The level portions of the county form part of the great field of floetz limestone. Its structure varies from the perfectly compact to the conjointly compact and foliated, and even granularly foliated. Beds of the last kind are quarried and wrought for various purposes near Tullamore; the stone is of a greyish white and of a large granular texture. The Slieve Bloom mountains consist of a nucleus of clay-slate surrounded by sandstone. The sandstone appears to sweep round the clay-stone nucleus, following the sinuosities and curvatures formed by its surface, with a dip that conforms to the declivity. Quarries are formed all round the mountains, in some of which the strata are from one to three feet in thickness; while in others excellent flags are raised from an inch to four or five inches thick, and seven and eight feet square. The sandstone of these mountains is commonly yellowish-white or grey, sometimes exhibiting small porous interstices filled with iron ochre. Croghan hill is a protruding mass of basalt, supporting on its north-western and south-western sides the floetz limestone. The gravel hills or escars form a very singular feature in this county. They appear in the borders of Westmeath and proceed by Philipstown in a south-western direction to Roscrea. They are entirely composed of gravel and sand, those in the northern part being of silicious formation and in the southern argillaceous. In no other part of Ireland do they present so great a variety of structure or exhibit a more bold and marked appearance. Neither coal nor any other of the more valuable metallic ores has been found; those discovered being manganese and iron in very small quantities, with some ochre and potters' clay.

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