We commence a series of articles this week, on boring for water, (which will be illustrated with wood engravings in our usual style), and which we are sure will prove very acceptable and interesting' to many of our readers. Artesian wells are so named because the operation ot boring is practiced to reach the water, and i-'this practice was carried on anciently with great success, in the province of Artois, in France. They differ from the common well in not being dug of a large diameter into the spring, but to a certain distance above it, and then bored with a hole of small diameter, down to the spring, which rises up and overflows. In any case, where boring for water is attempted, the water must lie under some impermeable strata, of a basin-like structure, for if such disposition exists, it follows, that when this strata is perforated, the water will rise to a height corresponding to the hydrostatic pressure. It is, therefore, only under certain conditions of geological structure, that Artesian wells can succeed. Figuie 1 is a diagram of geological conditions requisite for Artesian wells ; a a is an impervious or retentive stratum, as clay ; b b a pervious or water-bearing stratum of gravel or sand below it ; both of them resting upon another impervious bed, c c. If the clay be pierced by small borings, as at II and e, the water will rise to the surface or above it. Fig. 1 In some places the basin is of such a geological character that water may be obtained at various depths, and in quantity and quality, according to the strata in which the waters are contained. This is exhibited in figure 2. An Artesian well, sunk at the point A, would first raise the water passing into the smallest basin, whieh would perhaps be inconsiderable in quantity. On reaching the second basin, the volume ot' water would be increased, and, on penetrating to the third, or lowest basin, the whole body of water passing into the rims or gravel of all the valleys would be obtained. If the well were sunk at the point, B, the waters of the two larger basins would be obtained, and if sunk, injudiciously, at the point, C, so as to pass through the bottom of the great basin, the latter would be emptied far below the surface, and the labors and hopes of the operator frustrated. FIG 2. ' Quite a number of artesian wells have been sunk in Alabama, and Marengo County, in that State, is supposed to have contained, at one time, a large lake, where several water basins, below one another, as shown in fig. 2, are said to exist. The first margins of the lake are represented by a a. This lake had been p.artially filled up, or its bed shifted by natural causes, when it contracted within a smaller space, and was bounded by the shores, b and b. A second change occurring, reduced the lake to the dimensions indicated by the marginal letters, c and c, and finally the lake became entirely dry, and formed the little valley between its recent shores. Some time ago Prof. C. S. Hale furnished a very interesting article to the “ Mobile Tribune,” on the Geological basin of Alabama in reference to Artesian wells. The first or upper stratum is 150 feet ot mottled clay and sand ; the second is 150 feet of limestone ; the third, 25 feet of yellow sand ; the fourth, 15 feet of a clay oyster bed ; the fifth, 70 feet of marly limestone; the sixth, 20 feet of a clay oyster bed ; the seventh, 15 feet of sand; the eighth, 40 feet of lignite and clay bed. the ninth, 500 feet of blue marly limestone and the tenth a bed of sand. Here, then' there are three water basins or seams, as shown in fig: 2, for well boring. To reach the lowest water stratum, above, only about 300 feet have to be bored through. Quite a number ot such wells have recently been sunk in Alabama, and at Millwood, in that State (near Greensboro) , Dr. Withers has a mill supplied with six Artesian wells, which are in depth frdin 300 to 600 feet, and afford a supply o1 about 1000 gallons of water per minute. This water drives one of Whitelaw and Stirratt's Wheels, which is employed to run the saws m the mill. At Cahaba, Ala., J. E. Mathews has an Artesian well 735 feet deep, which sends up a stream of 1,300 gallons per minute. This well was bored by a Mr. Reid for water to supply a cotton mill. First, a well was dug in the ordinary way, 32 feet through the red clay sand and gravel lying upon the rotten limestone. A large pine log was then procured, and a hole 3! inches in diameter bored through it. After sharpening the end and putting an iron band around it,the log was put down and firmly driven and forced into the rock. The well was then filled up, the upper end of the log appearing about a footabovc the surface. The boring then commenced, and with the various tools and contrivances ot the art, the earth was rapidly penetrated. As each lower sheet of water was reached by the tools, the water was thrown up by the whole in great quantities and with more violence. When the first water, that is, the water just below the first sand stone, was reached, the upward flow of water did not exceed seven gallons per minute. It was increased to one hundred gallons per minute when the second sandstone was perforated, and on reaching the third sheet of water, upwards of 300 gallons per minute rushed up through the orifice, seemingly impatient ofits limits. Thinking that the quantity of water would be increased by enlarging the hole, they rimmed out 9! inches in diameter and 538 feet deep to the sand stone lying above this third bed of water, and inserted a tube from the first and resting upon the third sand stone. They were not disappointed ; the water trom a small stream became a large column, rushing upwards with violence.at the rate of 1,300 gallons per minute, and running offin a considerable rivulet. At Chicago they are now boring a well for the machine-shop of the Galena . and Chicago Railroad ; they: are now down 200 feet. The well is now constantly full of soft good water. But the design of the company will not be satisfied without. a good fountain. For this purpose they will bore to a depth of at least 600 feet. In various places, beside Alabama, these wells have beep sunk in our country, and the salt springs of Syracuse, N. Y., are Artesian wells ; but we speak of those only which supply pure water. III Charleston, S. C., a great experiment was made two years. ago, to obtain water by sinking an Artesian shaft, but after much expense and boring to a great depth, we believe the work was given up as a fruitless effort. No water can be obtained by boring unless in a basin where the hydros, tatic pressure is equal to the height of the elevated land forming the brim of the depression. To sink a shaft at the outcropping of a basin is futile,—water may be reached in any quantity, but it will not be forced up for want of pressure. Care, therefore, must be exercised in examii,ing every locality before a well YI commenced, to see that geological evidences warrant, not only water, but an abundance of pressure to throw it above the surface when reached. Boring for water is an ancient art, yet, at one time, it was nearly lost ; it is now common in all parts of the civilized globe. In Egypt and Syria, and various parts of the East, there are remains of ancient Artesian wells which overflow the surface, They have long been known in China: a French missionary, named Abbe Imberb, relates that he had seen many bored wells there, of six inch- er diameter, and 1500 to 1800 feet deep. In London there are a number of Artesian wells, but it is said that the supply of water from some unknown cause, has greatly de creased in them during the past two years One well in GrenoMe, France, is 1800 teet deep, and sends up 1000 gallons per minute. (To be continued.) Literary Notices Ancient History of Egypt under the Pharaohs—By John Kenrick, M A., 2 vols.: J. S. Redfield, N. Y., publisher.—The work to which theabove . title i. prefixed, consists of a History of ancient Egypt, from the most remote period until its conquest by Alexander the Great, and fills up a great vacuum in our knowledge of Ancient History anterior to the Greek and Romans For our present information of those early periods, weare mainly indebted to there- searches of modern travellers, who have dug out of the bowels of the earth the sculptured records of their history. These, however, although revealed to the gaze of man, were yet sealed secrets, from the fact of their being written in symbolical characters called hieroglyphics, until by the labors of Champollion and others, they were reduced to a certain language. We are, therefore, dow enabled to decypher those strange characters that appear on the monuments, tombs, and even mummies of Ancient Egypt, and to read their contents like a modern book. The present work is the fruit of these researches, and is replete with vaststudy and learning. It enters minutely into the history of the country, political and social, and leads us back to periods of so remote a date that we are fairly bewildered at the prying curiosity of modern civilization. At the end of the first volume there is a general phonetic alphabet, of the Egyptian characters, by means of which their Hieroglyphics can be understood. Turnbull's Lectures on the Telegraph.—This is a new book by Laurence Turnbull, M.D., Lecturer on Technical Chemistry at the Franklin Institute, I'll.: 11 . The lectures were first published in the J . ;l :.!.;. Journal, and are here collected into a respectable volume, illustrated with a great number of wood cuts. We have a great number of works on the telegraph and electrical apparatus, but this is the best and ablest of them all. It contains a brief history of telegraphing, and gives descriptions with illustrations of all the important telegraphs in use, also those which have'been illustrated in otber works. He speaks in high terms, and justly, of the ingenuity displayed in the House Telegraph, and' the beauty of its operations Those who wish to be posted up on telegraphs, must consult this book : it is for sale by J. Hamilton, Actuary of the Franklin Institute. The price is $1,50. The MAOOOCOSM or the Universe without.— This is a neat volume- by Messrs. Fowler&Wells, of this city, the author of which is William Fishbough, of Williamsburgh, N. Y.; so well known as being very intimately interested in Davis's first work.— We would advise every person acquainted with science, to read this work, as a. curiosity, purporting to be a work of science. Our opinions about its philosophy, will be found on another page, Maury's Sailing DIBECTIONS.-The Fourth edition, improved and enlarged, of this great national work, by Lieut. Maury, Superintendent of the i'\a- tionalObservatory, has just been issued at Washington. We noticed the former edition of this work in our previous volume ; this edition contains information about voyages to California, and surveys of portions of the Pacific coast, not found in the other oditiona. It is a. most valuable acquisition to every captain who sails from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and no one should sail without it. Book of the World—No.- 3;'Weik'& Wieck : Philadelphia. This is an agreeable periodical for family reading, and combines instruction with amusement Each number contains 32 pages in 4to. illustrated by one steel engraving and three colored plates. Price 25 cents.
This article was originally published with the title "Well Sinking—Artesian Wells" in Scientific American 8, 11, 88 (November 1852)