Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

There was perceived a noisome stench, that infected the neighbouring air, and which we, at more than three miles' distance, often found of dangerous consequence. The boiling of the waters grew every day considerably greater ; and on Friday, July 16., at sunset, there was perceived, between this new island and the Lesser Cameny, as it were a chain of black rocks, that rose up from a prodigious depth of the sea, to the number of 17 or 18, not very distinct from each other, but seemed as if they would shortly unite together, and join themselves to this new island, as they actually did some few days after. Next day we saw them plainer, and those whose tops we could only see the night before, now appeared extraordinarily large. On Sunday we first perceived smoke to break out, much resembling in thickness and colour that of a burning furnace, and at the same time heard certain murmurings under ground, which seemed to proceed from the centre of this new island, as yet too deep in the sea, to be plainly distinguished.

Whole families went for refuge to the neighbouring islands, and others contented themselves only with changing their habitations, and living in the open country, thinking themselves safer there. In the mean time the rocks above mentioned united together, and seemed already to form another island, distinct from the former. The smoke appeared in greater abundance, and the fire which we so much dreaded at last began to break out about the 19th of July, at first small, but gradually increased. It was no less frightful and amazing than curious, to see every night on the top of this mount that nature had lately formed a vast number, as it were, of burning furnaces, all of a bright flame. One night, at the end of July, about an hour after sunset, as we were observing the different phenomena of this new island, there suddenly appeared in the middle region of the sky a fiery lance, seeming to come from east to west; but disappearing again soon, we could not exactly observe its dimensions. In the mean time the Burnt Island increased prodigiously, and extended itself principally on the south and north sides; the sea also seemed much more disturbed and loaded with sulphur and vitriol: the boiling of the water was more fierce and violent; the smoke thicker, and in greater abundance; and the fire larger and more frightful. But above all, a stench that infected the whole country grew so insupportable, that persons of the strongest constitutions could scarcely breathe in it; others, that were weaker, fell into frequent faintings; and almost every body was seized with vomitings. I could

not then but imagine myself on board some man of war, where, at a general discharge of all the guns, the confused stink of the powder, tar, and stench of the ship, especially in foul weather, often overcomes the strongest seamen. Just such a nauseous stench we were forced to breathe in, without being able anywise to avoid it, or defend ourselves from it. This ill scent was very mischievous, it spoiled most of the vines; and a great smoke that rose out of the midst of this new island like a mountain, uniting to a thick fog, that commonly hangs over Santerini when the wind is at south, burnt and destroyed, in the beginning of August, in less than three hours' time, all the fruit that was ripe and ready to be gathered, especially in such vineyards as lay most exposed to the south.

Every night nature represented a great variety of scenes as the fire broke forth in different forms; sometimes burning ashes spread themselves in the air, like a plume of feathers, which falling again on the shoal, made it appear all of a light fire. At other times one would think it was the discharging of so many mortar-pieces, which threw up rocks, like so many bombs, capable of destroying the largest ships ; though for the most part these stones were of a middle size, but in such quantities, that I often saw this little island all covered with them, and so pleasantly illuminated, that one would never be weary of looking on it.

These dreadful discharges were less frequent at the end of August, but increased in September, were daily in October, and at this time (November 20.) are almost incessant; the island being now at least three miles in circumference, and from 35 to 40 feet in heighta It is true, the noise is not so

the stones, that are cast up, are not so large nor so many; the boiling and disorder of the water is much abated; the sea begins to recover its former colour; the stench, that was before insupportable, has been very little for these six weeks. Yet the smoke grows every day thicker, blacker, and in greater abundance; the fire is more than ever, and seems sometimes to strike the very sky; the subterraneous noise is continual, and so violent that it cannot be distinguished from thunder ; dust and ashes fall daily on this our island. In short, our new island grows every day more curious, more dreadful, and less accessible, and is continually increasing on the south-west side.

loud ;

Concerning a Colliery that was blown up near Newcastle.

By the Rev. Dr. ARTHUR CHARLETT. -[1708.] On Wednesday, the 18th day of August, 1708, at Fatfield, in the parish of Chester-le-street, about three o'clock in the morning, by the sudden eruption of a violent fire, which discharged itself at the mouths of three pits, with as great a noise as the firing of cannon, or the loudest claps of thunder, 69 persons were destroyed in an instant. Three of them, viz. two men and a woman, were blown quite up from the bottom of the shaft, 57 fathom deep, into the air, to a considerable distance from the mouth of the pit; one of the men with his head almost off, and the woman with her bowels hanging about her heels. The machine by which the coals were drawn

up, and is of a great weight, was blown off by the force of the blast; and what is more wonderful, the fish which were in the rivulet, that runs 20 yards under the level, and at as great a distance from the mouth of one of the pits, were in great numbers taken up dead, floating on the water, by several of the inhabitants.

Concerning the Icy Mountains of Switzerland. By WILLIAM

Burnet, Esq.--[1709.] I went to the Grindlewald, a mountain two days' journey from Bern, where I saw, between two mountains, a river of ice as it were, which divides into two branches, and in its way, from the top to the bottom of the mountains, swells into vast heaps, some larger than St. Paul's church; the original of which seems to have been this : the tops of these mountains are covered all the year with snow ; this snow melts in the summer, and falls to the bottom, where the sun never reaches ; there it is frozen, which

happens more easily to melted snow than common water. Thus every year it has increased, till it has reached the very top. The reason why the water has always frozen, though the sun shines on the middle of the mountain, and higher, some part of the day, is that the melted water goes under the ice already formed, and there freezes, and so expanding itself raises the ice above it, and sometimes makes it crack so as to frighten the whole neighbourhood. And the reason plainly appears, because the upper surface being solid, cannot be dilated without making great chinks, and that with a terrible noise. They told me, on the place, that every seven years the mountain increases, and the next seven it decreases; but I doubt their observation is not exact. If there be any foundation for it, it seems to be, that in the hottest summers it increases, and in the more moderate ones it decreases, there being then less melted

snow.

Experiments on Metals, made with the Burning-Glass of the Duke of Orleans. By Mons. GEOFFROY, F.R.S.--[1709.]

This burning-glass is three feet in diameter, and it collects the rays

of the sun at 10 feet distance, where it forms a focus of about three inches diameter, which is again contracted, by means of another glass lens, to an inch diameter, and consequently is rendered nine times as strong.

The experiments on iron were the following :- I placed in the focus of the burning-glass a piece of forged iron, of about a drachm weight; it became red-hot, and its surface was covered with a black matter, like pitch or tar.

On with drawing the iron out of the focus in this state, this matter fixes itself on the surface of the metal, and there forms a small skin, or very fine blackish scale, which is easily separated by striking upon it ; and that part of the iron that was covered with this scale appears blacker than ordinary. This scale is some of the sulphureous part of the iron, which rises to the surface of the metal when ready to melt, and there remains for some time, before it exhales. It is plainly this sulphureous part that rises upon iron, and polished steel, when heated, and gives them all those different colours, from a yellow to a violet, a water colour, or a black. By continuing to hold this piece of iron on the charcoal, it entirely melts, and at the same time emits very bright sparks in great quantities, sometimes to more than a foot distance from the coal.

By saving what flies off during this sparkling, by holding a sheet of paper under the coal, we find that they are so many very small globules of iron, and the greatest part of them hollow. All the iron, that is held in fusion on the coal, flies away in sparkles after this

manner, till none remains. The result of these experiments is, that the four metals, which we call imperfect, viz. iron, copper, tin, and lead, are composed of a sulphur or oily substance, and of a metallic earth capable of vitrification: that from this sulphur proceeds the opacity, brightness, and malleability of a metal : that this metallic sulphur does not appear at all different from the oil of vegetables or of animals : that it is the same in mercury as in the four imperfect metals : that these four metals have for their basis an earth susceptible of vitrification : that this earth is different in every one of these four metals, as it vitrifies differently in each of them; and that on this difference in vitrifying depends the difference of metals.

Microscopical Observations on the Particles of Crystallised

Sugar. By M. LEUWENHOEK, F.R.S. - [1710.) The particles of sugar-candy consist of two broad and two narrow sides ; and the others, i. e. the top and bottom, run into a sharp point, like the figure of a wedge or chisel. The following are some figures of them. The engraving represents a small bit of sugarcandy.

For my further satisfaction concerning sugar-candy, and its coagulation in syrup, took some powdered sugar, and dissolved it in water, and then boiled it until I supposed all the water was evaporated; after which I placed it on several glasses, to observe the coagulation of its small particles. Some days after I observed a great many complete figures, which lay coagulated in several shapes, but all of them as clear and transparent as crystal, forming a pleasant sight: but I expected to have found them all of one and the same shape, and that they would have appeared like the above; but when viewed with a microscope, some of them appeared like this engraving.

I likewise saw a few coagulated sugar particles, that appeared in complete quadrilateral figures one of which is represented, and was as clear and transparent as any diamond. These particles were not larger than a small grain of sand. In the middle of them was a very clear particle, of the same figure with the whole body; from whence it appears, that the said whole body was much smaller at its

coagulation, but increased continually by new accessions of matter round about it; and that in proportion to the number of perimeters, the body increased in size from time to time.

These particles preserved their complete forms and crystalline appearances as long as it was dry weather;

but when it happened to be moist or rainy, we observed moisture about the particles of the sugar, which in dry weather evaporated again ; and then there

[graphic]
[graphic]
« ZurückWeiter »