North Carolina. State Geologist.

Report of Professor Emmons, on his geological survey of North Carolina [electronic resource] online

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or potatoes grow, yet their labor always secures an abun-
dance of bread and meat from the very surface beneath which
the mineral wealth is drawn.

In pursuing the work up to the present time, I have
scarcely touched upon the mining wealth of the State. The
most I have attempted to do, is to to develop the value of
the coal mines. The gold, copper, lead and iron mines, 1
propose t3 examine the ensuing year.

It is a remarkable fact, that, while lead and zinc are com-
paratively rare, gold and silver are abundant. I had occa-
sion to notice a fact of like kind, in my Report of the


Geology of New York. In the Northern Counties of that
State, iron is the great mining product ; it is accompanied
with neither copper, lead, zinc or gold. I mean that it pre-
ponderates over every other metal. Iron occupies an im-
portant place in North Carolina ; and I may here say that
the advantages for making bar iron of the best quality are
very great. The ore in the first place is abundant and of
an excellent quality ; and in the second place, wood for
charcoal is equally abundant, and as the growth of trees is
rapid, fuel will never fail if system is observed in its cutting
and preservation of young timber. The resources of the
forest in North Carolina are immense, notwithstanding a
terrible disease has infested certain portions of it for some
time past. The famous long leaf pine is a magnificent
tree of the forest. It yields its turpentine and rosin in pro-
fusion one of the great staples of the South ; its leaf makes
an elegant hat, its cone an ornamental basket, its heart the
most durable of posts, and its wood the cheerful fire and
light, both of the kitchen and parlor. The great variety of
Oaks and Walnut are no less important. The Tulip in beau-
ty is rarely excelled, and the Magnolia among the trees of
the forest is like a gigantic rose.

The water power is also immense. The improvements
on Deep River and Cape Fear will furnish water for sever-
al Lowells. In fine, the elements of wealth and prosperity
have been dealt out with a liberal hand, and its people have
only to put forth their energy and enterprize. to stand with
the first States in this repubiic.



116. In the Northern Stales and Canada, the surface of
the country is overspread with a coating of soil stones, gravel
boulders, etc., which are foreign to spots and places upon
which they now rest. These materials have been transpoit-
ed from distant points, either North, or Northeast, from the
spots we now find them, and, in many cases, more than one
hundred miles from their parent beds. F wish merely to al-
lude to this fact. It is a practical one"; for, as the surface has
not been disturbed, and as the disintegrations of rocks have
gone on quietly, the debris remain in place. Hence, a mass
of iron ore, or of copper, gold, etc., which lies upon the sur-
face and in the debris, the parent bed or vein of each, will be
found below, or at most, but a short distance from the spot ;
wheieas, at the North, it is common to find a mass of iron ore
which is one hundred miles from its bed or vein. In the lat-
ter instance, we know only the direction the mass has been
transported, [n North Carolina, we may always expect to
find the ore in the immediate vicinity in which it is found,
except in those cases where the loose mass has been removed
by aqueous causes now in operation.


[As I was unable to incorporate the observations and remarks
of Dr. McClenahan, one of my assistants, with my own,
I deem it proper to give them a separate place in the re-
port. They are, as will be seen, addressed to me in the
form of a letter. They were made during my absence
from the field, and while engaged in the laboratory :]



After parting with you at Goldsborough, and arri-
ving on the Coal Field, I commenced the survey of the
underlying sandstone, at Captain Elias Bryan's, on the,
Deep River, one mile above Hay wood. The dip at that
point is South, 45 degrees East, at an angle of 20 degrees : the
strike South, 45 degrees West. The sandstone and con-
glomerate are both properly exposed at this place, the sand-
stone resting immediately on the conglomerate. I commen-
ced by running South, 45 degrees West, to Womble's : thence
across the Hay wood road, by Mrs. Gilmour's : thence by
Mrs. Reddle's : thence due West, to Mathew Wicker's, (dis-
tant from the starting point, ten miles) : thence North, 35
degrees West, crossing the river, to Watson's, on the North
side of the river : thence North, 70 degrees West, to Burns'
Spring : thence due West, by J. Hasley's : thence South,
50 degrees West, by Richard Dowd's : thence South, 55 de-
grees West, by John Dowd's : thence South, 45 degrees
West, crossing Indian Creek just above William Hays' :
thence South, 50 degrees West, to Deep River, in Mrs.
Street's plantation : thence South, 60 degrees West, crossing
the river to the mouth of William Hancock's lane, in Moore
county : thence South, 45 degrees West, to Sewel's quarry
of conglomerate : thence by Davis' quarry : thence by Neil
Dunlap's : thence by Allen McDaniel's : thence by Jesse
Thomas', on Drowning Creek, in Montgomery county :
thence South, 60 degrees West, by Calvin Rush's, on Moun-
tain Creek : thence South, 45 degrees West, by David Har-


riss' : thence by Lucas' store : thence by John C. Cham-
bers' : thence across Little River, two miles above Steel's
bridge, in Richmond county : thence across Pe-Dee River, at
the mouth of Brown's Creek, in Anson county . thence up
the Northwest side of Brown's Creek, by the Carolina Col-
lege : thence South, 60 degreed West, to the South Caiolina
l -ie, in the Southeastern corner of Union county. 1 took
Cross sections, at nearly all the public roads which crossed the
Sandstone transversely, and found it varying: in width, from
; vjt to fourteen miles. 1 frequently got the dip where the

.ie was well exposed, and it varies from 10 degrees to 60.
* ^Iso made cross sections fiorn six coal pits, oul to the out

p of the underlying sandstone, and found it varying from
mile and three-fourths, to three miles : the greater the

>, the shorter the distance.

After running the line, to the South Carolina line, 1 return-
til to the starting point (Capi. E. Aryan's), and commenced
t* lining Northeast, across Deep and Haw Rivers, one mile
Itvthwest of the town of Hay wood : thence North, 30 de-
grees East, by Willam Crump's and William Bland 'a : thence
bg Neill Womble's, in whose field the conglomerate is well ex
posed : thence by Mrs. Amsled's, on New Hope Creek :
thence across the creek, by William Clark's, Thos. Womble's,
John Eland's, Causby Stone's, in whose plantation it again
crosses the Creek : thence up the Northeast side of the Creek,
but occasionally crossing and re-crossing, by Mooring's, by
Herndon's old store> in Orange county: thence by Pratt 's
store, crossing the Central Railroad half a mile Northwest of
the store : thence across Eno and Flat River, in Benehan's
plantation ; after which, it could be but indistinctly traced.
Although this is the direction of the great body of the stone,
there is, occasionally, points which run off in various direc-
tions : one of the principal poin'.s which make off in this way,
is one that continues up New Hope, to Morgan's creek, and
up that creek to within two miles of Chapel Hill.

There is a formation of sandstone on Tau River. I saw it
at Thos. Miller's plantation, six or seven miles Southwest of
Oxford. I had understood that coal had been found there ;


but, when I examined the spot, which is in the river bank, I
found it to be lignite. I have samples of it in Raleigh, and
also of the micaceous sandstone in which it is embedded. My
attention has been frequently culled to the subject of lime,
and I have been frequently told, that there was limestone on
certain lands, which 1 was going to examine ; but, as yet, I
have not been enabled to discover lime in sufficient quantities
to render it of much value, East of Germantoa. 1 have seen
small deposit es of limestone in the upper stratum of what I
have called the newer red sandstone. I found it at Mr. Fow-
ler's, in Chatham, near Mooring's, and on the Hillsborough
road, near Brassfield's, sixteen miles from Raleigh, and itv
Granville county, on the plantation of Mr. Worthara : it isi>v
greater abundance at this point than at any I noticed. Mr
Wortham has hauled out on his farm a considerable qunntitv
of it, and informed me that the land on which he spread it j
produced much better. Lime in great abundance, and of
excellent quality, is found stretching across the State, from
Danbury, in Stokes county, to King's Mountain, in South
Carolina. I saw it at Williams' kiln, on the Yadkin, at
PofT 's, ten miles above Salem, at Hoosertown, at Germanton?
and at Martin's, near the Virginia line. I procured a piece
near Germanton, at Mr. Bolejack's, which is an excellent
marble, and receives a fine polish. The quantity of limestone
at this point, appears to be inexhaustible, and of good
quality ; in fact } all the lime I saw at all the kilns appeared
to be of good quality. I have procured samples of the stone
from all the kilns, for your inspection. This section of the
State abounds in iron ore of good quality. I have specimens
from several places. Magnetic iron ore of good quality is
found two miles West of the Pilot Mountain, on the lands of
Mr. Guillam. I examined the place and saw it scattered oveif
a large surface.

After examining the limestone, I commenced the survey of
the coal field on the Dan River. I commenced at German -
ton : the out crop of sandstone is near that place. The dip
is Northwest, at an angle of 35 degrees, and the strike North-
east. I was able to trace the out crop of sandstone as far a


Madisoa, and have procured samples of the coal and slate, at
various points ; but, in consequence of high waters, I was
unable to ascertain the thickness of the coal seam. The fos-
s ils are of * he same kind we find on the Deep River, but the
coal is anthracite. I should have continued the survey down
fa Iv^k^viHe, or as far as the coal continued in the State, but

crop of black shale, on the coal field, is in great
&*u ; and the direction of the seams can easily be tra-,
fiie end of the field to I he other, with the appropriate
ATeal. abundance. I found but few points on the
coal field, South of Deep River, where the shale
V** easily traced. I found it on Drowning Creek, in
-*uvy county, about one mile Northwest of the sand-
. A ., wtah contains lignite : the dip at this point is not
fcfr%v 10 degrees. I also found it at the Pe-Dee River,
fcto*tation of Mrs. McCloud.

^|aing with you at Halifax, I visited the Northwes-
of Edgecombe county, for the purpose of ascer-
ft* truth of what I had heard of a large skeleton
mbedded in Fishing Creek. I ascertained it to be
^ ttm*ti of an enormous whale, some of the vertebrae of
which cifeaBiiied twenty-two inches in diameter. It had been
so much mulilated, that I was deterred from attempting to
disinter but a small portion of it. I learned from the gentle-
man, who owns the land in which it is embedded, that the
largest portion of the bones had been taken away by various
persons, some of whom lived at a great distance ; and he also
informed me that a large number of the bones had been
washed away by the " freshets." I ascertained, by finding
one or two vertebree in place, that the animal had been deposi-
ted on his back, and as the water is not more than two or
three feet above the vertebrae, which is just covered with marl
and sand, I could readily account for the absence of all the
ribs, by freshets, which swept them down the stream.

This animal is lying on a bed of marl, -vhich is twelve or
fifteen feet thick, and the silicious shelly limestone, which is
found between the green sand and shell marl, is just above


the remains : above that is a bed of yellow sand and shell
marl, which is about seven or eight feet thick. Mr. Knight,
the gentleman who owns the lands, told me that there was a
portion of the head still embedded in the bank, and but for
the rise which took place in the creek, while I was there, I
should have procured it. The animal lay diagonally across
the creek the head in Edgecombe and the tail in Halifax,
the creek being the line dividing the two counties. I picked
up a good many of the bones, and requested Mr. Knight to
take care of them lor me, which he promised to do, and gave
me the balance, if I could procure them. I procured someo^
the marl below the remains, and some of the upper bed, wlii
is above it. I also procured a specimen of the shell re t K
which is between the two beds. 1 have a piece of the j;
bone in Raleigh, which I got out of the water near the sp * V
where Mr. Knight told me the head was embedded in the

After passing over the tertiary system, which continues, in
the direction to Raleigh, about twenty-five miles above Nash-
ville, I discovered the primary slates, talcose and micaceous,
with a great many quartz veins running through them, show-
ing strong indications of gold. The dip of these slates is to
the South, 70 degrees East, at an angle varying from 25 de-
grees 10 60 degrees ; the strike South, 20 degrees West.
After passing over this formation, I came to a formation of in-
ferior granite, composed chiefly of feldspar and quartz, with
a very small proportion of mica. This stone readily dis-
integrates when exposed to the frost, producing a coaise gra-
velly soil, which is an excellent land for corn, cotton and oats.
This granite gradually increases until it reaches Raleigh,
where it has a sufficient amount of mica to form a very good
building stone. At Raleigh, the dip of the slate is changed
fron S -uheast to Northwest, at angles varying from 25 de-
gree to SO degrees ; in fact, the dip near the Plumbago veins,
four or '-ve miles Northwest of Raleigh, is nearly perpendicu-
lar. The strike being South, 20 degrees West. I have pro-
cured :.,) cimens of this graphite for your inspection, from
seve : points: some ol it is of good quality, but the most


of it that I saw was out crop, and, therefore, was full of
dirt. I think these veins of graphite, by proper manage-
ment, might be made immensely valuable. I should expect
to find the mineral of much better quality, after going
down to water scale. The stratum of Plumbago is of good
i?<? ^w-all appearances, but I was not able to measure it
acy, in consequence of the pits being filled with

Johnson Busbee's, ten miles Southeast of
there are strong indications of marl. I found
jilicious shelly limestone, scattered over a large
same which we have usually found between
nd and shell marl. I have a piece for your ex-
This point, I think, should be particnlarl . ex-
Vlarl,as far up the country as this, would be very
v%\M*.y^t*iconsequence of the scarcity of lime in that sec-
H ew ( K S ta te .

lignite in the Cape Fear River, about eighteen
3 Fayetteville, on Silver Run creek, and the
vft vvhich it is embedded, resembles that at Eliza-
we found between the two beds of marl. At
\v*'; 3 also found petrified wood. I think ynu would
find this neighborhood an interesting one for examination,
and the citizens are exceedingly anxious you should visit
them, for that purpose.

I have samples of iron ore procured at various points in
Cumberland county, which is all verysilicious ; probably too
much so, to be of much value.

The above, I believe, constitutes all the information I
have been able to procure during your absence. You will
please examine the contents, make corrections of any mis-
take, and use it as you may think most advisable.
I remain your obedient servant,

Professor EMMONS,

State Geologist, N. C.

fty* *


I have been obliged to refer to the different syste
rocks, in the foregoing report. I am induced, theref
furnish a tabular view of those systems, that the reader
be able, at a glance, to see the relations in which they
to each other. I make three principal classes of rocks, w'-
hold an equal rank. These three classes are subdivi *v
These subdivisions are based upon facts and
which are peculiar to each, and on characters which are .
common to each division. The names of the principal
are new, and are simply expressive of facts, upon which all
geologists are agreed.

The three classes :

I. Pyrocrystalline crystallized by the agency of

fire. Primary of authors.
II. Pyroplastic moulded by fire. Ancient and

modern volcanic rock of authors.
III. Hydroplastic moulded by water. Sediments
of authors.

The first class is divided into two sections :

1. Unstratified pyrocrystalline, as granite, Hyper-

thene rock, pyrocrystalline limestone, sie
nite, magnetic iron ores.

2. Stratified pyrocrystalhne gneiss, mica slate,

talcose slate and hornblende steatite.

The second class is divided in two sections, also :


1. Modern pyroplastic rocks, lavas, luffs, pumice

and all the products of volcanoes, which are
cooled in the air.

2. Ancient pyroplastic rocks, the ancient lavas,

cooled under water, basalt, porphyry and
green stone.

^^HlvCMass is divide! into systems, most of which are

^Hl Vv geologists of the day.

^^H^as belonging to the class of hydroplastic rocks,
&*S|0'U4uOed and loovse sediments, aie exhibited in the fol-

\ Tertiary system :

1. Postpliocene.

2. Pliocene.

3. Miocene.

4. Eocene.

Z/- . Cretaceous system :

1. Upper cretaceous, including the true

chalk, with flints.

2. Lower cretaceous, including the

green s ind, iron sands, &c.

III. Wealden, unknown in the U. S.

IV. Oolite and Lias.

V. New red Sandstone or Trias :

1. Upper.

2. Middle.

3. Lower.

VI. Permian system .
VII. Carboniferous system .
VIII. Devonian system.
IX. Silurian system :

1. Upper.

2. Lower.

X. Taconie system.


The tenth is the oldest of the sediments, and is more close-
ly allied to the primary or pyrocrystalline slates, limes, ores,
etc. Any of the foregoing systems may rest on the primary,
and any of the foregoing may be traversed by the unstnitified
pyrocrystalline rocks ; particularly granite, which is then said
to be of the age of the deposit in which it is found. As any
of the foregoing systems may rest upon the primary, so either
may form the surface rocks over large areas.



Amorphous shapeless, destitute of a regular form.
Arenaceous sandy, composed of sand.
Argillaceous composed of clay.

Basalt a rock mostly homogeneous, of an igneous origin,

and cooled under water.

Basin a depression in the strata, of a circular form.
Belemnite a fossil of acylindrical form, tapering rapidly

to a point, and at one end or the other it has a conical

cavity: it is the back-bone of an extinct animal, allied

to the cuttle fish.

Bitumen a combustible substance, combined with coal.
Breccia a compound rock, consistingof angular fragments.

Calcareous bearing or containing lirne.
Calcedony a compact variety of quartz, of a milky white-
Carbon the element of charcoal.


Carbonate of Lime a compound of carbonic acid and

Carboniferous coal bearing : a term applied to a syftem

of rocks which bear coal.
Cetacea an order of animals, of which the whale is the


Chert a variety of amorphous quartz, much like flint.
Concretion a union of particles, forming rounded and'

Conformable a term applied to strata, which lie pa$ cdlel

with each other.
Conglomerate A rock composed of rounded jfHtVvSLS^

formed under water.
Coniferse trees which bear cones, with naked sei^.^ Q^

pines and the fir.
Cretaceous belonging to chalk : the name of the dystew\

to which common chalk belongs.
Crustacea an order of animals which are provided with

a crust or external integument similar to the lobster

and crab.

Dikes, or Dykes a vein of rock or stony matter, which

has been injected into a fissure, while in a melted

Diluvium a term which was applied to a stratum, which

was supposed to have been spread over the earth by

the deluge.
Dip strata, when inclined to the horizon, are said to dip.

Eocene dawn of the present : a term applied to the old-
est of the tertiary deposits.

Escarpment the steep side of a hill.

Estuary the mouth of a river, which is occupied, in part
by fresh, in part by salt, water, or by brackish water.

Faults the dislocation of strata, by which one side is ele-
vated above the other.


Fauna the aggregate of the animals which inhabit csr-

tain districts.
Formation a series or group of rocks, which belong to

one period.

Fossils the remains of animals and plants entombed in

rock or mineral, composed of oil of vitriol and

Y\ '

u Cb VI &scensu minerals or rocks, in a state of fusion.

Hftd a mineral or rock, composed of thin plates.
* ' ; 4|^<xS-iuPP ose d to be derived frern layers: a system be-

Vw^sn the oolite and new red sandstone.
f 5iv^C- wood caibonizec! or changed partly into coal.
\*tW/) logical denotes the stony characters of a mass.

belonging to the shore.

k\*.a mixture of sand, clay and vegetable matter.
"Lvta * o ^ tes ft fossil plant, allied to club masses or ground

Mammalia animals which furnish glands for the se-

cretion of milk.
Mammoth an extinct thick-skinned animal, allied to the


Marl a mixture of lime and clay.
Mastodon see mammoth.

Miocene the middle deposits belonging to the tertiary.,
Molusca an order of animals generally covered with shells*

as the oyster and clam.

Nodule a rounded mass.

Out crop the appearance of the edges of rocks at (he sur-


Oxygen -a. gaseous body, which is essential : it changes
the blood from a black to a scarlet color, in respiration;
combines, with metals, and forms a class of bodies call,
ed oxides, etc.

Pachydermata an order of animals with thick skins, as

the elephant, hog, tapir, horse, camel.
Palaeontology the science which treats o^f extinct animals

and plants.
Porphyry an igneous rock, cooled beneath water, - 0mA-

which contains irregular pieces ot feldspar.
Pyrites sulphur and iron in combination.

Rodentia an order of snimals, supplied with front
teeth, similar to the squirrel and rabbit; gnawer as

Ruminants, Ruminantia an order of animals which ch
the cud, as cow, sheep, deer.

Saurian a lizard-like animal.

Schist a rock made of three parallel layers.

Sediments, Sedimentary mud, sand, etc., deposited under

Septaria nodules composed of clay, lime, etc., divided into

parts or partitions of crystalline matter.
Shale indurated clay.
Silex silica, flint.
Stratified divided into layers.

Strike the line of the bearing of rocks which lies at a right
, angle to their dip. The ridge-pole of a house shows

the strike: the inclination of the roof, the dip; and it

forms, in this illustration, an anticlynal axis.
Syenite a variety of granite, in which hornblende takes

place of mica.
Synclynal Axis the reverse of anticlynal, when the strata,

on two sides, plunge towards each other, or to a line

below their out crop.

Trap volcanic rocks.

Veins Fissures filled with mineral matter, differing from
the rock in which the Assure has been found.

Unconformable Strata reposing upon the edges of strata
or when the layers are not parallel to each other.


In section 30, instead of reading " Indian Corn" ,

In section 27, instead of .$65 per acre, read $15 peir CLt V C *,
and instead of " two laborers,'' read "'twelve laborey J,

In section 28, fourth line from the bottom of thft |?G.Y(X-
graph, for manures read measures. In same section,^ VV
line from the bottom oi the paragraph, for prepared ^ V

[The PUBLIC PRINTER thi-nks it probable that some typ6^
graphical inaccuracies occur in the foregoing re ; >< rt.
The unavoidable absence of the author, in the prosecution
of his labors, devolved upon the publisher the duty of re-
vising the proof-sheets. His want of familiarity \\ith most
of the technical terms employed, renders it probable that
errors exist, so for as those terms are concerned.]




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