On the 14th of November, 1867, there commenced an eruption from a mountain about eight leagues to the eastward of the city of Leon, in Nicaragua. This mountain does not appear to have been previously recognized as an active volcano, but it is situated in a very volcanic country. The outburst had probably some connection with the earthquake at St. Thomas, which took place on the 18th of November following. The mountain continued in a state of activity for about sixteen days. There was thrown out an immense quantity of black sand, which was carried as far as to the coast of the Pacific, fifty miles distant. Glowing stones were projected from the crater to an estimated height of three thousand feet.
Central America is more prolific of volcanoes than Mexico, and the State of Guatemala in particular. One authority credits this State with fifteen or sixteen and another with more than thirty volcanic cones. Of these at least five are decidedly active. Tajumalco, which was in eruption at the time of the great earthquake of 1863, yields great quantities of sulphur, as also does Quesaltenango. The most famous is the Volcan de Agua (Water Volcano), so called from its overwhelming the old city of Guatemala with a torrent of water in 1541.
Nicaragua is also rich in volcanoes, being traversed its entire length by a remarkable chain of isolated volcanic cones, several of which are to some extent active. We have already told the story of the tremendous eruption of Coseguina in 1835, one of the most violent of modern times. The latest important eruption here was that of Ometepec, a volcanic mount on an island of the same name in Lake Nicaragua. This broke a long period of repose on June 19, 1883, with a severe eruption, in which the lava, pouring from a new crater, in seven days overflowed the whole island and drove off its population. Incessant rumblings and earthquake shocks accompanied the eruption, and mud, ashes, stones and lava covered the mountain slopes, which had been cultivated for many centuries. These were the most recent strong displays of volcanic energy in Central America, though former great outflows of lava are indicated by great fields of barren rock, which extend for miles.
The Terrible Eruption of Krakatoa.
The most destructive volcanic explosion of recent times, one perhaps unequalled in violence in all times, was that of the small mountain island of Krakatoa, in the East Indian Archipelago, in 1883. This made its effects felt round the entire globe, and excited such wide attention that we feel called upon to give it a chapter of its own.