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The Lost Ramy Ledge


The area of interest for the Lost Ramy Ledge includes the southern portion of the Last Chance Range and the northernmost part of the Panamint Range (especially the area north of Highway 190). This section of the Panamints includes two smaller ranges, the Cottonwood Mountains and the Nelson Range.

The Last Chance Range and the Panamint Range are both uplifted blocks of crystalline and sedimentary rocks. The Panamint Range is composed of much older rocks than that of the Last Chance Range. Whereas the Panamints are composed mostly of ancient Precambrian to Cambrian metamorphic and sedimentary rocks intruded by small Mesozoic granite plutons, the Last Chance Range consists of vast exposures of Paleozoic marine sediments. This huge belt of Paleozoic sediments extends southward to the rugged country near Ubehebe Peak and Racetrack Valley. Here it comes into contact with the largest Mesozoic granitic intrusion in the entire Panamint Range. This intrusion is batholithic in size, with a total outcrop area of roughly 250 square miles. It dwarfs the smaller plutons found in the north-central, central, and southern portions of the

Panamints. The belt of Paleozoic marine sediments wraps around the batholith on its northern, eastern, and southeastern sides.

Like most of the mountain chains in the Basin and Range Province of North America, the Last Chance and Panamint ranges are block-faulted. The Death Valley Fault Zone forms the western boundary of the Panamint Range. The Precambrian rocks that comprise the western front of the range have been uplifted along this fault. The Nelson Range is also fault-bounded, but along its northern flank. This fault extends southeastward through Grapevine Canyon. Grapevine Canyon appears to be the intersection point of two fault zones; one fault zone trends north-south, the other northwest-southeast.

The Nelson Range consists mostly of Mesozoic-age granitic rocks and is host to a few small mines and prospect pits. The Ubehebe District was primarily a copper, lead, and silver-producing area near Ubehebe Mountain. One vein of native gold was found in a quartz and jasper outcrop which produced about 5000 ounces. Gold has also been found on the rugged slopes just west of Ulida Flat.


Ramy's ordeal in the southern Last Chance Range must have occurred somewhere along the western slopes of the mountains bounding the Saline Valley or in the jumbled mountains and arroyos south of Grapevine Canyon. The area is extensive. Prospectors may want to concentrate on the rugged western flanks of Ubehebe Peak and the broken country between that peak and Grapevine Canyon. The Ubehebe mining district did yield at least one small lode deposit of gold. Others may still lie hidden nearby.

South of Grapevine Canyon, the traveler on foot eventually emerges onto Lee Flat. The Lee mines lie just south of this stretch of open country. Prospectors may want to search the area east and south of Lee Flat.

Prospectors must realize that the entire area of interest lies within the boundaries of Death Valley National Park. Prospecting is discouraged and restricted here.