National Geographic : 1917 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE the thing, can form any adequate concep tion of the stupendous catyclasm that occurred. This explosion is easily to be ranked among the first dozen known within his toric times. Previously Krakatoa has held first place in the minds of most, but the quantity of material thrown out by Katmai was so much greater as to put it into an altogether different class. In deed, the whole island of Krakatoa could be dropped into the crater of Katmai. We so inevitably estimate the magni tude of natural phenomena by their effect on human affairs that an eruption like this in an uninhabited district seems un important in comparison, for example, with that of Pelee, with its great loss of life. Yet there may have been in the present case tornadoes of hot gas greater than that which overwhelmed St. Pierre and killed 25,000 people; but the destruc tion by other agencies was so great as to leave little evidence of them if they oc curred. IMAGINE KATMAI'S ERUPTION OCCURRING IN NEW YORK The magnitude of the eruption can perhaps be best realized if one could imagine a similar outburst centered in New York City. In such a catastrophe all of Greater New York would be buried under ten to fifteen feet of ash and sub jected to unknown horrors from hot gases. The column of steam and ashes would be plainly visible beyond Albany, but the continued activity of the volcano would probably prevent any one from approaching for several months to view the ruins nearer than Patterson, N. J. Philadelphia would be covered by a foot of gray ash and would grope in total darkness for sixty hours. Wash ington and Buffalo would receive a quar ter of an inch, with a shorter period of darkness. Small quantities of ash would fall over all of the Eastern States as far as the gulf coast. The sounds of the explosions would be heard as far as Atlanta and St. Louis. The fumes would be noticed as far as Denver, San Antonio, and Jamaica. Not even the most vivid imagination could picture the destruction of life and property which would result from such an eruption in a thickly populated coun try. We may be profoundly grateful that we have had vouchsafed us such a wonderful opportunity to study the phe nomena of volcanoes without any of the horrors usually attendant on their action. fN VIEW of the extraordinary conditions of the Katmai region, unparalleled anywhere in the world, the Board of Managers of the National GeographicSociety has made a further grant of $12,000 for explorations of Katmai during the summer of 1917, the expedition to be in charge of Prof. Robert F. Griggs, who was the leader of the Society's 1915 and 1916 ex peditions.