Ox-Carts

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cuzzinjack
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Ox-Carts

Post by cuzzinjack »

This miner has a much different perspective than the Dutch-hunters out there…….

After Thomas Glover published his findings regarding the Peralta’s expeditions into the Superstitions and the genealogic and historic evidence to back it up, why continue looking for a single lost mine? Why not look for a lost Mining District?

To date, there is no geologic evidence to support a single significant ore deposit in the Superstition Wilderness, and the possibility of an economic deposit was investigated fairly well before the wilderness was created. If there is alteration to indicate an orebody, or even a sizeable vein, a good geologist would likely have found it during their studies.

Hypothetically speaking, let’s just say the Peralta mines were on the northern side of the western end of the Superstitions.............

Where would the ore be processed, and how? Considering the entire region, there is only one viable place: First Water Canyon. Although sporadic, the canyon has a good flow of water flow several months of the year. The Salt River is not a workable option considering the distance and terrain.

The Peralta’s had an attitude borne by a couple of months of slow, hard travel every year, and they were not going to sit around waiting for rain to process their ore. They had to have a dam……….. in one possible spot, and they had to recycle their water. It comes down to one place in the entire area where the dam could have been constructed. It is in solid rock, beautifully V’ed, top to bottom, and back to front. The channel is only 6 to 8 feet wide at the bottom.

http://mollymarieprospect.com/Peralta2posting/dam.JPG

The ore was likely granular and vuggy silica in its entirety, it crushed easily, was free milling, and just needed to be sluiced. And crushed it they must have……..with animal powered crushers. Arrastras have much too low of a production rate for these miners. Why not crush at 10 times the rate of an arrastra and use 1/10 the number of animals? Resources were dear.

It is guesstimated that their production rate was 50 to 100 tons per day, every day, 6 months of the year, year in, year out, for over 100 years, from pits and underground. The ore was hauled by ox-carts. Oxen are more durable, eat a wider variety than horses, and are less apt to get stolen.

So, is there any irrefutable(it seems so anyway) evidence that all of this took place? A few days ago, I was walking into First Water Canyon to check out the apparent dam site(I have posted about the possibility of crushers there before) and came across this:

http://mollymarieprospect.com/Peralta2p ... rtruts.JPG

I have walked over the same spot a half a dozen times and did not notice it till now. I have been back 3 times to photograph and measure and try to think of any other reason they would be there. Most ruts are 6’-9” to 7’ wide. There must have been literally thousands of ox carts that have crossed this area; it is about 20 feet wide. The rock needs to be swept with a broom to clean out the ruts, especially those in the foreground. The ox carts had to switchback twice before they got to the bottom, and I marked the path with flagging tape. The arrangement closely follows the Minas Del Oro Map of 1844 (that is not the Salt River).

This small area speaks volumes about what took place, and appears to remove all doubts of the size of the operation. Was this left out of arrogance, or by mistake? If anyone has any other reasonable ideas for these ruts, please post.

Cuzzinjack

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Mike McChesney
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Re: Ox-Carts

Post by Mike McChesney »

Cuzzinjack,
To date, there is no geologic evidence to support a single significant ore deposit in the Superstition Wilderness, and the possibility of an economic deposit was investigated fairly well before the wilderness was created.
You have a lot of faith in the honesty of those people! The same thing happened here in California when the Feds wanted to turn Death Valley into a National Monument. Many of the mine owners showed the BLM Geologists where the pay streaks were in their mines, but the Geologists took samples from bare walls and veins of other things that had nothing to do with the nature of the mine. What they were doing was invalidating the miners' claims by saying they didn't contain enough to keep it open in the Death Valley National Monument. So, they closed the mines and kicked out many small time miners. Same thing happened in the SWA before 1984.

Before saying without equivocation that "there is no geologic evidence to support a single significant ore deposit in the Superstition Wilderness", you might want to look into a couple of USGS Circulars:

1. Circular# 609(1969): "Mercury in Soil, Gas, and Air. A Potential Tool in Mineral Exploration"

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1420

2. Circular# 1178 (1998): "1998 Assessment of Undiscovered Deposits of Gold, Silver, Copper, Lead, and Zinc in the United States"

"GOOGLE IT"

The only thing that stands between a lot of gold and silver and the public is about 40-70 feet of volcanic tuff that covers the surface of the Supers.

Mike

cuzzinjack
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Re: Ox-Carts

Post by cuzzinjack »

Hello Mike,

You are 100% right on all counts. I’ve read somewhere that an epithermal deposit takes only 10,000 years to form; and a porphyry takes 100,000. So, there can easily be a deposit hidden under tuff.

A relative by marriage, now passed away, had 40 claims where the Organ Pipe National monument now sits. He spent every last penny and every spare minute proving them and never got a cent from the government after a geo condemned them for the monument. I didn’t know him when it happened, but he should have least received a little bit from the government and didn’t. He lived in Ajo.

The links you sent are good. I’ve read the first before, have not seen the second before and have read part of it already. There is little doubt, in my opinion that there can be several large ore deposits(VMS and more) on at least the perimeter of the Superstitions.

It is sad that it took almost a week for someone to respond to my post. My primary reason for posting was not to “stir the pot” but to see if anyone had any ideas about the ruts. I believe they are a “big deal”. I went out Saturday and cleaned them out with a whisk broom and used a ladder and a good camera to get some pictures from above. These are in hard rock, and there are no fractures. I do not believe the hardscrabble First Water Ranch could have ever have had a tiny fraction of the traffic it took to form these, and do not even know if the ranch had wagons with steel-banded wheels. There would have had to have been an elevated and engineered road downhill of the ruts and it is now completely gone. Below is a photo after the ruts were cleaned out. After a rain washes off the dust they will look spectacular. They still need a little more exposing too.

http://mollymarieprospect.com/Peralta2p ... adder2.JPG

I do not know why the line is at the bottom of the photo; I have erased it and re-uploaded it several times to Yahoo but it won’t go away.

Cuzzinjack

cuzzinjack
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Re: Ox-Carts

Post by cuzzinjack »

Some more photos were taken of the cart ruts after the rain had washed them clean. In this photo, if you zoom in, the frame from the First Water Ranch windmill can be seen:

http://mollymarieprospect.com/Peralta2posting/ruts1.JPG

Here is a close-up in the early-morning shadows:

http://mollymarieprospect.com/Peralta2posting/ruts2.JPG

Unless someone can prove otherwise, THIS COULD BE THE SINGLE LARGE PIECE OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCE FOUND OF A MAJOR PRE-ANGLO MINING? OPERATION TO DATE IN THE SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS AREA.

If these guys were as good as I knew they were, processing the tons, with a high gold recovery, was their bottleneck. With the technology available at the time, the arrastras were far too slow. Animal powered stamp mills were the key, but by just sluicing the crushed sand, their recovery would have been low, as they would have lost a lot of fine gold. They would have had to utilize amalgamation, and this would have helped their water problem as well. By utilizing large patios as was used for the patio process for silver recovery, the crushed sand would have been placed in the patios, and stones would have been dragged by animals similar to the patio process, but to amalgamate gold, not silver. Then, the concentrate could be sluiced with a small fraction of the water required to sluice the full product; a win/win.

To test this theory, I walked to First Water Ranch last weekend and dug a hole in the large flat area(thinking patio) south of the corrals and retrieved a pan of dirt. The wash had no water, but the dirt was panned with a bottle of water from my pack. There appeared to be tiny pieces of mercury-coated material visible with a 20x loupe after producing a concentrate. The jury is still out though. I’ll try to get in touch with a mercury detector.

About a year ago, I read a book (booklet) that was written by Ludwig Rosecrans named "Spanish Gold and the Lost Dutchman". The chapter called “The Gonzales Story” has the following passage:

“The path wound past Weaver’s Needle (which was unnamed at that time), and continued in a northwesterly direction to water. And, from there, on to the hat-shaped mountain. The bulk of the gold taken out by the expeditions had been placer, and the mining area itself was described as being a mile and a half south of the hat-shaped pinnacle of rock. Near the rock were water and a cave. Two small houses had been built around the camp. A Spanish monument also had been erected nearby.

That was the story as told by Gonzales to Mrs. Lewis.

The Mexican had been very careful to explain that the mines were situated in the only canyon that panned gold from the Salt River. “Pan the wash from the river and you can’t miss the mines,” he told Mrs. Lewis.”

(I saw a man with a dry-washing machine recover some nice gold about 6 months ago from Willow Springs wash.)

This is a very interesting story. As explained earlier, there have been several sources that have stated “placer gold” and “placeras” in the description of the Peralta mines that were in or near the Superstitions. It is believed that the process of the formation of Supergene Gold was unknown in the 18th and 19th centuries, and not even conceived that gold could be dissolved by salt water and concentrated and re-deposited at shallow depth. Thus, when supergene gold was found at or near a drainage, it was automatically classified as placer gold. The poster child of supergene gold in the area is the Mormon Stope of the Mammoth Mine in Goldfield; 50,000 ounces at a depth of only 50 feet. Many other deposits in nearby Goldfield were much shallower. Ironically, it is suspected that the Goldfield area had been picked nearly clean by the time the Anglos got there.

Back to the Gonzales story. Here is a photo showing where 1-1/2 miles south of the hat-shaped pinnacle of rock is located. Also, an arrow of the same length is shown as it lands when directed to the breccia-ridges of the Molly Marie collapse caldera. NOTE: Supergene gold is most often found in breccias. The head of the arrow rests in an area where several pits were indicated by seismic study. The direction of the second arrow is off by only 23 degrees from what is described in the story above:

http://mollymarieprospect.com/Peralta2p ... ceras2.JPG

This is what the hat-shaped pinnacle of rock looks like in the Gonzales world:

http://mollymarieprospect.com/Peralta2p ... atrock.jpg

Cuzzinjack

Joe Ribaudo
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Re: Ox-Carts

Post by Joe Ribaudo »

C.Jack,

Very good posts! Keep up the good work, as it's very much appreciated.

Good luck,

Joe Ribaudo

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Mike McChesney
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Re: Ox-Carts

Post by Mike McChesney »

CJack,

Be very careful about which stories you take to heart. In the old days, everybody had to have a new and different twist for their Lost Dutchman Mine Book. Sometimes they made the stories up, and attributed them to known Dutch Hunters. Sometimes they were the truth.

I have heard both good and bad about Doc Rosencrans, but since I didn't know the man personally, I can't say one way or the other as to the veracity of his telling of his interview with Sina Lewis (I have his book too).

I will say that I like all the little known interviews with well known people. Oftentimes, you can get more good information from those interviews than from many better known sources.

Mike

cuzzinjack
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Re: Ox-Carts

Post by cuzzinjack »

Hi Joe,
Thank you for the complement. If everyone would kick in with what they know, or go back and reinvestigate their files, this would get real interesting.

Hello Mike,
It’s agreed that there are great risks in believing hearsay. However, I believe Sina Lewis had some skin in the game. Her house was also located 1-1/2 miles south of the hat-shaped pinnacle. The remnants of the house and the well can be seen today. She had mining claim(s) there too. Some core drilling was done and the collar of at least one hole can be seen. It appears that the rock there is entirely un-mineralized granite. It seems that she took the story told her by Gonzales as verbatim and staked claim(s) on the area. It does not fit that she would have staked the claims first and made up the tale afterwards. I’ve heard she was a “true believer”.

One thing that was learned while researching her story was more about the Santa Cruz river. It was thought that the San Pedro was the only river followed by the Peraltas because it either flowed part of the year or was perennial. It was learned that the Santa Cruz also flowed most of the year or was perennial before it was diverted in 1887 and pumped later on. It would make sense now that the expeditions could have made a pit stop at Tubac along the way. There may be evidence in diaries from Tumacarori or San Javier mission that describe large expeditions passing through. It would have been about a 4 or 5 day hike on foot from Tumacarori to the Peralta Mines, and water would have been available most of the way. The below link tells a lot about Tubac itself and it speaks about how there were probably more Spanish prospectors at that time compared to the later day Anglos:

http://parentseyes.arizona.edu/tubac/toc.htm

This is an excellent website, and there is no doubt that this was not a nice place to live……..

Cuzzinjack

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Re: Ox-Carts

Post by cuzzinjack »

Having great curiosity as to why Sina Lewis would build a house 1-1/2 miles south of the hat-shaped rock, a tour was made of the area surrounding where the house stood. It didn’t take long to see why the Gonzales story could have happened exactly as Sina was told.
Directly to the east of the house, about 200 yards away, is a magnificent phreatic breccia pipe. And adjoining it to the south, it appears there is another pipe and there’s an arroyo in between……… the perfect recipe for supergene gold in the Goldfield area.

This is a photo of the hill indicating the breccia pipe:

http://mollymarieprospect.com/Peralta2p ... d/hill.JPG

Here is a photo of a piece of silicified breccia found on the side of the hill at a prospect pit:

http://mollymarieprospect.com/Peralta2p ... reccia.JPG

On top of the hill there are outcrops of brecciated and milled Whitetail formation, heavily epidote and chlorite altered and iron-stained.

After touring the hill, it is still sinking in of just how widespread the breccias are in this district. It is offered that the overall occurrence and richness of supergene gold in the area was/is unprecedented. 500 feet of coarse felsic sandstone and conglomerate (the Whitetail formation) pierced by Rhyolitic volcanoes on the edge of a brine sea is an extremely unusual occurrence, and is ideal for the occurrence of high sulphidation and supergene gold.

The Superstitions weren’t quite “wilderness” in the 18th and 19th centuries. Tubac and Tumacacori were maybe 3-5 days out for a man on foot as mentioned earlier. It is well documented that conditioned men either alone or in small groups on the frontier in the 1700’s could travel 40 to 50 miles a day at a modified “trot”, consistently, with a rifle. Tubac and Tumacacori are about 150 miles away, as the crow flies. And, it appears from the Gonzales story and others, there were settlements on the Gila that were much closer. There could have been people filtering in and out continuously.

Knowing the hierarchy of mining, there’s a mine superintendent, a mill superintendent, and above them, the general manager. This wasn’t the time nor place for employee empowerment; this was a command-and-control situation, and the GM had to manage from a special place. He, and his assistants had to oversee the mining, milling, and hauling. This place had to be defensible, a short distance away from the women (Hackberry Spring) , and in line of site from the processing area and the mines or hills near the mines so signals could be transmitted by mirror. It is likely that there is such a place; it is on a ridge that is all that remains of the volcanic cone that was above the Molly Marie caldera. Many photos were taken from a location that may have been the “head office” and they were pieced together to make a 360-degree panoramic view. Many sites were labeled on the panorama that are seen on just about every Spanish map out there, and some anglo maps too. This is a big area, and it is amazing that most of it can be seen from one readily accessible spot:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/136790139 ... res/V9beS8

Note: After clicking on the link, the webpage with the photo in the middle will open. Click once on the photo, and wait for icons to appear on the lower right. Click to the one to the lowest and farthest right, the download icon. It will give you an menu asking for the resolution and pick “original” and it will download or you can pick view. It will be a 7.5mb file. Please let me know what you think.

Cuzzinjack

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