Historical Collections of Ohio

By Henry Howe

 

Vol. 1

 

©1888

 

________________


THE GEOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY OF OHIO.

By EDWARD ORTON, STATE GEOLOGIST.

 

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Edwin Orton.EDWARD ORTON, LL. D., was born at Deposit, Delaware county, New York, March 9, 1829. His parents were Rev. Samuel G. Urton, D. D., and Clara Gregory Orton. The Ortons are first known in New England about 1640, the name appearing in this year in the records of Charlestown, Massachusetts. Thomas Orton came to Windsor, Connecticut, in 1641 or 1642. From Windsor certain members of the family emigrated in the year 1700 or thereabouts to the new settlements of Litchfield, which was then on the edge of the wilderness. There were thus two branches of the family—one at Windsor and one at Litchfield. The Litchfield Ortons lived for more than a century on what was known as Orton Hill, South Farms. They were well represented in the Revolutionary war, but beyond this do not appear to have taken prominent part in public life. They seem to have been a quiet, home-loving, fairly thrifty stock, possessed of a good deal of family affection and interest.

 

Miles Orton, the father of the Rev. Samuel G. Orton, was a soldier in the war of 1812 and died soon after the war.

 

Samuel G. Orton was born at Litchfield and was brought up on a farm until 20 years old, when, under the ministry of Dr. Lyman Beecher, he was encouraged to seek a liberal education. He was obliged to support himself by his own labor both while preparing for college and during his entire course. He graduated at Hamilton College in 1822 and studied theology in New Haven. He was an honored minister in the Presbyterian Church for nearly 60 years; most of which time he spent in Western New York.

 

Edward Orton passed his boyhood in his father's country home at Ripley, Chautauqua county, New York. He acquired here a knowledge of and life-long interest in country life, often working among the neighboring farmers for weeks and even months at a time. He was fitted for college mainly by his father, but spent one year in Westfield Academy and another in Fredonia Academy. He entered Hamilton College, the college where his father had graduated, as a sophomore in 1846 and graduated in 1848. He taught after graduation for a year in the academy of Erie, Penna. He entered Lane Theological Seminary, Cincinnati, in 1849, and was under Dr. Lyman Beecher’s instruction. He withdrew from the seminary on account of a temporary failure of his eyes, but after a year or two spent on the farm and in travel he resumed the work of teaching, becoming a member of the faculty of the Delaware Institute, Franklin, Delaware county, N. Y. In college his chief interest had been in literary and classical studies, but in the institute he was set to teaching the natural sciences and a latent taste for these studies was soon developed. He pursued the studies of chemistry and the natural history branches with special interest, and to prepare himself better for teaching them took a six months' course in the Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard University, in 1852, studying under Horsford and Cooke and Gray. Finding that his theological creed was giving way under his later studies he sought to avert the change by more thorough investigation in this department, and entered Andover Seminary to attend for a year Prof. Park's lectures on theology. The experiment was successful to the extent of arresting the change in his views, but after a few years the process was resumed and ended in the replacement of the Calvinistic creed in which he had been brought up by the shorter statements of Unitarianism. In 1856 he was called to the chair of natural science in the State Normal School of New York, at Albany. He held this position for several years, resigning it to take charge of Cheater Academy, Orange county, N. Y. After spending six years in this position he was called in 1865 to Antioch College Yellow Springs, Ohio. He was first made principal of the preparatory department, then professor of natural history, and finally in 1872 president of the institution. This last position he held but for one year, resigning it in 1873 to accept the presidency of the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, now the State University, at Columbus. He was also made professor of geology in this institution at the same time. He held the presidency for eight years and retained the professorship of geology after resigning the former place.

 

During his residence in Yellow Springs the State geological survey was organized under Newberry. Prof. Orton became in 1869 a member of the geological corps, being appointed thereto by Governor

 

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R. R. Hayes.  He was reappointed by Governor Noyes, and after Newberry’s withdrawal from the field was appointed State geologist by Governor Foster and at a still later day by Governor Hoadly.  This latter position he has held in conjunction with the professorship of geology in the State University.

 

He was married in 1855 to Mary M. Jennings of Franklin, N. Y. who died in 1873.  In 1875 he was married to Anna Davenport Torrey of Millbury, Mass.

 

In additional to his geological work proper Prof. Orton has taken an active interest in the applications of geology to agriculture and sanitary science and especially to the questions of water supply and sewerage of the towns of Ohio.

 

 

A.

GEOGRAPHY OF OHIO.

 

The boundaries of Ohio, as fixed in the enabling act by which, in 1802, it was admitted into the Union, were as follows: on the east the Pennsylvania line; on the south the Ohio river to the mouth of the Great Miami river; on the west a due north line from the mouth of the Great Miami; on the north an east and west line drawn through the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan, running east after intersecting the meridian that makes the western boundary of the State until it intersects Lake Erie or the territorial line, and thence, with the same, through Lake Erie to the Pennsylvania line.

 

The eastern, southern and western boundaries remain unchanged; the northern boundary has been slightly modified. As finally established by Congress in 1836 it consists of a direct line, or in other words of the are of a great circle instead of a parallel of latitude, from the southern extremity of Lake Michigan to the most northerly cape of the Maumee Bay and thence northeast to the boundary line between the United States and Canada, and along this boundary to its intersection with the western boundary of Pennsylvania.

 

The change here indicated was provided for in the enabling act above referred to, and also in the constitution of Ohio which was established in 1802, but the cause that led to making it in 1836 was a dispute that had arisen between the State of Ohio and the Territory of Michigan as to jurisdiction along this border. The dispute assumed the character of a war of small proportions and of short duration during the administration of Governor Lucas, of Ohio, an account of which is given elsewhere in this work.

 

The territory of the State can be further defined as included between 38° 27' and 91° 57' north latitude and between 80° 34' and 84° 48' west longitude ("American Clyolopædia," article OHIO). The longest north and south line that can be drawn in the State is about 210 miles; the longest east and west line is about 225 miles. The area of Ohio, according to the most recent computations, is 40,760 square miles (Compendium, 10th Census, II., 1413).

 

PHYSICAL FEATURES.

 

The surface of the State is an undulating plain, the highest elevation of which thus far measured is found at a point in Logan county, three and a half miles northeast of Bellefontaine, and which is locally known as Hogue's hill. The elevation of this highest land in Ohio is 1,550 feet above mean tide, counting Lake Erie 573 feet above mean tide. The lowest land in the State is found at its southwestern corner at the intersection of the valleys of the Ohio and the Great Miami rivers. Low water mark at this point is a little less than 440 feet above tide. The highest and the lowest elevations of the State are thus men to be only 1,100 feet apart, but small as is this range the figures used in stating it unless qualified would be misleading. In reality the areas less than 550 feet above tide or more than 1.300 feet above are insignificant. Practically the range of the State is reduced to about 750 feet. The elevations of a few places, variously distributed through the State, are given below. The authorities for these figures are quite unequal in value, but they are the best we have:

 

                                                 Feet above

tide.

Allen county, near Westminster. . . . . . . . .

1,032

Ashland county, Polk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,241

Ashtabula county, Andover . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,191

Auglaize county, Bitler’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,084

Belmont County, Jacobsburg . . . . . . . . . . . 

1,330

Butler county, northeast corner of
Oxford township . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,033

Carroll county, summit near Carrollton. . . .

1,153

Champaign county, Mingo . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,238

Clark County, South Charleston . . . . . . . . 

1,126

Clinton county, summit near New Vienna. .

1,169

Columbiana county, Round Knob . . . . . . .

1,417

Columbiana county, Salem, highest point. .

1,334

Crawford county, summit near Crestline . . .

1,177

Cuyahoga county, Royalton. . . . . . . . . . . .

1,272

Darke county, Hollansburg . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,150

Delaware county, Peerless . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,179

Geauga county, Claridon . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,366

Greene county, Jamestown . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,071

Hardin county, Silver creek, summit . . . . .

1,118

Harrison county, Cadiz, court-house . . . . .

1,270

Highland county, Stultz’s mountain  . . . . . .

1,325

Holmes county, Millersburg, hills near. . . . .

1,235

Jefferson county, Bloomfield, hills near . . . .

1,434

Knox county, Mount Liberty . . . . . . . . . . .

1,215

Lake county, Little mountain . . . . . . . . . . .

1,248

Licking county, Jacktown, hill near . . . . . .

1,235

Logan county, Hogue’s hill, near Bellefon-
taine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,540

Mahoning county, Damascus . . . . . . . . . . .

1,188

Marion county, Caledonia . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,066

Medina county, Wadsworth . . . . . . . . . . .

1,349

Monroe county, Jerusalem . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,300

Morrow county, Bloomfield, cemetery. . . .

1,149

Perry county, Somerset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

1,159

Pike county, Font Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,285

Portage county, Limestone Ridge . . . . . . .

1,248

Preble county, Eldorado . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1,178

Richland county, highest hills . . . . . . . . . . .

1,475

Stark county, Wilmont, hill near . . . . . . . . .

1,261

Summit county, Silver creek . . . . . . . . . . .

1,392

Trumbull county, Mesopotamia. . . . . . . . .

1,172

Tuscarawas county, Mt. Tabor . . . . . . . . .

1,348

Wayne county, summits, northeast part. . . .

1,275

 

It is scarcely necessary to add that in almost

 

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every one of the counties named above the  highest and of the State is or has been claimed land residents of these counties. The figures given in this table show the highest recorded elevations, but not necessarily the highest elevations. They can, however, be made to indicate by proper combination the highest-lying districts of the State.

 

The largest connected areas of high land extend from east to west across the central and northern central districts. In some limited regions of Central Ohio, especially along the ridge of high land just referred to, and also in a few thousand square miles of Northwestern Ohio, the natural drainage is somewhat sluggish, and, while the land is covered with its original forest growth, it inclines to swampy conditions, but when the forests are cleared away and the water courses are open most of it becomes arable and all of it can be made so without excessive outlay by means of open ditches.

 

The chief feature in the topography of Ohio is the main watershed which extends across the State from its northeastern corner to about the middle of its western boundary. It divides the surface of the State into two unequal slopes, the northern, which is much the smaller, sending its waters into Lake Erie and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, while the drainage of the other is directed to the Gulf of Mexico by the Ohio river. The average height of the watershed is about 1,100 feet above tide, but it is cut by three principal gaps viz., those of the Tuscarawas, Scioto and Maumee rivers respectively. The elevation is reduced in these gaps to about 950 feet. They have been occupied by canals and railways for a number of years.

 

The watershed depends on two different lines of geological formation in different portions of the State, to the eastward on bedded rocks which rise in a low arch along the line that the watershed follows, and to the westward by enormous accumulations of glacial drift the maximum thickness of which is more than 500 feet.

 

Ohio owes but very little of the relief of its surface to folds of the rocks which underlie it. There are no pronounced anticlines or synclines in its structure. When successively lifted from the sea beneath which they were formed its several strata were approximately horizontal and also of approximately the same elevation. The present relief of the State is mainly due to erosive agencies. The original plain has been carved and dissected into complicated patterns during the protracted ages in which it has been worn away by rains and rivulets and rivers. Comparatively little of it now remains. In each river system there is one main furrow that is deepened and widened as it advances, and tributary to the main furrow are countless narrower and shallower valleys which in turn are fed by a like system of smaller troughs. Most of the ms have their main valleys directed ugh their entire extent to either the north the south, adapting themselves thus to the main slopes of the State, but occasionally a considerable stream will for a score or more miles undertake to make its way against the general slope. A sluggish flow necessarily characterizes such streams. Examples are found in Wills creek, a tributary of the Muskingum, and in Connotton creek, which flows into the Tuscarawas river.

 

Fragments of the old plain still remain in the isolated "hills" or table-lands that bound the valleys and which, though often separated by intervals of miles, still answer to each other with perfect correspondence of altitude and stratification. They often occur in narrow and isolated serpentine ridges between the streams. These high lands rise to a maximum height of 600 feet above the rivers in the main valleys. Strictly speaking, there are no hills in Ohio, to say nothing of mountains and there never have been any. The relief, as has been shown, results from valleys carved out of the original plain.

 

The glacial drift has had much to do in establishing the present topography, but its influence can be better stated at a later point in this review.

 

B.

GEOLOGY OF OHIO

 

The geology of Ohio, though free from the obscurity and complications that are often met with in disturbed and mountainous regions, is still replete with scientific and economic interest. It has occupied the attention of students of this science for more than half a century, and during this time there have been a number of able men who have devoted many years of their lives to working out its problems. The State has also made large expenditures in carrying on geological investigations and in publishing the results of the same. It is still engaged in the work.

 

Previous to 1836, not much was known in regard to the age and order of the rock formations of the State. In fact, the science of geology was then but little advanced in any part of the country. Hon. Benjamin Tappan published a few notes pertaining to the coal fields of Ohio, in Silliman's Journal (afterwards the American Journal of Science and Arts), between 1820 and 1830; and Caleb Atwater included in his archaeological researches some geological observations. It was, however, to Dr. S. P. Hildreth, of Marietta, that we owe the first extended and connected accounts of the geology of any portions of our territory. His notes ,upon the salines or salt springs of the State and of the Ohio valley are full of interesting observations, but the account begun by him in the American Journal of Science and Arts in 1836 entitled "Observations on the Bituminous Coal Deposits of the valley of the Ohio, and the accompanying rock strata, with notices of the fossil organic remains and the relics of vegetable and animal bodies, illustrated by a geological map, by numerous drawings of plants and shells and by views of interesting scenery," is decidedly the most comprehensive and important statement that had

 

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been made up to this time upon the geology of any part of the State. The descriptions and figures of fossils in this paper were made by Samuel George Morton, D., of Philadelphia.

 

It was in this year also that the first steps were taken by the legislature to determine the geological structure and resources of the State. A resolution was passed on the 14th day of March, 1836, providing for the appointment of a committee to report to the next legislature the best method of obtaining a complete geological survey of the State and the probable cost of the same. The committee consisted of Dr. S. P. Hildreth, chairman, Professors John Locke and J. H. Riddell and Mr. I. A. Lapham, all of whom were recognized as among the foremost students of geological science in the State.

 

The report of this committee was promptly made and, in accordance with its recommendations, a survey of the State was forthwith ordered (March 27, 1837). The first geological corps was organized as follows:

 

Prof. W. W. Mather, State Geologist.
            Dr. S. P. Hildreth.
            Dr. John Locke.
            Prof. J. P. Kirtland.
            Col. J. W. Foster.
            Col. Chas. Whittlesley.
             Prof. C. Briggs, Jr.

 

The work of this survey was brought to an abrupt termination at the end of the second year of field work, the principal cause of discontinuance being the embarrassed condition of the State treasury, which in turn was owing to the financial panic of 1837. Though the duration of this survey was short, its results were of very great importance and value. A solid foundation had been laid on which observations could be intelligently carried on in every portion of the State. Several of the members of the old corps, and prominent among them, Col. Charles Whittlesley, maintained not only their interest, but their field work as well, though in a fragmentary and disconnected way, and from year to year work was done which could finally be utilized in a more thorough study of the subject. We owe very much to the members of this corps for their contributions to our knowledge of Ohio geology.

 

The second survey was ordered by the legislature in 1869, and there was fortunately placed at the head of it Professor J. S. Newberry, LL. D., widely recognized as the ablest geologist that Ohio has yet produced. Dr. Newberry brought to his task the results of many and of study of the structure of Ohio and also a wide experience in other fields. To his sagacity in interpreting both the stratigraphical and paleontological record of the State, science is under great obligations. The assistant geologists appointed with Dr. Newberry were Prof. E. B. Andrews, Prof. Edward Orton and Mr. J. H. Klippart Prof. T. G. Wormley was appointed chemist of the survey. Active work on the survey was discontinued at the end of five years from the date of beginning, but the publication of results was kept up for a much longer time. In fact, some of the results of Dr. Newberry's work are yet unpublished.

 

Two reports of progress 1869 and 1870, and four volumes of Geology are the published results of this survey. Two of these volumes are double, the second parts being devoted to paleontology (Vols. I. and IL).

 

In 1881 the survey was again revived, under the direction of Prof. Edward Orton with special reference to the completion of the work in economic geology. Two volumes, viz., vols. V. and VI., have been already issued in this series. Prof. N. W. Lord was appointed chemist to the survey under the reorganization, and has done all of the work in this important department.

 

I. GEOLOGICAL SCALE.

 

A brief review of the scale and structure of the State will here be given, but before it is entered upon, a few fundamental facts pertaining to the subject will be stated:

 

1. So far as its exposed rock series is concerned, Ohio is built throughout its whole extent of stratified deposits or, in other words, of beds of clay, sand and limestone, in all their various gradations, that were deposited or that grew in water. There are in the Ohio series no igneous nor metamorphic rocks whatever; that is, no rocks that have assumed their present form and condition from a molten state or that, subsequent to their original formation, have been transformed by heat. The only qualification which this statement needs pertains to the beds of drift by which a large portion of the State is covered. These drift beds contain bowlders in large amount, derived from the igneous and metamorphic rocks that are found around the shores of Lakes Superior and Huron, but these bowlders are recognized by all, even by the least observant, as foreign to the Ohio scale. They are familiarly known as "lost rocks" or "erratics."

 

If we should descend deep enough below the surface we should exhaust these stratified deposits and come to the granite foundations of the continent which constitute the surface rocks in parts of Canada, New England and the West, but the drill has never yet hewed its way down to these firm and massive beds within our boundaries.

 

The rocks that constitute the present surface of Ohio were all formed in water, and none of them have been modified and masked by the action of high temperatures. They remain in substantially the same condition in which they were formed.

 

2. With the exception of the coal seams and a few beds associated with them and of the drift deposits, all the formations of Ohio grew in the sea. There are no lake or river deposit among them, but by countless and infallible signs they testify to a marine origin. The remnants of life which they contain, often in the greatest abundance, are decisive as to this point.

 

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3. The sea in which or around which they grew was the former extension of the Gulf of Mexico. When the rocks of Ohio were in process of formation, the warm waters and genial climate of the Gulf extended without interruption to the borders of the great lakes. All of these rocks had their origin under such conditions.

 

4. The rocks of Ohio constitute an orderly series. They occur in widespread sheets, the lowermost of which are co-extensive with the limits of the State. As we ascend in the scale, the strata constantly occupy smaller areas, but the last series of deposits, viz., those of the Carboniferous period, are still found to cover at least one-fourth of the entire area of the State. Some of these formations can be followed into and across adjacent States, in apparently unbroken continuity.

 

Re edges of the successive deposits in the Ohio series are exposed in innumerable natural sections so that their true order can generally be determined with certainty and ease.

 

5. For the accumulation and growth of this great series of deposits, vast periods of time are required. Many millions of years must be used in any rational explanation of their origin and history. All of the stages of this history have practically unlimited amounts of past time upon which to draw. They have all gone forward on so large a scale, so far as time is concerned, that the few thousand years of human history would not make an appreciable factor in any of them. In other words, five thousand years or ten thousand years make too small a period to be counted m the formation of coal, for example, or in the accumulation of petroleum, or in the shaping of the surface of the State through the agencies of erosion.

 

The geological scale of the State is represented in the accompanying diagram (page 6). The order of the series is, of course, fixed and definite, but the thickness assigned to the several elements depends upon the location at which the section is taken. The aggregate thickness of the entire series will reach 5,000 feet, if the maximum of each stratum is taken into the account, but if the average measurements, are used, the thickness does not exceed 3,500 feet. The principal elements of the scale, which extends from the Lower Silurian to the upper Carboniferous or possibly the Permian, inclusive, are given below, and the geological map appended shows how the surface of the State is distributed among the principal formations. A brief review of these leading elements will be given at this point.

 

1. THE TRENTON LIMESTONE.

 

The Trenton limestone is one of the most important of the older formations of the continent. It is the first widespread limestone of the general scale. It extends from New England to the Rocky mountains, and from the islands north of Hudson's bay to the southern extremity of the Allegheny mountains in Alabama and Tennessee. Throughout this vast region it is found exposed in innumerable outcrops. It gives rise as it decays to limestone soils which are some times of remarkable fertility, as, for example, those of the famous Blue Grass region of Central Kentucky, which are derived from it. It is worked for building stone in hundred of quarries, and it is also burned into lime and broken into road metal on a large scale throughout the regions where it occurs. But widespread as are its exposures in out-crop, it has a still wider extension under cover. It is known to make the floor of entire States in which it does not reach the surface at a single point.

 

It takes its name from a picturesque and well-known locality in Trenton township, Oneida county, New York. The West Canada creek makes a rapid descent in this township from the Adirondack uplands to the Mohawk valley, falling 300 feet in two miles by a series of cascades. These cascades have long been known as Trenton Falls, and the limestone which forms them was appropriately named by the New York geologists the Trenton limestone. The formation as seen at the original locality, is found to be a dark-blue, almost black limestone, lying in quite massive and even beds, which are often separated by layers of black shale. Both limestone and shale contain excellently preserved fossils of Lower Silurian age. By means of these fossils, and also by its startigraphical order, the limestone is followed with perfect distinctness from Trenton Falls to every point of the compass. It is changed to some extent, in color and composition, as it is traced in different directions, but there is seldom a question possible as to its identity. The Trenton limestone forms several of the largest islands in whole or in part in the northern portion of Lake Huron, as the Manitoulin islands and Drummond's island. It dips from this region to the southward, but it is found rising again in outcrop in the valley of the Kentucky river. Its presence underneath the entire States of Ohio and Michigan, and especially under Western Ohio, has always been inferred, since the geology of these States was first worked out. But it is only recently that it has come to be clearly recognized as one of the surface formations of Ohio.

 

The lowest rocks in the State series have long been known to be exposed in the Point Pleasant quarries of Clermont county. It is upon the outcrop of these rocks that the humble dwelling stands in which Ulysses S. Grant first saw the light. The claim that these beds in reality belong to and represent the Trenton limestone of Kentucky was first made by S. A. Miller, Esq., of Cincinnati, and the same view was afterward supported by the late Wm. M. Linney of the Kentucky Geological Survey, but the demonstration of the fact comes in an unexpected way. In the extensive underground explorations that have been going forward in Northern Ohio for the last few years, the Trenton limestone has been unmistakably identified as the firm

 

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Vertical Section of The Rocks of Ohio.

 

 

 

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Geological Map of Ohio

 

 

 

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Blank Page.

 

 

 

 

 

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limestone that is found at a depth of 1,000 to 2,000 feet below the surface, invariably covered with about 300 feet of black shale, containing the most characteristic fossils of the Utica shale. As this limestone has been followed southward, it has been found steadily rising, coming gradually nearer to the surface, and the rate has been found to be such from the nearest determination that it would correspond, very well with the formation that crops out in the Ohio valley at Point Pleasant.

 

As seen there the Trenton limestone is a light or grayish-blue limestone, quite crystalline in structure, massive in its bedding and fossiliferous. Its general composition is as follows:

 

 

Carbonate of lime,                  75 to 85 %
Carbonate of magnesia,             1 to   5 %
Alumina and oxide of iron,         2 to   8 %
Insoluble residue,                    10 to  15 %          

 

It is not, in this phase, a porous rock.

 

The most surprising discovery ever made in Ohio geology comes from this formation. In 1884 it was found to be at Findlay a source of high pressure gas and later a great repository of petroleum. These discoveries have made the name of the Trenton limestone a household word throughout Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. These discoveries will be briefly described on a subsequent page.

 

2. THE UTICA SHALE.

 

The immediate cover of the Trenton limestone is a well-known stratum of black shale 300 feet in thickness, which, from its abundant outcrops in the vicinity of Utica, received from the New York geologists the name of Utica shale.

 

This stratum has been proved to be very persistent and widespread. It is sparingly fossiliferous, but several of the forms that it contains are characteristic, that is, they have thus far been found in no other stratum. The first of the deep wells that was drilled in 1884 in Findlay revealed, at a depth of 800 feet, a stratum of black shale containing the most characteristic fossil of the Utica shale, viz., Leptobolus insignis, Hall, and it was thus positively identified with the last-named formation. This bed of shale has the normal thickness of the Utica shale in New York, viz., 300 feet, and with the other elements involved, it extended and continued the New York series into Northern Ohio in a most unexpected and, at the same time, in a most satisfactory way.

 

The Utica shale, thus discovered and defined, is a constant element in the deep wells of Northwestern Ohio. Its upper boundary is not always distinct, as the Hudson river shale that overlies it sometimes graduates into it in color and appearance; but as a rule the driller, without any geological prepossessions whatever, will divide the well section in his record so as to show about 300 feet of black shale at the bottom of the column or immediately overlying the Trenton limestone. This stratum holds its own as far as the southern central counties. In the wells of Springfield, Urbana and Piqua it is found in undiminished thickness, but apparently somewhat more calcareous in composition. From these points southward the black shale thins rapidly. It is apparently replaced by dark-colored limestone bands known as pepper and salt rock by the driller.

 

From these and similar facts it appears that the Utica shale is much reduced and altered as it approaches the Ohio valley, and is finally lost by overlap of the Hudson river shale in this portion or the State and to the southward.

 

3. THE HUDSON RIVER GROUP.

 

The very important and interesting series now to be described appears in all the previous reports of the geological survey under another name, viz., the Cincinnati group. It is unnecessary to review here the long discussions pertaining to the age of this series, or the grounds on which the changes in the name by which it is known have been based. The return to the older name here proposed is necessitated by the discoveries recently made in our underground geology, to which reference has already been made.

 

The Hudson river group in Southwestern Ohio consists of alternating beds of limestone and shale the latter of which is commonly known as blue clay. The proportion of lime and shale vary greatly in different parts of the series. The largest percentage of shale occurs in the 250 feet of the series that begin 50 or 75 feet above low water at Cincinnati. The entire thickness of the series in Southwestern Ohio is about 750 feet. The division of the series into lower and upper is natural and serviceable. The lower is known as the Cincinnati division and the upper as the Lebanon division. The Cincinnati division has a thickness of 425 to 450 feet and the Lebanon division a thickness of about 300 feet. The divisions are separated on both paleontological and stratigraphical grounds. Both divisions abound in exquisitely preserved fossils of Lower Silurian time; and in fact the hills of Cincinnati and its vicinity have become classical grounds to the geologists on this account.

 

As the series takes cover to the northward and eastward it retains for a time the same characteristics already described, but as it is followed farther it rapidly becomes less calcareous. The limestone courses are thinner and fewer, and the entire series comes to be counted shale.

 

The Hudson river group occupies in its outcrop about 4,000 square miles in Southwestern Ohio, but it is doubtless coextensive with the limits of the State. The shales of the series contain in outcrop large quantities of phosphates and alkalies, and the soils to which they give rise are proverbial for their fertility.

 

The presence of these fine-grained and impervious shales in so many separate beds forbids the descent of water through the

 

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formation. In its outcrop the formation has no water supply, and, as found by the driller, it is always dry. It gives rise to frequent "blowers" or short-lived accumulations of high-pressure gas when struck by the drill, as has been found in the experience in many towns of Western Ohio within the last two years, and it also yields considerable amounts of low-pressure shale gas which proves fairly durable.

 

4. THE MEDINA SHALE.

 

A stratum of non-fossiliferous shale, often red or yellow in color and having a thickness of ten to forty feet, directly overlies the uppermost beds of the Hudson river group at many points in Southwestern Ohio. The occurrence of 50 to 150 feet of red shale in most of the recent deep borings in North-western Ohio at exactly the place in the general column where the Medina should be, and so much nearer to the known outcrops of the formation that its continuity with these was hardly to be questioned, this fact, taken in connection with the occurrence of like beds of red shale holding the same relative position in, several deep borings in the central portions of the State, serves to give warrant for counting the Medina epoch duly represented in the outcropping strata of Southwestern Ohio. It occurs here only in included sections, its thin and easily eroded beds never being found as surface formations for extensive areas. There is good reason to believe that the Medina formation is coextensive with the limits of the State, except in the regions from which it has already been removed.

 

5. THE CLINTON LIMESTONE.

 

The Clinton group of New York appears as a surface formation in Ohio only in the area already named. It forma a fringe or margin of the Cincinnati group through eight or ten counties, rising above the soft and easily eroded rocks of this series, and of the previously named Medina shale, in a conspicuous terrace. It is everywhere a well-characterized limestone stratum. It is highly crystalline in structure, and is susceptible of a good polish. In some localities it is known as a marble. A considerable part of it, and especially the upper beds, are almost wholly made up of crinoidal fragments. In thickness it ranges between ten and fifty feet. Its prevailing colors are white, pink, red, yellow, gray and blue. At a few points it is replaced by the hematite ore that is elsewhere so characteristic of the formation. The ore in Ohio is generally too lean and uncertain to possess economic value, but it was once worked for a short time and in a very small way in a furnace near Wilmington, Clinton county.

 

The limestone contains a notable quantity of indigenous petroleum throughout most of its outcrop, but no very valuable accumulations of oil or gas have been found in it thus far. It is the source of the low-pressure gas of Fremont (upper vein), and also of the gas at Lancaster from 1,962 feet below the surface, and at Newark from 2,100 feet below the surface. In fact, a small but fairly persistent flow is maintained from this horizon in several of the gas-producing districts of Northern Ohio. In a single instance in Wood county it is proving itself an oil rock. A well near Trombley, drilled to this horizon, has been flowing twenty to thirty barrels of oil for a number of months, the oil being referable to this formation.

 

In outcrop the stratum is quite porous as a rule, and the water that falls upon its uncovered portions sinks rapidly through them to the underlying shale (Medina), by which it is turned out in a well-marked line of springs.

 

In composition, the limestone, in its outcrops in Southern Ohio, is fairly constant. All of its most characteristic portions contain eighty to eighty-five per cent of carbonate of lime, and ten to fifteen per cent of carbonate of magnesia. At a few points, however, it is found as the purest carbonate of lime in the State. Under cover, to the northward, it is much more magnesian in composition, being indistinguishable from the Niagara. It also becomes shaly and changeable in character at many points. As it becomes shaly the thickness is much increased. It is everywhere uneven in its bedding, being in striking contrast in this respect with the formations below it and also above it. The beds are all lenticular in shape, and they extend but a few feet in any direction. They seldom rise to one foot in thickness.

 

The uneven bedding, the crystalline and crinoidal characters, the high colors, and particularly the red bands and the chemical composition, combine to make the Clinton limestone an exceedingly well-marked stratum throughout Southwestern Ohio, and from the hints yielded by the drill in Northwestern Ohio, it seems to have something of the same character there especially so far as color is concerned. It becomes more shaly and much thicker to the eastward. It carries bands of red shale almost universally throughout the northern central and central parts of the State.

 

The limestone is directly followed at a number of points in the territory, occupied by it by a stratum of very fine-grained, bluish-white clay, containing many fossils distributed through it, the fossils being crystalline and apparently pure carbonate of lime. A similar bed of white clay is reported at the same horizon, by the drillers in Northern Ohio, and the drillings show the presence of fossils of the same characters. This clay seam can be designated the Clinton clay, but it merges in and is indistinguishable from the lowest element in the next group. The Clinton, in its outcrops, is entirely confined to Southern Ohio.

 

6. THE NIAGARA GROUP.

 

The Clinton limestone is followed in ascending order by the Niagara group, a series of shales and limeatones that has considerable thickness in its outcrops and that occupies about 3,000 square miles of territory

 

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in Ohio. The lowest member is the Niagara shale, a mass of light-colored clays, with many thin calcareous bands. It has a thickness of 100 feet in Adams county, but it is reduced rapidly as it is followed northward, and in Clarke and Montgomery counties it is not more than ten or fifteen feet thick. Still further to the northward, as appears from the records of recent drillings, the shale sometimes disappears entirely, but in the great majority of wells, especially in Hancock and Wood counties, it is a constant element, ranging from five to thirty feet. Wells are often cased in this shale, but a risk is always taken in doing so. In Montgomery, Miami and Greene counties the shale contains in places a very valuable building-stone, which is widely known as the Dayton stone. It is a highly crystalline, compact and strong atone, lying in even beds of various thickness, and is in every way adapted to the highest architectural uses. It carries about ninety-two per cent of carbonate of lime. The Niagara shale is, as a rule, quite poor in fossils. It is apparently destitute of them in many of its exposures.

 

The limestone that succeeds the shale is an even-bedded, blue or drab, magnesian stone, well adapted at many points to quarrying purposes. It is known in Ohio by various local names, derived from the points where it is worked. There are several subdivisions of it that are unequally developed in different portions of the State. Like the hale below it, this member is thickest in Southern Ohio. It cannot be recognized as a distinct element in the northern part of the State, either in outcrop or in drillings. It may be that its horizon is not reached in any natural exposures of the formation in this part of the State.

 

The uppermost division of the formation is the Guelph limestone, which differs very noticeably in several points from the Niagara limestone proper. It obtains its name from a locality in Canada, where it was first studied and described. It has a maximum thickness in Southern Ohio of 200 feet. It differs from the underlying limestone in structure, composition, and fossils. It is either massive or very thin-bedded, rarely furnishing a building stone. It is porous to an unusual extent. It is generally very light in color, and is everywhere in the State nearly a typical dolomite in composition. It yields lime of great excellence for the mason a use.

 

Unlike the previously named divisions of the Niagara, the Guelph limestone is as well developed in Northern as in Southern Ohio in all respects. Not more than forty feet are found in its outcrops here, but the drill has shown several times this amount of Niagara limestone, without giving us all of the data needed for referring the beds traversed to their proper subdivisions. What facts there are seem to point to the Guelph as the main element in this underground development of the formation in this portion of the State.

 

The Hillsboro sandstone is the last element of the Niagara group. It is found in but few localities, and its reference to the Niagara series in its entirety is not beyond question. In Highland county it has a thickness of thirty feet in several sections. It is composed of very pure, even-grained, sharp silicious sand. Other deposits of precisely the same character are found in the two next higher limestones of the scale at several points in the State.

 

The Hillsboro sandstone is sometimes built up above all the beds of the upper Niagara limestone, but again, it is, at times, interstratified with the beds of the, Guelph division. In the latter case it is itself fossiliferous but when found alone it seems destitute of all traces of life. These sandstones in the limestone formations suggest in their peculiarities a common origin. They consist of unworn and nearly perfect crystal, in considerable part.

 

The Salina group has appeared in all the recent sections of the rocks of the State, but in the light of facts obtained within the latest explorations, it can no longer be counted a distinct or recognizable element in the Ohio scale.

 

l. THE LOWER HELDERBERG OR WATERLIME FORMATION.

 

The interval that exists between the Niagara and the Devonian limestones is occupied in Ohio by a very important formation. It  is filled with a series of beds, which are in part, at least, the equivalents of the Waterlime of New York.

 

The name is unhappily chosen. Strictly applicable to only an insignificant fraction of the beds of this series in New York, we are still obliged to apply the designation Waterlime, with its misleading suggestions, to all deposits of the same age throughout the country.

 

Though the last to be recognized of our several limestone formations, the Waterlime occupies a larger area in Ohio than any other, its principal developments being found in the drift-covered plains of the northwestern quarter of the State. It has also a much greater thickness than any other limestone, its full measure being, at least 600 feet, or twice the greatest thickness of the Niagara limestone.

 

It can be described as, in the main, a strong, compact, magnesian limestone, poor in fossils, and often altogether destitute of them for considerable areas, microscopic forms being excepted. It is, for the most part, drab or brown in color; but occasionally it becomes very light It and again it is often dark blue, It is brecciated throughout much of its extent, the beds seeming to have been broken into sometimes small and sometimes large angular fragments after their hardening, and then to have been re-cemented without further disturbance. In addition to this, it contains an immense amount of true conglomerate, the pebbles, many of which are bowlders rather than pebbles, being all derived from the rocks of the same general age. The surface of many successive layers

 

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at numerous points are covered with sun-cracks, thus furnishing proof of having been formed in shallow water near the edge of the sea. In such localities the beds are usually quite thin, and are also impure in composition. In these respects it suggests the conditions of the Onondaga salt group of New York. These features are very characteristic ones. A rude concretional structure is also quite distinctive of the beds of this age. The Waterlime in Ohio everywhere contains petroleum in small quantity, which is shown by the odor of freshly broken surfaces. No noteworthy accumulations of oil or gas have thus far been found within it. At some points it carries considerable asphalt, distributed through the rock in shot-like grains, or in sheets and films. Thin streaks of carbonaceous, matter traversing the rock parallel to its bed-planes are one of the constant marks of the stratum in Ohio. It is generally thin and even in its bedding; but in some localities it contains massive beds. At some points it is remarkable for its evenness, and great value is given to the formation on this account, when combined with other qualities already named. It is frequently a nearly pure dolomite in composition, and accordingly it yields magnesian lime of high quality and is extensively burned in the State, rivaling in this respect the Guelph beds of the Niagara.

 

In Southern Ohio it has a maximum thickness of 100 feet and here it reaches its highest quality in all respects; but in Central and Northern Ohio it attains the great thickness previously reported. There also it contains several distinct types of limestone rock. A considerable part of it is very tough, strong, dark-blue limestone, while other portions are white, porous, and soft.

 

Its fossils are referable, in type at least, to the age of the Waterlime, as already stated. The most characteristic forms are the crustacean named Eurypterus which was found by Newberry on the islands of Lake Erie, and which has not been reported elsewhere in the State; and the bivalve crustacean Leperditia. There are points in the State, however, where the stratum contains a considerable fauna, and perhaps ground may be found for removing some of the higher beds that are now included in it into a distinct division, viz., the shaly limestone of the Lower Helderberg series. Greenfield, Highland county, and Lima may be named as localities near which especially fossilciferous phases of the Waterlime can be found.

 

The Sylvania Sandstone.

 

A remarkable series of deposits of extremely pure glass sand has long been known in Lucas and Wood counties of Northern Ohio. The best known beds are those of Sylvania and Monclova, northwest and southwest of Toledo.

 

The Sylvania sandstone has been hitherto referred to the Oriskany period, but a careful study of the section in which it is included renders this reference inadmissible. Its position is about 150 feet below the Upper Helderberg limestone or somewhat above the middle line of the Lower Helderberg division.

 

8. THE UPPER HELDERBERG LIMESTONES.

 

All of the limestone of Devonian age in Ohio has been generally referred to the Corniferous limestone of New York, but on some accounts the more comprehensive term used above is counted preferable: A two-fold division of the series is possible, and proper in Ohio, the division being based on both lithology and fossils. The divisions are known as the lower and upper, respectively, or as the Columbus and Delaware limestones. The upper division is sometimes called the Sandusky limestone. The maximum thickness of the entire series in Ohio is seventy-five to one hundred feet.

 

In chemical composition, the Cornifemus limestone is easily distinguishable from all that underlie it. It is never a true dolomite in composition, as the Waterlime and Niagara limestones almost always are. The composition of the typical, heavy-bedded lower Corniferous may be taken as seventy per cent, carbonate of lime and twenty-five per cent carbonate of magnesia. The higher beds of the Columbus stone regularly yield ninety-one to ninety-five per cent carbonate of lime. The upper division, or the Delaware stone, is much less pure in Central Ohio than the lower, a notable percentage of iron and alumina, as well as silica, generally being contained in it. It is, therefore, seldom or never burned into lime. In Northern Ohio, on the contrary, it is often found very strong and pure limestone.

 

Both divisions, but particularly the lower one, carry occasional courses of chert, that detract from the value of the beds in which they occur. The chert is found in nodules which are easily detached from the limestone for the most part. In some conditions in which the chert occurs, fossils are found in it in a remarkably good state of preservation.

 

Throughout the entire formation Devonian fossils abound in great variety and in great numbers. They are often found in an excellent state of preservation. The oldest vertebrate remains of the Ohio rocks are found in the Corniferous limestone, a fact which gives especial interest to it. The uppermost bed of the lower or Columbus division is, in man many places, a genuine "bone bed;" the teeth and plates and spines of ancient fishes, largely of the nearly extinct family of ganoids, constituting a considerable portion of the substance of the rock. Corals of various types are also especially abundant and interesting in this limestone. In fact, the formation is the most prolific in life of any in the Ohio scale. With this formation the great limestones of Ohio were completed. While they are built into the foundations of almost the entire State, they constitute the surface rocks only in its western half. The Upper Silurian and Devonian limestones of our scale, which were formerly known as the Cliff limestone, have an aggregate thickness of 750 to 1,150 feet

 

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where found under cover, and though differences exist among them by which, as has already been shown, they can be divided into four or more main divisions, there is still no reason to believe that any marked change occurred in the character of the seas during the protracted periods in which they were growing. The life which these seas contained was slowly changing from age to age, so that we can recognize three or more distinct faunas or assemblages of animal life in them. Differences are also indicated in the several strata as to the depth of the water in which they were formed, and as to the conditions under which the sedimentary matter that enters into them was supplied, but no marked physical break occurs in the long history. No part of the entire series indicates more genial conditions of growth than those which the Devonian limestone, the latest in order of them all, shows. It is the purest limestone of Ohio. Foot after foot of the formation consists almost exclusively of the beautifully preserved fragments of the life of these ancient seas. In particular the corals and crinoids that make a large element in many of its beds could only have grown in shallow but clear water of tropical warmth.

 

The change from the calcareous beds of this age to the next succeeding formation is very abrupt and well marked, as much so, indeed, as any change in the Ohio scale.

 

10. THE OHIO SHALE:

(Cleveland Shale, Erie Shale, Huron Shale.)

 

A stratum of shale, several hundred feet In thickness, mainly black or dark-brown in, color, containing, especially in its lower portions, a great number of large and remarkably symmetrical calcareous and ferruginous concretions, and stretching entirely across the State from the Ohio valley to the shores of Lake Erie, with an outcrop ranging in breadth between ten and twenty miles, has been one of the most conspicuous and well-known features of Ohio geology since this subject first began to be studied. It separates the great limestone series already described, which constitutes the floor of all of Western Ohio, from the Berea grit, which is the first sandstone to be reached in ascending the geological scale of the State.

 

This great series of shales was formerly divided into three divisions, as indicated above, but a larger knowledge of the system makes it apparent that no definite boundaries can be drawn through the formation at large. The lower part is chiefly black, the middle contains many again colored bands and the upper beds again are often dark, but the sections obtained from top to bottom in the drilling of deep wells at various points in the State show alternations of dark and light colored bands not once but scores of times. The three-fold division formerly made is not only unsupported, but is misleading and objectionable. The terms are used to cover different phases of one and the same formation.

 

The mineral basis of all these shales, whether black, brown, blue, gray or red, is essentially one and the same thing, viz., a fine-grained clay, derived from the waste of distant land. As supplied to the sea basin it was originally blue or of but a small percentage of peroxide of iron ores a great way in coloring such deposits red, and in like manner, organic matter in comparatively small amount gives them a dark or black color. The organic matter that colors these shales was probably derived in large part, as Newberry has suggested, from the products of growth and decay of sea-weeds by which these seas were covered, like the Sargasso seas of our own day.

 

These organic matters seem to have accumulated along the shores and in shallow water in greater quantity than in the deeper seas. Hence, if the section of these shale deposits is taken near the old shore-lines, or where shallow water occurred, a larger proportion is black than if the more central areas are examined. The only land of Ohio at this time was to be found in and along the Cincinnati axis, a low fold that had entered the State from the southward at the close of Lower Silurian time, and that had been slowly extending itself northwards through the succeeding ages. Southwestern Ohio was already above water, a low island in the ancient gulf. But the shales on their western outcrop, where they are largely black, are exactly equivalent in age to the alternating beds of black and blue shale, the latter, being in large excess, that were forming at this time in the central parts of the basin, viz., in Eastern Ohio. The color of the shales is, in this view, an accident, and cannot be safely used as a ground of division. The entire shale formation that we are considering seems to have been laid down without physical break or interruption. It must have required an immensely long period for its accumulation. This is shown not only by the fineness and uniformity of the materials which compose it, and which could not have been rapidly supplied, and by the great thickness of the for­mation in Eastern Ohio, but also by the geological equivalents of the shale in the general column which furnish even more convincing proof as to its long continued growth. The Ohio shale, as Newberry has shown, is certainly the equivalent in the general scale of the Genesee slate, the Portage group and the Chemung group, the last named being itself a formation of great thickness and extent. In other words, the shales of our column bridge the interval between the Hamilton proper and the Catskill group, and in the judgment of some geologists, a wider interval even than that named above. As Newberry was the first to show, the oil sands of Pennsylvania are banks of pebble rock that are buried in the eastern extension of the Ohio shale, but which make no sign within our own limits.

 

The shales are for the most part, poor in fossils, except in those of microscopic size but among the few that they contain are the

 

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most striking and remarkable not only of the scale of Ohio, but of all Devonian time as well. Reference is here made to the great fishes which have been described by Newberry and which constitute so interesting a chapter of geological history. Some of them belong to the basal beds of the shale formation, and others near the summit. The first were found at the centres of the great concretions already named as characteristic of the formation. These fossils are interesting both on account of their enormous size arid of their peculiar combination of points of structure that are widely separated now. Brief mention must be made of the vegetable fossils of the shales.

 

Fossil wood, derived from ancient pine trees of the genus Dadoxylon, is quite common in the lower beds (Huron). The wood is silicified and the original structure is admirably preserved. This wood is sometimes found, like the fish remains already noted, at the hearts of the concretions, but occasionally large sized blocks are found free in the shale. On account of its enduring nature it is often found in those beds of glacial drift that have been derived largely from the destruction of the shales.

 

Strap-shaped leaves, presumably of seaweeds, are occasionally found upon the surfaces of the shale layers. Sometimes they form thin layers of bright coal which deceive the ignorant. Fossil rushes, of the genus Calamites, are also occasionally met with. But the forms already named are of small account, so far as quantity is concerned, when compared with certain microscopic fossils that are, with little doubt, of vegetable origin, and which are acuminated in large amount throughout the black beds of the entire shale formation, composing, sometimes, a notable percentage of the substance of the rock, and apparently giving origin, to an important extent, to the bituminous character of the beds.

 

The leading forms of these Microscopic fossils are translucent, resinous discs, ranging in long diameter from one-thirtieth to one-two-hundredth of an inch. Several varieties have already been noted, depending on the size particular shape and surface markings of these bodies. The facts pertaining to them have of late been more widely published, and the attention of geologists in various parts of the world has been called to these and similar forms, and thus there is the promise of a speedy enlargement of our knowledge in regard to them. Sir William Dawson now considers the common forms to be the macropores of rhizocarps allied to Salvinia of the present days. The sporocarps containing these maoroapores in place have recently been discovered. This identification would refer these bodies to floating vegetation on the surface of the seas in which the shales were formed, and is thus directly in line with the sagacious interpretation of Newberry, who many years ago attributed the origin of these black shales to Sargasso seas.

 

This shale is the undoubted source of most of the natural gas and petroleum of Northeastern Ohio. It is the probable source, cover, of a considerable part of these highly valued substances in Western Pennsylvania. It gives rise to "surface indications" of gas and oil throughout the whole extent of its outcrops and thus very often misleads explorers, since the indications do not stand in any case for large accumulations of either substance. The most that is to be expected of gas-wells in this formation is a domestic supply. A single well will furnish gas enough for the heat and light of one or more families and often the supply will be maintained for many years. In the parts of the State where the shales make the surface rocks, it will no doubt be found possible to secure from them valuable additions to our stores of light and heat for a long while to come. A farm in such territory will come to be valued on this account in something of the same way that it would be if it carried a seam of coal.

 

11. THE WAVERLY GROUP.

 

The important mass of sediments of Subcarboniferous age, which is known in Ohio and in some adjoining States as the Waverly group, comes next in the column. The name Waverly was given to these strata by the geologists of the first survey; from the fact that at Waverly, in the Scioto valley, excellent sandstone quarries were opened in them; the products in which were quite widely distributed throughout Central and Southern Ohio, as far back as fifty years ago. Associated with the sandstone at this locality, and everywhere throughout the district, were several other strata that were always counted as members of the group by the geologists who gave the name. In fact, the boundaries were made definite and easily applicable. The Waverly group extended, by its definition and by unbroken usage in our early geology, from the top of the black shale (Cleveland shale), to the Coal Measure conglomerate. This latter element was, in a part of the field, confused with the Waverly conglomerate, afterwards recognized and defined by Andrews, until a recent date, it is true, but the intent of the geologists is apparent, and many of their sections were complete and accurate. If the term Waverly is to be retained in our classification, and it bids fair to be, every interest will be served by recognizing and retaining the original boundaries.

                                                

11a. The Bedford Shale.

 

This stratum, which makes the base of the Waverly series, consists of forty to sixty feet, in the main composed of red or blue shales, but which sometimes contain fine-grained sandstone courses. The latter are in places valuable. They are represented by the independence bluestone of Northern Ohio. The shales are mainly destitute of fossils, aside from the burrows of sea worms which are found on the surfaces of most of the layers and often with great sharpness of outline. All the layers are likely to be ripple-marked, the sculpturings of this sort being very sym

 

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metrical and continuous for layer after layer through many feet of the formation.

 

11b.The Berea Grit.

 

We have reached in our review the Berea grit, the second element of the Waverly series, and not only the most important member of the series, but by far the most important single stratum in the entire geological column of Ohio. Its economic value above ground is great, but it is greater below. In its outcrops it is a source of the finest building stone and the best grindstone grit of the country, and when it dips beneath the surface it becomes the repository of invaluable supplies of petroleum, gas, and salt-water. Its persistence as a stratum is phenomenal seldom reaching a thickness of fifty feet, its proved area in Ohio, above ground and below, is scarcely less than 15,000 square miles, and beyond the boundaries of Ohio it extends with continuity and strength unbroken into at least four other adjacent States. As a guide to the interpretation of our series, and especially as a guide in out subterranean geology, it is invaluable.

 

The stratum was named by Newberry from the village of Berea, Cuyahoga county, where the largest and most important quarries of the formation are located. The name is the most appropriate that could have been selected for this stratum, and inasmuch as it has priority in all fields, it ought to be made to supersede all others.

 

The Berea grit, as seen in outcrop, is a sandstone of medium grain in Northern Ohio, and of fine grain from the centre of the State southward. In Northern Ohio it contains one pebbly horizon over a considerable area, but the seam is thin and the pebbles are small. The stratum is sometimes false-bedded and sometimes remarkably even in its bedding-planes. Its main beds, or sheets, have a maximum thickness of six feet, but this is an unusual measure and is seldom reached. It ranges in thickness from 5 to 170 feet, and it very rarely fails altogether from the sections m which it is due.

 

Like the Bedford shale below it, it stands for an old shore-line, many of its surfaces being ripple-marked, and worm-burrows abounding m its substance.

 

It is poor in fossils, but not entirely destitute of them. It grows finer grained and more impure as it is followed southward. In Southern Ohio it is known as the Waverly quarry-stone.

 

The Berea grit is the lowest or main oil-sand of the Mackburg field. It is also the gas-rock of Wellsburg, and that part of the Ohio valley, and is without doubt one of the main oil and gas-rocks of Western Pennsylvania.

 

11e. The Berea Shale.

 

A bed of dark or black shale, fifteen to fifty feet thick, makes the constant and immediate cover of the Berea grit throughout its entire extent in Ohio. The shale is highly fossiliferous, and is rich in bituminous matter, the amount sometimes reaching twenty per cent. It is a source of petroleum on a small scale as is shown by the fact that in Southern Ohio an important ledge of sandstone that belongs just above it is often found saturated with a tar-like oil derived from this source. It was first recognized by Andrews, who described it under the name of the Waverly black shale. It constitutes an invaluable guide in our subterranean geology.

 

11d. The Cuyahoga Shale.

 

This formation consists of light-colored argillaceous shales, which are often re placed with single courses of fine-grained sandstone, blue in color, and in Southern Ohio weathering to a brownish-yellow. As. a constant characteristic, there are found through the shales flattened nodules of impure iron ore, concretionary in origin, and often having white calcareous centres.

 

In thickness it ranges from 150 to 400 feet: It is one of the most homogeneous and persistent formations in the column of the State throughout most of its extent. Everywhere through the State there is found at or near the base of this division a number of courses of fine-grained stone. These courses are sometimes separated from each other by beds of shale, or they may be compacted into a single stratum. The individual courses also vary greatly in thickness, and in color and general characters. Throughout Southern Ohio, and particularly in Ross, Pike, and Scioto counties, the stratum yields freestone. It is best known from its, outcrops on the Ohio river at Buena Vista, where it has long been very extensively worked for Cincinnati and other river markets. The Buena Vista stone, at its best, is one of the finest building stones of the country. The same horizon yields excellent atone near Portsmouth, Lucasville, and Waverly. It is known as the Waverly brown stone at the latter point.

 

Northward, through the State, stone of more or less value is found in the bottom courses of the Cuyahoga, but horizon Trumbull county, near Warren, the horizon acquires extreme importance as the source of the finest natural flagging that is found in our markets.

 

It would have been well if the thirty or forty feet containing these courses had been cut off from the Cuyahoga shale, in which case the division thus formed would have been appropriately named the Buena Vista stone.

 

11e. The Logan Group.

(The Olive Shales of Read. The Logan Sandstone of Andrews. The Waverly Conglomerate of Andrews.)

 

The divisions of the Waverly series in Northern Ohio happened to be made at a point where the section is abnormal and incomplete. By atrophy or by overlap, the upper member of the series is wanting in the Cuyahoga valley, or is at least very inadequately represented there. The missing member is, in volume, second only to the Cuyahoga shale, among the divisions of the Waverly.



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