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History and uses of limestones and marbles online

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Limestones and Marbles



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Limestones and Marbles

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History AND Uses



OF



JJMESTONES AND MaRBLES



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BY S.*" M; BURNHAM



WITH FORTY-EIGHT CHROMO-UTHOGRAPHS



Boston

S. E. CASSINO AND COMPANY
1883



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BY 8. E. CASSIIf^O A CO.

1883.



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PREFACE.



It was not the design of the author of Limestones and
Marbles to write a treatise on geology, nor is the book in-
tended for scientific readers as such, since it makes no claims
to new investigations, nor offers any new theories on the
subject ; it only presents the facts and speculations of original
explorers and writers, so selected and arranged as to illustrate
the value of limestones in some departments of geology, but
more especially their use in the mechanic and the fine arts, and
their history in civilization. Technical terms hkve, generally,
been explained so that an unscientific reader may be able to
understand them without reference to a text-book.

Calcareous rocks are of great value in determining the age
of strata, on account of the large number and variety of
organic remains which they enclose, while they largely con-
tribute to the diversified and picturesque scenery of the globe.
Limestones are, in one sense, a link between the mineral and
the animal kingdoms, since most of them have an organic origin
and possess, on that account, an interest above that of most
other rocks. The adaptability of marbles to the purposes of
art have made them indispensable to man in the higher
department of sculpture and architecture.

There is no work exclusively devoted to limestones and
marbles known to the writer, who has been compelled to
gather facts from various sources ; and any deficiency of such

iii



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IV PREFACE.

facts in regard to the limestones of some countries is due,
probably, rather to the lack of geological knowledge than to
any failure of supply.

The authors consulted for scientific truth, or what claims to
be truth, include some of the most prominent geologists of
this country and Europe, as well as those of less note ; but, as
is well known, there is a difference of opinion among them on
many geological questions. In regard to the age of a forma-
tion and some other points they are likely to differ or change
their opinions, and the theories of to-day may be abandoned
to-morrow, while the essential character of the rocks remain
as unquestionable facts. An illustration of this subject is
afforded in the Red Ammonite and the Carrara marbles of
Italy, which modern geologists have changed in chronological
rank many times. This may be an extreme case, but other
formations have acquired, in some degree, the same doubtful
character.

To give the subject continuity and completeness it has
been sometimes necessary to refer to other formations com-
bined and interstratified with calcareous strata, forming series,
groups, and systems.

In the classification of the animal kingdom the general
arrangement has been followed, and in the descriptions of
fossiliferous limestones an antiquated name may have been
occasionally retained. Prominence has been given to the
color of marbles and other ornamental stones, because this
quality, combined with a capacity for polish, is of primary
importance. The Latin names of the "Antique Stones"
have been mentioned as far as they are known, since they
occur in classic writings, while their corresponding Italian
names, by which they are recognized by modern antiquaries,
are used in preference to their English equivalents, which, in
many instances, are absurd or fanciful



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INTRODUCTION.



A BEAUTIFUL statuc, B. fine monument, a magnificent build-
ing, or any other grand and pleasing object in stone, naturally
suggests inquiry as to the nature of the substance composing
it, the place where it was obtained, its age, importance in art,
and various other facts connected with its history ; for most
rocks have a history extending far back through geological
eras beyond human computation. A knowledge of the nature
and origin of limestones, a rock that contributes so largely to
works of art, enhances the pleasure these productions afford,
and awakens admiration for the wonderful laws of Nature, and
the methods by which she has brought to perfection the
abundant materials of her immense laboratory, and placed
them at man's disposal to be applied by his energy and genius
to his use and the gratification of his aesthetic tastes.

The perfect adaptability of marble to statuary and the more
ornamental parts of architecture had, undoubtedly, an im-
portant influence in the creation of the beautiful works of
those nations that have attained the highest excellence in the
fine arts, the Greek and Latin races, in whose countries are
found an abundance of the best material for sculpture. How
far the superiority of Greek art was due to the native pro-
duction of Greece is a question no one can decide, but there
can be little doubt that the excellence of Parian and Pentelic
marbles had an influence in the development of the Attic taste



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VI INTRODUCTION.

for sculpture, and stimulated the Greek artists to aim at the
highest results in execution.

Marbles rank next to precious stones for beauty and ele-
gance in decoration, but, unlike them, they are very abundant
and of an almost unlimited variety. Under the general term
of marble, are often classed other stones used for artistic pur-
poses, which for beauty, diversity of colors, and fine polish
are suitable for decoration ; such as alabaster, aragonite, gyp-
sum (all calcareous), serpentine, porphyry, labradorite, basalt,
and some others, whose constituents are essentially different.
All marbles, properly speaking, are limestones admitting a
polish, whether crystalline or uncrystalline.

Stratified rocks embody the geological records of the globe,
and these important memorials are, to a great extent, pre-
served in calcareous strata, therefore they are the most sig-
nificant and interesting among all strata for scientific study.

Limestones constitute a large part of the rocks of the earth,
being found in every period from the oldest to the most re-
cent. A difference of opinion exists among geologists in
regard to their formation, some maintaining the theory that
they are all, or nearly all, of organic origin, while others be-
lieve that a large proportion were formed by precipitation
resulting from chemical reactions. It is probable that both
processes effected the result, but by far the greater part, even
of those that have undergone metamorphism, were composed
largely of the remains of living beings, inhabiting marine and
fresh waters. Shells, either entire or in comminuted frag-
ments, small particles of older calcareous rocks broken off
and reduced to fine sediment, were precipitated to the bot-
tom of the ocean, and, gradually accumulating, constituted
beds of limestone^ in some instances of very great thickness ;
those of organic origin were formed in a similar manner, in
fresh and inland waters. It can hardly be doubted that some
limestones were the result of precipitation, as water, charged
with carbonate of lime, in dropping through small crevices,
and depositing the lime, would in time produce masses of



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INTRODUCTION. VU

pure limestone^ as in the case of stalagmites and stalactites,
and, perhaps, those marbles called 'calcareous alabasters.

Various causes operated to consolidate the sediments
forming limestones, whether composed of shells or pulverized
rocks. The agents were carbonate of lime in the nature of
cement, great and long-continued pressure, and water of a
high degree of temperature, when the process occupied a very
long time. As the materials of limestones, in some instances,
have been worked over many times, passing from/* sand to
rock, and from rock to sand, in ever recurring cycles," their
growth must have been exceedingly slow.

They contain more organic remains than any other rock,
and by their general distribution afford proof that the waters
of the earth, in past eras, as they are now, were inhabited by
an unlimited number and diversity of organized Ueings. A
very large number of the living species that have contributed
to the formation of limestones were extremely minute, afford-
ing an admirable illustration of the wonderful economy with
which Nature carries on her operations. These innumerable
beings, the necessity of whose existence might have been
questioned by human presumption, yielded their stony skel-
etons for the structure of rock material ages before the cre-
ation of the human race.

The oldest rocks known are the Laurentian, a formation
of great thickness, including calcareous strata, thus proving
the extraordinary age of limestones. It was formerly sup-
posed there was no organic life during this remote era, the
mythological period of geology, but as the chemists say that
the presence of graphite indicates organic matter, and as this
mineral is found among the Eozoic rocks, the inference would
seem to follow that there existed vegetable and probably the
lower forms of animal life, during this period ; at least, this
is the argument of those who maintain the theory.

Although limestones have had a long chronological history,
they are to be found among the youngest rocks, and are in
process of formation at the present time.



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CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.
DIFFERENT CLASSES OF LIMESTONES.

Limestones classed and named accordinj^ to their Fossils, Locality, or Geological Age. —
Varieties in regard to Structure.— Concretions. — Geodes. — Dolomite, or Magnesian
Limestone. — Oolite. — Numm ulitic Limestone. — Travertine. — Feperino. — Alabas-
ter.— Gypsum.— Serpentine.— Metamorphism.— Caverns I

CHAPTER II.

FOSSILS.

Qtssification of Fossils.— Definition. — Importance in Calcareoos Rocks.— Condition
of Fossils. — Divisions of the Animal Kingdom. — Protozoans. — Radiates. — Mol-
lusks. — Articulates. — Vertebrates. — Vegetable Kingdom. — Cryptogams. — Fossils
of the Paris Basin 13

CHAPTER III.

GENERAL DIVISIONS OF GEOLOGICAL TIME.

Chronological Order of Strata. — Methods of determining the Age of Rocks. — Hovr
Rocks may be Studied. — Eozoic Rocks. — Paleozoic Bra. — Silurian Limestones. —
Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian Limestones. — Mesosoic Bra. — Limited Dis.
tribution in the United States. — Jurassic Formation.— Cretaceous Rocks. — Cenozoic
Bra. — Tertiary Period. — Orbitoides Limestone. — Quaternary Period.— Classifica-
tion of Strata . . ' 39

CHAPTER IV.
UMESTONES OF THE UNITED STATES.

ATLANTIC REGION.

General Divisions of Limestone Areas. — New England. — Green*Mountain Marbles. —
Serpentines. — New York : Its Extensive Limestone Formations. — Eozoic and Pale-
ozoic Rocks of New Jersey. — Cretaceous. — Harlani and Gryphaea Beds. — PennsyK
vania. — Appalachian Chaih. —Thickness of Silurian Recks. — '* Great Limestones-
Maryland and Delaware. — Water.line Group. — Trias. — Potomac Marble. — Oldest
Rocks of Vir^nia. — Paleozoic Strata. — Tertiary. — Infusorial Beds, — Rock Systems
of the Cajx>linas.—Buhr8tone Formation. — Carolina Marbles.— Georgia and Flori-
da.— Vicksburg Group.— Orbitoidal Limestone.— Coxal Reef 47

iz



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X CONTENTS.

CHAPTER V.

LIMESTONES OF THE UNITED ST ATES^coniinued.

THE MISSISSIPPI BASIN.

Silmian of Ohio. — Varieties of limestones. — Organic Rcimains. — Warerly Group. —
Berea Grit. — North Vernon Blue of Indiana. — Immense Blocks. — Its Power of
Resistance.— Geode Beds.— Caverns.— Classification of Illinois Limestones.— Lithos-
trotion and Archimedes. — Varieties of Marble. — Iron Regions of Michigan. — Lime-
stone Formations. — Paleozoic Remains. — Drift Deposits. — Travertine. — Eozoic
Rock& of Wisconsin. — Scenery developed by the Magnesian Limestone. — Paleozoic
Strata of Iowa. — Western Strata. — Important Fossils. — Iowa Marble. — Primary
Rocks of Missouri. — Marble Beds. — Abimdance of Tennessee Marble. — Five
Classes of Maibles. — limestones of Kentucky mostly Paleozoic. — Blue-Grass Re*
gions. — Knobstone Fonpation. — Kentucky Marbles. — Mississippi Limestones.—
Orange Sand. — Alabama.— Limit of the Silurian System.— Tertiary Deposits.—
White Limestone. — Recent Formations of Louisiana. — Loess. — Bluff Formatioir.— >
Rocks of Texas. — Natural Walls. — Fossils. — Arkansas. — Millstone Grit — Oil-
Trough Ridge.— Other Formations. — Fossil Bones. — Chalk Bluffs. — Carbonif-
erous and Permian Systems in Kansas.— Triassic and Jurassic Rocks. — The Mas-
todon ...da

CHAPTER VI.

UMESTONES OF THE UNITED ST ATl^S - ccnclwUd.

ROCKY MOUNTAINS AND PACIFIC COAST.

The Region only partially explored. — Surveys of King. —Thickness of Strata. — Boxoic
Rocks. — Dolomite. — St. Cassian Fossils. — Paleozoic Limestones. — Canons of
Nevada. — Saurians. — Tufa Domes. — Later Formations in Colorado. — Fossils Im-
perfecL— Volcaniq Rocks. — Natural Features. — Archaeology. — Cave and Cliff
Dwellings. — Territories West of the Mississippi. — Calcareous Rocks Abundant.—
Remarkable Canons. —Mountains of California. — Jaspers, — Cinnabar. — Marble. —
Travertine.— Remains of Gigantic Mammals. — Placer Mining. — Malachite,— Ter-
tiary along the Pacific Coast.- Drift • 90

CHAPTER VII.

LIMESTONES OF BRITISH AMERICA AND THE WEST INDIA ISLANDS.

BRITISH AMERICA.

Eozoic Rocks of Canada.— The Laurentian Series. —Scientific Value of the Rocks. —
Laurentian Marbles. — Bozoon Canadense. — Different Species of Rocks.— Falls of
Montmorency.— Building-Stone. — Dolomites and Limestones. — Mingan Islands.
— Gaspe Pebbles.— Limestone of Lake Huron. — Cape Breton and Fire Island Mar-
bles.- Hudson Bay . . • .* IQS

WEST INDIA ISLANDS.

Cuba. — Madrepore Limestones. — A Peculiar Breecia.- Jamaica. — Coast Ranges.—
Species of Limestone. — Building-Stones. —Barbadoes. —Conglomerate of the Sand-
wich Islands • 108



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CONTENTS. XI

CHAPTER VIII.
UMESTONES OF MEXICO AND SOUTH AMERICA.

MEXICO.

Rocks of the Andes.— Table-land. — Fire-opal. — ** Alpine'* Limestone.— Cavens.—
Geology of Northern Mexico. — Marble of Hermasillo. — Carboniferous Fossils. —
Gold Placers. — "Shell Mountain." — Onyx Marble. — Isthmus of Tehuantepec —
Cretaceous and Tertiary Systems iia

SOUTH AMERICA.

Peculiarity of the Andes. — Brazilian Plateau. — Opinions of Geologists. — Fossils. —
Sosoon Canadense.- Human Remains. — Tosca. — Pampas. — Guiana and Vene-
zuela.— Plain of the Amazons. — " Alpine *' Limestone. — Shell-heaps. — Terrace
Plains of Chili. — Elevation of the Coast —Calcareous Rocks. —Tertiary Deposits
of Patagonia. — Shingle. — Limestones. — Uraguay. — Venezuela. — Island of Trin-
idad 114

CHAPTER IX.

LIMESTONES OF GREAT BRITAIN.
Geological Structure of the British Isles. — Classification of Silurian Rocks. — Rep.
resentative Limestones of the L. Silurian. — Wales. — Historical Associations. —
Castles. — Snowdon. — Limestones of Scotland. — Of Ireland. — U. Silurian. — Lud-
low Castle. — Milton. — Devonian System. — Mountain Limestone. — A Continuous
Series. —Magnesian Limestone. — Nolir Red Sandstone. — Jurassic or Oolitic Lime-
stones. — Classification. — Portland and Purbec Beds. — Uses of Puibeck Marble. —
Wealden Beds. — Chalk. — Headon and Bembridge Series. — British Marbles.—
Sculptures in the British Museum ..••.'.. lai

CHAPTER X.

LIMESTONES OF FRANCE.
Ornamental Stones.- Nummulitic and Gryphite Limestones.- Jurassic Strata. — Nor-
mandy. — Caen Stone. — Calcaire Polypiers. — Cote-d'Or. — Eisenrahm. — Ardennes.
— Givet Limestone. — Montbard. — Buffon . — Burgundy. — Guettard's Opinion. —
Langres. — Nancy. — Toul. — Caverns. — Chateau of Versailles. — Vosges Moun-
tains. — Vosges Sandstone.— Mount Donon. — Nord. — Vise Limestone. — Mount
Auxois. — Gauls and Romans. —Valley of the Seine. — Indusial Limestone. -Ter-
tiary Remains. — Campan Marbles. — Griotte and Cannes Marbles. — Molasse. — St.
Loup. —Vendee. — Poitiers. — Cliflfs on the Clain. — The Oolite. — Angers. — Brit-
tany. — Chalk Beds. — Paris Basin. — Cuvier i^

CHAPTER XI.

LIMESTONES OF BELGIUM, GERMANY, AND THE NETHERLANDS.

BELGIUM.

Formations Identical with some in France. — The Eifel Limestone. —The Givet Forma-
tion.— Carboniferous System. —Vise Limestone. — Old Stone Age. — Conglomerate
of Bumot. — Psammites.—*' Petit Granit." — Rupelian System. — Kleyn Spawen
Beds. — Breccia of Dourlers. — Fresh-water Limestones — Luxemboui^. — Belgian
Marbles 151



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Xll CONTENTS.

GERMANY AND THB NETHERLANDS.

RepresentatlTe Limestones. — I^evonian Formation. — The Zechstein. - Muschelkalk.

— Planerkalk. — Grauwacke. — Cartx>niferous Limestones. — Maestricht Beds. —
Thuringian Forest. — Hartz Mountains. ~- Solenhofen Slates. — • Bosoon BaTaricum,

— Limestones of the Rhine. — Silesian Limestones. — Ranch-wacke. — Calcareous
Tufa.— Caverns.— Agates.— German Marbles. — Antique Sculptures of the Mu-
setmi of Berlin ^. 154

CHAPTER XII.

LIMESTONES OF SWITZERLAND AND THE ALPS.
Alpine Chain. — Eastern Alps. —Trias. — Lias. — Gypsum Zones. — Dolomite. —Vene-
tian Alps. — Molasse. — Nagelflube. — Nummnlitic Limestone. — Glams Slates.—
The Grunten. - ^ Tertiary Strata. — CBningen Beds.— The Jura.— Black Forest —
Junssic Series.— Jura Limestone.— Ci^etaoeous Rocks.— Swiss Marbles • ... 169

CHAPTER XIII.

LIMESTONES OF THE AUSTRIAN EMPIRE, DENMARK, SCANDINAVIA,
AND THE POLAR REGIONS.

AUSTRIA.

Principal Limestone Formation. — Carpathian Range. — Bohemia. — Discoveries of
Barrande. — Stone of Bilin. — Sprudelstone.— Transylvania Alps. — Dolomite Moun-
tains.— Vienna Basin.— St. Cassiaa and Hallstatt Beds.— Fira-marble of Caiinthia.

— Predazzit 17a

DENMARK.

Prevalence of Cretaceous Rocks.— Terraine Danien.— Fazoc Limestone.— Corals of
Zealand and Moen 176

SCANDINAVIA.
Oldest Parts of Europe. — Iron Mines. — Swedish Rocks. — Gothland Limestone.—
Orthoceralite Marbles. — Porphyries. — Calcaire Primitif. — Siliuian of Norway . . 197

POLAR REGIONS.
Fossils of Spitsbergen. — Shells of the Sea-bottom. — Coral Beds. — Fauna of the Kara
Sea. — Mammoth of New Siberia. — Limestones of the North Coast. — Cosmic Dust.

— Red Snow.— Northern Lights . . • • 179

CHAPTER XIV.

LIMESTONES OF THE SPANISH PENINSULA AND ITALY.

SPAIN AND PORTUGAL.
Mountains of Spain. — Silurian Rocks. — Cretaceous Group. — Dolomite. — Seville. -« ,

Region of the Sierra Nevada.— Moorish Buildings.— Bone Breccias. — Gibraltar. "•«
Spanish Marbles • 181

ITALY.

The Apennines. — Age of Italian Rocks.— Verricano. — Statuary Maxble. — Apuan
Alps. — Red Ammonite. — Tertiary. — Biancone. — Venetian Alps. — Sub'Apen*
nines. — Mountains of Tuscany. — Alberese. — Madgno. — Panchina. — Cretone. —
Lake Como. — Hill of Superga. — Rome. — Works of Art. — Italian Marbles. — Gab-
bro or Serpentine. — Travertine. — Gypsum. — Temple of Jupiter Serapis. — Fossils
of Monte Bolca. — Italian Islands. —Limestones of Sicily and Sardinia. — Granites
of Elba and Giglio. —Verde di Corsica.— Limestones of the Mediterranean . • • i84



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CONTENTS. XUl



CHAPTER XV.

LIMESTONES OF GREECE.— GREEK ART.

Calcax«oas Conc^lomentes. — Its Great Extent.— Varieties of limestones. — Mount
Parnassus. — Attica. — Mount Pentelicus. — Mount Taygetus. — Rosso Antico. —
Islands of Greece. — The Cydades. — Island of Crete. — The Labyrinth. — Chios. —
Santorin. — Eubora. — The Sporades. — Grotto of Antiparos. — Excavations at My.
cene. — Greek Marbles.— Greek Art aoi

CHAPTER XVI.

LIMESTONES OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE AND CHINA.

TBB RUSSIAN BMFIRB.
Eozoic Rocks. — Palesoic Strata. — Tinum Range. — Pleta Limestone. — Devonian
System. — Carboniferous Rocks. — White Moscow Limestone. — Permian Rocks. —
Russian Towns. — The B<^do Hills. — Jurassic Series. — Cracow. — Cretaceous
Formation. — Tertiary. — Steppe Limestone. — Elburz Mountains. — Ararat — Cau.
casus Mountains.— Salt Mines. — Ural Mountains.— Their Composition.— Lime-
stones.— Demldoff Copper Mines. — Picturesque Scenery. — Siberia. — Marble of
the Sugomac Mountain. — Aventurine. — Emperor Alexander. — Limestones of the
South UraL — The Bashkirs. — Iron Mines. — Metallurgy. — Productions of Siberia. 3x3



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