Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/391

This page has been validated.

and messengers were sent from one place to the other to make inquiries, and a similar impression prevailed in all the islands, cities, and villages in a circuit of nine hundred leagues, within which the noise was heard. Malacca was taken by the Dutch on the 13th of January, and was already hard pressed on the 4th, and many pious Spaniards believed, after the news had come of the capture of the place, that Heaven had taken this volcanic means of warning them of the great injury which would result to the archipelago from the loss of so important a city.

The missionaries in Cochin China gave January 5th as the date of the outbreak, instead of the 4th, there being one day's difference between the reckoning of the Portuguese, who sailed from west to east, and that of the Spaniards, who sailed from east to west, to their Eastern possessions.

The volcano of Mayon, or Albay, in the province of Camarines, has been in frequent eruption from 1616 down to within thirty years. Some of the eruptions were very destructive to life and property. After an activity in July, 1766, of six days' duration, accompanied by a great flow of lava, on October 23, 1766, during a violent storm, which began at about 7 p.m. from north-northwest and at 3 a.m. suddenly veered to the south and blew down all the houses of one of the villages in the neighborhood, the volcano ejected such a vast quantity of water that several torrents of thirty varas (ninety feet) wide ran down to the sea between the villages Tibog and Albay. Between Bacacay and MaKnao the floods were over eighty varas (two hundred and forty feet) wide, and the highways were obliterated. One village was entirely destroyed, nearly all the houses of the region were swept away, and the fields were covered with sand; another village was partly destroyed, its remainder forming an island, or rather a hill, surrounded by deep, broad ravines, through which the stream of sand and water ran. In another place palms and other trees were buried in sand to their tops. Some fifty persons lost their lives. As far as could be judged, the account declares, this [cold?] water came from the interior of the volcano, while we should be inclined to regard it as a cloudburst. The outbreak of February 1, 1814, however, was the most destructive of all. An eyewitness writes that at about 8 a.m. the mountain suddenly threw out a thick column of stones, sand, and ashes, which quickly rose to the highest layers of the air. The sides of the volcano became veiled and disappeared from the view of the spectators, while a stream of fire ran down the mountain and threatened to annihilate them. Every one fled to the highest attainable point for safety, while the roar of the volcano struck terror into all. The darkness increased,