GEOLOGY OF GREENE COUNTY. - 370
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Greene County is bounded on the north by Clarke, on the east by Madison and Fayette, on the south by Clinton and Warren, and on the west by. Montgomery County.
The principal features in its topography, are the valleys of the Little Miami River, and of Beaver Creek. Caesar's Creek also forms a considerable depression in the southeastern townships of the county. To these three valleys, all of the drainage of the county is directed, with the exception of a single township in the northwestern corner, which lies within the valley of Mad River.
Contrary to what might be expected, the valley of Beaver Creek is a much broader, and deeper trough than that of the Little Miami. The drainage effected by it is, however, insignificant in amount when compared with that accomplished by the river. Beaver Creek is .a small and sluggish stream, that is almost lost in a wide and fruitful valley. No one can fail to recognize the disproportion that exists between the present stream, and the valley which contains it. The truth is, Beaver valley was never excavated by Beaver Creek. It is the- deserted channel of an old river, that must have had greater volume and force, than the Little Miami has to-day. Nor are we left in doubt as to the general course, and connections of the river that did this work. The valley of Beaver Creek connects upon the north with the valley of Mad River. Whether the water of the head springs of Beaver Creek shall be delivered to the Little Miami or Mad River, can be determined by the digging of a ditch, or even by the turning of a furrow. A protracted and expensive law suit, has lately been decided in the courts of Greene County, in which the only question at issue was, to which stream the head springs of Beaver naturally belong. It can, then, be asserted with all confidence, that the' valley of Beaver Creek is but an extension of the
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valley of Mad River, and was occupied by that stream at no very remote period. An examination of the geological map of Greene County, upon which the alluvial valleys of the county are also indicated, serves to bring out this point very distinctly.
In Clarke County, an older valley of the Great Miami River is shown to exist, connecting its present valley of that of Mad River. In other words, the junction of these streams was effected below Springfield, instead of taking place at Dayton, as at present. And thus it seems probable that the valley now under consideration, viz., the valley of Beaver Creek, was formerly occupied by the waters of the Great. Miami, after they had been re-enforced by the whole volume of Mad River. With such all origin, the present dimensions of the valley are easy to be understood.
The valley of the Little Miami, in Greene County, consists of two well marked portions, the lowermost of which has been cut out of the shales, and limestone of the Cincinnati series, while in the upper portion, the river has been obliged to hew its was through the massive courses of the cliff limestone. The lower valley is, therefore, deep and capacious, while the upper part consists of a narrow gorge, bounded by precipitous walls. The first of the above-named divisions constitutes one of the most valuable tracts of the county, in an agricultural point of view ; the second has no such economical applications, aside from the water-power which the river here furnishes in large amount, but which has not yet been utilized to any great degree. Indeed, it returns but little in dollars and cents, but it furnishes the most picturesque, and attractive scenery, not only of the county, but all of the region around. There is but one point in all southwestern Ohio, where more striking scenery is shown than that furnished by the gorge of the Little Miami between Grinnell's Mills and Clifton. The limestone is cut down to a depth of from sixty to eighty feet, while the valley never exceeds a few hundred feet in breadth ; and at Clifton, it if contracted to a score or two of feet, being sometimes actually four times as deep as it is wide. The geological elements that are shown in the valley, will be treated of in succeeding pages, and the influence of each upon the proportions which it assumes will be duly considered.
Several of the more prominent tributaries of the river, exhibit features quite similar to those last described. The valley of Massie's Creek, below Cedarville, presents scenery almost as striking as that furnished by the Little Miami at Clifton. Clark's Run, near
372 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
the south line of Miami township, shows another of these deep gorges, while the beautiful glen at Yellow Springs, which has had precisely such an origin, is known to thousands of people in southwestern Ohio.
Caesar's Creek flows in a much shallower trough than any of those already described. Its upper branches occupy slight depressions in the Drift beds, that cover so deep the eastern side of the county, and while at the western margin of the cliff limestone it is bedded in rock, it has wrought out no deep channel for itself.
Aside from these principal depressions, the general surface of the county is a plain, having an average elevation above the sea of one thousand feet. Throughout the six eastern townships, and in Miami Township on the north, the surface is quite uniform-one hundred feet, or one hundred and fifty feet at most, comprising the extreme range of variation in level. The remainder of the county lies, it is true, at a somewhat lower average elevation, but there are insulated summits all through it holding the general level above given.
By reference to the geological map, it will be seen that these divisions agree exactly with the great geological divisions of the county, its northern and eastern portions being underlain with the Upper Silurian, or cliff limestones; while from the western half, though originally present, this formation has been carried away by long-continued erosion, only insulated patches of it now remaining to attest its former extent. It is to be remarked that the occasional 'summits, already spoken of, in the western half of the county, that are one thousand feet or more above the sea, are in all cases these outliers of cliff limestone, to which attention is now called.
By the removal of the protecting sheet of the cliff limestone, the softer beds of the Cincinnati series have been uncovered, and the wear and waste in them have been much more rapid than in the higher rocks.
The deposits of the Drift have been spread all over the county, reducing the asperities of the surface and hiding many ancient channels, but after all only modifying, and not essentially changing the great features determined by the underlying geological structure. So that here, as in other counties, a geological map becomes in great degree a topographical neap, the areas of the cliff limestone comprising those districts of the county that have an eleva-
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tion of a thousand or more feet above tide water, while all other areas belong to the Lower Silurian, or Cincinnati series.
The lowest land of the county is found on its southern boundary, in the valley of the Little Miami, and ranges between two hundred and seventy-five feet and three hundred feet above low water at Cincinnati, or between seven hundred feet and seven hundred and twenty-five feet above the sea. The highest land is found in Cedarville and Miami townships, along the water-sheds between the Little Miami and Massie's Creek, and the Little Miami and Mad River respectively. It may be safely estimated to be not less than six hundred and fifty feet above Cincinnati, or eleven hundred feet above the sea. There is but little difference in the elevations of these dividing ridges. The summits of each consist of stratified beds of sand and gravel belonging to the latest stage of the Drift period. The highest elevation held by the bedded rock is probably in Miami Township, to the north and northwest of Yellow Springs.
The elevations of a few of the principal points in the county are here appended, almost all of which were determined by Franklin C. Hill, Esq., of Yellow Springs. All are counted above low water at Cincinnati:
Xenia, grade of railroad at depot, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 491
Yellow Springs, grade of railroad at depot, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 541
Osborne, grade of railroad at depot, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .410
Spring Valley, grade of railroad at depot, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 333
Claysville, grade of railroad at depot, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Harbine's Station, grade of railroad at depot, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .370
Oldtown, grade of railroad at depot, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 396
Goe's Station, grade of railroad at depot, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .427
Berryhill's Hill, Spring Valley Township (outlier of cliff limestone), . . . . . . . . . . . 560
Shoup's quarry, two miles southwest of Harbine's (outlier ofcliff limestone), . . . . . 519
Gravel bank, Yellow Springs, about . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 625
Railroad grade, one mile north of Yellow Springs (north line of county), about . . .. 600
Cedarville (railroad grade), about .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .550
Low water at Cincinnati is four hundred and thirty-two feet
374 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
above the sea. By adding, therefore, four hundred and thirty-two feet to each of these elevations, the level above the sea is obtained.
II. GEOLOGICAL SERIES.
The geological scale of Greene County is identical with that of Montgomery and Clarke counties. Its rock formations are confined to two great series, viz.: those of Upper and Lower Silurian age; and between them the surface of the county is almost equally divided.
A vertical section of the rocks of the county would be found to contain the following elements
3. Niagara Group.
2. Clinton Limestone.
1. Cincinnati Series, Lebanon division.
The lowest division has an aggregate thickness of two hundred and fifty feet, the middle division of fifty feet, and the uppermost of one hundred and twenty-five feet, making the total section of the rocks of the county four hundred and twenty-five feet.
The best general section for the study of the strata of the county and there is no better one for the same geological elements in the state-is found in the valley of the Little Miami River and its tributaries, between Goe's Station and Yellow Springs. At the first named point, Goe's Station, the Little Miami is bedded in the limestones and shales of the Cincinnati series. Fifty feet, at least, of this formation are here shown on the western side of the valley. The Xenia turnpike, the Little Miami Railroad, and the race for the powder mills have all required rock-cuttings. The streams, also, that descend from the uplands, have their channels in the rock, so that the constitution and contents of the beds can be fully studied. The fossils of this portion of the series abound in these outcrops and sections. Among them are to be named Rhynchonella capax, Trematospira modesta, Orthis occidentalis (upper variety):; Strophomena planumbona, and several of the corals.
The termination of the Cincinnati series is very distinctly shown in the ravine to the south of Mr. Goe's residence. This may, indeed, be considered a typical locality, for it is from this very point that the phenomena of the litre of junction between the Lower and Upper Silurian formations have, in part, been described. Between the fossiliferous beds of the Cincinnati group and the overlying
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Clinton limestone there occur twenty to thirty feet of fine-grained shales in color, light blue-or red, and destitute of fossils. Occupying as do these shales the place held by the Medina group to the eastward and northward, it has been suggested that they are a representative of that period. They are not, however, found at all sections of this horizon, the Clinton sometimes resting directly upon the fossiliferous beds of the Cincinnati series.
A fine display of the Clinton limestone is shown in the wall of rock that immediately overhangs the shales above described. The same limestone occurs in bold cliff's along the river valley, near Grinnell's Mill.
From this last named point the section is prolonged by the Yellow Springs branch, which shows, in the course of two miles, at least one hundred feet of rock. The artificial sections of the Yellow Springs quarries are now reached, which constitute, on the whole, the best point in the county at which to study the Niagara series.
There are other fine natural sections of the rocks of the county, but the one now described may be taken as a fair sample of them all.
The separate elements in the geological scale above given will now be briefly treated.
1. The uppermost two hundred and fifty feet, or thereabouts, of the Lebanon division of the Cincinnati series, underlie the western half of Greene County. This area comprises the more eroded portions of the county, as has been already stated, and, lying at a low level, is so heavily covered with the deposits of the modified Drift that the rocks are, for the most part, concealed. There are, however, .numerous exposures of the series, especially in Spring Valley and Sugar Creek townships, in which all of its characteristics, both as to order of stratification and fossil contents, can be seen and studied to excellent advantage. One hundred feet are shown in the valley of Bear Branch, a small tributary of the Little Miami, which enters the valley opposite Claysville. There is no point in the state where finer specimens of some of the common fossils of the formation have been found than here. Among them may be named Ambonychia radiata, Orthis sinuata, Leptaena sericea, Rhynchonella capax, Isotelus megistos. Representatives of at least thirty species of fossils can be obtained from the section here shown.
The line of junction between the Lower and Upper Silurian for-
376 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
mations is shown as distinctly in Greene County as in any section of the state. One of the favorable points for studying it has already been named, but others almost equally satisfactory are furnished in the neighborhoods of Franklin Berryhill and Thomas J. Brown, of Spring Valley Township, on Cresar's Creek, where it is crossed by the Wilmington and Xenia Turnpike, and in the vicinity of Reed's Hill, in Bath Township.
As elsewhere in southwestern Ohio, this horizon is marked by copious springs, to which attention will be more particularly called in the subsequent pages of this report. - The same general order of facts described as occurring in the section at Goe's Station will be found at each of the localities here named.
The Cincinnati series in Greene County furnishes a small amount of building stone of fair quality, and this is, at present, its only economical application.
2. The Clinton limestone comes next in order, and its exposures in Greene County leave nothing to be desired. The fine displays of it along the Little Miami valley, from Goe's Station to Yellow Springs, have already been noted. In addition to the section near Mr. Goe's residence, the stratum can be seen to excellent advantage on the farms of Mrs. Bell, Messrs. J. H. Little, F. Grinnell, A.. V. Siver, and Wm. C. Neff, and in the cuttings for the Grinnell pike at the Little Miami bridge, and near the, house of Dunmore McGwin. In Xenia township, it is well shown in the banks of Oldtown Run and Massie's Creek, and also near the head springs of Ludlow Creek, on the farms of James Collins and others. In Bath township, however, there are miles of outcrops in which the whole formation is displayed with the greatest possible distinctness. Reed's Hill may be especially named in this connection. It is a promontory of cliff limestone, overlooking the broad and fruitful valleys of Mad River, Beaver Creek, already described, and the Great Miami valley. From its summit, one of the most extensive, and beautiful landscapes of south-western Ohio is shown. The Clinton formation is seldom found, except as a narrow margin to the Niagara group, by which it is overlain. There are, however, a few outliers in the southwestern part of the county, from which the Niagara rocks have been entirely removed, and where the Clinton has thus been left to form the surface for two or three square miles.
The Clinton limestone at all these points, as elsewhere, is mainly
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a semi-crystalline, crinoidal limestone. In its bedding, it is uneven and interrupted, occuring in lenticular masses. A course can seldom be followed for twenty feet. Within this distance it is almost sure to terminate in a feather edge. In composition the limestone is quite uniform, consisting of about 85 per cent. of carbonate of lime, and 12 per cent, of carbonate of magnesia. Even the lowermost layers, which are distinctly sandy in texture, and which are locally known as sandstone, do not deviate from this general formula. A notable percentage of peroxide of iron is of very frequent occurance in the limestone, giving to it a deep red color. This is the nearest approach to the famous Clinton ore which the formation shows in Greene County. Just south of the county line, on Todd's Fork, near Wilmington, a considerable deposit of this peculiar and valuable limestone ore is found, and occasional outcrops of it are found all the way to the Ohio River, the most important, thus far noted, occuring near the north line of Adams county, in the vicinity of Sinking Springs. It will be remembered that this same stratum rises into immense economical importance as the Dry-stone ore of Eastern Tennessee and northern Alabama. The more common colors of the formation in Greene County are, however, light gray, yellow, and pinkish, the latter tint being specially characteristic. Its crystalline character is so well developed that much of the formation can be counted a true marble. It is susceptible of a high polish, and when some of the red varieties of the stratum are selected, it makes a highly ornamental stone, the sections of the white crinoidal stems, giving a beautiful relief to the darker ground. It will, however, be seen from the facts already stated that the limestone can have no great value for any such application on account of its lenticular bedding.
The base of the Clinton limestone, or rather the summit of the Cincinnati group, is a notable water-bearer, as is shown by the fine line of springs that issue from this horizon wherever the drainage allows. It has already been remarked, that the lower beds of the Clinton are sandy in texture. At many points they are extremely friable, and are, consequently, very easily removed by the underground streams that are flowing at this level, and, as a consequence, small caves frequently occur at the base of the series. In other cases sink-holes are found, which are due to the same general cause. By the solution of the rocks along the lines of the divisional planes or joints that traverse them, free way is opened from
378 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
the surface to the water-bearing shales of the Cincinnati group, and streams of small volume sometimes drop suddenly to this horizon to emerge again along the outcrops of the formation, perhaps at a distance of miles even from the point of descent. One of the best known of these sink-holes is found very near the intersection of the Xenia and Fairfield Pike with the Dayton and Yellow Springs Pike. The stream that here drops from the light of day to these subterranean recesses comes out again a mile or more to the southward, re-enforced, doubtless, by others that have shared a like fate, as the head spring of Ludlow Creek-one of the finest fountains in the county. These sink-holes have been sometimes deserted by the water-courses that have helped to fashion them, in which cases they have frequently been construed, in the neighborhoods in which they occur, as abandoned "lead-mines." Some portions of the county are full of circumstantial traditions of lead veins being worked by the Indians here. It is scarcely necessary to say that the civilized occupants of Greene County know a vast deal more of its' geological structure and mineral resources than any of their uncivilized predecessors have done. There is not a shadow of reason for believing in the existence of metallic veins of any sort within its area.
The limestone terminates at its upper limit variously. The most characteristic mode is in a foot or two of fine-grained, light blue clay or marlite. This is the usual mode in Montgomery County, where the horizon is found to be one of great palaeontological interest. In Greene County, however, when the marlite occurs it is sometimes destitute of fossils. It can be seen at the base of McDonald's quarry, south of Xenia, and at a few points along the Grinnell pike, near Yellow Springs.
When the blue clay is not shown there is no change in the composition of the limestone for its uppermost ten or fifteen feet, but there is always s very marked transition in passing to the lowest beds of the Niagara group.
The uses of the Clinton limestone are much less important now than they were in the earlier history of the county. It serves a very fair purpose as a building stone, but occurring, as it so generally does, in close proximity to the Niagara series, which yields some of the finest building rock of Ohio, it comes to be but little thought of when quarries of the latter are made accessible. In earlier times, however, the higher degree of accessibility of the Clinton beds caused them to be largely drawn upon.
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In like manner the manufacture of quick-lime from the Clinton formation has been wholly abandoned. For many years the outcrops of this stratum on Reed's Hill supplied the Mad River Valley and the western side of the county quite largely with lime. Lime was also burned from this horizon in Xenia Township twenty years ago. It has, however, been fully established, that in the manufacture of quick-lime none of the numerous varieties of calcareous rocks in southwestern Ohio can enter into successful competition with the Guelph or Cedarville beds of the Niagara series, where the latter occur. The economy with which, lime can be produced from this formation, and the manifest and decided superiority of the product, have ruled out all other sources.
In the vertical scale of the rocks of the county a thickness of fifty feet was assigned to the Clinton limestone. This measure is to be obtained in the first. section described, namely, that from Goe's Station to Yellow Springs. It is, however, to be remarked that it is an exceptional thickness, and that the formation rapidly thins out to the southward, being reduced in Spring Valley Township to less than half this measurement.
3. The last element in the geological scale of the county is now reached, viz.: the Niagara series. It takes precedence among the formations of the county on several grounds. It occupies a somewhat. greater area than the Cincinnati group, and it impresses much more distinct features upon the district in which it occurs than does the latter formation. Several of the more noticeable facts in the topography of the county are referable, as has been already intimated, to the presence and characteristics of the cliff limestone, of which the Niagara is the leading element. Its outcrop is a rocky wall, very often uncovered, and generally reached by quite an abrupt ascent, at least one hundred feet above the level of the adjacent county. The picturesque gorges of the Little Miami and its tributaries are due to the order of stratification of the Niagara beds, and to the same order must be referred the water supply of a considerable part of the county. The building stone and quicklime of the county are almost wholly obtained from the Niagara beds; and, in addition to these home supplies, large amounts of each are exported to surrounding cities and towns.
The divisions of the Niagara group are well marked, and several of the individual members outrank in importance the last formation treated. A tabular view of these subdivisions is here appended
380 - HISTORY OR GREENE COUNTY.
SUBDIVISIONS OF THE NIAGARA GROUP.
5. Guelph or Cedarville beds, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0-45
4. Springfield beds, . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
3. West Union beds, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
2. Niagara shale, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
1. Dayton stone,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0-10
Total, .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125
The separate elements will be briefly noticed.
(a.) The Dayton limestone, which forms, wherever it occurs, the very base of the Niagara system, is an exceptional formation. It occupies isolated areas through three or four counties of the Third Geological District. Its place in the series throughout the district generally, and the country at large, is occupied with widely different kinds of deposits. The typical locality, as the name of the formation denotes, is Dayton, Montgomery County.
The Dayton stone is found in great excellence, and in considerable quantity, in Greene County. Beginning on the western border, we find it capping the outlier of cliff limestone that lies southwest of Harbine's Station, in Beaver Creek Township. Owing, however, to the greater accessibility of contiguous deposits-especially those of the Dayton district-these beds have been but little developed. Neighborhood supplies have been drawn for a long time from the farms of Moses Shoup, Archibald Huston, and others; but within the last two or three years larger quantities have been taken out and distributed from Harbine's Station, by the Dayton and Xenia Railroad. The stone, as here found, has all the characteristic excellence of the formation in thickness, homogeneity, durability, and color ; but its value is somewhat reduced by the abundant crystals of sulphide of iron (known by the quarrymen as sulphur), which weather on exposure, and disfigure the surface by dark-brown stains. The area underlain is considerable, and every foot of the deposit is sure to come into demand with the increasing age and resources of the surrounding country.
The next outcrop of it is found on the farm of Mr. James Collies, Xenia Township; but though the stone is unmistakable here in its general character, it is much reduced in thickness and, con-
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sequently, in value, and evidently marks the limit of the deposit in this direction. A mile or two beyond, to the east and north, the horizon of the Dayton stone is shown in many exposures with perfeet distinctness; but its place is occupied by light-blue shale, or soapstone, as it is popularly called, and a worthless, shaly limestone, yellow in color, and generally covered with fucoidal impressions, which are frequently rendered green by the presence of silicate of iron. This phase is well shown on the Grinnell pike, opposite the farm of Mr. A. V. Sizer, a mile below Yellow Springs.
By far the best known deposit of the Dayton stone in the county, however, is found on the McDonald farm, three and a half miles south of Xenia. The rock was originally exposed here along a tributary of Caesar's Creek. When the quarries were first opened, but a light covering of glacial Drift, or bowlder clay, was found; but as the lines have been extended the stripping has become heavier. The surface of the rock has been planed and polished by glacier agency. From four to eight feet of workable rock are here found, divided into courses varying from four to twenty inches in thickness. The stone finds market in Xenia, being quite widely distributed from that point by railroad.
The composition of the stone from the McDonald quarry is seen in the following analysis made by Professor Wormley:
Carbonate of lime, . . . . . . . . . . .84.50
Carbonate of magnesia, . . . . . . 11.16
Alumina and iron, . . . . . . . . . . . 2.00
Silicious, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.00
(b.) The Niagara shale directly overlies the Dayton stone where the latter stratum is found, and the Clinton formation, in case the Dayton stone is wanting. It. is a normal constituent of the general geological scale of the country. Eighty-five feet of it are found at the Falls of Niagara, and along the Appalachain Chain it is thickened to one thousand five hundred feet. Its maximum development in Greene County can be seen in the "Glen," at Yellow Springs, on the land of W. C. Neff, Esq., and at the locality already noted, in the cutting for the Grinnell pike, opposite the old watercure grounds. It here attains a thickness of thirty feet. This
382 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
member of the series increases rapidly as it is followed southward through the state, measuring in Adams County one hundred and six feet.
In composition it is not perfectly uniform, the two elements that enter into it being found in varying proportions in different sections. These two elements have been already named-a light-blue calcareous shale, and thin-bedded, yellowish shaly limestone. The shale is much the more constant and abundant of the two, the limestone layers coming in, as a rule, near the bottom of the series, at the same horizon where the Dayton stone is found when it occurs.
In other words, the Dayton stone, in exceptional instances, replaces these shaly layers. The last-named phase of the formation is shown very distinctly in the section on the Grinnell pike. The composition of the shale proper is shown by the following analysis made by Professor Wormley
Carbonate of lime, . . . . . . . . 34.40
Carbonate of magnesia, .. . . .30.87
Silicate of lime, . . . . . . . . . . 8.48
Alumina and iron, . . . . . . . . . 8.40
Silica, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.21
Water, combined, . . . . . . . . 5.40
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99.78
There are occasionally found in the shale numerous crystals and nodules of sulphuret of iron. In some of the sections shown in the Glen at Yellow Springs such nodules abound. They are often construed by the ignorant as indicating mineral treasures in the rocks which are here shown. A pit near the mouth of the Cascade Branch, six feet in diameter, and certainly more than twenty feet in depth, walled with timber, and now partly filled with rubbish, the origin of which is unknown to the oldest inhabitants, seems to show` that such deceitful expectations were awakened in the minds of the earlier occupants of the country. Such unsuccessful experiments serve to show that our predecessors knew less than we now: know of the contents of the strata, rather than more, as the credulous sometimes believe. The excavation was carried down into the Clinton limestone, the whole thickness of which might have been seen and studied by passing down the valley for half a mile.
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The surface of the Niagara shale is a very important waterbearer for this whole region, giving rise to a line of strong springs along its outcrops, and supplying the largest number of the drilled wells of the table-land.
(c.) The next element in ascending order is the formation termed West Union Cliff. This stratum would certainly not be erected into a separate division from any facts in its occurrence in this part of the state ; but in Adams County it attains a thickness of ninety feet,. and constitutes, in several of the southern counties, a very marked and important element in the Niagara series. In Greene County, as ill Clarke, it does not exceed eight feet in thickness, and the principal interest in its existence here is a stratigraphical interest, namely, in the recognition of the constancy of the elements found in the expanded sections to the southward.
It is to be identified principally by its containing a fossil known as an elongated form of Atrypa. reticularis. On the ground of its occurrence in Ohio strata, a distinct designation ought certainly to be given to this form, for it is never found above the horizon of the West Union cliff. The stratum is cliffy in its structure, generally showing but few lines of bedding, and weathering in a rough and ungainly form. The "Cascade" at Yellow Springs reveals this formation, the water of the stream being precipitated over it, while it in turn overhangs the easily eroded shales of the underlying division. The same elements-geological and physical-occur here that are to be found at the Falls of Niagara;' and more truly than most waterfalls, the humble cataract here mentioned can be termed a miniature Niagara.
This element is also to be noted in Cedarville Township, on the southern line.
(d.) The fourth element is economically more important than any yet mentioned in the geology of the county. It is the division from which the building stone of the county is largely supplied. The Dayton stone, on account of its high degree of excellence as a cutting stone, commands too high a price for all common uses, and finds its market, not in the country districts,, but in the cities and larger towns of the state, and even of adjoining states. The new Chamber of Commerce in Chicago is built in part of Dayton stone. For all ordinary uses the stratum now under consideration is the principal dependence. In Clarke County it received the designation of the Springfield stone, and by this name it will here be
384 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
recognized. It furnishes all the building rock raised at Springfield, but does not, perhaps, make the most characteristic formation shown there, as the cap-rock from which the well-known Springfield lime is so extensively burned, belongs to a different division, namely, the Cedarville, or Guelph beds.
The Springfield stone has a, broad outcrop in Miami and Cedarville townships. It is much more largely quarried at Yellow Springs than at any other point in the county, but on Massie's Creek and its tributaries, west of Cedarville, it is also quite extensively worked, and the aggregate product of neighborhood quarries is also large. A description of this stratum at any one point applies very well to all other exposures. In the section at Yellow Springs twenty-four feet of rock are found that are referred to this division, though not more than twelve feet are ordinarily worked.
The courses vary in thickness from four to fourteen inches. Those which are most valued for building stone generally range between these extremes. Several of the courses answer a fair purpose for cutting stone. The same qualified commendation can be given to them for flagging. In neither of these respects has there been, as yet, sufficient inducement to fully develop the capabilities of the beds. But for general masonry they leave little to be desired. Easily raised an dressed, of convenient thickness, and of , . ample surface, they are not surpassed by any stone in the state in economy of use.
In color they are either blue or drab. The blue courses frequently weather to drab on their exposed edges.
The composition of the Springfield stone has been incidentally alluded to. A sample of the blue rock taken from the quarries of W. Sroufe, Esq., of Yellow Springs, gave the following result. (Wormley.)
Carbonate of lime, . . . . . . . . . 51.10
Carbonate of magnesia, . . . . . 41.12
Sand and silica, . . . . . . . . . . .. 5.40
Alumina, with trace of iron, . . 1.40
A magnesian limestone of France, cited by Vicat, as furnishing an excellent hydraulic lime, was, by chance, noticed to have an al-
GEOLOGY. - 385
most identical composition. Experiments were instituted with reference to hydraulic properties in the stone now under consideration, and it was found to have great energy as a cement. It can scarcely be doubted that these home supplies will come to be utilized at no distant day. Attention is called to the fact that Greene County possesses an ample supply of hydraulic limestone fully equal in quality to the cement which serves a district of France most satisfactorily. The great obstacle to the introduction of a new cement lies in the fact that masons, after becoming used to one particular product, are very loth to adopt the changes in practice which a new article renders necessary. The product here furnished is a hydraulic lime, and not a hydraulic cement.
The silicious concretions and nodules often replacing fossils, and the silicious layers which are so abundant in the quarries of Clarke County, are almost entirely wanting here.
Shaly partings are occasionally found between the courses. At a depth of eight or ten feet below the surface of the stratum, a layer of shale, several inches thick, occurs, which, from its impervious nature, becomes au important water-bearer.
There is not the same paucity of fossils in this stratum which marks the Dayton stone or the Niagara shale, but compared with the limestones of the Clinton and Cincinnati groups, and also with the overlying division, it may yet be said to be poor in this respect. The most striking forms by far that it contains, are the casts of the monstrous brachiopod shell, Pentamerus oblongus, which sometimes completely cover the surface of the layers. This interesting and characteristic fossil begins its great development in the rocks of the Mississippi valley at this particular horizon. At the east it characterizes the Clinton group, but it has never yet been found in the Clinton limestone of Ohio. A single overgrown specimen was obtained from the bottom of the Niagara series by the late Col. Greer, of Dayton, and a few specimens have been found in the West Union cliff of Adams County, but throughout the periods represented by this, and the succeeding formation, it had a wonderful expansion, literally paving the ancient sea-floor for hundreds of square miles through uncounted centuries. It often constitutes the substance of the rock for eight or ten feet in thickness. No more perfect internal casts of this shell, seem possible than the quarries of W. Sroufe, Esq., of Yellow Springs, have furnished.
A few other brachiopod shells are occasionally met with in this
386 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
division. Among them may be named Pentamerus ventricosus, Orthis biforata, Atrypa reticularis (shorter form,) and Meristella Maria. None of these, however, are confined to this division. The Niagara trilobite, Calymene Blumenbachii, var. Niagarensis, is also of frequent occurence.
(e.) Overlying the Springfield stone, there is found in southern Ohio the representative of a formation, the place of which was a subject of much discussion in the earlier days of American geology. The discussion has terminated in its being assigned, without dissent, to the Niagara series. It forms the crowning member of this series in the northern, and western portions of its widely extended field. It has received the names of various localities where it is distinctly shown, being styled the Guelph formation in Canada, the Racine beds, or Milwaukee beds, in Wisconsin, and the Bridgeport beds in northern Illinois. In southern Ohio, no local name can be selected so appropriate, and free from ambiguity as the Cedarville limestone, constituting, as it does, the only member of the Niagara series shown in the extensive quarries opened at this village. There is not, however, as great a thickness of the limestone shown at Cedarville as at Yellow Springs. The exposure of the Niagara rocks at this last named place has been repeatedly referred to, and now, since all the elements that enter into it have been given, a somewhat more detailed account will be supplied. It is decidely the best section of the Niagara series shown in Greene County, and is but little inferior to the section at Holcomb's lime-kilns, below Springfield.
The Clinton limestone follows up the Yellow Springs branch, to a point nearly opposite the extensive quarries of W. Sroufe, Esq. Starting from this well-settled base, eighty-four feet of the Niagara rocks are traversed in a very steep ascent. The uppermost thirty feet are shown in the quarries before referred to; the lowermost thirty feet are well shown in the adjacent banks of the Cascade Branch. Exposures of the intervening beds are not wanting in the immediate vicinity. The thickness here given is thus divided:
Cedarville beds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 feet.
Springfield stone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 "
West Union cliff .. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 "
Niagara shales. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 "
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 "
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The twenty-two feet of the upper division, are further re-enforced in the higher ground adjoining the ravine. It gains ten feet, at least, in the land immediately to the westward, and may be safely taken as not far below forty feet in its total thickness here.
The identification of this stratum has been made complete by the discovery of a considerable number of fossils in it that are peculiar to the above named horizon. Of these the most prominent and characteristic are two great shells, the enormous and somewhat abnormal brachiopod Trimerella, and a lamellibranch shell of even greater bulk, Megalomos Canadensis. Trimerella is represented in these beds, not only by the species grandis (Billings), but also by the still larger form, Ohioensis (Meek). It cannot, however, be said that either of these forms is abundant in Greene County, but their presence has been proved by a few specimens from both the Yellow Springs and Cedarville quarries.
The lithological characteristics of the formation in Greene County are quite marked. The lowermost ten or twelve feet consists of a massive rock almost destitute of the appearance of planes of stratification. When raised by blasting, it conies out in large and ungainly fragments. In color, it is a very light gray, and the numerous cavities, large and small, which are found in it, are all studded with minute crystals of lime. It is crowned with casts of fossils, of all the groups represented in the formation, but often the forms have been rendered obscure by partial solution, and nothing remains but a confused mass of the firmer parts of the structures. Nothing can exceed the beauty which fresh surfaces of the rock sometimes disclose, the faces of the fossils being frosted with crystals. The heavy bed of Pentamerus oblongus referred to in the preceding section, is found in this part of the series.
The most interesting series of fossils thus far obtained from any one locality, was furnished by the quarry of Mr. John Orr, of Cedarville. Several specimens were yielded at this point, which have been found nowhere else in Ohio.
The upper portions consist of a very thin-bedded and fragile limestone, often sandy in texture, and either light gray in color or yellowish. The latter is the predominant tint at Yellow Springs, the former at Clifton, while both appear at Cedarville. This portion is no less fossiliferous than the lower part, and both contain the same forms, though the proportions in which the separate fossils occur, vary somewhat in the two divisions.
388 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
In composition, the whole formation is very nearly a typical dolomite. A few analyses are appended to show its constitution along the line of its outcrop, the range represented, covering at least one hundred and fifty miles. The analyses were all made by Dr. Wormley.
No. 1. Bierley's quarry, Greenville, Darke County.
" 2. Dugan's " Sidney, Shelby County.
" 3. Holcomb's " Springfield, Clarke County.
" 4. Sroufe's " Yellow Springs, Greene County.
" 5. Trimble's " Hillsborough, Highland County.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Carbonate of lime . 44.60 55.00 55.10 54.75 54.25
Carbonate of magnesia 50.11 42.92 43.05 42.23 43.23
Alumina and iron 4.60 1.60 1.70 2.00 1.80
Silicious matter trace. 0.10 0.40 0.40
99.31 99.52 99.95 99.83 99.68
But a single economical application is made of the Cedarville limestone. The facts already stated, show how poorly adapted it is for use as a building stone, but as a source of quick-lime this stratum is without a rival in the markets of southwestern Ohio.
Lime is now burned in quantity, at but two points in Greene County,-Yellow Springs and Cedarville,-but equal advantages in every particular, except the all-important one of transportation, are furnished at many other points, and especially at, and below Clifton, on the Little Miami River. The business at the two points named, has attained quite important proportions, and is the source of a considerable income to the county. A few of the details are here appended.
At Cedarville, lime is now burned by the five . following firms Wesley Iliff, Satterfield and Son, Shrads and Gibney, Orr and Son, D. S. Ervin. The parties are named according to the order in which they took up the business. Wesley Iliff has been engaged in burning lime at this point for thirty years. All of the firms but one use old-fashioned kilns, namely, those in which fifteen hundred to two thousand bushels of lime are burned at one time, the kiln being allowed to cool before it is emptied and re-filled. To carry on the business in a large way, each firm requires two or more such kilns,
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so that while one is burning, lime can be drawn from another.
Mr. D. S. Ervin, alone employs patent draw-kilns. The comparison of the two modes of burning, was made at length in the report on Clarke County. (Geology of Ohio, Vol. 1., p. 475.)
The production for the year 1874 ranges as follows: D. S. Ervin, two hundred and eighty car loads, or eighty-five thousand bushels ; Wesley IlifF, one hundred and thirty car loads, or forty thousand bushels ; Shrads and Gibney, one hundred and thirty car loads, or forty thousand bushels ; Orr and Son, seventy-five car loads, or twenty-three thousand bushels; Satterfield and Son, forty car loads, or twelve thousand bushels.
The average cost of wood is three dollars per cord, and one cord is used in the burning of fifty bushels of line in the old pattern of kilns. In the patent kilns, Mr. Ervin reports sixty-six bushels to one cord of wood. The lime finds market mainly along the line of the Little Miami Railroad. The price for 1874 was fifty-five dollars per car load, or eighteen and one-third cents per bushel. When retailed at the kilns, it was sold for twenty-five cents per bushel.
The Cedarville lime has the reputation of being "cooler" than the limes with which it conies into competition ; that is, it does not give out as much heat in slaking, and slakes-with more difficulty, or at least with less rapidity. Whatever differences of this sort exist must be referred to its physical state rather than to its chemical constitution, as it agrees in this respect perfectly with the Yellow Springs, Springfield, and Sidney lines.
At Yellow Springs the business of lime-burning is extensively carried on by W. Sroufe, Esq. He gives the amount of lime produced at his kilns during the year 1874 as thirty thousand bushels. The cost of wood averages three dollars and twentyfive cents per cord, and one cord, as at Cedarville, is required for the burning of fifty bushels of lime. The lime is sold at fifty-five dollars a car load, as is that manufactured at Cedarville.
The Yellow Springs quarries reach down to the building-stone courses that underlie the lime-producing stratum. Mr. Sroufe reports the sale of five hundred perches of building stone during 1874. The average price of building stone is one dollar and seventy-five cents per perch. No courses well adapted to cutting have yet been worked here.
390 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
The Cedarville beds impress a peculiar appearance on the valleys in which sections of them are disclosed. They generally appear in a smooth, vertical wall, bluish white in color, and overhanging the even courses of the Springfield Stone. The latter are more easily eroded than the cap-rock, by reason of the shaly partings found between them. It therefore results that when a stream has once cut its way through the cap-rock the gorge becomes fully as wide. or even wider, at the bottom than at the top, as is the case at Clifton. As the work of erosion advances, large masses of the cliff are left unsupported, and are at last precipitated into the ravine, as is shown so abundantly in the valley of the Miami between Clifton and Grinnell's Mill. The present state of the valley at Clifton shows very clearly the manner in which the whole work has been accomplished. We can be certain that the valley has been growing through the illimitable past by the same stages that we can mark so clearly at the present day.
The springs that issue from the Niagara series are very important and servicable, but attention will be called at this place to but a single point in connection with them, namely, the heavy deposits of travertine which some of them have made and are still making. The great fountain from which the village of Yellow Springs derives its name will be treated by itself, but all along the gorges in the Niagara limestone voluminous springs are issuing, which are making extensive calcareous deposits, sometimes in dome-shaped stalagmitic masses under the dripping of the springs, but more frequently mingled with the earthy and organic products over and among which' the waters flow in short slopes to the valley. The vegetable, and sometimes the animal, matters that the water meets with are often incrusted with the travertine, and are then said in popular language to be petrified.. A specimen submitted to analysis gave the following result (Wormley):
Carbonate of lime, . . . . . .95.70
Carbonate of magnesia, . . 3.73
Alumina and iron,. . . . . . . 0.50
Another specimen examined shows the following composition (Mees)
GEOLOGY. - 391
Carbonate of lime, . . . . . . . . .97.60
Carbonate of magnesia, . . . .. 1.21
Silicious matter, . . . . . . . . . .. 0.60
In this connection the very interesting fact is to be noted, that while the rocks from which the springs issue are dolomitic, containing nearly as much carbonate of magnesia as carbonate of lime, the travertine is almost purely calcareous. It therefore appears that in magnesian limestones permeated by atmospheric waters, the proportions of magnesia must be constantly, though of course very slowly, increasing. The varying proportions of carbonate of magnesia in the limestones of the Cedarville division may be, in part, accounted for in this way. By reference to the table of analyses, it will be seen that this substance in one instance makes fifty per cent. of the entire weight of the rock. A greater exposure than ordinary to carbonated waters will serve to explain this increased proportion. It may be added that the location of the quarry from which the stone yielding this result was obtained, in the flat-lying tract of Darke County, would seem to indicate the long-continued presence of such carbonated water.
Further, as far as the explanation above given applies, it ought to be found that the more highly magnesian the limestone the less should be its specific gravity. A few facts under-this head are here given. The determinations of specific gravity were furnished by Prof. Mendenhall, of the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The comparison is not limited to the different representatives of the Cedarville division, but various limestones of the state are included.
Locality. Geological Horizon. Carb.Mag. Sp.Grav.
Greenville, Darke Co., Top of Guelph, or Cedarville, 50 2.452
Yellow Springs, Bottom of Guelph, 43 2.605
Greenfield, High'd Co. Waterlime, 42 2.648
Yellow Springs, Clinton, 12 2.664
Columbus, a Corniferous, 30? 2.664
Cincinnati, Cincinnati, 5 2.700
392 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
The Drift of Greene County agrees closely in all particulars with that of the adjacent counties. All of the distinguishing features of this most interesting but perplexing formation are here shown with great distinctness. In other words, the materials for a perfect theory of the Drift are found spread over the rocky floor of Greene County.
1. In the first place, the face of the Niagara limestone has been universally planed and polished by glacier agency. It does not, it is true, show the marks of this agency everywhere, for the upper beds of the limestone have often been partially dissolved by the action of atmospheric waters infiltrating through the Drift beds; but wherever the surface has not been thus affected it exhibits the glaciated markings now under consideration. These markings have been noted in every section of the county in which the cliff limestone is exposed; but they are shown most plainly in the uncovered surfaces of the Yellow Springs quarry, Ad of McDonald's quarry. The grooves and strife have a direction in most instances of ten to fifteen degrees west of north. In the Yellow Springs quarry their line of direction cuts the line of direction of the Glen, which is immediately adjoining, at an angle of about twenty degrees, showing that even such deep furrows as this had no influence in changing the course of the abrading ice-sheet.
2. Over the polished surface of the rocks, as well as over those more extensive areas where the rocks retain no markings of this kind, lies, in deposits of varying thickness, a covering of bowlder clay. This is an unstratified mass, thickly set with pebbles and bowlders of small size, many of which have rubbed or striated faces, like that of the rock oil which they rest. In its original state it is a very compact formation, as is shown in the deeper sections of it; but where the deposit is shallow it has been considerably transformed by atmospheric agencies. The partial or complete solution of the limestone pebbles that make so prominent an element in it renders the whole bed more porous and permeable than the unaltered deposits are. With this transformation of texture a change of color is also connected, the lower oxides of iron in the bowlder clay being converted into peroxides by the presence of air and water, and the bed becoming a yellow clay instead of blue clay.
GEOLOGY. - 393
The unaltered blue clay is often struck in wells, and is also shown in the banks of streams, where the weathered materials are removed as fast as formed.
As elsewhere, seams of sand and gravel are intermingled with the bowlder clay.
3. A third phase of the Drift formations is also abundantly shown in Greene County, in the beds of clean sand and gravel, which occur everywhere throughout its area, and especially on the highest lands of the county. These beds are distinctly stratified, oftentimes with conspicuous lines of false or uneven bedding, differing in composition from the bowlder clay in this respect, namely, that they contain water-washed instead of striated pebbles, and that they present unmistakable indications of having been sifted and arranged under water. Examples of these high-level grades can be seen at various points, but at none more clearly than in Miami Township; as, for example, at the Yellow Springs gravel bank, at the batiks of W. C. Neff; Daniel Jobe, and J. H. Little; and also in the Hamma. neighborhood, along the Yellow Springs and Fairfield pike. All of these points belong to the high grounds of the county, and some of them constitute its summit levels. From some peculiarities in its structure, the Yellow Springs bank deserves a somewhat more extended notice.
It is located to the south of the village, about half a mile from the railroad track. It rises forty feet in height above a very flatlying area, and thus makes a conspicuous feature in the topography. Its summit is not far from ten hundred and sixty feet above the sea. It embraces an area. of somewhat more than two acres. It is composed of sand and gravel, with considerable quantities of clay, the three orders of materials being, however, quite well separated from each other. Some bowlders are met. with, the largest one now exposed measuring seven feet in length. Like almost all of the largest: sized bowlders of southern Ohio, this one is composed of gneiss, conspicuously banded with rose-colored felspar.
The peculiarity of this gravel bank consists, however, in none of the facts already stated, but in the order of arrangement of the materials, which are aggregated in all sorts of irregular masses, while the bed-lines of the sand and gravel are curiously twisted and contorted, their section sometimes showing them to accomplish two-thirds of the circumference of a circle. The only satisfactory
394 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
these materials. from melting ice. An iceberg breaking loose from the northern water-shed of the state, and loaded with glacial detritus, if stranded and slowly melting here, might account for these peculiarities of structure.
As to several of the other deposits referred to above, it is impossible for any one to examine them without feeling certain that they were sorted and sifted and arranged under water, and that their presence where we find them now is proof conclusive of the submergence of the country, at least to the elevations which they mark. The bank belonging to Daniel Jobe, Esq., and located near the intersection of the Grinnell pike with the Clifton and Oldtown pike, may be taken as a good representative of this class.
These high-level or bank gravels of the county furnish an inexhaustible supply of excellent materials for road-making; and, under the wise state legislation of the last ten years upon this subject, the county may be said to have been lifted out of the mud. This work of improvement is sure to go on with the increasing wealth of the country, until every public road is changed from a bed of miry clay-which, in its natural state, it becomes for about one-third of the "ear-into a solid and civilized highway all the year through.
The bottom lands of the county, in its western and southwestern portions, are considerable. They do not, however, demand extended treatment here, agreeing as they do exactly with the similar areas already reported upon. They consist of first and second bottoms chiefly, the third terrace that appears in the lower reaches of the streams being either wanting or but indirectly shown here.
A brief discussion of the soils of the county will here find place.
(a.) Origin. The soils of Greene County are, in the main, derived from the Drift. There are small tracts, it is true, scattered through the county in which the bedded rock has lately formed the surface, and by its weathering has given rise to the thin stratum of soil that now covers it. Examples of this sort may be seen on Reed's Hill, in Bath Township, where the weathering of the Clinton limestone has furnished a very productive but shallow soil to quite a number of acres. Along the boundary of the Lower and Upper Silurian formations, again, little patches of these native soils
GEOLOGY. - 395
are to be seen, as at Goe's Station, in Miami Township, and on the farms of Franklin Berryhill and Thomas J. Brown, of Sugar Creek Township ; but the aggregate of all such cases is insignificant, and the statement that the soil of the county is derived from the Drift scarcely requires qualification.
There is a very important sense, however, in which the soils of Greene County may be denominated native soils. Naked beds of bowlder clay are no more soil than are raw shales or quarry spalls. All can be converted into soils by sufficient exposure to atmospheric influences. In point of fact, the shales that constitute so large a part of some Ohio formations, and notably of the Cincinnati series, are converted into soils far more rapidly than the bowlder clay. The soils of the county, then, have been formed where we find them by the same slow processes that are required to transform a stratum of limestone rock into soil. It is principally by the process that is termed "weathering" that the stubborn and impervious clays of the unaltered Drift are changed into the porous, light, and permeable layer that we call soil. The action of the atmosphere can be easily traced in such cases. There are always present in our Drift clays, grains, pebbles, and bowlders of limestone. In southern and central Ohio they constitute by far the largest proportion of the rocky fragments of the Drift beds. But limestone is soluble in rain and surface water. These fragments then, both small and great, are slowly dissolved, their lime being carried away in drainage water, while the sand and clay and iron which made a part of their substance are left to contribute to the soil. Similar changes go on in other substances in the Drift bed, and the results of all are to open these stubborn clays to air and water, to change their color, to alter their texture, and thus, also, to alter their specific gravity. The incorporation of vegetable matter with the forming soil goes on through all the stages of its growth. Until the proportion of such matter reaches at. least five per cent. of the whole mass, the clay is scarcely to be called a soil.
But in the final stages of its preparation, to another division of the living creation a very important office is assigned, one, however, which is seldom estimated according to its real value. The insect kingdom, beetles, ants, earth-worms, etc., bring up from below the surface, for very different objects in the economy of their several existences, particles of sand, clay, and vegetable mold. The whole substance of the soil is honey-combed by their agencies, and rendered vastly
396 -HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
more permeable to air and water. To them, indeed, the fineness and homogeneity of the surface are largely due. Whoever thinks . this agency an insignificant one, has but to examine carefully the surface of any square rod of ground in early summer, to be convinced of his mistake. Such an examination will show to any one who has eyes to see, that an enormous amount of mechanical labor, most useful in its results to man, is being performed by these despised insects. The porosity of the ground, which is partly due to these agencies, is illustrated in the well known fact, that the earth taken out from an excavation, will never fill the space from which it has been removed. But the porosity that nature gives to soils, is not produced in a day. It is the result of these seemingly insignificant agencies extended through periods of time sufficiently long.
This stratum of soil, thus prepared, is the sole dependence of the brick-kilns which are possible in almost every square mile of the surface of the county, and from it brick of excellent quality are cheaply produced.
Mention has thus far been made of the formation of soils from the bowlder clay alone, but processes precisely similar to those already described, only far more rapid in their action, are going on in the beds of modified or stratified Drift, which makes so important an element in the surface of the county. The opening of every gravel bank, shows these processes with the greatest distinctness. The solution of the limestone pebbles, has been carried on for one or two feet below the surface, until most of them have entirely disappeared, the only pebbles that remain being the hard and stubborn greenstones, and granites of northern origin. Vegetable mold has been mingled with these weathering products, to the same depth to which the solution has advanced, and thus the boundary line between the soil and what it covers, is marked by color as well as texture. The incipient stages of the solution of limestone pebbles, can be seen below this boundary, in the softened and corroded surfaces which they show, but the mass below is, after all, a gravel bank and not soil.
(b) Varieties The soils of the county may be divided into the following classes, which will be readily recognized by those familiar with the area under consideration
1. The valley soils, consisting principally of the first and second bottom lands.
2. The soils formed from the high level gravels.
GEOLOGY. - 397
3. The yellow and white clays, the common upland soils of the county.
4. The black uplands or blue grass land, most largely shown in Ross, New Jasper, Silver Creek, and Jefferson townships. Each of these divisions will be briefly considered.
1. The soils of the first division are principally confined to the main valleys of the county, namely, to the Little Miami, Mad River, and Beaver Valleys, but some of the minor streams have bottom lands of limited extent.
There is a notable difference in constitution between the first and second bottoms, the former being strictly alluvial in character and receiving fresh accessions of matter with every flood, while the second bottoms are gravel terraces, the surfaces of which have been transformed into soils according to the processes described above. The latter areas constitute the most attractive, but not, perhaps, the most durable, farming lands of the county. The Oldtown flats may be taken as one of the very best examples of this class. We know that portions of this beautiful plain were the favorite corn-grounds of the Indians before the occupation of the country by the whites, to say nothing of the still earlier tenure of the mound-builders, whose works abound in this neighborhood. Since the occupation of the country by civilized man, the whole area has been constantly under the plow. There are large parts of it which have not failed for at least fifty consecutive years to produce a crop either of corn or wheat, without any application of manure or fertilizers. No charge can be made against this particular area as lacking in durability, for the average production is still very good, but other tracts of equal original fertility show themselves now to be in a state of incipient exhaustion. It is a disgraceful system of farming that brings lands like these to such a state within fifty years of the time when they were covered with primival forests.
The first bottoms are sometimes so largely calcareous as to become partially unfitted to act as soils. Among other defects is this, that they are unable to withstand ordinary summer droughts. They are generally covered however, with forest trees in a state of nature, and when cleared they furnish pasturage for the spring and early summer.
Analyses are furnished of two soils and one subsoil belonging to this division. It so happens that all of the following examples were derived from Clarke County.
398 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.,
Analysis No. 1 is of the Mad River bottoms of John Snyder, Esq., of Springfield. They were originally covered with the ordinary forest growth of the first or lower bottoms. The excessive amount of carbonate of lime found in them (50.87 per cent.) will be noted. It is almost 'a matter of surprise that vegetation of any sort could be borne by such a mortar bank. The large amount of phosphoric acid will, however, give them high rank, so far as this priceless element of fertility is concerned, and the quantity of the alkalies (potash and soda) is also ample for all demands of vegetation.
Analysis No. 2 is of the Buck Creek bottoms (prairie lands) from the same locality. The large proportion of organic matter here (29.34 per cent.) will attract attention. A soil so loose as this must necessarily be would hardly enable trees to stand against our southwest winds, and it may be that its nakedness is due to such a cause rather than to any natural want of adaptation to the production of forests. The' amount of lime falls considerably below that shown in No. 1, but is still excessive (35.85 per cent.). The other substances which constitute the fine. gold of every soil, namely, the phosphates, sulphuric acid, the alkalies, are all here in large amount. The lime present, however, renders the land unfit for tillage. All crops burn out in the summer months. The application of this soil to the uplands would carry to them just what they most need. The lime in it would make it a full equivalent for shell marl, while the organic matter, which makes almost one-third of its entire substance, would wonderfully ameliorate their stubborn texture. There is little doubt that, load for load, this bottom land would prove, in many areas, a full equivalent for stable manure.
Analysis No. 3 is of the subsoil of No. 2, taken from a depth of two feet below the surface. It will be seen that this subsoil has all . the characteristics of a model soil. Its only obvious deficiency is in the soluble forms of the alkalies. Aside from this it would be hard to say what should be added or taken away to increase its adaptation to all the uses of agriculture.
The proportion of carbonate of lime shrinks from more than fifty per cent in the soil to four per cent in the subsoil. As both soil and subsoil are supposed to be derived from the same source, namely, alluvial deposits, it may be asked how this great disparity is accounted for. In reply, it is suggested that, like many other important facts which at first sight have no connection with the
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cause assigned, it will be found traceable to the clearing of the country. By the clearing of the land, evaporation has been greatly promoted along all of the drainage courses, and the streams now sink to a point never known in the early history of the country. As they fall, pools of water, small and great, are' left along their courses, which, when evaporated by a summer's sun, give rise to large amounts of calcareous travertine, which is deposited as an incrustation on pebbles, bowlders, shells, and vegetable growths. But since the drainage courses have all been opened out, a few .'hours' rain is often sufficient to produce a flood which easily sweeps away the light and porous travertine, to re-deposit it at lower points along the courses of the stream. It must also be added that- the carbonate of lime in the soil is partly due to land shells which have lived and died upon its surface.
2. The soils formed from the high-level gravels are very closely allied in origin and character to those found on the gravel terraces or second bottoms of the rivers. They are not, however, underlain lain by as porous a subsoil as the latter, and therefore prove, as a rule, more retentive and durable. They are scattered through the highlands of the county in isolated patches, often of small extent. They are as plainly recognized before. the country is cleared as after the soil has been exposed by the plow, for the natural growth of forest trees which they produce distinguishes them unmistakably from the colder lands adjoining and surrounding them. On the gravel points are found the black walnut, the sugar tree, the blue ash, the hickory, etc., while the clay lands show little but oaks.
In color they are reddish-brown, verging towards black in many cases. Under cultivation they are extremely productive, and always constitute the favorite portions for tillage of every farm on which they occur.
An analysis of one of these gravel point soils is given below (No. 4). The specimen submitted was taken from the farm of John Howell, Esq., in Mad River Township, a few miles north of the Greene Counts line. It will be seen that the testimony of chemistry fully accords with that of experience with reference to these soils. Like analysis No. 3, this soil might almost be assumed as a model. Its seventy per cent. of silica, mixed with nine per cent. of alumina, render it certain that it will work light, especially when its nine per cent. of organic matter is taken into account. It contains over three and one-half per cent. of the alkalies, soda and
400 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
potash, while the supply of phosphoric acid is ample for generous harvests. Though derived from the decomposition of limestone pebbles very largely, but little lime remains in its composition (less than four per cent. of lime and magnesia). This fact seems surprising at the first statement, but a little reflection shows us that it is a necessary consequence of the mode of formation above described. The pebble that is to be turned into soil consists of carbonates of lime and magnesia in large proportion, and of sand, clay, iron, etc., in much smaller proportions. But these latter substances are all that are turned over to the forming soil, and they are set free only by the solution and removal of the line and magnesia. The percentage given above is more than sufficient, however, for the demands of vegetation.
3. The next group to be treated constitute a much larger portion of the surface than either of the others already described. It comprises the light-colored clays, whitish or yellow, which makes the common upland soils of the country. Being generally derived from the bowlder clay, nothing more needs to be said in regard to their mode of origin, as this topic has already been considered. They are strong and durable to a high degree, but under unwise or negligent husbandry they become stubborn and unproductive. On the other hand, they are no soils of the state that respond more kindly to a, rational system of tillage. Their great lack is that of organic matter, which is needed even more to ameliorate their physical condition than to supply plant food. The system of farming, however, to which these clays are generally subjected robs them as rapidly as possible of the small amount of vegetable mold with which they are supplied at the outset: In this, way their color is bleached to whitish, from their usual yellowish tint.
The native forest growths of these soils consist largely of oaks of various species, among which the white oak largely predominates. It gains here a, magnificent growth, and supplies the country with invaluable resources in the way of staunch timber.
Several analyses are appended of this most important division of the soils of central Ohio.
The first of them, No. 5, is of a white clay on an overtaxed and temporarily exhausted farm (McClure farm, Mad River Township, Clarke County). It is to be added that the soil of this area was never equal to that, which immediately surrounds it.
The next analysis, No. 6, shows the composition of the subsoil of
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these same white clays, taken at a depth of fifteen to eighteen inches below the surface.
In examining these analyses, it will be noticed that the organic matter in the soil but slightly exceeds that in the subsoil (2.85 per cent. against 2.58 per cent). It is safe to say that any process which should double the amount of organic matter in it would increase its productive power in a high degree. There is no lack of phosphoric acid, of potash, soda, or sulphur in either, the vital elements of all soils. On the contrary, the proportions which these substances attain in them would give them place among the fertile lands of the state. It is to their physical condition, principally, that their want of fertility must be ascribed. It is certainly assuring to find that even the poorest and most stubborn clays of the state possess untold capacities for the service of mail. They hold, however, these treasures securely locked until a wiser system than ours shall find the key.
Attention is called to one or two other points in connection with these analyses.
(a.) The marked disparity in the amounts of phosphoric acid which soil and subsoil respectfully contain is doubtless due, in part at least, to the abstraction of this substance from the surface by the crops that have been raised here. Of all the constituents of the soil, this certainly is the one that according to theory should be most reduced by the prevalent system of tillage. There is still left in the soil a large aggregate of this substance, it is true, but it is to be remembered that plants can not go on growing until all is removed. To make agriculture profitable, these mineral elements of plants must not only be present in the soil, but must be every where diffused, so that each rootlet of each plant shall be able to secure its share. It is altogether probable that the change of one-tenth of one per cent is enough to make the difference between sterility and generous harvests.
(b.) The chief notable lack in these analyses is in the soluble forms of potash and soda, and in carbonate of lime.
Two other analyses are added, in this division, of soils of better grade. No. 7 is from the farm of John Howell, Esq., (Mad River Township, Clarke County), and No. 9 from the laud of John Snyder, Esq., of Springfield. Both of these analyses represent the average yellow clays of this region. No. 8 represents the composition of the subsoil of No. 7 ; but there is some reason to distrust the
402 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
results shown in this analysis. In the comparatively large proportion of organic matter it can hardly represent the average.
4. One variety still remains to be described, namely, the soil of the black uplands of this region, including the upland prairies that are occasionally met. This soil might with a measure of propriety be distributed among the two last named divisions, as it has differed in fortune from one or other of them in but a single particular. By the accidents of the later geological history of the country, these common deposits of bowlder clay, and stratified sand and gravel, have been left generally in sloping and easily drained surfaces, but sometimes in flat-lying tracts, of greater or less extent.
To the latter of these areas the black soils are confined. If the stratified Drift has furnished their origin, they will agree in character with the soils derived from the limestone gravel, as represented in analysis No. 4. If formed from the weathering of the bowlder clay, they prove to be the counterparts of the yellow clays last described. The difference is shown very plainly in the capabilities of the two kinds of tracts respectively. Both form blue-grass land, and furnish the best of pasturage, but only the former can be turned with profit into corn grounds. These constitute, indeed, the best corn ground of the county-the river bottoms not being excepted. A considerable area in the southeastern part of the county, forming part of a much broader area which stretches through Madison and Fayette counties, belongs to this division, and numerous isolated tracts are scattered throughout the county. Frequently the most stubborn of the white clays will inclose some central area that lies at a lower level than the rest, and the drainage of which is consequently obstructed. This central tract has thus been changed in color from white to black, and has been charged with vegetable matter enough to ameliorate it foor half a century at least. It rewards abundantly the labors of the husbandman, while the surrounding lands, that differ from this in no respect but one, namely, that their proportion of organic matter is smaller by five to ten per cent., are tilled without profit, or even at a loss.
There are no soils in southern Ohio that produce as fine blue grass-that great basis of agricultural wealth as those varieties of the black lands that have been derived from the limestone gravels.
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CHART OF GEOLOGICAL STATISTICS - NOT SCANNED
404 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
A single analysis is appended of an upland prairie soil from the farm of John Howell, Esq., of Clarke County (No. 10). Chemistry shows it to be extremely well equipped for all the purposes of agriculture-a fact which has been amply demonstrated by practical tests. It agrees very closely with analysis No. 4, as will be seen by a comparison of the results. All that was said of the limestone gravel soil will apply to the one now under consideration.
These analyses were executed by Professor Wormley. They are full of scientific interest, and, it is also believed, of practical value. Some of the inferences fairly deducible from these figures have been made in the foregoing pages, and others will suggest themselves to the intelligent reader.
No. 1. Mad River bottoms.
No. 2. Buck Creek bottoms.
No. 3. Subsoil of No. 2.
No. 4. Limestone gravel soil.
No. 5. White clay-unproductive.
No. 6. Subsoil of No. 5.
No. 7.. Yellow clay, or common upland soil.
No. 8. Subsoil of No. 7.
No. 9. Yellow clay, or common upland soil.
No. 10. Upland prairie soil.
Brief mention must be made, in conclusion, of the water-supply of the county. The subject is one of great scientific and practical .interest. It falls strictly within the purview of Geology, while at the same time it has most important relations to sanitary science.
Greene County has certainly a fair water-supply. It is not quite equal in this respect to Madison County, which must be set down as having, on the whole, the best watered area of the Third Geological District; but, on the other hand, its natural supply is infinitely better than that of Clermont, Brown, and Hamilton counties. A larger proportion of the water used by man and beast is derived from springs and the streams flowing from them than is usual in this section of the state. The Drift beds give rise to a part of these natural fountains, but all of these will be left out of present account, and attention will be asked only to the springs that issue from the bedded rocks.
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There are three prominent horizons of springs in the strata of Greene County. The lowermost of these marks the junction of the Lower and Upper Silurian formations. All the conditions that favor the existence of numerous and generous springs are found here. The Clinton limestone furnishes a porous and fractured cap of considerable thickness, and the terminal shales of the Cincinnati group supply the impervious stratum which must turn the water; outwards. It must also be remembered that this horizon is shown only along the sides of valleys which in themselves tempt the outflow of subterranean water. This whole geological boundary is marked as a water-bearer. The fine spring at Goe's Station, which has been used as a source of railroad supply, may be taken as a representative of the class. The head spring of Ludlow Creek, on the line 'of the Xenia and Fairfield pike, is another that belongs to this belt. They are found by hundreds within the county. Occasionally springs issue from some point in the Clinton formation where its base is not exposed. There can be no doubt that in many such instances they have the same real source as those already named. Several fine springs near Grinnell's Mill belong to this category.
At a point about seventy-five feet higher in the scale the second of these water-bearing horizons is found. The summit of the Niagara shales is here reached, and throughout their whole extent in southern Ohio they make an important contribution to the natural water-supply. The springs issuing from this source are confined to two townships in Greene County, namely, Miami and Cedarville. Here, however, they are both numerous and important. Characteristic examples of them can be seen on the Water-cure grounds at Yellow Springs, now the farm of A. V. Sizer, Esq., along the gorge of the Little Miami from Grinnell's Mill to Clifton, and in the valley of Massie's Creek for two miles below Cedarville.
The third and last of these water-bearing beds is found from twenty to thirty feet above the one last named, in a shaly seam in the Springfield division of the Niagara series. It is of much less importance than either the others in every way. The seam of shale is too thin to make an effective stop to the descending water. Many fine springs, however, especially in the vicinity of the village ofYellow Springs, must be referred to this horizon. The most remarkable of all, that from which the village of Yellow Springs derives its name, appears to issue from this level. There is good reason, however, for believing that its source lies deeper, and that
406 - HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY.
its outlet is obstructed at its true horizon. In other words, it is probably derived from the greater belt of shales below. Its temperature varies but little with the change of seasons, and its volume is not affected by drought or flood. Neither of these things could be true if its underground channel lay as close to the surface as its point of emergence would seem to indicate. According to measurements made twenty years ago, under the direction of Hon. William C. Mills, at that time its proprietor, its volume of water is one hundred and seven and one-half gallons per minute. From some chemical examinations also made at the date above given, the statement has been published that the spring « deposits bicarbonate of soda, magnesia, and iron, and is charged with carbonic acid gas." There are such obvious sins of omission in this statement that it fails to inspire confidence. Its water contains, as will be seen, in addition to the usual impurities of limestone springs, a notable quantity of peroxide of iron. The ochreous travertine deposited by it has, formed a bank in front of its point of issue that may be roughly estimated at seventy-eight thousand cubic yards. The deposit has doubtless raised the level of the spring to the point where it now appears. Its composition is shown in the appended analysis (Mees)
Carbonate of lime, 92.97
Carbonate of magnesia, 2.42
Sesquoixide of iron and alumina, 3.80
Silicious matter, .80
A heavy bed of the same ochreous travertine that the spring is now depositing, roughly estimated at fifty-five thousand cubic yards, is found two hundred yards to the north of the. present point of outflow, showing that in the course of its history the spring has been shifted latterally as well as vertically. The raising of the spring vertically must have been a gradual process, due to the blocking up of the outlet by the slow accumulation of traver, tine, but the transfer of its waters to a lower point of the glen must have been made at once.
Much of the surface of the main bank is covered with red cedar trees, some of which are at least a century old. From the relation
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that the parts so covered bear to the rest of the formation, we can see how insignificant an item a century is in the ages of its growth.
No clue can be given as to the source of the iron of the spring. There is certainly no unusual amount of iron ore shown in any of the neighboring rock sections. Iron occurs quite abundantly in the state of sulphuret throughout the Niagara shales, but other springs of the region that traverse the same rocks and issue at the same horizon, contain no noticeable quantity of iron. If the waters of the spring were slowly infiltrated through some large deposit of ochreous gravel, such as the later stages of the Drift produced through all of this country, an adequate source for its mineral matter would be provided. There is room enough in the high lands to the northward for such deposits, but none can now be pointed out. If, on the other hand, the deposit is derived from the bedded rocks, we can be sure that cavernous spaces must be left underground by the removal of so much material.