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aa yet no specimens which have been found in this country contain a large per centage of this metal. That variety of the antimonial ores which is argentiferous has a lively steel-gray color, cuts easily with the knife, and is brittle, while the common gray antimony, which is the principal yet found, has a lead gray color, its fractured surface easily tarnishes, and scales of the mineral are slightly flexible."—Dr. Trask, 1854.
"This mineral is well known, and the principal mine now opened in this country is at New Almaden, in the county of Santa Clara, and situated twelve miles from San Jos6. The town of Almaden is situated four hundred and eighty feet above the sea, and the mine is eight hundred and sixty feet above the town, making the elevation of the mine thirteen hundred and forty-five feet above tide level. The ore at this mine is found in bunches or deposits, in a clay highly charged with peroxide iron. The cinnabar contains considerable arsenic generally disseminated through the ore, small veins of calcareous spar are found running through the mineral, giving it at times a fanciful appearance. The magnesian rocks are largely developed in this section, both at the mine and in the mountains to the south-west The rocks in the immediate vicinity of the mine are talcose in their character, much decomposed and broken up; at the base of the hill on which the mine is located, there is to be found native magnesia on the surfaces of the rocks.
The deposit of ore at this locality is very large, and will require many years to exhaust it. As the mine consists of deposits, simply, there is no certainty of its continuance beyond the surface that may be exposed; it has been supposed, generally, that the ores of this mine occurred in the form of veins, but such is not the fact, and so far as I could learn from the Superintendents at the mine, no well defined vein had been found since its opening. The principal adit of the mine is one thousand feet in length, and at the end of this a body of ore flftoen feet square has been exposed in one place; other similar masses, and even larger ones, were laid bare in different parts of the mine. An inclined winze had been driven to the depth of about one hundred feet below the level of the adit, at the bottom of which immense bodies of ore had been found. From the quantity of ore on hand and that exposed in the mine, the prospects of the company are highly flattering for a handsome return for the heavy outlays of capital which have heretofore been made. At the date of my visit the company were erecting twelve new furnaces, in addition to those already in operation, having a capacity for the working of twelve thousand pounds per week each, with an abundance of ore in the hacienda for their supply. The construction of their adit and the interior of the mine, with their reduction works, are of a character for permanency, workmanship and scientific skill, to be found only among large mining operations. The ease and regularity with which everything connected with the mine is conducted, argues well for its administrador, and exhibits a thorough understanding of the requisites necessary to insure success in extensive operations.
A better regulated, or systematic method of mining, is not to be found in this or any other country, and is well worthy a visit from any who may wish to obtain an idea of what practical mining is in a large way."—Dr. Trask, 1854.
The average annual production of quicksilver at the mine of New Almaden, is 1,081,000 pounds. The ore reduced during the year 1851, has yielded a little over 18 per cent of metal. The annual cost of the working is about $280,000. The net value of the quicksilver is about 31 cents per pound. The number of workmen employed is variable; at present, the whole number of employees is about two hundred.
At a distance of three miles from the New Almaden Mines, another vein of cinnabar has been opened and extensively worked, for the past two years. The work of taking out metal from this mine was commenced by the present owners early in 1856, and it is not yet in full operation. New machinery has recently been erected with which to work the mine in a proper manner. Upwards of $10,000 has been expended in working the mine during the past year, and a yield of 90,000 pounds of quicksilver realized. The number of hands at present employed, is about forty. The mine is situated in the same range of mountains as that of the New Almaden, and is about four miles from the latter. The name of this mine is the Guadalupe.
There is also a rich and extensive vein of cinnabar in the county of Monterey, situated about ninety miles from the town of Monterey. The rock which contains the cinnabar, appears to be apparently inexhaustible, for it is found in various places at some distance from each other. The name of the mine is the "Aurora Quicksilver Mine."
13. MINERAL PRODUCTS OP LOS ANGELES.
BISMUTH, GYPSUM, SULPHUR, ETC.
"A brief review of the agricultural capacities of the soils of this part of the State has been given, and I would say in this connection, that in these particulars lie the strength and principal value of the lands throughout the district generally; the mineral resources of this range of country so far as examined, being comparatively of little value.
The transverse chain of the Pacific Coast (San Bernardino chain) appears thus far to act as a barrier, and to have cut off, almost completely, the rich mineral deposits found in the mountains of the more northern sections. There are a few localities, it is true, where auriferous deposits of limited extent are met with, but no general features which would, in the slightest degree, indicate that they extend over any considerable areas. The limestone rocks of the Armagosa, and the granite and quartz of this section, contain both gold and silver, but they are situated to the north of this chain; yet, the gypsvm beds found near their southern base, and on the southern part of the Colorado Desert, are found to contain gold in small quantities; not sufficient, however, to pay for working. The predominating metalliferous rocks of these mountains, so far as known, consist mostly of copper, containing lead and silver; the heavier quantities of these ores lying upon the Rio Santa Clara, in the county of Santa Barbara. Bismuth and iron are also met with in these mountains, the former to a limited extent, the latter more generally disseminated and forming small veins among the primitive rocks. Both of the latter minerals are found in the immediate vicinity of the Mission of San Buenaventura, and the former (bismuth) in the mountains near the coast in the vicinity of the Raneho Guadalupe. The principal mineral products of these counties, of any commercial importance, are the beds of sulphur; they commence in the county of San Luis Obispo, and through alternate distances of two to six miles, extend to the county of Santa Barbara and northern part of Los Angeles. The larger proportion of these beds lie near the coast, and form the investing surface material of those volcanic vents found upon this part of the coast. These sulphur deposits will, at a future day, be worked with profit when the demand for this article shall exceed that of the present time; and still, I think the present demand is sufficient to warrant the investment of capital in this quarter, where the mineral is found in sufficient quantities to render the working of its mines a lucrative operation.
The appearance of magnetic sands among the drift found in beds of the arroyas, led me to the supposition that gold might exist in their connection; which, upon examination, was found to be the case, although in very trifling quantities. The same thing was found to exist upon the beach, three miles south-east of Santa Barbara, This metal was probably derived from the heavy gravel drift which is found in the immediate vicinity.
Bitumen is another of the more abundant mineral products of this portion of the State, and is found in very large quantities. This article is available and well adapted to the manufacture of gas for the purposes of illumination, and will probably be used to a considerable extent in this country; the only practicable objection to such use of it being the fact, that no valuable residium is left in the retort after the extrication of the gaseous constituents; as this mineral yields a much greater volume (being nearly double) of illuminating gas, than any other in use, it is very questionable whether it would not bo equally profitable from this circumstance. In the use of coal, we have the coke remaining, which may be applied as an article of fuel; but the value of the latter in the market would probably be counterbalanced, by the increased volumne of illuminating matter contained in the simple bitumen.
There cannot be less than four thousand tuns of asphaltum lying upon the surface of the ground in the counties of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara alone, within a few miles of the coast, at the present moment. Its value, delivered in San Francisco, would not be less than sixteen dollars per tun, equal in value to sixty-four thousand dollars; and this amount, alone, would offer sufficient inducement to embark in the enterprise, independent of any other consideration. The amount lying upon the surface in other adjacent counties, is probably equal to the amount in those specified; so that eight thousand tuns would be a safe estimate to place upon the quantity already available."—.Dr. Trask, 1854.
14. MINERALS OF THE COAST MOUNTAINS.
"The minerals of these mountains are widely dispersed throughout their entire extent, they consist principally of copper, iron, lead, silver, gold, nikel and antimony, with agates, chalcedony and many others, too numerous to mention here."—Dr. Trask, 1854.
15. MINERAL SPRINGS.
There are numerous Mineral Springs existing in various parts of the State. Those of Napa, Santa Clara, Siskiyou and Sonoma, are highly recommended by the medical profession for their important medicinal properties. The proprietors of these springs have expended a considerable amount of money to render them attractive places of resort, and during the summer months they are visited by thousands of persons from every section of the State. There are, also, mineral springs to be found in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Mendocino, Shasta, Solano and Tehama.
The Geysers of Sonoma County are regarded as one of the greatest natural curiosities in the world They are situated about fifty miles from Petaluma, and they consist of a number of Sulphur Springs, the waters of which are continually in a boiling state. In several places the water is forced into the air to a distance of ten or twelve Teet. accompanied by a loud noise, resembling the escape of steam, which is occasioned by the emission of strong currents of heated gas from hundreds of fissures in the sides of the mountains in the immediate vicinity. The waters of these Springs are said to possess important medicinal properties, and many invalids are attracted thither to avail themselves of their beneficial influences.
The manufacture of this important staple has recently attracted considerable attention. During the season of 1857, over six hundred tuns were produced in the vicinity of the bay of San Francisco. This quantity, though small, is a satisfactory test of the capacity of this State to supply a sufficiency for home consumption. The Pacific Salt Works, in the county of Los Angeles, are also engaged in the manufacture of this article. The lake from which it is manufactured, covers an area of six hundred yards in length by two hundred in width, and the buildings for the operations of the company, are commodious and well arranged. Capacity five tuns per day. There are numerous small lakes in the vicinity of Salinas Plains that are strongly impregnated and capable of yielding, it is said, large quantities of salt.
IT. SALTPETER. The existence of saltpeter has been discovered on the head-waters of the Pajaro River, near Gilroy, Santa Cruz County. It is found in large quantities, in crystal form, in the alkaline ponds and on the earth in that vicinity. This is an important discovery for the State, as it places within our reach the only miueral that was wanting to manufacture an abundant supply of gunpowder.
18. BORAX. The existence, in unlimited quantities, of borax in the county of Napa, adds another valuable mineral to the resources of California. The principal lake from which it is obtained, is thus described by the County Assessor:
"It is situated about half a mile north of the north shore of Clear Lake, and five miles from its foot. It presents a surface of over two hundred acres so highly impregnated with borax that it cannot be held in solution, and is found in crystalized particles. One and a quarter miles north, over a high chimese ridge, is found the sulphur bank, from twenty-five to thirty acres, supposed to be thirty feet thick, the steam below constantly bursting up crusts in a conical form, and forming new sulphur in the cavities, presenting a very beautiful appearance. The whole machinery is in such active operation, that if the sulphur should all be removed, it appears that it would soon form again. Eighty rods west of the sulphur spring, is a hot spring in the edge of an arm of Clear Lake, so highly impregnated with borax, that it is deposited in small particles on the surrounding gravel. This spring will afford 150 gallons of water per minute. A few miles west, on the south side of Clear Lake, is another borax lake."
The present yield of the principal lake, is about two hundred pounds per day, which can be increased by the application of the necessary machinery. It is said that a sufficient quantity can be produced to supply the demand of the entire Union for this important mineral.
The explorations of the past few years have developed the existence of numerous and extensive beds of coal in the counties of Alameda, Butte, El Dorado, Plumas, Sacramento, San Diego, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, etc. Several of these veins are now being thoroughly tested, with a view to render them of practical utility to the State. The Feather River Coal Fields, of Butte County, have been thoroughly explored and the coal obtained therefrom is represented to be of an excellent quality.
20. MARBLE. There are numerous and extensive ranges of almost every variety of marble existing in this State. "That portion between the Merced and American Rivers," says Dr. Trask, "is capable of producing varieties which are difficult of being excelled in any part of the world." The counties of El Dorado and Calaveras contain extensive quarries of this valuable material; that obtained from the vicinity of Ringgold is of great beauty and value. Considerable demand exists for it, both for artistic and building purposes. A valuable vein exists in Suisun Valley, Solano County, which has attracted considerable attention. The quality of the marble obtained therefrom is peculiarly adapted to the embellishment of household furniture, corresponding as it does perfectly with rich furniture material, such as rosewood and mahogany; and furthermore, it will not tarnish by ink, oil, or other substances, except acids. It is suitable for many ornamental household purposes, as well as those of utility, and deserves to be considered one of the most valuable, as it is certainly the most beautiful, product of our quarries or mines.
21. GRANITE.* Numerous beds of granite are now being worked in the counties of Marin, Monterey and Sacramento. The quality of the stone obtained from the vicinity of Folsom, Sacramento County, and Monterey is unsurpassed for building purposes, and large quantities from both of these places have been used in the construction of the fortifications of San Francisco Harbor.
22. ALABASTER. Considerable quantities of alabaster exist in the county of Monterey. Its quality isTeprosented to be very*superior, rivaling the finest Italian. This material is valuable for various purposes, and its discovery is a matter of considerable importance to our mechanics and to the State, as a large quantity is annually imported to supply the demand for home consumption.
* During the summer of 1857. a mountain of glass, or what was supposed to be one, was discovered in Napa County; as no movement has been made to test its practical value, we are inclined to believe that its existence is of little importance to the State.—[ed.