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1835.]
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CHILOE.

 

CHAPTER XIV.

San Carlos, Chiloe—Osorno in eruption, contemporaneously with Aconcagua and Cosegiiina—Hide to Cucao—Impenetrable forests—Valdivia—Indians—Earthquake—Concepcion—Great earthquake—Rocks fissured—Appearance of the former towns—The sea black and boiling—Direction of the vibrations—Stones twisted round—Great Wave—Permanent elevation of the land—Area of volcanic phenomena—The connexion between the elevatory and eruptive forces—Cause of earthquakes—Slow elevation of Mountain-chains.

CHILOE AND CONCEPCION: GREAT EARTHQUAKE.

On January the 15th we sailed from Low's Harbour, and three days afterwards anchored a second time in the bay of S. Carlos in Chiloe. On the night of the 19th the volcano of Osorno was in action. At midnight the sentry observed something like a large star, which gradually increased in size till about three o'clock, when it presented a very magnificent spectacle. By the aid of a glass, dark objects, in constant succession, were seen, in the midst of a great glare of red light, to be thrown up and to fall down. The light was sufficient to cast on the water a long bright reflection. Large masses of molten matter seem very commonly to be cast out of the craters in this part of the Cordillera. I was assured that when the Corcovado is in eruption, great masses are projected upwards and are seen to burst in the air, assuming many fantastical forms, such as trees: their size must be immense, for they can be distinguished from the high land behind S. Carlos, which is no less than ninety-three miles from the Corcovado. In the morning the volcano became tranquil.

I was surprised at hearing afterwards that Aconcagua in Chile, 480 miles northwards, was in action on this same night; and still more surprised to hear, that the great eruption of Coscguina (2700 miles north of Aconcagua), accompanied by an earthquake felt over a 1000 miles, also occurred within six hours of this same time. This coincidence is the more remarkable, as Coseguina had been dormant for twenty-six years: