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Mono County


  • Mono County Mines and Mineral Resources (circa 1915-1916) - Excerpts 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 I. Alpine County, Inyo County, Mono County, California State Mining Bureau, pp. 5-175. (Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    Mono County, by Arthur S. Eakle, Ph.D., and R. P. McLaughlin, Field Assistants. Field work in 1914 and 1915.

    Introduction.

    "Mono County was created April 24, 1861, and consists of 3030 square miles. It is bounded on the north and east by the state of Nevada, on the south by Inyo County, and on the west by Madera, Tuolumne and Alpine counties. The county is extremely mountainous, the western portion lying among the Sierra Nevada Mountains, whose principal peaks raise to elevations of over 13,000 feet. The greater portion of the county, in its larger features, is a broad table land at an altitude of from 5000 ft. to 7000 ft. above sea level, traversed by a series of approximately parallel ranges running northerly and southerly which rise several thousand feet above plateau...."

    "In the high Sierras glaciers exist. These are the remains of 'glaciers of large size which formerly flowed down the high Sierras and deposited moraines of great magnitude, on which terraces of the quaternary lake that formerly filled the Mono basin to a depth of nine hundred feet, are distinctly traced.'**

    "Mono Lake is the remainder of this great inland sea, and is the only large body of water in the county. It lies ten miles south of Bodie at an elevation of 6426' above sea level (October, 1909, U.S.G.S.), with an approximate area of 1100 square miles. This lake is of the same character as Owens Lake, described in our Inyo County report, containing the carbonate and sulphate of soda, sodium chloride, etc. For a detailed description of this lake the reader is referred to the account cited in the footnote.**"

    (** Page 135, footnote 2: U. S. G. S., Monograph XI, p. 267.)

    Antelope Valley Region, Mono County, California.

    Character of the rocks.

    Gneisses and schists are the prominent rocks which form the scarp in the west. The gneiss is a light gray, hornblende-biotite rock and shows its banded character very plainly on the wall faces along the valley. The schist is the common, dark gray, muscovite-biotite schist, easily splitting along its schistose cleavage. This schist is abundant at the head of Little Antelope Valley, forming the high ridges along Roderique creek. The wall of rock at the head of the valley is granite and this massive igneous rock covers much of the country to the south...."

    "A limestone belt borders the valley and forms a wall for a few miles. It strikes north and south and its southern end probably rests against the granitic or gneissic hills, while its northern end terminates at Lobdan cañon. This belt of limestone is approximately 3000 feet wide but has been intersected by intrusive masses and dikes of diabase and covered by gravel and conglomerate in portions of it. A section up White Way cañon shows solid limestone for about 700 feet followed by an intrusive mass of diabase 300 feet, and then a covering of coarse gravel conglomerate and till for 1000 feet until the limestone again appears forming the eastern part of the belt. The limestone has all been metamorphosed into a crystalline limestone and marble by the general metamorphism of the original sedimentary rocks of the region and has been further and more intensely metamorphosed locally by the diabase and andesite intrusions. East of the limestone belt porphyritic andesite occurs followed by schist and granite...."

  • Mono County Mineral Industry (circa 1919) - Excerpt from California Mineral Production for 1919, Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, 1920, pp. 154-155.

    Area: 3,030 square miles.
    Population: 960 (1920 census)
    Location: Is bordered by the State of Nevada on the east and is about in the central portion of the state measured on a north and south line.

    "Gold mining has been carried on in portions of Mono County for many years, although taken as a whole it lies in a rather inaccessible country and has been but superficially explored. It is in the continuation of the highly mineralized belt which was noted in Inyo County and contains among other mineral resources barytes, clay, copper, gold, limestone, molybdenum, pumice, salt, silver, and travertine.

    "In forty-fifth place, commercial production for 1919 was as follows:"

    (Headings for the information below are: Substance, Amount, and Value.)

    Copper, 539 lbs., $100
    Gold, ---, $30,000 (estimated)
    Lead, 1,556 lbs., $82
    Silver, ---, $22,500 (estimated)
    Total value: $52,682.

    Mono County, 1916 Map, from California Mineral Production for 1919 (with County Maps), Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco: California State Printing Office, 1920, pp. 193. Mono County , 1916 Map
  • Mono County Limestone Industry and Limestone, Travertine, and Marble Deposits (through 1947) - Excerpts 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.)

    "In the years when Bodie was an active mining camp, and a lumber railroad ran past the east side of Mono Lake to sawmills then in operation, lime was burned from chemical deposits of calcareous tufa which had been formed by springs rising beneath the waters of Quaternary Mono Lake. This lime was sold for use at the cyanide plants in Bodie for as much as $35 a ton. The last recorded lime production was in 1913.

    "These tufa deposits are often individually from 10 feet to 40 feet in diameter and may rise as high as 50 feet. Many of them now stand from 200 to 270 feet above the present lake level on the east and south sides of Mono Lake. One type of the tufa which has proved of special interest to geologists and mineralogists is thinolite. It is composed of interlaced yellowish or light-brown crystals of calcite, and forms one or more definite layers in the concentric succession of bands forming the deposits. The crystals have been regarded as pseudomorphs, but the identity of the original mineral has apparently not been established.

    "In the southeastern part of the county, east of the branch railroad running from Laws northward into Nevada, Cambrian rocks containing limestone outcrop for a length of 6 to 7 miles; and from there northward to the Nevada state line, pre-Cambrian metamorphics occur. Due to the abrupt fault scarp marking the west side of the White Mountains, the immense accumulations of granite debris poured out on the valley floor from the steep canyons on that side, and the danger of washouts and flash floods from these canyons, there are few if any roads in that direction, and little likelihood of interest in any possible limestone deposits there.

    "A limestone outcrop about 3000 feet wide occurs on the east side of Antelope Valley in the northeastern part of the county and, as mentioned by Eakle (19, p. 139),* it has been changed to marble in large part. All of this is too remote to be of commercial value.

    (* Arthur S. Eakle and R. P. McLaughlin, "Mono County," California Mining Bureau Report 15, pp. 135-175, 1919.)

    "Limestone, marble and iceland spar in the southwestern part of the county have been described by Evans B. Mayo (34).* Of particular interest among these are deposits of iceland spar found near the summit of Mount Baldwin. Some of the limestone in the region shows Devonian fossils and several periods in the Paleozoic are believed to be represented.

    (* Evans B. Mayo, "Geology and Mineral Deposits of Laurel and Convict Basins, Southwestern Mono County, California," California Division of Mines Report 30, pp. 79-88, illus., 1934.)

    "Near Bridgeport there are valuable deposits of travertine. This and the iceland spar last mentioned are of possible economic value at present (circa 1947)."


Mono County - List of Stone Quarries, Etc.*

(* Please note this list does not include sand or gravel quarries.)

  • Antelope Valley Region, Mono County, California - Ed. Davis (Marble Quarry) owned by ca 1915 (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 I. Alpine County, Inyo County, Mono County, California State Mining Bureau, 1919. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Some of the limestone has been metamorphosed into pure white marble and there is an old marble quarry in White Way Cañon which is now (ca 1915) owned by Ed. Davis. The marble was quarried from the bed of the creek and some large blocks have been taken out by drilling and used for monumental work. The marble has a decided rift and appears somewhat columnar in its structure instead of homogeneously and uniformly granular; consequently crushing strength and perhaps its durability would not be equal to that of a fine-grained compact marble. The quarry has been idle as the long haul to the railroad and shipment to a market render transportation charges prohibitive."

  • Bodie, Mono County, County, California - Mono Lime Co. (Lime) (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)
  • Mono Lime Co., located in Bodie, owned by H. C. Blanchard. (No other information is given.)

  • Bridgeport (near), Mono County, California - California Travertine and Onyx Company Onyx Marble (Travertine & Onyx Marble) (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    Onyx marble occurs near "...Bridgeport, Mono County; California Travertine and Onyx Company, San Francisco, owners."

    • Bridgeport (southeast of), Mono County, California - Travertine Deposit (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 I. Alpine County, Inyo County, Mono County, California State Mining Bureau, pp. 5-175. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

      "About one mile southeast of the town of Bridgeport is a deposit of travertine worthy of note. The property is patented and belongs to the California Travertine Co., E. P. Gray of Los Angeles, president.

      "In 1895 a quarry was opened and some of the rock shipped, principally for work on the City Hall at San Francisco. Two slabs 4 ½' x 6' were the largest of which there is record of. The quarry is at the south end of the deposit and consists of an open cut about 200' long, 20' wide and the same depth. About 10' of soft overburden covers the hard rock. A tunnel, now caved, at one time drained the cut, which is partly filled with water. There are some rough pieces on the dump and a few roughly dressed having the following dimensions: 3' x 6' x 2 ½'. The stone has a handsome appearance, being red to brown in color with fantastic figures. The deposit is about a half mile long and a quarter of a mile wide, nearly surrounded by older basic lava hills. The southern exposure forms a sloping bluff about 200' above the creek bottom which drains the locality. Springs and marshy ground occupy the central portion of the deposit. A soft, friable local deposit is still forming at the eastern margin of the main deposit where hot springs arise (ca 1915). The recent deposits are in the form of ridges several hundred feet long coursing northeast and southwest. A cross section of one of these ridges is semicircular, the height and base each being about 300 feet. A crevice, about a foot wide and from 1' to 4' deep, follows along the crest of each ridge, carrying hot water from the springs. That these crevices are probably developed by settling of the sides of the ridges as indicated by the parallelism of the tortuous sides.

      "Bibl.: Report XIII, p. 640; U.S.G.S. Water Supply Paper 338, pp. 132-136."

    • Bridgeport (southeast of), Mono County, California - Bridgeport Travertine Deposits (Travertine) (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.)

      "Bridgeport travertine deposits are 1 ½ miles southeast of Bridgeport and 200 to 300 feet above the valley. In 1940, the owners were Charles L. Hayes, Bridgeport and Edward Dinneen, Oakland. They held 60 acres (Sampson, R. J. 40).*

      (* Reid J. Sampson and W. B. Tucker, "Mineral Resources of Mono County," California Division of Mines Report 36, pp. 117-156, illus, 1940.)

      "A quarry was opened in 1895 when California Travertine Company owned the property. Sixty tons of travertine was shipped in rough blocks to San Francisco where it was cut into slabs and polished and used in the rotunda of the old City Hall (Waring, G. A. 15, p. 134).* The deposit is 50 miles from a railroad and apparently for that reason lay idle until 1926, when other quarries were opened and a carload of travertine was shipped to Oakland. No later shipments were reported.

      (* Gerald Ashley Waring, Springs of California, U. S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 338, 410 pp., maps, 1915.)

      "The travertine was deposited in a number of ridges 5 to 30 feet high and somewhat thicker, which diverge roughly from a common point, with a length of several hundred feet. It is a handsome stone when polished, showing shades of red brown and yellow, and is semi-translucent. The largest slabs obtained were reported 4 ½ feet by 6 feet."

  • Fales Hot Springs, Mono County, California - Travertine Quarry (Travertine) (Excerpts 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 I. Alpine County, Inyo County, Mono County, California State Mining Bureau, pp. 5-175. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    At Fales Hot Springs, obsidian, pitchstone, tuff and old travertine deposits occur. The most recent volcanic activity, which is evidenced by the high volcanic peaks south of the springs and the pumice and obsidian boulders, is still further in evidence by the boiling water of this spring. If the county were well-populated this would undoubtedly become a well patronized resort. The volcanic character of this section is seen on the road to Bridgeport. About one mile southeast of the town of Bridgeport about one-half mile east of the road to Bodie, the large deposit of travertine occurs which has been described in former reports of the bureau and which McLaughlin mentions. The travertine or lime carbonate occurs in several ridges of varying lengths, the longest several hundred feet. These ridges are somewhat covered and stand ten to fifteen feet above the surface, with an elliptical form generally, being slightly higher than the diameter of the base. It seems probable that this section was formerly occupied by pools which were fed by hot springs at the bottoms, the waters being charged with lime and soda carbonates held in solution. As the water trickled over the edges of these pools, the carbonates were precipitated by evaporation, forming a vein with fluted surfaces. With the cessation of spring flows and drying up or breaking of the walls, the pools became emptied leaving these veins standing. Most of the material is gray, discolored by iron and of very poor quality as a marble. In some portions the iron oxides have stained the travertine deep red and brown and a quarry was opened in 1895 and slabs of the material were used in the old City Hall in San Francisco. Some pieces could be obtained which would make good slabs marked by pleasing designs, but the most of the material is pitted and unfit for use. Not much of the material was ever quarried. These still remain small hot springs charged with bicarbonates, and the bottoms of the pools are coated white with the alkalies...."

  • Mono Lake, Mono County, California - Lime Deposits and Kiln (Lime & Kiln) (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 I. Alpine County, Inyo County, Mono County, California State Mining Bureau, 1919. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "The most important mineral product found in the Lake deposit is lime. At many points it occurs in the form of tower-shaped deposits around old springs. Along the lumber railroad running to Bodie are several such deposits. One of them has been quarried for many years and burned in a kiln. It has supplied practically all the lime used in the cyanide plants of the surrounding country. Owner, T. Moyle of Bodie."

  • Mono County, California – “Marble quarry destroyed by an earthquake” (in Mono County, California)  (From The Manufacturer and Builder, July 1887, Vol. 19, Issue No. 7, pp. 156; American Memory, Library of Congress, Nineteenth Century in Print) 

    “Marble Quarry Destroyed by an Earthquake – The Mono county marble quarry, 60 miles from Carson, Nevada, was completely destroyed by the recent earthquake in that region.  The marble was broken into cubes not over a foot square.  The ledge was over 5 miles long and 400 feet wide, containing a fine grade of marble, ranging in shade from pure white to black.  The quarry was valued at $1,000,000.”

  • Mono County, California - Spar Group of Claims & Spar King Claim (Iceland Spar, Calcite) (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.)

    "Spar group of claims and Spar King claim are on unsurveyed land that would probably lie mostly in sec. 11, T. 5 S., R. 28 E., M.D. if surveyed. They are in the high mountains 5 miles south of the end of a road that terminates at Convict Lake and lie on the west slope of Mount Baldwin, at an elevation of about 11,000 feet. They were located for iceland spar. According to Mayo (34),* bodies of clear calcite in the form of lenses or huge druses, occur here in a zone of folding and faulting between 2 thrusts in crystalline limestone. The bodies of calcite are 'several tens of feet in greatest dimension.' Calcite occurs in huge crystals, cleavage pieces 1 foot in diameter having been taken. Euhedral quartz occurs with it. In 1932 several hundred pounds of the iceland spar was taken to Pasadena for testing, but so far as known there has been no commercial production."

    (* Evans B. Mayo, "Geology and Mineral Deposits of Laurel and Convict Basins, Southwestern Mono County, California," California Division of Mines Report 30, pp. 79-88, illus., 1934.)

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