1920’s– “MINERALS AND EARTHQUAKES AND LAVA-OH MY!”
The Kenya Colony had long hoped for some vast mineral wealth with which to enrich the crown and itself only to be continually disappointed. Yet around them in South Africa and Tanganyika (former German East Africa, now Tanzania) were gold, diamonds, and other gems. Kenya would have settled for a coal seam on which to run its steam locomotive. And now, as more mineral assays were performed, rich veins of quartz were found. Alas, they were not diamonds as some had mistaken. And so some people wondered why the government bothered spending the money on such geologic explorations and mineral assays. (mining is a plot point in Jade del Cameron's 6th mystery: The Crocodile's Last Embrace)
As stated by The Leader of British East Africa, May 13, 1922, “It becomes necessary to justify the analysis of rock by saying that it is very desirable to obtain knowledge of the future of the earth’s crust because it is very possible that many of the farms in this country may be buried with their owners beneath volcano ashes and lava before their 999 years’ leases have expired, that such a catastrophe may occur at any time and that it is only by research that interested parties could be notified of the probable date of its occurrence.” (It seems that the greater indignity wasn’t being buried by lava, but by not getting the full use of the lease.)
As regards all 74 mineral assays submitted by the Commissioner of Mines and private fortune hunters, “nothing of economic value was met with.” Perhaps it’s just as well. The refining of any mineral wealth required a good fuel source which the colony lacked. (see last week’s clear-cutting timber problem).
Quotes and images taken from The Leader of British East Africa, May 13, 1922.
By the way, The Crocodile’s Last Embrace received a starred review by Publishers’ Weekly who called it “rip-roaring.” Romantic Times gave it 4 Stars and called it “Enormously fun” and Library Journal’s starred review stated “Do not miss this one.”
And Mark of the Lion is now available in the U.K. via Piatkus Books. Stalking Ivory and The Serpent’s Daughter will soon follow.
Next week: More Nairobi news:
1) Does mystery have to equal murder? I weigh in with the Suspense Sirens on their blog posting at http://bit.ly/cpprpx
2) Interested in some insight into what makes me and Jade tick? Go to SCENE OF THE CRIME http://bit.ly/ao2gjg for an interesting interview at a great website by author J. Sydney Jones.