Observations on the preceding Paper.
by Sir H. DAVY, V.P.R.I., F.R.S.
The Duchess of Montrose was so good as to send me the caustic lime which is the subject of the preceding analysis; her Grace received it immediately from Tuscany. It was in a bottle, carefully sealed and full of water. Some of the exterior portions had become combined with carbonic acid before they were collected, and from the colour, it appeared that there were different portions of protoxide of iron in different parts of the substance.
On examining the water, it was found to be a saturated solution of lime, and it contained fixed alkali, but in quantities so minute, that after the lime was separated, it could be made evident only by coloured tests.
It appears from Mr. Faraday's analysis, that the menstruum which deposits the solid substance must be a solution of silica in lime-water, and heat is evidently the agent by which the large quantity of lime deposited is made soluble and is enabled to act on silica; and the fact offers a new point of analogy between the alkalies and the alkaline earths.
Vestiges of extinct volcanoes exist in all the low countries on the western side of the Apennines; and the number of warm springs in the Tuscan, Roman, and Neapolitan States, prove that a source of subterraneous heat is still in activity beneath a great part of the surface in these districts.
Carbonic acid is disengaged in considerable quantities in several of the springs at the foot of the Apennines; and some of the waters that deposit calcareous matter are saturated solutions of this substance. Calcareous tufas of recent formation are to be found in every part of Italy. The well-known Travertine marble, Marmor Tiburtinum, is a production of this kind; and the Lago di Solfaterra near Tivoli, of which I shall give a particular account on a future occasion, annually deposits masses of this stone of several inches in thickness.
It is scarcely possible to avoid the conclusion, that the carbonic acid, which by its geological agency has so modified the surface of Italy, is disengaged in consequence of the action of volcanic fires on the limestone, of which the Apennines are principally composed, and liberated at their feet,