Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Old Junk in Ophir Canyon

metal Okay, so yesterday's post was really a lead in and good excuse to get to one of exploration's finest perquisites, that of being able to wander around old mining districts and check out everything left behind by previous operations, sometimes going back to the late 1800's.

The miscellaneous piles of junk and still-standing or semi-standing parts of mills and old buildings that I found at the mouth of Ophir Canyon is supposedly part of the old Warfield-Ophir group of claims (any current claims may have different names by now), according to Kleinhampl and Ziony, 1984. The area was worked for tungsten (and molybdenum?) in the past, with the most recent mining efforts possibly being from the mid-1970's, but reports and locations are unclear.

The main part of the Ophir or Twin River silver-tungsten-gold mining district, at the old townsite of Ophir, AKA Toiyabe City, is farther up the canyon and is also well worth visiting.

machinery This appears to be a fly wheel flat pulley, possibly from a crusher. If anyone can identify this equipment more completely, please let me know. I just like the shapes and colors, and didn't spend a lot of time - this time - looking for manufacturers' names and dates.
yellow metal Yellow-painted meal framework and grating, with pipes and wires.
dump truck And old dump truck or haul truck, filled with rock. Is it scheelite ore?
roofA nicely colorful metal roof on an otherwise falling down shack. Photos of this cabin from about 2002, when it was still standing, along with photos of the entire equipment setup, can be seen here, near the bottom of their webpage.
roof and rocksFalling down cabin, with the metal roof being much sturdier than the rest of the building. A low part of the Toquima Range can be seen in the background: Moore's Creek to Dry Canyon to Road Canyon (or Charnock Pass) - a scenic, volcanic-rock ridden way into Monitor Valley.
Northumberland view Here's a view of the northern and central Northumberland caldera, which erupted the Northumberland Tuff about 32 million years ago. Also seen in the view is the area in which I stayed out all night once, just south (right) of Wildcat Peak, the pointed peak on the horizon, and the tuff of Hoodoo Canyon, a bit to the north (left) of that peak.
view through frameworkAnother view of the central part of the Northumberland caldera, through more metal frameworks.
south Northumberland I've retreated now to my parking area, near the creek seen in yesterday's post, giving yet another view of the central and northern part of the Northumberland caldera, across the vast expanse of Big Smoky Valley.
Mt. Jefferson And here, on a ledge where possibly some old buildings once stood, one can see across the valley to the southeast, getting a good view of Mt. Jefferson, which at 11,941 feet is essentially the third highest mountain in Nevada. Mt. Jefferson consists primarily of a huge pile of Tertiary volcanic rocks, mostly moderately to strongly welded ash-flow tuffs, including the tuff of Mt. Jefferson, which erupted from Mt. Jefferson caldera about 26.7 million years ago. Much more detail about the calderas in and around Mt. Jefferson is discussed here.

Mt. Jefferson is a great place to hike up, if you can stand the elevations, and even if you can't. The top, which is not accessible by vehicles, is almost surreal somehow - or maybe I was oxygen starved. It's mostly flat, with little hills of tuff. The Alta Toquima archaeological site sits up there at about 11,000 feet, above tree line.
Round MountainDriving away from Ophir Canyon, I had a great view of the Round Mountain gold mine to the southwest. Round Mountain has been in operation since the early 1980's 1977.

Kleinhample and Ziony, 1984, Mineral resources of northern Nye County, Nevada, NBMG Bulletin 99B.

McKee, E.H., 1974, Northumberland caldera and Northumberland tuff, in Guidebook to the geology of four Tertiary volcanic centers in central Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Report 19, p. 35-41.

Thomas, D.H., 1982. The 1981 Alta Toquima Village Project: a preliminary report. Desert Res. Inst. Soc. Sci. Cent. Tech. Rep. 27.


Anonymous said...

Silver Fox ... you seem to be hitting your stride w/ your photo-journalistic style posting ... I love how you put several photos of your trips, drives, and hikes in one post. I really get a sense of the things you see. Keep it up!

Silver Fox said...

I'm a photo-journalist! Wow! Thanks for the compliments.

I thought you were going to say I seem to be one lucky dog, for seeing such neat stuff, then I was going to say, no I'm a lucky fox... ;)

Do you think the thing I called a flywheel is really a flywheel?

Anonymous said...

flywheel? I have no idea ...

Alaska Al said...

It does not have enough mass for a flywheel. It is a flat pulley for a belt-drive operation. The belt connects the power source with the machinery it runs. The belt is usually twisted so that it wears equally on both sides. Belt drives did not require lubrication, a bid advantage in the days before automatic lubrication, special lubricants, and high quality metals.

Silver Fox said...

Alaska Al, thanks for the great description. It's possible the contraption is from 1974 - in the post-duct-tape, pre-silicon spray Era. It could be older, though.

Good to see you're back!

Alaska Al said...

Good to be back. Dealing with Google is a big pain, especially when they think my email address, password, and blogger name are already in use. Hope is stays in service

Silver Fox said...

AK Al, I'm taking that to mean that the upright round metal thing with a flat outer surface is the flat pully, and that the two toothed things behind it, one upright and one horizontal, are gears related to the pulley somehow. Too bad I didn't take detailed photos of the entire operation! ;)