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Iron Cap Mine, 2021, 2022


My highly competent collecting friend Chris Rayburn and I visited the Iron Cap Mine during 2021 and 2022. We enjoyed our first trip there in 2021 and thought we'd give it another go. This "Recent activity" is a composite of both trips. Not so recent but I hope you will find it interesting.

The road(s) to and from the Iron Cap Mine, to me, is half the reason for going. There are always mountain vistas to admire and, depending on the time of year, often beautiful flora to enjoy.

Looking south towards Wilcox
I saw this "Hedgehog cactus cluster from way down the hill. As I climbed up to photograph it, I realized that they were all around me!
The chollas were in bloom

Actually, we had to travel on a series of roads that start out great but deteriorate into four-wheel drive roads the last number of miles. Takes a couple of hours to reach the Iron Cap from I-10.

Yes, we passed through Klondyke Country, Pop:5, on the way to the mine!

Mountain Road View
Pretty nice country!
The Road to the Grand Reef Mine. No trespassing!!

We have not gone underground at the Iron Cap, since the workings that we have checked out look just too darn dangerous! As a result we have collected on surface. I have thought that we were dump collecting at the Iron Cap Mine but as it turns out, much of the "dumps are really the residual much in the "Glory Hole". The orebody outcropped to surface and was blasted into the underground workings and excavated from the underground workings to be moved to the ore bins.

The Iron Cap ore bins. We had some success collecting from muck around the bins.
Chris standing on the much at the edge of the Glory Hole.

On the first trip, I took apart a large boulder with crack hammer and chisel and managed to recover some decent sphalerite, quartz and galena crystals.

Me chiseling my best boulder!
The only obvious access to the underground workings during our first trip and it did not look tantalizing
Chris thought that a ladder might give him access to vugs on the walls. It did give him access but somebody else had been there first!

We managed to find some excellent johansennite and quartz specimens on both trips. On the first trip, we recovered some very nice green sphalerite and sharp galena crystals. I was also keen to collect some Axinite-Mn and Manganbabingtonite. I did find some good axinite-Mn but have still not found the Manganbabingtonite.

Chris examined the lower adit to access the underground workings but it has been largely filled in by man or nature.

Here are some of the specimens recovered during the trips.

Galena, Quartz, Johansennite, 6.0cm Chris Rayburn Photo and Collection
Galena crystals on johansennite. Field of view about 4.0cm
Galena with gypsum, sphalerite and johansennite. Field of view 5.0cm
Galena, 3.5x4.0cm, Chris Rayburn collection and photo.
Sphalerite crystals with gypsum, Field of view 4.0cm
Sphalerite, Gypsum, 2.0cm
Nice Quartz vug with Johansennite, 12cm
Quartz, Gypsum and Johansennite, 6.0cm
Quartz Sceptre, with small calcite crystals, 3.0cm tall

Nice Johansennite specimen 7.5cm
Close-up of previous specimen of Johansennite
Galena crystal 8mm on Johansennite
A specimen of quartz with a crystal habit different than all of the others.6.5cm across
Manganaxinite, 3.5x6.5cm Chris Rayburn Photo and Collection
A plate of Axinite-Mn, 9.5cm across
Close-up of the Axinite Mn in the previous specimen.
Axinite-Mn, 3mm crystal with johansennite
Axinite Mn, 3mm crystal

So, it was a successful trip in many ways. I did not detect any manganbabingtonite and that, alone, is a good reason to return. Hopefully we will head back there again and upgrade our sphalerite, galena and quartz specimens, as well!

One last shot of many I took of the gorgeous flowers on that trip.
We will!

The parting shot is of Antelope. First time that I'd seen antelope playing on the open range.


I hope that you found this not-so-recent Recent Activity interesting!?

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