Mineralogical and Geographical Notices

Mineralogical And Geographical Notices, Denoting The Value Of Aboriginal Territory.

1. Wisconsin and Iowa Lead Ore

A correspondent, engaged in the practical working of these ores, remarks: “By the box of specimens transmitted, you will be able to judge of the character of these valuable ores. The square broken mineral is taken from east and west leads; which is of the softest temperature and most easy to smelt; it also produces the most lead, yielding about 50 per cent, from the log, and about 15 from the ash furnaces.

The dark smooth pieces are taken from deep clay digging hi the vicinity of Menomonie River. This mineral is less productive than the other, yielding only from 40 to 45 per cent. It is supposed to contain some silver.

The thin flat pieces or what is termed sheet mineral are taken from north and south leads. It is usually found in rocky diggings, where the sheet stands perpendicular, and is struck in sinking from six to ten feet. The sheet varies in its thickness, it being in some places six or eight inches, and at other places not more than one inch thick.

The average yield of the country is from 45 to 58 per cent; of which the log furnace yields 43, and the ash furnace 15 per cent.”

2. Black Oxyde Of Copper Ore Of Lake Superior

This valuable ore appears to have pre-existed in the trap-rock veins, which are now occupied so extensively by native copper. The volcanic throes, by which it was exposed to the effects of carbon, while these veins were yet in a state of incalescence, may be supposed to have produced the very extraordinary profusion of native copper which marks the rocks of this basin.

In some cases the oxide appears to have been diffused in the rock in small masses, awaiting but the fusion of the whole area of the stratum, in which, on cooling, it assumed the shape of small metallic globules. The Eagle Harbor and Isle Royal Mines are in this condition, and require the whole body of the rock to be crushed, to recover these grains. Very little of the ore is found in its state as an oxide; and when so found, it is associated with carbonates of copper.

Experiments denote its ready reduction and great richness. Trials gave the following results:

  1. In a Hessian crucible, luted in the usual way, 1590 grains of the ore, pulverized, were treated with borax, common salt, cream of tartar, rosin, and charcoal. The result was a button of pure copper, of 1134½ grains.
  2. Of 1320 grains of the same ore, treated as above, the flux and carbonaceous matter being in excess, in order to revive the metal and bring out a complete assay, the trial yielded 949 grains of copper.
  3. 2910 grains, treated as before, yielded 2268, and a fraction, grains of metal.

These three assays, yielding respectively 83, 71, and 78 per cent., establish the quality and value of the ore as exceeding all others of this class of metal known in Europe or America. The specimens were all obtained on the main shore, opposite the Verde Roche, at Copper Harbor, in 1826.

The green carbonate, from the same locality, yielded but 61 per cent; which denotes it to be worthless for metallurgic operations.

3. Native Silver In The Drift Stratum Of Michigan

This mineral has been found along the open shores of the lower peninsula called Sanilac and Tuscola, in the section east and south of Point aux Barques. That coast, extending to White Rock, has been noted for its heavy drift stratum of primary boulders; the discovery occurs in this stratum. It is in a mass of gneiss veined with steatite. Dissolved in nitro-sulphuric acid the precipitate yields, before the blowpipe, the metal in increased splendor, ductility, and specific gravity.

Since the discovery of this metal in the copper-bearing veins of Lake Superior, additional interest is given to the hint furnished by this indication.

4. Petroleum On The Chickasaw Lands

A spring of petroleum, or mineral oil, has been discovered in the Chickasaw country west. It occurs at the falls of a beautiful stream near Fort Washita. The petroleum exudes from the rock at a point where the latter overhangs the stream. It falls in drops, which rapidly follow each other, producing an almost continuous small stream of the size of a thin reed. It is of a brown color. It possesses the taste, smell, and consistence of British oil, from which it, however, differs in its color and effects. Mingled with the water, it is drunk by persons affected with chronic rheumatism, and also applied by rubbing the parts affected externally. Surprising cures are stated to have been effected, in a short time, in pursuing this method. It has been found effective in cases of mercurial affections. Patients have been carried there doubled up with disease, or emaciated to mere skeletons, who have come away, in a few weeks, perfectly cured. But this is for medical men to judge of.

It may be remarked, in view of this discovery, that this substance, for which we are chiefly indebted, as an article of commerce, to the Asiatic continent, has been noticed in other parts of our territorial limits. The so called “oil spring” of one of the Seneca reservations, in Western New York, has long been known. Its consistence varies according to the action upon it of atmospheric air and solar heat.

This discovery gives us reason to infer the existence of asphaltum, maltha, slaty coal, or some other form of bitumen, in the contiguous country, and may be considered as adding to the value of the newly acquired domain of the expatriated Chickasaw.

5. Artesian Boring For Salt Water At Clyde, In Wayne County, New York

These borings were commenced under an impression that the saliferous sandstone, which appears to underlie the New York salines, would yield brine of a workable strength, at a given depth. They were carried 387 feet into the rock without producing the desired results. In this distance 61 specimens were taken, and very carefully enveloped in paper, boxed and transmitted by James R. Rees, Esq., of Clyde, to whom my acknowledgements are due. The following diagram and observations embrace the generalizations arising from this effort to penetrate the salt rock, and in this form they are contributed to the general stock of our information respecting salines.

It is still the belief of the best-informed persons, that our saline waters are produced from rock salt in the bowels of the earth, and that the waters thus impregnated flow in certain seams between the different strata, till they find some upward vent which forces them to their original height.

Memorandum Of The Boring For Salt Water At Clyde, Commenced In October, 1832.

Subsequently to these explorations, Mr. Rees writes, announcing the discovery of rock salt, by Mr. John Mead, Jun., at a definite depth. His boring was at a distance of five miles east of Clyde, on the line of the canal, at a place called Lockpit. He passed through a number of thin deposits of salt within the last thirty feet. Mr. Mead, whose subsequent experiments were interrupted, observed that twenty-two gallons of this saturated water which he obtained, would make a bushel of dry salt. It requires twenty-five gallons, generally.

6. Geography Of The Genesee Country Of Western New York. By Andrew M Nab, Esq.

This district of country, both in its geographical features and geological character, presents three great Steppes or Terraces, commencing at, and extending longitudinally, parallel with the south shore of Lake Ontario, to Pennsylvania. (Lat. 42 N.) The first is about ten miles wide, north and south; the famous Ridge Road passing through the middle of it. The soil is strictly alluvial; being a mixture of sand, clay, and gravel, frequently covered with fine loam, and deep vegetable mould; timbered with beech, maple, basswood, and a large growth of hemlock (Canada pine). The surface between the Lake and the Ridge inclines gently to the N. N. E. From the Ridge Road south, to what is usually called the Mountain Ridge, a more rapid ascent and a greater undulation is observable. In this Terrace, the reddish freestone or sandstone is frequent, supporting the granular and foetid limestone. Here also occur all the salt springs hitherto discovered; sometimes on the north, at other times on the south side of the Ridge Road, The iron ore is north of the Road.

The second Terrace commences at the Mountain Ridge, and stretches south about fifteen miles, to the foot of the limestone slope, so distinctly marked from Buffalo to Caledonia, less visible across the Ontario, except, perhaps, at Farmington and Phelps, but reappearing again very distinctly, in Cayuga and Onondaga, where the salt springs, plaster beds, and iron ores, are nearly united. The Tonnewanta Swamp occupies the highest part of this plain; it being seventy-five feet above the level of Lake Erie, and about three hundred and ten feet above Lake Ontario. The only streams of any note issuing from it, are Eighteen Mile, Johnson, Oak Orchard, and part of Sandy Creek. These have worn down the soil and attained so general an inclination of their channel, as to exhibit at this time no great perpendicular fall in their whole course. The evidences of recent submersion, the ragged and abraded appearance of the limestone, and the dry channels (indicative of a sudden recession and violent rush of water) from and around the north-east corner or shore of the Tonnewanta, strike the eye with surprise, and force upon the mind a belief that what is now a swamp was once a lake. Some of the finny tribes (probably trout of three and four inches long) still inhabit the north-east corner of this great basin. Soil and timber, as in the former. Surface, rolling, and lying in parallel ridges.

The third and last Terrace extends from, and includes, the limestone slope, south, to Pennsylvania. The rocks are limestone, (probably the secondary and transition,) sandstone, (perhaps the grindstone or gritstone,) and claystone. Here the oldest rocks may at least be looked for; as we advance towards the Alleghanian spine, where the true primitive no doubt exists. In this Terrace, particularly towards the south side, the timber before mentioned prevails, with a considerable portion of pine, and some oak. The surface is still more uneven and abrupt; rising into hills of considerable elevation, and sinking into deep vales and gulfs. The waters of the St. Lawrence, Susquehannah, and Mississippi, divide in Steuben and Alleghany Counties, New York, and in Potter County, Pennsylvania; this being the pinnacle of the country. Most of the streams rising in, or crossing the Southern Platform, immediately on passing over the limestone slope, meet with obstructions from rising ground, and are diverted from a direct northerly, to a westerly or easterly course: witness, Tonnewanta, Black, Allen, Honeoye, Mud Creek, &c., to Mohawk River. The only exceptions worthy of notice, are Genesee and Oswego Rivers. The former rises between the source of Alleghany and Susquehannah Rivers, in Pennsylvania, and forces its way, through every barrier, to Lake Ontario. Its course at first is supposed to be rapid; forming perpendicular falls at various places; at McKay s Mill one or two great falls occur. Banks and bluffs gradually increasing in height; the current sometimes loitering through the meanders of fertile open flats; now advancing with a brisk current, over gravelly bottom, and then precipitating itself with noise and foam over ledges and perpendicular rocks; widening its channel as it descends, and wearing away the hardest stones by the incessant attrition of the softest water; thus furnishing a striking proof of the effects of perseverance! The high banks, compressed channel, and lively current, continue to Mount Morris and Squaky Hill; where a landscape of unrivalled luxuriance and beauty breaks full upon the delighted eye. The Valley of Canascraga opens to the right, winding round to the south-east towards Dansville; and to the left, the Genesee Valley extends north-east, towards Avon and Rochester; passing Genesee on the right, and Moscow on the left. The deep trough worn down at Mount Morris and Squaky Hill, leaves little room to doubt that here, originally, was the fall which is now found five or six miles above, at Nunda; a retrogression similar to that of the Niagara Falls from Lewistown to Manchester. From Mount Morris and Williamsburg, the confluent waters of Genesee River and Canascraga Creek move slowly through one of the richest alluvial soils any where to be seen; the face of the country on each side gradually subsiding into moderate ridges, gentle slopes, undulating uplands, and extensive natural meadows. After receiving the waters of Canesus and Honeoye from the east, and those of Allen and Black Creek from the west, with other small tributaries, the majestic Genesee pursues the noiseless tenor of its way to the rapids, about one mile above Rochester, full 10 to 15 feet, and then in the distance of two miles after, plunging over three falls, of 96, 10, and 74 feet, attains the level of Lake Ontario at Carthage; having worn for itself a channel through earth and rock, the banks of which are now about 200 feet perpendicular; the general surface of the country on each side still continuing of a regular slope to the lake. It is not a little remarkable, that at the rapids, above Rochester, the face of the country is such as admits of diverting the waters of Genesee River through the Canal, west, between sixty and seventy miles on a level; and east, on a level and inclined plane, to Seneca River.

The Oswego River drains all the country lying within a semicircle, whose centre is near Montezuma, and its radius sweeping from Rome in Oneida to Bloomfield in Ontario. After washing this extensive plain, and wandering through the Seneca Valley, it has forced a vent northwardly by the Three River Point pitching over the falls, and murmuring on its course over a rocky bottom to the lake. Before the disruption of the country comprehending the Thousand Isles, it is probable that Lake Ontario covered the Seneca Valley, forming a deep bay up the Cayuga, &c., and having its outlet down the Mohawk and Hudson. This, however, is mere hypothesis. The Ridge Road commences at Lewiston, a step from the mountain, and diverges east wardly it is but slightly affected with a few streams, such as Eighteen-Mile, Johnson, Oak Orchard, Sandy Creek, &c. The Genesee River and Irondequat Bay discompose its uniformity; but immediately east of these, its regular form and direction are resumed and continued, until finally destroyed by Sodus Bay. Round the south and east side of the bay, some vestiges of the ridge are discernible in the direction of Oswego Falls, and probably might be found (passing by Black River high falls, in Turin, Lewis County) towards the elevated ground between the St. Lawrence and Mohawk Valleys. Neptune, it would seem, had a hand in forming this ridge; but here again his mode of operation is quite a mystery. It is composed of sand, gravel, and clay, with a light surface-mould. On moving the upper strata, a deep bed of clear bluish lake, gravel and smooth rounded pebbles and stones appears. Its elevation above the adjoining plain and slope is quite moderate, and very uniform varying from two to ten feet width four to twelve rods of a regular convex shape. While its singular formation furnishes a fruitful subject for geologists to ponder and speculate upon the inhabitants derive incalculable advantages and conveniences from its wonderful adaptedness for travel, &c. for without this natural turnpike, the adjoining country, although fertile and pleasant, would long remain without much travel or compact settlement. Now the country presents a gratifying view of social comfort and rural wealth on each side of this best of roads, lying midway between the Erie Canal and Lake Ontario. Of the western district it may justly be said, that it is the Garden of New York.

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe. Archives of aboriginal knowledge. Containing all the original paper laid before Congress respecting the history, antiquities, language, ethnology, pictography, rites, superstitions, and mythology, of the Indian tribes of the United States. Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1860.

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