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them quite hot, so that it was soon discovered to consist of one most probably inflammable ; but vast mass of salt. The sides and we did not ascertain this. We bottom of the valley are composed heard the boiling thirty yards be-' of reddish brown clay, forming a fore we came to the pools, re- thick bed, from which here and sembling in noise a water-fall. there large imbedded masses of The pools did not overflow; of rock salt project in the manner course the bubbling was
of more ordinary rocks; espesioned by the rising of air alone. cially along the winding ascent The water of one of the pools ap- which leads up to the town of peared to contain a mixture of Cardona. The summits of the earth and lime, and from the ridges which bound the valley on taste to be combined with alkali. each side, are formed of a yelThe water of the Bludugs and lowish grey sandstone of a coarse the lake is used medicinally by texture, and containing many the Javanese, and cattle drinking scales of grey mica. of the water are poisoned.
The great body of the salt forms a rugged precipice, which
is reckoned between 400 and 500 Some Observations on the Salt feet in height at the upper ex
Mines of Cardona, made during tremity of the valley, and is coa Tour in Spain, in the Summer vered by a thick bed of the clay of 1914. By Thomas Stewart above mentioned. Traill, M. D. M.G.S.
The precipitous form is partly
owing to the manner in which (From Transactions of the Geological So
the mine has been wrought for a eiety, Vol. III.)
series of ages. There is no exThese celebrated mines occupy cavation ; but the salt has been the head of a small valley in the procured by working down perimmediate vicinity of Cardona, a pendicularly as in an open quarry. town in the province of Cata- The lowest part of the present lonia.
works has a solid floor of pure This valley extends about half salt which is not above the level a mile in length, from the river of the bottom of the valley, where Cardonero to the mines, in a di- no salt is found; but the real rection from east-south-east to depth of the bed of salt has never west-north-west. Its north-west- yet been ascertained. The upper ern side is bounded by a very surface of the salt is not level; steep and lofty ridge, the summit but appears irregularly elevated, of which is crowned by the town according to the general outline and castle of Cardona. The op- of the hill in which it occurs. posite boundary is somewhat less The salt has been usually reelevated ; but both sides are con- presented as forming an entire siderably higher than the upper mountain : but though it here surface of the fossil salt. On appears supplying the place of entering this valley, the attention common rock, from its being
arrested by bold cliffs of a confined this valley, and not greyish white colour, which are attaining so high a level as the
surrounding hills, it would seem purity; and in order to be conmore correct to consider it as a verted into snow white culinary inass or bed of salt filling up a salt requires no other process but valley, than as constituting a grinding. The greyish hue of mountain, which according to the external surface is owing to some authors* is a league in cir- the rain penetrating a portion of cumference. These dimensions the salt, and by diminishing its could only be obtained by consi- opacity, depriving it of the whitedering the neighbouring heights ness which the fresh fracture as forined of this mineral; a generally presents. At the period supposition not countenanced by of iny visit the surface of this my personal observation, nor by immense mass was properly dry, the best information which I and in some places, where water could collect on the spot.
had most recently flowed, The surfaces of the salt preci- covered with a snow white efforpice which have been long ex- escence. This circumstance, as posed to the weather are not well as the sharpness of the edges smooth, hut cut into innumerable above mentioned, shew the little shallow channels, running in a hygrometric water in the atmostortuous manner, and divided from phere of that country, and the each other by thin edges, often so general purity of the salt from sharp as to cut the hands like earthy muriates. broken glass.
The channelled The fracture of the salt is surface is evidently produced by highly crystalline, and usually the action of the winter rains, exhibits large granular distinct which have given the whole a concretions, which give it somestriking resemblance to the sur- times the appearance of a breccia, face of a mass of ice, which had or of containing imbedded crysbeen partially thawed and again tals. frozen.
A perennial brine spring flows The general colour of the ex- at the foot of the great precipice, posed surface is greyish white, and affords a strong proof of the with here and there a tinge of little effect of water on this pale reddish brown, from the co- very compact salt. The aperture louring matter of the superincum- through which the stream has bent bed of clay. Towards the issued, for many years, is not extremities of the mass of salt, wider externally than two feet, extremely thin layers of a pure and suddenly contracts to a few and plastic clay, are insinuated inches; while the channel worn between layers of salt, so as to in a solid floor of salt, through give it the waved delineations which the stream has long flowed, which often occur in some species is not a foot in depth. This is of calcsniter. The general mass partly to be ascribed to the water of salt is however of the greatest being saturated with salt ; but,
during the rainy season, the * Bowles' Introduction a la Historia
stream is much augmented, and Natural de Espana ; Dillon who translates thus cannot be supposed so highly him, Laborde, Itineraire descriptif, &c. charged with saline matter. Not
withstanding this, neither the but becoming plastic when moistsolvent, nor mechanical effects of ened. It is remarkably pure, and the spring seem to have much free from intermixture, except of effect on the fossil salt of Cardona. salt; large masses of which are The waters of this spring flow occasionally imbedded in it. into the Cardonero, leaving in No fibrous salt was to be obthe valley a thick scaly crust of served at Cardona; nor did I dissalt, resembling the ice formed cover the slightest trace of gyparound our brooks in similar si- sum in that neighbourhood; a tuations. During the rainy sea- remark which was also made by son, it is asserted, that the stream Bowles. On the soil near the carries down such quantities of town, a small quantity of a saline salt into the Cardonero, as to kill efforescence was however obthe fish in that river. *
served, which had the taste of sertion rests upon the authority sulphate of soda ; but the loss of of Bowles, an able naturalist; the specimen I collected, has prebut he undoubtedly was led into vented a more accurate investigaerror when he asserted, that the tion of its properties. waters of the Cardonero at some The salt mine of Cardona is leagues below the mines yield no wrought like an open quarry with trace of salt : from which he in- pickaxes and wedges, by which ferred, that salt may, by motion, the mineral is raised in consibe converted into earthy matter. derable tabular masses. The part At Manresa, which is about twenty at present wrought presents an miles below Cardona, 1 tested the extensive horizontal floor of pure water of the Cardonero by nitrate rock salt; the level of which is a of silver, which indicated the little lower than the foot of the presence of an unusually large great salt precipice. An enorportion of muriate of soda. The mous mass of the same mineral taste of the brine spring at Car- lies between this precipice and dona is intensely saline ; and the the present mine, the removal of hand immersed in it, on being which will, in time, render the exposed to the air is instantly appearance of this interesting covered with a lile of salt. The spot still more magnificent; for salt rock near its source is most then the vast front of the rock elegantly veined with delicate salt bed will at once, strike the waved delineations of an ochre eye from the lowest part of the yellow colour.
mine. The clay which covers the bed Like every other public works of salt at Cardona, and forms the in Spain, the mines of Cardona sides of the valley, exactly resem- are in a languid state from the bles the clay found in the salt cflects of the late war, which has district of Cheshire, having when desolated the peninsula. Only dry some resemblance to shale, 100 labourers are at present em
ployed in quarrying the salt, and * Introduccion à la Historia Natural y
in wheeling it to the receiving à la Geografia Fisica de Espana, por Don
house. Over these, eight overGuillermo Bowles. Madrid, 1775. seers are appointed, who do duty at 6 quartos per bottle, or about two pence labourers; each inan receives sterling.
in rotation ; and ten centinels are daily twelve reals vellon, which continually stationed around the at the rate of exchange last year mine to defend it from the de- equals three shillings sterling : predations of the peasantry. Se- lads are paid at the rate of eight veral clerks are employed in an reals, or two shillings ; and boys office built at the entrance to the receive six reals, or one shilling mine, and the whole is under the and sixpence.* The hours for direction of an Intendente or In- work are from six in the morning spector, who wears the uniform to seven in the evening, (in sumof an officer in the Spanish army; mer); with the intervals of half for the mine is the property of an hour, between eight and nine the crown, and is most rigidly o'clock, A. M. for breakfast, and guarded. Notwithstanding the two hours, from twelve to two, rigour with which depredators are for dinner, and its usual sequel punished, the peasantry frequently in Spain, the siester. attempt to deceive the vigilance of The produce of the mines is the guardians of the mine. When pulverized by grinding it in mills, detected, the usual punishment on the exact construction of our for a peasant is, even on the first common water mills. This opeoffence, two or three years labour ration reduces it into an excellent among malefactors in some of the culinary salt of a snowy whitepublic works in the province. A
In this state it is sold to soldier is however less severely the peasantry of the surrounding punished when he commits a si- districts, at the rate of thirty milar transgression; he is gene- reals vellon, or seven sh. six d. rally sentenced to a few days soli- sterl. per fanega of five arrobas tary confinement in a dungeon of of Catalonia, which equal 116 the castle. On asking an over- pounds avoirdupois. seer the reason of this dispropor- As there are no roads practition in the punishment of dif- cable for wheel carriages in this ferent offenders, he replied, that part of Catalonia, the salt is carthe soldier's poverty was supposed ried from Cardona on mules or to extenuate his crime, while the asses; the only beasts of burden peasant of Catalonia enjoyed com- that could travel in safety the parative wealth, and could afford rugged defiles in which this disto purchase salt for the consump- trict abounds. It seems a part tion of his family.
of the perverse policy of the Such is the boldness of the Spanish government to discourage smugglers and the jealousy of the the formation of proper roads, government, that it is dangerous to visit the mines without formal leave from the Intendente ; as
* This may be considered as liberal the centinels have orders to fire
wages where the necessaries of life, with
the exception of bread, are cheap; at on any one seen loitering about Cardona, mutton and beef costs 1 real vell. them.
per 12 oz. Bread of the best quality The workmen here receive con
costs 1 real vell. per 12 oz. Wine of the siderable wages, and are all free country (a very good red sort) is retailed
lest it should facilitate the opera- basis containing calcareous earth. tions of the smuggler.
The fragments of this farcilite It would not be difficult to con- become smaller as we go northnect Cardona, by means of a ward, and at last bear a striking canal, with the ocean ; and thus resemblance to coarse greywacké; the valuable produce of its salt to which formation I am inclined mines might increase the reve- to assign the puddingstone of nues of the crown, and the trade Montserrat, and the chain of of Barcelona. The channels of which it forms a part.* the Cardonero and Lobregat al- On descending the rugged ways contain a large body of mountains of puddingstone into water, and might easily be ren- the valley of the Lobregat, before dered subservient to the purposes coming to Manresa, we observe of inland navigation. Besides strata of a bluish grey rock with augmenting the value of the interposed layers of a softer mamines of Cardona, such a plan by terial of the same colour, which facilitating the intercourse with crumbles into sandy clay by exthe interior of this fine province, posure to the weather. These would stimulate the exertions of strata have some resemblance to a people who only require an sandstone-flag ; but an attentive equitable government to become consideration convinced me that highly industrious.
they ought to be considered as It yet remains that I offer a stratified greywacké approaching few remarks on the nature of the to greywacké slate. Above these country around Cardona, as ma- we again find the farcilite, which terials for its geology.
is the prevailing rock about ManIts general appearance is moun- resa. All the rocks hitherto inentainous. The mountains are ab- tioned effervesce slightly with rupt, but generally wooded. The acids ; a circumstance which convallies are narrow, and, where nects them in some measure with the declivities will permit culti- the extensive limestone country to vation, they produce abundance the south-west of Montserrat; of good grapes and some corn. and they all shew a tendency to In coming from Barcelona, the split vertically into columnar traveller leaves, at a small dis. tance on the left, the majestic Montserrat; and gradually ap- mark, that the common descriptions of
* It may not be improper here to reproaches a mountain chain pro- Montserrat, are in several respects erroceeding from its northern extre
It is not an insulated mountain, as mity, which declines as it stretches generally represented; but is the highest towards Manresa. This chain point of a considerable chain. Its insular consists of similar materials to
appearance, as seen from the high road
between Igualada and Martorel, has deMontserrat; viz. of vast beds of ceived those who have never examined its farcilite, composed of rounded north-eastern side. The touchstone men. masses of quartz, with angular coned by Bowies and others, as entering pieces of siliceous slate, and frag- appears by its fracture to be only a dark
into the composition of its puddingstone, inents of clayslate united by a coloured common siliceous slate.