hardened lava, which completely
encircles it, and beyond which there is a gradual
slope down into the burning lake. The surface of
the molten lava is at present between three and four
hundred feet below this horizontal ledge; but the
lava is said sometimes to rise quite up to this level,
and to force its way out by forming an opening in
the side of the mountain, whence it flows down to
the sea. An eruption of this kind took place in 1859.
On one side of the margin of the lake there is a long
pale yellow streak formed by a bank of sulphur. The
faces of the rocks composing the outer walls of the
crater have a pale ashy gray appearance, supposed to
be due to the action of the sulphurous vapours. The
surface of the plain itself is much rent by fissures.
It is said that the glare from the molten lava in the
lake is so great as to form rainbows on the passing
The entire Island of Hawaii is of volcanic origin;
and besides this great crater it contains two other
lofty mountains, whose summits are covered with
snow, and whose height is estimated at fifteen or
sixteen thousand feet above the level of the sea.
The one is named Mouna-Kaah or Keah, the other
is Mouna-Loa-the same on whose lower flanks the
crater of Kilauea is situated. Mouna-Kaah has long


been in a state of repose. So also was Mouna-Loa
up to 1840, when it burst forth with great fury, and
it has continued more or less in a state of activity
ever since. There has been a grand eruption very
lately, said by the natives to have been the greatest
of any on record.
A new crater opened near the top, at a height of
about ten thousand feet, and for three days a flood of
lava poured down the north-eastern slope. After a
pause of about thirty-six hours, there was opened on
the eastern slope, about half way down the mountain,
another crater, whence there rose an immense jet of
liquid lava, which attained a height of about a thou-
sand feet, and had a diameter of about a hundred feet.
This jet was sustained for twenty days and nights;
but during that time its height varied from the
extreme limit of a thousand, down to about a hun-
dred feet. The play of this fiery fountain was accom-
panied by explosions so loud as to be heard at the
distance of forty miles. Nothing could surpass the
awful grandeur of this jet, which was at a white heat
when it issued from its source, but, cooling as it
ascended into the air, it became of a bright blood
red, which, as the liquid fell, deepened into crimson.
In a few days there was raised around this crater
a cone of about three hundred feet in height, com-
posed of the looser materials thrown out along with
the lava. This cone continued to glow with intense
heat, throwing out occasional flashes. The base of
this cone eventually acquired a circumference of about
a mile. But the fountain itself formed a river of
glowing lava, which rushed and bounded with the


speed of a torrent down the sides of the mountain,
filling up ravines and dashing over precipices, until
it reached the forests at the foot of the volcano.
These burst into flames at the approach of the fiery
torrent, sending up volumes of smoke and steam
high into the air. The light from the burning
forests and the lava together was so intense as to
turn night into day, and was seen by mariners at a
distance of nearly two hundred miles.
During the day the air throughout a vast extent
was filled with a murky haze, through which the sun
showed only a pallid glimmer. Smoke, steam, ashes,
and cinders were tossed into the air and whirled
about by fierce winds-sometimes spreading out like
a fan, but every moment changing both their form
and colour. The stream of lava from the fountain
flowed to a distance of about thirty-five miles. The
scene was altogether terrific-the fierce red glare of
the lava-the flames from the burning trees-the
great volumes of smoke and steam-the loud under.
ground explosions and thunderings,-all combined to
Jverpower the senses, and fill the mind with inde-
scribable awe.
A remarkable volcanic chain runs along the
northern and western margins of the Pacific Ocean.
It embraces the Aleutian Islands, the peninsula of
Kamtschatka, the Kurile, the Japanese, and the
Philippine Islands. The most interesting are the
volcanoes of Kamtschatka, in which there is an oft-
renewed struggle between opposing forces-the snow
and glaciers predominating for a while, to be in their
turn overpowered by torrents of liquid fire.


Atolls, or Coral Islands-Their strange Appearance-Their Connexion
with Volcanoes-Their Mode of Formation-Antarctic Volcanoes
-Diatomaceous Deposits.

O the southward of the Sandwich Islands, on
the other side of the equator, there is a
large group of islands in the Pacific, which
have a very peculiar appearance. They are called
Atolls or Coral Islands. Although not exactly of
volcanic origin, yet the manner in which they are
formed has some connexion with submarine volcanic
An atoll consists essentially of a ring of coral rocks
but little elevated above the level of the sea, and
having in its centre a lagoon or salt-water lake,
which generally communicates by a deep narrow
channel with the sea. The ring of rocks is flat on
the surface, which is composed of friable soil, and
sustains a luxuriant vegetation, chiefly of cocoa-nut
palms. It is seldom more than half a mile in breadth
between the sea and lagoon, sometimes only three
or four hundred yards. The outer margin of the
ring is the highest, and it slopes gradually down
towards the lagoon; but on the outside of the ledge
of rocks is a beach of dazzling whiteness, composed
of powdered and broken coral and shells. The ap-


pearance they present is thus not less beautiful than
singular. Some of these islands are of large size,
from thirty to fifty miles long, and from twenty to
thirty broad, but they are in general considerably
smaller. Their most frequent form is either round
or oval. The rocks composing them are all formed
by different species of coral. The animal which


constructs them is of the polyp tribe, and so small
that it can be seen only under the higher powers of
the microscope. It multiplies by means of buds like
those of a tree, the individuals all combining to
form a composite stony mass, which is called a poly-
pidom. A number of such polypidoms growing
close together form a coral reef. See woodcuts.
It was at one time supposed that these coral reefs
were erected on the edges of the craters of submarine
volcanoes, an opinion to which their annular form,
and the lagoon in the centre, lent some countenance;
but the vast size of some of them, united to several
other particulars connected with them, threw great
doubts over this supposition.
More recently it has been shown by Mr. Darwin
that, while volcanic agency does perform a part in
their formation, it is different from what had been
formerly imagined. His supposition is, that these





coral reefs were built round the coasts of islands
which had once stood very much higher above water
than they do now. He conceives that the bottom of
the sea under them being very volcanic, and con-
taining large collections of molten lava beneath a
thin solid crust, the islands have gradually sunk
down into the lava, until their central parts have
become covered with a considerable depth of water.
The central parts thus submerged, he imagines, form
the lagoons in the middle of the islands, while the
ring of coral reefs has gradually grown upwards, as
the ground on which it rested sank downwards.
The corals thus rise to near the surface, but im-
mediately on their being uncovered by the water
they die, and the reef ceases to grow. Then the
waves by their action break the upper part of it into
pieces, which thus become heaped up by degrees on
the remainder, until the mass attain so great a height
that the sea can no longer wash over it. Thus the
curious ring of land is gradually formed, and affords
a nutritive soil, in which cocoa-nuts, on being cast
ashore, germinate and grow to be large trees. Other
seeds, wafted by the waves or carried by birds, also
begin to grow, until the whole surface becomes
covered with vegetation. Then comes man and
builds his habitation upon those fertile spots, and
finds in them an agreeable and convenient abode,
well suited to those who are accustomed to live by
fishing and other simple means.
You will thus perceive that the connexion between
the atoll and the volcano consists in this-that while
the coral builds up the reef, the volcano beneath


---^ ~ -~

ingulfs the island and causes it to sink down. I
some instances, however, the volcano, after a while-
--- !iI <:-:

S .. .. ... -_ = ----
: .-..:_--- .__ ).- -

some instances, however, the volcano, after a while,


reverses its action, and raises up the island with the
reef upon it. In such cases, the coral reefs are seen
standing out of the water, forming perpendicular
cliffs several hundred feet in height. Then also the
interior of the island becomes once more dry land,
and that, too, of great fertility.
Almost due south of that region, in the Pacific,
where the coral islands abound, but at a great dis-
tance from them, and considerably within the limits
of the Antarctic zone, lies South Victoria. Here, in
lat. 760 S., Captain Ross discovered, in 1841, two
volcanoes, which he called Erebus and Terror, after
the names of his two ships. Of the former, which is
the higher of the two, a view is given in the annexed
woodcut. It is covered with perpetual snow from
the bottom even to the tip of the summit. Never-
theless, it is continually sending forth vast columns
of vapour, which glow with the reflection of the
white hot lava beneath. These vapours ascend to a
great height, more than two thousand feet above the
top of the cone, which is itself twelve thousand feet
above the level of the sea.
There is found in these frozen regions a remark-
able botanical curiosity, having a certain connexion
with volcanoes. The waters of the ocean, all along
the borders of the icy barrier, produce in amazing
abundance the family of water-plants named Diatom-
aces. The Diatoms are so called from their faculty
of multiplying themselves indefinitely by splitting
into two; and so rapidly is this process performed,
that in a month a single diatom may produce a
thousand millions. The quantity found in the Ant-


arctic regions is so immense that, between the parallels
of 600 and 800 of south latitude, they stain the whole
surface of the sea of a pale olive-brown tint. These
plants, which are so minute as to be individually
invisible, save under the higher powers of the micro-
scope, have the curious property of encrusting them-
selves with a sheath, or shell, of pure silica. These
shells remain after the death of the plant, and are as
indestructible as flint. They are marvellous objects,
both as respects the elegance of their forms and the
beauty of their markings. So great is the accumula-
tion of these shells at the bottom of the sea, that they
have formed an immense bank 400 miles in length by
120 in breadth, between the 76th and 78th degrees
of south latitude. One portion of this bank rests
on the coast at the foot of Mount Erebus.
Now, it is remarkable that these microscopic shells
of Diatoms are not unfrequently foundd in the ejec-
tions of volcanoes; while it is generally supposed
that, in the case of those situated near the sea,
eruptions are caused by the formation of explosive
steam consequent on the access of sea-water to the
reservoirs of molten lava lying underground. The
proximity of this Diatomaceous bed to Mount Erebus
would easily explain how these minute shells might
be found abundant in the fine dust ejected from that


Volcanoes of Java-Papandayang-Mountain Ingulfed-Great De.
struction of Life and Property-Galoen-gong-Destructive Erup-
tion-Mount Merapia- Great Eruption, with Hurricane--
Another, very destructive-Mud Volcano-Crater of Tankuban-
Prahu Island of SumbIwa -Volcano of Tomboro Terrific
Eruption-Timor-A Volcano quenches itself- Cleaving of Mount
Machian-Sangir-Destructive Eruption-Bourbon.

NE of the most marvellous volcanic regions
in the world is that composed of the
islands of the Malayan Archipelago in
the Indian Ocean. They form a chain stretching
from east to west, but curving up towards the north
at the western extremity. The most easterly of the
chain is Timor, the most westerly Sumatra.
The most interesting of the group is Java, which
is almost entirely of volcanic origin, and contains no
less than thirty-eight mountains of that conical form
which indicates their having at one time or other
been active volcanoes. Only a few of them, however,
have been in activity in more recent times. The
most remarkable eruption was that of the mountain
named Papandayang, which occurred in 1772. During
this convulsion the greater part of the mountain,
which was formerly one of the largest in the island,
was completely swallowed up in some great under-
ground gulf.


On the night between the 11th and 12th of August
of that year, the mountain appeared to be wholly
enveloped in a remarkable luminous cloud. The in-
habitants fled in consternation; but before they could
all escape, the mountain began to totter, and the
greater part of it tumbled down and disappeared.
The crash with which it fell was dreadful, the noise
resembling the discharge of volleys of artillery. Be-
sides that part of the mountain which thus fell in, a
large extent of ground in its neighbourhood was in-
gulfed. The space measured fifteen miles in length
and six in breadth. The ground for many miles
round this space was covered with immense quantities
of ashes, stones, cinders, and other substances thrown
out by the volcano. These were, on many parts of
the surface, accumulated to the height of three feet;
and even at the end of six weeks, the layers thus
deposited retained so much heat as to render the
mountain inaccessible. By this dreadful occurrence
forty villages were destroyed, some ingulfed with
the ground on which they stood, others buried under
the loose materials which had been ejected. Not
far short of three thousand of the inhabitants per-
Another of the volcanoes of Java, called Galoen-
gong, burst into eruption in 1822, commencing with
a terrible explosion of stones, ashes, &c., followed by
a stream of hot mud, which overspread a large tract
of ground. This eruption proved still more fatal to
human life, about four thousand persons having been
So lately as September 1849, Mount Merapia
(225) 7

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs