Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/41

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PSM V71 D041 The crater looking north with taka dake at the center.png
The Crater, looking north across the southern half of the crater. In the center is Taka-dake

Neko-dake by a depression of about 2,500 feet, out of which both mountains rise steeply. The ridge almost loses its continuity in this depression, so that Neko-dake is left as an isolated pyramid with truncated broken summit rising about 2,500 feet out of the highest part of the old crater to an elevation of 4,800 above the level of the sea. Taka-dake on the west side of the gap has an altitude of 5,600 feet above the sea, and is about 4,000 feet above the crater floor around its base, and some 4,500 feet higher than the point where the two streams have their outlet. On the southwest flank of Taka-dake rises the half-dome summit of a third peak, Naka-dake, facing the southern basin with vertical cliffs of black rock that have the appearance of being the cross section of a lava flow. It is from a low point of the range west of this summit that the steam cloud issues from the small modern crater, whose cone is hidden from the southern basin by an outstretched flank of Naka-dake. West of the new crater is another low place which divides the highest portion of Aso from the continuation westward. This gap is about equidistant from the two ends of the range. West of it rise subordinate peaks along the ridge, which gradually sinks lower until it comes to an end near the outlet of the streams. The distance from west to east across the big crater of Aso along the line occupied by the central range is about ten miles. But following the curving course of the crescent basin it is much farther from one side to the other. By the road through the middle of the plain the distance is about eighteen miles. Our little party after