You going to close it again, as you usually do, but I may still get my answer (hopefully). What is "Mindobamba"? Since Google Search, for all intents and purposes, provided no results, I guess it's another word of Wells's invention. The context suggests it's some kind of volcano. The problem is volcanoes erupt, not break out. Deseases do, but deseases don't make water boil. So what did Wells mean in this passage from his short story The Country of the Blind?

Then came the stupendous outbreak of Mindobamba, when it was night in Quito for seventeen days, and the water was boiling at Yaguachi and all the fish floating dying even as far as Guayaquil; everywhere along the Pacific slopes there were landslips and swift thawings and sudden floods, and one whole side of the old Arauca crest slipped and came down in thunder, and cut off the Country of the Blind for ever from the exploring feet of men.

  • 1
    Note that diseases don't "outbreak", either, because outbreak is a noun.
    – ruakh
    Oct 9, 2022 at 1:03
  • Your contextual reading seems good. I'd assume that Wells wanted to distinguish between a regular eruption and this "stupendous" one... but it's not a common or standard colocation.
    – James K
    Oct 9, 2022 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


I have tried google ngram viewer. This is the result that I got when I put volcano breaking out and volcanoes breaking out in the search field. There was no result when I put volcano break out in the search field.

enter image description here

I followed the link to occurrences of volcano breaking out and volcanoes breaking out in google ngram results page and these are the results that were obtained: volcano breaking out and volcanoes breaking out.

Apparently "volcano breaking out"/"volcanoes breaking out" are commonly used phrases in seismological books.

Seismology (Wiktionary)(uncountable) The study of the vibration of the Earth's interior caused by natural and unnatural sources, such as earthquakes.

  • That chart doesn't scream "commonly" to me 🤔 Oct 9, 2022 at 18:22
  • Not chart, the book results. Almost all the books are on seismology.
    – banuyayi
    Oct 9, 2022 at 18:29
  • Which doesn't mean they use it very often. "Survivorship bias" of a sort Oct 9, 2022 at 23:14
  • I agree that it is less common than "erupt/eruption". In your opinion, does my answer, answer the question, "Can volcanoes break out?"?
    – banuyayi
    Oct 10, 2022 at 3:59

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