NO BOTTOM FOUND FOR CATSKILL CONDUIT.
Despite the fact (says the New York Herald) that they have been unable to find solid bottom in the Hudson river near Cornwall and have abandoned the work until spring, engineers for the New York City board of water supply have decided not to seek another point to bring the Catskill aqueduct across the river, but to cross at Cornwall, even if they have to go down 4,000 ft. Drilling has been carried on to a depth of nearly 700 ft., but no rock has been found. This fact will surprise geologists who, with Prof. Burr of Columbia university, one of the consult ing engineers of the board, declared early last spring that solid rock would certainly he found at a depth of 500 ft. It was only recently, after consultation with some of the country’s most notable engineers, that the water commissioners, acting on the advice of Chief Engineer J. Waldo Smith, decided to continue the work at the present location. While no one seems to expect that drilling will have to go down 4,000 ft., all connected with the task admit that nothing would surprise them. Discoveries made so far have baffled geologists, who frankly declare that all the knowledge they had about the bed of the Hudson river was inaccurate. When Storm King mountain, which is near Cornwall on the west bank of the river, was selected as the point of crossing for the Catskill aqueduct, it was generally believed that solid rock would be found within 100 ft. of the river’s normal bottom. Rock was found close to shore, but, when shafts were sunk out in the centre of the stream it was found that for hundreds of feet below the river’s bed there was nothing but mud, sand and cobble-stones. The plans of the engineers call for a circular shaft through solid rock, which, when completed, will he practically everlasting. Through this section of the aqueduct will even tually (low 800,000,000 gals, of water daily, with a force which would, in a very few years, destroy a waterway of steel or of any other substance besides solid rock. The pressure will be 200 lbs. to the square inch. When the engineer failed to find solid bottom after going down 250 ft. consideration was given to other means of crossing the river. Estimates were prepared on the cost of putting a steel tube through the mud and on the plan to cross the stream with an overhead aqueduct. Both of these suggestions were temporarily abandoned, and the river dril ling sunk still lower. Geologists expressed wonder at the remarkable conditions revealed and made soundings at various points along the river where a crossing might he made. I heir verlict was that the old bed of the Hudson lay at all points hundreds of feet below the present bottom, and that nothing would be gained by selecting sonic other point of crossing. Investigations made by J. Waldo Smith, the chief engineer, satisfied him and the water commissioners, that it would be cheaper for the city to tunnel through solid rock, even if it had to be done at a depth of between 3,000 and 4.000 ft. than to adopt any other method of getting the great volume of water across the river. 1 he syphon system is to be used for elevating the water, and it, therefore, makes no difference what the depth of the tunnel may be. Plunging into the shaft on the west side of the river, the water will rise to the surface on the other side of its own force and continue on its way to the city. “We had hoped to find solid bottom before this (said Mr. Smith) and it is to be regretted that we must give up the work for the winter without having done so. However, we shall succeed. As early in the spring as weather will permit we shall resume. We shall go ahead until we find bottom, even if it takes us down thousands of feet.”