B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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Kempinkote have been made in chloritic schist abounding with small cubical
cavities full of reddish limonite. It is impossible to offer any positive
opinion as to the Kempinkote gold prospects, no reef being visible in the


great pit. The latter should be cleared out to see whether the reef has been
entirely worked out or not. The length and width of the great pit is so
great that it is quite possible the old miners really descended to a great
depth before stopped by water or other difliculties they could not compass
with their limited mechanical appliances. The great size of the old work-
ing shows, however, that the old miners found the place worth their atten-
tion for a long period. Overlying the chloritic schist which forms the main
mass of the low rise south-east of Nuggihalli is a thin bed of ha^matitic
schist, the debris from which forms a wide-spread talus. This iron-strewn
knoll appears to be the southern termination of the Tagadur-betta outlier,
unless the auriferous rocks make a considerable sweep to the west, for the
rocks along the direct path from Kempinkote to Nuggihalli belong to the
gneiss. To the northward the hiematite band thickens considerably, and
may be traced for nearly a mile, and may very likely represent the great iron
beds which form the crest of Tagadurbelta itself. The rock shown in the
quarry about i| miles N.N.E. of Nuggihalli is of doubtful geological age,
and is separated from the Tagadurbetta band of the auriferous schists by
a band nearly 2 miles in width of granite gneiss. The workings described
by Mr. Lavelle as occurring one mile north of the village, were not seen by
me, nor are any indications of them given on his maps. Two pits I was
taken to at about | to f of a mile W. and N.W. by W. of Nuggihalli, appear to
me to have been quarries for rubble stone, not excavations made for any
mining purposes, for no signs appear either of reefs or dumps in either case.
They are situated just within the western boundary of the schist outlier,
and lie near the path leading from Nuggihalli to Virupdkshipur. A mile
and a quarter N.N.W., and just at the head of the valley running north-east
from the Tagadurbetta hill, begins a set of old workings which occur at
intervals through the scrub jungle for rather more than half a mile. The
workings are all very shallow and look as if they had been early abandoned.
The reefs seen run in the strike of the country rock, which bends about from
north and south to north-west and back to north again. None of the reefs
here are of any length or great thickness. The quartz they consist of is
white and hungry-looking, and the washings obtained were not encouraging
in quantity, though not so small as to make me condemn this gold-field as
imworthy of further attention, for the country rock, chloritic schists with
intercalated hsmatitic bands, is favourable to the occurrence of gold. The
crest of Tagadurbetta consists of two good-sized beds of massive ha^matitic
rock, which are one source of the great haematitic talus which covers the
eastern slope of the ridge. The southern extension of these beds is very
soon masked by surface deposits, but to the north they extend about a mile
as low but conspicuous mural outcrops. How much further they extend I
could not say, but it is not all improbable they may run considerably further,
or even join the iI/rt//^«/i«/// outlier, 8 miles to the N.N.W. These work-
ings lie a mile south of the high road leading from Hassan to Tiptur, and
about 10 miles south-west of the latter town No reef is seen in connection
with the large pit, nor is the country rock exposed just here, but close by it
consists of hornblendic schist underlying a green micaceous gneissoid schist,


and fragments of true quartzite \vcre observed lying about in some quantity,
confirming the Dharwar age of these beds. A moderate show of gold was
obtained by washing. A little to the northward of the pit is a large reef of
rather good-looking bluish-white mottled quartz. The reef shows for nearly
100 yards, and is from 12 to 15 feet thick on the surface. The quartz shows
no included minerals, but testing in depth might very probably show good
results. The schistose rocks seem to stop near Mallenhalli, and only gneissic
rocks were noted between the village and the ne.xt auriferous \oc■^X\\.y,Jalga-
ran/ialii, 35 miles N.W. by N. This consists of a small and rather shallow
pit with a number of date-palms growing in and around it. No reef is seen
traversing the pit, on the east side of which is an outcrop of the stellately
felted hornblende rock seen at the Pura workings at the north end of the
Bcllibetta outlier. A wash of scrapings from the side of the pit gave a fair
show of fine gold, sufficient to recommend that it be more fully prospected
and tested than has as yet been done. The Belgiimba auriferous rocks are,
I believe, the northerly extension of the beds seen at Jalgaranhalli, but time
did not allow of my examining the intermediate tract of country, and I
visited the Belgumba tract from the north. This group of old workings lies
7 miles south-east of Arsikere, and i.^ miles south of the 99th milestone on the
Bangalore-Shimoga road. The highest point of ground due south of the
99th mile is the northern extremity of the Belgumba outlier of the auriferous
rocks ; the southern end, as above explained, forming to all appearance the
Jalgaranhalli auriferous patch. The workings, with one exception, lie along
the westerly slope of a low ridge extending S.S.E. from the high pointi just
referred to. The strike of the schist beds is as nearly as possible S.S.E.,
and they occupy a band about \ a mile in width abreast of the workings ;
further south the band seems to widen out. A large but generally white and
hungry-looking reef runs along the ridge on its western slope just below the
summit, and another similar one crests a knoll a little to the south of the
most southerly pit. They run parallel with the strike of the chloritic and
liornblendic schists forming the country rock. The northern reef shows
bluish colour in parts. The considerable size of the old workings
is the only evidence in favour of their having been productive. They are
much obscured by rubbish, and in their present state it is impossible to say
whether or not the reefs they were worked on continue in depth. The
prospects of future success at this place are not very encouraging. The
country northward from the Trigonometrical Station hill up to and beyond
the Shimoga road is all gneissic. At Gollarhalli, about 6 miles to the
south-west of Belgumba, is a very large old working, in shape like a very
rude horse-shoe, opening northward. The depth of the working is nowhere
i;rcat, and at the southern part of the curve very shallow. The curve encloses
a few small detached workings of no interest or importance. Dumps occur
])rctty numerously all along the sides of the horse-shoe, but no reefs are
visible in any part of the workings except at the southern apex, where a
large but very ill-defined reef of bluish-white colour shows up for a few yards ;
but it is very easy to overlook it, as it is greatly obscured by rubbish. A
' Tills point is crowned l;y ii Trigononielrical Station, 2,982 feet above sea-level.


very barren-looking reef of massive white quartz occurs some little distance
north of the western branch of the horse-shoe. Neither of these reefs has
been tested to any depth. This outlier of the auriferous rocks, if such rocks
they are, is a very small one, and gneissic rocks occur all around at very
small distances. Very little is seen of the country rock except at the
eastern end of the works, where an immensely tough hornblendic rock with
a soapy steatitic weathered surface occurs. Small outcrops of hornblendic
schist peep up here and there in the workings. The washings that I had
made at the western extremity gave only a small show of gold, but from
scrapings in the deepest part of the eastern arm of the working I got a very
fair show. The locality appears to me to be deserving of closer prospecting
than it has yet undergone. Three and a half miles south-south-west of
Arsikere are the old Yellavari workings, which lie in the low ground half a
mile or so east of the village, and are excavated in hornblendic schist with
intercalated bands of chlorite schist, which I refer but doubtfully to the
auriferous system. The quartz seen is bluish-greyish-white in colour, very
saccharoid in texture, and much iron-stained in part from the decomposition
of included specks of haematite. Specks of powdery kaolin occur, but no
visible gold or any sulphides. The reef lies between bands of micaceous
and hornblendic bands of gneiss on the east and west respectively. A
washing from the casing of the reef gave a very small show of gold. I feel
justified in recommending further testings and a search for the reef, which
will probably be re-discovered if the working is cleared out to the bottom.
Whether there is any connection between the Yellavari and GoUarhalli
patches of auriferous rock I cannot say ; the country is too jungly, and the
rocks at both places seen in such very small outcrops that the eye can only
follow them for a few yards. I noted no sign of any extension of the
schists northward or north-westward past Arsikere. Karadihalli is the last
of the auriferous localities included in the west-central group. The work-
ings lie on the north and south-east slopes of a low ridge, the centre of
which is formed by a small granite gneiss hill, locally called the Chotnare
Maradi, around the base of which lie beds of steatite and hornblendic rock
of doubtful age, geologically speaking. As to reefs, only one small one
was noted near the southern set of pits, and this is a white and hungry-
looking one running for some 60 paces N. 5° W. Northward of the
Chotnare Maradi are two large reefs deserving of further examination. The
first, which lies due north of the hill, runs north and south, the second, which
shows much more conspicuously, lies a couple of hundred yards further
north-east and runs N. 20" W. The great wealth in gold which Mr. Lavelle
ascribes to this part of the country has, I think, yet to be proven. The
auriferous tracts already known are very small in extent, and, as far as surface
study of them goes, they do not appear to be of the highest class.

( Tar ike re to Ddvangere)

Western Group. — No old workings or unworked auriferous localities were
brought to my notice in the southern part of the western band, but since


the completion of my tour I have seen a statement' that a vast number of
old workings occur all over the hills to the north-west of Halebid. These
old workings should certainly be looked up, both on geological and
economic grounds. The western group is numerically far poorer in
auriferous localities than either of the others, and they are scattered widely
apart. The sands of several of the small streams running down from the
hills west of the village of Chiranhalli in Tarikere taluq are auriferous. A
washing in the stream flowing through the little tank known as the
Huggisiddankatte gave a good show of rather coarse gold. A very fair
show was next obtained at the junction of the same stream with another
coming in from the north, and a small show from the bed of the northern
stream, which is crossed by a good-sized quartz reef running N.N.E. This
was the only reef seen, but other reefs doubtless occur among the hills west
of the Huggisiddankatte. The country rock consists of steatitic and very
pale chloritic schists, full of cubical crystals of pyrites, some of which are
replaced by pseudomorphs in limonite, and others are quite fresh and bright.
Well-shaped octohedra of magnetic iron are also to be found in the schists.
The geological features are all favourable to the occurrence of gold, and the
locality is worthy of very careful prospecting. At Malcbcnniir, the sands
of the little stream which falls into the Komaranhalli tank next beyond the
ridge underlying the south end of the tank bund are auriferous, and from
a washing I made here I obtained a very good show of coarse-grained gold
of excellent colour. The little stream drains the western slope of the ridge
for about a quarter of a mile, and its whole catchment basin must be less
than 100 acres. The greater part of this consists of chloritic schists which
in their upper part contain many lamina? and small nests of crystalline
limestone. The chloritic schists are underlaid by trap, to all appearance a
contemporaneous flow. This trap extends westward far beyond the basin
of the small stream. To the east the chlorite schist is overlaid by a
h;umatitic quartzite bed of considerable thickness, beyond which I did not
follow up the series. No reefs are to be seen within the basin of the little
stream, but many small veins of blue quartz occur traversing the chlorite
schist and also the overlying hiematite bed. Some of the larger of these veins
on top of the ridge have an east-to-west run. The western slope ought to
be very closely tested by costeaning in order to ascertain the source of the
gold dust found in the stream. Trenches carried through the talus-covered
parts of the slope may also be tried in order to find, if possible, any larger
reefs. As already stated, a trap formation occupies the bottom of the valley
west of the auriferous stream. This trap is much obscured by soil and talus,
and the sequence of the rocks is not to be made out near the road. Where
the ground begins to rise westward, and rocks crop out, is a quartzite so much
altered by crushing and weathering that it has in parts assumed quite a
gneissoid appearance. Underlying this comes a thick band of dark schist,
chiefly argillitic, and this in its turn is underlaid by a great thickness ot pale
green and grey schists, chlorito-micaceous, in variable character. A few

' In an cxliauslivo work on the Occurrence anil Extraction of Ciolcl, by .\. Ci.


beds of quartzite are intercalated here and there, and many very irregular
veins of white and pale bluish quartz are to be seen traversing the schists.
Gold occurs at Anckonda, a little over half a mile X.L. of Davajigere
travellers' bungalow, in form of dust obtained by washing the red gritty soil
lying against the rock, which here forms a ridge rising only 20 feet (if as
much) over the surrounding country. The rock is a brecciated quartz run,
not an ordinary reef. Runs such as these are common in many parts of the
gneiss in the Ceded Districts and elsewhere, but I have never met with one
within the auriferous (I)harwar) series, nor have I ever come across such a
brecciated quartz rock that had been regarded as auriferous by the old
miners and mined as such. A washing of the red soil exposed in the
shallow bed of a small stream falling into the Anekonda tank, a few hundred
yards further south, also yielded a small show of gold. The source of this
gold I believe to lie in the high ground to the south.

The elevated tract of the auriferous rocks of which the Bababudan moun-
tains form the centre is one well deserving great attention both from the
geologist and the mining prospector, it being an area of great disturbance,
the rocks being greatly contorted on a large scale, and on the north and
south sides at least of the area much cut up by great faults. Regions of
great disturbance are in many cases extra rich in minerals, and it is very
likely that such may be the case here. It is only of late years, owing to the
extension of coffee-planting, that this mountain region has become accessible.
Before that it was covered by vast impenetrable forests which hid every-
thing. These are now penetrable in many directions, and the modern pros-
pector has opportunities which did not exist before. The eastern part of
the mountain tract culminating in the Bababudan mountains consists of
huge flows of trap-rock (diorite) with intercalated beds of dark argillitic
schists capped by quartzites and haematites, which two latter form the
summit of the Bababudan mass. Mr. Lavelle mentions magnetic iron ore
and " chrome " (presumiably chromic iron) from the Bababudans, but un-
fortunately does not give any localities, so it was impossible to inquire
further into their occurrence. The chromic iron would be valuable if found
in good quantity and easily mined. The most southerly of the auriferous
localities in the western set is Sitladainaradi, a small hill 2 miles south-east
of Tarikere. The hill consists of chloritic schist in highly contorted beds.
The great white reef on top of the hill participates in the contortions, and is
bent into a very remarkable flat sigmoid curve. This and the other reefs
occurring on the north side of the hill are \ ery white and hungry-looking.
The only enclosures in the quartz I noted, after careful search, were small
spangles with rich green chlorite. There were no sulphides, nor any other
mineral, the chlorite excepted. The indications of the Suladamaradi rocks
are anything but favourable, and the old miners evidently thought so too,
for there are no signs of old workings. On the left bank of the Bhadra
river, 13 miles south- east of Shimoga, on washing in the rain gully draining
the south side of Ho7i7ichatti\\\\\{Tx\g. Station \ I obtained a very good
show of moderately coarse gold. The mass of the hill consists of chloritic
schist having a N.N.W. strike, and the beds may be seen extending for


miles in that direction, after which they trend X.E. Several large reefs are
to be seen running N.N.W., or in the line of the strike of the country rock.
Their only apparent fault is their great whiteness. No workings are seen on
the south side of the hill, but on ascending the Honnehattimaradi on its
eastern side, I came upon several unknown old pits and one shaft, which
from their bearing had evidently been sunk to follow one of the reefs. The
workings had evidently been continued to some depth, and were therefore in
all probability fairly remunerative. Honnehatti appears to me to deserve
very marked attention from earnest prospectors. Palava7ihallt : — This well-
known auriferous tract, which with the adjacent Kudrikonda tract con-
stitutes the Honnali gold-field, was first visited by me in 1881 and its
geology very carefully worked out and reported on (see above, p. 41).
My opinion oi the Kudrikonda tract was published in the paper just referred
to. I believe my geological inferences to have been correct, and that the
temporary non-success of the mine has been due mainly to want of capital
wherewith to push on the works in depth. So long as sufificient quartz was
raised to keep the stamps at full work, the mine paid its expenses. Should
more capital be raised and working be resumed, I fully expect the yield of
gold will improve in depth, as has been the case in so many deep mines in
Australia. Without having the plans to refer to, and the mine itself being
full of water owing to the stoppage of the works, and therefore inaccessible,
I could not form any opinion as to the merits or demerits of the plan of
work which had prevailed, but I cannot help thinking that if a new engine
of sufficient power be provided to keep the mastery over the great volume
of water flowing through the mine, it will soon be possible to sink an ex-
ploratory shaft to find the lode, which has been thrown by a fault in the
country rock. It would be a great mistake to abandon further work without
having made an earnest search for the missing lode, as from the structure of
the country it is very unlikely that the throw of the fault can be a great

Noji-Mctallic ^ fin era is.

The pure gold-prospecting work left me no leisure to devote to any non-
metallic minerals, excepting such as actually fell in my way.

Emery. — Near Nadapanhalli a ie\y small masses of dirty brown rock,
measuring less than 2 cubic yards in the aggregate, are seen by the side of
a field road. There are no signs of any working, so I suppose only loose
pieces were taken away to test its commercial value, which cannot be great.
The emery is very impure and of poor quality, and with good corundum
obtainable in quantity in various other parts of the country is not deserving
of any attention.

Asbestos. — Only one asbestos-yielding locality came under my notice, to
the west of BeUibetta. The matrix rock in which the asbestos really occurs
is not seen in the little pit from which the stone had been dug. The surface
of the country just here consists of reddish kankar underlying red soil.
The asbestos I saw had been included in the kankar, having apparently been
weathered out from its original matrix, whatc\er that may ha\e been. The


show of asbestos at the i)it was very small and of inferior qiiahty. The
lar},^est pieces showed a coarse fibre, 4 to 5 indies long, cream-coloured, and
of dull lustre. I only noticed one piece with fine silky fibre and silvery-
white colour. In the present condition of the pit, it is impossible to form
an opinion as to the capabilities of the place.

Kaolin. — Kaolin is mentioned by Air. Lavelle as occurring in several
places and of good quality and colour, but he does not state whether it is
available in large quantities. To be of real value commercially it must be
of the highest degree of purity and free from all iron-mould or stain. To
raise it on a large scale requires the presence on the spot of a large supply of
perfectly liinpidiuater, with which to work the rock by hydraulic sluicing, and
facilities for the construction of large settling pits, which must be protected
from the influence of ferruginous dust of any kind. In Europe, china clay
works are found to pay only where the industry can be carried out on a really
large scale. I have never yet seen in India a place combining the two most
essential requirements for a successful industry, namely, a large develop-
ment of kaolinized granite and a sufficient supply of limpid water. The
limpidity of the water is a sine qua non for success. There is no demand
for large quantities of kaolin in India, and speculators would do well to
make sure before starting such an industry in India that they could find a
profitable market for their produce in Europe or elsewhere.

Marble. — I noticed a good bed of grey crystalline limestone running north
and south across one of the gullies near the main gold pit at Holgere. The
limestone lies half way down the slope to the Holgere tank, and is of good
quality, and would be a useful stone for decorative and monumental
sculpture. Immense quantities of grey crystalline limestone, divided by
partings and small beds of quartzite, occur on the east side of the main
ridge lying between Chiknayakanhalli and Dod-Rampura. The limestones
are several hundred feet thick and deserve to be prospected, for they may
very likely contain beds of other colour than grey which would be valuable
in sculpture.

Granite. — .A. very beautiful variety of granite gneiss, eminently fitted for
cutting and polishing on a large scale, forms the mass of Chotnaremaradi in
the little Karadihalli gold-field, two miles east of Banavar. The rock is
remarkably free from joints, and monoliths of great size could easily be
quarried. It is by far the handsomest granite I have seen in Mysore.

Porphyry. — A great dyke of beautiful porphyry traverses the hills east of
the Karigatta temple overlooking Seringapatam. The porphyry, which is of
warm brown or chocolate colour, includes many crystals of lighter coloured
felspar and dark crystals of hornblende. The stone would take a very high
polish, and for decorative purposes of high class, such as vases, panels and
bases for busts and tazzas, etc., it is unequalled in South India, and deserving
of all attention. If well polished it fully equals many of the highly prized
antique porphyries. The dyke is of great thickness and runs for fully a
mile, so is practically inexhaustible. Blocks of very large size could be
raised, and, from the situation of the dyke on the sides of two steep hills, it
would be very easy to open up large quarries if needful.

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After R. D. Oldham (ochmi'>^

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 9 of 98)