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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/737

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could not notice any change as having occurred in the interval. The depth of water at a few feet from the edge was from fifteen to twenty-seven feet; at the center it was forty-two feet: as the surface of the water was seventeen feet below the surface of the ground, the total depth of the cavity was sixty feet. The water is a strong brine, yielding one bushel of salt for forty-three gallons of the water.

Professor Mudge's explanation of the phenomenon is as follows: "The Dakota sandstone crops out in Clark County, twenty miles distant, and dips at a small angle toward this spot, and undoubtedly underlies the whole of Meade County. This sand, stone is quite soft in some of its strata, and covered by harder beds. The softer portions are liable to be washed out by subterranean waters, and thus form caverns which are roofed by the hard layers. The cavern in this case became enlarged until the roof was unable to sustain the over-lying prairie soil and shale, sixty feet in thickness, and the result is what we now behold. As what was the grass-grown prairie is now the bottom of the cavity, the height of the cavern must have been at least sixty feet, and its floor at least twice that distance (120 feet) below the traveled road. If it is still spread out in smaller chambers, other depressions like the present may occur."

 

Asphaltum and Amber in New Jersey.—In the neighborhood of Vincenttown, New Jersey, asphaltum and amber have been found, the former in the ash-marl, a layer above the green-sand proper; and the latter in the marl of the Cretaceous formation. Mr. E. Goldsmith, of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, describes the asphaltum as very brittle, black, with a resinous luster. Its fracture is uneven, inclined to conchoidal; the streak and powder brown. It melts easily in the flame, like wax, and burns with a yellow, smoky flame, leaving, after burning, a voluminous coal and but little ashes. The amber (or yellow mineral resin) was found at no great distance from the asphaltum. It occurs frequently in the marl of the Cretaceous formation, but not regularly: sometimes hundreds of tons of the marl may be looked over without finding a single piece of the amber; at other times enough has been found to fill a barrel within a day. According to Mr. Goldsmith, this mineral differs in several particulars from the typical amber found at the bottom or on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The former is lighter than water, the latter heavier. The Baltic amber fuses into a thick, sluggish fluid; the Vincenttown amber into a very fluid mobile liquid. It takes fire easily, and burns with a yellowish, strongly smoking flame, leaving but little coal, which rapidly burns away, and leaves a small quantity of dark-colored ashes.

 

NOTES.

Sir William Fothergill-Cooke, Wheatstone's associate in the work of introducing in England the electric telegraph, died June 25th, in the seventy-third year of his age.

There lately died in England the Rev. Canon Beadon, of Stoneham, who distinctly remembered some of the events of the Lord George Gordon riots in 1780. He was born in 1777, and succeeded his father in the "living" of Stoneham in 1812. He was fond of shooting and fishing; the former amusement he kept up till ninety-four, the latter till eighty-eight. At ninety-seven he had his first severe illness—an attack of bronchitis, and he was never after quite the same.

In Berlin there is a chemical laboratory, established by a society of housewives, for the examination of articles of food. It is directed by a competent chemist, who gives to the members of the society a course of lectures on practical chemistry. There is also a cookery-school under the patronage of the society. Domestic servants who have remained a certain number of years in one household (of a member of the society) are rewarded with prizes. The society also procures situations for domestic servants.

Among many new and interesting facts developed by Dr. Arthur Haviland in a recent discourse on the distribution of disease, was this, that the mortality of women from cancer is highest in those districts which skirt the banks of rivers subject to periodic floods. Having ascertained this fact, Dr. Haviland studied the physical and geological characters of the districts where cancer does not thrive, and found that all these districts are characterized by being high and dry, with non-retentive soils. The obvious conclusion for all this is, that patients who show tendency to cancer, or persons in