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We were still delighted with the view as in Tejuco. The main geological formation is always quartzite, which, at one point and another, such as Joaquim

Congonhas do Campo today

Pereira Farm, a league northwest of Congonhas, contains large quartz strands, very pure rhinestones, and at Sete Passagens, three leagues ahead, it shows obvious signs of gold; From this point on, however, an orogenic formation

Rio Verde

appears to us, hitherto foreign to us, and peculiar to the Sao Francisco River system, widespread in our path, especially along the Rio Verde. Large deposits of tender, grayish, or yellow-colored marl often fill, in the thickness of 200 to 300 feet, quartzite swains, covering the elevations. This alluvial orogeny is generally stratified, lowering to the west and heading, with various alternatives, between N. and S. and north-northeast and south-southwest. This marl contains saltpeter, which is dissolved in the less frequent source waters and appears above the quartzite. Therefore, drinking water is generally nauseating, although fresh, and seems to be one of the factors of maleitas (malaria?), so prevalent and devastating in the regions of the Sao Francisco River.

Valley of the Rio Sao Francisco

The only way to get better water would be to dig wells in the quartzite; but their indolence does not seek this kind of progress; they are satisfied with the cisterns, which make the evil worse. Where this brackish water forms small ponds, we find it full of algae (Chara domingensis, Turp.) and confervas (Conferva fascicularis, Mart.); These freshwater algae are much rarer in the warm regions of Brazil than in our country. Cattle, which graze in large herds in these meadows, eagerly seek salt, and lick the ravines, sometimes in long lines, in peaceful camaraderie.

The more we got into this area, the more characteristic the landscape was: deserted plains with dry grass, twisted trees, and from time to time one of the

aforementioned palm trees, the tucum (Astrocaryum campestre); the troughs that sink into different directions are animated by the

#3 Groups of trees, called Taboleiro coberto by the inhabitants in Minas Novas, the province of Minas Gerais.

presence of rheas, deer and armadillos. Among the latter, so extraordinary for the artistic form of their shell, as for the speed and incredible force with which they usually dig the ground, we found two species,

Dasypus Gigas

the giant armadillo (Dasypus Gigas, Cur.) And the armadillo-ball (Dasypus tricinctus), Lin.). The first, whose size is comparable to that of a medium-sized pig, is not used as food by the country's natives because they consider its meat very fat and slimy, causing fever;

the other, however, called the ball, because it curls in this form when hiding in the shell, has very tasty meat.
  
On July 12, we saw in front of us a part of Serra de Bento Soares, and at dusk we arrived at Arraial de Formigas, situated in a

Serra de Bento Soares

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