large price was paid for mountain-land, at a site where the mineral had been found on the surface in considerable quantities. A canal was cut from a mountain near, that furnished hydraulic power; a gang of a dozen mountaineers were engaged as miners, and ground was first broken in the search for corundum in position. There being no precedent or guide in mining for corundum, experience was the teacher, and a dear one, for nearly a year of energetic and toilsome exploration. The question to be solved was, whether the mineral in any quantity lay beneath the surface, upon which, all former supplies had been gathered; and, if so, whether it would show itself in bowlders, segregated masses, pockets, or true veins. The country rock is granite and gneiss; the spur or ridge, where the mineral showed itself, a trap of chromiferous serpentine, or chrysolite formation. The strata developed is chrysolite rock, mixed with anthophyllite—a layer of micaceous rock—a seam of chalcedony—a stratum of chlorite, of the variety ripidolite, and a gangue of the same, which proves to be the usual matrix of the corundum. Eight months of hard labor settled the question that corundum was there in immense quantity, and that it would be found in veins varying, as is usual in other minerals, from a few inches to several feet in width. These should be termed, what they are, embedded veins, between hanging and foot walls of chrysolite, the gangue being of various minerals—generally, however, of ripidolite, as stated; but sometimes that mineral running into mica schist, talc, spinel, jefferesite, and feldspar. In one of these veins, in a pocket of jefferesite—a golden-yellow mica—there was found much the largest and finest crystal of corundum known, of a fine sapphire and ruby color, weighing 312 pounds, and now the property of Prof. Shepard, of Amherst College. This unique specimen would undoubtedly command one thousand dollars, were it for sale, various collectors of Europe being anxious for its possession. Corundum from this mine proves to be of excellent quality. Taking sapphire as the standard at 100, the product of the mine has a power of from 90 to 97 as an abrasive, while that of the best emery, the Naxos, numbers from 40 to 57. The veins, five of which have been opened, run northeast and southwest, dip under at an angle of 45°, and are, at the deepest point reached, seven to ten feet wide. There is also remarkable association of other interesting minerals of tourmaline, spinel, zerkon, etc., while the corundum itself shows almost every shade of color from white to black. It is also remarkable that the mine contains all the varieties in color, texture, and crystallization, found in the aggregate corundum localities of the globe. Association of two colors in the same crystal is spoken of by the best writers as a somewhat rare matter, even in Ceylon. One crystal was shown us from this mine, weighing two pounds, with blue, ruby, pink, yellow, and green colors of great brilliancy and transparency; and a small hand-collection, which contained a variety in form, perfection, and purity of color, not equaled
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/470
This page has been validated.
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.