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 Post subject: Miner's Blog 9/15/08
PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:11 pm 
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So as one of my ways of keeping everyone updated with what's going on besides waiting for the next slideshow, I have decided to write a short blog. Perhaps it will develop into more later but for now we'll keep it short.

New Discoveries
The Shawangunks have been on our radar as of lately. We have recently discovered some beautiful remains of mills located near the foot of the range along with associated mine adits, mostly collapsed. Of course when I say "collapsed," I usually mean that the tunnel entrances have significant soil erosion at their mouths discouraging or preventing entry. One of these such mines is the Wallkill Company Lead Mine.

The mine, which is an archeological haven, includes two adits along with several shafts, some in the form of "test pits" and others situated near immense tailing piles. The "test pits" are largely undisturbed pock marks of industrial history while the larger shafts are reclaimed. Near the large piles of tailings, the soil is sparse and no trees or plants can root.

The lowest feature in elevation is the mill built of meticulously placed rock walls standing tall but largely eroded. The next area of interest up the mountain is an early to mid 19th century adit driven approximately 40 feet. Hand drilled holes dot the walls and the marks of drill bits hammered into the rock can clearly be seen. Up from here is an adit that initially appears to be for drainage but sends a blast of cold air out from its heavily weathered mouth. The water level in the adit is about a foot from the ceiling making entry... interesting. This tunnel accesses workings underground and even features an old wooden door 15 feet in.

Further up the hill are all the shafts and various test pits scattered about. After a thorough search of the area, no other entries were found so the next drought will lend Wallkill Lead Co. Mine its deserved respect on the IronMiners site.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:39 pm 
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Location: Hamburg, NJ
Hey Mike,

I would have expected you to focus on this area sooner or later. It has many of the "features" that interest you haha. We still have work to do in the range ourselves, but its on hold for the time being.

The mills are quite large arent they? You know some serious mining was done in the area. Some of the mills handled ore processing for more then one mine, and if you really are determined, you can find some lead ingots at Wallkill :)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:19 pm 
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Thanks for the tip on the lead ingots Dan. Next time we're up there, I'll keep my eyes peeled for them. We have been finding a number of interesting well defined quartz crystals, galena, and some nice specimens of covellite. This is of course along with a lot of waste rock to sort through. Have you guys had a chance to make it out to Buttermilk Falls Mine yet? If not, you should put that on your mine radar. Or, maybe we could plan a full group trip there.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:19 pm 
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yea the dumps have amazing specimins, we've found some nice pieces with copper and pyrite in them. I havent made it out to Buttermilk yet, we know where it is though ;). We have to finish up the area, and a few more adits will go online eventually. However our priority has shifted a little further north, as we 'dig' into Cement. We'll be chewing on 20th century mines for awhile. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:20 pm 
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If you see any headlamps in the distance while you're in there, don't be alarmed, it's probably us! ;) This area has A LOT to offer and the whole area is riddled with mine entrances.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:29 am 
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
Yes, the Shawangunk area has been pretty interesting. For mineral collectors, we easily find interesting minerals just sitting in the dump piles outside of the mine. While some of the mines we are finding to be reclaimed or somewhat reclaimed, they seem to be untouched otherwise.

It seems to be the sites with shafts get filled first. An adit in a remote area may not get touched at all.

Wallkill Lead mine was a prefect example as the top most shaft was filled completed with the tailing piles from the mine. You can see where the tailing were stored and you can see the filled shaft (which a few subsidence circles in it). Seems to be a pretty sizable shaft, and it was probably a sizable tailings pile.

The adit / tunnel for the mine is still open and draining. This tunnel appears to be more of a drainage tunnel than an entrance into the mine. While it was flooded when we visited, it looks to be that it was primarily used for drainage.

Miner Greg


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:51 pm 
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Hey Greg, you're right in that there is a shaft beneath the tailings pile, however, that shaft is not filled in. When we had the opportunity to enter the mine, we walked to the end of the adit and came to a vertical stope.

At the top of this stope we noticed a plug made of tailings. So it looks like the shaft is'nt filled, its plugged. Be careful around the tailings pile, less you fall down into the stope. There's also a winze with a windlass still intact in this mine, as well as some very good timbering. You can see these here:

http://www.abandonedmines.net/wallkill.htm

The pathway and distance from the adit was matched up on the surface by Miner Bob, so it appears to me, that the work was started via the adit, then as they hit the mineral vein which was vertical, they mined upwards, eventually reaching the surface. The adit is not driven in a direct line, it sways and curves in different ways. If it was a drainage adit, they would have gone directly out. There are very few shafts in the area.

there's actually another shaft in wallkill you may have missed :)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:01 pm 
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Guys,

For safety, I got to add my two cents in. If the water goes down to where you can get in, BE CAREFUL. The adit is long and zigzags at least four times. It is where it opens up into the stoped area is where it gets dangerous. The water is murky back there, You can't see the winze on the left side. The windlass and the clear water forcing its way up though the merk is the only signs. I was tied off to the rest of the crew when I ventured in there. There is also rotted timbers holding up tons of rock. Not a good feeling. Good Luck and stay safe.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:39 am 
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Thanks a lot Bob for the safety tip! You might be amazed to see just how high the water level was when we visited. At first glance it presented the illusion that the tunnel might be simply for drainage only with a very low ceiling. However, that was the high water level obscuring our perception. Thanks.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:33 pm 
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Very interesting info. Also, thanks a lot for the safety warnings. Safety must be key when entering abandoned mines. I would have to agree that if this tunnel was entirely used for drainage, it would probably have been straight. Looking at the remains, it looked more as if it was used for drainage. Since the majority of hard rock mines in at least our area were worked without adits or tunnels, it seemed very plausible that this was drilled later for drainage. Being that the tunnel is curved, it does look like they were looking for something when drilling the adit.

We will be sure to be equipped with our harnesses and safety gear when entering this mine. The shaft then was probably filled with tailings after it plugged. Going into Sunk Mine and other mines you can see where shafts self plug themselves. Its always an interesting and scary feeling looking at a plugged shaft above you! Knowing that the tailings that were used to fill the shaft are still settling, perhaps that plug is still settling.

The intact windless is a great find though. I'm thinking that probably has survived because it is generally under the water level. Also given the remoteness of the tunnel entrance, noone would go in there. Were you able to see down the winze at all? Any clues on how far down it goes? You were also saying that clear water coming out of the winze? I wonder how sizeable the area worked down there is..

Miner Greg


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:29 pm 
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Greg,

Don't know how deep the winze went. Being that the water was murky, We couldn't determine where the edge was. So I didn't get to close to it.

The water level kept it as a time capsule, First mine where we didn't see any beer bottles or evidence of local "partying". It was pristine. Only thing in there is our footsteps :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:49 am 
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Mike, I think that a group trip would be a cool thing. It would have to be the right mine though, something that would command the effort and resources of two extraordinary groups. :)

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