« AnkstesnisTęsti »
THE QUEEN OF NEPAUL.
Mr. W. H. Hodgson the most friendly | Brahminical lady by force from the plains relations were maintained. The court of India. When she was ill of small-pox of Cathmandhu can scarcely be called an he sent to Benares for learned doctors absolute monarchy, in consequence of the and physicians; but when she died each large amount of republican independence of the physicians had his right ear and in the hill chiefs. The present dynasty his nose cut off. is comparatively modern, and owes its rise to the talents, bravery, and prudence of Prithee Nuragun Sah, a Ghoorkah, who, having disciplined a body of European troops in imitation of Clive, subdued the Nepaul valley in 1768, and deposed the old Bunsee dynasty. Caste was obtained for one of his successors, in the beginning of this century, by carrying off a
The queen of the late rajah was the daughter of a Gouruckpore, formerly of low birth, but possessed of great talent for intrigue, which was her ruin, as it was found necessary to divorce her on account of her sterility, and she was succeeded by the mother of the present Rajah, who in his turn has taken to himself the lady whose portrait we give.
THE VOLCANOES OF HAWAII. THERE are now no active volcanoes can compete with
Hawaii, the largest of the Sandwich Island group. On this island there are hundreds of extinct craters, and two that are active. To the latter alone we propose devoting this paper. These are Mauna Loa, or Long Mountains, and Kilauea. It was our privilege to visit these in June, 1857, and what we shall give the reader is principally matter of experience.
Hawaii lies in north latitude betwen 190 and 200, and in west longitude between 1550 and 1560. Mauna Loa is a mountain rising near the center of the island and running pretty well to the southern extremity. It also extends well to east and west. It much resembles a huge elongated dome. Its height is thirteen thousand four hundred and forty feet. It is snow-capped for the greater part of the year. Its summit is considerably above the snow point. It produces in the mind of the beholder a fine sense of the grand and sublime, viewed either from the sea or from the neighboring mountains. The best view we had was from the summit of Mauna Kea, which is a few hundred feet higher. Apparently about two thirds of the way up the northeastern slope of Mauna Loa is the new eruption of 1855, that threatened the destruction of the town and harbor of Hilo. The length of the lava stream from this new crater is about seventy miles; the average width is about three miles, and the average depth about one hundred feet. The average inclination of the stream is probably four or five degrees. The present terminus is within about six miles of Hilo. There is a belt of dense forest of some twenty miles in width, through which this fiery flood had to make its way. Two miles more would have brought it through the woods. For fifteen long months Mauna Loa vomited fire and smoke without any cessation. And you can judge of the amount of lava thrown out by the length, width, and depth of the stream. There must be a terrible cavity under the crust of that old mountain; but she doubtless has enough left for many more such streams. At the time of its greatest action, there was, properly speaking, no crater at the new outbreak. It was nothing but a large, irregular fissu in the side of
the mountain. This fissure was eight miles in length, varying much in width. The lava issued from all portions of the fissure, mostly
was largest. The column or jet of lava thrown out from this was one hundred feet wide by one hundred and fifty feet deep; and one thousand feet high. It retained these dimensions for a day or two, after which it flowed out laterally. In 1853, some four miles from the present eruption, there was an outbreak in some respects more remarkable than this. For twenty days it spouted in a perpendicular jet of almost incredible dimensions. This jet was five hundred feet for these twenty days, and for a few hours it was one thousand feet. But its action was of much shorter duration, and the quantity of lava ejected consequently much less, than the one in 1855. It is highly probable that not more than half the lava from the eruption of 1855 is to be seen. There were many large caverns of acres, and even miles in extent, created by former eruptions, that were filled up from the late flow. Had it not been for these, nothing, humanly speaking, could have prevented the utter destruction of Hilo town and harbor. This excess carried off into these vast reservoirs must have swelled the burning, hissing, devouring tide to double its present extent! Not having followed the lava stream up to its source, we are indebted to a gentleman who did, at the time of its greatest activity, for some of the above facts.
We spent but one day in visiting this new flow. Having lost our trail through the forest, we were short of time two or three hours, which we had held sacred to explorations. We struck the stream at its terminus. We traveled on it for some three miles. This is called a fair specimen of the whole, with the exception that the stream is not so wide nor deep as it is further up. We made the best of our time and strength in examination. It is a thing impossible to give any one who has not seen a lava flow an adequate idea thereof. The very best possible description must fall short of the reality. We shall be just as simple as possible in our style and terms, for we are sure this will give the reader a more correct idea than a florid and altisonant description. The laws governing the flow of melted rock are altogether different from those of water or
melted metals. We would naturally expect to find the surface of the stream smooth where the fall was not great; but this is not the case. The surface of the stream is very irregular; indeed, greatly resembling a heavy chopped sea. so whether the flow be over a rough or smooth surface. Nor would the irregularity be greater over an ordinarily rough surface than over one as smooth and level as a floor. This, though so contrary to expectation, is easily accounted for when we have once seen the melted lava flowing. The congelation or cooling of the lava on the surface is so very rapid as to produce this very irregularity. Melted rock has not the susceptibility of retaining heat that melted metals have. The crust that thus rapidly forms on the surface is quite tenacious, when it is at a certain heat. Its greatest tenacity is when a little below a red heat. When cold it is very brittle. From this we can see that the flow must be for the most part subterranean-like water under ice. But the cooling at the terminus of the advancing wave is just as rapid as at any place on the surface, so that there would be a cessation of the flow for a short time at least, or altogether. But the weight and pressure of the subterranean current being very great, must break through somewhere, and advance. This will take place at that point where the pressure is greatest, which is usually up the stream, though not always. The depth of the advancing wave may be two or three feet, so that it may break out at some point along the terminus of this wave at different places, forming new streams. But, as intimated, it is more likely to break out up the stream some distance perpendicularly or laterally through the incrustation. If the reader has seen water break through and overflow ice and then congeal, producing an irregularity, he has the idea on a small scale. This business is continually taking place in the lava stream, till the crust increases to the depth of one hundred, and in some places, several hundred feet. We found a large number of cones which were evidently formed by this rapid cooling and upheaval. These cones are like so many small volcanoes. A very strange fact is, the lava has relatively flowed up the mountain, where the inclination was at least four or five degrees. This, too, finds its clear solution in the rapid cooling, and the effort of the lava to VOL. XII.-10
make these cones.
Some of these cones are from fifty to a hundred and even two hundred feet above the general surface of the stream. There is just as great a likelihood that the lava will break out forty miles above the advancing wave as farther down. This arises from the fact that the subterranean current of fire is continually fed from the crater, and must have egress somewhere; and as it is liable to be clogged by this rapid cooling process on the surface, it is quite as likely to be up the stream, where it is already very deep, as farther down. But the flow is often lateral as well as longitudinal. In some places the stream is from ten to twenty miles wide. From the nature of the surface over which it had to flow, nothing will account for this widening at these places but this theory of cooling.
Another most singular fact is, for many miles together the present lava stream seems to have run on a ridge where the land sensibly slopes both ways from the center of the stream. And this stream on this ridge will average in depth one and two hundred feet! This might seem to stagger more than an ordinary credibility, but there it is to be seen this hour. There are many streams or branches formed by the lateral flow or tendency to break out at the sides of the stream. The lateral flow will also account for the flow which sometimes is found on the ridge for miles. This throws the stream out of its natural bed or channel. Again, the lava will find its way-which seems the more natural one-into immense gulches, and will entirely fill them up, and run over the sides, where there is apparently abundant inclination and outlet below the terminus of the advancing stream. Such things would never occur were the contents thrown out of the mountain melted lead or iron. But it is melted rock, and its great susceptibility to cool rapidly is the only rational solution of these irregularities of the surface, and of the lateral as well as longitudinal flow.
We found many holes in the stream that should be alluded to briefly. These were formed by the red-hot lava flowing around the trunks of the forest trees and burning them to ashes. These holes in dimension and configuration are the exact mold of the trunks that occupied their places. The tops or small branches of some of the trees were to be seen upon the cooled surface of the stream, where they had been
burned off from their trunks; but as a general thing there is scarcely a vestige of the dense forest to be seen in the track of the stream. It has completely licked up everything of a combustible nature in its desolating march.
From what has been said of the lava's great susceptibility to cool rapidly, the inference might be drawn that the flow of liquid lava is quite sluggish. This is true in one sense, but not in another. On the surface the flow is sluggish, caused by this sudden cooling; but the subterranean flow may be, and often is, very great. The stream, as has been said, is about seventy miles in length, but it was fifteen months in flowing thus far, with an average inclination of four or five degrees. This would be at the rate of four and two third miles per month, or seven forty-fifths of a mile in one day. This, it will be seen, is not a very rapid progress for a river of fire to make at so great an angle of inclination. Water would probably travel the entire seventy miles or much more in a single day, with such a fall. But it is a known fact that the subterranean current of burning lava is capable of running as many miles in one hour as water will run in ten. I have it from two gentlemen of intelligence and veracity, as well as large experience in volcanic explorations, that they witnessed subterranean currents on this stream during its greatest activity that must have run from fifty to seventy miles per hour. This they saw by looking down some fissures in the mountain and in the stream that had been cooled over, whose crust had fallen in. They tried the experiment by throwing heavy fragments of rock into the passing current with all the strength they possessed. When these fragments struck the stream, instead of sinking in the stream immediately where they struck, they glanced off with lightning speed and a whizzing noise to a great distance. This shows that the velocity of the current must have been terrible. Though these facts may not be interesting to most readers, yet they possess interest to the geologist and to the physicist.
Another interesting circumstance that came under our observation was the growth of fresh fern on the naked lava stream; and this, too, not more than a year from the period of its ceasing to flow. Nor is there the slightest indication of soil on this cooled rock. This shows that this once melted
but now congealed rock has the constituent elements out of which soil may be formed. It was told me by those who have witnessed it, that the natives raise fine sweet potatoes on Hawaii, by collecting fragments of this apparently soilless lava into heaps, and planting them in the midst of these heaps of rock, where there is no sign of soil. Though we did not see them plant any potatoes in this way, yet we traveled over large tracts of volcanic region on this island where their principal article of food is the patato, and certainly we could not see where they could rake and scrape soil enough to raise them in the usual way, without resorting to the above ridiculous method. It cannot be many years till this lava stream will be grown over with fern and shrubbery. It is a most singular fact that this fern is now growing upon this stream where the steam and smoke are issuing from it; evidently showing that there may be lava in the melted state beneath. All along the stream, here and there, may be seen the steam and smoke rising from the crevices, giving indubitable evidence of subterranean fire near the bottom of the stream. When we were there we saw a large column of smoke at what we took to be the crater or source of the present stream. The rapidity with which vegetation springs from the newly overflowed portions of the country, with the geological phase of the country, can leave no rational ground for doubt but that this entire group of islands is of volcanic origin. Their different ages, too, can be clearly traced from the depth of the soil on each. By looking upon the map they will be found to lie in an irregular line from northwest to southeast. The order of their ages, commencing at the northwest, is supposed to run thus: Kanai, the oldest; Oahu, next; Molokai, next; Mani, next; and Hawaii, next. But upon this latter point of their respective ages we cannot speak confidently. There is, no doubt, some difference in their ages, but whether this is the precise order we presume it would require greater exploration and examination than has ever been made, to assert positively.
Having made such examination as our limited time would permit, we collected a few specimens of lava and set our faces toward Hilo. By the time we reached our horses (for we had to leave them and walk a distance of two miles through the