Items of Interest

At a recent meeting of the Geological Society in Johannesburg, South Africa, a number of diamonds which had been obtained from the Simmer Deep mine were exhibited. Referring to these stones, the president of the society said that diamonds had now been found in the conglomerates of the Witwatersrand system in the Klerksdorp district, in the central rand, in the Germiston area, and on the East rand. When it was considered that for every stone recovered thousands were destroyed in motor-boxes, and that only one group of conglomerates—the Main Reef zone—had been extensively exploded, it became apparent that vast numbers of diamonds must be locked up in the Upper Witwatersrand beds. The stones that had hitherto been found all presented sufficient identity of feature—their color was invariably green—to Warrant the assumption that they had been derived from the same source. Investigations indicated that this source lay to the northwest, and that the diamonds had been brought to their present resting-place through the agency, at some remote period of the earth's history, of a great river, which it was hoped future investigations would disclose.

A congressional measure, which is a compromise agreed upon by conference committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, carries a Federal appropriation of $75,000,000 to be expended, with a like amount to be raised by the various states within a period of five years. This money is to be expended upon arterial roads selected by the highway authorities of the forty-eight states, subject to the approval of the secretary of the department of agriculture. The bill requires the maintenance of the roads after construction by the states, under penalty of a discontinuance of further Federal funds. The Federal distribution is to be made on a basis of area, population, and rural delivery and star routes. The largest amount of Government money will go to Texas, whose apportionment is $4,515,-750. New York is next with $3,877,500, Pennsylvania third with $3,585,750, and Illinois fourth with $3,432,000.

The Even Balance
July 22, 1916

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