Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  7 (1883–84), 518–31.

The Yorkshire Coast

William H Rideing


Essay, Travelogue


Ornithology, Mineralogy, Geology, Economic Geology, Manufactories, Controversy, Mining, Expertise

    Gives an account of a coastal region full of 'caverns suitable for use in sensational literature' and where 'local ornithologists put an additional feather in their caps' because the 'migratory birds include four which are not known to visit any other part of Great Britain' (519). Another distinctive feature of the Yorkshire coast is its plentiful supplies of jet, a hard black semi-precious stone which is manufactured locally into 'articles of personal adornment'. The 'exact nature' of the mineral, however, is 'in dispute among those who have given most time to its investigation'. Indeed, for 'one observer the jet rock in which the hard jet is found seems to be a deposit of sea-anemones, and some years ago a patent was taken out to distil petroleum from it. Experiments proved that ten gallons of a pure oil could be extracted from one ton of it, but the production was too costly to compete with American petroleum'. (521) Others, though, 'declare their belief that it is of a pure ligneous formation similar to coal', but while 'geologists differ as to its nature', the 'miners express some faith in both modes of origin, and say they believe that the hard jet is of two distinct formations, being both wood and petroleum, now in a high state of bitumenization' (521–22). Reveals, however, that 'Whitby jet principally comes from the Pyrenees!' and the 'search for it in the scaurs of Yorkshire has been almost entirely abandoned', largely because 'jet is found in such greater abundance in Spain, and obtained with so much greater ease' (522).

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