Puslapio vaizdai

dering what account might be made of these sulphur banks. They are not quite extensive enough to make a matter of commerce of. This the difficulty of procuring it and the great distance from market would prevent. Our only conclusion was, that it would be an admirable location for a large millinery establishment, were it nearer some fashionable emporium; or, probably, better for an itch infirmary. We could count with almost absolute certainty that a short residence here would cure this complaint, that so much troubles mothers and schoolmasters, but more particularly the urchins that have to do the scratching. Nay, we might go farther, and say the unfortunate victim of "the seven years'" type might here hope for a certain cure, in less than so many days. But it is aside from our purpose to take this bit of patronage and practice from the drug-stores and doctors.

issue from some of these so as to produce strangulation upon a near approach. By keeping to the windward of them you can approach near enough to examine them satisfactorily. In other places we found large piles of rock, of huge dimensions, evidently thrown out by explosion. Some of these will weigh many tons. These | explosions are occurring every now and then. While we were traveling over this cooled lake we heard two or three distinct reports beneath us, resembling distant thunder, with a tremulous motion. These undoubtedly are the explosion of gases from beneath. From the relative position of the steam-holes, as well as the pits, it may be gathered that there are subterranean rivers of fire, which have a connection with the main lake of lava. These steamholes, from which the steam issues continually, give evidence of a connection with fire somewhere. The laws governing the flow of lava are the same as described at the late lava flow of Mauna Loa; the only difference is this being on a level nearly.

We spent the night in a native grasshouse, built for the accommodation of visitors. From this point of observation we could see the light reflected from the The surface is uneven, reseminnermost crater, or pit, as it is called. bling a slightly chopped sea. Around the This could not be seen in the daytime. margin of this now cooled lake we found The next morning we set out to explore large quantities of lava thrown out upon the second crater and the lake of lava. the bank, at a distance of fifty feet. Its We had a steep precipice of eight hundred tendency to flow back, and its susceptibilor nine hundred feet to descend by a nar-ity to cool rapidly, have left it there in most row and difficult path. This precipice extends almost entirely around the second crater. In places this black perpendicular wall of naked rock is eight and nine hundred feet in height.

This second crater is about three miles in diameter. It has some time been a vast lake of boiling lava. The lava at present gives indication that no great length of time has elapsed since it was all a lake of fire. It was very active in 1840. In 1855, when the eruption of Mauna Loa was greatest, there was a much greater action here than is usual, or probably since 1840. The lava was thrown out at different points in this second crater, in large quantities, and flowed over large tracts. In this crater are quite a number of steamholes and pits. These pits are caused by subterranean streams of lava which have become exhausted or have changed their course. The covering or crust of these falls in sooner or later, leaving pits measuring from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet in depth, by one hundred and fifty feet across them. The heat and gases

singular shapes. There are some of the most fantastic figures imaginable. They are pendent like icicles from the eaves of a house. We collected some specimens from one of these eruptions. They are of different colors, and possessing a beautiful luster or enamel, equal to that upon the best crockery. These colors are as follows: a fine bronze, a black, a lilac, and a red, resembling somewhat red clay. Other specimens collected from the main flow are very beautiful. These are shining black and variegated, equal to some of the finest specimens of the anthracite coal of Pennsylvania. But these latter are very brittle.

But let us come to the object of greatest interest at this volcano-the innermost crater, or lake of fire. This is the only part that can now be properly called active. This lake in shape is an oblate spheroid. It is about fifteen rods wide by twenty long. It is inclosed by a nearly perpendicular wall of once melted rock, averaging forty feet in height. When we approached the margin of this precipice and looked

down upon the lake, we confess we felt considerably disappointed in not finding the lake larger and in greater action. We were prepared to see a terrible commotion and great splendor; but the entire lake was covered over with a dark crust, with only three or four small openings around the margin, from which there were small quantities of melted lava thrown out upon the bank. The noise produced by the action of these resembled more that made by our mother's mush pot than anything we can now think of, only a little more boisterous.

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almost intolerable. We had to screen our faces as well as we could. Some of our company were determined to see the whole of this demonstration at the expense of burned faces, if need be. Strange to tell, the subsidence was about as sudden as the breaking up. We think in ten minutes, at most, the entire lake was incrusted and had lost its red hue, the only evidence of commotion being the undulating motion of the crust. We sincerely thanked Pele for this brilliant demonstration! The grandeur of the scene must have been greatly heightened could we Though the crust was dark, yet it was have witnessed it in a dark night. We evidently very hot. We could distinctly suppose, from what we saw at this lake see from our stand-point that there was during a space of two or three hours, and great commotion beneath this crust; for what we witnessed from our camp in the the undulating motion thereof was very night, that there must be a similar breakperceptible. Having stopped here for an ing up of the lake three or four times durhour and a half without any very marked | ing the twenty-four hours. We conclude changes, except those which took place this must take place of necessity. The around the margin of the lake, such as heat beneath this crust becomes so great the closing up of one orifice and the open- that it must have relief at this or some ing of another, a consultation was held other point. This being the natural valve, as to the propriety of returning to our it always finds relief here. A short time camp, or waiting a while longer for some- after the subsidence we observed that the thing that might meet our high expecta- lava forced itself through around the martions. The result of this consultation gin of the lake, at different points, as bewas to remain another hour. When we fore, only with less power, as its force had first arrived at the lake we noticed a seam been greatly expended by the recent breakin the crust which extended across the ing up. Our company observed thrice lake, and which to us appeared no larger during the following night, at intervals of than a mere line. This was only on the six or eight hours, the light at the lake surface; it did not extend through the became greatly intensified, confirming crust. This continued to enlarge until it most fully our opinion as to the periodic appeared as large as a hand's breadth. breaking up of the lake. The light could One of the openings on the margin now be seen at any time during the night; but became much larger and more active. at times much greater than usual. This The amount of lava ejected from this be-shows that the crust which appeared dark came so great that a portion of the crust upon which it was thrown gave way and was submerged. Simultaneously with this the crack or opening separated, and the red-hot lava issued as from the mouth of some huge dragon, until the superincumbent weight became so great that the crust broke off in large irregular fragments one after another, and was submerged in the lake till there was no more crust to be seen. The entire lake was one boiling pot. The melted lava was thrown up fifteen and twenty feet into the air. All this took place in less than five minutes, and not twenty minutes after our determination to stop a while longer. This was the most grandly terrific scene we ever beheld! The heat and light were

to us in the day would be red in the dark. This crust, we should remark, is very tenacious. We threw large fragments of rock from a height of fifty feet with all our strength without breaking through the crust. This seemed strange to us, seeing it so undulating; for we flattered ourselves that we should break the crust and cause a commotion without Pele's aid.

One of the greatest curiosities at this volcano is an article called "Pele's hair." This is an attenuated substance much resembling human hair when gray or deeply flaxen; only it is much finer. In texture it is wiry and brittle. It is formed when the lake is in great commotion. The melted lava is thrown out into the air with such power that it is dissipated as water

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. 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.

But upon

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

forest and dense undergrowth to the stream) we were nearly bootless and shoeless. Walking on the gritty lava makes sad havoc on shoe-leather, but the time, toil, wear and tear of clothes and shoes, are richly compensated by a sight of this late wonder. We now beg the reader's time and patience, and invite him to accompany us to


A company of nine-five ladies and four gentlemen-left Hilo, on a Monday in June, to visit this volcano of world-wide notoriety. Though the distance is but thirty miles, yet we occupied the most of two days in reaching it. The ascent is very gradual, but the roads were bad. Our animals suffered much in their feet in traveling over the hard, gritty lava. The greater part of the road was of this kind. This entire country for many miles in every direction has evidently once been overflowed by a tremendous eruption. It is now for the most part grown over with forest and shrubbery. On the second day, between three and four o'clock P.M., we suddenly and unexpectedly came upon the



about six miles in diameter. It is an irregular circle. The second is near three miles in diameter, and is some eight hundred or one thousand feet below the first one. The third is about fifteen rods in diameter, and is fifty feet below the second one. Our lodging place was within the rim of the first crater. The whole has the appearance of a huge amphitheater, with benches or terraces formed with a good degree of regularity. The first bench, which surrounds the greater part of the perimeter of the second crater, will average one mile and a half in width; the second bench will average one mile and a half, more or less. The first or oldest crater is now grown over with trees, bushes, shrubs, and grass, showing that it is of great age. Here we found plenty of straw and ohalo berries. These latter grow upon a bush much resembling a low whortleberry bush. They are a red berry, much resembling the cranberry, and surpass that berry, in our humble estimation. There are a great many steamholes within this first rim that are now active. We found here a hot spring. Fowls, pigs, or anything of the kind, can be cooked by the steam issuing from a large crevice in the rock; and then the cook can find water hot enough to wash the dishes after the repast. The principal object of interest in this first crater is the large Sulphur Bank. The residue of the

spent here. The entire bank is covered with "the flower of sulphur," in its pure state. The subterranean heat must be great from the force with which the steam rushes from the numerous fissures in the bank. The surface is so hot as to almost burn the feet through the leather. The bushes and small trees in the immediate vicinity of this sulphur bank are most beautifully silvered over. They are equal to the finest "Diana's silver trees." Where the stream rushes out there are small conformations of pure sulphur. There are at these places considerable quantities of the flower of sulphur in its best state.

We had expected to have seen it at a distance. This surprise to us and our jaded horses was most agreeable. Our ascent up Kilauea was so gradual that we could scarcely realize that we had ascended four thousand feet. Kilauea is represented on the maps generally as a mountain stand-afternoon of our arrival was principally ing alone, as much so as Mauna Loa, or Mauna Kea; but this is not the case. is nothing more nor less than one of the foot-hills-if we may call a mountain a hill-of Mauna Loa. In regard to its relation to this vast mountain, we cannot better represent it than by an ordinary sized wart or knot near the base of the trunk of a large tree. We now have in our mind's eye a tree of childhood memory that conveys the idea better than any paper and ink description can possibly do it. Or, which may be a better description, call to mind your father's potatoes buried in the garden in the shape of a hay-cock, with a considerable protuberance or bunch near the base. This bunch is Kilauea on the side and near the base of Mauna Loa. On the summit of this foot-hill is the crater of the largest active volcano in the world. There are, in fact, three craters to this volcano, having three distinct rims. It is a crater within a crater. The outer one is

By breaking these cones, you can find some of the most beautiful specimens of crystalized sulphur. We gathered some for the cabinets of our friends, but at the expense of getting our hands scalded with the steam. There is another bank within the second crater, but smaller and less important than this. We were won


time it has had ten or twelve periods of unusual activity. We probably hazard nothing in saying that this volcano has been more or less active for the last three hundred years. There is un

unwritten history. Probably the action of Kilauea was greater in 1840 than any time since or before in the knowledge of the foreign population. The present lake, which is about fifteen rods by twenty, was then nearly a mile in diameter. In 1855 it was about a half mile in diameter, while there was more or less commotion all over the surface of the second crater.

is, into spray. While in this state it cools very rapidly, and is carried beyond the lake even to great distances by the wind and heated air. All visitors make much of procuring some of this article. To get the full import of this it may be interest-doubtedly great interest bound up in its ing to give a brief account of this Pele. She is an old heathen goddess of the Sandwich Islanders. She is the goddess of fire and all volcanoes, and makes volcanoes, and bathes in the burning lakes. As she emerges from her fiery flood she shakes her tresses, dislodging some of her hair, which flies off. This attenuated substance they call her hair. This, in brief, is the origin of the name. superstition has to a great extent passed away with the generality of this nation; probably some of the older inhabitants find it more difficult to divest themselves of the notion. A somewhat late opinion among the more superstitious of this people is, that Pele has left these islands, and we heard a missionary, a few weeks since from the Marquesas, relate in a missionary meeting that the Marquesans say that Pele has settled there, and has become their principal divinity. Pele informed them that she could not live in peace among the American missionaries at the Sandwich Islands, and had come down there to preside over their interests.

The Rev. Titus Coan, of Hilo, who, from his frequent visits and familiarity with these volcanoes, is jocularly called, "The King of the Volcanoes," has probably been principally instrumental in banishing Pele. He accompanied us on our late tour to Kilauea, and we must confess that he is a very Vulcan, and can manage the affairs, to our mind, much better than Pele.

Though we have no satisfactory written or traditional history of the ages of the craters and different eruptions of this notable volcano, yet they are written upon the rocks, walls, and craters thereof. The first or outermost crater is evidently of some antiquity, from the growth of trees, and the general features of the surface. The history of the second is better known, though there is no one living, nor has been since the first arrival of the missionaries here, who could give any account of its age, or of its principal actions. Since the American missionaries came here, which was in 1820, it has been noted more particularly. In that

Mr. Wilkes, of the United States Exploring Expedition, visited it in 1840 during its greatest action. Such was the terrible grandeur of the scene, that upon approaching it with his company he is said to have exclaimed: “That is hell! there can be no other!" We fear that in this he will be sadly deceived unless he heartily repents of his harsh treatment of his native guides and subordinate officers while exploring Kilauea and Mauna Loa. He will also have to retract some personal slanders against the missionaries here that he has incorporated in his scientific work for the United States, which has no more connection with, or relation to, his expedition or subject than astronomy has to do with an exploring expedition; or he may find that Kilauea is not the only "Hell;" but is a miniature of the "lake that burneth with fire and brimstone!" If he had any personal pique at the missionaries, why did he not resort to the newspaper, or write a separate book, and not lug in his personal prejudices and slander in a work of a scientific character for the United States and the world at large? What do they want to hear or know of Mr. Wilkes's religious prejudices and personal difficulties with the missionaries of the Sandwich Islands. That book should be expurgated of these. many of the discoveries therein purporting to be Mr. Wilkes's should be given to those scientific gentlemen who were under him, for they both made the discoveries, and wrote them out in their journals, from which Mr. Wilkes made verbatim et literatim extracts, and called them his own productions and discoveries. While those men were toiling and traveling on foot over the lava and scoria, and through the gulches, Mr. Wilkes was taking his ease


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