Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

The Kissinger well in Bavaria is 1,878 feet; the last 138 feet the boring passes through rock salt. From this well 100 cubic feet of water gushes forth every minute. The water contains 31 per cent. of salt.

The artesian well at the Bois de Boulogne is over 39 inches in diameter. This well was bored by a peculiar drill, weighing about 3,500 pounds, managed by a grapple, which opens as it descends, and then closes, when it is raised by means of a parallelogram connected at the angles with two cords reaching up to the top of the well, where they may be managed with the hand, or by means of machinery. The drill below is constructed with seven teeth of cast steel, fitted to drive into the bed of rock, or abrade it. The drill has a shank by which it may be seized and lifted. The whole is worked by a 24 to 30 horse-power engine. The grapple closes at the bottom, seizing the handle of the drill, then rises with the drill several feet, opens, and lets the drill fall. Thus the drill rises and falls 20 or 30 times a minute. After working 12 hours, the rods are taken out, the sand pump let down, and the sand and mud withdrawn, and the rods, grapple, and drill again let down and set to work. To work this apparatus requires only six men, and the cost of working is about $3 per foot.

In 1857, this well had reached a depth of 1,427 feet, and they hoped in October to reach the main source of water below the chalk.

In the month of May, 1858, the French engineer, M. Jus, commenced boring an artesian well in the Sahara desert, Africa, in the province of Constantine ; and on the 19th of June a jet of water of about 1,000 gallons per minute flowed from the bowels of the earth, at a temperature of 610.24 Fahrenheit. 'The joy of the inhabitants was unbounded when they witnessed this extraordinary spectacle, and caused them to regard a people who could bring about such a marvel as to cause water to gush forth from the arid desert as truly beings of a superior race.

Subsequently four other wells were bored in the desert: one at Temakin, yielding eight gallons per minute; one in the oasis of Tamelhat, wbich gave 120 litres of water per minute; one in the oasis of Sidi Nached, yielding 4,300 litres of water from the depth of 54 metres the oasis having been completely ruined by drought; one also in Oum Thior, which yields 108 litres of water per minute ; and a sixth well has been sunk at Shegga.

A remarkable artesian well was bored at Bourne, in Englaud. The borings passed through two strata of limestone, with other intervening strata, to the depth of only $2 feet. The bore is only four inches, and this supplies the town through mains and smaller pipes and plugs for fires, the pressure being sufficient to throw water over the buildings. It delivers 557,600 gallons per day. It rises at the town hall 39 feet 9 inches.

These are a few of the statistics of some of the most interesting artesian wells both in this country and in Europe ; they give some details of the cost, mode of boring, and difficulties to be encountered, that will be interesting and useful to the readers of this report.

The conditions necessary to the successful boring of an artesian well are: First. A fountain head more elevated than the locality where the boring is to be undertaken. Second. A gentle inclination or moderate dip from ihe fountain head towards the locality of the well.

Third. Alternations of porous and impervious strata, beneath the drainage of the country,

The fountain head need not be in the immediate vicinity; on the contrary, it is often far distant-40 to 100 miles or more. If it forms the elevated rim of a large basin, from which the strata dip in all directions towards its centre, it is all the more favorable for artesian borings within that basin. If the geological formations form a synclinal fold or trough, the fountain head being on the anticlinals of the ridges more or less parallel, this is also a favora. ble position for artesian borings.

The flow of water from the fountain head, held up by the impervious strata beneath, and permeating the porous superincumbent layers, may be arrested, however, even without such a structure of the country, by being dammed up by local barriers, which may either be impers vious fissures, cutting the strata more or less at right angles, or extensive faults filled up with clay, which is a very common occurrence.

A steep or high angle of inclination of dip is always an unfavorable structure of country, because in such situations the water flows away beyond the reach of artesian borings, which must necessarily cut the strata at such an acute angle as to pass through only a few layers of rock. Without a knowledge of the internal structure of the geological formations which lie deep-seated, very little clue can be obtained to the selection of a favorable locality by : simple inspection of the physical coudition of the surface of the country. For instance, a perfectly level plain, with no hills in sight, may be more favorable for artesian wells than an undulating country, simply from the fact of its having a higher fountain head.

The third condition mentioned above, namely, alternation of porous and impervious strata, is almost everywhere to be met with.

[ocr errors]

SECTION II.

LIGNITES OF THE WEST.

[Abstract from report of F. V. Hayden, United States geologist for Nebraska, to Commissioner of General

Land Office, from Silliman's Journal of March, 1868.) The construction of the Pacific railroads across the continent is bringing about the dawn of a new era in the progress of the west. Already has the Union Pacific railroad, from Omaha, struck the first range of the Rocky mountains, more than 525 miles west of the Missouri river. The earth is now called upon more earnestly than ever before to yield up her treasures of gold, silver, copper, iron, and mineral fuel, and the existence of the last two minerals in the west, in workable quantities, is one of the most important practical questions of the day. It is my purpose in this article merely to state briefly some observations made last autumn in regard to the lignite deposits of Colorado and Dakota Territories. The details will be given more fully in the final report of the geological survey of Nebraska, now in progress of preparation.

The discovery that large deposits of "stone coal," as it is often called by travellers, existed in various portions of the west is by no means a new one at the present time. The lignite beds of the upper Missouri were noticed by Lewis and Clark, 1803 and 1804, those of Laramie plains by Fremont, 1842, and those of the Raton mountain region by General Emory as far back as 1848. But the intense interest with wbich they are regarded now, as a source of fuel to the vast stretch of fertile but almost treeless plains, has been created anew by the advancing westward wave brought about by the construction of those great national highways. The fact, also, that the coal deposits of Iowa and Missouri are restricted in area, and the coal limited in quantity, and in most cases inferior in quality, and that west of these States it may be said that there is no true coal at all, renders any source of fuel in the far west a matter of the greatest importance. In the valley of the Missouri river and the Yellowstone there are numerous beds of tertiary lignite, varying from a few inches to seven feet in thickness. These formations have been described many times, and until the Northern Pacific railroad is carried through that region they will remain of little practical importance. But the Union Pacific railroad is now in progress of construction through the lignite deposits of the Laramie plains, and the Union Pacific railway, eastern division, and the branch from Denver to Cheyenne City, will pass through those of Colorado, so that if the lignite beds and iron mines of this region are of such a character as to be of economical use, the time for their demand has already come.

My examination of the geology of the State of Nebraska, during the past season, failed to develop any workable beds of coal within the limits of that Stato. My attention was then directed to the great lignite deposits of the Laramie plains. I found the lignite of excellent quality in beds from 5 to 11 feet thick, and I estimated the area occupied by this basin at 5,000 square miles. Its most eastern limit is abont 10 miles east of Rock creek, a branch of the Medicine Bow river. Outcroppings have been seen all along Rock creek, Medicine Bow, ou Rattlesnake Hills, on the North Platte, Muddy creek, all along Bitter creek, Hain's Fork, Echo Canon, and all along Weber river, nearly to Great Salt lake, showing that one connected series of deposits covers this whole area. The lignite taken from the beds on Rock creek is from the outcroppings, yet it burns with a brig red flame, giving out a good degree of beat, leaving scarcely any ash, and is quite as desirable fuel for domestic purposes as any wood. It is non-bituminous, exhibits just a trace of sulphuret of iron, which, decomposing, gives a rusty reddish appearance to the outcrops, and there are seams of jet, 1 to 12 inches in thickness, which looks much like cannel coal, and is thus termed by the miners. The Union Pacific railroad will pass directly through these great coal fields, and as inost of the freight will go westward for many years, the cars on their return can be loaded with this lignite, thus to be distributed through Nebraska at a cost much less than that of wood at the present time. There are also indications of an abundance of iron ore in the vicinity of these deposits

, and the Union Pacific Railroad Company contemplate establishing rolling mills in the Laramie plains at no distant period.

The next point visited was South Boulder creek, the Marshall mines, which are probably the most valuable in the west. I made a pretty careful examination of these mines, as they bave been wrought for four or five years. An average of 50 tons is taken from this place daily and sold at Denver, at prices varying from $12 to $15 per ton. The beds are at the foot of the mountains, and dip to such an extent as to expose the whole series, 11 in number, varyiug from 5 to 13 feet in thickness, so that we have from 30 to 50 feet at least of solid lignite. This is the most favorable locality for studying the strata euclosing the lignite that I have ever met with in the west, and this is due to several causes, the principal of which is their proximity to the base of the mountains, by which they are elevated at a moderate angle. The following somewhat remarkable section is approximately correct, at least:

45. Sandstone, gray and rather coarse grained. || 22. Drab clay, 5 feet. 44. Drab clay.

21. Sandstone, 20 feet 43. Lignite.

20. Drab clay, 3 feet. 42. Drab clay.

19. Lignite, 7 feet. 41. Lignite.

18. Drab clay, 3 feet. 40. Drab clay.

17. Sandstone, 40 feet 39. Sandstone.

16. Drab clay, 3 feet. 33. Drab clay.

15. Lignite, 5 feet. 37. Lignite.

14. Drab clay. 36. Drab clay.

13. Sandstone. 35. Sandstone.

12. Drab clay. 34. Drab clay, 10 to 12 feet.

11. Lignite. 33. Sandstone.

10. Drab clay. 32. Drab clay.

9. Sandstone. 31. Lignite.

8. Drab clay, 30. Drab clay.

7. Lignite, 5 feet. 29. Sandstone.

6. Drab clay. 28. Drab clay passing up into sand three feet. 5. Gray and yellowish gray sandstone. 27. Lignite, 5 feet.

4. Drab clay, 3 feet. 26. Drab clay, 5 feet.

3. Lignite, 11 to 13 feet. 25. Sandstone, 14 feet.

2. Drab clay, 4 feet. 24. Drab clay, 3 feet.

1. Fine yellowish grit indurated cretaceous 23. Lignite, 71 feet.

beds, 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. The thickness of the beds is given when it could be obtained with any degree of accuracy. It is barely possible that beds 6 to 13 feet inclusive have been broken down from the summit of the upheaval just beyond and thus displaced. The inclination of the strata from 1 to 16 inclusive is 89 east, and the cleavage of the beds of lignite is vertical and exactly parallel with the dip. From 13 to 29, inclination is 40°, and the remainder 35°. Ligoite beds 3 and 42 have not yet been tested, and very little is known of them. They have been exposed in the search for iron ore. The summit of the hills above all these beds in the section is covered with a large thickness of superficial drift material, which undoubtedly conceals many other beds which properly belong to the section. Mines bave been opened on Coal creek, three miles south of Marshall's mines, but they have been abandoned for the present. Another has been opened about 20 miles south of Cheyenne City, on Pole creek. The drif began with an outcropping of about four feet eight inches in thickness, inclination 120 east The lignite grows better in quality as it is wrought further into the earth, and the bed, by following the dip 200 feet, is found to be five feet four inches thick, and the lignite is sold readily at Cheyenne City for $25 per ton. The beds are so concealed by a superficial drif deposit that it is difficult to obtain a clearly connected section of the rocks. A section across the inclined edges of the beds eastward from the mountains is as follows: 7. Drab clay passing up into areno-calcareous grit composed of an aggregation of oyste:

shells, ostreasubtrigonalis. 6. Lignite, 5 to 6 feet. 5. Drab clay, 4 to 6 feet. 4. Reddish rusty sandstone in thin lamivæ, 20 feet. 3. Drab arenaceous clay, indurated. 2. Massive sandstone, 50 feet. 1. No. 5 cretaceous, apparently passing up into a yellowish sandstone.

The summit of the hills near this bed of lignite is covered with loose oyster shells, and there must have been a thickness of four feet or more almost entirely composed of them The species seems to be identical with the one found in a similar geological position in the lower lignite beds of the upper Missouri, near Fort Clark, and at the mouth of the Judith river, and doubtless was an inbabitant of the brackish waters which must have existed about the dawn of the tertiary period in the west. No other shells were found in connection with these in Colorado, but on the upper Missouri well-known fresh-water types exist in close proximity, showing that if it proves anything it rather affirms the eocene age of these lower fignite beds. These lignite beds are exposed in many localities all along the eastern base of the mountains, and from the best information I can secure I havo estimated the area occt pied by them north of the Arkansas river at 5,000 square miles. According to the explorations of Dr. John L. Le Conte during the past season, which are of great interest, these same lignite formations extend far southward into New Mexico, on both sides of the Rocky mountains. Specimens of lignite brought from the Raton mountains by Dr. Le Coute resem: ble very closely in appearance and color the anthracites of Pennsylvania. It is probabie that no true coal will ever be found west of longitude 96°, and it becomes, therefore, a most important question to ascertain the real value of these vast deposits of lignite for fuel and other economical purposes. Can these lignites be employed for generating steam and smelting ores? In regard to the lignites in the Laramie plains I have as yet seen no analysis, but specimens are now in the hands of Dr. Torrey, of New York, for that purpose. Specimens from Marshall's mine on South Boulder creek were submitted to Dr. Torrey by the Union Pacific Railroad Company for examination, with the following result: Water in a state of combination, or its elements....

12.00 Volatile matter expelled at a red heat, forming inflammable gases and vapors... Fixed carbon....

59.20 Ash of a reddish color, sometimes gray

2.80

26. 00

100.00

A specimen from Coal creek, three miles south, yielded similar results :
Water in a state of combination, or probably its elements, as in dry wood.....
Volatile inatter expelled at a red heat, in the form of inflammable gases and vapors.
Fixed carbon...
Ash, consisting chiefly of oxyd of iron, alumina, and a little silica

20.00 19.30 58. 70 2. 00

100.00

The percentage of carbon is shown to be in one case 59. 20, and in the other 58.70, which shows at a glance the superiority of the western lignites over those found in any other portion of the world. Anthracite is regarded as so much superior a fuel on account of the large per cent. of carbon, and also the small amount of hydrogen and oxygen. The bituminous coals contain a large percentage of hydrogen and oxygen, but not enough water and ash to prevent them from being made useful, but the calorific power of lignite is very much diminished by the quantity of water contained in it, from the fact that so valuable a portion of the fuel must be used in converting that water into steam.

The day of my visit to the Marshall coal mines, on South Boulder creek, 73 tons of lig. nite were taken out and sold at the rate of $4 a ton at the inine, and from $12 to $16 at Denver. This lignite is somewhat brittle, but has nearly the bardness of ordinary anthracite, which it very much resembles at a distance.

In some portions there is a considerable quantity of amber. I spent two evenings at Mr. Marshall's house burning this fuel in a furnace, and it seemed to me that it would prove to be superior to ordinary western bituminous coals and rank next to anthracite for domestic purposes. Being non-bituminous, it will require a draught to burn well. It is as neat as anthracite, leaving no stain on the fingers. It produces no offensive gas or odor, and is thus superior in a sanitary point of view, and when brought into general use it will be a great favorite for culinary purposes. It contains no destructive elements, leaves very little ash, no clink. ers, and produces no more erosive effects on stoves, grates, or steam boilers than dry wood. If exposed in the open air it is apt to crumble, but if protected it receives no special injury. Dr. Torrey thinks there is no reason why it should not be eminently useful for generating steam and for smelting ores.

Throughout the intercalated beds of clay at Boulder creek and vicinity are found masses of a kind of concretionary iron ore, varying in size from one ounce to several tons in weight. This iron ore is probably a limonite, commonly known under the name of brown hematite or brown iron ore.' It may perhaps be found in the state of carbonate of iron when sought for beyond the reach of the atmosphere. These nodules or concretionary masses, when broken, show regular concentric rings, varying in color from yellow to brown, looking sometimes like rusty yellow agates. It is said to yield 70 per cent. of metallic iron. The first smelting furnace ever created in Colorado was established here by Mr. Marshall, and he informed me that for the production of one ton of pig iron three tons of the ore, 200 pounds of limestone, and 130 to 150 bushels of charcoal are required. Over 500 tons of this ore have been taken from this locality, and the area over which it seems to abound cannot be less than 50 square miles. Indications of large deposits of iron ore have been !ound in many other localities along the line of the Pacific railroads, and if the mineral fuel which is found here in such great abundance can be made useful for smelting purposes, these lignites and iron ore beds will exert the same kind of influence over the progress of the great west tbat Penusylvania exerts over all the contiguous States. When we reflect that we have from 10,000 to 20,000 square miles of mineral fuel in the centre of a region where for a radius of 600 to 1,000 miles in every direction there is little or no fuel either on or beneath the surface, the future value of these deposits cannot be overestimated.

The geological age of these western lignite deposits is undoubtedly.tertiary. Those on the upper Missouri have been shown to be of that age, both from vegetable and animal remains, and in the Laramie plains I collected two species of plants, a populus and a plan. tanus, specifically identical with those found on the upper Missouri. The simple fact that cretaceous formations Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are well shown all along the foot of the mouniains, and that No. 5 presents its usual lithological character, with its peculiar fossils, within 15 miles of Marshall's mines; also that at the mine 2, 3, and 4 are seen inclining at nearly the same angle and holding a lower position than the lignite beds, is sufficient evidence that the strata enclosing the lignite beds are newer than cretaceous. A few obscure dicotyledonous leaves were found, which belong rather to tertiary forms than cretaceons.

The connection of the lignite deposits on the upper Missouri has been traced uninterruptedly to the North Platto, about 80 miles above Fort Laramie. They then pass beneath the White river tertiary heds, but reappear again about 20 miles south of Pole creek, and con

tinue far southward into New Mexico. Near Red Buttes, on the North Platte, it seems also probable that the same basin continues northward along the slope of the Rocky mountaivs, nearly or quite to the Arctic sea. Whether or not there are any indications of this formation over the eastern range into the British possessions I have no means of ascertaining, but the Wind River chain, which forms the main divide of the Rocky Mountain range, exhibits a great thickness of the lignite tertiary beds on both eastern and western slopes, showing con. clusively by the fracture and inclination of the strata that prior to the elevation of this range they extended uninterruptedly in a horizontal position across the area pow occupied by the Wind River chain. Passing the first range of mountains in the Laramie plains we find that the Big Laramie river cuts through cretaceous beds Nos. 2 and 3; continuing our course westward to Little Laramie, a branch of the Big Laramie, and No. 3 becomes 50 to 150 feet in thickness, filled with fossils, Ostrea congesta, and a species of Inoceramus. At Rock creek, about 40 miles west of Big Larannie river, the lignite beds overlap the cretaceous, but in such a way as to show that the more inclined portions have been swept away by erosion, and that the red beds and carboniferous limestones once existed without break and in a horizontal position across the Laramie range prior to its elevation.

I cannot discuss this matter in detail in this article, but the evidence is clear to me now that all the lignite tertiary beds of the west are but fragments of one great basin, interrupted here and there by the upheaval of mountain chains or concealed by the deposition of newer formations. All the evidence that I can secure seems to indicate that there are no valuable beds of lignite west of the Mississippi in formations older than the tertiary.

SECTION III.

MINERAL RESOURCES OF THE TERRITORY OF MONTANA.

[By W. S. Keyes, M. E.) The Territory of Montana is, saving the recently acquired Alaska, the newest and most remote of the subdivisions of the domain of the United States. Its form is very dearly exactly a right-angled parallelogram, the irregularity of the figure occurring on the southwestern border, where the territorial limits are coincident with the main chain of the Cæur d'Alene and Bitter Root mountains. Its northern boundary is latitude 490, being the dividing line between the British and American possessions. Its longitudinal extension, with Dakota on the east and Idaho on the west, embraces 12 degrees, viz: from 27° to 390 west of the meridian of Washington, while its southern boundary is marked, excepting a small portion on the extreme southwest, by the 45th parallel of north latitude.

HISTORICAL.-Our first authentic description of that portion of the continent, of which Montana now forms a part, is due to the labors of Captains Lewis and Clarke, two officers of the regular United States army. They were despatched, at the beginning of the present century, under the auspices of the general government, to explore the far northwest, which was then, and has remained until quite recently, almost a terra incognita. With infinite patience they surmounted all the natural obstacles in their pathway; climbed the snowy ranges; sought out the passes in the mountains ; descended in canoes all the principal streams, and pursued to their sources by far the greater number of their tributaries; passed some years among the Indians ; gave names to all the rivers, by far the larger proportion of which are still retained ; described the fauna and flora-in a word, all the animal and vegetable life, so exhaustively that their descriptions, perfectly accurate more than 60 years ago, are in every essential particular as truthful to-day.

Again, we have the results of the labors of Captain Bonneville, who explored these regions some 30 years subsequently to Lewis and Clarke. The graphic pen of the late Washington Irving compiled from these observations a most admirable and interesting volume.

More recently we have the report of Governor Isaac I. Stevens, who, in the years 1853 1854, and 1855, made a careful survey of the passes of the Rocky mountains, with a vier to determine the practicability of a northern route for a railroad to the Pacific. Lieutenant Mullan, one of the members of the party, established a wagon route from Fort Benton, on the Missouri river, to Walla-Walla, on the Columbia river, in Washington Territory. The distance between these points does not exceed 650 miles, and with this, comparatively speaking, trifling land portage we unite by navigable streams the waters of the Pacific ocean and those of the Gulf of Mexico.

Up to May 26, 1864, on which date the organic act creating the Territory was approved by Congress, Montana was embraced within the jurisdiction of Idaho, whose laws still remained in force until the assembling of the first territorial legislature at Bannock, December 12, of the same year. During the interregnum no advantage was taken or sought to be taken of the technical irregularity of administering in Montana the laws of Idaho-a fact which bears eloquent testimony to the integrity and high character of the first settlers. Subsequently, when the fame of its rich placers had been noised abroad, the Territory became flooded with

« AnteriorContinuar »