North-Central Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (24–25 April 2008)

Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 10:20 AM


SCOTT, Evan E., Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106 and HANNIBAL, Joseph T., Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland, OH 44106-1767,

Hydraulic cements were key materials used for construction of 19th century canal systems in the Midwestern U.S., but little is known about the sources of these early hydraulic cements. The earliest use of hydraulic cement in Ohio was on the Ohio Canal (Ohio & Erie Canal). Two field sites were selected to search for sources of this historic cement—Gorge Metro Park, and Hale Farm and Village—both in Summit County, Ohio. Gorge Metro Park was selected due to newspaper and other published sources noting water lime (rock suitable for hydraulic cement) being quarried along the gorge of the Cuyahoga River, and a stream cut at this site includes a complete section of the Sharpsville and Meadville Members of the Cuyahoga Formation from which the water lime must have been quarried. Hale Farm was selected because Jonathan Hale produced and sold lime during the canal's construction (1825–1827). A 15% HCl solution was used in the field to test rocks for carbonates, and samples were taken from rocks thought likely to possess hydraulic properties. Four samples (three glacial) of micrite and biomicrite were taken from Hale Farm. Two samples of micrite were taken from Gorge Metro Park. Compositional analysis was conducted in the lab through analysis of thin sections (stained with alizarine red and potassium ferricyanide) and by determining percent carbonate with an insoluble residue test. Using a method noted by J. S. Newberry in 1878, samples were tested for hydraulic properties. The method involves calcining a small mass of each sample, then pulverizing the calcined rock to create a powder. A paste is formed by adding water. The paste is then laid in water to see if it slakes or sets. Samples were calcined at 800–900 degrees C for 3.0 to 4.0 hours. The glacial rock samples from Hale Farm were not hydraulic. Their lack of hydraulic properties suggests that Hale's lime was not used for canal construction, but for agricultural purposes. The two samples of micrite taken from Gorge Metropark demonstrated hydraulic properties. A micrite from the upper part of the Sharpsville Member is clearly hydraulic and likely is, or correlates with, the strata quarried for hydraulic cement for use on the northern part of the Ohio & Erie Canal.