Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/35

This page has been validated.
i.]
13
Geology.

of them cannot fail to be apparent. The lofty land of Guadalcanar, rising to a height of 8000 feet, and the high mountains of Espiritu Santo and New Caledonia, may be thought by him to have some other origin; but he cannot miss the still active volcanos, or fail to observe that many islands have the shape of those that are active in a more or less perfect or ruinous condition. The vast cone of Lopevi in the New Hebrides rises to an apparent point at the height of 5000 feet, and has been seen to cast out smoke and ashes. Tinakula, as it is called, near Santa Cruz, the native name of which is Tamami, is a well-formed cone 3000 feet high. When Mendana was attempting his settlement in 1595, the point of the cone was blown away; the volcano is now very active, throwing out glowing masses of lava, which roll down into the sea. The enormous crater of Ambrym, at the height of 2500 feet, is the centre of vast rugged fields of lava, hitherto unapproachable; round this main mass of the volcano there rise lateral cones no longer active, forest-covered to their peaks, and affording perhaps the most beautiful of Melanesian landscapes. When the Solomon Islands were discovered Savo was active. Some years ago an eruption was expected by the natives, because the old people remembered or had been told of considerable activity some fifty years before; rumblings were then heard and smoke was seen at Florida: the steaming pool and hot stream flowing from it are often visited. In the Banks' Islands, Vanua Lava is always steaming from its sulphur springs. Great lateral cones on the north and east of this island are now extinct, but the streams which rise in the central mass run warm and stinking to the sea, and powder the rocks with sulphur. In Santa Maria above Lakona there are steaming vents on the ridge of the ancient crater now filled by a lake, and on the hill Garat, which has been thrown up within it, there is a group of hot pools, sulphurous jets, and basins of boiling mud within the encircling ridge, from which hot streams pour down into the lake[1]. Bligh Island,

  1. Any volcanic vent, from an active crater to a dead solfatara, is in the Banks' Islands a vuro. Three of those near Lakona have names, one, a deep