Lassen Peak, CA Volcano Erupts, May 1915
LASSEN POURS FORTH SCALDING LAVA.
CRATER RIM PLUNGES INTO FIERY PIT -- MUD MELTS SNOW, CAUSING FLOOD.
Redding, Cal., May 22. -- A part of the rim of the crater of Lassen peak is reported to have fallen in, following the eruption of the great mud stream which covers Hat Creek valley yesterday.
The extent of this enlargement of the crater has not been ascertained. Crops have been destroyed throughout the Hat Creek valley, according to confirmatory reports received here from many sources.
The layer of mud has spread over many farms, most reports fixing the depth at one to three feet.
It is reported to have covered the valley for a distance of fifteen miles, the strip varying in width from a half to two miles. Alfalfa was the principal crop destroyed. Forest Supervisor W. J. RUSHING expressed the opinion today that the mud will act as a fertilizer.
Reports of damage continue to come in, but the total will not be known for days. Property destruction was widespread. Minor damage was done to many homes and the loss of livestock, implements, household goods and supplies was great.
The crops in the area of about 15 square miles covered by the mud is said to be a total loss.
LAVA MELTS SNOW.
By Associated Press.
San Francisco, May 22. -- "Hot lava from the crater of Lassen Peak melted the snow on the slopes and caused the flood of mud which descended on Hat Creek yesterday," said Forest Supervisor W. J. RUSHING, in his report to the forest service here today.
He also said that the heavy rains and the recent cloudburst in the Lassen region may have caused the volcanic substance which covered the peak to slide.
"The fact that a red glow has been observed from Lassen Peak for several nights," he said, "gives credence to the report that hot lava melted the snow and caused the flood."
Weather conditions have made a full investigation so dangerous that the forest rangers dispatched by him have stopped their work, awaiting a lull in the storm.
MAY BECOME DANGEROUS.
Vallejo, Cal., May 22. -- Steam formed from the immense quantities of water deposited in the crater of Lassen Peak during the recent cloudbursts over that region, was given today by Prof. T. J. J. SEE of the Mare Island Observatory, an authority on seismic distrubances, as the probable cause of the eruption of mud.
"The present eruption increases the chances for Lassen to become dangerous," he said. Roughly, I should say the chance is one in ten that it would become dangerous."
Professor SEE said that scientific data confirmed the belief that Lassen is too far from the sea to permit a leakage from that source, which could explain the accumulation of a volume of steam to cause a menacing eruption.
Lassen Warning Sounded.
While Mount Lassen is in the throes of the worst eruption seen since the volcano became active, entire districts are in peril, scientists at the University of California are marveling at the accuracy with which Prof. ALBERT PORTA of the
University of Santa Clara, pupil of Father JEROME RICARD and expert weather prophet, predicted the disturbance. The Santa Clara scientist on May 9 issued a warning of the coming eruption to the mayor of Redding, to Governor Johnson and to the seismological laboratories of the United States. The expert declares that he traced the likelihood of the volcanic trouble through the same means used in foretelling weather disturbances.
Observing that the first eruption followed the conjunction of Venus and Uranus with the sun, he noted the approach of a similar condition in this case and made his prediction.
"The present eruption of Lassen," said Professor PORTA today, "is due to another conjunction of Venus and Uranus which occurred on April 30. I have been able to forecast about all of the eruption of the mountain by calculating months in advance the advent and heliographic position of sunspots produced by planetary phenomena in which Venus was an intervenient factor. The sunspots produced by the opposition of Venus with Saturn which occurred between April 5 and 6, and the conjunction of Venus with Jupiter occurred May 19 and 20, specially due to the peculiar position (quadratle) of Jupiter will either reinforce the actual eruption or to determine another eruption between the 22d and 26th of this month, which I believe will be the most violent."
Father PORTA'S suggestion that the volcanic and storm disturbances may be from the same solar system conditions is further borne out, it is admitted by local scientists, in the fact that, while the volcano is rampant, one of the most severe electrical storms in years is raging in the north. Rain, it was reported at the United States weather bureau today, has been falling heavily. The weather bureau lays this condition to the eruption, although PORTA takes the different view. The mountain is hidden from sight, according to weather bureau reports today, by a heavy black cloud and muddy volcanic streams surround it.
Serious damage in Hat Creek valley, a farming region, has been reported at the weather bureau, as the result of the terrific eruptions of the mountain. Showers of hot mud have buried valuable farms from one to three feet for an area of fifteen miles along the valley as the result of one of the more powerful of the explosions.
Spits Forth Fire.
Homes have been destroyed, live stock has been killed, and bridges and roads wiped out of existence. No accurate toll of the damage has been compiled, according to the weather bureau, and only the wild ride of FRANK SEABORN, the range, who aroused the farmers when the mountain's activities began, prevented loss of life.
Last night the floods of mud had spent their fury, and this morning a number of the roads were made passable.
The first grave fears came to the countryside during this eruption, when for the first time the volcano was seen to spout flame. Until that time the volcano had not been regarded as a serious menace. The flow of mud and lava has aroused farmers and scientists alike to a realization that the volcano cannot be ignored.
Word from J. S. DILLER of the geological survery at Washington today, bears out the fears, it being announced that the mountain is now classified as a dangerous volcano. It is declared that with its cloud reflected glow, the mountain somewhat resembles Stromboli.
G. R. MILFORD, superintendent of the Northern California Power Company, confirms the statements of observing the fire in the crater, and is one of those furnishing a report to the geological survey at Washington.
The following is the report to the geological survey experts:
"Lassen peak in violent eruption from 9:30 to 11:30 last night. Fire observed coming from the center. Incandescent ejecta roll down the mountainside. I observed spectacle from Volta (ten kiles from Lassen peak). Many in Sacramento valley saw same. At Manzanita lake (three miles from the crater) today, storm clouds prevented complete observation. Activity immensely increasing."
The latest eruption means, according to DILLER, that the explosion are getting down into the real hot mass and that the activity is more completely volcanic. Heretofore the ejecta fragments blown out by the steam explosions were rarely redhot.
Oakland Tribune California 1915-05-22