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Alexander von Humboldt: „Humboldt’s Account of the Gold and Platina District of Russia“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <https://humboldt.unibe.ch/text/1829-Lettre_de_M-20> [abgerufen am 23.07.2024].

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Titel Humboldt’s Account of the Gold and Platina District of Russia
Jahr 1831
Ort London
Nachweis
in: The Journal of the Royal Institution of Great Britain 1 (Februar 1831), S. 418–419.
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua; Auszeichnung: Kursivierung; Fußnoten mit Asterisken.
Identifikation
Textnummer Druckausgabe: IV.98
Dateiname: 1829-Lettre_de_M-20
Statistiken
Seitenanzahl: 2
Zeichenanzahl: 3839

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|418|

Humboldt’s Account of the Gold and Platina Districtof Russia.

The following account is part of a letter from M. Humboldt to M.Arago:—‘We spent a month in visiting the gold mines of Borisovsk,the malachite mines of Goumeselevski and of Tagilsk, and the wash-ings of gold and platinum. We were astonished at the pepitas(waterworn masses) of gold, from 2 to 3lbs., and even from 18 to20lbs., found a few inches below the turf, where they had lain un-known for ages. The position and probable origin of these alluvia,mixed generally with fragments of greenstone, chlorite slate, andserpentine, was one of the principal objects of this journey. Thegold annually procured from the washings amounts to 6000 kil.The discoveries beyond 59° and 60° latitude become very important.We possess the teeth of fossil elephants enveloped in these alluviaof auriferous sand. Their formation, consequent on local irruptionsand on levellings, is, perhaps, even posterior to the destruction of thelarge animals. The amber and the lignites, which we discovered onthe eastern side of the Ural, are decidedly more ancient. With theauriferous sand are found grains of cinnabar, native copper, ceyla-nites, garnets, little white zircons as brilliant as diamonds, anatase,alvite, &c. It is very remarkable, that in the middle and northernparts of the Ural, the platinum is found in abundance only on thewestern European side. The rich gold-washings of the Demidovfamily, at Nijneï-tagilsk, are on the Asiatic side, on the two acclivi-ties of the Bartiraya, where the alluvium of Vilkni alone has alreadyproduced more than 2800lbs. of gold.The platinum is found about a league to the east of the line of theseparation of waters (which must not be confounded with the axis ofthe high summits), on the European side, near the course of theOulka, at Sukoi Visnin, and at Martian. M. Schvetsov, who hadthe good fortune to study under Berthier, and whose learning andactivity have been most useful during our travels in the Ural, disco-vered chromate of iron, containing grains of platinum, which an ablechemist at Catherineburgh, M. Helm, has analyzed. The washingsof platinum at Nijneï-Tagilsk are so rich, that 100 puds (about 400lbs. Russian) of sand afford 30 (sometimes 50) solotniks of platinum,whilst the rich alluvia of gold at Vilkni, and other gold washings onthe Asiatic side, do not give more than 1\( \frac{1}{2} \) to 2 solotniks in 100 pudsof sand. In South America, a very low chain of the Cordilleras,that of Cali, also separates the auriferous and non-platiniferous sandsof the eastern declivity (Popayan), from the sands of the isthmus ofthe Raspadura of Choco, which are very rich in platinum as well asgold. M. Bousingault may, perhaps, already have thrown a new|419| light on this American formation, and his observations will derivesome additional interest from those which we have made in this place.We possess pepitas of platinum, of many inches in length, in whichM. Rose has discovered beautiful groups of crystals of the metal.‘As to the greenstone porphyry of Laya, in which M. Engelhardthas observed little grains of platinum, we have examined it on thespot with much care, but the only metallic grains which we have beenable to detect in the rocks of Laya, and in the greenstone of MountBelayr-Gora, have appeared to M. Rose to be sulphuret of iron; thisphenomenon will be a subject for new research. The work of M.Engelhardt on the Ural seemed to us to be worthy of much praise.Osmium and iridium have also a particular locality, not amongst therich platiniferous alluvia of Nijneï-Tagilsk, but near Belemboyevskiand Kichtem. I insist upon the geognostical characters drawn fromthe metals which accompany the grains of platinum at Choco,Brazil, and in the Ural.’*

* Edin. Geog. Journ. ii. 441.