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ceptible, excepting only for two days before I left the country, the 14th and l6th of August. It was in the afternoon of the former day, between four and five o'clock, that the whole house at Inderholme, in the district of Borgefiord (where I was then staying) began to tremble; and, as we expected nothing else than that it would instantly fall in, we naturally ran out. When I looked up to the steep mountain, called Akrafiel, to the northward of the farm-house, I perceived its whole south side obscured by a vast body of smoke, arising from the fragments of rock which were continually falling. In another place, a little below the farm-house, large masses were broken off a lofty ridge of rock that rose near the sea; yet, thanks to God, there was no damage done at this place. On the following night several slight agitations were perceptible both to myself and other people then in the farm-house, sufficient indeed to rouse me from my sleep, though not to cause any serious alarm; but on the l6th we had again a long and dreadful shock, almost as heavy as the for, mer had been.
This earthquake was most violently felt in the district of Aarnes, and has there also caused the greatest destruction, especially in the diocese of Skalholt, where, excepting the cathedral, only two small buildings are reported to have escaped without damage. All the rest, and among them the houses belonging to the college, were either entirely thrown down or materially injured. Some persons, who were buried in the ruins, were happily immediately dugout without having sustained any injury. The bishop, Mr. Finsen, and his lady, who, together with the rest of the inhabitants belonging to the episcopal residence, had long been obliged to lie under tents, in consequence of the constant succession of rain and tempestuous weather, were now reduced to the necessity of taking flight with their whole family; it being impossible to rebuild their palace before the winter came on. The timbers, in falling in, had broken, and were rendered unfit for use; nor were any horses to be procured for the fatiguing task of conveying fresh beams from the mercantile towns, situated at a distance.
The whole of the houses belonging to the Episcopal See of Skalholt having been in this manner destroyed, the University was necessarily neglected during the following winter. In the parish of Skeide, in the district of Aarnes, we are informed that all the farm-houses, two only excepted, had fallen to the ground, and that three persons in this district had lost their lives by the earthquakes. Besides which, these destructive earthquakes had every where caused great mischief, not only in this district, but also in the western part of Rangevalle, and, according to accounts that have been received, have damaged two hundred and fifty farm-houses on the estate belonging to the Bishopric of Skalholt, besides eleven churches, and have totally thrown down six other churches. On the other hand, both in the eastern district, and likewise at Vestmannoe *, as well as over the whole
* According to Mr. Sysselman Sivertsen's information, transmitted to the Royal Treasury, at the first shock which took place on the 14th of August, large rocks were torn from the mountains, and fell down on Vestmannoe, which was covered with smoke from the base to the summit: and, as the smoke arose from of the south country, although they have been very perceptible, yet they have not caused any great devastation. How far they may at the same time have been felt with any violence in the district of Skaptefield is not yet known here: thus much only we can say with certainty, that some slight shocks had been perceived in the beginning of the month of August, at which time, the smoke appeared to have gathered strength in the wild and mountainous districts to the northward of Siden.
I am well aware that many people may be led to conjecture that these earthquakes must have proceeded from great revolutions in the bowels of the earth, or even possibly from the circumstance of new eruptions having taken place in the vicinity of the forseveral places at once, it was natural for the neighboring peasantry to be in great apprehension of more general destruction; but, nevertheless, no other remarkable damage appears to have been sustained than that of the largest and most valuable part of the Bird-mountain (a hill of the greatest value to the inhabitants), having been cleft and thrown down, and consequently rendered unserviceable for lodging the nests of the sea-fowl in future.
mer fire, and therefore must in that district have caused the greatest destruction. But, for my own part, I should rather be tempted to believe that, as these latter shocks were most violent in the district of Aarnes, weaker in Rangevalle and other southern districts, and so slight as to be scarcely perceptible either in the northern or the western parts of the island, that they owed their origin to some internal commotion in the earth, in the vicinity of Hecla; if they are not (which God forbid) a prelude to an eruption of the mountain itself.
It has also been shewn, that the annals of Iceland cannot produce an instance of an earthquake equally destructive as that just mentioned, which, exclusively of its having in a manner destroyed whole parishes and districts, has also reduced many of the inhabitants of the district of Aarnes to the most deplorable state, as the small stock of meat, and particularly of the common articles of food, such as butter, &c, which they had with the greatest difficulty secured during the preceding summer, were by this deplorable calamity spoiled by being buried