Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Field Photos #3

The road in: the Northumberland Mine Road

Just a few quick photos from my first drilling project. Above, the photo shows the long, somewhat winding road in to Northumberland Canyon, which heads east off of old Highway 8A (now Nevada S.R. 376) a couple miles south of the turn off to Bowman Creek, and which goes through the north part of the Northumberland caldera.
Drill site number one is on top of the orange-colored hill. The old Bowman Creek camp is way in the distance across Big Smoky Valley, on the east flank of the Toiyabe Range, just behind the left part of the orange hill.
Drill site number two is at near the base of the white, tuffaceous cliff on an inconspicuous flat area above the bushes. The white cliff is just below the vitrophyre (not basal but close to it) of the Tertiary tuff of Hoodoo Canyon, the orange-brown welded ash-flow tuff forming the top of the hill. The same volcanic formation makes up the orange hill in the second photo.

These drill sites, and many others, were drilled a long time ago by a company that doesn't exist in the same form that it existed in back then. Back then, well that was the late 1970's, and we were drilling for uranium in the second uranium boom. (There have been, so far, exactly three uranium booms - not sure how the current one is doing.) We drilled with conventional, non-RC rotary rigs (and core rigs) in the days before reverse-circulation rotary rigs were standard on exploration drilling programs. Sampling was not considered a problem because we probed the holes with a down-the-hole logging tool that measured gamma and total counts, and also gave us a bunch of electric readings (S.P., resistivity, and conductivity, I think). The down-the-hole logs were almost enough to do the intracaldera stratigraphy without even looking at the rocks, once I had looked at the rocks and logs long enough to figure out what the Hay they meant.

Ah, those were the days? First drilling program, not knowing a darn thing about anything! But we did dance next to the drill rig; I'm not sure I could really put a picture of that up here, though! Nowadays, dancing would be considered unsafe, and we would be considered almost too young. Maybe I can dig up a photo of a late night by the fire: drilling went into a very cold, icy, but mostly snow-free December.


C W Magee said...

(There have been, so far, exactly three uranium booms - not sure how the current one is doing.)

Busted. Not as bad as some things, but certainly deflated compared to th eboom.

Silver Fox said...

Yeah, it's down some here, too - but maybe not totally on the Colorado Plateau. I didn't really get a chance to check it out at the meeting I went to, though. Next month! More meetings...