Monday, December 10, 2012

Rock Walls at the Champion Mine Lower Workings

We had just started up the hill to the lower workings of the Champion Mine in the Rochester mining district, Nevada.

Three rock walls.
The lower workings are a mess of mine dumps, scattered junk, and locally heavy brush amidst three well-defined rock walls below a cliff of Rochester Rhyolite.

Corner of the lower of the three walls.
The rock walls are built of dumortierite-sericite schist from outcrops of the Triassic Rochester Rhyolite, part of the larger Koipato Group of Triassic volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks. I'm guessing that the walls were possibly used to provide flat places for mining activities near the workings on the very steep slopes, rather than as foundations for shelters, buildings, or mills: we found no signs of such structures.

View from the lower wall, looking WSW down Rolands Canyon.
The second or middle wall as seen from below.
The third or upper wall, medium brown in the upper left of the photo.
Standing on the second wall, the third, or upper wall becomes apparent, high on the slope, nearly blending into the cliffy outcrops of Rochester Rhyolite. The funny, corrugated, white to beige or orange-brown outcrop at the far end of the flat platform contains dumortierite in fibrous masses, which we'll see in a later post.

View from the upper or third wall, with the first and second walls below.
My jeep is no longer visible.
Now we've gone back to the bottom of the hill, and are looking straight upward at all three walls.
From just above the jeep parking location, only the first and second walls can be seen.
But, before we had made it all the way back to the parking area to drive away toward continued adventures, MOH and I had turned and walked up the very old, impassable road to briefly investigate the upper workings.

To be continued...


Hollis said...

beautiful country -- makes me wish I were back on the road

Silver Fox said...

There are lots of neat places to stop off the road within a few to several miles of I-80, I'm discovering.