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Silver Cave Mine (Silver Cave Lode claim; Pocohonta Lode claim; Pocohonta; Silver Cave #1), Gym Peak, Florida Mountains District, Florida Mts, Luna Co., New Mexico, USA

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 32° 3' 17'' North , 107° 36' 8'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 32.05484, -107.60249


A former Pb-Ag-Zn occurrence/mine located in sec. 7, T26S, R7W, and in sec. 12, T26S, R8W, NMM, 1.3 km (0.8 mile) S of Gym Peak (coordinates of record), on the lower southern slope of the peak, E of Copper Kettle Canyon, on private (patented) (?) land within a Bureau of Land Management administered wilderness area (Florida Mountains Wilderness Study Area) (about 17.5 miles S32E of Deming). The property consists of 2 patented claims Mineral Survey Nos. 632 and 644, covering 26.8 (& ?) 38 acres. Owned and operated by G. L. Carroll (1892). Owned by L. R. Oldham, H. M. Raithel and C. R. Scott (1961). MRDS database stated accuracy for this location is 100 meters.

Mineralization is hosted in Late Silurian Fusselman Dolomite. The ore body is irregular in form. Controls for ore emplacement included fault-fracture structural control. The deposit occurs as irregular replacement pods along a fracture zone. Local rocks include Silurian through Cambrian rocks, undivided.

Location and access: The deposit is located on the south slope of Gym Peak, in the SW¼ sec. 7, T. 26 S., R. 7 W. The mine workings can be reached on foot from the road that skirts the east flank of the mountain range.

History: The deposit is said to have been worked in the period 188185 by the Carroll brothers. During this time a total of 1,800 tons of oxidized lead-silver ore was shipped, valued at $60,000 (Jones, 1904). The mine then lay idle until 1903, when the owners attempted to revive production. There is no known record of production, however, since 1885, and signs of recent activity at the mine site are absent. The deposit is covered by two patented claims, the Silver Cave Lode (M. S. 644) and the Pocohonta Lode (M. S. 632). The claims are listed on the county tax rolls as the property of L. R. Oldham, H. M. Raithel, and C. R. Scott.

Geology of the deposit: The mine is located on the north slope of an arroyo that drains to the east. Near the mine, the arroyo follows a large northwest-trending fault that has displaced Paleozoic sediments (on the northeast) against Precambrian granite (on the southwest). Farther east, the fault trace climbs the south slope of the canyon and then abruptly swings to the south.

The block of Paleozoic rocks northeast of the fault is a homocline dipping to the east and forms the bulk of Gym Peak. The beds range from Ordovician to Permian in age. Darton (1917) placed the Silver Cave mine in an area underlain by what he called Gym (Permian) limestone. Actually, the mine is within a massive, gray dolomite that the writer believes to be Fusselman dolomite. Complicated structure and intense silicification make accurate age definition difficult.

In the vicinity of the mine, the Fusselman(?) dolomite strikes N. 45° E. and dips 40° SE. A basic dike about 5 feet wide, trending N. 5° E. and dipping 70° W., has cut the dolomite. A steep incline was driven along the hanging wall of this dike. Little mineralization occurs at this location, but the incline apparently served as an extraction opening for ore stoped farther up and into the hillside.

A shallow shaft was sunk about 150 feet northeast of the portal of the incline, and some stoping was done on a N. 80° W. fracture zone containing replacement pods of oxidized lead-zinc ore. Little ore is left. The ore mineral was cerussite, accompanied by smithsonite(?), limonite, calcite, and quartz. The stope openings are not accessible without the aid of ladders, but they are believed to extend downward to the level of the incline. The mine dumps do not indicate a large amount of underground development.

Prospect pits are scattered over the hillside in the vicinity of the Silver Cave mine, but no important ore occurrence was noted in any of these openings.


Workings reported in 1961 consisted of a steep inclined shaft, a shallow vertical shaft and numerous prospect pits.

Production information: Griswold (1961), reported a total of 1,800 tons of oxidized Pb-Ag ore valued at $60,000 (period values) was produced from 1881 to 1885.

Mineral List


4 valid minerals.

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References

Jones, F.A. (1904), New Mexico Mines and Minerals, The New Mexican Printing Company: 181.

Darton, N.H. (1916), Geology and underground water of Luna County, New Mexico, USGS Bulletin 618.

Darton, N.H. (1917), USGS Geologic Atlas, Deming folio No. 207.

Griswold, George B. (1961), Mineral Deposits of Luna County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Bulletin 72, Socorro, New Mexico: 122-123.

Clemons, R.E. (1982), New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Geologic map GM-58.

USGS (2005), Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS): U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, loc. file ID #10013938 & 10296356.

U.S. Bureau of Mines (1995), Minerals Availability System/Mineral Industry Location System (MAS/MILS): file #

USGS 7.5 minute Gym Peak topo map.

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