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142° 24', the water in the camp when the air was at a temperature of 64° Fahr., had boiled at 214° F. Prof. Coritska, who directs the height measurements of our Geological Reichsanstalt, undertook at my request the computation of these data and found that if they are correct, this point must lie 306 meters below the sea level.”
ART. XXIX.-Analysis of the White Sulphur Water of the Arte
sian Well of Lafayette, Indiana; by CHARLES M. WETHERILL, Ph.D., M.D.
History of the Well. The artesian well of Lafayette is situa. ted in the northeast angle of the court-house square of the city. The boring was commenced in the spring of 1857 by order of the Commissioners of Tippecanoe county to test the feasibility of artesian wells for prairie farms, and with prospects of success from the results of the wells in Illinois to the southwest. On February 18th, 1858, after ten months labor, a vein of overflowing water was struck in the grey limestone, at a depth of 216 feet 6 inches. The depth of the well was subsequently increased to 230 feet without any change in the character of the water, which is very similar to that of the celebrated Blue Licks, of Kentucky. The strength of flow of the water began to diminish, and while injudiciously boring for more water instead of trying to stop a known leak, the water suddenly ceased to overflow, and fell in the well about 20 feet. As there was no pros. pect of the recovery of the water by the contractor, the County Commissioners placed the well in the hands of Captain Rogers and myself, for the purpose of obtaining some experimental knowledge with respect to the source of the difficulty. Before giving the results of our experiments, I will submit a table which shows the order and nature of the strata encountered in boring the well: Table of Strata encountered in the Lafayette Well.
Feet. Inches. Remarks.
Sand and gravel.......
40 Blue shale ....
To shale 170 feet. Gray“
18 Iron pyrites in all the rock Blue “
6 formation. Gray“
Thickness of shale 28 ft. 6 in. Limestone-coralline ..... .... 11 6 To coralline, 198 ft. 6 in. Gray limestone with spar ...... 20 Overflowing water. Depth of well from original surface 230
The first water in the table is the well water of the locality. The water under the marlite is fresh; it was expected to overflow but only rose to within 36 to 38 feet of the surface. The third and overflowing water is the mineral water.
A cast iron pipe of eight inches diameter cases the well to the first rock, which is a friable blue shale. The hole in the rock was not tubed, it was of 71 inches in diameter to near the commencement of the coralline; for a few feet farther it was of five inches, and for the remaining distance of twenty-one feet its diameter was four inches. We found that the bottom of the iron pipe had been broken during its passage through the forty foot bed of boulders, and as this fractured end rested upon a friable bed of blue shale with porous strata immediately above, a leak of the mineral water had always existed. From an experiment made during the overflow of the water we were able to assign a delivery of eighteen thousand gallons during twenty-four hours as the lowest capacity of this leak. We found that the cessation of overflow was caused by the leak having been increased by the removal of a piece of the shale rock. Restoring the overflow by stopping this leak was the natural inference from the experiments upon the well; but there were difficulties in the way owing to the bad shape of the hole in the rock, by the use of improper boring tools. The holes were all of triangular shape, and the four inch hole was especially bad, having reëntering sides and semicircles at the three angles. We might have arrested the leak by tamping and puddling at the end of a long tube below it, but were fearful of presenting difficulties thereby in the case of the removal of such a tube, for as the leak at the top of the shale rock bad always existed, we had no means of knowing whether some of the mineral water was not derived from the shale, and would be shut out by such a tube.
The leak was at length arrested by the following device of my own, which I submit in the event of a future need for it, as it proved simple and successful in the Lafayette well, and I am not aware that it has ever been employed in a similar case. The commencement of the four inch hole was made truly cylindrical and of six inches in diameter for a distance of nineteen inches. A car spring of vulcanized india rubber was turned in a lathe to the shape of the frustum of a cone six inches in length, and of diameters six and a quarter and five and seven-eighths inches. Upon a wrought iron gas pipe of two and a half inches bore and of sufficient length to reach the coralline rock, was chised a screw thread upon which ran two heavy nutts. The hole in the rubber plug was turned sufficiently large, that the plug might be screwed tightly upon the gas pipe, where it was secured for pulling or pushing by the nutts above and below it. When the pipe was placed in situ in the well, the plug was arrested in its rocky socket just above the commencement of the coralline rock. The water at once fell outside of the gas pipe, and rose on the inside to near the surface of the ground. After two days it commenced to overflow and increased constantly and steadily. The increase at first was very rapid, the delivery doubling itself in five hours; a repeated and careful measurement of the quantity of water showed that the rate of increase fluctuated, and became gradually less. This compelled the inference that the leak had lowered the head of water in the reservoir supplying the artesian well, which head was gradually restored by the rains, springs, &c., upon shutting off the leak. This increase in the flow will go on until the overflow equals the feed of the reservoir. When the delivery was last measured on December 8th, it equalled one wine gallon in 14.77 seconds, or 5850 gallons in twenty-four hours.
Geology of the well.—The order and character of the rocks in proceeding from a point west to one east of Lafayette, is from information furnished by D. Brown, State Geologist, as follows:
1. Seams of Coal.
4. Delphi Slate varying from 25 to 100 feet, and thinning to the northwest.
5. Grey Limestone (Upper Silurian). 6. Blue Limestone (Lower Silurian).
The dip of these rocks is about 250 to the south of west, and at an angle of 50 feet fall to the mile. This westward dip is maintained until the Mississippi is crossed, when the dip is eastward. The sequence of the rocks, in penetrating the earth vertically at Lafayette, should be Clay Sandstone, Delphi Slate, and Grey Limestone; but the valley of the Wabash at the artesian well is about one hundred feet below the general elevation of the country, and the force which has scooped out this valley has removed the Clay Sandstone, not a trace of which was discovered in boring the well. The Delphi Slate was the first rock reached after traversing the drift, and the bottom of the well is situated in the upper measures of the grey limestone. A crude idea of the strike of these rocks may be gained by tracing upon a map of Indiana the strike of the Delphi slate, by a curved line join. ing Louisville, Ky., Lexington, Ind., Elizabethtown, Indianapo. lis, Delphi and Crown Point, Ind., which shows that the well is situated upon the edge of a great geological basin. As far as our present geological knowledge goes, (and which is limited owing to a backwardness on the part of the State Legislature in making the appropriations necessary to a survey,) the reservoir of the artesian well must lie in the direction of and beyond Delphi, for the water comes from below the slate cropping out at this local. ity. A glance at the map will show by the river courses, that Kokoino is the highest ground in the neighborhood; hence we shall probably not be far from the truth in assuming the reservoirs to be situated somewhere in the triangle formed by joining Delphi, Logansport and Kokoino. During the experiments upon the well by Captain Rogers and myself, one of the greatest freshets in the Wabash, within the memory of the inhabitants of the valley took place. The leak had not yet been stopped, and we found that the water in the well rose and fell simultane. ously with the freshet. It is reasonable to suppose that this effect of the freshet was not upon the mineral waters but upon the water under the marlite (see table of strata); for the smaller freshets in the river since the leak has been stopped have not in the least affected the flow of the well. This can only be accounted for by supposing that the 72 foot bed of dark grey clay crops out under the Wabash at a level lower than that of the ground at the well. It follows from this that we cannot expect an overflow of this marlite-water in the neighborhood of La. fayette. In fact since the completion of the mineral well, three other wells have been dug in the city for the expressed purpose of reaching the marlite-waters. It was obtained in every in. stance, but did not overflow.
CHEMICAL ANALYSIS OF THE WATER. Physical Characters. This water is of extreme limpidity when taken freshly from the well. The deposit upon the pebbles over which it flows is white, entitling it to the name of a white sulphur water. Standing in imperfectly closed vessels, a similar bluish white deposit takes place, which under certain conditions contains black flakes of sulphuret of iron. The smell of the water is strongly of sulphuretted hydrogen. The taste is similar to that of the celebrated Blue Lick water, though less strong. It is pleasantly brackish, resembling in taste, the liquor from oysters freshly opened. The density, from a mean of six observations is 1.00523.
The temperature, noted at intervals since the water was first obtained, (Feb. 18th to December 8th,) remained constantly between 550 and 56° F., my thermometer not being sufficiently delicate to give more definite results.
Although the mean temperature of Lafayette is unknown,* I have no doubt from other considerations, that the artesian water is "thermal ;" for, first, the calculated temperature of the water upon the Grenelle basis renders this, in absence of contradictory facts, most probable. It will be remembered that ther. mometers placed in the wells of the Paris observatory stand invariably at 53° F., at a depth of ninety feet, and that from the increase of temperature at increased depths observed in boring the Grenelle well, the fact was established that the temperature rises one degree F., for every 614 feet, after the first ninety feet. After taking ninety feet from the depth of the Lafayette well there remain 140, and if the same ratio of increase of tem. perature exists as at Grenelle, the water should have a temperature of 21° above 53°=551°, which agrees closely with the temperature actually found for the Lafayette water. Secondly, we infer that the artesian water is “thermal” from the fact that its temperature is above that of the neighboring springs and wells, as may be seen from the following table, which contains wells and springs situated at different points of the compass from the artesian well, and within a circle of two squares radius. Temperature of the Wells and Springs of Lafayette, taken April 30, 1858.
Depth Directionfrom TEMPERATURE.
Feet. Artesian well. Air. Water. Well, Mr. C. Taylor's dwelling,
178° F.151° F. Well, Courthouse yard,
610 Well, Wilstach's Drug Store,
20 Southeast 80°
16 East Artesian w'll,
55-56° Chemical Characters. Qualitative.—The water is faintly acid from sulphuretted hydrogen and carbonic acid, but becomes neutral after having been boiled, owing to the expulsiou of these gases. It follows from this fact that all of the sulphur is in the state of sulphuretted hydrogen dissolved in the water, and from the neutrality after boiling, that alkaline carbonates are absent. A particular experiment for the search of a trace of alkaline carbonates gave the same results.
Carbonic acid is contained dissolved in the water, and holding in solution the earthy carbonates. Nitrogen is the only remain.
* The mean temperature is probably 61° to 62° F.—EDA. SECOND SERIES, Vom. XXVII, No. 80.-MARCU, 1850.