from these ores were found also to be generally of very good
Amongst the clays which were analyzed, that from Bald
Knob Church, Ohio county No. 2076 was found to be quite
refractory, and it may very probably be made available for
fire-clay if in sufficient abundance.
Seventeen different samples of limestone were examined,
many of which were from the phosphatic layers in the blue
limestone of Fayette county, mentioned in the preceding
Report. In fourteen samples, mostly from the same quarry,
and all from the same neighborhood, the proportions of phos-
phoric acid were found to vary from 1.462 per cent, in No.
2002 up to 21.940 per cent, in sample four of No. 2004.
(See Fayette county.)
While these interesting phosphatic layers, in the Lower
Silurian limestone of this county, have not as yet been found
regular and continuous enough, perhaps, to justify working for
CHEMICAL REPORT. 7
the manufacture of superphosphate, they are yet quite inter-
esting, as throwing much light on the superior fertility of our
Lower Silurian, or so-called " Blue-grass soil." As will be
seen, the analyses of some of the most abundant of the fossils
of this limestone did not develop in these any unusual pro-
portion of phosphoric acid.
One of the limestones analyzed No. 2073 a ferruginous
limestone from Rough creek, Ohio county, was found, when
calcined, to possess the properties of hydraulic cement.
The lead ore found in our limestone, usually associated
with zinc sulphide in veins of baryta sulphate, examined for
silver, was found to give the usual negative result. Indeed,
general experience, hitherto, seems to show that very little
silver is associated with the galena found in undisturbed lime-
stone layers ; that ore being most generally argentiferous
which is in veins in the rocks which have been much dis-
turbed by volcanic action.
The re examination of the mineral waters of the Olympian
Springs, in Bath county, and of the Lower Blue Lick Springs,
in Nicholas county, has developed several interesting facts.
Not only is it shown that the general composition of these
celebrated waters has not been altered, or the waters weak-
ened sensibly, during the considerable period intervening be-
tween the analyses, but also several new ingredients, in small
quantities, have been discovered in them. Not the least
interesting of these are boracic acid and lithium compounds.
Compounds of barium and strotium found in these, also in
minute proportions, are believed to be, like the above sub-
stances, more generally prevalent than was formerly supposed.
Several other mineral waters, deserving of a more complete
examination, were qualitatively examined. Kentucky is quite
rich in these waters, and a more systematic study of them
than has, as yet, been possible, is desirable.
The chemical analyses of the ashes of the Hungarian grass,
German millet, &c., together with the microscopic photographs
of parts of their silicious skeletons by Mr. Alex. T. Parker and
Mr. J. Mullen, and the experiments to discover the nature of
8 CHEMICAL REPORT.
the peculiar "root action" of these plants in their decompo-
sition of the silicates of the soil, as well as to determine the
nature of the special acid solvents exuded from the plants for
this purpose, detailed in the Appendix, throw some light on
the mysterious selective power of vegetables, by which ma-
terials, very different in kind and quantity, are appropriated
by different plants from a soil common to all. Some, because
probably of superior decomposing power which they exert
over the silicates of the soil, being able to extract essential
mineral ingredients and thrive, where others die of inanition,
for want of the proper solvent or digestive agent.
To produce the silicious cell-casts and skeleton of the Hun-
garian grass and German millet, the silicious material must
have been dissolved in water, in unusually large proportion, in
the vicinity of the roots of these plants. Unless in solution,
it could not penetrate the cell walls.
It is well known to chemists that when silicates are decom-
posed, by acids or other agents, in the presence of water,
that the silicic acid thus produced is soluble to a large amount
in that fluid ; but that it may again be easily brought to an
insoluble condition, as it exists in flint or sand, by the subse-
quent separation of the water ; and this fact, with the demon-
stration of the exudation from the rootlets of these plants of
an acid fluid containing oxalic, phosphoric, and other acids,
probably in greater quantity than is produced by many other
vegetables, enables us to guess how these may decompose
more of the silicates of the soil than other plants and absorb
more dissolved silicic acid.
Plants, like animals, vary greatly in their natural power
of appropriating essential elements of food. Some live and
thrive on food of most difficult digestion ; others, like the
young of most animals, require nourishment in the most sol-
uble and available condition. Some, like the Hungarian grass
and other plants which grow on sterile soils, can extract their
essential mineral food from the hardest stony particles; others,
like our ordinary grain-producing plants, depend more on the
natural soil solution, which brings their food to their roots
CHEMICAL REPORT. Q
already in a condition to be most readily absorbed. Peculiar
root action on the soil is no doubt common, in a greater or
less degree, to all plants ; yet, that the common soil solution,
produced by the solvent action of the atmospheric waters
upon the soil ingredients, is also a common source oi plant
food, is equally demonstrable.
No. 1967 SOIL, labeled "Virgin soil, from the surface of the
tract of land of about fifty square miles in extent, in the
eastern part of Allen coimty, called the 'Buncombe tract! 'A
very poor district. Forest growth : scrub oak, black oak, pop-
lar, chestnut, hickory, &c. Produces about three to five barrels
of corn to the acre (equal to fifteen to twenty-five bushels].
Sub-stratum arenaceous, clayey, and calcareo-silicious rocks ;
decayed to the depth of fifteen feet." Collected by Rev. Pier-
The dried soil is of a light dirty-buff color. The coarse
sieve removed from it only a few small ferruginous concre-
tions. The silicious residue, after digestion in acids, all passed
through fine bolting-cloth, except a small proportion of small
rounded grains of quartz and undecomposed silicates, and a
few very small silicified entrochi.
No. 1968 " SUBSOIL of the next preceding soil" &c., &c. Col-
lected by Rev. Herman Hertzer.
Of a lighter and more yellowish buff color than the pre-
ceding ; containing fewer small ferruginous concretions. The
fine bolting-cloth separated from the silicious residue only a
few small rounded grains of quartz and of undecomposed
silicates of various tints.
No. 1969 "SURFACE SOIL, one year in cultivation. Upland.
Land of William H. H. Mitchell, one mile west of Scottsville,
Allen county. Forest growlJi : a maple grove. Product: fifty
to sixty busliels of corn to the acre." Collected by Rev. Her-
The dried soil is of a light greyish-umber color. The coarse
IO CHEMICAL REPORT.
sieve removed from it a few angular fragments of ferruginous
quartzose rock. The fine bolting-cloth separated from silicious
residue a small quantity of fine rounded particles of quartz and
undecomposed silicates of a reddish-grey color.
No. 1970 " SUBSOIL of the next preceding" &c., &c. Col-
lected by Rev. Herman Hertzer.
The dried subsoil is very much in color like the surface
soil, being only slightly lighter. The coarse sieve and bolt-
ing-cloth removed similar fragments and particles from the
soil and the silicious residue. The rounded particles of unde-
composed silicates and quartz amounted to about four and a
half per cent, of the subsoil.
No. 1971 "SURFACE SOIL. Upland, from the farm of Wm.
H. H. Mitchell (same locality as the preceding], which has
been in cultivation for sixty years. Yields twenty-Jive bushels
of corn per acre; eight to ten bushels ef wheat ; or fifteen to
twenty of oats. Original forest growth : chestnut, maple, oaks,
poplar, &c. Geological formation : the Keokuk Group cal-
careo-silicioits and argillaceous rocks and shales ; decayed to
the deptJi of twenty feet below tJie soil" Collected by Rev.
The dried soil is of a buff color. The coarse sieve sepa-
rated from it some small quartzose concretions, silicified entro-
chi, and iron gravel. The silicious residue, from the digestion
in acid, all passed the fine bolting-cloth except a few rounded
grains of milky quartz and of dark-colored undecomposed sili-
cates, with some minute silicified entrochi.
No. 1972 " SUBSOIL of the next preceding" &c. Collected by
Rev. Herman Hertzer.
The subsoil is lighter and brighter colored than the surface
soil. The coarse sieve removed from it fewer quartzose and
ferruginous concretions than from that, and the bolting-cloth
separated fewer silicious particles.
CHEMICAL REPORT. I I
COMPOSITION OF THESE ALLEN COUNTY SOILS, DRIED AT 212 F.
Organic and volatile matters
Alumina and iron and manganese oxides. . . .
: OI 3
The unproductiveness of the soils Nos. 1967 and 1968,
from the so-called Buncombe tract, finds an explanation in
their chemical composition as detailed above. Both surface
soil and subsoil show a very marked deficiency of phosphoric
acid, the proportions of which, 0.019 an< ^ - OI 3 P er cent, only,
are smaller than have been found in any other Kentucky soils.
This deficiency alone would cause sterility ; but it fortunately
can be remedied quite easily by means of top-dressings of
fertilizers containing phosphates, such as commercial super-
phosphate of lime, bone-dust, or good guano. These soils
are also somewhat deficient in organic matters (humus), lime,
&c., and may no doubt be greatly improved by the cultivation
of clover, with top dressings of plaster of Paris or slaked
lime, and the plowing under of the green crop after one
year's grazing with hogs or cattle. The relative small pro-
portion of alumina, &c., to the sand and silicates, which
makes them what are called a "hungry soil," may be meas-
urably remedied by the judicious use of such clay marls as
may be accessible. The alkalies, potash, and soda are not
greatly deficient in these soils, yet the use of wood ashes, or
some other alkaline fertilizer, would doubtless increase their
The soils Nos. 1969-1970 and 1971-1972, differing so
greatly in productiveness soil 1969 producing fifty to sixty
12 CHEMICAL REPORT.
bushels of corn to the acre, and the others only twenty-five
bushels also exhibit very significant differences in their chem-
ical composition. Taking the surface soils for comparison, we
find the more productive soil, No. 1969, contains nearly twice
as much organic matters and phosphoric acid as the less fer-
tile one, No. 1971, and that this latter essential ingredient,
phosphoric acid, is notably deficient in the less productive
soils. Another marked difference is found in the relative pro-
portions of lime and magnesia, the great deficiency of which
in the old field soils seems to indicate that their present infe-
riority is probably as much owing to an original difference of
composition as to the deteriorating influence of the sixty
years of cultivation. This supposition is strengthened by the
relatively higher proportion of potash in the old field soil.
The remarks on the improvement of the soil of the Bun-
combe tract apply also to this old field soil.
SOILS AND SUBSOILS, &c.
No. 1973 "ViRGiN SOIL, from the farm of Major J. S. Barlow,
in the 'Barrens' four miles east of Cave City, Barren county"
Collected by Rev. Herman Hertzer.
" Geological formation : St. Louis limestone, the partly de-
composed rock six feet beneath the surface. Very rich soil
generally in the 'Barrens.' The 'Barrens,' so-called because
of the absence of forest growth in early times, extend from
Hardin county through Barren, Warren, and Simpson coun-
ties. Formerly ' prairie ' land, now overgrown with a young
forest of black oak, scrub oak, walnut, beech, and hickory."
The dried soil is of a light umber color. Clods friable.
The coarse sieve removed from it only a small quantity of
small fragments of decomposing chert and iron gravel. The
silicious residue, after digestion in acids, all passed through
fine bolting-cloth, except a small quantity of particles of partly
decomposed silicates, and some few clear quartz grains.
No. 1974 " SOIL, sixty years in cultivation, from the same
locality as the last. Average crops : of tobacco, one thousand
CHEMICAL REPORT. 13
two hundred pounds ; ivheat, fifteen bushels ; corn, forty to
fifty bushels!'' Collected by Rev. Herman Hertzer,
The dried soil is of an umber color, slightly darker than
that of the preceding soil. The clods are friable. The coarse
sieve separated from it about forty per cent, in weight of angu-
lar fragments of decomposing chert. The silicious residue all
passed through the fine bolting-cloth, with the exception of
some small angular particles of partly decomposed silicates.
[From the comparative color and chemical composition of
these two soils, it is probable that their labels were accident-
No. 1975 " SUBSOIL of the two preceding soils" drV., &c.
The dried subsoil is of a light grey-brown color; is
somewhat cloddy, the clods being firm. The coarse sieve
removed from it only a few small fragments of decomposing
chert. The silicious residue, after digestion in acids, all
passed through fine bolting-cloth, except some small parti-
cles of partly decomposed silicates, and a few small rounded
No. 1976 " VIRGIN Soil., from the farm of Daniel Davasher,
southern part of Barren county. Geological formation : sili-
cious grit, decomposed fifteen feet deep. Forest growth : beech,
hickory, oaks, poplar, and chestnut" Collected by Rev. Her-
The dried soil is of a light brownish-grey color. The
coarse sieve removed from it about twenty-two per cent,
of coarse angular fragments of ferruginous sandstone and
silicious concretions. The bolting-cloth separated from the
silicious residue some silicious particles, grey, white, and
flesh-colored, with a few of partly decomposed silicates.
No. 1977 " SURFACE SOIL ; in cultivation for thirty years ; from
the same farm as the next preceding. Yield: of corn, forty
bushels; of wheat, ten to fifteen bushels; of tobacco, eight
hundred pounds" Collected by Rev. Herman Hertzer.
The dried soil is of a light dirty-buff color. The coarse
sieve removed from it about seven per cent, of coarse silicious
14 CHEMICAL REPORT.
fragments, and the silicious residue left on the fine bolting -
cloth a few particles similar in character to those of the virgin
No. 1978 " SUBSOIL of the next preceding" &c., &c. Col-
lected by Rev. Herman Hertzer.
The dried subsoil is of a grey-buff color. It contains about
eleven per cent, of coarse angular silicious fragments and
concretions, and its silicious residue gave fewer silicious par-
ticles by the fine bolting- cloth than the preceding.
No. 1979 " VIRGIN SOIL, from the farm of Mrs. M. E. Davis,
eight miles south of Glasgow, Barren county. Geological for-
mation: silicious or Kekokuk Group. Forest growth: black
walnut, beech, sugar-tree, &c., &c." Collected by Rev. Her-
The dried soil is of a light grey-umber color. The coarse
sieve removed from it less than five per cent, of coarse angu-
lar silicious fragments and concretions. The silicious residue,
from digestion in acids, all passed through the fine bolting-
cloth, except small greyish, reddish, and white particles of
quartz and partly decomposed silicates.
No. 1980 "SURFACE SOIL, sixty years in Cultivation ; from the
same farm as the preceding. Geological formation: silicious
or Keokuk Group, rocks decayed to depth of twelve to fifteen
feet. Average crops : of tobacco, one thousand to eleven hund-
red pounds ; of corn, twenty -five to forty bushels." Collected
by Rev. Herman Hertzer.
The dried soil is a little lighter colored and more yellowish
than the preceding. The coarse sieve removed from it but a
very small proportion of small angular silicious and ferrugi-
nous fragments, and the silicious residue contained fewer small
silicious grains than the preceding.
No. 1981 " SUBSOIL of the next preceding," &c., &c. Col-
lected by Rev. Herman Hertzer.
The dried subsoil is of a brownish-buff color. The coarse
CHEMICAL REPORT. 15
sieve separated from it only a very small proportion of small
silicious and ferruginous gravel The fine bolting-cloth re-
moved from the silicious residue a considerable proportion
of soft, partly decomposed silicate grains, and but few hard
No. 1982 "SURFACE Son,, sixty years in cultivation ; from the
same farm as the preceding. Bottom land. Inexhaustible
because of annual inundation. Average crop: fifty bushels
of corn." Collected by Rev, Herman Hertzer.
The dried soil is of a light brownish-umber color. The
coarse sieve separated only a very small proportion of small
silicic-ferruginous fragments, and the silicious residue, from
digestion in acids, all passed through the fine bolting-cloth.
No. 1983 " SUBSOIL of the next preceding'' &c., &c. Col-
lected by Rev. Herman Hertzer.
The dried subsoil is slightly more brownish in tint than the
preceding. The coarse sieve removed from it but a very small
proportion of silicio-ferruginous gravel. Like that of the
preceding, the silicious residue all passed through the fine
bolting-cloth, leaving upon it no small silicious particles.
VOL. I.-CHEM. 24.
O - - ~ , 00 to
O vO M
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to 'o "5
CHEMICAL REPORT. 17
The reasons for believing that the labels of soils Nos. 1973
and 1974 have been accidentally interchanged, is the greater
proportions of organic matters, lime, magnesia, and phospho-
ric acid, and the smaller quantity of sand and insoluble sili
cates in 1974 than in 1973. The greater proportion of potash
in the latter is also corroborative of this supposition because
the subsoil is richer in this alkali than the surface soils.
These Barren county soils are above the average in native
fertility, and would require only skillful management, with a
judicious rotation of crops and the occasional use of special
fertilizers, as may be indicated, to keep them up to a high
degree of productiveness.
MINERAL WATERS, &c., OF THE OLYMPIAN SPRINGS.
The principal waters of these celebrated springs were qual-
itatively examined by the writer about the year i848-'9, and
the results were published in volume III of the first series of
Reports of the Geological Survey of Kentucky, pages 208-
210. About ten years thereafter (in i858-'9) more extended
quantitative analyses were made by him of samples of these
waters, sent to his laboratory in bottles by Mr. H. Gill, the
proprietor. As such analyses of the waters forwarded in bot-
tles could not include the gases, and, moreover, were liable to
accidental errors, the writer visited these springs in August
last (1877), accompanied by his son, Alfred M. Peter, in order
to quantitatively estimate the gases in the recent waters ; to
evaporate a sufficient quantity on the spot to enable him to
estimate their minuter saline ingredients, and to collect with
care, in very clean glass-stoppered bottles, enough of the
waters of the several springs for complete quantitative analy-
ses in his laboratory in Lexington.
The hydrogen sulphide was estimated in the recent waters
at the springs, by the volumetric process, with the use of a
deci normal iodine solution, &c., and the carbonic acid, thrown
down in a measured quantity of the waters, by an ammoniacal
solution of barium chloride, was separated and weighed at the
1 8 CHEMICAL REPORT.
THE SULPHUR WATERS OF THE OLYMPIAN SPRINGS.
No. 1984 "SALT SULPHUR WATER." Well at the saloon, near
the main house or hotel. The water is raised by a pump in
the well, which is eight to ten feet deep. The spring is said to
yield about two hundred and seventy gallons per hour. The
temperature of the water was found to be 56 F., when that of
tJie atmosphere was 75 F. The water forms a slight yellowish
or ochreous incrustation on the glass tumblers used at the well.
It exhibits a slightly alkaline reaction.
No. 1985 "BLACK SULPHUR WATER." From an open well,
about a quarter of a mile nearly south of the main house, in
the bottom ground just at the foot of the hill. The water is
confined in a barrel without heads, sunk into tJie ground.
The temperature of the water in the ' barrel was 5 7 F. Its
sediment is nearly black, and it exhibits a slightly alkaline
No. 1986 "WHITE SULPHUR WATER." From a rather feeble
spring about tliree miles from the Olympian Springs.
This spring was not visited by the writer, but a demijohn of
the water was sent to the "Springs" by John D. Young, Esq.
The hydrogen sulphide, therefore, was not estimated.
COMPOSITION OF THESE BATH COUNTY SULPHUR WATERS.
In 1000 parts of the water.
Hydrogen sulphide gas
Carbonic acid gas (CO:;) ....
o . 2400
Baryta carbonate .
Held in solution
^ by the carbon-
Alumina . . .
Manganese carbonate and phos-
phoric acid .... .
Soda carbonate traces
71 I 1
Sodium chloride . .
Oi^ 1 ?
Lithium chloride ... .
Sodium iodide and sulphide . . .
Silica . . .
Traces of organic matter and loss,
Total saline matters in 1000
5 4 1 68
Specific gravity of the water . .
These interesting sulphur waters present considerable dif-
ferences in their chemical composition. The salt sulphur of
the saloon contains greatly more chlorides than the others,
and especially much more sodium chloride (common salt) than
they, while the black and white sulphurs are much more alka-
line from the presence of a considerable quantity of carbonate
of soda. They also contain more alkaline sulphates. All of
them have a notable quantity of iron carbonate, of which
chalybeate ingredient the salt sulphur and the black sulphur