Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/305

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
295
Mr. Bennet on the Island of Teneriffe.

Having reached the end of the plain we found ourselves at the bottom of a steep hill, at the foot of which is a mass or current of lava which has flowed from the higher regions of the peak, and which constitutes the eastern branch of the lava of Mal Pais. We began to ascend this steep and rapid part of the mountain which is composed of a small white or yellowish ash mixed with masses of pumice and fragments of lava similar to that found in the plains, of which several small pieces that I picked up were in a state of vitrification. After a laborious not to say hazardous ascent of about an hour, the pumice and ash giving way and the mule sinking knee deep at each step, we arrived at about five in the afternoon at the other extremity of the stream of lava, which descending from the summit of the second region of the peak divides at the foot of the cone into two branches, the one running to the north-east and the other to the north-north-west; at the extremity of this latter are several immense blocks or masses of lava which bear the name of La Estancia di los Ingleses, and are rocks, not caves as has been stated by some writers. It was here we were to pass the night, so, lighting a fire made of the dry branches of the Spanish broom and stretching part of a sail over a portion of the rock, we ate our dinner and laid ourselves down to sleep. I however passed the best part of the night by the fire, the weather being piercing cold; as I stood by the fire the view all around me was wild and terrific, the moon rose about ten at night, and though in her third quarter gave sufficient light to shew the waste and wilderness by which we were surrounded: the peak and the upper regions which we had yet to ascend towered awfully above our heads, while below, the mountains that had appeared of such a height in the morning and had cost us a day's labour to climb, lay stretched as plains at our feet; from the uncommon rarity of the atmosphere the whole