Iron Miners
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 Post subject: iron mine field research
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:29 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 10:17 am
Posts: 755
Location: Monroe, CT
I've been thinking about creating a work sheet to fill out when visiting a 19th century mine. Its purpose is to help us understand the correlation between the mine being researched with others in the area and to provide a comparison of mining methods based on the different locations and geologys of each site. Let me know what you guys think, it may look something like this;

-name or names of mine-
-geographic location-
-companys or individuals who owned the mine- (parrot iron, etc)
-type of ore- (magnetite, hematite, etc.)
-method of working- (open cut, shaft , stope)
-tons of ore produced-
-years worked-
-transportation of ore- (narrow gauge rail road, ox cart, etc)
-destination of ore- ( ie. peekskill furnace, etc)
-number of adits if any-
-status of adits- (backfilled, flooded, open, collapsed)
-dimensions of adit-
-drill hole diameters- (can be used for dating)
-width of tracks- (width between spikes on ties if tracks are gone)

After compileing a bunch of these lists we will hopefully gain a better perspective on 19th century mining through field research. I am open to any suggestions- Mike

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 2:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:23 pm
Posts: 98
Location: Closest to the Roxbury mine, CT
I like it, for iron ore listed you should include limonite and siderite.

I want to do some more mapping of mines, one in particular THE SUNK!! and all its tributaries. I have an excelent drawing program I can use, where I can draw to exact specifications if we get good measurements.

Now listen to this, this is going to be fun for real dorks out there. Using a homemade sextant we can judge the angle from the observer to a unreachable point above you such as an un-explored drift. Then you measure the distance from the observer to directly under that point. Using the trigonometry fomula tan=opposite over adjacent you calculate the height from the observer to the point. You just then add the observer's height and you have the acutal distance from the floor to the point above you. By mapping this out we can get a better idea of the layout of the mine by telling us things like where collapsed adits may intersect the stope.

If exploring mines is wrong, then baby... I don't want to be right.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:28 pm
Posts: 1764
Location: Winnemucca, NV
Funny I was just thinking of designing an online database that we could use to input and access this type of information. Search by mine or any other criteria and instantly find out dimensions, mine features (adits, shafts, stopes), external features (headframes, horse whims, structures by type), quality of ore, sample of ore (with pictures), log of artifacts, and field notes per visit.

No matter how dorky the technique of mapping, I think it is best to be as thorough as possible inside and out. In some cases we will be adding data to existing maps which will really be interesting. And Miner CTMike, you already have base maps drawn up for a few mines already, you should make copies we can scribble our notes (and trig formulas) on.

Miner Mike

"If you thought old, abandoned mines were only in the west, then you haven't been to!"

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:34 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:05 am
Posts: 6
Location: NYC
That sounds really interesting. I've only had the opportunity to examine the mines on the east and west fringes of Harriman, so mostly surface workings (except the Philips (pyrrhotite) Mine), and I've considered assembling a plane table and making surveys of some of the sites. The maps in the "Abandoned Iron Mines of [Locality], New Jersey" series are a good example of what I'm thinking of. Alas, I have yet to get up the gumption to actually put this together, let alone drag it up a hillside to a mine site. (From an internal monologue: "Look at this hillside. Full of rocks. More rocks than you can shake a stick at. Rocks, rocks, rocks. But are you happy? No! You have to find the rock someone dug a big hole in long ago...")

On a related note, I've been quietly hammering away at the NJGS list of abandoned mines of New Jersey. My mapping program lets you link draw objects to an HTML page, so I've been making a little page for each mine with a brief description, links to the page, page here (if any), etc. This is, in the long run, probably not scalable. If you guys are interested in an honest-to-goodness database, drop me a line. I've studied database design as a hobby, and it would be very interesting to assemble one of abandoned mines in NJ, lower NY, CT, etc.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:32 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
Posts: 3088
Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
The thing we have done on a limited basis was use GPS points to mark surface locations of different aspects of some of the mines we have visited. With WAIS, the accuracy of the location is 10 feet, so marked points aren't exact but are very helpful.

The series of books you speak of are very helpful, but I have also found that many times they are full of errors after doing our own field research. Sometimes they miss some stuff that is pretty obvious to us. They depend almost entirely (word for word unless they add a new paragraph) on the information listed in the Final Report of the Geological Survey of New Jersey, Volume VII. While that is probably the single best book you can get on this subject in NJ, it is a geology book. The author (Bayley) didn't care about the mines as much as he cared about the Iron deposits and geology of it. As a result, much of the information regarding adits, shafts, mining methods, processing plants, etc. are not listed in that book. So they are generally also not listed in the Abandoned Mine series unless it is added in a new paragraph or marked on their maps by their own field research.

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