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New Wealth From the Sea

By William Briggs

m A LIFORNIANS have already assumed a place among the ex

solved the problem of ports of the port of San Pedro. The fact the alchemists and are that San Pedro is a lively and thriving making gold out of sea port, with almost no outgoing cargoes, water. The Golden makes the development of this trade both State has taken golden easy and important. Since the first of treasure out of her last year the coasting schooners returning

mountains, has made to the northern coast have taken away her valleys yield millions of dollars worth over a thousand tons of this sea salt. of golden fruit, has amassed tourist gold The location chosen for the "salt in exchange from her sunshine, and now ranch" is the tide-flats, lying between turns to the great lazy Pacific and ran- San Pedro and Long Beach, where foursacks its coffers.

teen hundred acres of this land, which is There is no rush of prospectors to the partly submerged at high tide, is now new field, however, as the gold is coming utilized. This land is divided into lakes of out of the sea in the form of salts of po- different levels, inclosed by fourteen miles



tassium, magnesium and bromide, which of dikes. The earth used in building the would elude the pan and the rocker of dikes and the soil below are of a good the prospector.

quality of fire clay, which effectually preOf several “diggings” of this nature, vents seepage from the retaining tanks. one at least is active and prosperous and Thirteen lakes of from thirty-five to two one is approaching activity. The San Pe- hundred and eighty acres in extent and dro Salt Company, which recently en- from five to eight feet in depth serve as tered into the field, has succeeded in man- the first receiver of salt water. The lowufacturing a quantity and quality of salt er levels controlled by tide gates are which has found a ready market and has flooded when the tide is in. From these

[graphic][merged small]

levels the water is 5
pumped through flumes
discharging ten thou-
sand gallons a minute,
night and day during
the four months of the
year when the dryness
of the air makes rapid
evaporation possible.
From these big ponds
the water which, by
evaporation has be-
come a supersaturated
brine, is pumped into
forty-four crystallizing
ponds, which are each

HEAPS OF THE PRODUCT. an acre in extent and inclosed by stone walls. These vats have used in meat packing, to the fine powder a capacity of fifteen hundred tons each.. of the confectioners.

When the evaporation is complete, the Experiments in the manufacture of byvats are full of the great white crystals products, such as the salts of magnesium which at a distance look like snow. and bromine are being carried on, but Acres of this salt heaped up ready for commercial salt is the only present outfurther reduction give the eye a pronipt put on a large scale. A growing demand assurance of the magnitude of the work. for the chloride of magnisium points to

Cars from the field bring the rough a most lucrative market, and it is beproduct to the mill, where it is washed lieved that eventually the manufacture of in fresh water, and raised to a tempera- by-products will be the chief source of inture of 360 degrees, which volatilizes the come from the reduction of sea salt. many impurities and forms the last step At San Diego, near the Mexican borin manufacture. The oxidation of mag- der, another scheme for making money nesium chloride by this high tempera- from the sea has been brought forth and ture leaves a salt which has little tend is said to have substantial backing. This ency to cake and absorb moisture, a qual project looks toward the manufacture of ity of definite commercial value. Grind- salts of potassium from seaweed or kelp. ing, sifting and packing are done at the Before the development of the extenmill, fourteen grades of salt being pro- sive deposits at Stassfurt, the "Salt Garduced, ranging from the coarse rock dens” of the French coast were mainly relied upon for potashes, and of recent decomposition of nitrogenous constituyears the tremendous demands upon ents, and distilled and charred in vats the German fields have led to a re- with a resulting distillation which will newed search for new sources of these separate the volatile portions. salts.

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The non-volatile residue in the heating Our western coasts, within the ten fath- chambers consists chiefly of alkaline om line, have immense fields of rank fuci chlorides intimately mixed with the caror kelp which contain large percentages bon resulting from the decomposition of of potassium salts, one variety yielding organic parts of the weeds. This is nearly half its dry weight of pure potas- coarsely ground, packed in percolators, sium chloride. These plants though and the soluble portions removed by lixigrowing in the midst of great quantities viation with water The resulting soluof sodium salts do not assimilate them, tion should be colorless and contain albut absorb and store up great quantities most exclusively alkaline salts. Evapoof potassium salts.

ration gives the “muriate of potash of The first step of the process which it commerce. is proposed shall be used for extracting Iodine, caesium, dubidium, and brothese salts, consists of drying the great mine are possible by-products from the coarse weeds on the sunny, rainless reduction of kelp, and with the constantly beeches of San Diego Bay. The kelp widening field of industrial chemistry will then be cut up into small pieces and there is no lack of markets for such dusted with lime to ensure the speedy wares.

War Against the Silent Death

By W. G. Fitz-Gerald

173 ZAST year the number of ized warfare is waged upon India's F

men, women and children myriads of reptiles, and in each dis-
who met a terrible death in trict a regular head-tax is paid upon each
India from the bite of poi- cobra and other snake killed.
sonous snakes amounted to Last year the number of snakes de-

25.837. Besides this there stroyed was 762,221, for which rewards were about 4,500 killed by wild animals— amounting to nearly 57,000 rupees were chiefly tigers; to say nothing about paid. The greatest destruction to life 66,000 cattle. Every conceivable meas appears to have been in Bengal, where ure has been taken to mitigate this ap- 11,131 people were killed, and nearly palling annual destruction, but as statis- 1,000 cattle. In this Province alone 55,tics show, with little avail.

054 poisonous snakes were destroyed. The venomous snakes of India most The officials charged with this curious destructive of life may be placed in the work were scattered over the whole vast following order: First of all comes the area, from the Himalayas to Southern deadly cobra, responsible for nearly nine- Madras, including Bombay Provinces ; tenths of the fatalities; and then the the North West Provinces, and Oudh; krait, kuppur, Russell's viper, the hama- the Punjab, Central Provinces, Burma, dryas, and Raj-samp. The water-snakes Assam, Hyderabad, and others. kill a good many, as we shall see, but they The "war” is waged by rousing Inare comparatively rare. A regular organ- dia's millions from their apathy, giving




them minute descriptions of the more poi- Some of them, like the cobra, lay eggs, sonous varieties of snake, and inciting while the hydrophidae bring forth their them to go out into the jungle and kill- young alive. The reptiles are most prowith the certainty that their labor will not lific, and no sooner is one deadly cobra only reduce the number of tragedies, but killed than another deposits twenty or also bring a little money to them.

thirty white leathery eggs in some warm That great work the “Thanatophidia" place to be hatched by natural heat. of India tells the villagers how to distin- They will eat anything from their own guish the venomous from the harmless species to vegetables. As to their appear

ance and method of life, bewildering differences make the work of hunting and killing them most difficult. The tree and grass snakes are colored exactly like the vegetation they frequent; and innocent and poisonous forms are found among them. There are burrowing snakes, and reptiles that frequent both fresh and salt water. Curiously enough, the latter are all venomous, while fresh-water snakes are quite harmless. Poisonous varieties have fewer teeth than the others, and are provided with a long tubular poison-fang, actuated by mechanism of exquisite delicacy. There is a special muscular arrangement for opening and closing the mouth and at the same time compressing

the poison-gland, thereDANCING TO THE PIPE.

by injecting the venom

through the tubular snakes, thus rendering it easy to avoid or fang into the body of the victim. destroy them. The head-money varies The poison glands are all shapes and from two annas to ten annas, according to sizes. In the callophis they are elongated, the species. Unfortunately the offering whilst in the cobra they are of the size of this snake money has in many cases and shape of an almond. The virus is a led to the breeding of snakes on regular transparent slightly viscid fluid, not unorganized "farms.” A very sharp look- like glycerine, a faint yellow in color. out, however, is kept upon this nefarious When dry it forms a crystal substance industry by local migistrates.

like gum arabic. Snakes are pretty generally distributed Some of the natives of India make the over the globe, but tropical countries are cobras secrete their virus in quantities most richly supplied ; the hotter the by making a fresh vigorous snake bite a country, the more venomous the snakes, leaf stretched across a mussel shell.

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