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CHILE.

439

[w hich come from the n. occasion very heavy rains,
accompanied with thunder, in all the provinces
bey ond the Andes, ^particularly in those of Tucu
man and Cujo, while at the same time the atmos
phere of Chile is constantly clear, and its inhabi
tants enjoy their finest season. The contrary
takes place in winter, wl)ich is the fine season in
these provinces, and the rainy in Chile. Thes.
wind never continues blowing during the whole
day with the same force ; as the sun .approaclics
the meridian, it falls very considerably, and rises
again in the afternoon. At noon, when this wind
is scarcely perceptible, a fresh breeze is felt from
the sea, which continues about two or three hours ;
the husbandmen give it the name of the twelve
o’clock breeze, or the countryman’s watch, as it
.serves to regulate them in determining tliat hour.
Th is sea-breeze returns regularly at midnight, and
is supposed to be produced by the tide; it is
stronger in autumn, and sometimes accompanied
with hail. The e. winds rarely prevail in Chile,
their course being obstructed by the Andes. Hur
ricanes, so common in the Antilles, are unknowu
here; there exists indeed a solitary example of a
hurricane, which, in 1633, did much injury to the
fortress of Caremalpo, in the part of Chile.
The mild temperature which Chile almost always
enjoys must depend entirely upon the succession of
these winds, as a situation so near thetroj)ic would
naturally expose it to a more violent degree of
heat. In addition to those, the tide, the abundant
dews, and certain winds from the Andes, which
are distinct from the e. wind, coot the air so much
in summer, that in the shade no one is ever in
commoded with perspiration. The dress of the
inhabitants of the sea-coast is the .same in the win
ter as in the summer ; and in the interior, Avhere
the heat is more perceptible than elsewhere, Reau
mur’s thermometer scarcely ever exceeds 25°.
The nights, throughout the country, are generally
of a very agreeable tem.pcraturc. Notwithstand
ing the moderate heat of Chile, all the fruits of
Avarin countries, and even those of the tropics,
arrive to great perfection there, Avhich renders it
probable that the Avarmth ofthe soil far exceeds
that ofthe atmosphere. The countries bordering
on the e. of Chile do not enjoy these refreshing
winds ; the air there is suffocating, and as oppres
sive as in Africa under the same latitude.

18. ]\Teleors . — Meteors are A'ery frequent in
Chile, especially those called shooting stars, which
arc to be seen there almost the Avliole year ; also
balls of fire, that usually rise from the Andes, and
fall into the sea. The aurora australis, on the
the contrary, is very uncommon ; that which was

observed in 1640 was one of the largest; it was
visible, from the accounts that have been left us
from the month of February until April. During
this century they have appeared at four different
times. This phenomenon is more frequently vi
sible in the Archipelago of Chiloe, from the greater
elevation ofthe pole in that part of the country.

19. Volcanoes . — That a country producing such
an abundance of sulphureous, nitrous, and bitu
minous substances, should be subject to volcanic
eruptions, is not to be Avondered at. The nume
rous volcanoes in the cordilleras wmdd, of them
selves, furnish a sufficient proof of the quantity of
these combustible materials ; there are said to
be 14 Avhich are in a constant state of eruption,
and a still greater number that discharge smoke
only at intervals. 'J’hese are all situated in that
part of the Andes appertaining to Chile, and nearly
in the middle of that range of mountains ; so that
the lava and ashes thrown out by them never ex
tend beyond their limits. These mountains and
their vicinities are found, on examination, to con
tain great quantities of sulphur and sal-ammoniac,
marcasite in an entire and decomposed state, cal
cined and crystaliized stones, and various metallic
substances. The greatest eruption ever known in
Chile was that of Peteroa, Avhich happened on the
Sd of December 1760, when that volcano formed
itself a new crater, and a neighbouring mountain
Avas rent asunder for many miles in extent; the
eruption was accompanied by a dreadful explo
sion, Avhich Avas heard throughout the whole
country ; fortunately it Avas not succeeded by any
very violent shocks of an earthquake : the quan
tify of lava and ashes was so great that it filled
the neighbouring valleys, and occasioned a rise of
tlie Avaters of the Tingeraca, which continued for
many days. At the same time the course of the
Lontue, a very considerable river, was impeded
for 10 days, by a part of the mountain which fell
and filled its bed ; the Avater at length forced itself
a passage, overfloAved all the neighbouring plains,
and formed a lake which still remains. In the
Avhole ofthe country not included in the Andes,
there are but two volcanoes ; the first, situate at
the mouth of the river Rapel, is small, and dis
charges only a little smoke from time to time ; the
second is the great volcano of Villarica, in the
country of Arauco. This volcano may be seen at
the distance of 130 miles ; and although* it appears
to be insulated, it is said to be connected by its
base Avith the Andes. 'J'he summit of the moun
tain is covered with snoAv, and is in a constant
state of eruption ; it is 14 miles in circumference
at its base, which is principally covered with]

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