And now a little picture break from too much writing: some more headframes, this time from Goldfield, Nevada. You can see some of GF's headframes when driving by on Highway 95, with local dirt roads (some are gated) providing closer access. And, check out the way the town looked in 1909 in this 360° panoramic view.
Goldfield has a gazillion headframes — those metal or wooden contraptions that stand above shafts to underground mines. From this first area near the central part of the main Goldfield mining area, I could look north and see at least four headframes, including #1 on the left above, #2 in the middle distance above, and #3 to the east (below).
Looking back to the south, I could see several, including #4 on the yellowish dumps (below).
After looking at a small dig and wandering through the old buildings near that last headframe, we wandered over to the east, where we found this nice specimen of a headframe on top of a ledgy hill (same as headframe #3 in photo two).
From that alunite ledge, we could look back to the west or southwest and see where we had been earlier. The two tiny-looking headframes are #4 in the distance on the left and #1 toward the middle near all the mill buildings.
A Little Terminology:
Shaft: a vertical or near vertical entrance to an underground mine, which has been sunk from the surface down. The headframe above the shaft provides haulage of the ore and waste to the surface, and access in and out of the mine.
Adit: a horizontal or near horizontal entrance to an underground mine. Sometimes these are inclined slightly upwards going in to provide for water runoff or mine dewatering if needed.
Decline: an entrance that declines downward at a relatively shallow angle, as in a spiral ramp, providing for entrance and exit on foot or by truck, or an entrance that declines at angles greater than 15 degrees or more. With steeper angles, a decline will often have a ladder (yikes!) or some kind of hoisting arrangement as with a shaft. Sometimes declines are called inclined shafts (which I was taught was improper).
Tunnel: a tunnel is similar to an adit, being a horizontal or near horizontal entrance, but to be a tunnel, the passageway must pass through a hill or mountain to the other side. The word has sometimes been used used casually to refer to any kind of underground mine excavation that is tunnel-like in dimension (square to circular in diameter and long in extent), and is sometimes used interchangeably (and improperly) with adit.
Common Mining Terms: Mining the Motherlode
Glossary of Mining Terms: Kentucky Coal Education
Mining Glossary: Platinum Today
Mining Terms A-Z: IronMiners.com
Old Mining Terms: Hypo-Theses