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Christmas Mine (Red Bird shafts; Inspiration Mine; Hackberry shafts), Christmas, Christmas area, Banner District, Dripping Spring Mts, Gila Co., Arizona, USA

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 33° 3' 29'' North , 110° 44' 44'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 33.05833,-110.74583
Other regions containing this locality:Sonoran Desert, North America
Köppen climate type:Csa : Hot-summer Mediterranean climate

A former surface and underground Cu-Au-Ag-Mo-Bi-Pb-Zn-Be-W occurrence/mine with garnet abrasive, wollastonite and iron, located in the NW¼ sec. 29 & in sec. 30, T4S, R16E, 8 miles N of Winkleman, 22 miles S of Globe, on federal land. This mine is located at Christmas (headframe hamlet) near Hayden, Arizona (8 miles North of Winkleman and 22 miles South of Globe). Previous operators included Anaconda Co.; Christmas Copper Co.; the Columbia Mining & Milling Co.; and the Riviera Mines Co. Previous owners include the Inspiration Consolidated Copper Co. Owned and operated by the Cyprus Christmas Mining Co. (1988). Most recently it was owned by Phelps Dodge until that corporation's buy-out by Freeport Macmoran, which now controls the property. NOTE: Alternate coordinates provided: 32.9986N, 110.7661W.

This property was located in 1880 by Messrs. Dennis O'Brien and William Tweed. The claims were relocated in 1902 by G.B. Chittenden. Serious mining started about 1905. The workings go to the 908 foot level but the deposits were drilled deeper. There were 5 shafts including the No. 3 (main shaft)(verticle, 3-compartment to the 908 foot level), the Hackberry shaft, the Christmas shaft, the No. 4 shaft, plus one additional shaft. The initial claims proved to be on the San Carlos Indian Reservation and were declared invalid. In December, 1902, that portion of the reservation was restored to public domain by executive order and the claims were relocated on Christmas evening by Mr. G.B. Chittenden, hence the name. The mine was later owned by the Inspiration Copper Co. until its closure in January, 1982.

The mineral deposits are in a thick series of gently dipping Paleozoic limestones (Naco Limestone; Escabrosa Limestone and the Martin Limestone) that range from Devonian to Permian (?). Overlying the limestones with only slight discordance, is a thick sequence of Cretaceous (?) volcanic rocks, mainly andesitic tuffs, breccias, and flows. A small quartz diorite stock has been intruded into the limestones and volcanic rocks. The Christmas fault cuts northwestward through the limestones, lavas, and the quartz diorite intrusive. The eastern part has been depressed, bringing the lavas in contact with the limestones, which crop out West of the fault.

The mineral deposits are contact metamorphic or pyrometasomatic type. The mineralized zones extend to the surface, where there was an open pit mine as well. The ore zone is 1524 meters long, 822.96 meters wide, with a depth-to-top of 15 meters, depth-to-bottom of 655.32 meters, at 24.38 meters thick.

Area structures include the Christmas-Joker Fault zone 7.5 miles long and 100 feet wide, striking NW and other cross-cutting fractures.

Ore control was a limestone-diorite contact, favorable limestone beds, garnetized areas, and fractures in garnet-rich zones. Ore concentration was pyrometasomatic replacement of limestone with some oxidation on fractures. Alteration was hydrothermal with epidotization, silicification, propylitic, K-silicate, quartz-sericite-chlorite, oxidation, and carbonatization.

Dimensions of the quartz diorite stock are approximately 1500 by 3000 feet elongated in a N60E direction. The deposit is zoned with a pyrite-chalcopyrite core, a chalcopyrite-bornite intermediate zone, and a pyrrhotite-sphalerite-chalcopyrite margin. The main mineralization is in limestone and contact area, but lesser mineralization is present in the diorite and andesite.

Past production was mainly from ore bodies in the Naco limestone of Pennsylvanian and Permian (?) age. A few small ore bodies have been mined from the Escabrosa limestone of Mississippian age. The ore in the Naco occurs in flat, tabular bodies which are replacements of certain favorable limestone beds close to their contact with the quartz diorite. The ore is confined to eleven distinct beds, which are consistently mineralized wherever they occur in favorable relationship to the contact. They constitute a zone about 425 feet thick of interbedded limestones and shale. The deposits in the Excabrosa are thick, irregular bodies that lie against the contact.

Workings total 1066 meters long, 762 meters wide and 487.68 meters deep.
Developments include 6 shafts with levels every 100 feet down to the 900 foot level. The 1600 foot level extends to the adjacent McDonald shaft. Dimensions estimated from mine map. Open pit, and cut and fill mining.

Total production is unclear; however, available statistics indicate a total of about 55,340,000 pounds of copper (1905 to the end of 1943), plus $160,000 of gold and $150,000 of silver (period values). 1905-1914 production not included in ABGMT-USBM file data. Ore analysis: 0.005 oz/t Au, 0.23 oz/t Ag, 2.04% Cu, 33.2% Si, 1.7% Al, 3.6% S, 12.8% Fe, 28.2% CaO.

Commodity List

This is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded from this region.

Mineral List

Mineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

80 valid minerals. 4 (TL) - type locality of valid minerals.

Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on

Kungurian - Moscovian
272.3 - 315.2 Ma

ID: 2778818
Permian to Pennsylvanian sedimentary rocks

Age: Paleozoic (272.3 - 315.2 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Hermit Formation; Supai Group; Schnebly Hill Formation; Naco Group

Description: Interbedded sandstone, shale, and limestone usually characterized by ledgy outcrops. Orange to reddish sandstone forms cliffs near Sedona. This unit includes Supai Group and Hermit Shale in northern Arizona and Naco Group in southern Arizona. It was deposited in coastal-plain to shallow-marine settings during time of variable and changing sea level. Rocks of this map unit in southern Arizona may be in part equivalent to Permian rocks of map unit P in central and northern Arizona. (280-310 Ma)

Lithology: Major:{sandstone,shale,limestone}

Reference: Horton, J.D., C.A. San Juan, and D.B. Stoeser. The State Geologic Map Compilation (SGMC) geodatabase of the conterminous United States. doi: 10.3133/ds1052. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1052. [133]

Data and map coding provided by, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

Localities in this Region

  • Arizona
    • Gila Co.
      • Dripping Spring Mts
        • Banner District
          • Christmas area
            • Christmas

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on 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 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.


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Ross, C.P. (1925a), Geology and ore deposits of the Aravaipa and Stanley mining districts, Graham County, Arizona, USGS Bull. 763.
Ross, C.P. (1925b), Geology of the Saddle Mountain and Banner mining districts, USGS Bull. 771.
Galbraith, F.W. (1947), Minerals of Arizona, Arizona Bureau of Mines Bull. 153: 9, 19, 21.
Tainter, S.L. (1948), Christmas copper deposit, Gila County, Arizona, U.S. Bureau of Mines Report of Investigation 4293.
Peterson, Nels P. & Swanson (1956), USGS Bull. 1027-H, Geology of the Christmas Copper Mine, Gila County, Arizona: 351-373.
Galbraith, F.W. & D.J. Brennan (1959), Minerals of Arizona: 39, 59, 91, 94.
Knoerr, A. & M. Eigo (1963), Arizona's newest copper producer - The Christmas mine, Engineering and Mining Journal: 164: 55.
Willden, Ronald (1964) Geology of the Christmas quadrangle, Gila and Pinal Counties, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1161-E, p. E1-E64, 2 sheets, scales 1:62,500 and 1:250,000.
Eastlick, John T. (1968), in: Ore Deposits of the United States, 1933-1967. Graton Sales Volume, John D. Ridge editor, A.I.M.E.: 1191-1210.
Perry, D.V. (1969), Skarn genesis at the Christmas mine, Gila County, Arizona, Economic Geology: 64: 255-270.
Koski, R.A., and Cook, D.S. (1976) Alteration and mineralization associated with a multiphase stock at Christmas, Arizona [abs.]: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs: 8(6): 962.
Koski, R.A. (1978) Geology and porphyry copper-type alteration-mineralization of igneous rocks at the Christmas mine, Gila County, Arizona: Stanford, Stanford University, Ph.D. dissertation, 268 p.
Koski, R.A. (1979) Geology and porphyry copper-type alteration-mineralization of igneous rocks at the Christmas mine, Gila County, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 79-0844, 196 p., 6 sheets, scale 1:4,800.
Cesbron, F.P. & S.A. Williams (1980), Apachite and gilalite, two new copper silicates from Christmas, Arizona, Mineralogical Magazine: 43: 639-641.
McKee, E.H., and Koski, R.A. (1981) K-Ar ages for igneous rocks and vein minerals from the Christmas Mine area: Isochron/West, no. 32, p. 7-11.
Koski, R.A., and Cook, D.S. (1982) Geology of the Christmas porphyry copper deposit, Gila County, Arizona, in Titley, S.R., ed., Advances in geology of the porphyry copper deposits, southwestern North America: Tucson, University of Arizona Press, p. 353-374.
Rocks & Minerals (1982): 57: 16.
Mining Annual Review (1985): 55.
Rocks & Minerals (1985): 60: 238.
Phillips, K.A. (1987), Arizona Industrial Minerals, 2nd. Edition, Arizona Department of Mines & Minerals Mineral Report 4, 185 pp.
Sawyer, M.B., Gurmendi, A.C., Daley, M.R., and Howell, S.B. (1992) Principal Deposits of Strategic and Critical Minerals in Arizona, U.S. Bureau of Mines Special Publication, 334 pp.
Anthony, J.W., et al (1995), Mineralogy of Arizona, 3rd. ed.: 110, 111, 113, 116, 117, 142, 160, 163, 166, 173, 177, 179, 190, 195, 204, 205, 208, 215, 225, 228, 231, 272, 284, 286, 293, 301, 326, 341, 345, 358, 362, 368, 377, 382-383, 388, 397, 401, 409, 414, 419, 424, 428, 432.
MRDS database Dep. ID #10026861, MRDS ID #M000635; and Dep. ID #10209578, MAS ID #0040070108; and Dep. ID #10234135, MAS ID #0040070052.

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