Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/40

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PSM V71 D040 Panoramic view of the highest portion of the range.png

Fig. 3. Panoramic View of the Highest Portion of the Range in the Center of the highest peak of Aso-san. On the right is Neko-dake. Photo by Malcolm Anderson.

as one journeys on over the gently rolling surface of the basin floor. To the southwest the ring wall, elsewhere comparatively level-topped, rises up into mountain peaks that are between 2,500 and 3,000 feet higher than the level of the plain. To the north and northeast run the mountains that form the barrier between the two halves of the crater. They make up one massive, rugged ridge whose summit is broken by several dominating peaks. It is this range or ridge that is named Aso-san. On the summit, but at the foot of the highest peaks, at a point about half way from end to end of the Aso ridge, is situated the modern active crater from which rose the cloud that we saw from Kumamoto. A view of the rising steam puffs is again obtained as one comes out into the widening plain above the waterfall. And as one goes farther and finally reaches the central and widest portion the view of the Aso range, which was at first an endwise one and eastward, opens out until one looks to the north upon it broadside. There are three main peaks and many minor ones, the most striking of them being Neko-dake at the farther, eastern end. Its slopes have the graceful curving outlines characteristic of volcanic cones, and its summit is a jagged battlement of monumental lava pinnacles looking somewhat as if they might be the remnants of a shattered crater. Its eastern flank drops down and ends the range by blending with the converging outer walls of the two basins. The next nearest peak is Taka-dake, a higher although less distinctive summit forming the culmination of the range. It is separated from