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.

“With eyes full of astonishment men watched those vast volumes of Krakatoa dust on a tremendous journey.  Of course, every one knows the so-called trade-winds on our earth’s surface, which blow steadily in fixed directions, and which are of such service to the mariner.  But there is yet another constant wind.  It was first disclosed by Krakatoa.  Before the occurrence of that eruption, no one had the slightest suspicion that far up aloft, twenty miles over our heads, a mighty tempest is incessantly hurrying, with a speed much greater than that of the awful hurricane which once laid so large a part of Calcutta on the ground and slew so many of its inhabitants.  Fortunately for humanity, this new trade-wind does not come within less than twenty miles of the earth’s surface.  We are thus preserved from the fearful destruction that its unintermittent blasts would produce, blasts against which no tree could stand and which would, in ten minutes, do as much damage to a city as would the most violent earthquake.  When this great wind had become charged with the dust of Krakatoa, then, for the first, and, I may add, for the only time, it stood revealed to human vision.  Then it was seen that this wind circled round the earth in the vicinity of the equator, and completed its circuit in about thirteen days.


“The dust manufactured by the supreme convulsion was whirled round the earth in the mighty atmospheric current into which the volcano discharged it.  As the dust-cloud was swept along by this incomparable hurricane it showed its presence in the most glorious manner by decking the sun and the moon in hues of unaccustomed splendor and beauty.  The blue color in the sky under ordinary circumstances is due to particles in the air, and when the ordinary motes of the sunbeam were reinforced by the introduction of the myriads of motes produced by Krakatoa even the sun itself sometimes showed a blue tint.  Thus the progress of the great dust-cloud was traced out by the extraordinary sky effects it produced, and from the progress of the dust-cloud we inferred the movements of the invisible air current which carried it along.  Nor need it be thought that the quantity of material projected from Krakatoa should have been inadequate to produce effects of this world-wide description.  Imagine that the material which was blown to the winds of heaven by the supreme convulsion of Krakatoa could be all recovered and swept into one vast heap.  Imagine that the heap were to have its bulk measured by a vessel consisting of a cube one mile long, one mile broad and one mile deep; it has been estimated that even this prodigious vessel would have to be filled to the brim at least ten times before all the products of Krakatoa had been measured.”

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