The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) Oct. 15, 1899

bill_goodman Member Photo

Clipped by bill_goodman

The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) Oct. 15, 1899 - LOUISIANA lifCKALTv One of tli-. Most1....
LOUISIANA lifCKALTv One of tli-. Most1. Important luaexal ':: v Dpot of.tiiw EUto. ' 'r.-:: ; ItjEnraM Bes001" and Develop- . :. ' iar Feasibilities. Historical Facts nJid;tae Joseph JeffeWnVl&Uiior Ilm a Be posit of Salt Thousands of Feet Deep. ' r- BEAUMONT. Tex., Oct. 9, 1809. Jifitor New aOrIean ;Xlcayune"; Jear SirThe Inclosed Is paper on Louisiana Rock Bait, read byftne TOderalgned -be fore the American Institute of Mining Englneera at its annual meeting Just closed in California, ? being part of Its yearly . "trsnsactlons." As this prsctically Is tlhe only up-to-date paper published on the subject before a technical body, and owing to the extended recent developments of the Louisiana rock salt resources. It naa been suggeated that its publication In a leading Louisiana paper may be Of interest to the state and Its citizens, especially owing to the fact that Louisiana salt bids fair to become a very important item In supplying the enormous demand in the United States wltb this anost Important of all minerals, and also owing to the fact, that thla la the leading mineral resource of Louisiana. Therefore, the author begs leave to contribute his quota to your consideration. A. F. LUCAS, Mining Engineer. The rock salt ' deposit of Petite Anse, In Louisiana, has been known for many years. A description of it, with an account of the method pursued In Its exploitation, was contributed In 1S88 to the Transactions of the Institute by Mr. Richard A. Pomeroy. But this locality does not ' by any means comprise the whole of the resources of the state In rock salt. A few months ago the writer published a general account of all the Louisiana localities now known, together with particulars concerning their technical aad commercial development. In view of the fact that active enterprises In this ! line have increased in number, and promise to constitute an Important, if not controlling factor in the supply of salt for the immense demand of the United States (including, as it does, the consumption of this mineral as a raw material In chemical manufactures), the present paper has been prepared. While It necessarily contains much of the substance of the article above mentioned. It la accompanied with illustrations and details not heretofore published. Moreover, the former article la out of print, the publishers having no coplea left of the number of their journal in whidh it appeared, and the writer is therefore warranted In the belief chat a paper placing the essential facts on record In a form more permanently accessible to mining engineers will be acceptable to the members of the Institute. TUB DEPOSITS. Up to the present time four deposits of rock salt have been discovered In Louisiana, occupying a series of so-called Islands.' situated tn a northwest and southeast line on the gulf coast. Beginning on the northwest, they are: First Jefferson island, about 800 acres in extent (though more than 8000 seres of surrounding land . belong to the prop- -SecondPetlte Ansa i (1800 acres), six miles tn an air-line southeast of Jefferson. - i; - Third 43rand Cote (about 8000 acres), seven miles southeast from Petite Anse. Fourth Cote Blanche (about 2000 acres), ten miles southesst from Grand Cote. (No exploratlona have ' been made , on tbis island.) . . - i . Fifth Belle Iaie (800 acres, with highland and marsh pastures, making an aggregate area of about 8000 acres), fifty miles from Cote Blanche. Thla - Island Is bounded by Atchafalaya bay and two large tributaries thereof, known as Wsx and Doctor bayous. It Is really the only one of the list which can be serious' y considered aa an. Island. The othera are divided from the maritgr mainland by bayous only a few feet wide, and spanned by bridges of Insignificant lengtn. access to wnicn is given oy low embankments through the marsh. . Yet the term "Islands" is ins tilled for sll of them by Che circumstance that they rlae rrom so to xeet aoove tne surrounding marshes. Which are nearly ail tide level. SO to 250 feet above the surrounding marshes, which are nearly at tide leveu HISTORT. These elevations form the most con spicuous landmarks for hundreds of miles along the coast of the gulf of Mexico, sad niavea an lmnonanc part m u oyvr- atlona of the buccaneers of the letter part of the eighteenth century, ana ox the transition period extending into the piesent century, during which Louisiana passed from Spain to France and from VnnM tn the flnlted States.. The favor able location of Bella islSa m the waters of Atchafalaya bay, made It the rendez vous OX tne xamous yirmie, sjuhiv, iou hia companions, early in thla century. Nnmimna imnds are still afloat con cerning treasure buried by these adventurers on some part of the Island, and the existence in tne neirnoonag oayoue of sundry old wrecks, popularly believed to be relics of the buccaneer fleet, baa confirmed the traditional conviction of the old Spanish and French Creole inhabitants of the region. Oecaaiaily mldnlrht expeditions are still maue by the possessors of ancient yellow parch ment maps, treasures as xanuiy . uor-looms, and priceless. If they were only nreele! The adventurers dig pits and trenches, generally near some giant live-oak, but there is no authentic record of their success, though there are current reports of some mythical M. Leblano or Lenoir who suddenly became rich. and. of course, owed his wealth to the dis covery of the secret . noara ox Lafitte. Th reel bidden treasure waa entirely overlooked unttL in 1S62. rock salt was accidentally discovered within 20 feet of the surface, at Petite Anse, by a negro, digging a well. The confederate government took possession of the deposit, and worked it until the anion forces, attacking by land and sea, destroyed the works. They were not rebuilt until 1879, when a mmnigr of Charleston and St. Loots capitalists leased the property This csnv paay maue a ouu sum misuse ra spending much money for dredging bay-ma. , cuttlna -canals and - establishing a fleet of achooners and bargesr for a system of transportation which ' Involved three . handlings of tbe product, aa well as serious interruptions, due to the grounding of barges on the mud Bats, and the consequent obstruction, of -the bayoua, before the loading of the schooners In the bay- The company waa finally wnttrrmA lata the New Iberia Salt Com pany, -having Its. headquarters In i New York, wnlch induced the Morgan' Louisiana and . tfexsa, itailnoed. 4jiow part of the Atlantic system of the Southern Pa cific) to.-balld abranen, -ten - mile loag, from New Iberia, on its mala line; to the salt 1 mlne-an .- arrangement - which has r.n . aatUfjrtorr - transportation "ever since. Concerning the methods of explo ration and exptos iw pmrsuea st tne petite Awe (or A. very) mtae, -something will be said under a aeparate heading below. .. - : ; . .. . .. This mine had so rival : la Louisiana from 1879 until 1896, when salt waa discovered by Mr. Joseph. Jefferson, the veteran American actor, upon the Bear est Island, some seven milea to the north vest, which be had owned for many rears. v and which, formerly known aa iuir'a island.' bad been aimed bv him Orange ialand. en aecouat ef the exten sive orange grovea una piantea th it is now called Jefferson island. and . the nearest railroad station, about two sniiea away, as soa Acres, sir. Jer-Imuil lmDressed with the belief that mineral wsters of some kind existed under the hill upon which hia house stood, made repeated attempts, during his periodical winter visits, to bore artesian wells. At laat the writer took charge of the boring, which resulted, in lfc&d. In the discovery, at the depth of 2" feet, of ft TDarullcent bed of rock-salt. This discovery waa followed by BTstematic exrloratons, detenalcicr a tone, wittia which rck-salt was enewnn- I r -a a. " - a. . , terea at irca w ees ixc-i t t .r- by boring on Belle isle and Grand Cote, face. In 1887 the writer found rock-salt I GEOLOGICAL FEATURES. . The areoloaical formation of tbis sertea of Islands - is undoubtedly onatemary, while - the salt deposits belong to the terOary period, and are snoDoeed to rest on the cretaceous. . With the exception of 3 feet or more of rich loam, constituting the subsoil, all ' the Islands are covered with drift sand of the Lafayette and Port Hadsoa Formations. (HUgard's f'RMiAlinAliiunM ' ne 1 I L Durlnr the explorations on Belle Isle. the substratum of the southeast part of the island, down to the rock-salt, waa sound to be heavily lmoreraated wita i petroleum, and several calcareous strata containing considerable brimstone -were encountered, - Suggesting 1 that more thorough explorations may develop snipnnr deposit - use . . the arrest Calcasieu deposit with this . lm poTtant difference, that the Calcasieu suiDnnr deposit is overlain by hundreds of feet of impassable nuickaand, while the ground at Belle Isle Is practically hard and dry. - - In boring to the salt, the auger oasses occasionally through mud lumpa. or "iob-10117," na Mt times, through thin strata of lignite. . Just before reaching the salt, a crust of conglomerate, or "hard pan,' is encountered, . wnicn is sometimes so hard as to offer considerable resistance to - the tools ' . . v In- some Instances gravel was found, which resisted the descent of the stand Sipe, and compelled the operator to re-uce the . diameter of the bore hole. METHODS AND RESULTS OF EXPLO-. RATION AND EXPLOITATION. Contrary to logical order, the exnlolta- tlon.-ef Louisiana rockaait ttreceded systematic exploration. It was assumed at feme Anse mat tne deposit was a hOTisontal bed; and the shaft sunk by the first operators (indeed, the only shaft ever successfully sunk at Petite Anse) wsb unfortunately located in a basin surrounded by hills, and receiving the drainage .of a considerable area. This snail was carried slxtr feet into the salt, and stopping was then done to the height of thirty-five or forty feet, leaving too thin a mass of the salt for a rooc. It was soon found that cracks existed In this roof, through which the percolation 01 suriace water, cuttma- the salt tike a knife, and also carrying with It large amounts of sand, caused serious expense and trouble. In fact, besides these items of labor and cost, immense cavlngs, from which the mine never recovered, were due to this cause. Duriar the writer'a administration of tbis mine, numerous attempts were msde to prevent or retard this csvlng such im construction oz mattresses 01 timber and brush, leaves, bsgging, etc, which proved only temporarily effective. It became necessary at last to check the destructive caving by building a series of cribbings snd shelves, and filling up fir auuiuiruis Willi well IfXli OX 81UU. When a spring or water coarse was definitely apparent, it waa led out of narm s way in troughs. At the same time, rank grasses were planted on the surface. In the hope thst their roots would hold the oil together. These devices can scarcely be satd to hsve remedied COm-Dletelv the orleinal error of exploitation; and at the present time ui wora is camea on in a desultory wsy only, it is. however, reported that Mew xork comoanv will sank a nw shaft, and erect a new plant, for the proper development of this deposit. xieiore aescriDing tne methods oX working st the other Louisiana, mtnea. sn account of the processes and results of exploration employed will be in order. Methods of Exploration The explorations on Jefferson island were conducted by the so-called "jetting" system. A 6-Inch pipe waa forced down with a pile driver as far as It would go; then the tivuuu oeiow, m tne axis or the pipe, was pierced with a jet from a 2-inch pipe; then the lining waa "telescoped" vriin a -mcn pipe, driven through and beyond the 6-Inch pipe; and this process was repeated, reducing tho lMnr nirwa to 2.5-lnch diameter, and so on, until the salt waa reached. This method proved slow and exnensrre. and tnniri special uncertainties, by reason of the impossibility of knowing exactly at what depth, the - salt would be encountered. xn some instances, ror example, tha writer found the surface of the salt bed tO dlD nearly ISO feet In ltatania af 600 feet from a point where It had been suremqy rcacncd py Doting, in fact, this mm, ivnuuiia aim - not - ue m undisturbed stratification, like, those of old New York and Kansas, but seems to .7. f0,1 snd contorted while ntUI'ln plsatlC' condition a history, of which the evidences a til I remain in-thai marks on the walls of the excavated chambers, comparable to the "graining" of quartered oak. walnut or mahogany. - au ciiunui oeiie- iaie and tirand Cote, the deposit wss sounded by a more effective and economical method of sinking through drift sand. A 4 or 6-lnch pipe, with a simple cotter (made by ''ragging" the edge of a sleeve) at the lower end, is driven downward with a constantly revolving motion, while water is forced through it by means of a "circulating pump," connected by hose with aj'wet awlvel" at the top of the pipe. When It Is necessary to add a new length of pipe, the length slready In place Is w rcsi. on uw -ssip tongues against the sleeves, and (care being taken to make sore that the connectinaa involve are In proper condition and clean) the swivel Is quickly unscrewed from the standing pipe, and a new length, already poroTided at Its top with, a swivel and hose connection to the namn. is screwed In: after which the pump, which has been slacked for a moment, resumes its normal work. It Is highly Important that this ooeratlon ahonld ha nnMit performed, as a stopppsge or prolonged diminution of the water pressure In the noie msy permit tne caving of sand and mUCk. tmaklnsr thm rtrvnlatlnn ureen nands ret drenched in mak ing tne connections, until they learn by experience the Importance of celerltv. In case of the choking of the ciroJUtlon, it may e re-eataoiianed by alternately raising and lowering, the whole line of pipe. If this fails, the pipe Is "Jacked" out. In order to save It. Instances have oc curred, however, in the writer'a exnerl. enca, xn wnicn tae sand neid the line or pipe so agntiv tnat it parted at its weakest point, rather than come out. With nroner tnlnlnr of work-men. nah difficulties mar be measnrablv avoided. and the risk of their occurrence Is not fxeat enough to offset the advantagea of he system, by means of which the writer nas been awe to go through as much ss sou xeet ox on it. and reach tne salt bed. xn less loan eigne a ours. rnA aair wuwair ia vya.. waaAfhajv the original stand-ohe is "telescooed' V .MW .WW . I I. SC4BW.. witn s s-inca casing, a neat loint beimr maae oy -cnoppinr ' a xoot or two into the rock, and the hole Is then ready for tn diamond ann. wnicn is used to test the depA and character of the salt de posit. This system (unless arravel or other Impedimenta be encountered) is fsr superior in economy ox pipe, xanor ana ddr 10 tne jetting system nrsc ae- scrlbed. The diamond drlH used In these explor ations wss of style B. furnished by the Sulfirsn Machinery Company, of Chicago. Ul., aad, though rougmy - nanaiea ana ahlfTad from nlace to Dlace for three rears, reauired practically no repairs dur ing that period. This la, perhaps, the more remacsame, axnee xae water osea n thadrlllior waa saturated brine, the use nt wbbh. in this work, is necessary to prevent the diminution, oy soiunon, ox the -1 15-16-inch core obtained by drill ing, and also to prevent tne enlargement, by the same cause, of the 2 1-2-lnca hole made by the bit, and the consequent "flapping" of the rod at considerable - The purpose of exploration la to deter mine for each deposit, first, the position of the point nearest to the surface; sec- f h . a m , iiM the ooerStlons mjf Hm j m kaivj aava. ss srw mm-m wbv r of raining will be limited; thirdly, the most -'advantageous iociuob xor and: Che nature of the ground through which it would have to pass; and, fourthly fby'meana of cores from the diamond drtH). the duality of Che salt rock la that locantr. -. - -.- - ' Besnlta '""'of Exploration The general re-ra invaart rations at Jefferson. Petite Anse. Grand Cote and Belle Isle, respectively haa been to demonstrate the exj letence of relatively small snd Isolated beds of Ue best rock salt thus far discovered on this continent, i ail of which are accessible by shafts for mining, " The term "small" applies to their horizon tal aM v!. . What they lack m thla re spect, as compared with other known deposits, is overwhelmingly , mds ap In their depth. Repeated attempts have been made, wlcboat success, to reach, this Lower limit bv dee boriars, In one inr stance s note was bored by the author, on Jefferson Island, to the depth f 2100 feet-without passing througn tne saic, ii vitiunt tiadhtr la it lev intercalated atrata ef foreign saaterial to mar Its purity. This U the more remarxaDie. xa view of the fact that all other rock sslt beds known in the United states ue iwu feet or more below the surface, sndi Show lajare of malt from 2 to IS feet . thick, alternatiar with or bounded by . Ume-stome. sandstone, . gypsum, shale, etc, wtkn xnake the luusedUte product of ir'lo mart or less iir"nre. - 'ins advsnt f t-e Losttaa da- rosi:j coiilst- tirc.;re, la taeir neax- to the surface. their exceptional Sorlty (numerous analyses, taken at ran-om, show aa average of from 88 to W per cent of .sodium cizioride), and the practicability ox mininr them as simple underground quarries, without fear of the incidental extraction - of foreign -ma- teriaia, to the injury of the product. These advantaees are to aome extent counterbalanced by the presence of the overlylnr drift sand, wbich necessitates expensive water-right shafts to reach the deposit. t snd renders -expedient, -for the security ox the mine workings, to begin by sinking at leaat 200 or 80u feet la the deposit. In order to obtain. in , the ab sence of other solid rock roof, a sufficient caiocneae or tne salt rtseiz. Ajiother oresent dlaadvantare msv he considered to lie In - - the - circumstance that the Louisiana salt mining Industry is-deDendent . nnon a aina-io rKr Una for transportation to IU principal market In the northwest. The depth st which salt Is reached varies la toe1 different deposits. At PetUe Aoae it seems to do smaller than else-ysefe. - 0n Jefferson Island it varies from SO to 845 feet, and atmUar variational are than at ilrand f Ata nl n.!i. It Can SCarC lv b Ren,l fha tf a unknown denrh. this arroim at Ann tm ta connected with a continuous stratum of sait, waich may possibly extend as far as Ballne. In -thav nnrfhanat.n nav of Texaa, where brine is pumped, and some evaporating plants are located; Present y Methods oX Working The mines are operated by the ehamber-and-pillar system, and the salt Is excavated by undercutting. When jthe ahaft has reached a depth of, say, 230 Xeet or more below the anex of the denoait. atatlona are opened, and an undercut 7 feet high. xace 01 o ieet, is commenced, when this has advanced, say, 200 or 300 feet, the roof la attacked and blasted down to the height of about 20 feet. After the removal of the salt thus won. there remains a chamber, say. 7S feet Wide by 200 feet lanr and 'Jit ft hian In Which the roof Is again broken down to the final helrht of 7l rt in th n. fl nd f mt tn pilU'rs oh either X..' 'c"Ting a natural area or rock salt, which hrs proved cajiable of resisting fT overlying weight, as well as prevent- " mai ox sunace waters. - - i This final excavation la net-fnrmauf. arlrh the aidof tripods, msde of short Udders, upon which a temporary scaffold is erected for men snd machines. A battery of holes, 10 tfeet deep. Is drilled near the brow of the chamber and along Its whole j' , cnargeo witn low explosives. The ladders snd machines are then re uovea ana tne salt blasted down. . on the I Dtle Of this materlaL naw asafrnlr!!nar Is erected t and the operation of drilling and blasting is . repeated, until tne da- sired height of roof is rescued. Loose blocks or chips are carefully - removed from the final roof, so as to leave a safely solid mass; and the ' chamber is then abandoned. Urerr anh rhamhar 200 feet long by 75 feet wide and 65 feet in average neignt. yields about OO.OW tona of salt, mined without the use of a single stick of timbering. Pillars 60 feet square are left between chambers. Whenever a given level sttau nave been worked out on this plan, it will only be necessary to sink the anazt another hundred feet and repeat ths operations described. It need scarcely be said that these great vaulted chambers, with their piers snd arches of pure crystalline salt, pre sent, especially wnen acintiiiating unoer the strong illumination of a calcium or electric light, a moat Impressive appear. ance, not paralleled by underground views in ordinary mines. Xuey mirht easily be fancied to nave been the subterranean resi dence! of the mastodons, the bones of which are so frequently found ia overlying drift. The first undercut of sslt Is well shattered by blaaUng, snd goes to the mill to be ground fine. The first and second roof-blasting furnish pieces of solid rock, which are aet aside nnder sheds, to be aerated or weathered before being shlp- fed for "cattle" purposes. All finer stuff s "grist;" snd as. by reason of the uniform purity of the salt, no sorting or purification Is required, every pound. o( sail xuiuea is a pouna soia. In a nrooerly conducted mine, 'two chambers should be alwsys worked simul taneously, since one undercut aions would not supply tne coarser- graaes. wniie one cnamoer ia oeinr undercut, us other, with Its roof partly down, equalises the proportions of the different sixes reauired xor steady ODerauona. It is not necessary 1 to describe the crushing and alzinr of xhe product. It is all equally pure, snd If subjected only to socn operations as wiu recommend it to the various branches of trade. The coarsest crushed salt Is used principally by beef and pork packers; the second and third sizes are larxely employed In salt ing-hides. In refrigerating, etc.; and there are four grades of still higher fineness, produced by grinding with emery-wheels. screening and mowing, wnicn nave tnexr several uses, ths finest being table salt. COMMERCIAL ENTEBPRISES, PBES- ENI AND PBOSPKCnVBJ. Two comnsnles are now - engaged In erecting plants for the mining and mar keting of salt. j. One of these is the Gulf Company, operating on Belle Isle, and composed of capitalists in uaicago ana tne nortnwest. Its plant Is well sdvanced, and. having been executed with the aid of ample means, embodies, both above and under ground, the best arrangements and devices that can be adopted by a skillful and far-sighted management for the pro duction and handling or a large tonnage. A spsclous canal has been cut, through which large steamboats can come directly to the great warehouse, so that steamers and barges can be mechanically loaded. Aa the main ahaft la only 60O feet from the warehouse, the facilities for cheaply handling a large output are evidently complete. The snart, 1 wnicn nas taree compartments. Is now 400 feet deep, or 805 feet In solid and pure rock salt; and the hoisting machinery is of adequately large capacity. The mill Is nearly finished, as is likewise a large evaporating plant, to be used in enabling the company (aided bv its nroximltv to New Orleans! to compete with imported ersporsted sslt. The plant comprises also a narrei factory, saw mill, large electric plant, barges, and a number of steamboats, one of which Is larger than any on the Mississippi. The other company referred to ta erecting a large new plant on Petite Anse. The Averr Salt Mining Company, formed in July. 1898, by the owners of the island upon- tne surrender of the lesse held by the laat operators, Messrs. Myles & Co., has been absorbed by the Betsof Company, of New York, which is now operating this Interesting property, retaining the name of the Avery Company. Messrs. Myles V Co., after surrendering, in July, 1898. their lease on Petite Anse, organised the Myles Sslt Company, to o dc rate uoon Grand Cote island, where Hthev had already' be run ia April. 1898. tne sinking or a snaiu -xais operation naa been hindered by the occurrence of quick-ssnd Just above the sslt.' which has thus far prevented the estsbllshment of the tight "seal", between the shaft and the aalt rock, required to prevent the entrance of surface waters. In order to complete a commercial enterprise, this company will have to build about five miles of railroad across the marshes, to Loaiss, the present terminal of the Cypremont branch of the Southern Pacific system. . . - . Jefferson Island is not nnder active development- Mr. Jefferson haa decided to leave the property, for the present, aa it la. Of sll these deposits. Belle Isle is by far the best located, geographically, being adjacent to deep water transportations and undoubtedly It will command : not only the gulf coast trade, bat may become s serious competitor on the Atlantic wast ss welL Belle Isle is located thirty miles from Morgan City, on the Southern Pacific Railway. . and about fifty miles from Indian Tillage, on the Texaa Pacific Ball way, two strong - competing- lines. Besides, the Plaquesaine locks are being hastened to completion by the government and a short-cut inlet will soon be msde into the Mississippi river, opposite Baton Bonge. Prom this point barges can be towed .to New Orlesns. Memphis, 8C Louis, Cincinnati, etc The company proposes to transfer the bulk of its product by means of floating elevators, aa practiced la New York, Buffalo, -eta By - such means. it will not only et the benefit 'of water transportation, but will be able to make Its own transfer on the cars direct to any point in the north or west. -J v JESUITS' CxTCH.CH. The annual Tetreat for men win take place this week. The public services will ?L. .aia in fne Jesuits Church, Bsronse. near Common street, Wednesday, Tkujrs- A iMAmr 0t- It IV ami v. commencing punctually at 7:30 o ciorie e-ch evenlna-Ber. icYrtui bS will t reach fhe sermon, wnlcb wux o Tlowedbr benedictlo. of the most blsed sacrament. . - i n retreat wi.j v---w 22. st the 1 eVlock All seats free, . ." I .f

Clipped from
  1. The Times-Picayune,
  2. 15 Oct 1899, Sun,
  3. Page 11

bill_goodman Member Photo
  • The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) Oct. 15, 1899

    bill_goodman – 27 May 2013

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in