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riol, some alum and a mineral salt.”* Monconys, quoted by Reland, states that the water is extremely hot, having a taste of sulphur, mixed with nitre. Egmont and Heyman describe its quality as resembling that of the springs of Aix la Chapelle, so hot as not easily to be endured," and " so salt as to communicate a brackish taste to that of the lake near it." Volney relates that " for want of cleaning, it is filled with a black mud, which is a genuine Æthiops Martial,” and that “persons attacked by rheumatic complaints, find great relief, and are frequently cured by baths of this mud.”+ These statements are confirmed by Hasselquist, who says that "the water deposits a black sediment like paste, smelling strongly of sulphur, and is covered by two pellicles, one of a green, the other of a rusty color ;' the former being probably petroleum, and the latter an oxide of iron.
Near the western shore of the Dead Sea, Dr. Clarke states that he saw a mountain, “ resembling, in its form, the cone of Vesuvius, near Naples, having a crater upon its top, which was plainly discernible.”I Malte Brun remarks that " the valley of the Jordan offers many traces of volcanoes ; the bituminous and sulphurous water of Lake Asphaltites, the lavas and pumice thrown out on its banks, and the warm baths of Tabariah, show that this valley has been the theatre of a fire not yet extinguished ; volumes of smoke are often observed to escape from the lake, and new crevices are found on its margin."$ Maundrell, who is at all times worthy of the most implicit belief, relates that “when he arrived within half an hour of the Dead Sea, he found the ground uneven, and varied into hillocks, much resembling those places in England where there have been ancient lime-kilns ;" that “the Dead Sea is enclosed by very high mountains," and that on the shore of the lake he found a black sort of pebbles, which, being held in the flame of a candle, soon burn and yield a smoke of an intolerable stench, losing only of its weight, but not of its bulk by burning." "The hills bordering on the lake,” he observes, “ abound with this sort of sulphurous stones,” and he saw pieces of it two feet square,
* Pococke's Description of the East, Vol. II. p. 69.
Clarke's Travels, Vol. II. p. 374.
carved in basso relievo, and “polished to as great an extent as black marble is capable of."* Dr. R. R. Madden, a very intelligent English physician, and the same gentleman who lately testified at New Haven, in the case of the Amistad prisoners, observes that “the face of the mountains and of the country surrounding the Dead Sea, has all the appearance of a volcanic region ; and having resided for some years at the foot of Vesuvius, having visited Solfatara, Ætna, and Tromboli, I was tolerably conversant with volcanic productions. I have no hesitation in saying, that the sea which occupies the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah, Adma, Seboim, and Segor, covers the crater of a volcano. I must confess I found neither pumice-stone nor genuine black lava, but the soil was covered with white porous stone and red veined quartz, which had decidedly undergone combustion. At Ghor, native sulphur is found in considerable quantities beneath the soil ; the inflammable asphaltum, which forms a pellicle over the surface of the water on the western shore, arises from fissures in the rock on the opposite beach. On coming out of the water, I found my body coated with it, and likewise with an incrustation of salt about the thickness of a sixpence. At the northern extremity, the sea is fordable ; and here, the Arabs of Saba inform me, that there are hot springs bubbling up in the middle of the Bahr Luth, or Sea of Lot, as they call the Dead Sea. That species of phosphoric stone which is found in Tuscany, on the supposed site of a volcano, is found on the eastern side. I found large quantities of the fetid lime-stone, called stink-stone, on the western mountains; the recent fracture produces a strong smell of sulphuretted hydrogen. The basis of all the western shore is a calcareous rock mixed with silex. Two feet below the sandy surface of the earth, I found a stratum of red-veined quartz ; and below another stratum of lime-stone, a vein of reddish earth. Many of these substances are only found in volcanic countries ; at all events the rugged aspect of the mountains, the terrible ravines on either shore, the uncouth forms of the jagged rocks, all prove that the surrounding country has been the scene of some terrible convulsion of
* A Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem at Easter, 1697, by Henry Maundrell, M. A. p. 112.
nature."* The hills around Medina, in Arabia, Burckhardt considered as decidedly of volcanic origin, being of a bluish black color, very porous, yet heavy and hard, containing small white granules of other minerals. He describes the whole plain as blackened by the debris, by which it is overspread. The inhabitants informed him, that " in the 13th century an earthquake and volcanic eruption were experienced in that region, and that an immense black mass, resembling a city, with walls, battlements and minarets, burst forth east of the town, ascending towards heaven with a smoke that blackened the sky.” Numerous thermal springs are found along the road to Mecca, and between Syria and Yemen. According to Ali Bey, there are seven groups of volcanic hills near Jedeida in Arabia, of a black color, and resembling picturesque ruins. Several islands in the Red Sea have the same character. Near Suez Burckhardt found petroleum springs, which furnished large quantities of this mineral oil for purposes of commerce; it being carried to Egypt, where it is extensively employed as a remedy for rheumatism and sores. I Numerous specimens of petrified date trees were also found in this vicinity, some 20 or 30 feet in length, and ten inches in diameter.
THE DEAD SEA. A geological sketch of Palestine requires a more extended description of this celebrated sheet of water. It is called in Scripture the “ Sea of the Plain,” (Deut. 3: 17,) the “ Salt Sea," (Deut. 3:17, the “ East Sea," (Ezek. 47: 18, from its situation relative to Judea ; and by Josephus and the Greek and Latin writers generally, Lacus Asphaltites, from its supposed bituminous properties. In modern times, it has received the name of the Dead Sea, from a tradition that no living creatures can exist in its waters. The Arabs call it Bahar Loth, or the Sea of Lot; it also is known in Syria by the name of Almotanah; and occupies the southern extremity of the vale of Jordan, extending about 70 miles in length, and 20 in breadth at its broadest part. Near its
* Travels in Turkey, Egypt, Nubia, and Palestine, by R. R. Madden, p. 212.
+ Ali Bey's Travels in Asia Minor. | Burckhardt's Travels.
southern extremity is a ford, mentioned by Prof. Robinson, about six miles over, near the middle of which are warm springs. Chemical analysis has dispelled whatever of mystery there has been in respect to the nature of the waters of this lake, and we now know that it is very similar to the waters of saline springs, especially of those in volcanic districts. According to the analysis of the late Dr. Gordon, it contains of
Muriate of Lime, 3.920 per cent.
24.580 A bottle of water brought home by Dr. Madden, and analyzed, yielded, of
Chloride of Sodium, 9.58 per cent.
19.25 The saline matter amounts, therefore, to 19.25 per cent., be. sides containing a trace of Bromine ; a new substance lately discovered, by M. Balard, in the waters of the Mediterranean, and since, by the late Dr. Turner, in those of the Frith of Forth. According to Mr. Lyell, a hot spring rises through granite, at Saint Metaire, in Auvergne (France) in the region of the extinct volcanoes, which contains a large proportion of Muriate of Soda, with Magnesia and other ingredients, closely resembling the water of the Dead Sea.* Many springs in Sicily possess similar properties; and some of the brine springs of Cheshire (England), of this State,f and of the valley of the Mississippi, are also very analogous in their
* Lyell's Geology, Vol. I. p. 209.
+ There is a small lake two miles east of Manlius Centre, about 20 rods south of the Erie Canal in the State of NewYork, which is called Lake Sodom. The water tastes like the Harrowgate waters. This is supposed by some geologists, to be the crater of an ancient volcano,
composition. “The waters of the Dead Sea,” says Lyell, “ contain scarcely any thing except Muriatic Salts, which lends countenance, observes Dr. Daubeny, to the volcanic origin of the surrounding country, these salts being frequent products of volcanic eruptions.”* Pococke had a bottle of the waters of the Dead Sea analyzed, the result of which was similar to those above given. In 1778, Messrs. Lavoisier, Macquer and Sage, repeated the analysis, and found that 100 lbs. of water contained 45 lbs. six ounces of saline and earthy ingredients. Its specific gravity is 1.211, that of fresh water being 1000. It is perfectly transparent, contains no Alumine nor Bitumen, as is generally supposed, for bitumen is insoluble in water. It is not fully saturated, as salt requires twice and a half its weight of water at a temperature of 60° for solution ; but it is much stronger than any saline springs in this country. It also differs from our brine springs, by containing a greater proportion of Chloride of Magnesium, and less Sulphate of Lime, which is very abundant in our saline waters.
The strongest saline spring in this State is the Liverpool well near Syracuse.t The specific gravity of this water is only 1.114, while that of the Dead Sea is 1.211.-1000 grains of water from this well yielded 149.54 grs. of dry solid matter, while the latter yield 41 per cent. when the residuum is dried with a temperature of 180 Fahrenheit. The following table will exhibit the comparative strength of the waters of the Dead Sea, and the saline springs of the United States, rejecting the magnesia and other earthy ingredients. Of the Dead Sea, 33 gallons of brine give 1 bushel of salt. At Onondaga, 45
do. Muskingum, 50 do.
do. Grand River, (Ark.) 80 do.
do. Kenawha, (Va.) 75
do. Of Sea Water, 350
do. Boon's Lick,
do. Shawneetown, (III.) 280
do. Jackson, (Ohio,) 213
do. * Lyell's Geology, Vol. I. p. 209. + Beck's Geological Report, 1838.