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hundred ounces each, and in that state sent to England. At Santo Domingo about two thousand tons of ore are treated monthly, and the whole cost of treatment, including all charge for mining, carriage, reduction, amalgamation, and management, is only about eight shillings per ton. The loss of mercury is about twenty pounds for every thousand tons of ore treated; the Smallness of the loss in comparison with that of many other goldextracting establishments being greatly due to the em
ployment of sodium in the amalgamating processes. The loss of mercury usually occurring in amalgamation work is principally caused by its mineralisation, and sodium has such an intense affinity for oxygen and
Ch. VI.] QUARTZ LODES. 95
sulphur, that it reduces the mercury to its metallic form again, and prevents its being carried off in light mineralised flakes and powder. The band of auriferous quartz veins worked at Santo Domingo continues westward for eight miles, as far as the savannahs near Libertad, and has been largely mined in the neighbourhood of that town, and between that point and Santo Domingo. Besides the working of the mines proper, some surface deposits, called by the Spaniards “Mantos,” are also worked for gold, especially in the neighbourhood of Libertad. The “Mantos” consist of broken quartz, covering the faces of the hills in the neighbourhood of some of the lodes. In some places they form a broken but regular stratum over the whole side of a hill, and I was much puzzled at first to account for their origin. I have already mentioned that the lodes near their summit incline over towards the face of the hill through which they cut. In some cases, as in the San Antonio mine, the lode is in parts bent completely round, as shown in the annexed section. This bending over of the lodes is always towards the face of the hill, and is, I think, produced by successive small land slips. It is evident that if carried still further than in the case shown in the diagram, the lode would be brought down over the face of the hill, and the result has, I think, been achieved in some places, and a regular “Manto”
produced. I have already stated that small landslips
are of frequent occurrence on the sides of the hills. We had several times the entrance to our mines closed by them in the wet season.
Mr. David Forbes,” in his account of the gold of Peru and Bolivia, has advanced the opinion that auriferous quartz veins belong to two different systems, one occurring in connection with Granitic, the other with Diorytic intrusive rocks. In later papers he has shown
that this occurrence of gold is not confined to South
America, but appears to prevail in all the other quarters of the world.t. One of the latest writers on the subject,
Mr. R. Daintree, in his “Notes on the Geology of
in that colony occur in connection with, or in the near vicinity of certain intrusive trap-rocks, and that even some of the trappean dykes themselves are auriferous.: I, myself, several years ago, endeavoured to show that mineral veins in granitic districts occurred in regular sequences, with certain intrusive rocks, as follows:— 1st, Intrusion of main mass of granite; 2nd, Granitic veins; 3rd, Elvan dykes; and, lastly, Mineral veins, cutting through all the other intrusive rocks.; Later observations have led me to conclude that a similar sequence of events characterised the occurrence of auriferous quartz veins in connection with the intrusive rocks, commonly designated Greenstones, in some districts consisting of diabase, as in North Wales, near Dolgelly; in others of dioryte, as in Santo Domingo; and in many parts of South America and Australia. In North Wales we have, firstly, an intrusion of diabase, occurring in great mountain masses; 2ndly, Irregular
* Quar. Journ. Geol. Soc., Wol. xvii. + Geological Magazine, September, 1866. it Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc., Wol. xxviii. p. 308. § See “Geol. Survey of Canada,” pp. 141 and 173.
Ch. VI.] ORIGIN OF MINERAL WEINS. 97
tortuous dykes of diabase; 3rdly, Elvan dykes; and, lastly, auriferous quartz veins. In every region of intrusive plutonic rocks that has been thoroughly explored, a succession of events, culminating in the production of mineral veins, has been proved to have taken place,” and we are bound to look upon the origin of such veins as the natural result of the plutonic intrusion; there is, also, sometimes a complete gradation from veins of perfectly crystallised granite, through others abounding in quartz at the expense of the other constituents up to veins filled with pure quartz, as at Porth Just, near Cape Cornwall; and, again, the same vein will in some parts be filled with felspar; in others, contain irregular masses of quartz, apparently the excess of silica beyond what has been absorbed in the trisilicate compound of felspar.t Granitic, porphyritic, and trapdykest also sometimes contain gold and other metals; and I think the probability is great that quartz veins have been filled in the same manner, that if dykes and veins of granite have been an igneous injection, so have those of quartz. By an igneous injection, I do not mean that the fused rock owed its fluidity to dry heat. The celebrated researches of Sorby on the microscopical fluid cavities in the quartz of granite and quartz veins, have shown beyond a doubt that the vapour of water was present in comparatively large quantities when the quartz was solidifying. All strata below the surface contain water, and if melted up would still hold it as * “Mineral Weins,” p. 16. o f Mr. John Phillips in “Memoirs, Geological Survey of Great Britain,” Vol. ii. p. 45. f Sir R. I. Murchison, “Siluria,” pp. 479,481,488, and 500; and
R. Daintree, Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc., vol. xxviii. pp. 308, 310.
superheated steam; and M. Angelot has suggested that fused rock under great pressure may dissolve large quantities of the vapour of water, just as liquids dissolve gases. The presence of the vapour of water would cause the liquefaction of quartz at a much lower temperature than would be possible by heat alone, unaided by water.” I know that this opinion is contrary to that usually held by geologists, the theory generally accepted being that mineral veins have been produced by deposits from hot springs; but during twenty years I have been engaged in auriferous quartz mining in various parts of the world, and nowhere have I met with lodes, the phenomena of which would be explained on this hypothesis. The veinstone is pure quartz containing water in microscopical cavities, as in the quartz crystals of granite, but not combined as in the hydrous siliceous scoriae deposited from hot springs. The lodes are not ribboned, but consist of quartz, jointed across from side to side, exactly like trappean dykes. There is often a banded arrangement produced by the repeated re-opening and filling of the same fissure; but never, in quartz veins, a regular filling up from the sides towards the centre, as in veins produced by deposits from springs. Quartz veins extend sometimes for miles, and it is necessary to suppose on the hydro-thermal theory that they kept open sufficiently, long for the gradual deposition of the veinstones, without the soft and shattered rocks at their sides falling in, nor yet fragments from above; although there are many lodes, fully twenty feet in width, filled entirely with quartz and mineral ores, without any included fragments of fallen rocks,
* H. C. Sorby, Jour. Geol. Soc., vol. xiv.