The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire eBook

Charles W. Morris
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire.

During several weeks the island gradually increased in volume; but in July, at a distance of about sixty paces from the new islet, there was thrown up a chain of black calcined rocks, followed by volumes of thick black smoke, having a sulphurous smell.  A few days thereafter the water all around the spot became hot, and many dead fishes were thrown up.  Then, with loud subterraneous noises, flames arose, and fresh quantities of stones and other substances were ejected, until the chain of black rocks became united to the first islet that had appeared.  This eruption continued for a long time, there being thrown out quantities of ashes and pumice, which covered the island of Santorin and the surface of the sea—­some being drifted to the coasts of Asia Minor and the Dardanelles.  The activity of this miniature volcano was prolonged, with greater or less energy, for about ten years.

In 1866 similar phenomena took place in the Bay of Santorin, beginning with underground sounds and slight shocks of earthquake, which were followed by the appearance of flames on the surface of the sea.  Soon after there arose, out of a dense smoke, a small islet, which gradually increased until in a week’s time it was 60 feet high, 200 long and 90 wide.  The people of Santorin named it “George,” in honor of the King of Greece.  In another week it joined and became continuous with the Little Cammeni.  The detonations increased in loudness, and large quantities of incandescent stones were thrown up from the crater.

About the same time, at the distance of nearly 150 feet from the coast, to the westward of a point called Cape Phlego, there rose from the sea another island, to which was given the name of Aphroessa.  It sank and reappeared several times before it established itself above water.  The detonations and ejection of incandescent lava and stones continued at intervals during three weeks.  From the crater of the islet George, which attained a height of 150 feet, some stones several cubic yards in bulk were projected to a great distance.  One of them falling on board of a merchant vessel, killed the captain and set fire to the ship.

By the 10th of March the eruptions had partially subsided, but were then renewed, and a third island, which was named Reka, rose alongside of Aphroessa.  They were at first separated by a channel sixty feet deep; but in three days this was filled up, and the two islets became united.

Reference may properly be made here to Monte Nuovo and Jorullo, not that they appertain to the present subject, but that they form examples of the action of similar forces, in the one instance exerted on a lake bottom, in the other on dry land, each yielding permanent volcanic elevations in every respect analogous to those which rise as islands from the bottom of the sea.


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