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· and that the water had at that but in the two under consideramoment found a more convenient tion. passage. Having left our horses, To form a theory of this regular we went directly to the place alternation is no easy matter; and where this had apparently hap- it seems to require a kind of mepened; but we had scarcely chanism very different from the reached the spot, when this new jet simple apparatus usually employed disappeared, and the one we had by nature in ordinary intermittent seen before was renewed. We ob. or spouting springs. The prime served that there were two irregu- mover in this case is evidently lar holes in the rock within a yard steam, an agent sufficiently powerof each other; and while from ful for the phænomena. The two one, a jet proceeded to the height orifices are manifestly connected ; of twelve or fourteen feet, the for, as the one jet sinks towards other was full of boiling water. the surface, the other rises ; and We had scarcely made this obser- this in a regular and uniform manvation, when the first jet began ner. I observed once, that when to subside, and the water in the one of the jets was sinking, and other hole to rise; and as soon as the other beginning to rise, the the first had entirely sunk down, first rose again a little before it the other attained its greatest had quite sunk down ; and when height, which was about five feet. this happened, the other ceased to In this extraordinary manner, make any efforts to rise, and rethese two jets played alternately. turned to its former state, till the The smallest and highest jet con- first again sunk, when the second tinued about four minutes and a rose and played as usual. This half, and the other about three communication must be formed in minutes. We remained admiring such a manner, that it is never this very remarkable phænomenon complete, but alternately interfor a considerable time, during rupted, first on one side, and then which we saw many alternations of on another. To effect this withthe jets, which happened regu- out the intervention of valves larly at the intervals already men- seems to be impossible; and yet it tioned.
is difficult to conceive the natural I have taken the liberty to give formation of a set of permanent a name to this spring, and to call valves ; so that this fountain beit, the “ Alternating Geyser.' comes one of the greatest curiosi
These springs have been for- ties ever presented by nature, even merly observed, though the singu- though, in attempting to explain larity of the alternations does not the appearances it exhibits, we seem to have been attended to as take every advantage that maany thing remarkable. Olafson chinery can give us.
If it is occaand Paulson mention, that the sioned by natural valves, these jets appear and disappear succes- must be of very durable masively in the second, third, and terials, in order to withstand confourth openings. We observed tinual agitation and consequent no cessation in any of the springs attrition. VOL. LIII.
ACCOUNT OF THE GEYSERS. By water, very much resembling the Sir G. Mackenzie.
capital of a Gothic column. We
were so rapacious here, that I beWe were occupied this morning lieve we did not leave a single in examining the environs of the specimen which we could reach ; Geysers: and at every step re- and even scalded our fingers in ceived some new gratification. our eagerness to obtain them. We Following the channel which has found the process of petrifaction been formed by the water escap- in all its stages; and procured ing from the great bason during some specimens in which the grass the eruptions, we found some was yet alive and fresh, while the beautiful and delicate petrifac- deposition of the silicious matter tions. The leaves of birch and was going on around it. These willow were seen converted into were found in places at a little white stone, and in the most per- distance from the cavity, where fect state of preservation ; every the water running from it had be. minute fibre being entire. Grass come cold. and rushesjwere in the same state, About a hundred yards from and also masses of peat. In order the Great Geyser towards the to preserve specimens so rare and nortlı, in the cleft where the diselegant, we brought away large ruption already mentioned had masses, and broke them up after taken place, and which has próour return to Britain ; by which bably been formed by an earthmeans we have formed very rich quake, are banks of clay, in which collections'; though many fine there are several small basons full specimens were destroyed in car- of boiling mud. The mud is thin, rying them to Reikiavik. On the and tastes strongly of sulphate of outside of the mount of the alumina, of which we observed Geyser, the depositions, owing to many films attached to the clay, the splashing of the water, are which seems to have been forced rough, and have been justly com. up from below, through fissures in pared to the heads of cauliflowers. the ancient incrustations. The They are of a yellowish brown clay contains also iron pyrites; the colour, and are arranged round decomposition of which has given the mount somewhat like a circu- it very rich colours. Almost dilar flight of steps. The inside of rectly above this place, under the the bason is comparatively smooth; rock at the top of the hill, are seand the matter forming it is more veral orifices, from which steam conipact and dense than the exte- rushes; and there are some slight rior crust; and when polished, appearances of sulphur. Almost is not devoid of beauty, being of the whole of this side of the hill is a grey colour, mottled with black composed of incrustationsand clay. and white spots and streaks. The The depositions of the present white incrustation formed by the and former springs are visible to a water of the beautiful cavity be- great exteni, about half a mile in fore described, had taken a very every direction; and, from their
; curious form at the edge of the great thickness in many places, it
is probable that they are spread sure subsistence was to be derived under the surface now covered from the sea. The indifferent and with grass and water, to a very * casual manner in which the Geyconsiderable distance. About half sers are mentioned by Arngrim a mile up the rivulet, in the direc- Jonas, shows this want of curiosity tion of Haukardal, where there is even among the learned of the a church, another hot spring ap- Icelanders. He speaks of some pears, which deposits silicious great springs near Haukardal, to matter. From thence we obtained the north of Skalholt, which he one of the most curious specimens had never himself seen, but of we collected; it almost perfectly which he had heard that they deresembles opal. I mention the posited incrustations, and changed situation of this spring to show vegetable matter into stone. At the probability that the extent of the present day, the number of the the matter, which may for ages natives who have visited these have been collecting, is very springs is comparatively, very great ; and its depth, from what small; and, by those who live is seen in the cleft near the Gey- near them, their extraordinary ser, where it is visible to the operations constantly going on,. thickness of ten or twelve feet, is are regarded with the same eye as probably also very considerable, the most common and indifferent
It is somewhat curious, that no appearances of nature. Towards particular notice has been taken the north-east, and east, the counby the early Icelandic authors of try is low; the only elevated this, the most remarkable spot in ground that appears towards the all the island. Though hot springs south-east being the suminits are without number, and occur in of Hekla, and Eyafialla Jokul. every part of the country, and may Several Jokuls break the view be regarded with indifference, yet towards the north; and we rethe Geysers must have been re- marked one mountain which had markable at all times; for the ex- several rugged and peaked summits tent of the old incrustations shows soaring to a great elevation. them to have been deposited by However strongly the feelings springs of no ordinary dimensions. excited by the productions of the They are, it is true, on the verge springs, and by the appearance of of that vast district of uninhabited the surrounding country, were im. and desolate country which forms pressed upon us, we often turned the interior of Iceland. In look- anxiously towards the Geysers, ing around as we approached the longing for a repetition of their place, nothing was seen but rugged wonderful operations. To them mountains, far extended swamps, all our wishes and hopes were di. and frightful Jokuls rearing their rected ; and we felt as if our eyes frozen summits to the sky. No. could never tire of beholding, nor thing in this direction seemed to our minds weary of contemplating invite the curiosity or enterprize them. The descriptions we had of people already accustomed to read, and the ideas we had formed the horrors of volcanic eruptions, of their grandeur, were all lost in and fully aware that their only the amazement excited on their
being actually before us; and, with our clothes on, separated though I may perhaps raise their from the ground by sheep-skins. attributes in the estimation of the and a rug, in order that we might reader, I am satisfied that I cannot start up at a moment's notice. convey the slightest idea of the Mr. Feil and Mr. Floed had left mingled raptures of wonder, admi- us to return at Reikiavik; and we ration, and terror, with which our had soon cause to regret that they breasts were filled ; nor do I fear had departed before the next erupthat any conception which may tion of the Great Geyser took arise of the astonishing effect of place. On lying down, we could the Geysers, will leave the travel- not sleep more than a minute or ler disappointed, who trusts him. two at a time; our anxiety causing self to the tempestuous ocean,
and us often to raise our heads to braves fatigue, in order to visit listen. At last the joyful sound what must be reckoned among the struck my ears; and I started up greatest wonders of the world. with a shout, at the same moment
After yielding a little to impa- when our guides who were sleeptience, we were gratified by symp. ing in their Iceland tent at a short toms of commotion in the Great distance opposite to us, jumped Geyser. At three minutes before up in their shirts, and hallooed to two o'clock we again heard sub- In an instant we were within terraneous discharges, and the sight of the Geyser ; the diswater flowed over the edge of the charges continuing, being more bason ; but no jet took place. The frequent and louder than before, same happened at twenty-five and resembling the distant firing minutes past five o'clock, and at of artillery from a ship at sea. five minutes before seven, At This happened at half past eleven thirty-five-ininutes past eight, it o'clock; at which time, though boiled over again, and immediately the sky was cloudy, the light was the new Geyserbegan to play, and more than sufficient for showing continued till a quarter past nine. the Geyser'; but it was of that deThis Geyser gives no warning be- gree of faintness which rendered fore it spouts, and it is therefore agloomy country stillmore dismal. necessary to be cautious in looking Such a midnight scene as was now down the pipe, unless it is known before us, can seldom bewitnessed. what time has elapsed since the Here description fails altogether. preceding jet. While the spray The Geyser did not disappoint us, and vapour are rushing out, one and seemed as if it was exerting may approach with perfect safety, itself to exhibit all its glory on the and stand quite close to the very eve of our departure. It raged fubrink of the pipe on the windward riously, and threw up a succession side. The pipe is nine feet in of magnificent jets, the highest of diameter, not perfectly round, and which was at least ninety feet. rough and uneven within.
At this time I took the sketch Having been busily engaged in from which the engraving is made; packing our specimens, and being but no drawing, no engraving, can somewhat tired, we went to sleep possibly convey any idea of the a little earlier than usual. We lay noise and velocity of the jets, nor
of the swift rolling of the clouds of sketch of this beautiful Geyser. A vapour, which werehurled, oneover light shower fell from the vapour, another, with amazing rapidity. which has been attempted to be
After this great exertion the expressed ; but the imitation is water, as before, sunk into the
very far short of the fine effect it pipe, leaving the bason empty. At produced. Sir John Stanley saw seven minutes before seven o'clock it throw up water to the height of on Sunday morning, the Geyser one hundred and thirty-two feet. boiled over ; and again at twenty When stones are dropped into the minutes past nine; and this was pipe while the steam is rushing the last time we saw it in motion. out, they are immediately thrown
At thirty-twominutes past nine, up, and are commonly broken into the new Geyser began its opera- fragments, some of which are protions by throwing the water out jected to an astonishing height. of the pipe at three or four short This Geyser, we were told, had jets, and then some longer ones. formerly been a comparatively inAs soon as the bulk of the water significant spring, like many which was thrown out, the steam rushed we saw around. There is no bason up with amazing force, and a loud round the pipe, but there are some thundering noise, tossing the water remains of incrustations on its frequently to a height of at least brink, similar to those round seventy feet. So very great was several of the smaller springs. the force of the steam, that al- The water constantly boils viothough a brisk gale of wind was lently, about twenty feet below blowing against it, the column of the mouth of the pipe: but no vapour remained as perpendicular subterraneous discharges take as it is represented in the engrav- place to announce its operations ; ing. It proceeded in this mag- and this circumstances seems to nificent play for more than half an render a different theory from that hour, during which time I had an of the great Geyser, necessary
I opportunity of taking a correct for explaining the phenomena.