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Mountain Quarries (Only)

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  • Auburn, (northeast of), El Dorado County, California – Mountain Quarries (circa 1914) (Excerpt from Mine and Quarry Magazine, Vol. VIII. No. 1 – January, 1914, Whole No. 27, Sullivan Machinery Co., Publisher, Chicago, Illinois, pp. 800 – 800A.)

    A California Cement Quarry, by W. J. McRae, Sheldon Bldg., San Francisco.

    A California Portland Cement Quarry A California Portland Cement Quarry
    Sullivan “DB-19” Air-Jet Sinker and a set of steel to 20 feet. Pacific Portland Cement Co. Sullivan 'DB-19' Air-Jet Sinker and a set of steel to 20 feet.
    Diamond Drill Cores from Pacific Portland Cement Company’s Property. Diamond Drill Cores from Pacific Portland Cement Company's Property.

    “The Pacific Portland Cement Company’s quarry is located in El Dorado County, Five miles east of Auburn, Placer County, Californi . Transportation to the kilns at Cement, California,* is furnished by the main line of the Southern Pacific, from Cement to Auburn and by their own private road from Auburn to the quarry. The construction of this latter road was notable because it was necessary to build one of the largest reinforced concrete bridges in the United States, in order to cross the American River. A view of the quarry site is shown on the front cover of this issue.

    “The lime rock is of a very high grade and is found in a ledge which may easily be traced by outcroppings whose general direction is from north to south.

    “The deposits now being worked were first prospected in 1910 with a Sullivan Diamond Core Drill. The accompanying photograph, showing four consecutive ‘pulls’ of core, averaging nine feet, four inches long, indicates the quality of the stone and its extent.

    “Active quarrying operations were begun in March, 1912 by the ‘glory hole’ method. The rock is hauled by cable in six-ton cars from the bottom of the glory hole to the crusher, where it passes through a No. 9 crusher into a 60-inch x 10-foot screen; thence into bins, and from there it is drawn through two No. 6 crushers, distributed into the conveyor belts and carried a distance of 425 feet to the bunkers. The product is then ready to be loaded on cars for transportation to the kilns at Cement,* California. The capacity of the crusher plant is 1,500 tons per ten-hour day.

    Power Plant

    “A 100 H. P. induction motor is used to drive a Sullivan ‘WJ’ Compressor, which is of the cross-compound self-oiling belt-driven type. The low pressure cylinder is 16 inches in diameter; high pressure cylinder 10 inches, and stroke 14 inches. This gives the machine a displacement capacity of 537 cubic feet at 165 R.P.M. The inlet valves are of the standard Sullivan semi-rotary type, with a clearance cut in the rear, filled by a film of air, which forces the valve constantly toward its seat. The discharge valves are of the direct acting type, arranged radially in the cylinder heads, in order to give low clearance. They seat in brass cages, which in turn are set in pockets in the heads, making them easily accessible. This arrangement permits the ready removal of the valves and their seats for regrinding, thus insuring tightness, one of the most vital factors in the economical operation of a compressor.

    “The air pressure carried is 100 pounds per square inch at the receiver. A 1,000-foot pipe line, 5 inches in diameter, distributes the air to glory holes No. 1 and No. 2, also to the open face quarry, No. 3.

    “From the standpoint of the quarry operator, one of the most interesting features of this plant is the successful application of small hammer drills. All blast holes, even as deep as twenty feet, are drilled with machines of this type, thus, on account of their low air consumption, making possible a large output of rock with a much smaller air plant than would otherwise be required. Eighteen ‘DB-19,’ 41-pound, and seven ‘DB-15,’ 25-pound, Sullivan air-jet hammer drills are operated from the one hundred horse power compressor previously mentioned.

    “The average time for drilling a 20-foot hole with a ‘DB-19’ drill is one hour and fifteen minutes. The average drilling per tool in a 10-hour day is 100 feet when the holes are from 10 to 20 feet in depth. Considerable difficulty was encountered in getting 20-foot hollow steel. It finally became necessary to weld two pieces at the quarry. The change in gauge is made with changes in length of 3 ½ feet.

    “The ‘DB-15’ tools are used principally for putting pop holes into the chunks and boulders that are too large to be handled without being broken up further.

    “The writer is indebted to Mr. Harold M. Powers, superintendent, for much of the information obtained.”

    * Cement, California, was once located in Solano County; it existed from 1902-1927. If you’d like to read about the history of Cement, you can read Kris Delaplane’s article entitled, “Cement bonds community with work, play,” published September 2, 1995, in the Reporter.com. Today you will find Cement Hill road in northern Fairfield .

  • Auburn (northeast of), El Dorado County, California – Mountain Quarries (Limestone) (Excerpt from Report XV of the State Mineralogist, Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Chapters of State Mineralogist’s Report Biennial Period 1915-1916, Part III. The Counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Yuba, California State Mining Bureau, 1919, pp. 271-459.)

    Mountain Quarries, owned by the Pacific Portland Cement Company, F. G. Drum, president; F. E. Erline, secretary; offices, 832 Pacific Bldg., San Francisco.

    “The Mountain Quarries are situated 6 miles northeast of Auburn on the ridge south of the middle fork of the American River. The limestone occurs in the form of a lens in amphibolite schist. The general strike of this lens is north and south. The width of the deposit is from 300' to 400'. Its depth has been proven to be 800 feet by means of diamond drill holes. The limestone is worked from an open quarry, the broken material falling through a 600' shaft to ore bins in a tunnel, from which it is trammed a distance of 620 feet to storage bins located on the line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The broken rock is shipped to the company's cement plant located at Cement, near Fairfield, Solano County. About 1200 tons a day are shipped from the quarries to this plant. 100 men are employed.”

    View of quarry and loading bins, Mountain Quarries, El Dorado County. Pacific Portland Cement Co., owners. Photo by C. A. Waring. View of quarry and loading bins, Mountain Quarries, El Dorado County
    View of storage bins of Mountain Quarries. El Dorado County. Owned by the Pacific Portland Cement Company. Photo by C. A. Waring. View of storage bins of Mountain Quarries. El Dorado County
  • Auburn (northeast of), El Dorado County, California – Mountain Quarries (Limestone) (Excerpt from "Limestone in California," by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Mountain Quarries (Pacific Portland Cement Company, 417 Montgomery Street, San Francisco). This large quarry in sec. 6, T. 12 N., R. 9 E., on the south slope of the canyon of American River, was for many years a main source of supply of limestone for making cement and for use in the sugar and steel industries. Production started in 1910 and continued through 1940. The crude limestone was hauled out over the company's own railroad 7 miles long connecting with the Southern Pacific a mile west of Auburn. Late in 1942, the rails on this line and most of the machinery at the quarry, as well as the locomotives used for hauling stone, were removed and sold, and all work ceased.

    This was the largest limestone quarry in northern California and has been frequently described. The deposit is a large lens of gray limestone of which a substantial part has been eroded by Middle Fork of American River in forming its canyon. If the 1500-foot contour is taken as the approximate present level of the Cretaceous peneplain in that region, the river has cut a broad V-shaped valley nearly at a right angle to the schistosity of the amphibolite schist in which the limestone lies, to a depth of about 800 feet below the dissected peneplain, of which remnants have remained under coverings of auriferous gravel on hills in the region. Cutting of the canyon was apparently not at a uniform rate, and was faster in the lower, modern section. The limestone outcrops over the entire vertical range and has been found by diamond drilling to extend still deeper.

    "The quarry was opened near the river level and the upper bench was carried to the property line on the south. The photographs show the character of the deposit. The dike seen in the picture of the upper workings near the south line is of augite porphyrite. This body of limestone extends across the river but the part in Placer County is small. It appears there is a rather dark-gray stone, which is medium grained and tough and is a very high-grade high-calcium limestone."

    Plate 27-A. Remainder of Limestone Outcrop - Mountain Quarries deposit near Cool, El Dorado County. Glory holes in this deposit supplied limestone at the rate of more than 1,000 tons daily for many years. Remainder of Limestone Outcrop - Mountain Quarries deposit near Cool, El Dorado County
    Plate 27-B. Top of Glory Hole - Mountain quarry of Pacific Portland Cement Company. A diabase dike 5 to 6 feet wide (marked "x") intrudes the limestone. (left side of photo) Top of Glory Hole - Mountain quarry of Pacific Portland Cement Company

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