The following Mineralogical Account of Matlock and the
vicinity was furnished by Mr. Mawe, whose prompt and
very obliging attention to my application to him for it,
marks a liberality of mind that it is " devoutly to be
wished " was generally possessed by the scientific circle.
Considering the communication a valuable acquisition to
this little volume, the liberal manner in which it was
made is therefore entitled to my warmest thanks.
" PERHAPS," says Mr. Mawe, " there is not any
situation in this kingdom so peculiarly adapted for the study of
Mineralogy as Matlock Bath. It is in the immediate vicinity of the
mines, and exposes a great variety of stratification, very interesting
to the geologist.*
The mines are chiefly worked for Galena, or sulphuret of lead. It
consists of the following varieties; massive, striated, granular,
compact, chrystallized, in a variety of forms. These specimens are
sometimes coated with a loosely cohesive powder, or sprinkled with
small chrystals of white carbonate of lead, which is also found in
[footnote at the bottom of page 52]
*The only information I could obtain on this branch of natural history,
was at the Museum, where a choice collection of minerals are constantly
sive state, and in acicular, and blade-like crystals, imbedded in
a loose earthy matter.
Green phosphate of lead, and that very rare mineral, muriate of lead,
are found in this neighbourhood ; also earthy white lead ore.
The ores of zinc are found here in great variety. Blend or sulphuret
of zinc ; called by the miners Black Jack, massive, and crystallized
generally in tetrahedrons indeterminately formed, or confusedly
Calamine, or carbonate of zinc, occurs massive, botroydal; radiated,
cellular, and coating calcarious crystals, which it totally decomposes,
and takes their form.
Oxide of zinc in hexagonal tables, elegantly grouped.
A beautiful variety of plumose, or cupreous zinc, of a fine green
colour, forming diverging spheroidal tufts, is peculiar to the
Rutland Cavern. It has never been met with in any other place.
There are traces of copper, in the form of earthy malachite, but
it is of little importance.
Iron pyrites is found in abundance, both massive and crystallized,
in various forms. Sometimes the crystals are so formed together
as to appear something like wheels, which is called by the miners
clock-work, and cock's-comb pyrites.
It occurs also with copper pyrites at his Grace the Duke of Devonshire'
s mine, at Ecton. Both
are brilliantly crystallized, and sometimes richly irridiscent.
Manganese is found here in the state of black oxide, with iron,
and calcareous spar.
The calcarious fossils of this neighbourhood are peculiarly interesting,
and exhibit a double refraction, which singular property has but
lately been accounted for. The most common form is the double six-sided
pyramid, called billet spar, and dog-tooth spar. The primitive
rhomb is sometimes met with, which passes into an infinite variety
Stalactites are found of great beauty and diversity of colour
; some varieties are curiously zoned, forming the oriental alabaster.
A green variety is sometimes (though rarely) found; its colouring
matter has not been accounted for. Dr. Kid supposes it to be oxide
Fluate of lime occurs in abundance, possessing great beauty and
variety. It is generally crystallized in cubes; sometimes one cube
is formed upon another, and the surface of the interior one is
often sprinkled with brilliant crystals of iron pyrites. Visitors
are often told that these are gold and silver spars. The cubic
crystals of fluor are sometimes bevelled on the edges. They are
often formed upon compact barytes, and in one mine the fluor and
barytes are alternately stratified.
Fluor is also found earthy and granular, of various colours.
Snow-white sulphate of lime is found in the
Cumberland Cavern, mammilated upon limestone. The hair fossil,
or capillary gypsum is no longer found ; but indications are favourable
in the Rutland Cavern, where it is expected to be met with in the
present course of working.
Barytes (which is here called Cawk) is met with in considerable
quantity, consisting of the following varieties : Earthy, in the
state of a fine powder, generally coating other minerals. Compact,
having frequently a spheroidal appearance, with a rough surface,
caused by small projecting crystals. Foliated, is often formed
in rhombic crystals, variously modified, which are sometimes curiously
interwoven amongst each other.
Radiated, is composed of long needle-Iike crystals diverging from
Arborescent appears to be composed of a curious aggregation of
rhombic crystals, which branch out in a singular manner.
Barytes associates with lead ore, and its attendance is considered
favourable by the miners.
Silex, of various forms and colours, is found in considerable quantity,
and is called Chert. It often contains fossil corral, and eutrochi,
or screw stone.
Quartz crystals are found imbedded in the limestone, in the form
of a six-sided prism, with a pyramid at each end, some of which
are singularly distorted, and quite transparent. These are called
lnflammables. That rare mineral, elastic bitumen,
which is almost peculiar to Castleton, has been found here with
lead ore and fluor.
Compact bitumen, or mineral pitch, occurs in small spherules in
the cavities of limestone; and petrolium is found in its minute
The stratification of the rocks in this neighbourhood are very
interesting. The limestone alternates with the toadstone, which
is finely exemplified in the Rutland Cavern. Many varieties of
the limestone are worked as marble, under various names. The entrochi
marble is full of marine exuvia. Porphyritic marble is of a dark
colour, and full of very small white fossils, which give it a porphyritic
Corral marble is composed of fossil madrepore. Black marble is
met with here; but at Ashford, on the estate of his Grace the Duke
of Devonshire, it is much finer, and is found in great abundance.
Toadstone is greatly varied. Some is of a bright green colour,
with white streaks or spots of calcareous spar, quartz, &c.
; others contain red jasper, &c. It also migrates into basalt
Magnesian limestone, and black chert; form considerable beds.
Schistus is always found above the limestone, and sandstone, of
various kinds and colours above the schistus.
[End of page 56]