A Journey to the Interior of the Earth
Shot Out Of A Volcano At Last!
Yes: our compass was no longer a guide; the needle flew from pole to pole with a kind of
frenzied impulse; it ran round the dial, and spun hither and thither as if it were giddy or
I knew quite well that according to the best received theories the mineral covering of the
globe is never at absolute rest; the changes brought about by the chemical decomposition
of its component parts, the agitation caused by great liquid torrents, and the magnetic
currents, are continually tending to disturb it--even when living beings upon its surface
may fancy that all is quiet below. A phenomenon of this kind would not have greatly
alarmed me, or at any rate it would not have given rise to dreadful apprehensions.
But other facts, other circumstances, of a peculiar nature, came to reveal to me by degrees
the true state of the case. There came incessant and continuous explosions. I could only
compare them to the loud rattle of along train of chariots driven at full speed over the
stones, or a roar of unintermitting thunder.
Then the disordered compass, thrown out of gear by the electric currents, confirmed me
in a growing conviction. The mineral crust of the globe threatened to burst up, the granite
foundations to come together with a crash, the fissure through which we were helplessly
driven would be filled up, the void would be full of crushed fragments of rock, and we
poor wretched mortals were to be buried and annihilated in this dreadful consummation.
"My uncle," I cried, "we are lost now, utterly lost!"
"What are you in a fright about now?" was the calm rejoinder. "What is the matter with
"The matter? Look at those quaking walls! look at those shivering rocks. Don't you feel
the burning heat? Don't you see how the water boils and bubbles? Are you blind to the
dense vapours and steam growing thicker and denser every minute? See this agitated
compass needle. It is an earthquake that is threatening us."
My undaunted uncle calmly shook his head.
"Do you think," said he, "an earthquake is coming?"
"Well, I think you are mistaken."
"What! don't you recognise the symptoms?"
"Of an earthquake? no! I am looking out for something better."