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The Lost Mine of Buckskin Mountain


The Santa Rosa Range of Nevada is located in the north-central portion of the state, just below the Oregon border. The Santa Rosas stretch 50 miles in a north-south direction and average about 10 to 15 miles in width. They are bounded on the west by Quinn River Valley and on the east by Paradise Valley and the Owyhee Desert. The Santa Rosa Range is part of the immense Basin and Range Province of North America. Like all the other mountain chains in this province, the Santa Rosas are the product of block-faulting due to tensional forces.

The Santa Rosa Range is an uplifted block of ancient Mesozoic sedimentary, metamorphic, and volcanic rocks intruded and overlain by younger Mesozoic granites and younger-still Tertiary volcanics. The country rock consists of late Triassic to early Jurassic clastic sedimentary rocks, metasedimentary rocks, and volcanics. It is intruded by a large granitic batholith that forms the core of the southern half of the range, and includes Santa Rosa Peak and Paradise Peak. The northern portion of the Santa Rosa Range consists of younger Tertiary-age volcanics and shallow intrusives. The volcanic rocks range in composition from basalt to rhyolite and consist mostly of lava flows and breccias. The shallow Tertiary-age intrusives are without exception rhyolitic in composition.

Buckskin Mountain is home to one of the largest exposures of Tertiary intrusive rock in the whole range. Another exposure of similar size occurs less than 4 miles southwest of Buckskin Mountain. Both are rhyolitic in composition. The intrusives cut through and are surrounded by the older Tertiary volcanics described above.

Faulting is most extensive in the northernmost part of the Santa Rosa Range, north of Buckskin Mountain. The majority of the faults trend roughly north-south. Only about 20% of the major faults have an east-west trend.

Mineralization in the Santa Rosa Range consists of older gold-silver-copper-lead deposits that are widely distributed throughout the range, and younger, much richer gold-silver veins found only in the Buckskin and National Districts. In the Buckskin and National districts, the gold and silver-bearing quartz veins are hosted in Tertiary rhyolite. In the Rebel Creek District, the veins occur in slate and granite. In the Paradise District, the ore bodies are emplaced in schist, quartzite, and hornfels.


The Santa Rosa Range is well endowed with small silver and gold-bearing quartz veins that usually contain copper and lead. Those that contained gold in appreciable amounts served as a source for the rich placer deposits in Rebel, Willow, Pole, and Canyon Creeks.

Buckskin Mountain seems to be a locus of mineralization in this part of the Santa Rosa Range. The extraordinarily rich National District lies only 3 miles northwest of the mountain. In addition, gold-bearing Canyon Creek drains the southwestern slope of Buckskin Mountain, west of Windy Gap. The northern slope of the mountain is home to a number of mines including the Halcyon, Neversweat, and Ward & Bell.

The rich ore of the lost mine was described by the prospectors who found it as "strange-looking". This may explain why it has evaded discovery for so long. It didn't look like the normal gold and silver-bearing ores that prospectors were used to. The modern-day prospector must keep this in mind when searching for the lost ledge. A metal-detector may be useful in identifying any metal-bearing ores.