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CALIFORNIA

The Lost "Golden Eagle" Mine

GEOLOGY OF THE AREA

The area of interest for the Lost "Golden Eagle" Mine includes the Black Mountains, the Greenwater Range, and the Funeral Range. The Funeral Range is a northwest-southeast trending uplifted block of ancient Precambrian and early Paleozoic sediments and metasediments. The Funerals contain some of the oldest rocks in the area. These sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks range in age from Precambrian to early Devonian and form a virtually unbroken sequence of deposition. This package of sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks represents roughly 230 million years of depositional history. Rock types include shales, siltstones, sandstones, quartzites, and limestones. Limestones are most abundant in upper Cambrian and Ordovician formations. The Funeral Mountains are heavily block-faulted and are a classic example of Basin and Range Province geology.

The Black Mountains are part of a large tectonic block wedged between the Death Valley Fault Zone on one side and the Furnace Creek Fault Zone on the other. The Black Mountains are an uplifted block of Precambrian to Cambrian metamorphic and sedimentary rocks intruded by small Mesozoic granite plutons and by younger Tertiary volcanics. The northernmost spur of the range is overlain by Quaternary-Tertiary conglomerates, sandstones,

and mudstones. These sediments are frequently tuffaceous.

Tertiary volcanic rocks occur in the north-central and central portions of the Black Mountains, mainly on the eastern flank of the range. The largest exposure is located about 10 miles west of Shoshone. This belt of rhyolite extends northward from Calico Peaks and Sheephead Mountain roughly 20 miles along the eastern flank of the range. In the north-central part of the range the Artist Drive Formation is wonderfully exposed. The brilliant and varied colors of these mixed sedimentary and volcanic beds are due to differential oxidation of iron and other minerals. The 4000-foot thick Artist Drive Formation is Oligocene to Pliocene in age and contains alternating layers of clastic sedimentary rocks and volcanic rocks. The volcanics range from altered fragmental basalts to more felsic pyroclastic rocks. The pyroclastics are a testament to the violent history of this part of the Black Mountains.

The Greenwater Range lies just east of the Black Range, across the Greenwater Valley (site of the old mining town of Greenwater). It is overlain almost entirely by Quaternary-Tertiary olivine basalts.

PROSPECTING POTENTIAL

Exposures of granitic rocks along the western front of the Amargosa Range are fairly rare and are mostly limited to a single area. Mesozoic granites can be found in the southern portion of the Black Mountains, near Smith Mountain. "Alkali" Jones could have climbed out of Death Valley in this area by ascending Willow Creek. Several springs, including Willow Spring, lie along the upper part of the canyon. Jones could also have used Scotty's Canyon or Ashford Canyon to climb out of the valley. Several mines lie at the head of Ashford Canyon and a spring lies at the head of Scotty's Canyon.

Prospectors may want to concentrate on the rugged foothills of the Black Mountains, between Willow Creek and Ashford Canyon. Granitic rocks comprise the slopes of Smith Mountain between these streams, and the area is weakly mineralized. A search for gold-bearing float along the flanks of the mountain is certainly worth a try. Surely there must be a small deposit of gold-bearing float lying at the base of the granite hillock, wherever it may be. A metal-detector may prove to be useful in the search for this float.