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Titaniferous Iron-ore Belt

Upthrow Fault at Embreville Furnace, E. Tennessee
Geology of Tazewell, etc., Counties of Virginia

Record of Fourteen Oil Wells at Brady's Bend, Pa..

Iron Ores of the South Mountain..

Dunning's Creek Fossil Ore-bed..

Micrometer for Field-note Plotting.
Structure and Erosion of Brush Mountain..

Geology of Brown Hematite, Spruce Creek, Pa

Note on Makaptos......

Magnesian Limestone Analysis.

Drift Phenomena of the United States.

Gas Well at Murrayville, Pa..............
Brazilian Geography and Topography...

Ancient Buried River Channel Crossing the Allegheny River.

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Obituary Notice of P. W. Sheafer....

Artesian Wells in Montgomery County,

Notes on Hebrew Egyptian Anx. Enoch; Anoki; Enos...

On an Important Boring Through 2000 Feet of Trias in Eastern

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The resolution of acceptance of the portraits was then unanimously adopted.

Dr. Frazer presented the report of the Officers and Council. The Secretaries announced the death, on May 19, 1898, of the Rt. Hon. William Ewart Gladstone, at Hawarden, Chester, England.

Pending nominations Nos. 1432 and 1451 to 1468 were read and spoken to, and new nomination No. 1409 was read.

A paper by Dr. William C. Day, entitled, "The Production of an Asphalt Resembling Gilsonite by the Distillation of a Mixture of Fish and Wood," was read.

The Secretaries reported the election of the following as members:

Edward F. DeLancey, of New York.

Prof. William Harkness, of Washington.
Prof. C. P. Tiele, Ph.D., of Leyden.
Alfred H. Allen, F.C.S., of Sheffield, Eng.
Boverton Redwood, F.R.S., of London.

Prof. Albert B. Prescott, LL.D., of Ann Arbor.
Prof. William H. Pettee, of Ann Arbor.
Prof. R. P. Whitfield, of New York.
H. LaBarre Jayne, of Philadelphia.
Lamar Gray Patterson, of Cumberland, Md.
Charles Platt, of Philadelphia.

John H. Converse, of Philadelphia.

Henry Grier Bryant, F.R.G.S., Lond., of Philadelphia.
Emlen Hutchinson, of Philadelphia.

Prof. G. Mangarini, Ph.D., of Rome.

The meeting was then adjourned by the presiding officer.


(Plate X.)


(Read May 20, 1898.)

A few years since, I undertook a rather detailed experimental study of the variety of asphalt known as gilsonite,' which is mined. for commercial use in Utah. Gilsonite is a black, glistening, brittle material, yielding a dark-brown powder when finely pulverized. It fuses readily, becoming a liquid which begins to boil at a temperture above the limit of a mercury thermometer.

It is entirely soluble in carbon bisulphide, not entirely soluble in ordinary ether, partly soluble in absolute alcohol, petroleum ether, glacial acetic acid and chloroform, imparting to these solvents a yellowish to red color with green fluorescence. Besides carbon and hydrogen, it contains sulphur, nitrogen, a trace of oxygen and one-tenth of one per cent. of ash.

Among the various products which I obtained by distilling gilsonite may be mentioned as of interest in this connection certain nitrogenous bases extracted from the distillates by the action of dilute acid and precipitated therefrom by alkalies. These bodies have an odor like that of the pyridine and quinoline series. Such substances were first obtained from bitumen by Prof. S. F. Peckham, who noticed them in distillates from California petroleum; later by myself from an asphalt occurring in Coos county, Oreg., also in the product which forms the subject of this paper.

As a result of considerable experimental work in the past few years with asphalts from a variety of sources in the United States, together with a study of the literature pertaining to the question of the origin of the bitumens from both the geological and the chemical standpoints, I became impressed with the belief that the solid and also some of the higher boiling liquid bitumens have been formed in the earth by the distillation of mixed animal and vegetable material, together with steam at high temperatures, but at pressures which may or may not have been high. Petroleum distillates have been obtained by Warren and later by Engler from fish oil,

Journal Franklin Institute, Vol. clx, p. 221.

and still more recently by Sadtler from linseed oil. In addition to liquid distillates, paraffin has also been obtained by these investigaNo mention, however, of an analogous production of asphalts, so far as I am aware, has ever been made.

To test the correctness of the belief already expressed, I tried the following experiments:

Into a cylindrical iron retort were introduced a number of fresh herring, a quantity of pine saw dust and a number of small pieces of fat pine wood. The retort was connected by plaster-ofParis joints with a short glass tube, and this with a gas pipe four feet long, the latter being placed in an ordinary combustion furnace, the other end of the pipe was connected with a Liebig's-cold-water condenser.1 After charging and closing the retort, it was heated by means of gas stoves, which together with the retort were surrounded with loose bricks to prevent the loss of heat. The heating of the retort was regulated by the rapidity with which vapors were evolved, an increase of heat being necessary toward the end of the distillation. The gas pipe was simultaneously heated to bright redness by the combustion furnace. The pressure was that of the atmosphere. During the progress of the distillation water and oil together with a white smoke flowed from the condenser into the receiver. The oil obtained was lighter than water, of bad odor and very dark red in color. At the end of the gas pipe next to the retort carbon separated, and on one occasion nearly choked the pipe. Only once was an oil heavier than water obtained, and this was small in


The condensed oil was separated from the water on which it floated, and finally completely dried over chloride of calcium.

It was then placed in a distilling bulb provided with thermometer and distilled, using a straight glass tube as an air condenser.

Boiling began at about 100 Centigrade, but the mercury soon rose to 120. The distillate between these limits consisted of a lemon-yellow mobile oil together with a few drops of water.

At 120 C. the receiver was changed, and another fraction darker in color and less mobile was obtained while the mercury rose to 180. The third fraction was collected between the limits 180 and 245; the fourth between 245 and 315, this fraction showing a pronounced greenish fluorescence, the color by transmitted light being

1 See accompanying photograph.

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