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These may, in almost all cases, be found by examination, though they are in a measure concealed, from the long period of their standing, and the materials of their construction, having become overgrown and covered with rank grass and mould, accumulated through long periods of years.
The law of fluids-the property of water to preserve its level-the natural and uniform effects when opportunity can be given for its operation, in level and sunken districts, will drain the superfluous waters from a higher to a lower level, leaving the surface dry. Thus, as I am informed, parts of the extensive meadows on the river road, in the southern towns of Shiawassee county, for miles, have the last year produced for the first time, crops of wheat, which, under my own observation, three years ago, were too wet to allow of crossing upon them; and in the adjoining townships, in the northern parts of Livingston county, small lakes have altogether disappeared. On the farm of Gen. Van Fossen, two of these lakes contained about three-quarters of an acre each, and were intended expressly for stock water for his cattle; these and several small marshes in the same county, have all since become fields. The marshes, in these instances, were all drained by the natural decay of old dams, or the wearing effects of the waters, in deepening the channel, and thus returning to their ancient level.
Further instances might be noticed, occurring in several counties in this state. In Branch county, several former marshes have actually emerged from a depth of two feet below the surface of the water. In these cases, the relative level has so changed within about seven years, as to be at present at a height of two feet above the water.
Here a second cause has been operating with the first, and which has given a greater rapidity in producing the effects we have mentioned, that is, the preservation from fire of the crops of wild grass; for if this is allowed to fall and decay, the continued accumulations formed by it, will have a tendency to alter and raise the level yearly, and but a short period of time will be necessary to complete the process.
Trees of a deciduous growth can never be supposed again to grow upon them, and hence they will always have the appearance that natural prairies present, with the advantages of a uniformly rich soil, which all natural prairies have not. They will likewise necessarily always receive the wash of the higher grounds.
Suggestions in relation to the cause of the late gradual decrease of the waters of the great lakes, in connection with the disappearance of these smaller lakes and drying of the marshes, have been offered, attributing both to the changes in the seasons only, so that a recurrence of circumstances hereafter
that shall produce a rise similar to the one of 1838, in the great lakes, will also, it has been supposed, produce a similar submergence of the marshes, and fill again the small lakes. But I apprehend there is no connection between the causes which have acted on the one, and those which have effected the other. It is true that the three thousand interior lakes, especially those of any considerable magnitude, have had their ebbs and flows in the same ratio, and at the same time and from the same causes, as the great lakes; but it should be remembered that no new instances of marshes being formed, have been discovered, but on the other hand, when the waters of the lakes were rising for years, and were at their maximum, an equal progressive subsidence was taking place in the waters of the marshes.
The number of irreclaimable marshes is comparatively few, and their areas are circumscribed to the dimensions of the lake which originates them, and to the basins which inclose them. In the first case the lake is central and cannot be approached; the vegetation which had taken root in their margin, has been so often reproduced, as to contract the actual dimensions of large lakes, and confine the remaining open space of water to a small extent. This is in consequence of a floating, buoyant covering, fixed by the fibres of roots, which, having been first supported by and around the shore, has, in deep water, no other support than what the surface of the lake itself affords. Hence, where these lakes become entirely covered over, as in Sanilac, Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties, and in some other instances, to a greater or less extent, the weight of a man causes a depression and a wave-like and trembling motion to some distance round. The surveyor, who is often compelled to cross them, well knows the feelings of insecurity they create. It may not be said of them, as was said by some travelers from London, on their journey to the north, who, on arriving at Dumfrieshire, in Scotland, concluded, from the appearance of the mountains there, that the world was finished no farther, and returned quietly home.
These subterranean lakes are nothing less than immense reservoirs of water; their coolness and purity exceed those whose surfaces are exposed, and being fed by springs, also serve as fountains to streams that rise in distant places.
S. W. HIGGINS, Topographer to Geological Survey.
Glossary, including the technical terms used in this report.
Alluvial. The adjective of Alluvium.
Alluvion or Alluvium. Recent deposits of earth, sand, gravel, mud, stones, peat, shell banks, shell marl, drift sand, &c.,
resulting from causes now in action. This term is generally applied to those deposits in which water is the principal agent. Allum rock. Rocks, which, by decomposition, form alum. Amorphous. Bodies devoid of regular form.
Amygdaloid. A trap rock which is porous and spongy, with rounded cavities scattered through its mass. Agates and simple minerals are often contained in these cavities.
Anthracite. A species of mineral coal, hard, shining, black and devoid of bitumen.
Anticlinal. An anticlinal ridge or axis is where the strata along a line dip contrariwise, like the sides of the roof of a house.
Augite. A simple mineral of variable color, from black through green and gray to white. It is a constituent of many volcanic and trappean rocks, and is also found in some of the granitic rocks.
Avalanche. This term is usually applied to masses of ice and snow which have slidden from the summits or sides of mountains. It is now applied to slides of earth and clay.
Basalt. One of the common trap rocks. It is composed of augite and feldspar, is hard, compact, and dark green or black, and has often a regular collumnar form. The Palisades of the Hudson show the columnar aspect of trap rocks. The Giants' causeway is cited as an example of basaltic rocks, and the columnar structure is there very strikingly displayed.
Bitumen Mineral pitch, which is often seen to ooze from fossil coal when on fire.
Bituminous Shale. A slaty rock, containing bitumen, and which occurs in the coal measures.
Blende. Sulphate of zinc. A common shining zinc ore. Bluffs. High banks of earth or rock with a steep front. The term is generally applied to high banks forming the boundaries of a river or river alluvions.
Bog Iron Ore, Ochre. A variety of ore of iron which has been deposited by water. Chiefly in low, wet ground.
Botryoidal. Resembling a bunch of grapes in form.
Bowlders. Erratic group. Lost rocks. Rocks which have been transported from a distance, and more or less rounded by attrition or the action of the weather. They lie upon the surface or loose in the soil, and generally differ from the underlying rock in the neighborhood.
Breccia. A rock composed of angular fragments cemented together by lime and other substances.
Calc Sinter. A German term for depositions of limestone from springs, and waters which contain this mineral in solution.
Calcareous Rocks. A term synonymous with limestone. Calcareous Spar. Crystalized carbonate of lime. Carbon. The combustible element of coal.
Carbonates. Chemical compounds containing carbonic acid, which is composed of oxygen and carbon.
Carbonic Acid. An acid, gaseous compound, incapable of supporting combustion, and deleterious to animal life. It is common in caves and wells, and many incautious persons lose their lives in consequence of descending, without first ascertaining its presence by letting down a lighted candle. Man cannot live where a candle will not burn freely.
Carboniferous. Coal bearing rocks. This term has been applied to formations belonging to an ancient group of secondary rocks which contain coal. The term is now used in a more enlarged sense, and may be applied to any rocks containing coal.
Chalybeate. Impregnated with iron.
Chert. A silicious mineral approaching to chalcedony, flint and hornstone. It is usually found in limestone.
Chlorite. A soft green scaly mineral, slightly unctious.
Clinkstone. A slaty feldspatic or basaltic rock, which is sonorous when struck.
Cleavage. The separation of the laminæ of rocks and minerals in certain constant directions. They are not always parallel to the planes of stratification, but are often mistaken for them.
Coal formation. Coal measures.
These terms are considered synonymous, and refer to the great deposit of coal in the older secondary rocks, which has been called the "independent coal formation." There are, however, deposits of carbonaceous matter in all the geological periods, and several of them might also be called coal formations.
Conformable. When strata are arranged parallel with each other, like the leaves of a book, they are said to be conformable. Other strata lying across the edges of these may be conformable among themselves, but unconformable to the first set of strata.
Conglomerate, Crag, or Puddingstone. Rocks composed of rounded masses, pebbles and gravel cemented together by a siliceous, calcareous, or argillaceous cement.
Cretaceous. Belonging to the chalk formation.
Crop out and out crop. Terms employed by geologists and mining engineers, to express the emergence of rock, in place, on the surface of the earth at the locality where it is said to crop out.
Crystaline. An assemblage of imperfectly defined crystals, like loaf sugar and common white marble.
Delta. Alluvial land formed at the mouths of rivers.
Denudation. A term used to express the bare state of the rocks over which currents of water have formerly swept, and laid the rocks bare, or excavated them to form valleys of denudation.
Deoxydize. To separate oxygen from a body.
Detritus and Debris. Broken and removed portions of rock which have been operated upon by waters or the atmosphere; frequently transported by currents to great distances.
Dykes. A kind of vein intersecting the strata, and usually filled with some unstratified igneous rock, such as granite, trap or lava. These materials are supposed to have been injected in a melted state into great rents or fissures in the rocks.
Diluvium and Diluvion. Deposits of bowlders, pebbles and gravel, which many geologists have supposed were produced by a diluvial wave or deluge sweeping over the surface of the earth.
Dip. Where strata are not horizontal, the direction in which their planes sink or plunge, is called the direction of the dip, and the angle of inclination, the angle of dip.
Dolomite. A magnesian limestone belonging to the primary class. It is usually granular in its structure, and of a friable
Dunes. Sands raised into hills and drifts by the wind.
Earth's Crust. The superficial parts of our planet which are accessible to human observation.
Embouchure. From the French, signifying mouth or entrance, (of a river.)
Eocene. The strata deposited during the oldest of the tertiary epochs, as for example, the Paris basin.
Estuaries. Inlets of sea into the land.
The tides and fresh
water streams mingle and flow into them.
Exuvia. In geology, fossil remains.
Fault. A dislocation of strata, at which the layers on one side of a dyke or fissure have slid past the corresponding ones on the other. These dislocations are often accompanied by a dyke. They vary from a few lines to several hundred feet.
Feldspar. One of the simple minerals, and next to quartz, one of the most abundant in nature.
Ferruginous. Containing iron ore.
Fluviatile. Belonging to a river.
Formation. A group of rocks which were formed during a particular period, or which are referred to a common origin.
Fossils. The remains of animals and plants found buried in the earth, or inclosed in rocks. Some of these are but slightVol. 1.