Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani.

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Method of analysis. — A small piece of the iron is selected,
perfectly free from crust and earthy matter. I sometimes plunge
the fragment into nitric acid, somewhat diluted, warm the acid
and continue the action for a few seconds, withdraw the iron,
wash well and dry it The piece selected for analysis should
be about one gram, or a little over, (except where the copper is
souffht for quantitatively, and then at least ten grams should be
used for the copper estimate alone). Treat the iron in a porce-
lain capsule, or glass flask, with a mixture of hydrochloric
and nitric acids, consisting of four parts of the former to
one of the latter, and about as much water as acid ; dissolve
over a water-bath ; if a capsule be used, invert a ftmnel over the
mixture, the edges of the funnel entering the capsule, but not
touching the mixture. Continue the action on the water-bath
until the solution is complete, evaporate to dryness (having
washed what may adhere to the inner surface of tne ftmnel into
the capsule), then add a little more hydrochloric acid and evapo-
rate again nearly to dryness; this is done to insure drivmg
off the last portion of mtric acid, and rendering the iron easily
soluble. Add to the contents of the capsule an ounce or two
of water, and, if there be a residue, it must be collected on a
weighed filter, dried, weighed, and reserved for ftiture examin-
ation ; if the quantity be too small for examination, a larger
portion of the iron must be examined with fecial reference
to this residue — ^which most commonly is a siucate, but may
contain carbon or chromic iron (chromite).

If, however, there is no residue, proceed to the next step at
once without filtering ; if the solution has been filtered, the fol-
lowing steps are the same. Examine first for sulphur. This is
done by adding a few drops of chlorid of barium ; if there is a
precipitate, it is collected on a filter, and the sulphate of baryta
obtained furnishes the amount of sulphur present Next pass
a stream of sulphuretted hydrogen through the filtrate to com-
plete saturation, previously addinff a drop or two of sulphuric
acid ; much sulphur will be deposited and a very minute quan-
tity of copper (not traceable by the color of the precipitate, but

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J. L. Smith on the analysis of Meteoric Irons. 888

only recognized by the most delicate tests after the sulphur of
the collected precipitate is burnt away) ; the solution, thrown on
a filter, leaves the precipitated sulphur, the little trace of copper,
and all the excess of the baryta tnat had been added, if the ex-
cess had been slight The niter is then ignited in a porcelain
crucible — ^the residue treated with a few drops of nitric and sul-
phuric acids, which suffices to dissolve the copper, and when
evaporated to dryness leaves the copper in the iorm of sulphate,
slightly acid, as there is no necessity of heatii^ so high as to
dnve off the very last trace of sulphuric acid. The presence of
the trace of copper is easily shown by adding a drop or two of
water to dissolve the sulphate, and with the end of a glass rod,
placing a little of the solution on a clean and bright sur&ce of
iron, as the blade of a knife, for instance. In no examination of
a meteoric iron have I failed to detect copper by this mean&

When more iron is used, and there is consea uently more cop-
per, it can be separated and weighed. Tin and lead will also be
found in the precipitate, if they be present, but I have never
detected either, except lead in the case of the Tarapaca iron,
which I have every reason to believe was originally foreign to
the iron.

The sulphuretted hydrogen precipitate, which I have always
obtained, is so minute m a ^ram of iron that it may be dispensed
with, and the iron, nickel and cobalt be separated, which is
accomplished as described a little farther on. I^ however, sul-
phuretted hydrogen has been used, the iron in solution is in
the form of protoxyd, and must be converted into the peroxyd,
which is accomplished bv adding a little chlorate of potash and
hydrochloric acid that have been made to react on each other
by heating, before adding it to the boiling solution of iron, &c.

The solution of iron should have a oulk of ten or twelve
ounces ; to it is added a solution of carbonate of soda in suffi-
cient (quantity to nearly neutralize the &ee acid ; the iron is now
precipitated by acetate of soda, with all the well known pre-
cautions. I wash this precipitate only partially, and detach it
from the filter by washmg it into a bilker, and re-dissolving it
by hydrochloric acid, and precipitate it a second time by acetate
of soda; I then subject it to complete washing, and esti-
mate the iron in the way usually employed. This second pre-
cipitation is necessary to separate an appreciable quantity of
nickel remaining in the acetate of iron after the first precipita-
tion ; and aft;er considerable experience, I must say that it is the
only method of separating, with any d^ree of accuracy, iron
fix)m nickel

The.solution separated from the iron, and containing nickel
and cobalt, is concentrated down to four or five ounces, then
treated with caustic potash or soda, thrown on a filter, and

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884 J. L. Smith on Lead m Meteoric Irons.

washed with hot water, with all the usual precautions when
nickel is precipitated by an alkali The precipitate is dried^
ignited ana weighed ; after which it is dissolved in nitric acid
over a water-bath, and the acid solution evaporated neariy to
dryness ; about two or three drams of water are added, then a
concentrated solution of nitrite of potaab, then an excess of acetic
acid ; this is now set aside for forty-eight hours, during which
time the nitrite of cobalt is completely separated ; it is next
thrown on a filter, washed and estimated m the manner pro-
posed by the author of this method ; I usually employ a con-
centrated solution of the sulphate of potash to wash wiuL This
method, to say the least of it, has in my experience proved
fally equal to the cyanid method, and is mucn more simple ;
and by it I have never feiled to detect and estimate cobalt in
every meteoric iron that has come under my examination.

In examining for phosphorus^ the following method is adopted :
To three or more grams of the iron in a porcelain capsule, add
nitric acid diluted with water ; then invert a fiinnef over the
mixture, to protect from loss during the action, evaporate to dry-
ness over a water-bath, and then on a sand-bath to a tempera-
ture of 600° or 600*^ ; the iron is thus converted into an oxjd with
little or no nitric acid remaining, and the phosphorus is trans-
formed into phosphoric acid that is now combined with oxyd of
iroa The residue is detached as thoroughly as possible from
the capsule, and mixed with twice its weight of carbonate of
soda, or, better still, with a mixture of carbonates of soda and
potash ; a little carbonate of soda added to the capsule, and
rubbed with a pestle, detaches the last portion of oxyd of iron,
or rather leaves so small an amount as to make no error in the
future st^s of an analysis where the original quantity of phos-
phorus is so small

The mixture of oxyd of iron and phosphate is now to be
heated in a platinum crucible to the pomt of fusion of the car-
bonates for about twenty minutes ; then heat the mass with
water, when the excess of carbonates will be dissolved, and
what phosphate may have been formed ; the phosphates will
represent all the phosphorus in the iron. Now neutralize the
carbonate with hydrochloric acid, and estimate the phosphorus
in the ordinary way, by a magnesia salt

"With regard to the aetection of chromium, and other special
constituents of some meteoric irons, especially those containing
some siliceous minerals intimately mixed in the iron, it is not
the province of this paper to discuss.

8. Zecul in Meteoric Irons.


The only instance of the finding of lead in meteoric irons is
that of the Tarapaca iron, found in 1840, in Chili, which was

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J. L. Smith on rubidium and ccBsium in Leudte, 886

examined by Mr. Or^ ; the metallic lead was detected by him
in small masses of varied dimension&

I have examined several specimens cut from the original
mass of iron, two of which are in my possession, and my con-
viction is, that the metallic lead was altogether foreign to the
hron when it originally fell, and has been doubtless derived
from lead with which the mass was probably treated by the
original discoverers for the purpose of extracting some precious
metal, they being ignorant of its true nature. My reasons for
cominff to this conclusion are, that the lead is found in cavities
near the surface of the iron, these cavities having channels of
more or less size leading to the exterior of the mass ; the iron is
honey-combed in its character in many places, which is evident
to the eve, and is also indicated bv its specific gravity 6*6. In
pieces of the iroD, detached from tne interior of tne mass and ex-
amined with the utmost care by a magnifying glass to see that
there is no possible fissure in it, no lead has been found. These
pieces are exceedingly difficult to obtain, andean only be had in
very small pieces.

The crust of the iron having the most cavities furnishes most
lead, and is in some parts covered by a fused yellow crust of
oxyd of lead ; this last fisict has no significance, however, in the
present consideration of the matter. "Without venturing to in-
sist too sharply on the view here taken, after the careful exam-
ination of so distin^hished an observer as Mr. Greg, I recom-
mend this view of the subject to those having larger specimens
of the iron than myself

Abt. XXXIY. — Remarks an the alkalies contained in the min-
eral Leucite; by J. Lawrence Smith.

In examining recently many of the silicates containing alka-
lies, my attention has been called to Leucite, and it is on that
mineral especially that I would now remark, reserving for
anodier time my observations on the other silicate&

The specimens of leucite examined came fix)m four localities,
Vesuvius, Andemach, Borghetta, and FrescatL They were
about as good specimens as are obtained fix)m those localities,
although all of them were not equally pure. The alkalies
found m each calculated as potash were —

Vesuvius, - - - - 21-86

Andemach, - - - 20-06

Borghetta, .... 20-68

Frescati, - • - 2088

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886 H. Wuriz on a Gas Well in New York.

The specimen fix)m Andemach was analyzed for the silica, &a,
and found to contain silica 54*75, alumina 28*08, and 1*55 of
oxyd of iron ; this last seemed to be mechanically disseminated
through the crystals.

I say above in relation to the alkalies "all calculated as pot-
ash," ior the reason that there is a notable quantity of ruoid-
ium and caesium present in all the specimens above mentioned.
In fact, by the method adopted in testing for these alkalies
abundant indications are obtained of the presence of rubidium,
caesium (the last not so readily), even wnen operating on but
half a gram of the mineral I am now engaged in working out
a method of estimating Quantitatively rubidium and caesium in
the presence of other aUMiies ; by tlds method, not yet perfected,
the quantity of these alkalies in leucite is found to oe about
tV of one per cent of the entire mineral

Of course it is not at all remarkable that the potash in the
different specimens of leucite should be the same ; but it is a
matter of interest to know that, fix)m whatsoever locality it
comes, this minute quantity of rubidium and caesium occurs
with it On some fiture occasion I hope to be able to bring
together certain generalities in this connection of more or less
interest to miner^ogists.

I have also detected rubidium in half a gram of margarodite
and Warwick mica, and have fidled to detect it in apophyllite,
thomsonite, pectolite, elaeolite, chesterlite, cancrinite and other

Abt. XXX Y. — Examination of a new and extraordinary Gas
Well in the State of New York ; by Professor Henry Wurtz.

[Read to the New York Lyceum of Natural Historj, ICarch 14, 1870.]

A NBW and copious outburst of gas has recently been ob-
served in the township of West Bloomfield, county of Ontario,
and State of New York, about twenty miles south of Rochester,
and sixteen miles west of Canandaigua.

It is now about four years since the owner of the ground,
Mr. Beebe, while boring with the hope of getting petroleum,
struck the cavity fix)m wmch the ff as flows, at a depth, as he states,
of 500 feet The bore-hole is tubed down to, and into, the solid
rock, and the tube stands about ten feet above the surfece. This
tube is five inches in diameter ; and the issuing gas, when bum-
ing, as it was when I saw it, eives in a still atmosphere a flame
some thirty feet in height The flow has been stated independ-
ently by two parties, who have measured it with large balloons of
known capacity attached to the outlet, to be fix)m four to five

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K Wurtz on a Oas Well in New Tarh 387

feet per second, equivalent to from 15,000 to 18,000 feet per
hour, or, in the mean, at the rate of about 400,000 cubic feet of
gas per day. From observation on the spot, without any means
of exact measurement, however, I am prepared to beueve the

Sobabilitv of this enormous evolution of combustible gas from
e bowels of the rocks. Such a flow reallv corresponds to a
pr^sure of but a few feet of water. Ten incnes should, accord-
ing to calculation, drive through a pipe 500 feet lone and five
inches in diameter 22,000 feet per hour of gas, of the density
which I have found for this, namely, 0*7. There is, however,
here an important residual projectile force, in addition to this.
This flow has now gone on for more than four years, and accord-
ing to the testimony of residents of the vicinity, without any per-
ceptible diminution of energy ; indicating, in the aggregate, an
escape of some 600,000,000 of feet, about half the yearly make
of our largest gas manufiujturing company, the Manhattan. The
most remarkable feature is the absence of diminution of flow for
so long a time,in connection with the low pressure indicated. I
hence infer the probability of an indefinite continuance ; as the
gas must originate not from a reservoir in a state of compression,
but from huge masses or surfeces of rock, from which it oozes out
gradually at every pora This inference is justified from the phe-
nomena of other fountains of natural gas, of which so many are
known to have flowed from time immemorial without exhaus-
tion. As to the geological age of the bed from which this gas
comes, I was told that Professor Hall, having been consisted,
considers it to be most probably the Marcellus shale ; and on
consultation with Dr. R P. Stevens, whose acquaintance with
both the geology and topography of this section is minute, I
find him to agree that a bore-hole 500 feet deep, in this locality,
would be very likely to terminate in the Marcellus, the beds of
which are here probably a hundred feet in thickness. The out-
crops of the Genesee slate (which cross to the southward of this
locality, its horizon being some twelve hundred feet higher than
that of the Marcellus) also emit combustible gas copiously in
places. I cannot dwell at this time, however, on the geological
question^ but must pass to the chemical examinations. These
are still in progress, out much that has interesting has neverthe-
less been developed.

The points, which I attempted to determine on the ground,
though with very imperfect means, were the temperature with
which it issues, tne pnotometric power (which is quite apprecia-
ble), and the effect of intense cold upon the latter.

The temperature, — ^A small hollow semi-cylinder of wood, closed
at the bottom, was cemented with beeswax against the side of the
well-tube near the ground, filled with quiclrailver, and the ther-
mometer inserted. It was found, however, that the temperature
Ax. JouB. Sol— Sboohb Sbriss, VouXLIX, No. 147.— Mat, 1870.

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886 H. Wurtz on a Oas Well in New York.

was not constant, showing a heating of the iron by radiation and
conduction from the flame abova At one time, however, the
temperature sunk to 59** F., so that the true temperature is be-
low this, it may be as low as 50** ; very low for a depth of 600
feet Doubtless the gas is cooled by expansion from a state of
compression. (A curious suggestion occurs here regarding cau-
ses of irr^ularity in increase of temperature in descent in some
fossiliferous rocks.)

T?ie candle power was determined with a standard candle by
contriving a small dark room with a large blanket shawl, usid^
of course the Rumford or shadow test The ^ was burned
from a five-foot steatite-tip bats- wing burner, being first passed
through a glass tube so stuffed with cotton as to reduce the
pressure just to that which gave the maximum of light The
result was about six candles. I had not with me an Ai^gand
burner, which, especially if with a very contracted throat, would
doubtless afibrd with this gas a considerably higher candle
power. It is well known that the effect of carbonic add in
diminishing illuminating power is very fiir less in the Argand
than in flat flame burners.

The condensation test was made by immersing in snow and
salt, in a common water bucket, some sixty feet of small india
rubber tubing that I had with ma The thermometer stood at 8**
P. in the mixture. No change of the candle power occurred
during half an hour, and hence the light-giving hydrocarbons
present seem to be permanent gases, or at least practically in-
condensable. Lime-water showed carbonic acid to be largely

Samples were taken for analysis in accurately-ground glass-
stoppered bottles, with which, and some quicksilver, I had pro-
vided myself These bottles were stopped under quicksilver, the
stoppers having been previously smeared with some thick gly-
cerine. These bottles were then carried to the laboratory of me
Manhattan Gas Light Co., in this city, and some analyses made ;
new methods and manipulations being used which were devised
by myself, in conjunction with Professor Silliman, and which we
have not yet published.

Results of the analyses.

Marsh gas 82-41

Carbonic acid lO'll

Nitrogen 4*31

Oxygen 0*23

Illuminating hydrocarbons, 2*94

Density, 0-698

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SiUiman and Wvrte on Flame Temperatures. 339

Another density determination gave a considerably higher
figure ; but, wishing not to exhaust all my material, I have not
repeated it, but have adopted 0*7. Calculation gives 0*7043,
assuming the three volumes of unknown illuminants to have
a density of 1*5.

With regard to these three volumes per cent of illuminant
hydrocarbons ; as they are absorbed by^ordhausen acid they
cannot belong to the saturated hydrocarbons G^aH^^^ and can-
not therefore be hydruret of ethylene C4H4Hg, as found recently
according to Fouque and Gorceix in the gases of the Appe-
nines ; in most cases in traces only, but in one case to the ex-
tent of nearly 18 per cent I (See Comptes Bendvs, Ixix, 946).
This seems at first glance in accord with the opinion put forth
by Fouque, founded, as he says, on the study of the gases from
American petroleum wells, that the gases of the series CjnHto+j
are especially characteristic of sources of petroleum ; but as the
almost universal marsh gas is itself of this series, I cannot see
how any such generalization can be accepted. I am still engaged
in further examinations of these hydrocarbon constituents, But
my material is at present insufficient

The l-400th volume of free oxygen found is really present, as
I am convinced, in the gas as it issues, and is not accidental, as
Fouque and other analysts have deemed the traces of oxygen
thev find in such gases. The extreme precautions taken by me,
both in collection and transportation, as well as in analysis, make
me confident of this ; but as important chemical and geological
conclusions are here involved I shall make further ana repeated
tests of this point

Art. XXXVL — On Flame Temperaiu/res, in Iheir relations to
Composition and LaminosHy ; by B. Silliman and Henry
WuRTZ. First Part.

Read to the American Association at SalenOf Aogast, 1869.

1. (Morific powers or effects of gases. — ^The calorific t)Owers or
eflfects of gases lie, in our belief at the very basis oi the true
theory of the phenomena of luminiferous gases, and have prac-
tical bearings that can scarcely be overrated. In fact, our
studies of the subject have led us in the direction of the gene-
ral conclusion that, all other conditions being equal, the tern-
'peraiure, in a given flame, is the main fector of luminosity.
This, however, may as yet be regarded merely as a hypothesis ;
in consequence oi the imperfection of our present means of
actual experimental demonstration of the temperatures of
flames. It is a hypothesis, nevertheless, which is in general

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840 Silliman and Wuriz on Flame Temperatures.

accordance with known fecta By the spectroscope, for example,
which can recognize only luminous rays, we find that the higher
the temperature the greater the number of these luminous rays.
The recent results of Frankland upon the development of lumi-
nosity by increased pressure, in flames which are non-luminous
under atmospheric pressure, are in accordance with this view ;
increase of temperature necessarily following increase of pres-

Yery va^e views have been rife, even among chemists, with
regard to the temperatures of luminiferous flames. Some have
been satisfied with believing crude hypotheses ; such as that the
heat-power of a flame is always profjortional to the density of
the gas or vapor undergoing combustion ; or that it is propor-
tional to the ammcnt ofoxygen consumed by a given volume of
the gas ; and so on. This latter hypothesis has been one of
very common acceptation. A view which is even now enter-
tained by some skuful chemists (than which, however, nothing,
as will be shown, could be more fallacious) is, that those in-
dividual gaseous compounds, which impart the highest lumi-
nosity unaer ordinary conditions, are also the most productive
of heat

The admirable researches of Bunsen, of Heidelberg, placed
in our possession some years ago the means of comp^tmg, at
least with approximate accuracy, the heat of flames of gases
of known composition. Few however have properly and
successfully applied Bunsen's methods in practice. We con-
sider it quite tmie that these methods should be introduced
to the Imowledge of gas engineers, in forms available to

Bunsen's formulae for these computations are based upon the
actual experimental determinations of the total amounts of heat
developed by the combustion of different pure combustible
gases with pure oxygen, made by Favre and Silbermann; and
upon Regnault's determinations of the specific heats of gaseous
products of combustion.

It is not to be maintained that Favre and Rilbermann's num-
bers are strictly correct, but they are doubtless approximate,
and at least proportionally correct among themselvea At any
rate, they are the best data we have. Those employed here are
included in the following tabla They are usually given in the
text-books for equal weights of the gases, but we have reduced
them to the standard of equal volumes also, as more suitable to
our present purpose. This reduction is made simply by multi-
plying the equivalents for weights, by the densities as given in
the tmrd column.

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Silliman and Wurtz on Flame Temperatures. 841

Table L

Total calorific equivalents. Densities

^ Of •<iaalweis:hti. Of eqwJ YoliuMg. Hjdrofftna^

Carbonic oxyd 34,462° C. 34,462** C. 1

Hydrogen 2,403° 33,642° 14

Marsh gas 13,063° 104,504** 8

defiant gas 11,868'' 166,012° 14

The meaning of this table is simply that equal weights of
water would be heated by the several gases to temperatures pro-
portional to the numbers in the first column, when equal weights
of the gases are burned ; and proportional to those in the second
column, when equal volumes are burned.

A cursory glance at the figures in the second column of this
table might seem to justify the notion, hitherto entertained by
many, of the comparatively low calorific powers of hydrogen
and carbonic oxya ; and it was doubtless as a consequence of
such a comparison as this, that statements have been put forth

Online LibraryRodolfo Amedeo LancianiThe American journal of science and arts → online text (page 39 of 109)