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CATAMARAN—CATANIA

The use of finely divided nickel (obtained by reducing the oxide in a current of pure hydrogen at a temperature of 350°) has been carefully studied by P. Sabatier and J. B. Senderens; a summary of their results is given in the Ann. Chim. Phys., 1905 (viii.) 4, pp. 319-488. Of special interest is the condensation of acetylene. If this gas mixed with hydrogen be passed over the reduced nickel in the cold, the temperature may rise to as high as 150°, the acetylene disappearing and becoming replaced by a substance like petroleum. If the nickel be maintained at 200°, and the gases circulated for twenty-eight hours, a product, condensible to a yellow liquid having a beautiful fluorescence and boiling at 45°, is obtained. This substance closely resembles ordinary Pennsylvanian petroleum. If acetylene be passed alone over nickel heated to 200°–300°, a mixture, boiling at 60°-70° and having a green colour by diffused and a red by transmitted light, was obtained. This substance closely resembles Caucasian petroleum. The decomposition of carbon monoxide according to the reaction 2CO ⇄ C + CO2 is purely catalytic in the presence of nickel and cobalt, and also in the presence of iron, so long as the amount of carbon dioxide present does not exceed a certain amount (R. Schenck and W. Heller, Ber., 1905, 38, pp. 2132, 2139). It is of interest that finely divided aluminium and magnesium decompose methane, ethane, and ethylene into carbon and hydrogen in the same way as nickel. Charcoal at 350° also reacts catalytically; for example, Senderens found that ethyl alcohol was decomposed by animal charcoal into methane, ethylene, hydrogen, carbon monoxide and a little carbon dioxide, and propyl alcohol gave propylene, ethane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, while G. Lemoine obtained from ethyl alcohol and wood charcoal a mixture of acetaldehyde and hydrogen.


CATAMARAN (a Tamil word, from catta, to tie, and maram wood), a surf-boat or raft used by the natives of Madras and along the Coromandel Coast in India. It is usually made of three tree trunks lashed together, the centre trunk being the largest and longest, and having one end bent upward to form a kind of prow. Catamarans of a larger size are in use in the West Indies and South America. The name is also given to two boats lashed together. Apparently through an erroneous connexion with cat, the name has been applied to a noisy scolding woman.


CATAMARCA, an Andean province of the Argentine Republic, lying W. of Santiago del Estero and Tucuman and extending to the Chilean frontier, with Los Andes and Salta on the N., Cordoba on the S.E., and Rioja on the S. Pop. (1895) 90,161; (1904, estimate) 103,082; area, 47,531 sq. m. The surface of the province is extremely broken, the Andes forming its western boundary, and the Aconquija, Ancaste, Ambato, Gulampaja and other ranges traversing it from north to south. It is composed very largely of high plateaus with a general slope southward broken by a few fertile valleys. The greater part of the province is arid and barren, being sheltered from the moist, eastern winds by the high mountain barriers of Aconquija and Ancaste. The rivers are small, and some of them are lost in the barren, sandy wastes. Others, especially in the foothills of the high sierras, are utilized to irrigate the fertile valleys. The climate of some of the low, sheltered valleys is extremely hot and unhealthy, but on the open plateaus it is peculiarly dry and bracing and is probably beneficial in the treatment of pulmonary diseases. The mineral resources of the province include gold, silver, copper, lead, nickel, iron, coal and malachite, but of these only copper and silver are mined, and these chiefly in the Andalgalá district. Salt deposits also exist, but are worked only to a limited extent. Cereals, alfalfa and fruit are grown. Large numbers of cattle, fattened in the alfalfa fields of Pucará, Tinogasta and Copacabana, are driven into northern Chile across the San Francisco pass (13,124 ft. above sea level) and mules are bred for the Bolivian market. Wine of an excellent quality is produced and exported. Tanning leather is another industry of the province, some of the trees growing in the Catamarca forests being rich in tannin. Catamarca is traversed by the Northern Central railway between Cordoba and the city of Catamarca, its capital, which passes around the southern extremity of the Sierra de Ancaste and makes a long detour to Chumbicha, near the Rioja frontier. The more important towns, after Catamarca, the capital, are Andalgalá and Tinogasta with populations (estimated, 1904) of 5000 to 6000 each. Belen is the oldest Spanish settlement in the province and was founded in 1550, being called Barco at first. The population is largely mixed with Indian blood.


CATAMARCA (San Fernando de Catamarca), capital of the above province on the Rio del Valle de Catamarca, 230 m. (318 m. by rail) N.N.W. of Cordoba. Pop. (1895) 7397; (1905, estimate) 8000, with a large percentage of mestizos. Catamarca is connected by railways with Rioja and Patquia and with Cordoba. The city stands in a narrow, picturesque valley at the foot of the Sierra de Ambato, 1772 ft. above sea level. The valley is highly fertile, partially wooded, and produces fruit in abundance, wine and some cereals. In the city are flour mills and tanneries, and among its exports are leather, fruit, wine, flour, and a curious embroidery for which the women of Catamarca have long been famous. There is a fine church, 220 by 90 ft., and a national college occupies the old Merced convent. The alameda is one of the prettiest in the Argentine Republic, having a reservoir of two acres surrounded by shrubbery and walks. Catamarca was founded in 1685 by Fernando de Mendoza because the town of Chacra, the former provincial capital, a few miles north of Catamarca, had been found unhealthy and subject to inundations. Previous to the selection of Chacra as the provincial capital, the seat of government was at San Juan de Londres, founded in 1558 and named after the capital of England by order of Philip II. in honour of his marriage with Queen Mary. The arid surroundings of Londres led to its partial abandonment and it is now a mere village. Cholla, a suburb of Catamarca, is inhabited wholly by Calchaqui Indians, a remnant of the original inhabitants of this region.


CATANIA (Gr. Katane, Rom. Catina[1]), a city and episcopal see of Sicily, the chief town of the province of Catania, on the east coast, 59 m. by rail S. of Messina, and 151 m. by rail S.E. of Palermo (102 m. direct). Pop. (1881) 100,417; (1905) 157,722. The principal buildings are handsome, and the main streets, meeting in the Piazzo del Duomo, are fine. The cathedral of S. Agatha, containing the relics of the saint, retains its three original Norman apses (1091), but is otherwise a large baroque edifice. The monument of Don Ferrando d’Acunea, a Spanish viceroy of Sicily, is a fine early Renaissance work (1494). In the west portion of the town is the huge Benedictine abbey of S. Nicola (now suppressed), the buildings of which occupy an area of about 21 acres and contain the museum, a library, observatory, &c. The church, dating, like the rest of the buildings, from 1693–1735, is the largest in Sicily, and the organ, built in 1760 by Donato del Piano, with 72 stops and 2916 pipes, is very fine. The university, founded in 1444, has regained some of its former importance. To the south near the harbour is the massive Castell' Ursino, erected in 1232 by Frederick II. Remains of several ancient buildings exist, belonging in the main to the Roman period. The theatre, covered by a stream of lava, and built partly of small rectangular blocks of the same material, though in the main of concrete, has been superimposed upon the Greek building, some foundations of which, in calcareous stone, of which the seats are also made, still exist. It is 106 yds. in diameter, and is estimated to have accommodated 7000 spectators. Close to it are the remains of the so-called Odeum, of similar plan to the theatre but without a stage, and to the north is the church of S. Maria Rotonda, originally a Roman domed structure, perhaps part of a bath. To the north, in the Piazza Stesicoro, is the amphitheatre, a considerable portion of which has been uncovered, including the two corridors which ran round the whole building and gave access to the seats, while a part of the arcades of the exterior has been excavated and left open; the pillars are made of blocks of lava, and the arches of brick. The external diameters of the amphitheatre are 410 and 348 ft., while the corresponding diameters of the arena are 233 and 167 ft. It is thus the third largest Roman amphitheatre known, being surpassed only by that at Verona and the Colosseum. Remains

  1. This is the form vouched for by the inscriptions.