From Agepedia

Jump to: navigation , search

SIMOOM, or SAMIEL (that is, poison); a noxious, hot wind, which blows at the period of the equinoxes, on the borders of Arabia, in the neighborhood of Mecca, on the Euphrates, and in Persia, and is fatal to animal life. It comes over burning deserts of sand, and its approach is indicated by terrible appearances. A dark yellow hue suddenly pervades the eastern horizon; a thick sulphureous exhalation rises from the ground, which is first hurried round in rapid gyrations, and then ascends into the air, and covers the whole heavens. Hissing and crackling noises are heard, and a hot current of air accompanied by low sounds rushes over the ground. Even the beasts manifest their terror by their howlings, and, when the burning current overtakes a caravan in the desert, bend their heads to the earth; camels plunge their nose and mouth into the sand. Travellers may have learned this means of safety from them, as they also throw themselves down with their faces to the ground, and lie immovable until the hot exhalation has passed, which it does within a half hour at the most. Persons in a stream have nothing to feaiv The bodies of those who perish by it pwell, and very quickly begin to putrefy. The fine dust which the wind brings penetrates into all the folds of the clothes, and even into boxes and bales. It is not improbable that these and other hot winds are overcharged with electricity.The simoom is different from the chamseen, or khamseen, a southwest wind, which blows three or four days, between July 15 and Aug. 15, in Egypt, Arabia, and on the Persian gulf, and is accompanied by similar appearances. It is very hot and drying. In those whom it surprises in the desert, the lungs are compressed, the breathing difficult, the skin dry; the body appears as if consumed by fire. The corpses of those who have thus perished are dried up, but do not putrefy. The same means of protection are employed as against the samiel. Still different from either of these winds is the harmattan, (q.v.)