Volcanoes: Past and Present
by Edward Hull
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(a.) Dormant Condition down to 1680.—Down to the year 1680, this island, although from its form and structure evidently volcanic, appears to have been in a dormant state; its sides were covered with luxuriant forests, and numerous habitations dotted its shore. But in May of that year an eruption occurred, owing to which the aspect of Krakatoa as described by Vogel was entirely changed; the surface of the island when this writer passed on his voyage to Sumatra appeared burnt up and arid, while blocks of incandescent rock were being hurled into the air from four distinct points. After this first recorded eruption the island relapsed into a state of repose, and except for a stream of molten lava which issued from the northern extremity, there was no evidence of its dangerous condition. The luxuriant vegetation of the tropics speedily re-established itself, and the volcano was generally regarded as "extinct."[2] History repeats itself; and the history of Vesuvius was repeated in the case of Krakatoa.

(b.) Eruption of May, 1883.[3]—On the morning of May 20, 1883, the inhabitants of Batavia, of Buitenzorg, and neighbouring localities, were surprised by a confused noise, mingled with detonations resembling the firing of artillery. The phenomena commenced between ten and eleven o'clock in the morning, and soon acquired such intensity as to cause general alarm. The detonations were accompanied by tremblings of the ground, of buildings and various objects contained in dwellings; but it was generally admitted that these did not proceed from earthquake shocks, but from atmospheric vibrations. No deviation of the magnetic needle was observed at the Meteorological Institute of Batavia; but a vertical oscillation was apparent, and persons who listened with the ear placed on the ground, even during the most violent detonations, could hear no subterranean noise whatever. It became clear that the sounds came from some volcano burst into activity; but it is strange that for two whole days it remained uncertain what was the particular volcano to which the phenomena were to be referred. The detonations appeared, indeed, to come from the direction of Krakatoa; but from Serang, Anjer, and Merak, localities situated much nearer Krakatoa than Batavia, the telegraph announced that neither detonations nor atmospheric vibrations had been perceived. The distance between Batavia and Krakatoa is ninety-three English miles. The doubts thus experienced were, however, soon put to rest by the arrival of an American vessel under the command of A. R. Thomas, and of other ships which hailed from the straits of Sunda. From their accounts it was ascertained that in the direction of Krakatoa the heavens were clouded with ashes, and that a grand column of smoke, illumined from time to time by flashes of flame, arose from above the island. Thus after a repose of more than two hundred years, "the peaceable isle of Krakatoa, inhabited, and covered by thick forests, was suddenly awakened from its condition of fancied security."

(c.) Form and Appearance of the Island before the Eruption of 1883.—From surveys made in 1849 and 1881, it would appear that the island of Krakatoa consisted of three mountains or groups of mountains (Figs. 35, 36); the southern formed by the cone of Rakata (properly so called), rising with a scarped face above the sea to a height of over 800 metres (2,622 feet). Adjoining this cone, and rising from the centre of the island, came the group of Danan, composed of many summits, probably forming part of the enceinte annulaire of a crater. And near the northern extremity of the isle, a third group of mammelated heights could be recognised under the general name of Perboewatan, from which issued several obsidian lava-flows, with a steep slope; these dated back perhaps to the period of the first known eruption of 1680. This large and mountainous island as it existed at the beginning of May, 1883, has been entirely destroyed by the terrible eruptions of that year, with the exception of the peripheric rim (composed of the most ancient of the volcanic rocks, andesite), of which Verlaten Island and Rakata formed a part, and one very small islet, which is noted on the maps as "rots" (rock), and on the new map of the Straits of Sunda of the Dutch Navy as that of "Bootsmansrots."[4]

As shown by the map in the Report of the Royal Society, the group of islands which existed previous to 1883 were but the unsubmerged portions of one vast volcanic crater, built up of a remarkable variety of lava allied to the andesite of the Java volcanoes, but having a larger percentage of silica, and hence falling under the head of "enstatite-dacite."[5] That these volcanic rocks are of very recent origin is shown by the fact, ascertained by Verbeek, that beneath them occur deposits of Post-Tertiary age, and that these in turn rest on the Tertiary strata which are widely distributed through Sumatra, Java, and the adjoining islands. According to the reasoning of Professor Judd, the Krakatoa group at an early period of its history presented the form of a magnificent crater-cone, several miles in circumference at the base, which subsequent eruptions shattered into fragments or blew into the air in the form of dust, ashes, and blocks of lava, while the central part collapsed and fell in, leaving a vast circular ring like the ancient crater of Somma (see Fig. 6, p. 43), and he supposes the former eruptions to have been on a scale exceeding in magnificence those which have caused such world-wide interest within the last few years.

(d.) Eruption of 26th to 28th of August.—It was, as we have seen, in the month of May that, in the language of Chev. Verbeek, "the volcano of Krakatoa chose to announce in a high voice to the inhabitants of the Archipelago that, although almost nothing amongst the many colossal volcanic mountains of the Indies, it yielded to none of them in regard to its power." These eruptions were, however, only premonitory of the tremendous and terrible explosion which was to commence on Sunday, the 26th of August, and which continued for several days subsequently. A little after noon of that day, a rumbling noise accompanied by short and feeble explosions was heard at Buitenzorg, coming from the direction of Krakatoa; and similar sounds were heard at Anjer and Batavia a little later. Soon these detonations augmented in intensity, especially about five o'clock in the evening; and news was afterwards received that the sounds had been heard in the isle of Java. These sounds increased still more during the night, so that few persons living on the west side of the isle of Java were able to sleep. At seven in the morning there came a crash so formidable, that those who had hoped for a little sleep at Buitenzorg leaped from their beds. Meanwhile the sky, which had up to this time been clear, became overcast, so that by ten o'clock it became necessary to have recourse to lamps, and the air became charged with vapour. Occasional shocks of earthquake were now felt. Darkness became general all over the straits and the bordering coasts. Showers of ashes began to fall. The repeated shocks of earthquake, and the rapid discharges of subterranean artillery, all combined to show that an eruption of even greater violence than that of May was in progress at the isle of Krakatoa.

But the most interested witnesses to this terrible outburst were those on board the ships plying through the straits. Amongst these was the Charles Bal, a British vessel under the command of Captain Watson. This ship was ten miles south of the volcano on Sunday afternoon, and therefore well in sight of the island at the time when the volcano had entered upon its paroxysmal state of action. Captain Watson describes the island as being covered by a dense black cloud, while sounds like the discharges of artillery occurred at intervals of a second of time; and a crackling noise (probably arising from the impact of fragments of rock ascending and descending in the atmosphere) was heard by those on board. These appearances became so threatening towards five o'clock in the evening, that the commander feared to continue his voyage and began to shorten sail. From five to six o'clock a rain of pumice in large pieces, quite warm, fell upon the ship, which was one of those that escaped destruction during this terrible night.[6]

(e.) Electrical Phenomena.—During this eruption, electrical phenomena of great splendour were observed. Captain Wooldbridge, viewing the eruption in the afternoon of the 26th from a distance of forty miles, speaks of a great vapour-cloud looking like an immense wall being momentarily lighted up "by bursts of forked lightning like large serpents rushing through the air. After sunset this dark wall resembled a blood-red curtain, with edges of all shades of yellow, the whole of a murky tinge, through which gleamed fierce flashes of lightning." As Professor Judd observes, the abundant generation of atmospheric electricity is a familiar phenomenon in all volcanic eruptions on a grand scale. The steam-jets rushing through the orifices of the earth's crust constitute an enormous hydro-electrical engine, and the friction of the ejected materials striking against one another in their ascent and descent also does much in the way of generating electricity.[7] It has been estimated by several observers that the column of watery vapour ascended to a height of from twelve to seventeen and even twenty-three miles; and on reaching the upper strata of the atmosphere, it spread itself out in a vast canopy resembling "the pine-tree" form of Vesuvian eruptions; and throughout the long night of the 27th this canopy continued to extend laterally, and the particles of dust which it enclosed began to descend slowly through the air.

(f.) Formation of Waves.—This tremendous outburst of volcanic forces, which to a greater or less extent influenced the entire surface of the globe, gave rise to waves which traversed both air and ocean; and in consequence of the large number of observatories scattered all over the globe, and the excellence and delicacy of the instruments of observation, we are put in possession of the remarkable results which have been obtained from the collection of the observations in the hands of competent specialists. The results are related in extenso in the Report of the Royal Society, illustrated by maps and diagrams, and are worthy of careful study by those interested in terrestrial phenomena. A brief summary is all that can be given here, but it will probably suffice to bring home to the reader the magnitude and grandeur of the eruption.

The vibrations or waves generated in August, 1883, at Krakatoa may be arranged under three heads: (1) Atmospheric Waves; (2) Sound Waves; and (3) Oceanic Waves; which I will touch upon in the order here stated.

(1) Atmospheric Waves.—These phenomena have been ably handled by General Strachey,[8] from a large number of observations extending all over the globe. From these it has been clearly established that an atmospheric wave, originating at Krakatoa as a centre, expanded outwards in a circular form and travelled onwards till it became a great circle at a distance of 180 degrees from its point of origin, after which it still advanced, but now gradually contracting to a node at the antipodes of Krakatoa; that is to say, at a point over the surface of North America, situated in lat. 6 deg. N. and long. 72 deg. W. (or thereabout). Having attained this position, the wave was reflected or reproduced, expanding outwards for 180 degrees and travelling backwards again to Krakatoa, from which it again started, and returning to its original form again overspread the globe. This wonderful repetition, due to the spherical form of the earth, was observed no fewer than seven times, though with such diminished force as ultimately to be outside the range of observation by the most sensitive instruments. It is one of the triumphs of modern scientific appliances that the course of such a wave, generated in a fluid surrounding a globe, which might be demonstrated on mathematical principles, has been actually determined by experiments carried on over so great an area.

(2) Sound Waves.—If the sound-waves produced at the time of maximum eruption were not quite as far-reaching as those of the air, they were certainly sufficiently surprising to be almost incredible, were it not that they rest, both as regards time and character, upon incontestible authority. The sound of the eruption, resembling that of the discharge of artillery, was heard not only over nearly all parts of Sumatra, Java, and the coast of Borneo opposite the Straits of Sunda, but at places over two thousand miles distant from the scene of the explosions. Detailed accounts, collected with great care, are given in the Report of the Royal Society, from which the following are selected as examples:—

1. At the port of Acheen, at the northern extremity of Sumatra, distant 1,073 miles, it was supposed that the port was being attacked, and the troops were put under arms.

2. At Singapore, distant 522 miles, two steamers were dispatched to look out for the vessel which was supposed to be firing guns as signals of distress.

3. At Bankok, in Siam, distant 1,413 miles, the report was heard on the 27th; as also at Labuan, in Borneo, distant 1,037 miles.

4. At places in the Philippine Islands, distant about 1,450 miles, detonations were heard on the 27th, at the time of the eruption.

The above places lie northwards of Krakatoa. In the opposite direction, we have the following examples:—

5. At Perth, in Western Australia, distant 1,092 miles, sounds as of guns firing at sea were heard; and at the Victorian Plains, distant about 1,700 miles, similar sounds were heard.

6. In South Australia, at Alice's Springs, Undoolga, and other places at distances of over 2,000 miles, the sounds of the eruption were also heard.

7. In a westerly direction at Dutch Bay, Ceylon, distant 2,058 miles, the sounds were heard between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. on the morning of the 27th of August.

8. Lastly, at the Chagos Islands, distant 2,267 miles, the detonations were audible between 10 and 11 a.m. of the same day.

Some of the above distances are so great that we may fail to realise them; but they will be more easily appreciated, perhaps, if we change the localities to our own side of the globe, and take two or three cases with similar distances. Then, if the eruption had taken place amongst the volcanoes of the Canaries, the detonations would have been heard at Gibraltar, at Lisbon, at Portsmouth, Southampton, Cork, and probably at Dublin and Liverpool; or, again, supposing the eruption had taken place on the coast of Iceland, the report would have been heard all over the western and northern coasts of the British Isles, as well as at Amsterdam and the Hague. The enormous distance to which the sound travelled in the case of Krakatoa was greatly due to the fact that the explosions took place at the surface of the sea, and the sound was carried along that surface uninterruptedly to the localities recorded; a range of mountains intervening would have cut off the sound-wave at a comparatively short distance from its source.

(3) Oceanic Waves.—As may be supposed, the eruption gave rise to great agitation of the ocean waters with various degrees of vertical oscillation; but according to the conclusions of Captain Wharton, founded on numerous data, the greatest wave seems to have originated at Krakatoa about 10 a.m. on the 27th of August, rising on the coasts of the Straits of Sunda to a height of fifty feet above the ordinary sea-level. This wave appears to have been observed over at least half the globe. It travelled westwards to the coast of Hindostan and Southern Arabia, ultimately reaching the coasts of France and England. Eastwards it struck the coast of Australia, New Zealand, the Sandwich Islands, Alaska, and the western coast of North America; so that it was only the continent of North and South America which formed a barrier (and that not absolute) to the circulation of this oceanic wave all over the globe. The destruction to life and property caused by this wave along the coasts of Sunda was very great. Combined with the earthquake shocks (which, however, were not very severe), the tremendous storm of wind, the fall of ashes and cinders, and the changes in the sea-bed, it produced in the Straits of Sunda for some time after the eruption a disastrous transformation. Lighthouses had been swept away; all the old familiar landmarks on the shore were obscured by a vast deposit of volcanic dust; the sea itself was encumbered with enormous quantities of floating pumice, in many places of such thickness that no vessel could force its way through them; and for months after the eruption one of the principal channels was greatly obstructed by two islands which had arisen in its midst. The Sebesi channel was completely blocked by banks composed of volcanic materials, and two portions of these banks rose above the sea as islands, which received the name of "Steers Island" and "Calmeyer Island"; but these, by the action of the waves, have since been completely swept away, and the materials strewn over the bed of the sea.[9]

(g.) Atmospheric Effects.—But the face of nature, even in her most terrific and repulsive aspect, is seldom altogether unrelieved by some traces of beauty. In contrast to the fearful and disastrous phenomena just described, is to be placed the splendour of the heavens, witnessed all over the central regions of the globe throughout a period of several months after the eruption of 1883, which has been ably treated by the Hon. Rollo Russell and Mr. C. D. Archibald, in the Royal Society's Report.

When the particles of lava and ashes mingled with vapour were projected into the air with a velocity greater than that of a ball discharged from the largest Armstrong gun, these materials were carried by the prevalent trade-winds in a westerly direction, and some of them fell on the deck of ships sailing in the Indian Ocean as far as long. 80 deg. E., as in the case of the British Empire—on which the particles fell on the 29th of August, at a distance of 1,600 miles from Krakatoa. But far beyond this limit, the finer particles of dust (or rather minute crystals of felspar and other minerals), mingled with vapour of water, were carried by the higher currents of the air as far as the Seychelles and Africa,—not only the East coast, but also the West, as Cape Coast Castle on the Gold Coast; to Paramaribo, Trinidad, Panama, the Sandwich Isles, Ceylon and British India, at all of which places during the month of September the sun assumed tints of blue or green, as did also the moon just before and after the appearance of the stars;[10] and from the latter end of September and for several months, the sky was remarkable for its magnificent coloration; passing from crimson through purple to yellow, and melting away in azure tints which were visible in Europe and the British Isles; while a large corona was observed round both the sun and moon. These beautiful sky effects were objects of general observation throughout the latter part of the year 1883 and commencement of the following year.

The explanation of these phenomena may be briefly stated. The fine particles, consisting for the most part of translucent crystals, or fragments of crystals, formed a canopy high up in the atmosphere, being gradually spread over both sides of the equator till it formed a broad belt, through which the rays of the sun and moon were refracted. Towards dawn and sunset they were refracted and reflected from the facets of the crystal, and thus underwent decomposition into the prismatic colours; as do the rays of the sun when refracted and reflected from the particles of moisture in a rain-cloud. The subject is one which cannot be fully dealt with here, and is rather outside the scope of this work.

(h.) Origin of the Eruption.—The ultimate cause of volcanic eruptions is treated in a subsequent chapter, nor is that of Krakatoa essentially different from others. It was remarkable, however, both for the magnitude of the forces evoked and the stupendous scale of the resulting phenomena. It is evident that water played an important part in these phenomena, though not as the prime mover;—any more than water in the boiler of a locomotive is the prime mover in the generation of the steam. Without the fuel in the furnace the steam would not be produced; and the amount of steam generated will be proportional to the quantity and heat of the fuel in the furnace and the quantity of water in the boiler. In the case of Krakatoa, both these elements were enormous and inexhaustible. The volcanic chimney (or system of chimneys), being situated on an island, was readily accessible to the waters of the ocean when fissures gave them access to the interior molten matter. That such fissures were opened we may well believe. The earthquakes which occurred at the beginning of May, and later on, on the 27th of that month, may indicate movements of the crust by which water gained access. It appears that in May the only crater in a state of activity was that of Perboewatan; in June another crater came into action, connected with Danan in the centre of the island, and in August a third burst forth. Thus there was progressive activity up to the commencement of the grand eruption of the 26th of that month.[11] During this last paroxysmal stage, the centre of the island gave way and sunk down, when the waters of the ocean gained free access, and meeting with the columns of molten matter rising from below originated the prodigious masses of steam which rose into the air.

(i.) Cause of the Detonations.—The detonations which accompanied the last great eruption are repeatedly referred to in all the accounts. These may have been due, not only to the sudden explosions of steam directly produced by the ocean water coming in contact with the molten lava, but by dissociation of the vapour of water at the critical point of temperature into its elements of oxygen and hydrogen; the reunion of these elements at the required temperature would also result in explosions.

The phenomena attending this great volcanic eruption, so carefully tabulated and critically examined, will henceforth be referred to as constituting an epoch in the history of volcanic action over the globe, and be of immense value for reference and comparison.

[1] The eruption of Krakatoa has been the subject of an elaborate Report published by the Royal Society, and is also described in a work by Chevalier R. D. M. Verbeek, Ingenieur en Chef des Mines, and published by order of the Governor-General of the Netherland Indies (1886). See also an Article by Sir R. S. Ball in the Contemporary Review for November, 1888.

[2] Verbeek, loc. cit., p. 4.

[3] The account of this eruption is a free translation from Verbeek.

[4] Verbeek, loc. cit., p. 160.

[5] Judd, Rep. R. S.

[6] A fuller account by Prof. Judd will be found in the Report of the Royal Society, p. 14. Several vessels at anchor were driven ashore on the straits owing to the strong wind which arose.

[7] Judd, Report, p. 21.

[8] Report, Part ii.

[9] In this eruption, 36,380 human beings perished, of whom 37 were Europeans; 163 villages (kampoengs) were entirely, and 132 partially, destroyed.—Verbeek, loc. cit., p. 79.

[10] Verbeek, loc. cit., p. 144-5. The dust put a girdle round the earth in thirteen days.

[11] Verbeek, loc. cit., p. 30.



Connection of Earthquakes with Volcanic Action.—The connection between earthquake shocks and volcanic eruptions is now so generally recognised that it is unnecessary to insist upon it here. All volcanic districts over the globe are specially liable to vibrations of the crust; but at the same time it is to be recollected that these movements visit countries occasionally from which volcanoes, either recent or extinct, are absent; in which cases we may consider earthquake shocks to be abortive attempts to originate volcanic action.

(a.) Origin.—From the numerous observations which have been made regarding the nature of these phenomena by Hopkins, Lyell, and others, it seems clearly established that earthquakes have their origin in some sudden impact of gas, steam, or molten matter impelled by gas or steam under high pressure, beneath the solid crust.[1] How such impact originates we need not stop to inquire, as the cause is closely connected with that which produces volcanic eruptions. The effect, however, of such impact is to originate a wave of translation through the crust, travelling outwards from the point, or focus, on the surface immediately over the point of impact.[2] These waves of translation can in some cases be laid down on a map, and are called "isoseismal curves," each curve representing approximately an equal degree of seismal intensity; as shown on the chart of a part of North America affected by the great Charleston earthquake. (Fig. 37.) Mr. Hopkins has shown that the earthquake-wave, when it passes through rocks differing in density and elasticity, changes in some degree not only its velocity, but its direction; being both refracted and reflected in a manner analogous to that of light when it passes from one medium to another of different density.[3] When a shock traverses the crust through a thickness of several miles it will meet with various kinds of rock as well as with fissures and plications of the strata, owing to which its course will be more or less modified.

(b.) Formation of Fissures.—During earthquake movements, fissures may be formed in the crust, and filled with gaseous or melted matter which may not in all cases reach the surface; and, on the principle that volcanoes are safety-valves for regions beyond their immediate influence, we may infer that the earthquake shock, which generally precedes the outburst of a volcano long dormant, finds relief by the eruption which follows; so that whatever may be the extent of the disastrous results of such an eruption, they would be still more disastrous if there had been no such safety-valve as that afforded by a volcanic vent. Thus, probably, owing to the extinction of volcanic activity in Syria, the earthquakes in that region have been peculiarly destructive. For example, on January 1, 1837, the town of Safed west of the Jordan valley was completely destroyed by an earthquake in which most of the inhabitants perished. The great earthquakes of Aleppo in the present century, and of Syria in the middle of the eighteenth, were of exceptional severity. In that of Syria, which took place in 1759, and which was protracted during a period of three months, an area of 10,000 square leagues was affected. Accon, Saphat, Baalbeck, Damascus, Sidon, Tripoli, and other places were almost entirely levelled to the ground; many thousands of human beings lost their lives.[4] Other examples might be cited.

(c.) Earthquake Waves.—We have now to return to the phenomena connected with the transmission of earthquake-waves. The velocity of transmission through the earth is very great, and several attempts have been made to measure this velocity with accuracy. The most valuable of such attempts are those connected with the Charleston and Riviera shocks. Fortunately, owing to the perfection of modern appliances, and the number of observers all over the globe, these results are entitled to great confidence. The phenomena connected with the Charleston earthquake, which took place on the 31st of August, 1886, are described in great detail by Captain Clarence E. Dutton, of the U.S. Ordnance Corps.[5] The conclusions arrived at are;—that as regards the depth of the focal point, this is estimated at twelve miles, with a probable error of less than two miles; while, as regards the rate of travel of the earthquake-wave, the estimate is (in one case) about 3.236 miles per second; and in another about 3.226 miles per second.

On the other hand, in the case of the earthquake of the Riviera, which took place on the 23rd of February, 1887, at 5.30 a.m. (local time), the vibrations of which appear to have extended across the Atlantic, and to have sensibly affected the seismograph in the Government Signal Office at Washington, the rate of travel was calculated at about 500 miles per hour, less than one-half that determined in the case of Charleston; but Captain Dutton claims, and probably with justice, that the results obtained in the latter case are far more reliable than any hitherto arrived at.

(d.) Oceanic Waves.—When the originating impact takes place under the bed of the ocean—either by a sudden up-thrust of the crust to the extent, let us suppose, of two or three feet, or by an explosion from a submarine volcano—a double wave is formed, one travelling through the crust, the other through the ocean; and as the rate of velocity of the former is greatly in excess of that of the latter, the results on their reaching the land are often disastrous in the extreme. It is the ocean-wave, however, which is the more important, and calls for special consideration. If the impact takes place in very deep water, the whole mass of the water is raised in the form of a low dome, sloping equally away in all directions; and it commences to travel outwards as a wave with an advancing crest until it approaches the coast and enters shallow water. The wave then increases in height, and the water in front is drawn in and relatively lowered; so that on reaching a coast with a shelving shore the form of the surface consists of a trough in front followed by an advancing crest. These effects may be observed on a small scale in the case of a steamship advancing up a river, or into a harbour with a narrow channel, but are inappreciable in deep water, or along a precipitous open coast.

(e.) The Earthquake of Lisbon, 1755.—The disastrous results of a submarine earthquake upon the coast have never been more terribly illustrated than in the case of the earthquake of Lisbon which took place on November 1, 1755. The inhabitants had no warning of the coming danger, when a sound like that of thunder was heard underground, and immediately afterwards a violent shock threw down the greater part of their city; this was the land-wave. In the course of about six minutes, sixty thousand persons perished. The sea first retired and left the harbour dry, so forming the trough in front of the crest; immediately after the water rolled in with a lofty crest, some 50 feet above the ordinary level, flooding the harbour and portions of the city bordering the shore. The mountains of Arrabida, Estrella, Julio, Marvan, and Cintra, were impetuously shaken, as it were, from their very foundations; and according to the computation of Humboldt, a portion of the earth's surface four times the extent of Europe felt the effects of this great seismic shock, which extended to the Alps, the shores of the Baltic, the lakes of Scotland, the great lakes of North America, and the West Indian Islands. The velocity of the sea-wave was estimated at about 20 miles per minute.

(f.) Earthquake of Lima and Callao, 28th October, 1746.—Of somewhat similar character was the terrible catastrophe with which the cities of Lima and Callao were visited in the middle of the last century,[6] in which the former city, then one of great magnificence, was overthrown; and Callao was inundated by a sea-wave, in which out of 23 ships of all sizes in the harbour the greater number foundered; several, including a man-of-war, were lifted bodily and stranded, and all the inhabitants with the exception of about two hundred were drowned. A volcano in Lucanas burst forth the same night, and such quantities of water descended from the cone that the whole country was overflowed; and in the mountain near Pataz, called Conversiones de Caxamarquilla, three other volcanoes burst forth, and torrents of water swept down their sides. In the case of these cities, the land-wave, or shock, preceded the sea-wave, which of course only reached the port of Callao.

(g.) Earthquake of Charleston, 31st August, 1886.—I shall close this account of some remarkable earthquakes with a few facts regarding that of Charleston, on the Atlantic seaboard of Carolina.[7] At 9.51 a.m. of this day, the inhabitants engaged in their ordinary occupations were startled by the sound of a distant roar, which speedily deepened in volume so as to resemble the noise of cannon rattling along the road, "spreading into an awful noise, that seemed to pervade at once the troubled earth below and the still air above." At the same time the floors began to heave underfoot, the walls visibly swayed to and fro, and the crash of falling masonry was heard on all sides, while universal terror took possession of the populace, who rushed into the streets, the black portion of the community being the most demonstrative of their terror. Such was the commencement of the earthquake, by which nearly all the houses of Charleston were damaged or destroyed, many of the public buildings seriously injured or partially demolished. The effects were felt all over the States as far as the great lakes of Canada and the borders of the Rocky Mountains. Two epicentral foci appear to have been established; one lying about 15 miles to the N.W. of Charleston, called the Woodstock focus; the other about 14 miles due west of Charleston, called the Rantowles focus; around each of these foci the isoseismic curves concentrated,[8] but in the map (Fig. 37) are combined into the area of one curve. The position of these foci clearly shows that the origin of the Charleston earthquake was not submarine, though occurring within a short distance of the Atlantic border; the curves of equal intensity (isoseismals) are drawn all over the area influenced by the shock.

As a general result of these detailed observations, Captain Dutton states that there is a remarkable coincidence in the phenomena with those indicated by the theory of wave-motion as the proper one for an elastic, nearly homogeneous, solid medium, composed of such materials as we know to constitute the rocks of the outer portions of the earth; but on the other hand he states that nothing has been disclosed which seems to bring us any nearer to the precise nature of the forces which generated the disturbance.[9]

[1] The views of Mr. R. Mallet, briefly stated, are somewhat as follows:—Owing to the secular cooling of the earth, and the consequent lateral crushing of the surface, this crushing from time to time overcomes the resistance; in which case shocks are experienced along the lines of fracture and faulting by which the crust is intersected. These shocks give rise to earthquake waves, and as the crushing of the walls of the fissure developes heat, we have here the vera causa both of volcanic eruptions and earthquake shocks—the former intensified into explosions by access of water through the fissures.—"On the Dynamics of Earthquakes," Trans. Roy. Irish Acad., vol. xxi.

[2] Illustration of the mode of propagation of earthquake shocks will be found in Lyell's Principles of Geology, vol. ii. p. 136, or in the author's Physiography, p. 76, after Hopkins.

[3] "Rep. on Theories of Elevation and Earthquakes," Brit. Ass. Rep. 1847, p. 33. In the map prepared by Prof. J. Milne and Mr. W. K. Burton to show the range of the great earthquake of Japan (1891), similar isoseismal lines are laid down.

[4] Lyell, loc. cit., p. 163. Two Catalogues of Earthquakes have been drawn up by Prof. O'Reilly, and are published in the Trans. Roy. Irish Academy, vol. xxviii. (1884 and 1886).

[5] Ninth Annual Report, U.S. Geological Survey (1888).

[6] A True and Particular Account of the Dreadful Earthquake, 2nd edit. The original published at Lima by command of the Viceroy. London, 1748. Translated from the Spanish.

[7] I take the account from that of Capt. Dutton above cited, p. 220.

[8] Dutton, Report, Plate xxvi., p. 308.

[9] Ibid., p. 211. On the connection between the moon's position and earthquake shocks, see Mr. Richardson's paper on Scottish earthquakes, Trans. Edin. Geol. Soc., vol. vi. p. 194 (1892).





Volcanic phenomena are the outward manifestations of forces deep-seated beneath the crust of the globe; and in seeking for the causes of such phenomena we must be guided by observation of their nature and mode of action. The universality of these phenomena all over the surface of our globe, in past or present times, indicates the existence of a general cause beneath the crust. It is true that there are to be found large tracts from which volcanic rocks (except those of great geological antiquity) are absent, such as Central Russia, the Nubian Desert, and the Central States of North America; but such absence by no means implies the non-existence of the forces which give rise to volcanic action beneath those regions, but only that the forces have not been sufficiently powerful to overcome the resistance offered by the crust over those particular tracts. On the other hand, the similarity of volcanic lavas over wide regions is strong evidence that they are drawn from one continuous magma, consisting of molten matter beneath the solid exterior crust.

(a.) Lines of Volcanic Action.—It has been shown in a previous page that volcanic action of recent or Tertiary times has taken place mainly along certain lines which may be traced on the surface of a map or globe. One of these lines girdles the whole globe, while others lie in certain directions more or less coincident with lines of flexure, plication or faulting. The Isle of Sumatra offers a remarkable example of the coincidence of such lines with those of volcanic vents. Not only the great volcanic cones, but also the smaller ones, are disposed in chains which run parallel to the longitudinal axis of the island (N.W.-S.E.). The sedimentary rocks are bent and faulted in lines parallel to the main axis, and also to the chains of volcanic mountains, and the observation holds good with regard to different geological periods.[1] Another remarkable case is that of the Jordan Valley. Nowhere can the existence of a great fracture and vertical displacement of the strata be more clearly determined than along this remarkable line of depression; and it is one which is also coincident with a zone of earthquake and volcanic disturbances.

(b.) Such Lines generally lie along the Borders of the Ocean.—But even where, from some special cause, actual observation on the relations of the strata are precluded, the general configuration of the ground and the relations of the boundaries between land and sea to those of volcanic chains, evidently point in many cases to their mutual interdependence. The remarkable straightness of the coast of Western America, and of the parallel chain of the Andes, affords presumptive evidence that this line is coincident with a fracture or system of faults, along which the continent has been bodily raised out of the waters of the ocean. Of this elevation within very recent times we have abundant evidence in the existence of raised coral-reefs and oceanic shell-beds at intervals all along the coast; rising in Peru to a level of no less than 3,000 feet above the ocean, as shown by Alexander Agassiz.[2] Such elevations probably occurred at a time when the volcanoes of the Andes were much more active than at present. Considered as a whole, these great volcanic mountains may be regarded as in a dormant, or partially moribund, condition; and if the volcanic forces have to some extent lost their strength, so it would appear have those of elevation.

(c.) Areas of Volcanic Action in the British Isles.—In the case of the British Islands it may be observed that the later Tertiary volcanic districts lie along very ancient depressions, which may indicate zones of weakness in the crust. Thus the Antrim plateau, as originally constituted, lay in the lap of a range of hills formed of crystalline, or Lower Silurian, rocks; while the volcanic isles of the Inner Hebrides were enclosed between the solid range of the Archaean rocks of the Outer Hebrides on the one side, and the Silurian and Archaean ranges of the mainland on the other. And if we go back to the Carboniferous period, we find that the volcanic district of the centre of Scotland was bounded by ranges of solid strata both to the north and south, where the resistance to interior pressure from molten matter would have been greater than in the Carboniferous hollow-ground, where such molten matter has been abundantly extruded. In all these cases, the outflow of molten matter was in a direction somewhat parallel to the plications of the strata.

(d.) Special Conditions under which the Volcanic Action operates.—Assuming, then, that the molten matter, forming an interior magma or shell, is constantly exerting pressure against the inner surface of the solid crust, and can only escape where the crust is too weak (owing to faults, plications, or fissures) to resist the pressure, we have to inquire what are the special conditions under which outbursts of volcanic matter take place, and what are the general results as regards the nature of the ejecta dependent on those conditions.

(e.) Effect of the Presence or Absence of Water.—The two chief conditions determining the nature of volcanic products, considered in the mass, are the presence or absence of water. Such presence or absence does not of course affect the essential chemical composition of the ejecta, but it materially influences the form in which the matter is erupted. The agency of water in volcanic eruptions is a very interesting and important subject in connection with the history of volcanic action, and has been ably treated by Professor Prestwich.[3] At one time it was considered that water was essential to volcanic activity; and the fact that the great majority of volcanic cones are situated in the vicinity of the oceanic waters, or of inland seas, was pointed to in confirmation of this theory. But the existence in Western America and other volcanic countries of fissures of eruption along which molten lava has been extruded without explosions of steam, shows that water is not an essential factor in the production of volcanic phenomena; and, as Professor Prestwich has clearly demonstrated, it is to be regarded as an element in volcanic explosions, rather than as a prime cause of volcanic action. The main difficulty he shows to be thermo-dynamical; and calculating the rate of increase in the elastic force of steam on descending to greater and greater depths and reaching strata of higher and higher temperatures, as compared with the force of capillarity, he comes to the conclusion that water cannot penetrate to depths of more than seven or eight miles, and therefore cannot reach the seat of the eruptive forces. Professor Prestwich also points out that if the extrusion of lava were due to the elastic force of vapour of water there should be a distinct relation between the discharge of the lava and of the vapour; whereas the result of an examination of a number of well-recorded eruptions shows that the two operations are not related, and are, in fact, perfectly independent. Sometimes there has been a large discharge of lava, and little or no escape of steam; at other times there have been paroxysmal explosive eruptions with little discharge of lava. Even in the case of Vesuvius, which is close to the sea, there have been instances when the lava has welled out almost with the tranquillity of a water-spring.

(f.) Access of Surface Water to Molten Lava during Eruptions.—The existence of water during certain stages in eruptions is too frequent a phenomena to be lost sight of; but its presence may be accounted for in other ways, besides proximity to the sea or ocean. Certain volcanic mountains, such as Etna and Vesuvius, are built upon water-bearing strata, receiving their supplies from the rainfall of the surrounding country, or perhaps partly from the sea. In addition to this the ashes and scoriae of the mountain sides are highly porous, and rain or snow can penetrate and settle downwards around the pipe or throat through which molten lava wells up from beneath. In such cases it is easy to understand how, at the commencement of a period of activity, molten lava ascending through one or more fissures, and meeting with water-charged strata or scoriae, will convert the water into steam at high pressure, resulting in explosions more or less violent and prolonged, in proportion to the quantity of water and the depth to which it has penetrated. In this manner we may suppose that ashes, scoriae, and blocks of rock torn from the sides of the crater-throat, and hurled into the air, are piled around the vent, and accumulate into hills or mountains of conical form. After the explosion has exhausted itself, the molten lava quietly wells up and fills the crater, as in the cases of those of Auvergne and Syria, and other places. We may, therefore, adopt the general principle that in volcanic eruptions where water in large quantities is present, we shall have crater-cones built up of ashes, scoriae, and pumice; but where absent, the lava will be extravasated in sheets to greater or less distances without the formation of such cones; or if cones are fanned, they will be composed of solidified lava only, easily distinguishable from crater-cones of the first class.

(g.) Nature of the Interior Reservoir from which Lavas are derived.—We have now to consider the nature of the interior reservoir from which lavas are derived, and the physical conditions necessary for their eruption at the surface.

Without going back to the question of the original condition of our globe, we may safely hold the view that at a very early period of geological history it consisted of a solidified crust at a high temperature, enfolding a globe of molten matter at a still higher temperature. As time went on, and the heat radiated into space from the surface of the globe, while at the same time slowly ascending from the interior by conduction, the crust necessarily contracted, and pressing more and more on the interior molten magma, this latter was forced from time to time to break through the contracting crust along zones of weakness or fissures.

(h.) The Earth's Crust in a State of both Exterior Thrust and of Interior Tension.—As has been shown by Hopkins,[4] and more recently by Mr. Davison,[5] an exterior crust in such a condition must eventually result in being under a state of horizontal thrust towards the exterior and of tension towards the interior surface. For the exterior portion, having cooled down, and consequently contracted to its normal state, will remain rigid up to a certain point of resistance; but the interior portion still continuing to contract, owing to the conduction of the heat towards the exterior, would tend to enter upon a condition of tension, as becoming too small for the interior molten magma; and such a state of tension would tend to produce rupture of the interior part. In this manner fissures would be formed into which the molten matter would enter; and if the fissures happened to extend to the surface, owing to weakness of the crust or flexuring of the strata, or other cause, the molten matter would be extruded either in the form of dykes or volcanic vents. In this way we may account for the numerous dykes of trap by which some volcanic districts are intersected, such as those of the north of Ireland and centre of Scotland.

From the above considerations, it follows that the earth's crust must be in a condition both of pressure (or lateral thrust) towards the exterior portion, and of tension towards the interior, the former condition resulting in faulting and flexuring of the rocks, the latter in the formation of open fissures, through which lava can ascend under high pressure. These operations are of course the attempt of the natural forces to arrive at a condition of equilibrium, which is never attained because the processes are never completed; in other words, radiation and convection of heat are constantly proceeding, giving rise to new forces of thrust and tension.

It now remains for us to consider what may be the condition of the interior molten magma; and in doing so we must be guided to a large extent by considerations regarding the nature of the extruded matter at the surface.

(i.) Relative Densities of Lavas.—Now, observation shows that, as bearing on the subject under consideration, lavas occur mainly under two classes as regards their density. The most dense (or basic) are those in which silica is deficient, but iron is abundant; the least dense (or acid) are those which are rich in silica, but in which iron occurs in small quantity. This division corresponds with that proposed by Bunsen and Durocher[6] for volcanic rocks, upon the results of analyses of a large number of specimens from various districts. Rocks may be thus arranged in groups:

(1) The Basic (Heavier)—poor in silica, rich in iron; containing silica 45-58 per cent. Examples: Basalt, Dolerite, Hornblende rock, Diorite, Diabase, Gabbro, Melaphyre, and Leucite lava.

(2) The Acid (Lighter)—rich in silica, poor in iron; containing silica 62-78 per cent. Examples: Trachyte, Rhyolite, Obsidian, Domite, Felsite, Quartz-porphyry, Granite.

The Andesite group forms a connecting link between the highly acid and the basic groups, and there are many varieties of the above which it is not necessary to enumerate. Durocher supposes that the molten magmas of these various rocks are arranged in concentric shells within the solid crust in order of their respective densities, those of the lighter density, namely the acid magmas, being outside those of greater density, namely the basic; and this is a view which seems not improbable from a consideration not only of the principle itself, but of the succession of the varieties of lava in many districts. Thus we find that acid lavas have been generally extruded first, and basic afterwards—as in the cases of Western America, of Antrim, the Rhine and Central France. And if the interior of our globe had been in a condition of equilibrium from the time of the consolidation of the crust to the present, reason would induce us to conclude that the lavas would ultimately have arranged themselves in accordance with the conditions of density beneath that crust. But the state of equilibrium has been constantly disturbed. Every fresh outburst of volcanic force, and every fresh extrusion of lava, tends to disturb it, and to alter the relations of the interior viscous or molten magmas. Owing to this it happens, as we may suppose, that the order of eruption according to density is sometimes broken, and we find such rocks as granophyre (a variety of andesite) breaking through the plateau-basalts of Mull and Skye, as explained in a former chapter. Notwithstanding such variations, however, the view of Durocher may be considered as the most reasonable we can arrive at on a subject which is confessedly highly conjectural.

(j.) Conclusion as regards the Ultimate Cause of Volcanic Action.—Notwithstanding, however, the complexity of the subject, and the uncertainties which must attend an inquiry where some of the data are outside the range of our observation, sufficient evidence can be adduced to enable us to arrive at a tolerably clear view of the ultimate cause of volcanic action. So tempting a subject was sure to evoke numerous essays, some of great ingenuity, such as that of Mr. Mallet; others of great complexity, such as that of Dr. Daubeny. But more recent consideration and wider observation have tended to lead us to the conclusion that the ultimate cause is the most simple, the most powerful, and the most general which can be suggested; namely, the contraction of the crust due to secular cooling of the more deeply seated parts by conduction and radiation of heat into space. Owing to this cause, the enclosed molten matter is more or less abundantly extruded from time to time along the lines and vents of eruption, so as to accommodate itself to the ever-contracting crust. Nor can we doubt that this process has been going on from the very earliest period of the earth's history, and formerly at a greater rate than at present. When the crust was more highly heated, the radiation and conduction must have been proportionately more rapid. Owing to this cause also the contraction of the crust was accelerated. To such irresistible force we owe the wonderful flexuring, folding, and horizontal overthrusting which the rocks have undergone in some portions of the globe—such as in the Alps, the Highlands of Scotland and of Ireland, and the Alleghannies of America. It is easy to show that the acceleration of the earth's rotation must be a consequence of such contraction; but, after all, this is but one of those compensatory forces of which we see several examples in the world around us. It can also be confidently inferred that at an early period of the earth's history, when the moon was nearer to our planet than at present, the tides were far more powerful, and their effect in retarding the earth's rotation was consequently greater. During this period the acceleration due to contraction was also greater; and the two forces probably very nearly balanced each other. Both these forces (those of acceleration and retardation) have been growing weaker down to the present day, though there appears to have been a slight advantage on the side of the retarding force.[7]

[1] R. D. M. Verbeek, Krakatau, p. 105 (1886); also, J. Milne, The Great Earthquake of Japan, 1891.

[2] Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., vol. iii.

[3] Proc. Roy. Soc., No. 237 (1885); also, Rep. Brit. Assoc. (1881).

[4] Hopkins, supra cit., p. 218.

[5] C. Davison and G. H. Darwin, Phil. Trans., vol. 178, p; 241.

[6] Durocher, Ann. des Mines, vol. ii. (1857).

[7] See on this subject the author's Textbook of Physiography (Deacon and Co., 1888), pp. 56 and 122.



The surface of the moon presented to our view affords such remarkable indications of volcanic phenomena of a special kind, that we are justified in devoting a chapter to their consideration. It is very tantalising that our beautiful satellite only permits us to look at and admire one half of her sphere; but it is not a very far-fetched inference if we feel satisfied that the other half bears a general resemblance to that which is presented to the earth. It is scarcely necessary to inform the reader why it is that we never see but one face; still, for the sake of those who have not thought out the subject I may state that it is because the moon rotates on her axis exactly in the time that she performs a revolution round the earth. If this should not be sufficiently clear, let the reader perform a very simple experiment for himself, which will probably bring conviction to his mind that the explanation here given is correct. Let him place an orange in the centre of a round table, and then let him move round the table from a starting-point sideways, ever keeping his face directed towards the orange; and when he has reached his starting-point, he will find that he has rotated once round while he has performed one revolution round the table. In this case the performer represents the moon and the orange the earth.

Now this connection between the earth and her satellite is sufficiently close to be used as an argument (if not as actual demonstration) that the earth and the moon were originally portions of the same mass, and that during some very early stage in the development of the solar system these bodies parted company, to assume for ever after the relations of planet and satellite. At the epoch referred to, we may also suppose that these two masses of matter were in a highly incandescent, if not even gaseous, state; and we conclude, therefore, that having been once portions of the same mass, they are composed of similar materials. This conclusion is of great importance in enabling us to reason from analogy regarding the origin of the physical features on the moon's surface, and for the purpose of comparison with those which we find on the surface of our globe; because it is evident that, if the composition of the moon were essentially different from that of our earth, we should have no basis whatever for a comparison of their physical features.

When the moon started on her career of revolution round the earth, we may well suppose that her orbit was much smaller than at present. She was influenced by counteracting forces, those of gravitation drawing her towards the centre of gravity of the earth,[1] and the centrifugal force, which in the first instance was the stronger, so that her orbit for a lengthened period gradually increased until the two forces, those of attraction and repulsion, came into a condition of equilibrium, and she now performs her revolution round the earth at a mean distance of 240,000 miles, in an orbit which is only very slightly elliptical.[2] How the period of the moon's rotation is regulated by the earth's attraction on her molten lava-sheets, first at the surface, and now probably below the outer crust, has been graphically shown by Sir Robert Ball,[3] but it cannot be doubted that once the moon was appreciably nearer to our globe than at present. The attraction of her mass produced tides in the ocean of correspondingly greater magnitude, and capable of effecting results, both in eroding the surface and in transporting masses of rock, far beyond the bounds of our every-day experience.

Of all the heavenly bodies, the sun excepted, the moon is the most impressive and beautiful. As we catch her form, rising as a fair crescent in the western sky after sunset, gradually increasing in size and brilliancy night after night till from her circular disk she throws a full flood of light on our world and then passes through her decreasing phases, we recognise her as "the Governor of the night," or in the words of our own poet, when in her crescent phase, "the Diadem of night." Seen through a good binocular glass, her form gains in rotundity; but under an ordinary telescope with a four-inch objective, she appears like a globe of molten gold. Yet all this light is derivative, and is only a small portion of that she receives from the sun. That her surface is a mass of rigid matter destitute of any inherent brilliancy, appears plain enough when we view a portion of her disk through a very large telescope. It was the good fortune of the author to have an opportunity for such a view through one of the largest telescopes in the world. The 27-inch refractor manufactured by Sir Howard Grubb of Dublin, for the Vienna observatory, a few years ago, was turned on a portion of the moon's disk before being finally sent off to its destination; and seen by the aid of such enormous magnifying power, nothing could be more disappointing as regards the appearance of our satellite. The sheen and lustre of the surface was now observed no longer; the mountains and valleys, the circular ridges and hollows were, indeed, wonderfully defined and magnified, but the matter of which they seemed to be constituted resembled nothing so much as the pale plaster of a model. One could thus fully realise the fact that the moon's light is only derivative. Still we must recollect that the most powerful telescope can only bring the surface of the moon to a distance from us of about 250 miles; and it need not be said that objects seen at such a distance on our earth present very deceptive appearances; so that we gain little information regarding the composition of the moon's crust, or exterior surface, simply from observation by the aid of large telescopes.

Reasoning from analogy with our globe, we may infer that the exterior shell of the moon consists of crystalline volcanic matter of the highly silicated, or acid, varieties resting upon another of a denser description, rich in iron, and resembling basalt. This hypothesis is hazarded on the supposition that the composition of the matter of the moon's mass resembles in the main that of our globe. During the process of cooling from a molten condition, the heavier lavas would tend to fall inwards, and allow the lighter to come to the surface, and form the outer shell in both cases. Thus, the outer crust would resemble the trachytic lavas of our globe, and their pale colour would enable the sun's rays to be reflected to a greater extent than if the material were of the blackness of basalt.[4] So much for the material. We have now to consider the structure of the moon's surface, and here we find ourselves treading on less speculative and safer ground. All astronomers since the time of Schroter seem to be of accord in the opinion that the remarkable features of the moon's surface are in some measure of volcanic origin, and we shall presently proceed to consider the character of these forms more in detail.

But first, and as leading up to the discussion of these physical features, we must notice one essential difference between the constitution of the moon and of the earth; namely, the absence of water and of an atmosphere in the case of the moon. The sudden and complete occultation of the stars when the moon's disk passes between them and the place of the observer on the earth's surface, is sufficient evidence of the absence of air; and, as no cloud has ever been noticed to veil even for a moment any part of our satellite's face, we are pretty safe in concluding that there is no water; or at least, if there be any, that it is inappreciable in quantity.[5] Hence we infer that there is no animal or vegetable life on the moon's surface; neither are there oceans, lakes or rivers, snowfields or glaciers, river-valleys or canyons, islands, stratified rocks, nor volcanoes of the kind most prevalent on our own globe.

Now on looking at a photographic picture of the moon's surface (Fig. 38), we observe that there are enormous dark spaces, irregular in outline, but more or less approaching the circular form, surrounded by steep and precipitous declivities, but with sides sloping outwards. These were supposed at one time to be seas; and they retain the name, though it is universally admitted that they contain no water. Some of these hollows are four English miles in depth. The largest of these, situated near the north pole of the moon, is called Mare Imbrium; next to it is Mare Serenitatis; next, Mare Tranquilitatis, with several others.[6] Mare Imbrium is of great depth, and from its floor rise several conical mountains with circular craters, the largest of which, Archimedes, is fifty miles in diameter; its vast smooth interior being divided into seven distinct zones running east and west. There is no central mountain or other obvious internal sign of former volcanic activity, but its irregular wall rises into abrupt towers, and is marked outside by decided terraces.[7]

The Mare Imbrium is bounded along the east by a range of mountains called the Apennines, and towards the north by another range called the Alps; while a third range, that of the Caucasus, strikes northward from the junction of the two former ranges. Several circular or oval craters are situated on, and near to, the crest of these ridges.

But the greater part of the moon's hemisphere is dotted over by almost innumerable circular crater-like hollows; sometimes conspicuously surmounting lofty conical mountains, at other times only sinking below the general outer surface of the lunar sphere. On approaching the margin, these circular hollows appear oval in shape owing to their position on the sphere; and the general aspect of those that are visible leads to the conclusion that there are large numbers of smaller craters too small to be seen by the most powerful telescopes. These cones and craters are the most characteristic objects on the whole of the visible surface, and when highly magnified present very rugged outlines, suggestive of slag, or lava, which has consolidated on cooling, as in the case of most solidified lava-streams on our earth.[8] One of the most remarkable of these crateriform mountains is that named Copernicus, situated in a line with the southern prolongation of the Apennines. Of this mountain Sir R. Ball says: "It is particularly well known through Sir John Herschel's drawing, so beautifully reproduced in the many editions of the Outlines of Astronomy. The region to the west is dotted over with innumerable minute craterlets. It has a central, many-peaked mountain about 2,400 feet in height. There is good reason to believe that the terracing shown in its interior is mainly due to the repeated alternate rise, partial congealation and retreat of a vast sea of lava. At full moon it is surrounded by radiating streaks."[9] The view regarding the structure of Copernicus here expressed is of importance, as it is probably applicable to all the craters of our satellite.

"When the moon is five or six days old," says Sir Robert Ball, "a beautiful group of three craters will be readily found on the boundary line between night and day. These are Catharina, Cyrillus, and Theophilus. Catharina is the most southerly of the group, and is more than 16,000 feet deep and connected to Cyrillus by a wide valley; but between Cyrillus and Theophilus there is no such connection. Indeed Cyrillus looks as if its huge surrounding ramparts, as high as Mont Blanc, had been completely finished when the volcanic forces commenced the formation of Theophilus, the rampart of which encroaches considerably on its older neighbour. Theophilus stands as a well-defined round crater, about 64 miles in diameter, with an internal depth of 14,000 to 18,000 feet, and a beautiful central group of mountains, one-third of that height, on its floor. This proves that the last eruptive efforts in this part of the moon fully equalled in intensity those that had preceded them. Although Theophilus is on the whole the deepest crater we can see in the moon, it has received little or no deformation by secondary eruptions."

But perhaps the most remarkable object on the whole hemisphere of the moon is "the majestic Tycho," which rises from the surface near the south pole, and at a distance of about 1/6th of the diameter of the sphere from its margin. Its depth is stated by Ball to be 17,000 feet, and its diameter 50 miles. But its special distinction amongst the other volcanic craters lies in the streaks of light which radiate from it in all directions for hundreds and even thousands of miles, stretching with superb indifference across vast plains, into the deepest craters, and over the highest opposing ridges. When the sun rises on Tycho these streaks are invisible, but as soon as it has reached a height of 25 deg. to 30 deg. above the horizon, the rays emerge from their obscurity, and gradually increase in brightness until full moon, when they become the most conspicuous objects on her surface. As yet no satisfactory explanation has been given of the origin of these illuminated rays,[10] but I may be permitted to add that their form and mode of occurrence are eminently suggestive of gaseous exhalations from the volcano illumined by the sun's rays; and owing to the absence of an atmosphere, spreading themselves out in all directions and becoming more and more attenuated until they cease to be visible.

The above account will probably suffice to give the reader a general idea of the features and inferential structure of the moon's surface. That she was once a molten mass is inferred from her globular form; but, according to G. F. Chambers, the most delicate measurements indicate no compression at the poles.[11] That her surface has cooled and become rigid is also a necessary inference; though Sir J. Herschel considered that the surface still retains a temperature possibly exceeding that of boiling water.[12] However this may be, it is pretty certain that whatever changes may occur upon her surface are not due to present volcanic action, all evidence of such action being admittedly absent. If, when the earth and moon parted company, their respective temperatures were equal, the moon being so much the smaller of the two would have cooled more rapidly, and the surface may have been covered by a rigid crust when as yet that of the earth may have been molten from heat. Hence the rigidity of the moon's surface may date back to an immensely distant period, but she may still retain a high temperature within this crust. Having arrived at this stage of our narrative, we are in a position to consider by what means, and under what conditions, the cones and craters which diversify the lunar surface have been developed.

In doing so it may be desirable, in the first place, to determine what form of crater on our earth's surface those of the moon do not represent; and we are guided in our inquiry by the consideration of the absence of water on the lunar surface. Now there are large numbers of crateriform mountains on our globe in the formation of which water has played an important, indeed essential, part. As we have already seen, water, though not the ultimate cause of volcanic eruptions, has been the chief agent, when in the form of steam at high pressure, in producing the explosions which accompany these eruptions, and in tearing up and hurling into the air the masses of rock, scoriae, and ashes, which are piled around the vents of eruption in the form of craters during periods of activity. To this class of craters those of Etna, Vesuvius, and Auvergne belong. These mountains and conical hills (the domes excepted) are all built up of accumulations of fragmental material, with occasional sheets and dykes of lava intervening; and where eruptions have taken place in recent times, observation has shown that they are accompanied by outbursts of vast quantities of aqueous vapour, which has been the chief agent (along with various gases) in piling up the circular walls of the crater.

It has also been shown that in many instances these crater-walls have been breached on one side, and that streams of molten lava which once occupied the cup to a greater or less height, have poured down the mountain side. Hence the form or outline of many of these fragmental craters is crescent-shaped. Such breached craters are to be found in all parts of the world, and are not confined to any one district, or even continent, so that they may be considered as characteristic of the class of volcanic crater-cones to which I am now referring. In the case of the moon, however, we fail to observe any decided instances of breached craters, with lava-streams, such as those I have described.[13] In nearly all cases the ramparts appear to extend continuously round the enclosed depression, solid and unbroken; or at least with no large gap occupying a very considerable section of the circumference. (See Fig. 38.) Hence we are led to suspect that there is some essential distinction between the craters on the surface of the moon and the greater number of those on the surface of our earth.

It is scarcely necessary to add that the volcanic mountains of the moon offer no resemblance whatever to the dome-shaped volcanic mountains of our globe. If it were otherwise, the lunar mountains would appear as simple luminous points rising from a dark floor, over which they would cast a conical shadow. But the form of the lunar volcanic mountains is essentially different; as already observed, they consist in general of a circular rampart enclosing a depressed floor, sometimes terraced as in the case of Copernicus, from which rise one or more conical mountains, which are in effect the later vents of eruption.

In our search, therefore, for analogous forms on our own earth, we must leave out the craters and domes of the type furnished by the European volcanoes and their representatives abroad, and have recourse to others of a different type. Is there then, we may ask, any type of volcanic mountain on our globe comparable with those on the moon? In all probability there is.

If the reader will turn to the description of the volcanoes of the Hawaiian group in the Pacific, especially that of Mauna Loa, as given by Professor Dana and others, and compare it with that of Copernicus, he will find that in both cases we have a circular rampart of solid lava enclosing a vast plain of the same material from which rise one or more lava-cones. The interiors in both cases are terraced. So that, allowing for differences in magnitude, it would seem that there is no essential distinction between lunar craters and terrestrial craters of the type of Mauna Loa. Dana calls these Hawaiian volcanoes "basaltic," basalt being the prevalent material of which they are formed. Those of the moon may be composed of similar material, or otherwise; but in either case we may suppose they are built up of lava, erupted from vents connected with the molten reservoirs of the interior. Thus we conclude that they belong to an entirely different type, and have been built up in a different manner, from those represented by Etna, Vesuvius, and most of the extinct volcanoes of Auvergne, the Eifel, and of other districts considered in these pages.

Let us now endeavour to picture to ourselves the stages through which the moon may be supposed to have passed from the time her surface began to consolidate owing to the radiation of her heat into space; for there is every probability that some of the craters now visible on her disk were formed at a very early period of her physical history.

When the surface began to consolidate, it must also have contracted; and the interior molten matter, pressed out by the contracting crust, must have been over and over again extruded through fissures produced over the solidified surface, until the solid crust extended over the whole lunar surface, and became of considerable thickness.

It is from this epoch that, in all probability, we should date the commencement of what may be termed "the volcanic history" of the moon. We must bear in mind that although the moon's surface had become solid, its temperature may have remained high for a very long period. But the continuous radiation of the surface-heat into space would produce continuous contraction, while the convection of the interior heat would tend to increase the thickness of the outer solid shell; and this, ever pressing with increasing force on the interior molten mass, would result in frequent ruptures of the shell, and the extrusion of molten lava rising from below. Hence we may suppose the fissure-eruptions of lava were of frequent occurrence for a lengthened period during the early stage of consolidation of the lunar crust; but afterwards these may be supposed to have given place to eruptions through pipes or vents, resulting in the formation of the circular craters which form such striking and characteristic objects in the physical aspect of our satellite.[14]

It is not to be supposed that the various physical features on the lunar surface have all originated in the same way. The great ranges of mountains previously described may have originated by a process of piling up of immense masses of molten lava extruded from the interior through vents or fissures; while the great hollows (or "seas") are probably due to the falling inwards of large spaces owing to the escape of the interior lava.

But it is with the circular craters that we are most concerned. Judging from analogy with the lava-craters present on our globe, we must suppose them to be due to the extrusion, and piling up, of lava through central pipes, followed in some cases by the subsidence of the floor of the crater. It seems not improbable that it was in this way the greater number of the circular craters lying around Tycho, and dotting so large a space round the margin of the moon, were constructed. (See Fig. 38.) In general they appear to consist of an elevated rim, enclosing a depressed plain, out of which a central cone arises. The rim may be supposed to have been piled up by successive discharges of lava from a central orifice; and after the subsidence of the paroxysm the lava still in a molten condition may have sunk down, forming a seething lake within the vast circular rampart, as in the case of the Hawaiian volcanoes. The terraces observable within the craters in some instances have probably been left by subsequent eruptions which have not attained to the level of preceding ones; and where a central crater-cone is seen to rise within the caldron, we may suppose this to have been built up by a later series of eruptions of lava through the original pipe after the consolidation of the interior sea of lava. The mamelons of the Isle of Bourbon,[15] and some of the lava-cones of Hawaii, appear to offer examples on our earth's surface of these peculiar forms.

Such are the views of the origin of the physical features of our satellite which their form and inferred constitution appear to suggest. They are not offered with any intention of dogmatising on a subject which is admittedly obscure, and regarding which we have by no means all the necessary data for coming to a clear conclusion. All that can be affirmed is, that there is a great deal to be said in support of them, and that they are to some extent in harmony with phenomena within range of observation on the surface of our earth.

The far greater effects of lunar vulcanicity, as compared with those of our globe, may be accounted for to some extent by the consideration that the force of gravity on the surface of the moon is only one-sixth of that on the surface of the earth. Hence the eruptive forces of the interior of our satellite have had less resistance to overcome than in the case of our planet; and the erupted materials have been shot forth to greater distances, and piled up in greater magnitude, than with us. We have also to recollect that the abrading action of water has been absent from the moon; so that, while accumulations of matter had been proceeding throughout a prolonged period over its surface, there was no counteracting agency of denudation at work to modify or lessen the effects of the ruptive forces.

[1] Correctly speaking, each attracts the other towards its centre of gravity with a force proportionate to its mass, and inversely as the square of the distance; but the earth being by much the larger body, its attraction is far greater than that of the moon.

[2] The variation in the distance is only under rare circumstances 40,000 miles, but ordinarily about 13,000 miles.

[3] Story of the Heavens, 2nd edition, p. 525, et seq.

[4] A series of researches made by Zoellner, of Leipzig, led him to assign to the light-reflecting capacity of the full-moon a result intermediate between that obtained by Bouguer, which gave a brightness equal to 1/300000 part of that of the sun, and of Wollaston, which gave 1/801070 part. We may accept 1/618000 of Zoellner as sufficiently close; so that it would require 600,000 full moons to give the same amount of light as that of the sun.

[5] Schroter, however, came to the conclusion that the moon has an atmosphere.

[6] A chart of the moon's surface, with the names of the principal physical features, will be found in Ball's Story of the Heavens, 2nd edit., p. 60. It must be remembered that the moon as seen through a telescope appears in reversed position.

[7] Ibid., p. 66.

[8] As represented by Nasmyth's models in plaster.

[9] Ball, loc. cit., p. 67.

[10] Ball, loc. cit., p. 69.

[11] Astronomy, p. 78.

[12] Outlines of Astronomy, p. 285.

[13] At rare intervals a few crescent-shaped ridges are discernible on the lunar sphere, but it is very doubtful if they are to be regarded as breached craters.

[14] The number of "spots" on the moon was considered to be 244 until Schroter increased it to 6,000, and accurately described many of them. Schroter seems to have been the earliest observer who identified the circular hollows on the moon's surface as volcanic craters.

[15] Drawings of these very curious forms are given by Judd, Volcanoes, p. 127.



The question which we are about to discuss in the concluding chapter of this volume is one to which we ought to be able to offer a definite answer. This can only be arrived at by a comparison of the violence and extent of volcanic and seismic phenomena within the period of history with those of pre-historic periods.

At first sight we might be disposed to give to the question an affirmative reply when we remember the eruptions of the last few years, and add to these the volcanic outbursts and earthquake shocks which history records. The cases of the earthquake and eruption in Japan of November, 1891, where in one province alone two thousand people lost their lives and many thousand houses were levelled[1]; that of Krakatoa, in 1883; of Vesuvius, in 1872; and many others of recent date which might be named, added to those which history records;—the recollection of such cases might lead us to conclude that our epoch is one in which the subterranean volcanic forces had broken out with extraordinary energy over the earth's surface. Still, when we come to examine into the cases of recorded eruptions—especially those of great violence—we find that they are limited to very special districts; and even if we extend our retrospect into the later centuries of our era, we shall find that the exceptionally great eruptions have been confined to certain permanently volcanic regions, such as the chain of the Andes, that of the Aleutian, Kurile, Japanese, and Philippine and Sunda Islands, lying for the most part along the remarkable volcanic girdle of the world to which I have referred in a previous page. Add to these the cases of Iceland and the volcanic islands of the Pacific, and we have almost the whole of the very active volcanoes of the world.

Then for the purposes of our inquiry we have to ascertain how these active vents of eruption compare, as regards the magnitude of their operations, with those of the pre-historic and later Tertiary times. But before entering into this question it maybe observed, in the first place, that a large number of the vents of eruption, even along the chain of the earth's volcanic girdle, are dormant or extinct. This observation applies to many of the great cones and domes of the Andes, including Chimborazo and other colossal mountains in Ecuador, Columbia, Chili, Peru, and Mexico. The region between the eastern Rocky Mountains and the western coast of North America was, as we have seen, one over which volcanic eruptions took place on a vast scale in later Tertiary times; but one in which only the after-effects of volcanic action are at present in operation. We have also seen that the chain of volcanoes of Japan and of the Kurile Islands are only active to a slight extent as compared with former times, and the same observation applies to those of New Zealand. Out of 130 volcanoes in the Japanese islands, only 48 are now believed to be active.

Again, if we turn to other districts we have been considering, we find that in the Indian Peninsula, in Arabia, in Syria and the Holy Land, in Persia, in Abyssinia and Asia Minor—regions where volcanic operations were exhibited on a grand scale throughout the Tertiary period, and in some cases almost down into recent times—we are met by similar evidences either of decaying volcanic energy, or of an energy which, as far as surface phenomena are concerned, is a thing of the past. Lastly, turning our attention to the European area, notwithstanding the still active condition of Etna, Vesuvius, and a few adjoining islands, we see in all directions throughout Southern Italy evidences of volcanic operations of a past time,—such as extinct crater-cones, lakes occupying the craters of former volcanoes, and extensive deposits of tuff or streams of lava—all concurring in giving evidence of a period now past, when vulcanicity was widespread over regions where its presence is now never felt except when some earthquake shock, like that of the Riviera, brings home to our minds the fact that the motive force is still beneath our feet, though under restrained conditions as compared with a former period.

Similar conclusions are applicable with even greater force to other parts of the European area. The region of the Lower Rhine and Moselle, of Hungary and the Carpathians, of Central France, of the North of Ireland and the Inner Hebrides, all afford evidence of volcanic operations at a former period on an extensive scale; and the contrast between the present physically silent and peaceful condition of these regions, as regards any outward manifestations of sub-terrestrial forces, compared with those which were formerly prevalent, cannot fail to impress our minds irresistibly with the idea that volcanic energy has well-nigh exhausted itself over these tracts of the earth's surface.

From this general survey of the present condition of the earth's surface, as regards the volcanic operations going on over it, and a comparison with those of a preceding period, we are driven to the conclusion that, however violent and often disastrous are the volcanic and seismic phenomena of the present day, they are restricted to comparatively narrow limits; and that even within these limits the volcanic forces are less powerful than they were in pre-historic times.

The middle part of the Tertiary period appears, in fact, to have been one of extraordinary volcanic activity, whether we regard the wide area over which this activity manifested itself, or the results as shown by the great amount of the erupted materials. Many of the still active volcanic chains, or groups, probably had their first beginnings at the period referred to; but in the majority of cases the eruptive forces have become dormant or extinct. With the exception of the lavas of the Indian-Peninsular area, which appear, at least partially, to belong to the close of the Cretaceous epoch, the specially volcanic period may be considered to extend from the beginning of the Miocene down to the close of the Pliocene stage. During the Eocene stage, volcanic energy appears to have been to a great degree dormant; but plutonic energy was gathering strength for the great effort of the Miocene epoch, when the volcanic forces broke out with extraordinary violence over Europe, the British Isles, and other regions, and continued to develop throughout the succeeding Pliocene epoch, until the whole globe was surrounded by a girdle of fire.

* * * * *

The reply, therefore, to the question with which we set out is very plain; and is to the effect that the present epoch is one of comparatively low volcanic activity. The further question suggests itself, whether the volcanic phenomena of the middle Tertiary period bear any comparison with those of past geological times. This, though a question of great interest, is one which is far too large to be discussed here; and it is doubtful if we have materials available upon which to base a conclusion. But it may be stated with some confidence, in general terms, that the history of the earth appears to show that, throughout all geological time, our world has been the theatre of intermittent geological activity, periods of rest succeeding those of action; and if we are to draw a conclusion regarding the present and future, it would be that, owing to the lower rate of secular cooling of the crust, volcanic action ought to become less powerful as the world grows older.

[1] Admirably illustrated in Prof. J. Milne's recently published work, The Great Earthquake of Japan, 1891.



The text-books on this subject are so numerous and accessible, that a very brief account of the volcanic rocks is all that need be given here for the purposes of reference by readers not familiar with petrological details.

Let it be observed, in the first place, that there is no hard and fast line between the varieties of igneous and volcanic rocks. In this as in other parts of creation—natura nil facit per saltum; there are gradations from one variety to the other. At the same time a systematic arrangement is not only desirable, but necessary; and the most important basis of arrangement is that founded on the proportion of silica (or quartz) in the various rocks, as first demonstrated by Durocher and Bunsen, who showed that silica plays the same part in the inorganic kingdom that carbon does in the organic. Upon this hypothesis, which is a very useful one to work with, these authors separated all igneous and volcanic rocks into two classes, viz., the Basic and the Acid; the former containing from 45-58 per cent., the latter 62-78 per cent. of that mineral. But there are a few intermediate varieties which serve to bridge over the space between the Basic and Acid Groups. The following is a generalised arrangement of the most important rocks under the above heads:—

Tabular View of Chief Igneous and Volcanic Rocks.


1. Basalt and Dolerite. 2. Gabbro. 3. Diorite. 4. Diabase and Melaphyre. 5. Porphyrite.


6. Syenite. 7. Mica-trap, or Lampophyre. 8. Andesite.


9. Trachyte, Domite, and Phonolite. 10. Rhyolite and Obsidian. 11. Granophyre. 12. Granite.

In the above grouping, and in the following definitions, I have not been able to follow any special authority. But the most serviceable text-books are those of Mr. Frank Rutley, Study of Rocks, and Dr. Hatch, Petrology; also H. Rosenbusch, Mikroskopische Physiographie der Mineralien, and F. Zirkel's Untersuchungen ueber mikroskopische Structur der Basaltgesteine. We shall consider these in the order above indicated:—

1. BASALT.—The most extensively distributed of all volcanic rocks. It is a dense, dark rock of high specific gravity (2.4-2.8), consisting of plagioclase felspar (Labradorite or anorthite), augite, and titano-ferrite (titaniferous magnetite). Olivine is often present; and when abundant the rock is called "olivine-basalt." In the older rocks, basalt has often undergone decomposition into melaphyre; and amongst the metamorphic rocks it has been changed into diorite or hornblende rock; the augite having been converted into hornblende.

When leucite or nepheline replaces plagioclase, the rock becomes a leucite-basalt,[1] or nepheline-basalt. Some basalts have a glass paste, or "ground-mass," in which the minerals are enclosed.

The lava of Vesuvius may be regarded as a variety of basalt in which leucite replaces plagioclase, although this latter mineral is also present. Zirkel calls it "Sanidin-leucitgestein," as both the macroscopic and microscopic structure reveal the presence of leucite, sanidine, plagioclase, nephiline, augite, mica, olivine, apatite, and magnetite.[2]

Dolerite does not differ essentially from basalt in composition or structure, but is a largely crystalline-granular variety, occurring more abundantly than basalt amongst the more ancient rocks, and the different minerals are distinctly visible to the naked eye.

A remarkable variety of this rock occurs at Slieve Gullion in Ireland, in which mica is so abundant as to constitute the rock a "micaceous dolerite."

2. GABBRO.—A rather wide group of volcanic rocks with variable composition. Essentially it is a crystalline-granular compound of plagioclase, generally Labradorite and diallage. Sometimes the pyroxenic mineral becomes hypersthene, giving rise to hypersthene-gabbro; or when hornblende is present, to hornblende-gabbro; when olivine, to olivine-gabbro. Magnetite is always present.

These rocks occur in the Carlingford district in Ireland, in the Lizard district of Cornwall, the Inner Hebrides (Mull, Skye, etc.) of Scotland, and in Saxony.

3. DIORITE.—A crystalline-granular compound of plagioclase and hornblende with magnetite. When quartz is present it becomes (according to the usual British acceptation) a syenite; but this view is gradually giving place to the German definition of syenite, which is a compound of orthoclase and hornblende; and it may be better to denominate the variety as quartz-diorite. The diorites are abundant as sheets and dykes amongst the older palaeozoic and metamorphic rocks, and are sometimes exceedingly rich in magnetite. Mica, epidote, and chlorite are also present as accessories.

The rock occurs in North Wales, Charnwood Forest, Wicklow, Galway, and Donegal, and the Highlands of Scotland. There can be little doubt that amongst the metamorphic rocks of Galway, Mayo, and Donegal the great beds of (often columnar) diorite were originally augitic lavas, which have since undergone transformation.

4. DIABASE.—It is very doubtful if "Diabase" ought to be regarded as a distinct species of igneous rock, as it seems to be simply an altered variety of basalt or dolerite, in which chlorite, a secondary alteration-product, has been developed by the decomposition of the pyroxene or olivine of the original rock. It is a convenient name for use in the field when doubt occurs as to the real nature of an igneous rock. Melaphyre is a name given to the very dark varieties of altered augitic lavas, rich in magnetite and chlorite.

5. PORPHYRITE (or quartzless porphyry).—A basic variety of felstone-porphyry, consisting of a felspathic base with distinct crystals of felspar, with which there may be others of hornblende, mica, or augite. The colour is generally red or purple, and it weathers into red clay, in contrast to the highly acid or silicated felsites which weather into whitish sand.

6. SYENITE.—As stated above, this name has been variously applied. Its derivation is from Syene (Assouan) in Egypt, and the granitic rocks of that district were called "syenites," under the supposition (now known to be erroneous) that they differ from ordinary granites in that they were supposed to be composed of quartz, felspar, and hornblende, instead of quartz, felspar, and mica. From this it arose that syenite was regarded as a variety of granite in which the mica is replaced by hornblende, and this has generally been the British view of the question. But the German definition is applied to an entirely different rock, belonging to the felstone family; and according to this classification syenite consists of a crystalline-granular compound of orthoclase and hornblende, in which quartz may or may not be present. From this it will be seen that, according to Zirkel, syenite is essentially distinct from diorite in the species of its felspar.[3] It seems desirable to adopt the German view; and as regards diorites containing quartz as an accessory, to apply to them the name of quartz-diorite, as stated above, the name syenite as used by British geologists having arisen from a misconception.

7. MICA-TRAP (LAMPOPHYRE).—A rock, allied to the felstone family, in which mica is an abundant and essential constituent, thus consisting of plagioclase and mica, with a little magnetite. Quartz may be an accessory. This rock occurs amongst the Lower Silurian strata of Ireland, Cumberland, and the South of Scotland; it is not volcanic in the ordinary acceptation of that term. The term lampophyre was introduced by Guembel in describing the mica-traps of Fichtelgebirge.

8. ANDESITE.—This is a dark-coloured, compact or vesicular, semi-vitreous group of volcanic rocks, composed essentially of a glassy plagioclase felspar, and a ferro-magnesian constituent enclosed in a glassy base. According to the nature of the ferro-magnesian constituent, the group may be divided into hornblende-andesite, biotite-andesite, and augite-andesite. Quartz is sometimes present, and when this mineral becomes an essential it gives rise to a variety called quartz-andesite or dacite.

These rocks are the principal constituents of the lavas of the Andes, and the name was first applied to them by Leopold von Buch; but their representatives also occur in the British Isles, Germany, and elsewhere. Dacite is the lava of Krakatoa and some of the volcanoes of Japan.

9, 10. TRACHYTE and DOMITE, etc.—These names include very numerous varieties of highly silicated volcanic rock, and in their general form consist of a white felsitic paste with distinct crystals of sanidine, together with plagioclase, augite, biotite, hornblende, and accessories. When crystalline grains or blebs of quartz occur, we have a quartz-trachyte; when tridymite is abundant, as in the trachyte of Co. Antrim, we have "tridymite-trachyte."

The trachytes occupy a position between the pitchstone lavas on the one hand, and the andesites and granophyres on the other.

(b.) Domite is the name applied to the trachytic rocks of the Auvergne district and the Puy de Dome particularly. They do not contain free quartz, though they are highly acid rocks, containing sometimes as much as 68 per cent. of silica.

(c.) Phonolite (Clinkstone) is a trachytic rock, composed essentially of sanidine, nepheline, and augite or hornblende. It is usually of a greenish colour, hard and compact, so as to ring under the hammer; hence the name. The Wolf Rock is composed of phonolite, and it occurs largely in Auvergne.

(d.) Rhyolites are closely connected with the quartz-trachytes, but present a marked fluidal, spherulitic, or perlitic structure. They consist of a trachytic ground-mass in which grains or crystals of quartz and sanidine, with other accessory minerals, are imbedded. They occur amongst the volcanic rocks of the British Isles, Hungary, and the Lipari Islands, from which the name Liparite has been derived.

(e.) Obsidian (Pitchstone).—This is a vitreous, highly acid rock, which has become a volcanic glass in consequence of rapid cooling, distinct minerals not having had time to form. It has a conchoidal fracture, various shades of colour from grey to black; and under the microscope is seen to contain crystallites or microliths, often beautifully arranged in stellate or feathery groups. Spherulitic structure is not infrequent; and occasionally a few crystals of sanidine, augite, or hornblende are to be seen imbedded in the glassy ground-mass. The rock occurs in dykes and veins in the Western Isles of Scotland, in Antrim, and on the borders of the Mourne Mountains, near Newry, in Ireland.

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