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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.

THE GREAT MUD VOLCANO OF SICILY

One of the best known mud-volcanoes is at Macaluba, near Girgenti, in Sicily.  It consists of several conical mounds, varying from time to time in their form and height, which ranges from eight to thirty feet.  From orifices on the tops of these mounds there are thrown out sometimes jets of warmish water and mud mixed with bitumen, sometimes bubbles of gas, chiefly carbonic acid and carburetted hydrogen, occasionally pure nitrogen.  The mud ejected has often a strong sulphurous smell.  The jets in general ascend only to a moderate height; but occasionally they are thrown up with great violence, attaining a height of about 200 feet.  In 1777 there was ejected an immense column, consisting of mud strongly impregnated with sulphur and mixed with naphtha and stones, accompanied also by quantities of sulphurous vapors.  This mud-volcano is known to have been in action for fifteen centuries.

Very recently a small mud-volcano has been formed on the flanks of Mount Etna.  It began with the throwing up of jets of boiling water, mixed with petroleum and mud, great quantities of gas bubbling up at the same time.  In several of the valleys of Iceland there are similar phenomena, the boiling water and mud being thrown up in jets to the height of fifteen feet and upwards, the mud accumulating around the orifices whence the jets arise.

A mud-volcano named Korabetoff, in the Crimea, presents phenomena more akin to those of the igneous volcanoes of South America.  There was an eruption from this mountain on the 6th of August, 1853.  It began by throwing up from the summit a column of fire and smoke, which ascended to a great height.  This continued for five or six minutes, and was followed at short intervals by two similar eruptions.  There was then ejected with a hissing noise a quantity of black fetid mud, which was so hot as to scorch the grass on the edges of the stream.  The mud continued to pour out for three hours, covering a wide space at the mountain’s base.  The mud-volcanoes on the coast of Beloochistan are very numerous, and extend over an area of nearly a thousand square miles.  Their action resembles that at Macaluba.

THE MUD VOLCANO OF JAVA

There is a mud volcano in Java which is of interest as somewhat resembling the geyser in its mode of operation and apparently due to similar agencies.  It is thus described by Dr. Horsfield:—­

“On approaching it from a distance, it is first discovered by a large volume of smoke, rising and disappearing at intervals of a few seconds, resembling the vapors rising from a violent surf.  A loud noise is heard, like that of distant thunder.  Having advanced so near that the vision was no longer impeded by the smoke, a large hemispherical mass was observed, consisting of black earth mixed with water, about sixteen feet in diameter, rising to the height

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