Letters From High Latitudes By Lord Dufferin

 -  From the first burst upwards
to the moment the last jet retreated into the pipe, was
no more than a - Page 90
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From The First Burst Upwards To The Moment The Last Jet Retreated Into The Pipe, Was No More Than A

Space of seven or eight minutes, and at no moment did the crown of the column reach higher than sixty

Or seventy feet above the surface of the basin. Now, early travellers talk of three hundred feet, which must, of course, be fabulous; but many trustworthy persons have judged the eruptions at two hundred feet, while well-authenticated accounts - when the elevation of the jet has been actually measured - make it to have attained a height of upwards of one hundred feet.

With regard to the internal machinery by which these waterworks are set in motion, I will only say that the most received theory seems to be that which supposes the existence of a chamber in the heated earth, almost, but not quite, filled with water, and communicating with the upper air by means of a pipe, whose lower orifice, instead of being in the roof, is at the side of the cavern, and BELOW the surface of the subterranean pond. The water kept by the surrounding furnaces at boiling point, generates of course a continuous supply of steam, for which some vent must be obtained; as it cannot escape by the funnel, the lower mouth of which is under water, it squeezes itself up within the arching roof, until at last, compressed beyond all endurance, it strains against the rock, and pushing down the intervening waters with its broad, strong back, forces them below the level of the funnel, and dispersing part, and driving part before it, rushes forth in triumph to the upper air.

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