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trated into the smallest fissures, and pores of the old lava, which was soon melted, flowing with the new, and often taking fire itself. Thus, when an old piece of lava was melted, it immediately lighted that with which it was in contact, and so continued till the whole was on fire. It is remarkable that, during the melting of this lava, the uppermost crust remained in its original state, so that large pieces might be taken out of the fire-stream which had the appearance of beaten metal. The stream forced itself downward, where it continued its progress, throwing the abovementioned crust up into the air or to the sides of the current, in which situation it remained for some time, burning in a pure steady flame. Wherever the fire-stream had in this manner forced its way under hills and rocks, they were, by means of the heated subterraneous vapors, thrown into the air with prodigious force and a dreadful noise. It may easily be conceived what a horrible crackling must attend the bursting asunder of such immense masses of rock, many of them from an hundred and twenty to an hundred and eighty feet in height; but how much more terrifying must be the falling of these bodies, when the velocity is so much accelerated by the vast height to which they are generally thrown. During these days the fire increased so much in redness, and spread itself in so great a degree over Sidumanna Afrett*, towards the south, on account of a northerly wind then blowing, that several farmers residing on the heaths actually fled with all their cattle and moveables, frightened at the immense conflagration, which, though at a considerable distance from them, appeared to be quite in the vicinity.
New eruption °n the 18th °f JutlC> a m0st
of lava, dreadful eruption of lava again broke out among the mountains. In those places where the Skaptaa had not been quite filled up, the lava was now observed to rise to a height, far exceeding that of the steep
* Afretur, in Icelandic, signifies a wild and uninhabited tract of mountains, covered with grass, where sheep and cattle are sent to fatten in the summer. The tract here alluded to belonged to the Sidumen, or Men of Sida, that is, people who resided on Sida, and therefore it is called Sidumanna afrettur. est mountains that enclosed the river, and to rush forward over such tracts as had previously been destroyed, and even so far as the utmost extremities of the current which had cooled and become stationary.
In the middle of the lava were to be seen red-hot rocks, which the stream had torn from their beds. A thick, white, and suffocating steam issued from the two rivers that had been intercepted by the fire, and were constantly boiling; and the vast quantity of hot water, which overflowed the meadows and pasture-lands, did no inconsiderable damage, especially near the farms Svinadal and Hvaam, in Skaptunge, as well as in the eastern quarter, where a tract of woodlands belonging to Skaptardal was totally destroyed.
Progress of the 0n *e *9th of June the fire fire-stream. extende(] much farther, dividing itself into two branches; the one rushing on, with the same rapidity as it did the preceding day, in a southern direction along the river Melquiol and over Medalland: the other moving towards the east and along Sida, where it burned the country about Skalarstapa, and forced itself with incredible fury up to Skalarfiall; but, as this mountain checked the more rapid progress of the fire towards the north, the lava rose considerably in height, and, in ascending the sides of the mountain, rolled up its covering of moss in the same manner as a large piece of cloth might be done by human means. In the evening the stream was not above an hundred and twenty yards distant from the church of Skal, when the inhabitants quitted it. They had been in hopes that the fire would have spared this place, as it had passed by, four days preceding, without doing any injury; but just at this moment, contrary to the expectation of every one, the fire broke out afresh, and carried away every thing that had before been left by the lava. This eruption was accompanied by a strong and constant trembling of the earth, which had much abated since the 12th day of June, the first of the eruption. On the ensuing day, the fire-stream proceeded to the farm Holt, overflowing the tract between that place and Skal, by which means the lava
that had lately reached that spot, rose considerably in height. The other branch, previously mentioned as having bent its course towards the south, along the river Melquiol, extended itself widely on both sides of it.
Destructive Notwithstanding that the form
consequences. of Skal wag pkced m &n elevated
situation, at the farthest extremity of the great valley, or Skaal, whence it takes it name (Skaal in Icelandic signifying a bowl), yet the lava had prevented all access to it; and when, on the ensuing day, the 21st of June, great torrents of rain had swollen the brooks, proceeding from the mountains on both sides of the farm of Skal, this place was, together with the church and adjacent houses, entirely overflowed with water, which the next morning was boiling excessively. At the same time that the flood destroyed Skal, the western branch of the fire-stream spread itself with great rapidity farther to the eastward, over the river Steinsmyrarfliot, and all the way to the parsonage, Holmasel, which, as well as the