« PrejšnjaNaprej »
metamorphism. It is worthy of note that the minerals of the coast ranges are chiefly the more volatile and soluble, such as cinnabar, sulphur, petroleum, and borax, distributed in rocks ranging from the tertiary to the cretaceous, inclusive.
The longitudinal extension of the gold-bearing zone is yet undetermined. The metal has been traced through the whole length of California, through Oregon and Washington, into British Columbia, and beyond, along the Russian possessions, towards the Arctic sea. Southward, it is prolonged into Sonora and Mexico, and there is every reason to believe that its extension is coincident with the great mountain chain of North America in its course around the globe, into and through Asia.
After years of laborious search for fussils by which the age of the goldbearing rocks might be determined, I had the pleasure, early in 1863, to obtain a specimen containing Ammonites from a locality on the American river, preserved in the cabinet of Mr. Spear. This fossil was of extreme importance, being indicative of the secondary age of the gold-bearing slates, and was therefore photographed, and copies of it sent to the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, for description. It was subsequently noticed in the proceedings of the California Academy of Natural Sciences, September, 1864. The same year, when at Bear valley, Mariposa county, upon the chief goldbearing rocks of California, I identified a group of secondary fossils from the alates contiguous to the Pine Tree vein, and noticed them at a meeting of the California Academy, October 3, 1864, announcing the jurassic or cretaceous age of these slates. The best characterized fossil was a Plagiostoma, (cr Lima,) to which I provisionally attached the name Erringtoni.* The attention of the geological survey having been directed to this locality by my announcement and exhibition of the fossils in San Francisco and at the academy, Mr. Gabb, the palæontologist of the survey, visited the locality and obtained specimens. These fossils were of such interest and importance to science, and to the geological description of the State, that an extra plate was engraved for them and published in the appendix to the volume on the geology, recently issued.f
Fossils of the secondary age from Genesee valley, in the northern part of the State, were common in collections in 1864, and are described by the State Geological Survey, volume one, " Paläontology." It appears also, from the same source, that Mr. King, a gentleman connected with the survey, had obtained belemites from the Mariposa rocks in 1864, but no figures or description are given.
We may thus regard the secondary age of a part, at least, of the gold-bearing rocks of the Sierra Nevada as established, a result of no small importance practically, for it destroys the dogma, which has been very generally accepted, that the Silurian or Palæozoic rocks are the repositories of the gold of the globe. We may now look for gold in regions where before it was generally presumed to be absent, because the formations were not Silurian or Palæozoic.
The Silurian age of the gold rocks of California has not always been assumed. It has been repeatedly questioned. In the preface to the writer's “ Report of a Geological Reconnoissance in California,” it is stated that a considerable part of the gold-bearing slates of California are probably carboniferous. The absence of all evidence of Silurian fossils west of the Rocky mountains is also distinctly noted. (p. 276.) The opinion of the comparatively modern age of the gold rocks has been steadily gaining strength and support for years past, and has been the subject of discussion in the daily journals.
* In honor of Miss Errington, a lady residing on the estate, who drew my attention to some impressions on the slates which she had picked up on the English trail, which proved to be fossils.
| I regret to observe that in this publication, as well as in Mr. Gabb's notice of the fossils, no mention is made of my previous announcement, and that my part in the discovery and publication of the secondary age of the Mariposa gold rocks is studiously and wholly ignored.
The prevalence of gold in the Coast mountains, in or in close proximity to rocks of tertiary age, leads us to question whether it may not occur in the rocks of this late period also. The fact, recently ascertained, that gold is very generrally associated with cinnabar, makes it more than probable that the metal has been deposited in formations as recent even as the Miocene, (or middle tertiary,) for, according to the best evidence we now have, this is the age of a part, at least, of the quicksilver-bearing rocks.
Such a result need not surprise us, although so far in opposition to generally existing views of the geological association of gold. The geological age of the rocks has manifestly nothing to do with the deposition of gold; it is only necessary that the rocks should have a favorable niineral composition and a suitable degree of metamorphism. On this general view, we may be prepared to find gold in rocks of any geological period, from the tertiary to the Laurentian or Huronian rocks, inclusive.
The lithology of the chief gold-bearing zone or belt of rocks of California is interesting. The chief or “ mother vein" extends through several counties, with occasional breaks or interruptions; and throughout its course preserves its distinguishing characters. It follows also the same geological horizon or zone, keeping between well-marked geological and geographical boundaries, so that a description of the strata adjoining it at one place will serve to give a general view of them throughout. A cross-section in considerable detail was made on the Mariposa estate in eighteen hundred and sixty-four. This estate includes the southern end of the “Great Vein,” there known as the “ Pine Tree.” It also includes several veins lying west of the line of the Pine Tree, of which the most important is the “ Princeton,” noted for its richness and large production of gold. This group of veins follows a long valley between two high ridgesBear Mountain on the west, and Mount Bullion on the east. Those ridges are formed of hard rocks; the rocks of the valley are argillaceous and sandy slates and sandstones. The stratification of these slates is remarkably regular and distinct; their thin outcrops standing sharply out at intervals in long lines in the ravines and on the hillsides, mark their trend, and show that they are nearly vertical, or have a slight inclination northeast or easterly. The general direction of the outcrops and of the valley is northwest and southeast; but there are several local variations.
These slates are generally light colored or drab at the surface; but in depth they are black, like roofing slate, and break up into rhomboids. This is particularly well shown at the Princeton vein. There are numerous intercalations of sandy layers passing into sandstones-sometimes into coarse grits, and even pebbly beds, and beds of slaty conglomerate. The softer and most finely laminated portion of the group is generally found near the medial line of the valley, and is the point at which the Princeton vein occurs. It is near this part of the series, at the northern end of the estate, that the jurassic fossils occur.
The following is an approximate geological section of the estate, at right angles to the course of the rocks, and nearly over the Princeton vein. It is a composite section, being made up of three distinct portions where the observations had extended, but all near together, so as to present a fair view of the sequence of the formations. The whole embraces a distance of about four miles, according to the scale of the small published map of the estate. The southwestern end is taken along Bear creek, the middle portion across the Princeton vein, and the remainder on a line near Upper Agua Fria, northeasterly to Bullion ridge. The following is the sequence of formations from west to east :
SECTION ACROSS THE MARIPOSAS.
1. Coarse, heavy conglomerates, metamorphosed-Bear mountains. 2. Compact crystalline slates; crystalline cleavage. 3. Conglomerate; slaty. 4. Argillaceous slates, regularly stratified; thick series. 5. Sandstone and sandy beds, (thin.) 6. Princeton gold vein ; quartz three feet thick. 7. Argillaceous slates and quartz veins; the horizon of the jurassic fossils. 8. Magnesian rock and quartz veins. 9. Pine Tree, or “ Mother Vein," or its extension. 10. Argillaceous slates. 11. Conglomerate; slaty. 12. Compact slates. 13. Greenstone, limited in extent; probably a metamorphosed sandstone. 14. Sandstones and sandy slates. 15. Serpentine and magnesian rocks--the northern extension of Buckeye ridge. 16. Compact slates, crystalline and much metamorphosed. 17. Conglomerates and sandstones, heaty and massive; the so-called "green" of Mount Bullion
range. This is the general outline of the formations. Both of the bounding ranges of the valley are formed by the heavy metamorphic conglomerates, so much altered and changed as to be scarcely recognizable. They are generally supposed to be formed of greenstone, and in some places they do not give any evidence of their sedimentary origin; in others, the outlines of the pebbles and boulders are distinct. These boulders are remarkably large and heavy. From the general similarity of the rocks of these two ranges--Bear mountain on the west, and Bullion range on the east-together with the succession and character of the formations between, I am led to regard the whole series as a fold or plication, and the valley as either synclinal or anticlinal-probably the former. *
Bear Mountain range is prolonged far to the north into Calaveras county, and there forms the separation between the valley of Copperopolis, traversed by the Reed or Union copper lode, and the gold quartz region of Angel's camp and Carson Hill. The whole belt of formations from Amador county, southeastward, through Calaveras, Tuolumne, and Mariposa counties, is an interesting field for a geologist to work up, to show not only the geographical extent of the rocks and the veins, but the structure or folding of the whole. The two lines of hard conglomerate forming the high ridges are distinct for nearly the whole distance. The serpentine rocks which accompany the gold formation are probably the result of local metamorphic action, for they often occur in lenticular or elipsoidal patches in the other rocks. So also the greenstone, in places, appears to be an altered portion of rocks, which at other points are distinctly sedimentary, and exhibit slaty stratification.
The above section of the gold formation of the estate, and the substance of the observations upon it, were given in a report to F. L. Olmsted, esq., in eighteen hundred and sixty-four. Inedited.
LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS IN RELATION TO THE
OCCUPANCY OF MINERAL LANDS AND THE WORKING OF MINES.
1. The crown right.—2. Permanent titles to the mineral lands of the United States.
1.—THE CROWN RIGHT.
[Compiled from references in the New Almaden case.] By the civil law all veins and mineral deposits of gold and silver ore, or of precious stones, belonged, if in public ground, to the sovereign, and were part of his patrimony; but if on private property, they belonged to the owner of the land, subject to the condition that if worked by the owner he was bound to render a tenth part of the produce to the prince, as a right attaching to his crown; and that, if worked by any other person by consent of the owner, the former was liable to the payment of two-tenths, one to the prince, and one to the owner of the property. Subsequently it became an established custom in most kingdoms, and was declared by the particular laws and statutes of each, that all veins of the precious metals, and the produce of such veins, should vest in the Crown, and be held to be part of the patrimony of the King or sovereign prince. That this is the case with respect to the empire of Germany, the electorates, France, Portugal, Arragon, and Catalonia appears from the laws of each of those countries, and from the authority of various authors.
And the reason is, that the metals are applicable to the use of the public, who ought not to be prejudiced by any impediments being thrown in the way of the discovering and working of their ores; besides which their products rank, not among those of an ordinary description, but among the most precious the earth affords; and, therefore, instead of being appropriated to individuals, are proper to be set apart for the sovereign himself, whose coffers being thus enriched, he will be enabled to lighten the burdens of the people ; all which is set forth at length by the authors above referred to.
This question, as is observed by the great Cardinal de Luca, has not received any general or uniform determination, but is decided by the laws and customs of each particular kingdom or principality ; for upon the breaking up of the Roman empire the princes and states which declared themselves independent appropriated to themselves those tracts of ground in which nature had dispensed her more valuable products with more than ordinary liberality, which reserved portions or rights were called rights of the Crown. Among the chief of the valuable products are the metallic ores of the first class—as those of gold, silver, and other metals proper for forming money, which it is essential for sovereigns to be provided with in order to support their warlike armaments by sea or land, to provide for the public necessities, and to maintain the good government of their dominions. And sucli is the course mentioned in the first book of Maccabees to have been pursued by the Romans with regard to the mines of Spain, and such also is the plan adopted by our sovereigns with regard to those of the Indies, some of which they have reserved to themselves, and the remainder they have left to their subjects, charged with the payment of a fifth, tenth, or twentieth part of the produce.
According to the law of England the only mines which are termed royal, and which are the exclusive property of the Crown, are mines of silver and gold; and this property is so peculiarly a branch of the royal prerogative that it has been said that though the King grant lands in which mines are, and all mines in them, yet royal mines will not pass by a general description
This prerogative is said to have originated in the King's right of coinage, in order to supply him with materials. It may be observed, however, that the right of coinage in the earlier periods of European society was not always exclusively exercised by the Crown; that the same reason might apply to other metals—as copper and tin—and that in those rude times the prerogative was perhaps as likely to have its origin in the circumstance of those rare and beautiful metals having always been among the most cherished objects of ambition, and which were, therefore, appropriated to the use of the Crown, like the diamonds of India, in order to sustain the splendor and dignity of its rank.
Whatever reason may be assigned for this right of the Crown, and of what. ever value the right may be, it has been long decided not only that all the mines of gold and silver within the realm, though in the lands of subjects, belong exclusively to the Crown by prerogative, but that this right is also accompanied with full liberty to dig and carry away the ores, and with all other such incidents thereto as are necessary to be usual for getting them.
This right of entry is disputed by Lord Hardwicke, in a case where there was a grant from the Crown of lands with a reservation of all royal mines, but not of a right of entry. The lord chancellor said he was of opinion that there was by the terms of the grant no such power in the Crown, and that by the royal prerogative of mines the Crown had given no such power, for it would be very prejudicial if the Crown could enter into a subject's lands, or grant a license to work the mines; but that when they were once opened it could restrain the owner of the soil from working them, and could either work them itself or grant a license for others to work them.
In the days of Queen Elizabeth the rights of miners were discussed in a legal controversy, in which some of the ablest men in England participated. Two men, named Howseter and Thurland, went, without permission, upon the lands of the Earl of Northumberland, and commenced digging for copper ore. The earl warned them off. They made complaint to the Queen's attorney general, stating that the ores contained some silver or gold, and he prosecuted the earl for resisting the efforts of these miners in extracting the precious metals from the earth, for the reason that all the gold and silver in the earth within the realm belonged to the Queen and not to the owner of the land. All the justices of England heard the argument and took part in the discussion.
The question principally debated was, whether by the prerogative of the Crown all ores containing silver or gold belonged to the Crown as a part of regalia.
The judges decided that all gold or silver ores belonged to the Crown, whether in private or public lands; that any ores containing neither gold nor silver belonged to the proprietor of the soil ; that the King could grant away mines of gold or silver, but not without express words in his patent demonstrating his intention to sever the mines from his royal patrimony.
Some of the reasons upon which the arguments were based were expressed in felicitous though quaint language, and are worthy of being reproduced :
1. “ And the reason is that metals are applicable to the use of the public, &c.;
besides which, their products rank, not among those of an ordinary description, but among the most precious the earth affords, and, therefore, instead of being appropriated to individuals, are proper to be set apart for the sovereign himself, whose coffers, being thus enriched, &c.
Among the chief of the valuable products are the metallic ores of the first class, as ihose of gold, silver, and other metals proper for forming money, which it is essential for the sovereign to be provided with in order to support their warlike armaments by sea and land, to provide for the public necessities, and to maintain the good government of their dominions," &c., &c. -(And. Plowdin, 315.)
2. “As to the first of these three points Onslow alleged three reasons why the King shall have the mines and ores of gold or silver within the realm in whatever land they are found. The first was in respect to the excellency of the