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12. But if there are no springs from which we can construct aqueducts, it is necessary to dig wells. Now in the digging of wells we must not disdain reflection, but must devote much acuteness and skill to the consideration of the natural principles of things, because the earth contains many various substances in itself; for like everything else, it is composed of the four elements. In the first place, it is itself earthy, and of moisture it contains springs of water, also heat, which produces sulphur, alum, and asphalt; and finally, it contains great currents of air, which, coming up in a pregnant state through the porous fissures to the places where wells are being dug, and finding men engaged in digging there, stop up the breath of life in their nostrils by the natural strength of the exhalation. So those who do not quickly escape from the spot, are killed there.

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