THE MARTINIQUE ERUPTION.

THE MARTINIQUE ERUPTION.

Professor R. T. Hill, United States Government geologist, who was emnloyed by the National Geographical Society to investigate the causes and accompaniments of the eruption of Mont Pelee, has briefly reported on the subject. Up to the time of his visit no one had ventured to set foot in that area of craters, fissures, and fumaroles, which, independently of his high rank as a scientist, makes his report all the more valuable. He says that the zone of the cataslrophe forms an elongated oval, partly over the sea. containing, on land, about eight square miles of destruction. The land part is bounded by lines running from Le Precheur to the peak of Mont Pelee, thence curving round to Carbet. There were three well marked zones in the devastated region. One in which was situated the great northern part of St. Pierre, was a centre of annihilation of all life, animal and vegetable; another, of singeing, blistering flame, destructive to all animal life, burning the leaves on the trees and scorching, but not destroying the trees themselves; the third, a wide nondescript zone of ashes, wherein some vegetation was injured. The form of annihilation was the new crater, midway between the sea and the peak of Mont Pelee, where now exists a new area of active vulcanism, with hundreds of fumaroles or miniature volcanoes. The new crater is now vomiting black, hot mud, which is falling into the sea. Both craters, the old and new, are active. Mushroom-shaped steam explosions constantly ascend from the old crater, while heavy ash-laden clouds float horizontally from the new crater. The old crater ejects steam, smoke, mud, pumice, and lapilli, but no molten lava. The salient topography of the region is unaltered. The destruction of St. Pierre was due to the new crater. The explosion had great superficial force, acting in radial directions, as is evidenced by the dismounting and carrying for yards the guns in the battery on the hill south of St. Pierre, and the colonial statue of the Virgin in the same locality, and also by the condition of the ruined houses in St. Pierre. According to the testimony of some persons, there was an accompanying flame. Others think the incandescent cinders and the force of their ejection were sufficient to cause the destruction. This must be investigated.

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