Deep Artesian Well in South Dakota.
For many months a big well-drilling machine had been boring into the dry ground of the Black Hills region of South Dakota alongside the track of the Burlington railroad at Edgemont. Down went the drill 500, 1,000, 2,000, 2,500, ft. until the native onlookers wondered whether the railroad company had fixed no limit to the bore and was simply “going it blind” indefinitely. The company’s intention was very definite, indeed. Its officials had been informed by a geologist of the United States Geological survey that a good supply of water would be found in a certain stratum of rock that day at a depth of about 3,000 ft. This geologist had made a study of the surface-outcrops of the rocks of the region, and had based his prediction on that study. And, having faith in the prophecy, the company determined to drill to that depth. It was not necessary, however, to bore quite to the depth of 3,000 ft., for when the drill had gone down 2980 ft. water gushed out at the rate of 350 gal. a minute and the faith reposed in the judgment of the geologist was justified. This water supply fills a need which is so urgent that, if anything should happen to destroy this well, the railroad company would not hesitate to bore its counterpart. That appeal should be made to the science of geology to state positively the occurrence, location, and character of various deep-lying formations and from a study of only the surface formations to designate a waterbearing stratum at a depth so great as this well was driven seems incredible to the lay mind; but such determinations are common. Extensive areas have been thus mapped underground by the Geological Survey, and the maps have been accompanied by descriptions of the character and age of the different rock and earth strata so definite that it would seem as if the regions so surveyed must have been sampled with a core-drill at frequent intervals. The great Dakota artesian basin, which extends over an enormous area, has been accurately mapped as have, also, many other smaller but hardly less important basins. Water is the most useful and necessary of our mineral resources. Unlike most of the others, it is renewable and can be utilised over and over again and again by man, so long as the phenomena of evaporation and precipitation continue; but this does not mean that the conservation of the resource is not necessary. River supplies can be largely diminished through the destruction of the sources by forest denudation and otherwise, and artesian basins, also, can be exhausted or seriously injured through wasteful misuse. Local statutes that require the capping of wells when not in use should, if necessary, be enacted and strictly enforced to prevent such waste—such statutes as have been enacted in many sections for the prevention of waste of natural gas and petroleum. Artesian basins are of especially great value, since many of them are located in regions where the surface-water supply is very scant.
At Washington, D. C., Corporation Counsel Thomas has advised the Commissioners that the vehicles of the police, fire, health and water departments and hospital ambulances are subject to the speed-laws of the District of Columbia, and recommends that the drivers be notified that, while their vehicles have right of way. they will be prosecuted if they violate the speed-law.