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Across Unknown South America by Landor

Deep surely another great crater


On

June 4th we were at the Cabeceira Koiteh (temperature, min. 53 deg. Fahr.; max. 80 deg. Fahr.; elev. 2,100 ft.). Close to this camp, from an outstretching spur, I obtained another magnificent view. To the E.S.E. stretched from north-east to south-west a flat plateau, and to the east a flat mountainous block with an eroded passage. Headlands branched off from the northern side of the ridges in a north-easterly direction. Between them were basins thickly wooded in their lower depressions. The north-eastern portion of the flat range was almost vertical, with many angular and sharply pointed spurs projecting from it.

In the centre of the greater basin, of which the others were details, a low convex ridge bulged out, with three conical peaks--two of them at the highest point of the curve. Between the first and second cone two twin sub-craters were visible--evidently the two twin circles had formed part of the same crater--in the mountain side of the distant range. A third crater was some distance off to the south-west.

To the south-west in the background was a lovely view of flat highlands with huge tower-like rocks standing upright upon them. Then to the S.S.W. a regular vertical dyke of rock stood on the top of an elongated conical base.

The elevation on the summit of the spur from which we obtained this lovely panorama was 2,200 ft.--or no more than 100 ft. higher than our camp.

style="text-align: justify;">We travelled again that same day on the northern edge of the great depression, and met three more _cuvettes_ of grey ashes with an abundant central growth of _buritys_. These were at a general elevation of 2,300 ft., the bottom of the depression being 50 ft. lower. On descending from the table-land, through a gap we discerned far away to the south a long flat-topped plateau extending from south-west to north-east and having a precipitous wall-face.

We got down to the Caxoeirinha stream, where we found an abandoned hut in the eroded hollow of the stream. The water flowed there over a bed of red lava and extremely hard conglomerate rock made up of lava pebbles and solidified ashes. Above this at the sides of the stream was a stratum some 10 ft. thick of grey ashes, and above it a stratum 2 ft. thick of red volcanic dust and sand.

As we got higher again and I stood on a projecting promontory, another wonderful view spread itself before me. The sun, nearly setting, in glorious white radiations, cast deep blue and violet-coloured shadows upon the great abyss to my right (N.W.) which was a kilometre or more in diameter and more than 300 ft. deep--surely another great crater. It seemed as if a natural wall of rock must have once existed, joining the promontory on which I stood to the great mass of prismatic red volcanic rock to the west of us, and ending in a flat triangle with a wide base. The surface soil on the height of the peninsula was of spattered lava and black broiled rock and pellets.

The bottom of the abyss formed two sweeping undulations--the second from the centre much higher than the first--seemingly a great wave of lava vomited by the crater, by which probably the destruction of the wall joining the peninsula had been caused.


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