GEOLOGY OF CLINTON COUNTY.
By Prof. Isaac A. Harvey, A. M. Ph. D.
All the strata which form the geological structure of Clinton county, so far as they are exposed or accessible to investigation, are included in the Paleozoic time, one of the four divisions of geological time, to wit: Archaean, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic.
The lowest epoch of the Paleozoic time is the Acadian, the next, the Potsdam sandstone, and the highest is the Permian epoch.
The general divisions of the Paleozoic column or time are the Silurian, or age of inverebrates, the Devonian, or age of fishes, and the Carboniferous, or age of coal plants, and these are sub-divided into their several periods and epochs.
The Acadian and Potsdam epochs nowhere come to the surface in this county, but the next strata above, viz: The limestones of the Trenton, Chazy and Calciferous epochs, which are exposed in part in Nippenose, Nittany and Sugar Valleys, are the lowest visible strata in the county.
The Pennsylvania second Geological Survey have adopted and used a Paleozoic column, as follows: The Potsdam S. S. is No. 1, the Trenton, Chazy and Calciferous limestones, No. 2, the Hudson river and Utica shales, No. 3, the Oneida and Medina S. S., No. 4, the Clinton shales and Niagara limestone, No. 5, the Lower Helderberg limestone, No. 6, the Oriskany S. S., No. 7, the Chemung, Portage, Hamilton, Marcellus and Upper Helderberg epochs, No. 8, the Catskill "old red" S. S., No. 9, the Pocono S. S., No. 10, the Mauch Chunk red shale, No. 11, the Conglomerate rock, No. 12, the Lower Productive Coal Measures, No. 13, the Lower Barren Measures, No. 14, the Upper Productive Coal Measures, No. 15, the Upper Barren Measures, No. 16, and the Permian epoch, No. 17. The exposures in this county, as already intimated, include the epochs from No. 2 to No. 13 — the limestones of the valleys to the "Lower Productive Coal Measures."
Through the middle of Nittany Valley extends an anticlinal axis, from which the limestone of No. 2 dips northwest, under The Bald Eagle mountains, and never comes to the surface again in Pennsylvania. To the southeast the limestone dips under the Sugar Valley mountain, and thence rises to the surface in Sugar Valley, whence it dips under the Brush valley mountain to re-appear again father southeast. The Bald Eagle mountain is formed by the Hudson river and Utica shales, the Medina Southeast and the Clinton shales, Nos. 3, r and 5, all of which dip with No. 2, and are under the Bald Eagle creek. Thence, as we approach the coal regions to the northwest, the other members or groups of the Paleozoic section come in their order of super-position, the rapid dip to the northwest diminishing, from 80 degrees at the Bald Eagle mountain, to 5 degrees ro 6 degrees in the coal measures. When we reach the hills containing the coal, the limestone measures of Nittany Valley are from 12,000 to 15,000 feet beneath us, and hence the Bald Eagle mountain should be at least two miles high to include any coal beds of value; and all the epochs from No. 2 to No. 13 should be found in their order before reaching the coal.
The geological height and vertical height must not be confused; for the rapid dip of the measures carries the Nos. 4 and 5 of the Bald Eagle mountain top very far beneath the hills containing the coal beds, say from 10,000 to 12,000 feet although the Bald Eagle mountain is a high as the coal beds in Clinton county.
The entire coal areas of Clinton county are found in the following localities: In the Beech Creek and Tangascootac basin, extending into the Farrandsville and Queen’s Run regions, and the Karthaus-Keating basin, extending from the Keating townships, northeast to the Westport basin, and thence into the northern portion of Leidy and Chapman townships, in which some small detached areas of the lowest coal beds are in the hilltops. All the coal in these basins is bituminous; that is containing from 18 to 30 per cent of volatile matter, and 58 or 60 to 70 per cent of fixed carbon. Of course there are some slight variations from this quality; as in the Queen’s Run coal, which yielded 73 to 75 per cent of fixed carbon, and 15 to 20 per cent of volatile matter, indicating a coal approaching semi-bituminous in quality.
The Conglomerate rock is the base of the valuable or workable coal beds, although some intra-conglomerate seams enlarge locally to a workable thickness, and, in rare instances, the Pocono S. S., No. 10, Subcarboniferous, has thin seams of coal, but only at one place, Tipton Station, Blair county, has any coal been mined with profit from this horizon.
Sporadic deposits of carbonaceous matter, resembling coal, occur in some of the lower measures, but never any pure coal in workable shape.
The marcellus shales have yielded 15 to 20 per cent of combustible matter; butt this is only one-fifth or one-sixth of the shales which yield it, and, hence, it is valueless.
The Hudson river and Utica shales, of No. 3, out-crop at various places in Nippenose and Nittany Valleys beneath the sandstone of No. 4. These shales are oftentimes carbonaceous, being of a dark brown, or even a black color, and they are frequently supposed to contain coal.
Much money has been imprudently expended in vain efforts to open coal in these shales and slates. The recent futile drilling operations in Nippenose Valley indicate how far people may be misled in this respect, and yet no advice from competent geologists would avail to prevent the useless work and expense. A brief study of the geological structure of Pennsylvania, and particularly of Clinton county would have sufficed to teach those concerned that no coal could possibly be discovered in Nippenose Valley. The same conclusion will apply to Nittany Valley, where the slates and shales of the same quality and period appear in immense quantities. The discovery of anthracite, semi-anthracite or cannel coal cannot be expected in this county, and, therefore, all efforts to develop or find any coal beneath the conglomerate rock will never repay the time and money expended.
VERTICAL SECTION OF COAL MEASURES.
A complete section of the coal measures, in their best condition and greatest height in this county, includes eight coal beds, with various seams of fire-clay and limestone, and nests or local deposits of carbonate iron ore, as follows:
Mahoning sandstone and shales 25' to 40'
Coal, Bed E, Upper Freeport Dam, 2' to 4 1/2'
Fire clay floor 2' to 3'
Limestone, local bed, 2' to 4'
Sandstone, shales and slates, 30' to 40'
Coal, Bed D, Lower Freeport Dam, Moshannon, Karthaus
and Reynoldsville coal, 3' to 6'
Fire clay floor, 2' to 3'
Limestone, in some places, 2' to 4'
Shales and slates, 25' to 40'
Coal, Bed C, Upper Kittanning, Snow Shoe D, 2 1/2' to 4'
Fire clay floor, 2' to 3'
Limestone, Johnstown cement, 2' to 5'
Sandstone and shales, 20' to 30'
Coal, Bed C, Middle Kittanning, 1' to 4'
Fire clay floor, 2' to 4'
Shaley S. S. and slates, 20' to 25'
Coal, Bed B, Lower Kittanning, 2 1/2' to 6'
Fire clay floor, 3' to 8'
Shales and slates, sometimes including nodules of carbonate
iron ore in seams of one, two or three feet, called
Clarion ore, with seam of feniferous limestone 1' to 3', 25' to 40'
Coal, Bed a, Clarion, 1' to 3'
Fire clay floor, 2' to 3'
Sandstone and shales, 20' to 25'
Coal, Bed A, Brookeville, 1' to 4'
Fire clay floor, 2' to 4'
Sandstone, 20' to 40'
Fire clay, Woodland, Blue ball, Queen’s Run, Farrandsville,
&c., &c., 3' to 20'
Sandstone and shales, top bench of conglomerate rock, 30' to 60'
Coal, Mt. Savage, Mercer, Intra-conglomerate bed, 1' to 3'
Conglomerate rock, No. 12 with two or three thin coals, 100' to 150'
DESCRIPTION OF COAL BEDS
The upper coal, bed E, called the Upper Freeport, has a very small area, being confined to West Keating township, where it does not include more than 300 acres, mostly in detached hilltops of a few acres each. Hence this coal is of small importance in this county, although some portions of its area can be profitably mined in connection with the lower beds. Its thickness is from two to four and a half feet, and the amount of coal contained in it is from 5,000 to 6,000 tons per acre or 1,500,000 tons in its entire area. Not more than 1,000,000 tons of coal could be recovered or utilized. The coal is of good quality, and in some western counties coal E is extensive and important.
Bed D, the Lower Freeport coal, is widely known as the Moshannon, Karthaus and Reynoldsville bed, being mined also in many other regions. Being 40 feet lower in the section than Bed E, it has a much larger extent. This coal is found only in East and west Keating townships, and its area is probably from 1,000 to 1,500 acres, two-thirds of which are in West Keating township. The coal of this bed is popular among operators and dealers, by reason of its superior quality and thickness, and it supplies most of the coal now mined in Clearfield county for shipment over the Tyrone and Clearfield railroad and the Beech Creek railroad. It is likewise highly valued in the Karthaus region, and in Jefferson and other counties. The 1,000 to 1,500 acres contain 6,000 to 7,000 tons of coal per acre, and the whole amount of coal in this bed is from 7,500,000 to 8,000,000 tons. Probably 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 tons would be the output of coal by careful mining.
Bed C’, the Upper Kittanning or Snow Shoe Bed D, has an area of 3,000 to 3,500 acres, mostly in East and west Keating townships, a small and unimportant acreage being in Noyes township, in Westport basin. With a thickness of 2 ½ to 4 feet, this coal contains 5,000 tons of coal per acre. Its area contains 15,000,000 to 18,000,000 tons of which amount perhaps 10,000,000 to 12,000,000 tons can be utilized. The coal compares favorably with that of Bed D, and at many places in the Keating townships it can be mined with profit. In the Snow Shoe basin this bed furnishes a large quantity of coal for eastern markets, and it is mined in many other regions for local or general use.
Bed C, the Middle Kittanning coal, underlies from 5,000 to 6,000 acres, more than three-fourths of this acreage being in the Keating townships, a small area in the Westport basin, and a few hundred acres in the Beech Creek and Tangascootac regions. Coal C is rarely mined for eastern trade, but it supplies domestic fuel in many places. This bed is supposed to be identical with the cannel coal bed of West Virginia and Kentucky. Much of its area is unreliable and faulty, but in some localities it yields coal in good shape and condition. Its thickness ranges from 1 to 4 feet, and, as it has an average of 3,500 tons of coal per acre, the quantity of coal in this bed is from 18,000,000 to 20,000,000 tons. Only about one half the amount is accessible for mining or use.
Bed B, the Lower Kittanning coal, is largely mined at Blossburg, Osceola, Coal Port and many other places. It has been mined with much success in many counties which do not contain Bed D. Its extent in this county is 6,000 to 8,000 acres in the Keating townships, 2,500 acres in the Westport basin, 500 to 600 acres along Beech Creek, 600, 800 or possibly 1.000 acres in the Tangascootac basin, and 500 to 1,000 acres in various isolated areas in other townships; or a total extent of about 12,000 acres. The thickness of bed B varies from 2 ½ to 6 feet, the latter thickness being developed in the Westport basin. Hence it may be fairly estimated to contain 6,000 tons of coal per acre, or 70,000,000 tons in its whole extent. About 50,000,000 tons of coal can be mined from this bed, the other 20,000,000 tons being in outcrops, remote places and inaccessible areas.
Bed A’, the Clarion coal, is usually too thin to be of economic value. Therefore, while its area is from 15,000 to 20,000 acres, a very small part of this acreage can be mined with any advantage. It enlarges, locally, to 3 or 3 ½ feet, and yields good coal. Assuming that one-fifth of its extent is minable, I may compute the workable coal in this bed to be from 12,000,000 to 15,000,000 tons, nearly all of which is in the Keating townships, with a small workable area in the Westport basin. Elsewhere in this county the Clarion coal is too thin to be of any value.
Bed A, the Brookville coal, is only mined for local use in the state, for the reason that it is either beneath the coal railroads, and the other coal beds are more desirable, or it is too impure in many mining regions to be of much practical value. However, a considerable area of coal A in our county may become valuable \, as the coal is of better form and quality here than it is farther west. The extent of this coal is about 20,000 acres — 15,000 in the Keating townships and 5,000 in the other coal regions names. The quantity of coal per acre in this bed is from 3,000 to 4,000 tons, and the entire amount may be stated as 65,000,000 to 70,000,000 tons. One-half of the entire amount can be mined; but the prospective value of Bed a\A is good, but it is not yet much in demand for investment and mining. This coal is valuable in Centre county, although it is not mined for market.
The Mount Savage, or Mercer coal, is an inter-conglomerate bed, being beneath the Homewood sandstone, the upper bench of the conglomerate rock. With an are of 30,000 acres, it can hardly be said to have any importance. However, some portions of its extent will yield sufficient coal per acre, and of such quality, that it may sometime acquire economic value. This bed enlarges to 3 feet in some parts of the Keating basin. The whole amount of coal in minable shape may be estimated at 30,000,000 tons, contained in selected areas of 5,000 or 6,000 acres from its entire 30,000 acres.
SUMMARY OF COAL BEDS.
In a brief summary of the coal in Clinton county we have:
In Bed E, 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 tons
" D, 7,5000,000 to 8,000,000 "
" C’, 15,000,000 to 18,000,000 "
" C, 18,000,000 to 20,000,000 "
" B, 70,000,000 to 75,000,000 "
" A’, 15,000,000 to 18,000,000 "
" A, 65,000,000 to 70,000,000 "
M’t Savage, 25,000,000 to 30,000,000 "
Total 217,000,000 to 240,000,000 "
Making a more general estimate from these fffigures, we have from 225 to 240 million tons of coal in beds of workable thickness, and such areas of thin seams as enlarge locally to a minable size, assuming 3 feet as the minimum. Assigning the amount proportionately to the respective basins we have:
In the Keating basin or townships, 135,000,000 to 150,000,000; in the West Port basin, 40,000,000 tons; in the beech Creek, Tangascootac and Queen’s Run basins and other outlying areas, 50,000,000 tons. Of the 225 to 240 million tons of coal in this county hardly more than two-thirds can be mined for railroad transportation, and the branch railroads, which will make this coal accessible, are yet to be constructed. The amount of coal in the Beech Creek region of Clinton county only includes a small portion of the Beech Creek basin proper, as the workable coal lies mostly in Centre county, and only extends a short distance into this county. The beech Creek basin is an extension northeastward of the Snow Shoe basin.
The amount of coal seems to be large, but there are single townships in Clearfield county which have as much coal as the above estimate for Clinton county. Yet there is a large quantity of good coal in our county, and much of it will be utilized ere many years.
Each coal seam is underlaid by fire clay, mostly, however, of inferior quality; but in some places the clay under Beds B and C’ is good, and has been worked with advantage.
In the coal measures occurs the bed of fire clay which is valuable and important in many counties, and mined extensively at Sandy Ridge, Blue Ball, Wallaceton, Philipsburg and Woodland, in Clearfield and Centre counties, at Barr Station and Bennezette, in Elk county, at Farrandsville and Queen’s Run, in Clinton county, and in many other localities.
This bed of fire clay underlies coal bed A by an interval ranging from 3 to 40 feet. In this county the fire clay has an area larger than coal A, and it probably extends through 25,000 acres of territory. Its thickness varies from 3 to 20 feet, the latter section having been obtained in the Westport coal basin. Hence there are at least 250,000.000 or 300,000,000 tons of the fire clay in our coal regions, besides which, the under clay of the respective coal beds is sometimes of good quality; notably that of Bed B, which has been mined in the Queen’s Run region, yielding a soft clay.
The impression that the soft clay and hard clay are of distinct qualities is erroneous. All fire clay was originally soft, and the clay of this bed, as developed at Farrandsville and Queen’s Run, is variable in its character from one point to another, some openings showing more or less soft or plastic clay mixed with hard clay; other openings showing either hard or soft clay, according to the depth of the clay from the surface and the quality and compactness of the roof and cover. So, in many places, the fire clay is soft at outcrop, but it becomes firmer under cover, till it acquires the hardness of rock, and can only be mined by blasting. In some instances the clay may be soft under considerable area, but, if such be the case, the roof and cover are too thin to protect the clay from the softening effects of water and exposure to the atmosphere. It must be admitted, also, that the chemical composition of soft clay is slightly different from that of hard clay; but the variance can be explained as the effect of surface influences and exposure. In exploring for good fire clay, let it be remembered that hard clay, so much preferred only shows itself on or near the surface in rare instances, and, as a rule, the bed has a soft outcrop. Many persons have found the plastic clay of the important bed on the surface, and yet discarded it because the outcrop was not hard. If they had developed the clay under good cover, they would have found the bed which they were seeking.
Good results have been obtained relative to the quality of the fire clay in the Keating, Tangascootac and Beech creek regions, and in the Westport basin, and, in the Queen’s Run and Farrandsville regions the clay has been well developed and tested, and its great quantity and excellent quality are assured.
Doubtless, further investigation will show as good results from the fire clay in the other coal regions of our county. Fortunately, a large amount of clay in these basins is near the railroad lines, having, withal, a decided advantage of accessibility and convenience to transportation and market, over the fire clay operators in Clearfield and Centre counties.
In the coal measures are found local nests of nodules of Gray carbonate iron ore or Siderite Spathic ore, but these deposits are seldom of any value, being limited to a small area and not containing sufficient metallic iron to compete with the richer ores of our limestone valleys. These nodular ores are often indicated by Brown Hematite or bog ore outcrops, which contain a larger per cent of iron than the nodular ore from which it is derived. When convenient for shipment or hauling to a furnace, these hematites and gray carbonate ores, being very free from phosphorus, are used for mixing with the limestone hematites.
At the base of the conglomerate rock, and in the Mauch Chunk red shale, No. 11, occur similar carbonate iron ores with their bog ore (limonite) or brown hematite outcrops. In the Pocono sandstone, No. 10, no iron ore of value is likely to be discovered, but some brown hematite, bog or carbonate ore is occasionally noted in this epoch.
The Catskill red sandstone, No. 9, the "old red sandstone," of Hugh Miller, contains some thin seams of brown hematite and local carbonate ore, and in Perry county thin layers of red hematite have been observed in this group. There is not sufficient prospect of valuable iron ore in this red shale to encourage much investigation. In the Chemung, Portage, Genessee, Hamilton, Marcellus and Upper Helderburg, No. 8, iron ore occurs at various horizons’ mostly, however, of little or no economical importance.
In some places the Chemung and Portage shales and sandstones contain limited seams of lean hematite or sandy iron ore. A fossil iron ore of some value has been observed in the Hamilton group in one or two places in Pennsylvania, and at the base of the Marcellus shales is an iron bearing horizon, usually of brown hematite, limonite or bog ore, and sometimes of a honey comb or pipe form.
The Oriskany sandstone, N. 7, is absent in many portions of this county, and very thin where exposed, having no iron ore horizon, as far as can be discovered.
The Lower Helderberg, No. 6, affords some good brown hematite ore in several localities in Pennsylvania, notably in Blair county, and this epoch is represented by benches of limestone along Bald Eagle Valley, in our county. Some indications of iron ore have been observed in these benches, but no development of value has been made.
The Fossil ore and Block ore of Clinton shales, No. 5, have importance in various counties, and the ores used to supply the Mill Hall furnace were mined from beds in the shales of this period. Some ore was also obtained from No. 2, limestone, to supply this furnace. What value these ores may have in the future will depend on their further development, size quality and demand; for the seams, as far as developed, are too thin and unreliable to be mined in competition with the richer and more abundant ores of the valley limestones of No. 2.
The Oneida and Median sandstone, No. 4, sometimes shows surface of "float" ore, but seldom contains ore which could be mined with profit.
The Hudson river and the Utica shales, No. 3, will hardly encourage any inspection for iron ore, although, like every other group or number of our Paleozoic column, local nests of iron ore, either bog or hematite, may occur in these shales.
THE MOST IMPORTANT IRON ORE IN CLINTON COUNTY.
In the limestone strata, No. 2, of our Nippenose, Nittany and Sugar valleys, are the most important iron ores of Clinton county. While some of the epochs above described may supply ore of value, yet it is not likely that any beds of ore as rich, large and valuable as the brown hematite of our valleys will ever be discovered..
Much is yet to be done in the development of the ores, which consist of pipe ore, kidney or lump ore, and wash ore, filling caverns or fissures in the limestone, deposited on the surface, or in persistent seams in the rock; the latter, by reason of their persistency, being the most important. A demand for ore will induce further exploration and prospecting, and we can reasonably hope or expect that many of our valley farms will acquire much additional value for the iron ore which they contain. The magnetic and red hematite or specular iron ores belong to the Azoic rocks; that is, the Archoean regions, where the rocks are metamosphic. The valuable iron ranges which yield these ores are of an age preceding our Palezoic section. Thus the immense beds of ores in Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri and other states are in Azoic rocks. The same is true of the magnetic ores of New Jersey and Southern Pennsylvania; but the Silurian and Devoman strata of the Palezoic formations, in rare instances, contain magnetic ore, and some is claimed in later rocks — that is, of the Mesozoic epochs or formations.
The Azoic rocks nowhere appear in Clinton county, being far beneath the limestones, No. 2, and, therefore, it seems futile to explore for these ores in formations which have never been known to afford them in paying quantity, and any magnetic or red hematite iron ore that may occur in the No. 2 limestones is likely to be in the lower layers of the group and, hence, not accessible.
LEAD AND ZINC.
The reports of the finding of stray pieces of lead, near Salona, are credible, inasmuch as the limestone, thereabouts, may contain lead or zinc, and the discovery of these metals in that vicinity is not impossible.
SILVER AND GOLD
Despite the various stores and startling assertions of the presence of gold and silver quartz in different townships, I may venture the opinion that about all the available gold and silver in Clinton county will be found in the vaults of our banks, and distributed throughout the county in the shape of coin, jewelry, and gold and silverware.
TIN AND NICKEL
Any effort to discover tin or nickel would seem to be useless, as no trace or evidence of either metal has been found in our county.
It cannot be asserted, with any degree of certainty, whether there is valuable petroleum or not in the rocks of Clinton county. Only experimental drilling will answer this question.
Some prospectors encourage the idea that the rocks of this county contain valuable oil. It seems, however, that our county is too far east to have much oil, as the formations are too much broken, disturbed and exposed. As the conditions are not favorable for oil, it is doubtful whether the results obtained by drilling would repay the expense and effort.
Gay may occur at almost any horizon, often being found with the oil, beneath the oil and at various points where there are no oil wells or prospects of oil. Gas has flown from drill holes and wells which penetrated beneath the oil horizons, and much gas is generated or produced in the carbonaceous shales and slates, whether the product of sea weeds, ancient plant life or marine animals and fishes, or all. Gas may thus come from many horizons which could not produce oil in flowing or paying quantity, or where the shales have been saturated with oil which cannot be collected or utilized.
If I were asked whether there is any gas in Clinton county, I would say, that depends on an investigation by drilling. But any such experimentation should be done carefully and advisedly, for the prospects of finding good combustible gas in the rocks of Clinton county are vague, uncertain and not encouraging.
The various limestone strata are included in No. 2, the valley limestones; No. 5, Niagara limestone; No. 6, Lower Helderberg limestone, outcropping along Bald Eagle valley; some impure seams in the Chemung, Portage and Marcellus of No. 8; also in the Pocono, No. 10; and in the coal measures occur two or three seams of limestone which accompany the coal beds. The purest limestone is that of No. 2, and in places in this same formation or groups should be found the Cement limestone, and the Magnesian limestone, the latter being dolomitic. Silica and alumina, in quantity respectively, ranging from 8 to 15 per cent, and combined with the lime, produce a good hydraulic cement. The Magnesian limestone, which is usually very abundant, contains from 20 to 40 per cent of carbonate of magnesia, 50 to 70 per cent of carbonate of lime, with a small per cent of iron \, silica, &c. The Crystalline limestone, or marble, has not been found in good condition in this county, and it is not probably that good statuary marble will be discovered; as the limestone in our valleys does not seem to have been subjected to the metamorphic action of heat, which alone would have produced marble from the original or fossil limestone. Some limestone of a variegated structure or appearance may be obtained that will be suitable for a very cheap grade of marble, but that is doubtful.
The arable soil of Clinton county is distributed as follows:
The limestone soil of Nippenose, Sugar and Nittany valleys; the alluvial and partly limestone soil of Bald Eagle valley; the red shale lands along the river, and the north side of Bald Eagle valley; the detached and isolated areas on the mountains and hills, and the shale and slate lands of the coal measures.
The erosion and detritus of the Medina and Oneida sandstone, No. 4, of the Hudson river and Utica shales, No. 3, and of the limestone of No. 2, have produced the soil of our valleys between the mountains; while the Clinton shales, the Helderberg limestone, the Marcellus shales, Oriskany sandstone and the Catskill red sandstone, Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, have formed the soil of Bald Eagle valley. The detritus and alluvium from formations Nos. 7 to 13, inclusive, — the Chemung to the coal measures — have made the bottom lands along the river.
In the coal regions the shales and slates, with some sandstone and a slight admixture of fire clay and limestone, produce the soil, and, as the Conglomerate rock or Millstone grit is the base of the coal sections, the arable area of surface is almost accurately defined by the extent of the coal beds; that is, the Conglomerate rock comes to the surface to cut off or limit the coal beds, and, in most places, the tillable soil.
In a brief resume, permit me to say that the apparent mineral resources of our county are the coal, fire clay and iron ores, as described, with some prospect of the discovery of zinc and lead with the limestone of No. 2. How often we hear the expression, "These mountains and hills must contain something of value and there should be unknown and undeveloped minerals in immense quantities in these strata and rocks."
Now, if geology teaches anything, it teaches that not all things were made for utility, and it unites with the other sciences to testify that the beauties of the earth are to be studied as well as its economic products; that the true, the beautiful and the good, as well as the useful, were in the Divine mind when Cosmos was evoked out of Chaos, and that much has been formed and must be left to teach us and our posterity the greatness of God’s purpose, and power and love; much that it will not become us to despoil, deface or destroy.
It was trite enough for one to have said that mountains were made for fools to look at; implying that only fools would wonder about or desire the imaginary wealth contained therein. Would it not have been equally trite and pertinent to have said again? "The same mountains are for wise men to admire and venerate."
The mountains of Pennsylvania and of our own county are best appreciated by those who have lived near them, and have since taken up their abode in the plains of the West. It hardly occurs to us, that, in the order of events, these mountains with their scenery, witnesses, as they are, of the grandeur of nature and the goodness of their Creator, shall be marred, disfigured or thrown down by men in their mercenary search for riches. All the impressive majesty of this world is in its geological aspects, and I often wonder why the science is not more engaging to all classes of people, and why they fail to see or understand its attractiveness; for it is the noblest of all the natural sciences, and its testimonies are the most convincing and elevating of all that is or has been uninspired — elevating to the spirit and mind of man. In connection with revelation it affords the noblest evidences of God’s mercy and grace to us ward, and, of all sciences, it is the best adjunct to the Scriptures. It is hard for a man to be an atheist or an infidel while studying geology or engaged in it as an active pursuit. If words fail to convince men, if revelation would not impress nor exhortations persuade them, then, standing in the presence of the beauty, majesty and grandeur of some of nature’s noblest handiwork such as Yosemite, speaking so much more than words can convey of Divine architecture and Divine power, one would think that all would be so impressed and wonder-stricken, that they would feel impelled to kneel in awe and reverence, and, with voices full of devotion and thanksgiving, make that beautiful valley of Mariposa a vast amphitheatre of worship and of praise.