137
BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE GEOLOGICAL FORMATIONS ALONG
THE NEW ALBANY AND ST. LOUIS RAILWAY.

New Albany is situated on the Ohio river, just below the great Falls, and at the foot of the "Knobs." It has a population of about fifteen thousand, and is largely engaged in manufacturing; among the most prominent are the Ohio Falls Iron Works; New Albany Rail Mill; Steam Forge; Star Glass Company, and New Albany Glass Works. The Star Glass Company have extensive houses and machinery for making all sizes of fine finished plate glass and mirrors, and are, also, largely engaged in the manufacture of window glass and bottles.


138
The "Knobs" are, conical shaped hills composed of the soft shaley rocks which lie at the base of the lower carboniferous limestone formation; the lower portion being the "black slate," which here rests immediately upon the corniferous limestone. The hills at Edwardsville are about six hundred feet above low water in the Ohio river at New Albany.
At the base of the "Knobs," in the northwestern edge of the city, there is, above the valleys, sixty or seventy feet of greenish, marly shale, which contains one or more bands of impure, carbonate of iron, from four to six inches thick, which will yield from forty-five to fifty per cent. of metal. The earthy part is mostly carbonate of lime. A similar ore is used at the Nelson furnace, in Nelson county, Kentucky, and the quality of iron made from it is good. Superimposing the shales, is a heavy bedded sandstone, usually fine grained, even colored, and well adapted for building purposes, and hearthstones for blast furnaces. Above the sandstone are layers of encrinital limestone, that are extensively quarried, near Edwardsville, for building purposes. Surmounting the whole are the geodiferous beds, and sandstone and cherty lithostrotian beds, making, in all, about six hundred feet of strata, above the low water of the river, at New Albany.
The road will pass this ridge through a tunnel, which is now under construction.
In the bed of Indian creek, at the crossing of the road to Byrneville, the same layers of limestone are visible, that are seen at an elevation of about five hundred feet above the Ohio river, at William Benson's quarry, four and a half miles west of New Albany. Byrneville, fourteen miles from New Albany, is on the geodiferous limestone, and between there and Fairdale, in Harrision county, the cherty, ferruginous limestone is the prevailing rock. It is readily eroded and dissolved by running water, which has given rise to caves and "sinkholes." These sinkholes are quite numerous in this formation, and when the mud at the bottom is "puddled" by feeding hogs on it, they become


139
water-tight, and make large and convenient ponds for fish, and for watering stock.
Beneath this cherty member there is, locally, a light colored, fine grained, lithographic limestone, that is sometimes found sufficiently free from flint specks, to be used for lithographic purposes. At Milltown, on Blue river, in Crawford county, the cavernous limestone is one hundred and fifty feet thick.
The Wyandotte Cave,* which in its subterranean extent and the beauty of its crystal halls, is not inferior, and by many considered superior, to the celebrated Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, is formed in this limestone, and situated about eight miles south of Milltown. As the Air-Line Railway will cross Blue river at Milltown, I would suggest the propriety of building a branch to Leavenworth, on the Ohio river, to pass near the entrance of this cave. It would furnish a comfortable and speedy means of travel for many who are now deterred from visiting one of the most remarkable natural curiosities to be found in the world.
There are two small caves, in this limestone, at Springtown, on section 1, township 2 south, range 1 east, from which issue large streams of clear, cool water. On the tops of the ridges, near this place, are considerable deposits of siliceous iron ore, which may, in time, be made available for smelting purposes.
Heavy beds of white sandstone were seen on James L. Temple's land, section 16, township 2 south, range 1 east; it can be quarried in blocks ten feet thick; is soft when taken from the quarry, but hardens on being exposed to the atmosphere, and will make a very handsome building stone.
At Hartford, on Little Blue river, in Crawford county, is the first outcrop of coal seen on the line of this road. It is a thin seam, rather poor in quality, and belongs to the lower carboniferous limestone epoch. The following section exhibits the succession of rocks associated with it, _________________________________________________________________________
* I propose, hereafter, to make a thorough survey, and complete report of all matters of interest connected with this cave.


140
in the space of two hundred and fifty feet from Little Blue river to the top of the ridge on the west side of town:
Surface soil and drift.
Schistose, yellowish sandstone.
Archimedes limestone, coated with oxide of iron.
Ferruyginous clay (mineral paint).
Red pentramital limestone.
Argillaceous shale, with bands of limestone.
Heavy bedded, white and mottled sandstone.
     Argillaceous shale,   -   -   -   -   2 ft.  6 in.
     Coal,   -     -     -     -     -     0 ft.  6 in.
     Fire clay (very siliceous),   -   -   1 ft.  0 in.
     Cavernous limestone in bed of river.
The coal is of no economical value, and it is not until you reach Dubois county that the true coal measures are found in sufficient force to contain seams of coal, thick enough to be worked with profit.
Southwest of Hartford, on section 29, township 2, range 1, on the Otter Fork of Little Blue river, Mr. E. H. Golden has an artesian salt well, and is making an excellent article of salt. This well was bored for oil, and was sunk to a depth of eleven hundred and seventy feet. No record was kept of the strata passed through, but I learned from Mr. Golden that a small quantity of oil was found at two horizons, one hundred and thirty-one, and six hundred and eleven feet, respectively, but not in sufficient quantity to be a source of profit; it continued to diminish in quantity, and at this time scarcely any oil comes from the well. A good sulphur warer was reached at two hundred and sixty-one feet, which is now stopped out, and the best brine is found at the depth of six hundred and eleven feet. The well discharges sixteen hundred gallons of brine in twelve hours. Eighty gallons of brine will make a bushel of salt. The bore stopped in the "black slate."
Sixteen kettles, each holding one hundred gallons, constitute the boiling capacity of the works, at this well, and the yield is twenty-five barrels of salt in thirty-six hours.


141
Wood is used for fuel under the kettles, and the cost of manufacturing, is about seventeen and a half cents per bushel.
One mile below Golden's, on section 33, Mr. Benham has two wells that yield the same quality of brine, and he is making twelve barrels of salt per day. These wells were also bored for oil, and were sunk to the depth of seven hundred and eight hundred feet respectively, and, as in Golden's well, two small veins of oil and one vein of sulphur water were found.
I have no doubt but that good brine can be found all along the valley of Otter creek, and, that salt making, in Crawford county, will become an important manufacturing interest, and furnish to the railroad a large amount of freight.
Notwithstanding it is my opinion that, we have in Indiana favorable indications of productive oil veins in the corniferous and Niagara limestones, I have no desire to encourage the reckless expediture of money in its seach when I say, that these wells should have been carried from thirty to sixty feet below the "black slate" to have reached the oil bearing rocks.
The conglomerate sandstone caps the hills in the vicinity of the salt wells.
On section 32, township 2, range 3, the subconglomerate coal A is opened by Mr. Hays, where the following section is exposed:
     Brown, ferruginous, friable shale,     -     20 ft.  0 in.
     Black, bituminous, hard shale,       -       10 ft.  0 in.
     Black, cannel-like, bituminous shale,         3 ft.  0 in.
     Coal A, semi-block,      -       -      -     2 ft.  6 in.
     Coal rash,      -      -      -       -       1 ft.  0 in.
     Covered slope to valley below,     -    -    30 ft.  0 in.
The same seam was opened by Mr. Kelser on section 27, township 2, range 4, just in the edge of the village of St. Vincent. The roof of this mine had caved in and I was


142
unable to see the face of the coal. Mr. Kesler informed me that it was four feet thick; the character of the coal is the same as that seen at Hays' mine.
Coal A underlies quite a large district of country in this part of Dubois county, and is generally a good blast furnace coal.
About eight miles to the south, in the north edge of Spencer county, coal A is eminently suited to the manufacture of iron. At the Staab bank, in the latter county, it is from three, to three and a half feet thick. An analysis of this coal will be found in the table of analyses given at the end of this report.
Coal A is also found in the neighborhood of Jasper, the county seat of Dubois.
Between St. Vincent and Celestine are beds of good mineral paint -- red oxide of iron and clay.
At Ferdinand, in the south part of the county, mineral paint is found in great abundance. A company, under the name of "Anderson Valley Paint Mining Company," have established a mill at Ferdinand for crushing oxide of iron and grinding and preparing the paints; which are highly esteemed for their beauty of color and durability, by those who have tried them. The following is a list of the colors manufactured by the company: Light and dark butternut, maroon and light red metallic fire-proof , brown and red Bismark, and light and dark slate, for cars, steamboats, bridges, roofing, etc., etc.
Light and dark yellow ochre, drab, Dubois stone, and raw and burnt sienna are recommended for house painting, wagons, plows, etc., etc.
When the excellence of this cheap paint is better known to the public, its manufacture will prove to be quite remunerative.
The fine stone church at Ferdinand is built of a heavy bedded sandstone which lies just above the paint beds. Its color is white, with streaks of grayish brown and redish brown, though somewhat odd, it is no doubt durable and the appearance is rather agreeable to the eye. In a space of


143
ten feet beneath this sandstone there are two bands of ferruginous stone, each about four inches thick, from which the paint is made. Intervening between the two, is a bed of ferruginous limestone, two and a half feet thick, and containing the usual carboniferous fossils; superimposing the upper band is a bed of soft white clay-shale, about one foot thick, that is used for making the stone color; beneath the lower band is a bed of fire clay, and, in places, I saw immediately under the limestone, about eight inches of good "Kidney" ore.
Near Pikeville, in Pike county, on Dr. De Tar's place, section 32, township 2, range 6, is a coal which I believe to be referable to K.
The following section was obtained:
     Sandstone,      -      -      -       -     15 ft.
     Gray shale,     -     -      -       -      10 ft.
     Fossiliferous limestone,      -       -      1 ft.
     Black bituminous sheety shale with fish
       scales and fins.       -      -     -      1 ft.
     Cannel coal,      -      -     -     -       0 ft.  8 in.
     Block coal K ?      -       -       -        2 ft.  8 in.
     Fire clay in bed of creek,        -          ? ft.
The roof at this opening had fallen in and I had a poor opportunity to examine the seam, but, I believe it is a good quality of block coal, with a little cannel coal at the top of the seam. Coal seams, said to be two and a half to three feet thick, have been opened and worked for neighborhood use, at a number of places near Pikeville, but the mines had been lying idle for some time and the openings were more or less filled with mud, so that I was unable to measure the seams. Samples of the coal were seen at blacksmith shops and at the mouths of the mines which enabled me to determine that it was block and semi-block coal.
In the west part of the county, along the line of the road, there is a seam of good caking coal, that is probably referable to L. This coal seam is opened at a number of places


144
near Winslow. At Whitman & Wells' mine, one and a half miles southwest of Winslow, I saw the following section:
     Covered slope,     -      -       -       -      10 ft.
     Gray siliceous shale, with bands of flag-stone,   8 ft.
     Bituminous shale,      -      -      -      -     1 ft.
     Coal,      -      -       -       -      -        4 ft.  6. in.
     Fire clay,      -       -       -       -         0 ft.
The upper six inches of this seam is a jet black, hard, ringing coal; the lower part is more friable, with some bands of pyrites, but altogether it is a good quality of caking coal. One and a half miles northeast of Winslow, on the land of Mr. Lewis Hecock, another opening was visited where the seam was five feet thick. At. Dr. Posey's mine, in the vicinity of Petersburg, it attains the mammoth dimensions of a ten feet seam.
Four miles west of Winslow, on George W. Massey's land, section 4, township 2, range 8, this coal out-crops in the bank of Patoka river, where it was formerly mined and sent down the stream to markets on the Wabash river. It is here nine feet thick. The following section was obtained at this locality:
     Argillaceous shale, with false bedding
       in places,     -      -      -      -     25 ft.
     Tough, bluish, argillaceous shale, con-
       taining fossil plants,      -        -     4 ft.
     Coal,      -      4 ft. 6 in. }
     Clay parting,     0 ft. 9 in. }-             9 ft. 9 in.
     Coal,      -      4 ft. 6 in. }
     Fire clay,     -       -       -       -     0 ft. 0 in.
     Bed of Patoka river.
The same seam is seen at Martin's mine, west of south from Massey's, on the northwestern quarter of section 1, township 2, range 8; it is worked by stripping, in a valley, sixty feet below the top of the ridge:
     Coal,   3 ft. }
     Clay,   4 in. }-       -       -      -   6 ft. 4 in.
     Coal,   3 ft. }
This is, also, a good quality of caking coal. The mine is


145
near the Gibson county line, and is the last workable seam of coal seen in the State, going west on the line of the road.
From the above hasty examination, it will be seen that the New Albany and St. Louis Air-Line Railway runs through a district of country that will furnish a great amount of mineral freight, consisting of coal, building stone, salt, iron ore, mineral paint, and potters' clay. A portion of the country is rich in agricultural resources, and excellent timber abounds along the entire route.
For favors and aid in making this trip along the route of the New Albany and St. Louis Air-Line Railway, I am greatly obliged to Mr. Washington Depaw, Augustus Bradley, President, and George Lyman, Secretary and Treasurer of the road, Mr. Cannon, and Dr. J. Sloan.

1870 Table of Contents

Geology Library, Indiana University, Bloomington