Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/392

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

and many of the fleeing ones were struck down by the falling stones. Houses afforded no protection, because the red-hot stones set them on fire, and the most flourishing villages of the Camarines were thus laid in ashes. Toward 10 a.m. the rain of stones ceased, and was replaced by one of sand, and at about 2 p.m. the noise had lessened and the sky began to clear. Twelve thousand persons were killed and many wounded by this eruption. After the mountain had become quiet it presented a frightful appearance, its former picturesque, highly cultivated slopes being covered with barren sand, which enveloped the cocoanut trees to their tops, and some one hundred and twenty feet of its summit had been carried away during the eruption. An enormous opening had been formed on its southern side, near which three other mouths appeared, which continued to emit ashes and smoke. The finest villages of the Camarines were destroyed, and the best part of the province was converted into a sandy waste.

This mountain has been active at short intervals down to the present time. Sometimes its activity has been continuous for a year or more. Its eruptions were frequently accompanied by earthquakes and storms. The next outbreak after that described above was in 1827. In 1834 and 1835 the mountain was active nearly all the time. There was no eruption of ashes, but every night a stream of molten lava could be seen running into the higher ravines. In 1845 there was an eruption of ashes which lasted several days; a violent eruption occurred in 1846, two unimportant ones in 1851, and another violent ash and stone eruption occurred on July 27, 1853, during which thirty-one persons were killed. Others occurred in 1855, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860, 1865, and 1871. The heights of the Philippine volcanoes vary from ten thousand and nine thousand feet (Albay or Mayon) down to Taal, only seven hundred and eighty feet high. This curious volcano is upon an islet in the middle of Lake Bombon, south of Manila. Lake Bombon was originally probably a vast crater. It is separated from the China Sea by a narrow isthmus. Taal contains secondary craters, crevasses emitting vapors, and lakelets of acid water. It is the principal "show" volcano of the islands, and was in action in 1885, when all the vegetation upon the island was burned up. Lake Bombon was doubtless formerly connected with the sea, the intervening barrier being formed of eruptive scoriƦ. Its water is still saline, and its marine fauna has adapted itself to its modified environment.

On the small island Camiguin, on the northwest coast of Mindanao, is the extinct volcano Catarman, with a crater lake upon its summit whose level has been subject to great fluctuations. Some-