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.
then begins playing, sending its bundles of jets rather higher than those of the Great Geyser, flinging up the clods of turf which have been its obstruction like a number of rockets.  This magnificent display continues for a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes.  The erupted water flows back into the pipe from the curved sides of the bowl.  This occasions a succession of bursts, the last expiring effort, very generally, being the most magnificent.  Strokr gives no warning thumps, like the Great Geyser, and there is not the same roaring of steam accompanying the outbreak of the water.”

The same author thus describes an eruption of the Great Geyser, which occurred about two o’clock in the morning:  “A violent concussion of the ground brought me and my companions to our feet.  We rushed out of the tent in every condition of dishabille and were in time to see Geyser put forth his full strength.  Five strokes underground were the signal, then an overflow, wetting every side of the mound.  Presently a dome of water rose in the centre of the basin and fell again, immediately to be followed by a fresh bell, which sprang into the air fully forty feet high, accompanied by a roaring burst of steam.  Instantly the fountain began to play with the utmost violence, a column rushing up to the height of ninety or one hundred feet against the gray night sky, with mighty volumes of white steam cloud rolling after it and swept off by the breeze to fall in torrents of hot rain.  Jets and lines of water tore their way through the clouds, or leaped high above its domed mass.  The earth trembled and throbbed during the explosion, then the column sank, started up again, dropped once more, and seemed to be sucked back into the earth.  We ran to the basin, which was left dry, and looked down the bore at the water, which was bubbling at the depth of six feet.”

In the case of Strokr, the cause of this eruption is not difficult to understand.  The narrow part of the channel is choked up by the turf and the steam, and prevented from escaping.  Finally it gains such force as to drive out the obstacle with a violent explosion, just as a bottle of fermenting liquor may blow out the cork and discharge some of its contents.

Geysers are somewhat abundant phenomena, existing in many parts of the earth, while striking examples of them are found in the widely separated regions of Iceland, New Zealand, Japan and the western United States.  In the volcanic region of New Zealand geysers and their associated hot springs are abundant.  It was to their action that we owed the famous white and pink terraces and the warm lake of Rotomahana which were ruined by the destructive eruption of Mount Tarawera, already described.


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