Letter | Published:

Heat of the Comstock Mine

Naturevolume 20page503 (1879) | Download Citation



I NOTICE in NATURE, vol. xx. p. 168, that Dr. Lesley quotes from Prof. Barker an opinion in regard to the heat of the Comstock Mines in Nevada. Referring to my assertion that the heat of the rock “is pretty uniform” in the lower levels, Prof. Barker announces that there are “the most remarkable differences, some of the higher levels being much hotter than some of the lower levels.” This is perfectly true, and the fact is no disproof of my assertion. In the article to which Dr. Lesley refers (Silliman's Journal, April, 1879) I said that there are striking differences of temperature in the rock, and endeavoured to explain them by showing that there is a great mass of rock which may be regarded as heated to a tolerably uniform degree at all points in the length of the lode, on any given level, and that in this general mass there are isolated localities, most of which show a temperature above that of the rock at large, but some of them below it. I pointed out the conditions under which these local maxima occur, and gave the explanation to which I thought they led. The hot spots are evidently narrow and long, and as the mine openings sometimes intersect and sometimes follow them for some distance, a given level will be for a part of its length in a hot belt and for a part in the general mass of heated rock, or one level may be in a hot belt and show a much higher temperature than the level below, which entirely escapes the exceptionally hot ground. In this way thermometric variations are obtained between different levels and between different parts of the same levels, and these facts were all brought out in my article.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Author information


  1. 115, Broadway, New York



  1. Search for JOHN A. CHURCH in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date




By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.