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Lane's [Lead and Silver] Mine (Elm Street), Monroe, Fairfield Co., Connecticut, USA

Latitude: 41°19'56"N
Longitude: 73°13'28"W
One of four small mines worked by the Lane family from the early-19th century and famous for native bismuth. The other three mines are Lane’s Copper Mine (Fan Hill Road - also in Monroe) (http://www.mindat.org/loc-234050.html), Booth-Hurd's Bismuth Mine (http://www.mindat.org/loc-8810.html), and Lane’s Mine of Trumbull (http://www.mindat.org/loc-23342.html). The inclusion of "Elm Street" in the locality name is used only on mindat to differentiate it in the locality hierarchy from the other Lane's Mine off Fan Hill Road. Nearly all references only refer to them simply as "Lane's Mine" or "Lane's Mine in Monroe".

Sullivan (1985) reported that Ephraim Lane had interests in three properties in Monroe or Huntington. This situation has lead to much confusion over the origin of mineral specimens because up until 1826 most specimens were provided by Lane without attribution. Coffey (1974) refers to the Elm Street mine as the "Lane's lead and silver mine" and operated by Ephraim Lane.

Archibald Bruce (1810) first described minerals including native bismuth, reportedly from the Lane's mine off of Elm Street in Monroe.

Hobbs (1901) describes the Elm Street Lane's Mine:
"The mine of Mr. Lane at Monroe is opened in a wide vein of quartz, which has a northerly trend. No wall rock is here exposed. The vein is rich in marcasite, and the mineral collection of E. S. Olmstead, of Long Hill, contains also sphalerite, galena, arsenopyrite, and native bismuth, all from this locality."

Similarly, Crowley (1968) gives this description:
"The mine consists of several pits and trenches sunk into massive quartz, which bears pockets and veins of sulfides. The mineralogy is, in most respects, similar to that of Booth's bismuth mine, including the reported occurrence of native bismuth (Schairer, 1931) and the wide distribution of pyrrhotite. The mine is in the western body of Collinsville Formation not far from the western contact of the westernmost belt of The Straits Schist. However, there are no outcrops of the country rock in the immediate vicinity of the mine, nor were any lenses of schist or gneiss observed in the massive quartz. Hobbs (1901) described the quartz body as having a northerly trend, although this was not obvious in the present investigation. There appears to be a nearly horizontal layering in the quartz."

Crowley's map places the Elm Street Lane's mine at 41 19 57 N, 73 13 38 W. This is consistent with the location given by Januzzi (1957, 1994). Though the area around it has been completely developed into residential housing, the mine is preserved in a small area of designated open space.

Much has been written about this locality due to the number of early 19th century mineral discoveries new to North America or to mineralogy, enhanced by its proximity to Yale University. However, the early investigators did not clearly establish or document the exact origin of specimens, leading to erroneous mineral listings in later literature and in all likelihood the wrong type locality for tungstite. Some of the minerals, particularly the tungsten minerals, appear to be erroneously attributed to Lane's Monroe mines because Ephraim and later his son Charles were working their mine in northern Trumbull (http://www.mindat.org/loc-23342.html), near the border with Monroe, where tungsten minerals occur in a now well known and unique deposit. The Yale investigators either did not know there were multiple mines, or did not consider the distinction noteworthy, at least initially.

Descriptions of what we now call ferberite and scheelite exactly matching the Trumbull occurrence (especially the unique pseudomorphs of ferberite after scheelite) appear in Silliman (1819a, 1819b, 1819c) and in Bowen (1822). These specimens, which were generically attributed to "Lane's Mine" "Monroe", were actually purchased from and shipped by Ephraim Lane "at a reasonable price", they were not collected by Silliman or Bowen. Silliman (1819c) states that the “immediate rock which forms the walls of the vein is said to be gneiss; (we have not seen it.)”. Consequently the tungsten specimens (and perhaps any of the other minerals attributed to "Lane's Mine") could have come from any one of Ephraim Lane's mineral properties but actually match the mineralogy of his Trumbull mine based on later work.

Silliman (1822a, 1822b) and Bowen (1822) both describe and/or analyze what we now call tungstite and note it was "disseminated through the tungstite of lime [scheelite]...in cavities and fissures in the ferruginous tungsten [ferberite] of Mr. Lane’s mine". The presence of tungstite with the unique ferberite pseudomorphs after scheelite, and unaltered scheelite, can only mean the specimens came from Lane's Mine of Trumbull. Yale University has type specimens matching this description and that are identical to samples from Trumbull.

It was not until 1826 that Hitchcock (Hitchcock and Sullivan, 1826) visited the Trumbull locality and confirmed the marble/amphibolite geology and said, correctly, that the locality is “four miles south of what is usually called Lane’s mine”. In Hitchcock (1828) he notes that the newly found topaz and fluorite veins in Trumbull were “connected with the Wolfram”. He summarizes geology and mineralogy completely consistent with that of the Trumbull mine, noting the tungsten minerals are in a quartz “bed…not a vein” in contact with gneiss dipping a few degrees to the northeast. Therefore, the type locality for tungstite should be changed from Lane's Mine of Monroe (Elm Street) to Lane's Mine of Trumbull.

Professor Adolph Gurlt (1893), in his report on the Trumbull tungsten deposit, referring to the earlier reports by Silliman, Percival and Shepard, stated ...:

"On the authority of these explorers, some statements about the occurrence of wolfram minerals have been widely spread through American and European scientific literature, frequently, however, with slight inaccuracies as to the locality, which is sometimes placed in Monroe and sometimes in Trumbull parish. As a fact, the [tungsten] deposit lies in the latter; and the error may be explained by the circumstance that the owner at that time, a certain Charles [actually Ephraim] Lane had been mining in both parishes, --in Monroe for lead and bismuth, which occurred in association with magnetic iron pyrites on a quartz-lode traversing gneiss, and in Trumbull at the above-mentioned place."

Also, in 1901, W. H. Hobbs reported:

"The original openings [in Trumbull] bore the name of [Ephraim - later his son Charles] Lane’s mine of Trumbull. On account of the occurrence of native bismuth and galena on the property of a Mr. [Ephraim] Lane in the adjoining township of Monroe and the opening of pits there, much confusion has arisen and there are many references to an occurrence of wolframite in Monroe, which with little doubt, are meant for the Trumbull locality."

"The confusion which has arisen has been due largely to the propinquity of the two localities and to the fact that both mines were owned by men bearing the same surname."

The listing of native tellurium from Lane's mine of Monroe is both erroneous and also from the wrong locality. A careful reading of Silliman (1819a, 1819b, 1819c) indicates that he “obtained” tellurium from “only two pieces; from which we also extracted tungsten, so that it may possibly constitute a new mineral species.” Tellurium was “unexpectedly discovered in some of the ores of tungsten” described as “dark brown, almost black; brittle” and “octahedral” crystals that clearly match the ferberite after scheelite found abundantly and uniquely at Trumbull. "Even in well defined crystals, both metals have been found in the same crystal, and where the external appearance is homogeneous. In other specimens a difference seems to be apparent, and a proper ore of tellurium appears to be blended with the proper ore of tungsten. This latter ore is wolfram, composed of oxide of tungsten, or as some choose to say, tungstic acid combined with iron and manganese. The crystals, however, are octahedral, a fact we believe is not mentioned of this species by authors, although this form is found in the calcareous tungsten." His description of the “Chemical Trials” concludes that “the ore is very similar to the ferruginous tungsten or wolfram.” Quite obviously the tellurium was not native (Silliman never wrote that it was native) but was chemically extracted from the ferberite pseudomorphs after scheelite that are unique to Lane's Mine of Trumbull. Silliman's tellurium extraction results were never repeated by another investigator.

Mineral List

Actinolite
Anglesite ?
Arsenopyrite
Bismite
Bismuth
Bismuthinite
Cassiterite ?
Ferberite
Galena
Marcasite
Pyrite
Pyrrhotite
Quartz
Scheelite
Siderite
Silver ?
Sphalerite
Stibnite
Sulphur
Sylvanite ?
Tellurium
Tungstite (TL)
'Wolframite'


23 entries listed. 19 valid minerals. 1 type locality (valid mineral). 4 erroneous literature entries.

The above list contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.

References

Silliman, Benjamin. (1819a): Discovery of American tungsten and tellurium. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 1, p. 312.

Silliman, Benjamin. (1819b): Additional note concerning the tungsten and tellurium. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 1, p. 316.

Silliman, Benjamin. (1819c): Additional notice of the tungsten and tellurium. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 1, p. 405-10.

Silliman, Benjamin. (1821): Notice of an argentiferous galena from Huntington and another lead ore from Bethlehem. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 3, p. 173-76.

Silliman, Benjamin. (1822a): Native yellow oxide of tungsten. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 4, p. 52.

Silliman, Benjamin. (1822b): Massive yellow oxide of tungsten. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 4, p. 187-88.

Silliman, Benjamin. (1822c): Red oxide of titanium. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 4, p. 55.

Bowen, George T. (1822): Analysis of the calcareous oxide of tungsten from Huntington. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 5, p. 118-21.

Robinson, Samuel. (1825): A Catalogue of American Minerals, With Their Localities; Including All Which Are Known to Exist in the United States and British Provinces, And Having the Towns, Counties, and Districts in Each State and Province Arranged Alphabetically. With an Appendix, Containing Additional Localities and a Tabular View. Cummings, Hilliard, & Co., Boston.

Hitchcock, Edward and Benjamin Silliman. (1826): Topaz. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 10, p. 352-358.

Hitchcock, Edward. (1828): Miscellaneous notice of mineral localities. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 14, p. 215-30.

Mather, William W. (1835): Silver of Lane's mine. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 27, pp. 256-57.

Shepard, Charles U. (1837): Report on the Geological Survey of Connecticut.

Whitney, Josiah D. (1854): The Metallic Wealth of the United States (Lippincott, Grambo & Co.).

Dana, James, D. (1875): A System of Mineralogy, 5th edition. Wiley & Sons, New York. p.19.

Hobbs, W. H. (1901): The old tungsten mine in Trumbull, Conn. (USGS Annual Report 22:7-22).

Sanford, Samuel and R. W. Stone. (1914): Useful Minerals of the United States. United States Geological Survey Bulletin 585.

Schairer, John. (1931): Minerals of Connecticut. Connecticut Geological and Natural History Survey Bulletin 51.

Crowley, William Patrick. (1968): The Bedrock Geology of the Long Hill and Bridgeport Quadrangles, with maps. State Geologic and Natural History Survey of Connecticut, Quadrangle Report 24. p. 73.

Ryerson, Kathleen, H. (1972): Rock Hound’s Guide to Connecticut. Pequot Press.

Coffey, Edward Nichols. (1974): A Glimpse of Old Monroe. The Monroe Sesquicentennial Commission; The Bacon Printing Co., Derby, Conn. pp.34-37 & 93.

errors in Januzzi, Ronald E. (1976): Mineral Localities of Connecticut and Southeastern New York State. Mineralogical Press, Danbury.

Sullivan, Earle C. (1985): History and Minerals of Old Mine Park. Second Edition, Revised and Expanded. Trumbull Historical Society, Inc.

errors in Januzzi, Ronald E. (1994): Mineral Data Book. Mineralogical Press, Danbury.

Weber, Marcelle H. and Earle C. Sullivan. (1995): Connecticut Mineral Locality Index. Rocks & Minerals (Connecticut Issue), Vol. 70, No. 6, p. 396.

External Links

19th century American Journal of Science publications can be found here:
http://diva.library.cmu.edu/ajs/browse.jsp

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Copyright © Jolyon Ralph and Ida Chau 1993-2014. Site Map. Locality, mineral & photograph data are the copyright of the individuals who submitted them. Site hosted & developed by Jolyon Ralph. Mindat.org is an online information resource dedicated to providing free mineralogical information to all. Mindat relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters. Mindat does not offer minerals for sale. If you would like to add information to improve the quality of our database, then click here to register.
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