National Geographic : 1896 Sep
RECENT EARTHQUAKE WAVE ON COAST OF JAPAN 289 long exposure in wet clothing without shelter and from the brine, fish oil, and sand breathed in and swallowed while in the first tumult of waters. Besides the generous relief fund subscribed by the people, the government has made large assignments from its available funds and sent stores of provisions, clothing, tools, etc., to the 60,000 homeless, ruined, bereaved, and starvingpeople of the San-Riku coast. The wave was plainly felt two hours later on the shores of the island of Yesso, 200 miles north of the center of disturbance on the San-Riku coast, the water advancing 80 feet beyond high-tide mark on the beach at Hakodate. Eight hours later there was a great disturbance of the waters on the shores of the Bonin islands, more than 700 miles southward, the water rising three or four feet and retreating violently. Six hours later, on the shores of Kaui, the most northern of the Hawaiian islands, distant 3,390 miles, the waters receded violently and washed on shore in a wave some inches above the normal height. The plainest inference has been that the great wave was the result of an eruption, explosion, or other disturbance in the bed of the sea, 500 or 600 miles off the San-Riku coast. The most popular theory is that it resulted from the caving-in of some part of the wall or bed of the great " Tuscarora Deep," one of the greatest depressions of the ocean bed in the world, discovered in 1874 by the present Rear-Admiral Belknap, U. S. N., while in command of the U. S. S. Thscarora, engaged in deep-sea surveys. The " Tuscarora Deep " is nearly five and one-third statute miles in depth, being exceeded, so far as known, only by the still more profound depths discovered last year in the South Pacific by Commander A. F. Balfour, of the British Navy.* That disturbances were taking place in this tremendous abyss was again suggested at six o'clock on the morning of July 4, when the Canadian Pacific Railway Company's mail steamer Empress of Japan,sailing directly over it in a smooth sea, was shaken as if a propeller blade had been lost or the ship had struck an ob struction. Every one was roused by the peculiar shock, but no visible explanation was furnished. The destructive wave and this incident together should stimulate further investigation of this dangerous, bottomless pit of the Pacific ocean, which owes its discovery to United States explorers by deep-sea soundings. *See NAT. GEOG.MAG., vol. vii, p. 252.