Account of Kilauea 1840 eruption, part 1

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Account of Kilauea 1840 eruption, part 1 - Several days before 4he eruption, smoke was...
Several days before 4he eruption, smoke was seen by the natives rising from the direction where the lava afterwards burst out, but it was attributed to brusli on fire. At two o'clock, o'clock, on Sunday, the last day of May, a bright light was seen from Hilo towards the souths w hich, spread with great rapidity, and increased to such an intensity that it was immediately immediately attributed to a volcanic eruption. This the reports of the .natives soon confirmed. confirmed. It was judged to be thirty miles distant, and at night such was tho brilliancy of the light, that the finest print could be easily .read at that distance. This noon-tide brightness, converting night into day, continued for two weeks, and is represented by eye-witnesses, to ha?e been a spectacle of unsurpassed sublimity. It was like the glare of a firmament firmament on fire, and was seen for upwards of a hundred miles, at sea. It also rose and spread itself above the lofty mountain peaks, so as to be distinctly visible on the leeward side of the island, where the wind drove the smoke in dense and massy clouds. The lava continued flowinjr towards the sea, which it reached on Thursday- fhur J ' days irom its first egress. At times it would rush forward with a velocity of four to fivo miles per hour, but for a short distance only, then become very sluggish, and move heavily heavily and slowly on. Its general movement was in immense semi-circular masses, owing to its great consistency. These would roll on, gradually accumulating, until the mass had become too heavy to hold itself together, while the exterior was partially cooled and solidified; then bursting, the liquified interior interior flowing out would join a new stream, and thus aid in forming another. By these accelerated accelerated progressive movements, thevave-like ridges were formed, which are every where observable on the older currents. At times, it forced its way under the circumjacent soil, presenting the singular appearance of earth, rocks and trees in motion like the swell of the ocean. Mr, C. was standing near the stream and watching its progress, when the land beneath him began to rise, and in a few minutes he was ten feet above his companions, companions, who were but a short distance from him. He had barely time to leave this dangerous situation when the earth opened, and lava gushed out. The color of the whole stream was of the deepest crimson. On the windward windward side its heat was not so powerful, but that persons could approach and plunge sticks into tho fiery mass, and draw forth specimens. So great was its viscidity, that large rocks wero seen floating down the current, current, like cork upon water. In one night tho stream spread from a few rods to half a mile in width. The spectacle when this burning mass reached tho sea, must have been awful and sublime in the highest degree. The conflict between the two antagonist powers, fire and water, was on a scale which tho eye of man but seldom witnesses. The heavens were lit up in one intense blaze, while streams of fire like lightning glanced about in every direction. direction. Ashes and sand were thrown to a great height into the air, and descended for miles distant in showers of fiery spray. Vol-

Clipped from
  1. Polynesian,
  2. 29 Aug 1840, Sat,
  3. Page 1

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  • Account of Kilauea 1840 eruption, part 1

    staff_reporter – 21 May 2018

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