No class of phenomena can possess greater interest than Earthquakes to the Geologist, or, indeed, I may say, to any inhabitant of this globe, if modern philosophers are correct in supposing them to be the manifestations of that force by which various portions of the earth’s crust are alternately and successively raised above the level of the ocean, and again depressed beneath its waters; changes by which it has been by degrees rendered suitable for the habitation of man. “To these convulsions,” says Mr. Lyell, “the present fertility of some districts, the sterile character of others, the elevation of land above the sea, the climate, and various peculiarities, may be distinctly referred.” Any contribution, therefore, however trifling, to our knowledge of these phenomena, cannot be wholly devoid of interest, which consideration has encouraged me to read the following observations before this Society.
The great Valparaiso Earthquake of the 19th November, 1822, was felt along the coast of the Pacific as far as Lima to the North, and as Concepcion to the South, a distance of about 1,400 miles; and to the East beyond the Andes as far as Mendoza and St. Juan, a distance of from 300 to 400 miles. The coast was raised in some parts from three to four feet above its previous level for many miles consecutively, exposing rocks covered with shell fish, whose putrefaction infected the atmosphere. Mr. Miers says that “the governor’s house at Valparaiso, the two castles, and the churches, were all shivered to ...
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