The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire eBook

Charles W. Morris
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 368 pages of information about The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire.

One of their number, Galung Gung, was previous to 1822 covered from top to bottom with a dense forest; around it were populous villages.  The mountain was high; there was a slight hollow on its top—­a basin-like valley, carpeted with the softest sward; brooks rippled down the hillside through the forests, and, joining their silvery streams, flowed on through beautiful valleys into the distant sea.  In the month of July, 1822, there were signs of an approaching disturbance; this tranquil peacefulness was at an end; one of the rivers became muddy, and its waters grew hot.

In October, without any warning, a most terrific eruption occurred.  A loud explosion was heard; the earth shook, and immense columns of hot water, boiling mud mixed with burning brimstone, ashes and stones, were hurled upwards from the mountain top like a waterspout, and with such wonderful force that large quantities fell at a distance of forty miles.  Every valley near the mountain became filled with burning torrents; the rivers, swollen with hot water and mud, overflowed their banks, and swept away the escaping villagers; and the bodies of cattle, wild beasts, and birds were carried down the flooded stream.

ERUPTION OF GALUNG GUNG

A space of twenty-four miles between the mountain and a river forty miles distant was covered to such a depth with blue mud, that people were buried in their houses, and not a trace of the numerous villages and plantations was visible.  The boiling mud and cinders were cast forth with such violence from the crater, that while many distant villages were utterly destroyed and buried, others much nearer the volcano were scarcely injured; and all this was done in five short hours.

Four days afterwards a second eruption occurred more violent than the first, and hot water and mud were cast forth with masses of slag like the rock called basalt some of which fell seven miles off.  A violent earthquake shook the whole district, and the top of the mountain fell in, and so did one of its sides, leaving a gaping chasm.  Hills appeared where there had been level land before, and the rivers changed their courses, drowning in one night 2,000 people.  At some distance from the mountain a river runs through a large town, and the first intimation the inhabitants had of all this horrible destruction was the news that the bodies of men and the carcases of stags, rhinoceroses, tigers, and other animals, were rushing along to the sea.  No less than 114 villages were destroyed, and above 4,000 persons were killed by this terrible catastrophe.

Fifty years before this eruption, Mount Papandayang, one of the highest burning mountains of Java, was constantly throwing out steam and smoke, but as no harm was done, the natives continued to live on its sides.  Suddenly this enormous mountain fell in, and left a gap fifteen miles long and six broad.  Forty villages were destroyed, some being carried down and others overwhelmed by mud and burning lava.  No less than 2,957 people perished, with vast numbers of cattle; moreover, most of the coffee plantations in the neighboring districts were destroyed.

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The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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