Joseph Black (1728-1799)

Analysis of the waters of some hot springs in Iceland


ICELAND. By JOSEPH BLACK, M. D. Professor of Me-
dicine and Chemistry in the University of Edinburgh, First
Physician to his Majesty for Scotland, Fellow of the Royal
College of Physicians, and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh;
Member of the Academy of Sciences and of the Society of Me-
dicine of Paris, of the Imperial Academy of St Petersburgh,

&c. &c.

                           [Read July 4. 1791.]

SIR JOSEPH BANKS, to whose indefatigable ardour for the
advancement of natural history, the philosophical world
is so much indebted, made a voyage to Iceland in the year
1772, to enquire into the productions of that remote part of
the world, and particularly into those of its famous volcano.
When he returned, he brought from thence, among many other
natural productions, some petrified vegetables, and incrusta-
tions, formed by the waters of the boiling springs; and he was
so good as to present a part of them to his friends here, who
were surprised to find them composed of siliceous earth. As
this was the first example observed, of water containing this
earth in such quantity as to form siliceous petrifactions, it raised
a strong desire to have an opportunity of examining the water,
and of learning by what means this siliceous matter was dis-
solved in it; and this opportunity was at last given us by
JOHN THOMAS STANLEY, Esq; who, excited by motives simi-
lar to those of Sir JOSEPH BANKS, equipped likewise a vessel,
and made a voyage to Iceland, during the summer 1789. He