A Catechism of Familiar Things; eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about A Catechism of Familiar Things;.

There are upwards of two hundred volcanoes upon the globe; more than one half of them are in America and Oceanica The most noted volcanoes in America are Cotopaxi (the highest in the world), near Quito; Popocatapetl, in Mexico; Cosiguina, and the Water Volcano, in Guatemala.  In France, Spain, Portugal, and many other countries, there are districts which show the former existence of volcanoes, which have long been extinct; near Naples, in an area of two hundred square miles, there are sixty craters, some of them larger than Vesuvius; in one of these, the town of Cumea has stood for three thousand years.

What can you say of new islands formed by Volcanic Agency?

Many examples of new islands rising out of the sea by volcanic action are on record.  Some of them are permanent, but others, after a time, disappear.  Teneriffe, Iceland, Sicily, St. Helena; part of Sumatra, Java, Japan; and the Sandwich Islands, seem to have been upheaved by volcanic agency; Hawaii, the largest of the last-named group, contains an area of four thousand square miles, and rises eighteen thousand feet above the ocean.

What are Earthquakes?

Shakings or vibrations of the ground; sometimes accompanied by rents, and rockings or heavings of the surface, so as to overthrow buildings, and swallow up towns and large tracts of country.  They are attended with a terrible subterranean noise, like thunder, and sometimes with an eruption of fire or water, or else of smoke or winds.

     Subterranean, underground.

What is supposed to cause them?

An electrical action between the atmosphere and some deep sub-strata; or the sudden formation of gaseous matter beneath the surface of the earth by internal volcanic fires.  Many hot countries, where much electrical disturbance takes place, are very subject to them:  earthquakes almost always precede volcanic eruptions; an open volcano, also, probably diminishes the force of earthquakes, by the vent which it affords.  Earthquakes, at different times, have been productive of the most terrific effects:  towns and cities have been swallowed up, and thousands of people destroyed by them.  The island of Jamaica is remarkable for the earthquakes which frequently happen there.

     Precede, to go before.

     Vent, opening.

     Terrific, full of terror, dreadful.

Where is Jamaica situated?

In the West Indies,—­a large group of fertile islands which lie between North and South America.  Jamaica is the principal one of those which belong to the English.

CHAPTER XVII.

ARCHITECTURE, SCULPTURE, USE OF MONEY, NAVIGATION.

What is meant by Architecture?

The art of building or erecting edifices fit for the habitation of man, to defend him from the weather, and for his domestic comfort and convenience; for devotion, trade, and other purposes, and for the use of civilized life in every capacity.

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A Catechism of Familiar Things; from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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