RECORD: Darwin, C. R. Geological diary: Douglass states that the Cordilleras about the Estero de Reloncavi. [nd] CUL-DAR36.445-446 Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, corrected and edited by John van Wyhe 6-8.2011. RN1

NOTE: This document, part of the largest scientific document composed by Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle, is written mostly in ink. Where pencil was used instead this is noted in the textual notes. Marginal notes are here integrated into the text. See the Beagle Diary pp. 553 and following.

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Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.

See the introduction to the Geological Diary by Gordon Chancellor.


Douglass1 states that the Cordilleras about the Estero de Reloncavi consist of 3 ranges of syenite & granite (he showed me the rocks they were like). many Tupungatos & Aconcagua — It is probable the volcano of Osorno. — or Purraraque, or Hueñauca. — This volcano is in a state of almost constant activity frequently being seen emitting smoke & occasional noises being heard & burning lava been seen running down at night. — its shape is a most regular cone, it seems to stand out (like Villarica?) in front of the Andes:

The second volcano is called by some Lildea, is said to be near Estero de Chileu; was not known to be a volcano till several years since, when an immense explosion broke up the crater & left it in its present shape a very obtuse cone, with saddle shaped top. — viewed from the South however it appears like a table-mountain, the crater being very large & not broken down on that side. — I saw a small jet of steam issuing from the centre. — Is said to emit

1 Charles Douglas, surveyor and pilot, long resident in Chiloe.

445 verso

The Corcobado is said to emit eject to an immense height volcanic bombs. —

[Patena] not volcanic

South of Osorno, there is other lofty mountain which stands out in front of Cordilleras like Osorno & Villarica? The angle of the snow from Anchorage P. Arena is 20°. —

Mem. ∠ of snow of Corcobado. —

The angle which the slope of Corcovado makes with the horizon appears to be 33°. — [illeg]

Mellamoy. 25°. — which is perhaps about that of Lagartozes. — Osorno I should think must be steeper: even 25° looks steep ([sketch] 25° 25°)

The volcano of Villa Rica about 26°. — appears almost constantly in activity

Quantity of pumice R. Negro, Colorado &c & on island of Mocha, render it probable that most of these mountains are pumice formers. —


much sulphurous vapor. — Seems only occasional to in violent eruption. — ([blank] miles South of this is the Corcobado, an extraordinary peaked mountain, smoke is said not to issue from very summit (a): immense quantities of pumice at its base: often emits ashes, give instances. — Has one or two strong eruptions annually: people in Castro formerly believe when the Corcobado is quiet for one or two years great earthquake is sure to follow. —

South of Corcobado: 2 strong mountains shape seems to show them to be of volcanic origin. Whole Cordilleras trachytic, much gypsum. Mem: plains of St. Jago (Mendoza). N. of S. Fernando. — B. Blanca & R. Negro Corcobado. — But S. Cruz basaltic

Corcobado most active volcano in range? —

Both Corcobado & Lildeo appear rather on this side of the Cordilleras that is if the Cordilleras are here broard.

Lildeo is properly Volcan de Lagartigas

S. of Corcobado is the Mellamoy, very regular cones with broken crater forming 2 or 3 little shape horns: said sometimes to be active:

mem. Mr Douglas melts snow

The plains of Valdivia represent show that formerly here there was a gulf, such as [Gugatecas]. —

446 verso

S. of Mellamoy other great snow cone is described. —

Earthquake felt S. of C. Tres Montes by Bulkeley & Cummins

Valdivia. — The Cordielleras here, by Capt FR.1 enquiries appear very inconsiderable size, one days ride being sufficient to cross them: (& other side large salinas. Mem: R. Negro format). They are shredded by numerous high regular cones of volcanoes: the three regular active ones are Antuco, Villarica — & Osorno. — A Capitan del Amigo thinks has here seen as many as 8. — Major Wr[obscured by tape] puts down ten, including the extreme Villarica & Osorno. — The intermediate country of coast appears little furrowed either by parallel or transverse range at the foot of the Andes & on each side there are many lakes. — Villa Rica has one on each side & stands in front. — This fact of lakes bears some analogy to inland basins of Chili showing a cessation of force close to foot of main range. — In Pampas not a mountain to be seen. — Earthquakes are here said to be not so frequent as at Valparaiso: owing to more vents. — Mem.: Earthquake of the 20th. —

1 Robert FitzRoy.

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