Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani.

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the Swiss tertiary vegetation, confirmed as it is by some other,
equally or almost equally convincing examples. But the case
appears to me to be fiair different with the theory so vividly
expounded by Professor linger in 1861 in his Address entitled
"Neu Holland in Europa." This theory, now generally admit-
ted, seems to me to be established on some such reasoning as
this : — ^There are in the tertiary deposits in Europe, and espe-
ciaUv in the earlier ones, a number of leaves that look like those
of rroteacesB are a distinguished feature in Australian vegeta-
tion ; ergo^ European vegetation had in those times much of an
Australian type derived fi^om a direct land communication with
that distant region.

This conviction, that Proteace» belonging to Australian gen-
era were numerous in Europe in Eocene times, is indeed re-
garded by paleontologists as one of the best-proved of their
mcts. They enumerate nearlv one hundred tertiary species, and
most of them with such absolute confidence that it would seem
the height of presumption for so inexperienced a paleontolo-
gist as myself to express any doubt on the subject And yet,
although the remains of the tertiary v^etation are far too
scanty to assert that Protaeceae did not form part of it, I have
no hesitation in stating that I do not believe that a single speci-
men has been found that a modem systematic botanist would
admit to be Proteaceous unless it had been received fix)m a
country where Proteaceae were otherwise known to exist
And, on other grounds, I should be most unwilling to believe
that any of the great Australian branches of the Order ever
reached Europe. As this is a statement requiring much more
than mere assertion on my part, I shall beg to enter into some
detail, commencing with a short summary of my grounds of
disbelief in European tertiary Proteaceae, and then examining
into the supposed evidences of their existenca

Prom the above considerations, I cannot resist the opinion
that all presumptive evidence is against European ProteaceaB,

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884 Bxtractafrom Mr. BemCkomCa Address.

and that all direct evidence adduced in their favor has broken
down upon cross-examination. And however much these
Eocene leaves may assume a general character, which may be
more frequent in Australia (in Proteaceas and other Orders) than
elsewhere, all that this would prove would be, not any genetic
affinity with Australian races, but some similarity of causes
producing similarity of adaptive characters.

Another series of conclusions drawn- by paleontologists from
their recent discoveries, which appears to me to have been car-
ried too far, relates to the r^on where a given species origina-
ted. The theory that every race (whether species or group of
species derived from a single one) originated in a single indi-
vidual, and consequently in one spot, from which it has gradu-
ally spread, is a necessary consequence of the adoption of Dar-
winian views; and when Mr. R Brown ("On the Geographical
Distribution of Conifers," Trans. Bot Soc Edin., x, p. 195) sneers
at my having qualified it as a perfect delusion, he must have
totally misunderstood, or rather misread the passage he refits
to in my last yefw's Address. The expression is there specially
applied to the idea of general centers of creation whence the
whole flora of a region has gradually spread, in contradistinc-
tion to the presumed origin of individual races in a single spot,
which is there as distinctly admitted. The determination of
where that spot is for any individual race, is a &r more compli-
cated question than either geographical botanists or paleontolo-
gists seem to siippose. " Every vegetable species," as well ob-
served by Professor Heer, " has its separate history," and re-
quires a very careful comparison of all the conclusions deduci-
ble as well from present distribution as from ancient remaina
The very important fiact that Taxodium distichum^ Sequoio^ Mag-
ndluje, Salisburiay &a, existed in Spitsbergen in Miocene times, so
satisfactorily proved by Heer, shows that the vegetation of that
country then comprisea species and genera now characteristic
of North America ; but it appears to me that the only conclu-
sion to be drawn (independently of climate and geology) is, that
the area of these species and genera had extendi continuously
fix>m the one country to the other, either at some one time, or
during successive periods. The proposition that " Spitsbergen
appears to have been the focus of distribution of Taxodium dis^
tickum^^' because an accidental preservation of its remains shows
that it existed there in the lower Miocene period, would require
at least to be in some measure confirmed by a knowled^ of
the flora of the same and preceding periods over the remainder
of its present area, the greater part of which flora, however, is
totally annihilated and forever concealed ^m ua The feet
that Plnus Abies existed in Spitsbergen in Miocene times, and that
no trace of it has been found in the abundant Tertiary remains

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J. E. Waiet an the Georgia Meteoric SUme. 8S5

of Centa^l Europe is very instructiva It might show that that
tree was of more recent introduction into the latter than the
former country ; but it cannot prove that it was not still earlier
in some other r^on, whence it may have spread successively
into both territories, still less that its course of dissemination
was directly fh)m Spitsbergen over Northern and Central Eu-
ropa Moreover the determination of Pinus Abies is not so
convincing as that of the Tcujcodium^ resting as it does, if I cor-
rectly understand Pro£ Heer's expression, on detached seeds
and leaves, with a few scales of one cone, and may require
further confirmation.

In the above observations it is very fiir from my wish to de-
tract from the great value of Professor Heer's researches. lur
terested as I have been in the investigation of the history of
races of plants, I have deeply felt my general ignorance of
paleontology, and consequent want of means of checking any
conclusions I may have drawn from present vegetation by any
knowledge of that which preceded it, and the m[ipossibiIity at
my time of life of entering into any detailed course of study
of fossila Like many other recent botanists, I am obliged to
avail myself of the general results of the labors of paleontolo-
gists ; and if I have here ventured on a few criticisms, it is
only as a justification of the hope that they may in some meas-
xire distinguish proved fiiots from vague guesses, in order that
we may know how far reliance is to be placed on their con-
clusions. ###**#

Art. XXXTT. — Account of the fall of a Meteoric Stone in Stewart
County^ Georgia ; by Professor Joseph E. Willet.

In October, 1869, I learned that a metoric explosionh ad
occurred in Stewart county, Georgia. I immediately requested
Hon. John T. Clarke, a resident of the county adjoining Stewart,
to enquire whether any stone or stones had fellen, and to en-
deavor to procure them for Mercer University. Jud^e Clarke,
after considerable labor, was entirely successiul in his search ;
and, through him, Mr. Barlow, in whose vard the meteorite
descended, generously presented it to our Museum. To Judge
Clarke and to Mr. lilatimer, I am indebted for the following
history of the phenomena attending the descent of the meteorite.

Mr. J. B. Latimer of Bladen*s creek, Stewart county, has
kindly furnished the following particulars of the flight of the
body through the air, and of the several explosions^ which occurred
nearly vertically above him.

" The morning of the 6th October last (1869) was quite clear,

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886 J. E. WHkt on the Georgia Meteoric Skme.

scarcely any cloud being visible, quite calm ; about 10 A. M.
the atmosphere grew somewhat hazy, no clouds ; at about 15
or 20 minutes before 12 M. a roaring, rushing sound was heard
in a northwesterly direction, about 80 degrees above the horizon.
In a moment or two, it was almost directlv over head, at which
point a loud explosion occurred, followed in rapid succession
by six other reports, but less in volume than the first — Tnaking
seven in alL The explosions appeared about as loud as a 12-
pound cannon, at a distance of 10 or 12 miles. These explo-
sions did not occur all at the same point in the heavens, out
seemed to emanate from some body moving rapidly to the south-
east After the explosions, a peculiar whirring sound was heard,
apparentlyproduced by some large irr^ular body, moving very
rapidly. This also went in a southeasterly direction. This
sound was heard several seconds ; many have compared it, and
aptly too, to an imperfect steam-whistla I have no precise
iaea of the time consumed in all this demonstration ; some
persons say several minutes — ^but I think 10 or 15 seconds
would about cover the tima

" As the larger body was going out of our hearing, (some
moments after the explosions) a smaller one passed to the south-
west, with just such a noise as is always produced by a flying
fragment of a shell after its explosion, or of any angular body
cast violently through the air. This piece descended to the
earth, distinctly traced in its passage by many persons, and
struck in the yard of Capt R Barlow — which point of contact
is, on an air-line, about 2^ miles from a perpendicular beneath
where the explosions occurred. This is the only one known to
have fallen in this section.

** The explosions, together with the rushing sound afterward,
were heard over a region about 80 miles N.E. and S.W. and 50
or 60 miles N.W. and S.E. No shock was felt — ^at least no
tremor of the earth.

" Two men say, that they were looking in the exact direction
of the explosions at the time they occurred, and saw a quantity
of vapor, much like the volume of steam escaping from the
pipe of an engine, at each successive stroke ; wnicn vapor or
mist was violently agitated, and increased in bulk, with each
successive report, but disappeared soon after the cessation of
the reports. This corroborates the testimony of some of my
own laborers, who say, that immediately after the explosions
something like a thin cloud cast its shadow over the field they
were in."

Hon. John T. Clarke, of Cuthbert, Ga., who has interested
himself in collecting the history of the meteorite, and through
whose influence it has come into the possession of Mercer
University, writes me the following particulars of \\&faIL

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J. B. WiOet on the Georgia Meteoric SUme. 887

" It fell about IH a. IL on the 6tli of October last, (1869),
in Stewart county, Ga., on the premises of Elbridge Barlow, Esq.,
about 12 miles south of west fix)m Lumpkin. Capt Barlow
picked it up a few moments after it fell. His account of it is
this. While standing in the open yard, the sky being bright
and clear, he heard first a succession of about three explosions, '
resembling sudden bursts of thunder, or discharges of artillery,
followed by a deep roaring for several seconds, and then by a
rushing or whizzing sound of something rushing with great speed
through the air near by. The sound ceased suddenly. The
noise, from first to last, was some half a minute. Two negroes
were washing near the well, in the same yard, about sixty yards
from where Barlow stood. They heard the noise, and supposed
it to be the falling in of the plank well-curbing, banging from
side to side in its descent, and so spoke of it to one another
before it felL While they were speaking thus, it struck the
ground about twenty steps from tnem, in full sight, knocking
up the dirt They callea Capt B. and showed him the spot
It was upon very hard trodden ground in the clean open yard.
The eartn was freshly loosened up very fine in a circle of about
one and a half feet in diameter ; and, upon scraping the loose
dirt away with the hands, the stone was found about ten inches
below the surface. From the direction in 'which the ground
was crushed in, it must have come from the northwest, and at
an angle of about 80 degrees with the horizon. The stone
when picked up was covered all over with the black shell which
it bears now, except a triangular spot on one comer, about one
inch each way, where the comer appeared freshly; knocked off,
and about four other spots near a quarter of an inch in diame-
ter, where the shell was slightly knocked off. The other
bruises, which you will find upon it, have been made since by
persons who have handled it To enable you to distinguish
the original breaks upon it, I have marked each of them with
a red crosa The stone still has a strong odor, which I will not
undertake to describe. Capt B. says it smelled stronger when
he first picked it up. He does not remember that it had any
noticeable heat It was not cold, as a stone found so deep in
the ground should be.

" The stone weighs now 12^ ounces, about \ ounce has been
pecked off from it Its color within is strikingly like very
light granite; and, with the exceptions above noted, it is
entirely covered with a smooth, almost black shell, a trifle
thicker than common letter paper, so that externally it looks
very much like a lump of iron ore. It is an irregular, seven-
sided figure, its longest side being about 2f inches long. If put
into a spherical form, it would make a ball about If inches in

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338 J. E. Willet on tfie^ Georgia Meteoric Stone,

diameter. So fiu* as I have been able to ascertain^ no other
parts have been found

" The noise attending this phenomenon is variously described
by different persons, and from different places. Two intelligent
ladies residing four miles south of Lumptin, nearly east of where
• the stone fell, and about ten or twelve miles off, describe it thus.
While sitting in the house they heard, as it were, the sound of
a great fire suddenly bursting forth from some confinement into
the open air. They rushed out of doors, and heard the roar-
ing sound continue for several seconds. They located the source
of the noise in the direction of Barlow'a

" In Cuthbert, about 18 miles from Barlow's, nearly south-
east, a gentleman, engaged in a workshop, heard a lumbering
noise, which he took to be several heavy pieces of machinery
in an adjoining room, falling down one after another. On going
in, he found no one, and that he had mistaken the cause of the
noise. Many persons here heard sounds like repeated thunder
followed by roaring. Some say that they first heard several
rapid, cracting explosions, like that of volleys of small arms,
followed immediately by the louder burst oi artillery. Most
persons here thought the noise came from the southeast, passed
over the place in a northwesterly direction, and died away in
the distant northwest

" The foregoing statements have been selected from many in
circulation, showu^ how differently the senses were affected at
different points. The facts are purposely presented in their
nakedness. K vou can find them avsolable in aid of a scientific
investigation of the ormn of this phenomenon, I shall have
accomplished more than 1 expect"

The above accounts agree as to the main facts. They were
furnished by Mr. Latimer and Judge Clarke, without being
compared by them. It is possible that a compwison of notes
by them might have thrown some li^ht on the point of greatest
discrepancy, viz : the direction of flight It is probable that
the meteorite came from some point m the rwrth quarter ; the
statement of Mr. Latimer over whom it exploded, and that
of Mr. Barlow as to the direction in which the earth was pene-
trated, concur in this regard. Persons in Cuthbert, who repre-
sent it as coming from the south, may have been misled by an
echo, mistaking this for the original sound.

Prof. J. Lawrence Smith, who is giving special attention to
the subject of meteorites, has requested the privilege of anal-
yzing the stone above described.

Mercer University, Penfleld, Georgia.

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J. L. SmiSi — Analysis of Uie Oeorgia Meteorite. 889

Art. XXXm. — Description and Analysis of a Mete&ric Stone
that fell in Stewart county, Qcu {Stewart county Meteorite)^ on
the 6th of October, 1869 ; by J. Lawrence Smith.

In October, 1869, I learned through the public press that
certain meteoric phenomena had occurred in Stewart county,
Georgia, and that one or more stones had feUen. Enquiries
were inmiediately instituted by me, and, through Pro£ Willet,
I obtained for examination the only stone foimd, one that was
seen to strike the ground, and from him received an account
of the phenomena observed at the time by Messrs. Latimer,
Clarke and others. [See preceding ArticlaJ

The stone, as it reached me, was nearly intact, and weighed
12i ounces ; it must originally have weighed 12^ ounces. It
is of an irregular conical shape, having a flattened base, and is
covered with a dull heavy black coating. The specific gravity
is 8*65. The fractured surface has a grayish aspect, and when
examined closely, especially by the aid of a glass, exhibits
numerous ffreenish globules with a whitish granular material
between ; tnroueh tne mass are dark particles consisting princi-
pally of nickeliierous in»n, with some pyrites, and a few specks
of cnrome iron. The nodules are sometimes three or more
millimeters in diameter, and of an obscure fibrous crystalline
structure, the crystals radiating usually from one side of the
nodule ; they have a dirty bottle-green color, a greasy aspect
when broken, and are more or less opaka

Some of these little nodules were separated in a tolerable
state of purity, amounting to 121 milligrams ; on analysis they
aflforded :

Oxygen. Ratio.

Silica 48-62 26-i

Alumina 8-05 3-'^'^ ^ ^

^•79 f
Magnesia 80-18

Protoxyd of iron ... 1 1 -2 1 2-61 [ ,

11-80 J ^


The hardness of the mineral is about 6, and it is quite tough.
The formula would be ftSi, with a part of the silica replaced
by alumina, a not unfrequent case in minerals such as horn-
blende, hypersthene, &c. As it is impossible to derive any
light from its crystalline structure, the above analysis warrants
me in concluding that it is either bronzite, or hornblende, but I
am more inclined to the former supposition as it appears to take
the place of the enstatite in many meteorites.

Nickeliferous iron constitutes about 7 per cent of the mass,

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340 J. L, Smith — Analysis of the Georgia Meteorite.

and a portion separated in as pure a state as possible, afforded

on analysis —

t-on 86*92

Nickel 12-01

Cobalt 0-75


These are the proportions after allowing iron for a small amount
of sulphur, present in a minute quantity in the nickeliferous
iron, which could not be separated mechanically. I did not
test for copper or phosphorus ; the quantity of iron separated
from the stone did not warrant my making special analyses for
substances, the quantity of which present could only be exceed-
ingly minute.

The stony matter freed fipom the iron was treated with nitro-
muriatic acid and water, and heated for some time over a water
bath, renewing the water and acid once or twice ; the solution
was filtered, and the residue washed; the residue was then
treated with a warm solution of caustic potash, filtered and
again washed The filtrate was neutralized by hydrodiloric
acid, and added to the first filtrate, and the whole evaporated
to diyness over a water bath, warmed gentlv over the lamp,
and treated with water and a little hycfiochloric acid, thrown
on a filter, the silica collected and estimated ; the last filtrate
was treated with a solution of hydrochlorate of baryta to
ascertain the quantity of sulphuric acid present, (due to the
pyrites in the original mass) ; it was found to indicate 6*10 per
cent of magnetic iron pyrites. The solution freed fi-om the
excess of baryta was now analyzed in the ordinary way.

The insoluble portion of the meteorite was fused with car-
bonate of soda and a small firagment of caustic potash, and its
ingredients ascertained.

A separate portion of the stony part of the meteorite was
examined for alkaliea

The various analyses referred to above gave — omitting the
nickeliferous iron :

The part soluble in acid 68*06

" " insoluble " 41-95

Soluble part Inscdnble part

Silica 41-08 66-03

Alumina 0-32 6-89

Protoxjrd of iron 18-46 16-21

Magnesia 41-06 ^ 21-00

Lime I. * O-lo

Soda, with a little t and Li 2*97

100-83 101-20

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J. L. Smith on flame heat in the Chemical Laboratory. 841

The soluble part consists principally of olivine. The insol-
uble is doubtless the bronzite already refer to, with a little
albite or oligoclase.

Chrome iron was detected by fusing some of the stony part
of the meteorite with carbonate of soda and a little niter, and
separating in the usual way. The quantity was quite minute.

The composition of the stone as made out would be

Nickeliferous iron 7*00

Magnetic pyrites 6*10

Bronzite, or hornblende

OUvine ^^

Albite, or oligoclase '^

Chrome iron


Abt. XXXTV. — Sorms practical remarks on the use of Flame Heat
in the Chemical Laboratory^ especially that from burning gas
without the aid of a blast; by J. Lawrence Smith, Louis-
ville, Ky.

There is probably no more important era in the operations
of the chemical laboratory than that of the introduction of the
lamp as a source of heat lor a large number of chemical opera-
tions, and that without the aid of a blast Berzelius was doubt-
less the first to accomplish much in this direction, which he did
by the agency of the lamp that so commonly bears his name,
and which, more or less modified, is still in use where the ordi-
nary illuminating gas is not to be had.

Although illuminating gas has been in use for about seventy
years, it is only within a comparatively recent date that it lu^
been pressed into service, and used as a heating agent in the
laboratory. The reason of this arose from the fact that when
bximt in the ordinary manner it deposited soot on the vessels
heated by it This difficulty has been overcome by burning
the gas from smaU orifices made in a tube bent in the form of
a circle, the holes being from 1 to 2 centimeters apart, and,
sometimes, combining two or more rings in concentanc circles.
This method, however, has not been generally adopted.

We must date the successftd introduction of gas for heating
purposes to the use of a mixture of gas and air passed through
wire gauze 'and ignited above the gauze, giving a flame without
light and with great heat ; the mvention of this method is

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842 J, L. Smith on flame heat in the Chemical Labaratori/,

claimed by several, and doubtless was discovered by different
individuals at about the same time, without a previous knowl-
edge of each other's results ; this method is still more or less
employed for certain purposes.

The next step in this direction, and doubtless the most impor-
tant up to the present time, is to bum the mixture of gas and
air without the agency of wire gauze ; it was first made known
to the public in the burner commonly called the Bunsen burn-
er, doubtless from its being either invented or brought into ex-
tensive practical use by the distinguished chemist of Heidel-
berg. Its form is too well known to require more tian a mere
mention here, and it is now made of all sizes fix>m those capa-
ble of burning 4 cubic feet of gas and under, to those which
can burn 15 or 20 cubic feet from a single burner, or from a
combination of several smaller ones. To this burner, some ma-
terialfadditions have been made bv different individuala J. J.
Grif&n, (the chemical instrument dealer in London), was, I be-
lieve, the first to introduce the use of the rosette and the regis-
ter for the supply of air. The most remarkable results acc(Hn-
plished by this method of burning gas and air are those obtain-
ed by G. Gore of Birmingham, (all of whose results I have ver-
ified), where gold, copper, cast iron, &c., were fiised in cruci-
bles without the agency of any artificijd blast Mr. Gore evi-
dently realized fully the true principle of burning this mixture,
so as to obtain a maximum effect ; the burner, however, with
its furnace arrangements^ is unavoidably of a form and on a
scale limiting its application.

The usual form of the Bunsen burner, with the rosette and
register (when required), bids fear to hold its own against any
other form for general purposes, and whatever modifications
may be made on it should be of such a character as not to en-

Online LibraryRodolfo Amedeo LancianiThe American journal of science and arts → online text (page 92 of 109)