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Lost Mine Field Trip, Feb. 2, 2013

posted May 21, 2013, 11:20 AM by Hi-Desert Rockhounds

Mystery mine keeps its secrets


Members of our rocking group went on an expedition to find an old mine site in Landers Saturday Feb. 2. The site was once an ore claim held by our organization in the 1960s. At the January meeting Roger Thompson proposed we look for the site and see if we could determine what was being mined. 

Fifteen of our members met up at Gubler Orchids before bouncing out to Giant Rock, including our newest and youngest members. The route to the site is to get to Giant Rock then proceed east and drive south-southeast down the old air strip. The air strip meets up with a dirt road on which we turned left, or east. Just a few hundred feet further there is a rock hill side on the left with greenish tailings piles near the top. Using an old hand-drawn map that showed the mine site to be northeast of Goat Mountain, Roger and Judy did a reconnaissance mission earlier in the week to find the site. 

At first I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be hunting for the location, but after the grueling climb to the mine I was happy that I hadn’t spent several hours combing the desert to find it first. Our group pulled off to the side of the dirt road and proceeded up the gradual slope.

Some intrepid rockers blazed a direct trail to the mine site while other spent some time searching through the small run-off washes at the bottom. Plenty of dark pistachio green rock was lying around

with stripes of quartz running through it and showing some rare examples of dark green radial palm-shaped crystals resembling Actinolite.

Club Historian Jack Kennedy speculated that perhaps the old claimants were looking for gold. According to Jack gold miners used to look for instances of olivine and quartz together.

The green rock could be olivine as some of our more experienced rockers thought or it could possibly be epidote which is known to have been mined in the Johnson Valley area.

A closer inspection of the mine showed dark green tailings piles with lots of small rusted tin cans lying around. The mine goes back into the rock at a slight rise and only about 6 or 8 feet into the hill.

Between the two green slabs ran a small white stripe of material. Roger speculated that it might have been what the miners were after. Theresa Miller found an old pickaxe handle and Roger found the old claim sign post without the sign. The location was successfully found but the mystery of what was being mined was not solved on this trip.

Submitted by Leslie Shaw