VISIT OF HIRAM BINGHAM.
Rev. Hiram Bingham spent thirty hours at the volcano October zoth and 21st, 183o. He represented the altitude to be 4,00o feet, ten thousand below Mauna Loa. Six hundred feet below the rim "stretched around horizontally a vast amphitheater gallery of black indurated lava," on which a hundred thousand people might stand. The lake of fire was one thousand feet deep. "The fiercely whizzing sound of gas and steam, rushing with varying force through obstructed apertures in blowing cones, or cooling crusts of lava, the laboring, wheezing struggling, as of a living mountain, breathing fire and smoke and sulphurous gas from his lurid nostrils, tossing up molten rocks or detached portions of fluid lava ,and breaking up vast indurated masses with varied detonations, all impressively filled us with awe.
"The great extent of the surface of the lava lake ; the numer ous places on it where the fiery element was displaying itself, the conical mouths here and there, discharging glowing lava over flowing and spreading its waves around, or belched out in de tached and molten masses that were shot forth with detonations, perhaps by the force of gases struggling through from below the surface, while the vast column of vapor and smoke ascended up toward heaven ,and the coruscations of the emitted brilliant lava illuminated the clouds that passed over the terrific gulf, all pre sented by night a splendid and sublime panorama of volcanic ac tion, probably nowhere else surpassed."
He descended from the northeast side to the black ledge, and to the lava lake, which "presented cones, mounds, plains, vast bridges of lava recently cooled, pits and caverns, and portions of considerable extent in a movable and agitated state." Near the center is a large mound, from the top of which lava poured out in every direction in a series of circular waves. The outermost wave solidifies, when another one follows, perhaps passing over the first ; then others follow as if in a series of pulsations from the "earth's open artery" at the top of the mound.
The capillary glass was observed, and its formation understood. "It is formed, I presume, by the tossing off of small detached portions of lava of the consistence of molten glass, from the mouths of cones, when a fine vitreous thread is drawn out between the moving portion and, that from which it is detached. The fine spun product is then blown about by the wind, both within and around the crater, and is collected in little locks or In July, 1831, Mr. Goodrich visited Kilauea and says that "the crater had been filled up to the black ledge, and about fifty feet above it, about nine hundred feet in the whole," since his first visit in 1823.