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Sydney Tyler.

San Francisco's great disaster; a full account of the recent terrible destruction of life and property by earthquake, fire and volcano in California and at Vesuvius .. online

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projected aloft into the clouds. There was no wind to
carry this dust away, and, as the atmosphere thus became
heavily charged with the suspended particles, a pall of
darkness enveloped Krakatoa, and hung over the adjoin-
ing seas and islands. For a hundred miles around the
darkness of midnight prevailed at midday. Then came the
final tragedy.

On the night of Sunday, August 26, there occurred
an explosion that shook the world for hundreds of miles
around. There followed a rain of grey, soft ashes. Then
at the hour when there should have been dawn, but every-
thing was darkness, a great wave leapt from the sea and
dashed itself on the island. The fleeing natives flung them-
selves upon the hills, with the water hard behind them.
But the surging waters caught them, and drew them back.
When the resurge came, the land was stripped clean of
living timber and of living beings. In this disaster over
fifty thousand people perished, and few of the bodies were
ever recovered.

JAPAN^1888.

Japan has been the scene of many disastrous earth-
quakes. On the morning of July, 15, 1888, in the province
of Tukushima, about one hundred and sixty-five miles
north of Tokio, a low rumbling was heard like the sound
of distant thunder. Then the earth was heaved up and
began to tremble violently, the ground undulating like
water shaking in a bowl. From the peak of Bandaisun
The green earth below was speedily covered by a winding
sheet of volcanic mud, heavy rocks, hot water, burning sul-
phur, red-hot sand, and glowing ashes. Under this mass.



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424 SAN FRANCISdo's GREAT DISASTER.

varying in thickness from seven to twenty feet, were hidden
six hundred men, women and children, dead at once or
writhing in their last agonies. Among those that perished
there shot up into the air a huge mass of red volcanic
mud, mixed with fire and rocks, smoke and sulphur fumes,
were no fewer than 150 visitors to the medicinal hot springs
that had long made the place famous.

QUATEMALA^1902.

On April 18, 1902, by an earthquake shock that lasted
only 90 seconds, the entire city of Quezaltenayo, in Guate-
mala, Central America, was crumbled into ruins, thousands
of its inhabitants were killed and other thousands maimed
and crippled. The population of the city was mainly
Indians, of a high grade of civilization. The disaster was
preceded by a great storm. The thunder roared and
crashed from i>eak to peak, continuous flashes of lightning
played over the doomed city, the electric lighting plant
collapsed, and the blackness of the fearsome night was
broken only by the electricity of heaven. Then came the
short, sharp unheaval, the crash and ripping of falling
buildings, the screams of the wounded and the dying, and
thereafter terror stricken crowds groping and staggering
through the dark, trampling each other to death in the
frenzy of their fear. The survivors sought safety on the
open plain outside the town.

MARTINIQUEвАФ 1902.

The Guatemalan earthquake was the precursor of the
still more disastrous catastrophe on the island of Marti-
nique a few weeks later. On the 8th of May Mount
Pelee suddenly poured forth flames, ashes and deadly gases,
which swept down the cafion with a tremendous velocity
toward the Caribbean Sea, and in less than three minutes
destroyed the beautiful city of Saint Pierre, together with
more than forty thousand human beings. Not a dozen
escaped from the place to tell the tale.



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Online LibrarySydney TylerSan Francisco's great disaster; a full account of the recent terrible destruction of life and property by earthquake, fire and volcano in California and at Vesuvius .. → online text (page 25 of 25)