Field Trip - G00dsprings Copper mine - C0lumbia Jan 8, 2020 18:44:34 GMT -5 rwa3006, Pat, and 9 more like this
Post by NevadaBill on Jan 8, 2020 18:44:34 GMT -5
I am time challenged, so I might get half of this up now, and the rest later. Sorry about that, if it happens.
Lately my new 'bestie' location for looking for cool rocks is the Spring Mountains, and specifically the G00dsprings district of Southern Nevada. I am primarily interested in going through the tailings piles, ravines, and washes around this neighborhood of metal ore rich mining history.
The town of G00dsprings is a really nice jumping off location, to get in to the hills. There are over 800 digs and prospects in the region, and over a hundred documented mines (large) that produced Copper, Iron, Gold, Silver, Zinc, Cobalt, and other metalics.
This was exploited to the fullest (at the time) over a 100 years ago. Long abandoned though, it has been a fun place for many to search out some of the common mineral elements that like to grow on those metals, such as Malachite, Azurite, Chrysocolla, Dioptase, just to name a few.
A quick look at the Mindat listings for Copper mineral mines in the area, quickly brings up a large number of targets. I am mostly interested in the Copper mines. I want to find some decent Malachite, or other blues or greens. For lapidary.
But I have been researching the area quite extensively, and it is impossible to not notice that many large mining conglamerates have been nosing around the region as well lately. In particular, they are after Cobalt. This is due to the need for the Cobalt in the manufacturing of batteries.
Batteries are becoming the future, and in particular, the Lithium types of batteries. Modern mining techniques have created an explosion in Lithium exploration in Southern Nevada, and Northern Nevada. Big players are getting involved out here.
And so is Cobalt. There are 3 major entities that are grabbing up claims in the G00dsprings district as fast as possible. And have been over the past 16 months or so.
Here is an example of some drillings that one of the players has made in the district. This is public information, which they post to their stock holders, or investors whom they hope to entice in to becoming part of the project. Each hole is a drilling dig that goes down 500 meters. These are spaced out 200 meters apart, and in some areas, 100 meters apart.
The terrain is steep, and rugged. Transportation is limited, and while not remote exactly, each of these mines represents a challenge to folks interested in tapping the resources out here.
My target on this trip will be the C0lumbia mine, and associated digs and adits in the region. It has the claim of being the most Copper rich in the region, and should have some pretty green and blue rocks around it. Hopefully outside the mines.
On this day, it is pretty cold outside. Whenever my vehicle detects that the temperature goes below zero, then this is the indication that it gives me, such as on this day. It does not help that there are 15 mph winds.
I look up, and see that it is a good solid 250 feet or so, of rough desert terrain to cover. This is the main dig, and others can be seen on the left of it in this picture also.
Here is my route that I take.
I start heading straight upwards. As I go, the rocks start showing up in blues and greens. I would like to pretend that I am a scientist that knows something about these rocks, but I am actually a dummy that knows almost nothing.
All I can say is that these look like Chrysocolla or Dioptase blue that I have seen at other Copper mines. Not sure.
Some of these samples are bigger than what I can reasonably carry back to the truck. But I think that some of these would make some pretty cool looking yard rocks. Here is another one. See what I mean?
This is only a 25 pound sample, but there are a lot of them around. Even more if you dig. This one is Dioptase. The rock can go anywhere from blue to green. It could also be Rozasite, but then again I don't know. I just like the blue part.
The jeep is parked about 100 feet off of the road. By the way, if you come up here, you can get a 4WD up further than 100 feet. But you should not. Do not go past the first landing area where you can safely navigate a U-turn here. Or you had better be good at driving the truck in Reverse, down steep, rutted, loose rocks and dirt.
I start to dig test holes in a number of the piles around here. There are a dozen or so to choose from. You can plainly see the greens of Malachite and Dioptase, as well as the blues of the Chrysocolla.
Digging holes, in itself is not too dangerous. And it is a lot better than going inside one of these old mines. The rock in the ground runs in layers, and is at about a 45 degree angle. Some times a bit less. But overall, this is not a flat mine shaft.
Here is the main adit at the top.
You can kind of get an idea of how it goes down rather rapidly. I don't like caves and mines. I try to stay out of them. I think it is because I am a big chicken. But I am out here myself today, so there is nobody around to call me one today.
Here is what a little poke inside shows us:
Ok, there is no way I am going in to this mine. First, it is fortified with braces, and wall structures that were left in place, so that the ceilings do not cave in. That is a dead give away sign to me to "stay out".
I think that it is cool, that the blues and greens can plainly be seen on the walls both outside and inside this large dig. This is actually a larger cavern, but I don't care go down there. I tis also about 25-35 degrees down. Not sure what these old timers were thinking of, digging these holes out, but you have to have stones. That is all I'll say about it.
Here is what the side of the pile looks like. That is me out there, after about an hour of digging a little area out.
Now, it is not quite as comfy as it looks. You see, the ground is unstable. What happens is that the chemicals in the rock seem to mix with the natural salts and water (rain) to form a crust, and what happens is that it is easy to slide on this face. And keep sliding.
I good pair of boots is helpful, so you can always try to reinforce your stance. This is necessary, until you dig a ledge. As more rocks are dug up, and slide over your footing, again, things become dangerous. It is often a long way down.
You can see the snow on the ground in the hills. Here is some snow around the tailings pile too.
Here is what the diggings look like. A lot of red and brown dirt. And Dioptase (in this area). There is also greens and Malachite too. and blues. A lot of the rock is paint. I try to look for solid rock though. But I get fooled too. The blue and green likes to grow in this environment.
I like the bands of color in this rock. It goes about 90 pounds, and would make a neat garden rock maybe. There are various greens and blues in it too. I find a lot of Dioptase in this little area I am digging.
Here is what some of the rock looks like after I wash it at home.
There is mostly green here. Some of this rock is not the prescious. It can be hard and green, but that does not always make a nice stone to polish. It can often just be a dark green, uninteresting rock.
A lot (about 15%) can be crumbly too. They are more crumbly looking on the outside. I am stabilizing some of this in 330/Acetone right now. My first batch came out pretty good.
But this is what I am looking for mainly.
Over across the way I see some more digs that I would like to investigate. You can see the tailings piles. Luckily, the trail over to these other digs is a real good one, that is fortified by stone blocks, and nice packed down dirt.
As I get closer, you can kind of see how the formation of the rock works. It is at an angle here. I try to indicate that angle by placing some horrizontal lines across the terrain. But it can be seen.
The large mine shafts are dug along the same angles as the rock mostly. I guess it is easier that way. These adits turn out to be pretty precarious. too.
Notice the green and blue (arrows) in the picture. Solid lines of rock to follow down, in to the mountain.
I don't really feel like going in to one of these without climbing gear and other people around. Today I have neither.
This one goes in far, but I am not interested. Notice the fortifications to keep the rock from caving in on the people? I don't like when the roof is not stable. That is just me.
I start doing some digging outside this adit, and find some old material. I like this botryoidal looking rock here. This is white color, and I have seen blue also. I have a large piece in my back yard which I took home.
Here are some of the rocks that I put on the grinder and tried to polish afterwards. They are a variety of what can be found out at the C0lumbia mine.
The material is softer, and harder to polish. I bought some polish and mixed with water to try to shine these up. I think they are a bit better than 1200 shine. But it is difficult.
I tried Cerium Oxide polish, some Linde "A", and some Rock Shed AO polish. Some works better than others. Each rock seems to want its own type of polish.
I am going to buy a buffing wheel, and some Zam, and try my luck there.
Here is some of the green I found. Perhaps Malachite. I think that is what a novice might call it. I am sure that experts know better. But I like it. It is a happy bright green.
This one is more Dioptase material. I like the brown in it. Which can also be shined up too! Which is a nice surprise.
Well, that is about it for now. I have another mine in the area which I would also like to do a write up field trip report on as well. But it will have to wait for another day!
Thanks for stopping by!