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A knowledge of the composition of a water-formed deposit is necessary in order to understand the manner in which the deposit formed. This truism is so obvious that it should not be necessary to state it, and yet incomplete or incorrect knowledge of deposit composition derails many investigations, sidetracks others, and generally fills the literature with cause and effect examples that are confusing at best and very misleading at worst. It is not sufficient to know just the environment, location, and appearance of a deposit in order to understand with certainty how the deposit formed. It is unfortunate that at the outset most deposits encountered are very incompletely detailed by the first observer before a crucial part of the total evidence needed is destroyed by careless sampling. Even with adequate sampling and a good description of the appearance of the deposit, accurate information on the composition of the deposit is required. It is here that the intelligent employment of the appropriate analytical tools is able to produce the most startling and conclusive results. Such employment of the proper instrumental methods of analysis by the engineer concerned presumes at the very minimum an understanding of the potentialities of each method.
Rice, J. K.
President, Cyrus Wm. Rice & Company, Pittsburgh, Pa.