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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/825

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THE PROGRESS OF AMERICAN MINERALOGY.

being, as in many of our gold and silver mines, remarkably few associated minerals. In other cases, however, it is doubtless due to the fact that very few persons connected with our mines have even an elementary knowledge of the rudiments of mineralogy, while in continental Europe almost every mining officer is familiar with all the ordinary minerals. Thanks to the training of our schools of science, an improvement in this respect is already noticeable, as is shown in the discoveries made in the mines of our Western States and Territories during the past few years.

While the service done for mineralogy by our geological surveys is gratefully acknowledged, we feel that we have a right to demand much more from them in the future. Mineralogy has been too largely looked upon as a guide to the discovery of useful ores and minerals, and not as a matter for scientific study; fortunately, during the past decade the discoveries in optical mineralogy and their importance in the determination of the constituent minerals of the crystalline rocks have led many geologists to again recognize the desirability of a knowledge of our science. Much will be accomplished if those in charge of geological surveys will direct competent persons to make observations, not only on the main mineral constituents of rocks but also in the manner of occurrence of individual minerals. The careful inspection of quarries and mines is greatly to be desired. These are rich sources for minerals, but, unless constant watchfulness is exercised, valuable material for science is in danger of being buried out of sight.

It is too true that many of the most interesting discoveries already recorded seem to have been due more to the result of fortunate accident than of systematic and intelligent exploration. If our trained mineralogists, instead of devoting most of their attention to the examination of specimens in cabinets collected by others, would give more time to personal observation in the field in the study of the order and manner of occurrence of mineral species in place, our knowledge would doubtless be greatly promoted. Again, if our wealthy amateurs could be induced to spend their money as freely in the exploration of promising American localities as in the importation of costly European specimens, we might hope for many important discoveries, and they could have the satisfaction not only of gaining novelties for their collections, but incidentally they would do much to foster science.

In order to keep pace with the progress of the science, we need many more workers who will devote themselves especially to mineralogical research, and we need more of the spirit of the early workers. It is my belief that the number of persons at present interested in the study here, either as amateurs or investigators, is relatively less than in 1825. The mineralogy of to-day is a very different subject from the mineralogy of the commencement of the period over which we have so hastily glanced. Then the study of minerals was confined almost exclusively to their external characters. Led by Werner and re-enforced by his