THE BREAKDOWN IN 1894.
For about two years the liquid had been accumulating, till finally it filled the pit and oozed forth from the highest part of the immense column. The borders of the fused lava cooled more quickly than the interior ; whence it resulted that the refrigerated mass accumulated around the edges of the pool and kept increasing till a basin was formed, very much like the bowls in the Yellowstone Park that accumulate from the cooling of the lime compounds in the water except that the refrigerated mass was outside of the basin ; and the shape pro duced might be likened to an inverted saucer. The Frontispiece shows this lake when at its best development, and Plate 42 is a view of the edge of the same at the south end taken from below.
This eruption marks a climax in the history of the volcano, representing the highest elevation attained by any lava lake in Halemaumau, two hundred and eighty-five feet below the Vol cano House, or 3,755 feet above the sea. Pele may excel this record in the future ; and in that case she will probably send a burning stream into Kau, for the barrier to be overcome there is only about fifteen feet.
In the early part of July Mr. L. A. Thurston and party wit nessed this unprecedented series of changes. The account of it was spread upon the Volcano House record and sent to the P. C. Advertiser from which the following notes are compiled : "Upon arriving at the volcano on July 5, 1894, the principal change since Mr. Dodge's visit was found to be the sudden rising of the north bank of the lake, covering an area of about eight hundred feet long by four hundred wide, which, on the 21st of March last was suddenly and without warning elevated to a height of eighty feet above the other banks and the sur face of the lava, the lake being then full. The raised area was much shattered. Two blow-holes shortly afterward made their appearance on the outer line of the fracture. April 18th the hill thus formed began to sink, and on July 5th was only about thirty feet above the other walls of the lake. On the evening of July 6th, a party of tourists found the lake in a state of moderate activity, the surface of the lava being about twelve feet below the banks.
"On Saturday, the 7th, the surface of the lake raised so that the entire lake was visible from the Volcano House. That night it overflowed into the main crater, and a blow-hole was thrown up, some two hundred yards outside and to the north of the lake, from which a flow issued. There were two other hot cones in the immediate vicinity which had been thrown up about three weeks before. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday following [8, 9, io], the surface of the lake rose and fell several times, from full to the brim to fifteen feet below the edge of the banks.
"On the morning of the 11th the hill was found to have sunk down to the level of the other banks, and frequent columns of rising dust indicated that the banks were falling in. At 9:45 A. M., at which hour a party reached the lake, a red hot crack from three to six feet wide was found surrounding the space recently occupied by the hill ; the hill was nearly level ; the lake had fallen some fifty feet, and the wall of the lake formed by the hill was falling in at intervals.
"The lava in the lake continued to fall steadily, at the rate of about twenty feet an hour from ten o'clock in the morning, until eight in the evening. At II A. M. the area formerly occu pied by the hill, began to sink bodily, leaving a clean line of fracture ; the line of this area was continuously leaning over and falling into the lake. From about noon until eight in the evening there was scarcely a moment when the crash of the falling banks was not going on. As the level of the lab e sank, the greater height of the banks caused a constantly increasing commotion in the lake as the banks struck the surface of the molten lava in their fall. A number of times a section of the bank from two hundred to five hundred feet long, one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet high, and twenty to thirty feet thick, would split off from the adjoining rocks, and with a tremendous roar, amid a blinding cloud of steam, smoke and dust, fall with an appalling down plunge into the boiling lake, causing great waves and breakers of fire to dash into the air, and a mighty 'ground swell' to sweep across the lake dashing against the opposite cliffs like storm waves upon a lee shore. Most of the falling racks were immediately swallowed up by the lake, but when one of the great downfalls referred to occurred, it would not immediately sink, but would float off across the lake, a great floating island of rock. At about three o'clock an island of this character was formed, estimated to be one hundred and twenty-five feet long, twenty-five feet wide and rising ten to fifteen feet above the surface of the lake. Shortly after, another great fall took place, the rock plunging out of sight beneath the fiery waves. Within a few minutes, however, a portion of it, approximately thirty feet in diameter, rose up to an elevation of from five to ten feet above the sur face of the lake, the molten lava streaming off its surface, quickly cooling and looking like a great rose colored robe, changing to black. These two islands, in the course of an hour, floated out to the center, and then to the opposite bank. At eight in the evening they had changed their appearance but slightly. By the next morning they had, however, disappeared.