Copyright
D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

The Popular science monthly (Volume 19) online

. (page 4 of 110)
Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 4 of 110)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


a large, important, and increasing item of trade, there being probably
no one class of mineral waters of domestic production, or from any
one locality, that are used to so great an extent as those from Saratoga
Springs. On this account, as well as for the reason that our Associa-
tion holds its twenty-eighth annual meeting in this village, where an
opportunity is afforded of personally inspecting the source of supply
of these waters, it will, perhaps, not prove uninteresting to present
some facts regarding an article that has contributed so largely to the
prosperity of Saratoga in the past, and upon which its future interests
to a great degree depend.

Saratoga Springs is an incorporated village, having a resident popu-
lation of abbut ten thousand, which is largely augmented during the
summer season. It has an altitude of three hundred and five feet
above tide-water, is one hundred and eighty-eight miles north of New
York City, on the line of the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad, and is
situated in and on either side of a valley extending from northeast to
southwest. Prior to 1767 little or nothing was known by the whites
regardmg the -waters of this section. In August of that year Sir

* Read at the Saratoga meeting of the American Pharmaceutical Association, Septem-
ber 16, 1 880.



THE MINERAL SPRINGS OF SARATOGA. 25

William Johnson Avas conveyed from Schenectady to this locality on
a litter, by some of the Indian braves of the Mohawk tribe, by whom
he was evidently much loved and esteemed. It is highly probable
that the High Rock was the only spring known to the Indians, and
that Sir William was the first white man that ever visited it. In the
long interval that has elapsed since the location of the High Rock
was revealed, the number of springs developed has been very largely
increased. With regard to the origin of these springs there are two
theories advanced, both of which have able and zealous advocates ;
but, before presenting the claims of either of them to your considera-
tion, it will be necessary to describe the geology of this vicinity, in
oi-der that they may be more fully comprehended. All of the rocks of
this county are members of the oldest systems of geological formation,
and are both metamorphic and sedimentary in their character ; the
granitic or Laurentian is of archaean origin, the remaining strata hav-
ing been deposited during the Low^er Silurian age. The accompany-
ing map represents a transverse section of these formations, extending
from the eastern portion to the higher altitudes located in a north-
westerly direction from this village. The underlying rocks comprise
first, the Laurentian ; second, the Potsdam sandstone ; third, the cal-
ciferous sand-rock ; fourth, the Trenton limestone ; and, fifth, the
Utica, or black slate. At a very remote period of the past, the rocks
comprising these various strata were subjected to some powerful natu-
ral force, which resulted in their fracture, dislocation, and the gi-adual
iipheaval of a large portion of them, producing at the point of disrup-
tion what is known to geologists as a fault. The position occupied by




the various strata is shown in Fig. 1 : No. 1 indicates the Laurentian,
the oldest of those belonging to the metamorphic system ; No. 2, the
Potsdam sandstone ; No, 3, the calciferous sand-rock ; No. 4, the



26 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Trenton limestone ; and, Xo. 5, the Utica or black slate ; the fault, or
break-off, is indicated by the heavy black vertical line, in immediate
proximity to which the village of Saratoga Springs is situated. For
the reason that the black slate has been entirely eroded from that por-
tion of the village immediately west of the fault, and the Trenton
limestone nearly so, none of the former and but a thin stratum of the
latter formation is represented on the accompanying chart. You will
observe that both the dislocation and upheaval of these various strata
are strongly marked at the fault, for, while that portion lying to the
east remains hi situ, that to the west is tilted up to such an extent
that the dip of some of the strata is as great as twenty degrees. You
will also notice that the Laurentian rock on the west side of the fault,
occupying the position designated as No. 1 on the cut, as well as the
superimposed strata, viz., Nos. 2, 3, and 4, are not in perfect opposition
with formations of like character on the east side, the Potsdam sand-
stone lying opposite to the Trenton limestone, the calciferous sand-rock
lying in conjunction with the black slate, while the Trenton limestone
on the west occupies a position above the black slate on the east. The
consideration of this phenomenon naturally suggests an explanation,
but so far as is known there is but one theory relative to the subject,
it being universally conceded that the force that produced this disrup-
tion was due to volcanic agency.

At distances varying from two to twelve miles in a westerly direc-
tion ranges of hills and mountains are encountered, presenting alti-
tudes several hundred feet above this village. In addition to the
enormous area of water-shed that these elevated regions afford, they
possess many ponds and lakes, some of which are of no insignificant
size. The surface-streams that drain this section flow toward the east,
and, as the various strata dip in the same direction, the tendency of
the subterranean drainage must be toward the same point of the com-
pass.

The advocates of the first of the theories regarding the origin of
the mineral springs of Saratoga, recognizing the disintegrating and
solvent action of the water under its various fonns of rain, snow, and
ice, claim that they are produced by the process of displacement or
percolation, holding that, when water falls upon the elevated re-
gions just described, a portion of it gradually permeates the soil and
the various strata of the underlying rocks, dissolving and carrying
with it in its downward flow the various constituents of which the
rocks are composed, and that these are decomposed by their reaction
on each other, and new compounds are formed with the evolution of
carbonic-acid gas, that this is dissolved by the water, which becomes
highly impregnated with it, increasing its solvent properties to a great
extent, enabling it to accumulate basic matter in its flow, which con-
tinues downward and eastward, until the fault is reached, where an
opportunity is afforded for it to escape from the rocks and rise to the



THE MINERAL SPRINGS OF SARATOGA. 27

surface through the various crevices with which the fault is environed,
or make its escape through subterranean channels to unknown outlets ;
in either event the result is due to the simple law of gravitation and
hydrostatic pressure, the bodies of water stored in the lakes, ponds,
and rocks of the higher altitudes furnishing the necessary causes to
produce this result.

To substantiate this theory, attention is called to the close resem-
blance existing between the leading chemical constituents of these
waters and sea-water ; it being claimed that the mineral matter of the
rocks, through which the waters percolate, was deposited from very
ancient oceans, the existence of which was contemporaneous with the
period that embraces the deposit of the geological formations to which
the various strata of this region belong. Those that advocate the
second theory with regard to their origin agree with the adherents of
the theory that has just been presented, in recognizing the elevated
section situated west of the village and the fresh water that flows
from it through the various strata as being the prime source from
which these mineral springs ai'e derived, but decline to accept the the-
ory that their constituents are obtained by the percolation of the fresh
water through the rocks, maintaining that the water remains virtually
unimpregnated until the fault is reached, and that it is at this point
that it becomes charged with both its mineral and gaseous constitu-
ents ; claiming that, inasmuch as the fault extends downward to an
unknown depth, and to the internal fires of the earth, and that the
substances with which these sjirings are impregnated closely resemble
those evolved in a gaseous state from volcanoes, that the mineral con-
stituents of these waters are obtained from the heated interior by the
process of sublimation and subsequent absorption, while the gases are
also derived from the same source in a free state. About the year
1827 the late Dr. Steele, of this village, formed a stock company to
bore for salt, maintaining that the chloride of sodium contained in
these springs was derived from underlying beds or reservoirs, and that
it could be obtained by boring, and made a source of profit to those
that would engage in the enterprise. Accordingly, operations were
commenced several hundred feet west of the fault, and an artesian
well, three inches in diameter and one hundred and eighteen feet in
depth, was sunk in the underlying rock ; but, inasmuch as none but
fresh water was obtained, the scheme was abandoned ; other wells
bearing about the same relative position to the fault as this one have
been secured at various times, but always with the same result. From
the fact that the temperature of these wells and that of the mineral
springs just east of them is said to be identical, and that they are,
like the latter, never affected by surface-drainage, it is claimed that
both have a common origin, and those that advocate the theory of
sublimation claim that, if the waters are fresh at the site of these
fresh-water wells, it is impossible for them to become mineral in their



H



28 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

character by the short passage through the rocks that intervene be-
tween them and the fault ; and hence they insist that the theory of
percolation is untenable. There are two methods of securing the
mineral springs of this locality : the first is shown at Fig, 2, and con-
Pj^, 2 ^^^^^ "^ excavating to an extent of

twenty or thirty feet square surround-
ing the spot where indications of min-
eral water are observed, and extending
downward through the various drift-
?^ formations until the underlying rock
is reached. As the work progresses,
a shaft or crib is sunk in order to pre-
vent the sides from caving in ; and, to
t obviate the collection of water and
g carbonic-acid gas at the bottom of the
shaft, powerful steam-pumps are kept
in constant operation, which effectual-
ly drain the excavation. After reach-
ing the fissured crevices in the rock
— that environ the fault, and through
which the water issues, a pyramidal
wooden hopper, about one foot square
g at the apex, and two or three feet at
°- the base, is placed on the rock directly
over that portion of the crevice from
which the water issues most abun-
dantly, its position being firmly secured by packing clay tightly around
its exterior. As rapidly as the work of filling in the shaft progresses,
a wooden tube, about one foot square, is accurately adjusted to the
hopper, from which the water gradually rises until it reaches the out-
let at or near the top. The depth at Avhich the rock is located from
the surface varies from fifteen to fifty-seven feet. The flow of water
from springs secured in this manner averages from thirty to one hun-
dred and twenty gallons an hour.

The second method (see Fig, 3) consists in drilling into the rock,
in close proximity to the fault, until mineral -water is obtained, the
drill in the mean time being followed by an iron pipe, which effectu-
ally secures the flow, prevents the access of fresh water, and protects
the rock through which the drill passes from the combined disintegrat-
ing action of both the water and carbonic-acid gas. Most of the
springs secured in this manner are spouting in character ; their flow is
not, however, continuous, but spasmodic or intermittent. This pecul-
iarity is undoubtedly due to a pocket or cavity in the rock, as repre-
sented in Fig. 3. A is the tube leading from the pocket to the sur-
face. As the water flows into the pocket from" the surrounding inlets,
it gradually rises above the outlet, which results in the compression of



THE MINERAL SPRINGS OF SARATOGA. 29

the gas between the roof of the cavity and the surface of tlie accumu-
lating water ; when the force of the compression reaches its maxi-
mum, it drives the water from the chamber up tlirough the tube, from
which it escapes in some instances to a distance of thirty feet in a ver-
Fio. 3.




tical direction. After the pent-up water and gas have escaped, the
spouting ceases for a short time until the conditions are favorable for
its repetition, when the process is continued. The springs secured by
this method are the Vichy, Geyser, Champion, Kissingen, and the so-
called magnetic. In depth they vary from fifty to three hundred feet.
So far as the temperature of the springs is concerned they are practi-
cally isothermal, the maximum being 52° and the minimum 40° Fahr. ;
and in no instance are they affected by external causes, both their flow
and temperature being uniform throughout the year. From the fact
that the perpendicular iron tubes, through which the waters flow from
certain wells, are capable of communicating inagnetic properties to
steel, the term magnetic springs has been applied to them in various
sections of the country. Notwithstanding assertions to the contrary,
the water from such springs has been pronounced totally devoid of
any properties of a magnetic character by those who have investigated
this phenomenon. All of the magnetic properties connected with such
springs reside in the iron tubing, which becomes magnetic when placed
in the ground in a' vertical position in localities where the conditions
are favorable ; this result is said to be more likely to be attained if
the tube is inclined a few degrees to the north.







THE POPULAR SCIEXCE MONTHLY.



•9t8l












•S9J1IJS l^Hoa









•noii.unj





:§|g i ;


hill:


:««g : :









fr » O =1 C O



•J3[paiiqo jotnjoij
•SMI









trS-S



•noiniD ■•m



•jMKI






OS 09



•SdSl



g :g



i;ii



§2 is



•SOSI
•asjqmaioQ



:::::§::


;;l


;li


l\i\


; ;i ;


: :2


:i|::


; ill


: : : : ;5 :


: :•=


« :


: :i :


: :~' :


: :'■''


:g^' : :


= l|g =



•jaiptreqo joisaj
•S.-.M



i;!S^i



-Jo I i i J- '. ^ i X o c o



11



••Sil



I :i : : : : :i§



iPi



•Mipawio jonajoy

■i9il

•UDoaHSiH



Z :iZ III :Ai ;5



3 = § =







THE MINERAL SPRINGS OF SARATOGA.



31



•i»3a!S.5H






6
1


0=


1




'IrSi.-








1


III




sill


















f2


is














CO


o2o
1 = 1






i|ii




•t:si











1












1


§11

= 00








s


11








=


SI

"3


1




i«-wo








JO


Pi












1




1




ill








5


^§1

= o =


iPPi




i
5


!!S






§

b




1








1


§4


5


i












g


i^








1

n

ii










i




1












3




S


J= T, ^ S





2 IHi=^-


•SS81




=>


Ml


1




III








H

00


2=S a






1




1










III
" = ^








i


111


5g5 = i = 5




- 1 Mr^


•vm

•V «a«,»n.s ]

1


II








.0 .Js,








nii






il


si






1

•o»ny -la !

•i0iii*)i3


















«3


i






1


i






1


1




2:^

5?






i

H
H


1


J

i

<


2.
<


1

i

<


1


;

:

9
■z

T
2


1


1

=
=
1


2
1
i

J


1
i


■1

2
1


1

i


i
1


1


s
=

i


1

J

3


1
1

.]

1


1


2

J

-

1


1

-=

1

J


X


i

J

E

r.


iS
1
1

i

£


1
1

1


1


3

J


s

1


4
£


1

5

=

i


"1


1


3
I

i




1

1

1

1


1
g


1
>

1


:
1





3 2 THE P OP ULAR S CIENCE MONTHL Y,

With the exception of the High Rock, nothing of especial interest
has attended the efforts to secure any of these waters. This spring
takes its name from the pyramidal formation, which is composed of
tufa, fonned by the gradual deposition of the calcareous and other
mineral matter that hjjs been precipitated from the water as it flowed
from its outlet. Up to 1865 there had never been any attempt made
to secure the flow by artificial means, but in that year the proprietors
conceived the idea of removing the tufaceous rock, and by excavating
to a suflicient depth obtain water of better quality and in greater
abundance. In accordance with this design, the rock, which measured
four feet in height and about eight in diameter at the base, was care-
fully removed from its original position, and the work was commenced.
After having penetrated the superficial deposits, a layer of seven feet
of commingled muck and tufa, superimposed upon two feet of tufa,
was encountered. Immediately below this the workmen found the
trunk of a Pinxis alba, which measured about a foot in diameter, and
which was in a fair state of preservation. The next stratum Avas tufa,
three feet in thickness, below which was two feet of drift. Lying
immediately below this, a glacial clay bed, eighteen inches in thick-
ness, was found, upon the surface of which an ancient hearth was dis-
covered, composed of a semicircular row of stones, pai-tially surround-
ing a quantity of charcoal, over which an incrustation of tufa was
deposited. This circumstance Avas one of particular interest to stu-
dents of archaeology, as it involved the solution of a vexed question
regarding the time at which the fire was kindled, as well as the char-
acter of the race, and the manners and customs of those by whom it
was lighted. Inasmuch as the relic was discovered below the drift for-
mation, its builders might have lived at a period anterior to that of
the mound-builders of the Mississippi Valley. After having pene-
trated to the calciferous sand-rock, the tube was adjusted and the High
Rock replaced, from the apex of which the water has continued to flow.

At the present time there are probably forty mineral springs within
the limits of this town. Thirty of this number have received names,
and twenty -two have been analyzed. The table appended * shows the
proportions of the various constituents contained in a United States
gallon of two hundred and thirty-one cubic inches.

To a certain extent the classification of mineral waters is an arbi-
trary one, different authorities following their own inclinations in
their arrangement. By many they are divided into four classes, as
follows :

1, Gaseous or acidulous : those in which carbonic-acid gas is a pre-
dominating constituent.

2. Saline, or those in which various salts are held in solution, in
addition to the gas.

* At the top of each cohimn the name of the spring, the year when discovered or
tubed, and the name of the analyst, are given.



ACTION OF RADIANT HEAT. 33

3. Chalybeate or ferruginous : those in which iron is a leading con-
stituent ; and —

4. Sulphurous : those that contain sulphurated hydrogen.
Of the latter class there are two instances.

Almost without exception the rest of the waters of this locality
possess some of the properties of those belonging to the first three
classes, being a combination of gaseous, saline, and ferruginous princi-
ples, their difference, as you will observe, being more one of quantity
than of quality. As a matter of convenience they are designated as
cathartic, alkaline, iron, and sulphur waters, according to the degree
in which these characteristics present themselves.

Mineral waters were known at an early day, their use being held
in high repute by the ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as by their
less illustrious successors. Their physiological action and therapy are
not, however, perfectly understood. With the exception of the chalyb-
eate, the persistent use of the cathartic, alkaline, and sulphur waters fa-
vors retrograde metamori^hic action, the ferruginous alone producing an
opposite effect and increasing the number of the red blood-corpuscles.

From the diversified character of their constituents their applica-
tion as therapeutic agents must necessarily have a wide range. Prob-
ably the best results from their use are obtained in those functional
diseases that are connected with derangement of the portal circulation,
and in certain rheumatic and arthritic affections. In some forms of
indigestion their use is attended by very gratifying results, as well as
in certain types of renal difficulties. In anseraia, uncomplicated with
organic lesions, the iron waters are of decided benefit. That many
persons injure themselves from the injudicious use of the waters is a
matter of common observation. They are medicinal, and should be so
regarded and used accordingly. The late Dr. Steele, in referring to
this subject, remarked that " there are numerous persons who flock
about the Springs during the drinking-season, without any knowledge
of the composition of the waters, and little or none of their effects,
who continue to dispose of their directions to the ignorant and unwa-
ry, with no other effect than to injure the reputation of the water and
destroy the prospects of the diseased."



ACTIOX OF RADIANT HEAT O^ GASEOUS MATTER.

By Professor JOHN TYNDALL, F. R. S.

THE Royal Society has already done me the honor of publishing a
long series of memoirs on the interaction of radiant heat and gas-
eous matter. These memoirs did not escape criticism. Distinguished
men, among whom the late Professor Magnus and the late Professor



34 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Buff may be more specially mentioned, examined my experiments, and
arrived at results different from m-ine. Living workers of merit have
also taken up the question : the latest of whom,* while justly rec-
ognizing the extreme difficulty of the subject, and while verifying,
so far as their experiments reach, what I had published regarding
dry gases, find me to have fallen into what they consider grave
errors in my treatment of vapors.

None of these investigators appear to me to have realized the true
strength of my position in its relation to the objects I had in view.
Occupied for the most part with details, they have failed to recognize
the stringency of my work as a whole, and have not taken into ac-
count the independent support rendered by the various parts of the
investigation to each other. They thus ignore verifications, both
general and special, which are to me of conclusive force. Never-
theless, thinking it due to them and me to submit the questions at
issue to a fresh examination, I resumed, some time ago, the threads of
the inquiry. The results shall, in due time, be communicated to the
Royal Society ; but, meanwhile, I would ask permission to bring to
the notice of the Fellows a novel mode of testing the relations of ra-
diant heat to gaseous matter, whereby singularly instructive effects
have been obtained.

After working for some time with the thermopile and galvanome-
ter, it occurred to me several weeks ago that the results thus obtained
might be checked by a more direct and simple form of experiment.
Placing the gases and vapors in diathermanous bulbs, and exposing
the bulbs to the action of radiant heat, the heat absorbed by differ-
ent gases and vapors ought, I considered, to be rendered evident by
ordinary expansion. I devised an apparatus with a view of testing
this idea. But, at this point, and before my proposed gas-thermom-
eter was constructed, I became acquainted with the ingenious and
original experiments of Mr. Graham Bell, wherein musical sounds are
obtained through the action of an intermittent beam of light upon
solid bodies.

From the first, I entertained the opinion that these singular sounds
were caused by rajjid changes of temperature, producing corresj^ond-
ing changes of shape and volume in the bodies impinged upon by the
beam. But if this be the case, and if gases and vapors really absorb
radiant heat, they ought to produce sounds more intense than those
obtainable from solids. I pictured every stroke of the beam respond-
ed to by a sudden expansion of the absorbent gas, and concluded that,
when the pulses thus excited followed each other with sufficient rapid-
ity, a musical note must be the result. It seemed plain, moreover,
that by this new method many of my previous results might be
brought to an independent test. Highly diathermanous bodies, I

* MM. Lecher andPemter, "Philosophical Magazine," January, 1881 ; "Sitzb. dcr k.
Akad. der Wissench. in Wien," July, 1880.



Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 4 of 110)