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Pine Creek Mine (Black Monster Mine; Snow Queen Mine; Pine Creek Tungsten Mine & mill; Pine Creek apt plant; Pine Creek custom mill), Scheelite, Bishop District (Tungsten Hills District), Inyo Co., California, USA

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 37° 23' 34'' North , 118° 43' 8'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 37.39278,-118.71889
Köppen climate type:Dsc : Dry-summer subarctic climate

A former W-Mo-Cu-Au-Ag-Bi mine located in secs. 30 & 31, T6S, R30E, MDM, and in secs. 19 & 20, T6N, R31E, MDM, 4.1 km (2.5 miles) WNW of Scheelite, along the North Branch Morgan Creek, about 21 miles NW of Bishop, at 11,000 feet of altitude, in the Sierra Nevada, on private (patented) land (private lease), in a National Forest area. Discovered in 1916. First operated in 1918. Owned by Avocet Ventures Inc. (50%), Canada (1995), and by the U.S. Tungsten Corp. (50%), California (1995). Operated by the Pine Creek Tungsten Mining LLC (100%), Australia (1995). Owned & operated by Union Carbide Nuclear Corp. (1981-1995). MRDS database stated accuracy for this location is 10 meters.

Located in sec. 8, T7S, R30E, MDM: Owned & operated by Avocet Tungsten Inc. (Subsidiary of Avocet Ventures Inc.) (100%), California (1995); owned & operated by U.S. Tungsten Corp. (Subsidiary of Strategic Minerals Corp.) (50%), California (1989 to 1995); Owned by Avocet Ventures Inc. (owner of Avocet Tungsten Inc.) (50%), Canada (1995); Owned & operated by Union Carbide Corp., Mining and Metals Division (100%), California (1981 to 1995).

Mineralization is a Late Cretaceous W ore body in marble with tactite (skarn), hosted in the Tungsten Hills Quartz Monzonite and associated rocks (marble/tactite) (Pine Creek Pendant). The North ore body is irregular, strikes N-S and dips steeply E, at a thickness of 30.48 meters, a width of 18.29 meters, ans a length of 762 meters. The South ore body is 400 feet long, 400 feet wide and 60 feet thick.

The multiple USGS MRDS files present data regarding the ore bodies in a disjointed and at times confusing format. The above data were presented for the North & South ore bodies. The following data were presented without specifying which ore body(ies) they apply to. The dimensions provided indicate that they may pertain to the both ore bodies taken together: thickness: 1,036 meters; width: 23 meters; length: 4,572 meters; area: 50 HA. Ore body No. 1 is disseminated & irregular. Ore body No. 2 is a replacement body. Ore body No. 3 is other (not specified). The primary mode of origin was contact metasomatism. The secondary mode of origin was metamorphism. Primary ore control was a contact zone and the secondary ore control was lithology. Wallrock alteration is slight (carbonitization; silicification). Controls for ore emplacement include the contact of marble beds in the Pine Creek Pendant with quartz monzonite. The scheelite ore body is in metamorphic rocks and is 7 miles long and 1 mile wide. The Pine Creek Pendant marble density in situ is 3.2, deformed in Jurassic (period ?). Skarn (tactite). Local alteration included metamorphism to skarn, ore in fractures, and some replacement by ore. Local rocks include Carboniferous marine rocks, unit 7 (Bishop).

Workings include underground openings with a length of 52,500 meters, developed from 8,000 to 11,500 feet of elevation. The mill is at 7,800 feet.
The overall depth is 300 meters. There are 4 adits at elevations of 10,750 feet, 11,052 feet, and 11,371 feet, plus a large open cut. The plant type is beneficiation (mill) - flotation method.

Reserves and resources data: Type: in-situ; year: 1941; WO3: 0.5 weight percent; year: 1945: demonstrated: 774,748 metric tons ore, indicated 310,262 metric tons ore, measured 464,486 metric tons ore, total resources: 774,748 metric tons ore.

Year: 1945: Mo: 0.823 weight percent.

Estimate year: 1995: demonstrated: 1,360,777 metric tons of ore; total resources: 1,360,777 metric tons ore (WO3: 0.51 weight percent - 1995).

Production at the mine was expected to resume in 1996 according to then competent officials.

Mineral List

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

23 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

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

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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

Cisuralian - Mississippian
272.3 - 358.9 Ma

ID: 2826386
Carboniferous marine rocks, unit 7 (Bishop)

Age: Paleozoic (272.3 - 358.9 Ma)

Stratigraphic Name: Bright Dot Formation; Lake Dorothy Hornfels; Mildred Lake Hornfels; Mount Baldwin Marble

Description: Shale, sandstone, conglomerate, limestone, dolomite, chert, hornfels, marble, quartzite; in part pyroclastic rocks

Comments: East-central Sierra Nevada near Bishop. Consists primarily of siliceous hornfels and a thick marble unit (Mt. Baldwin Marble). Contains some rocks of Early Permian age

Lithology: Major:{hornfels,marble}, Incidental:{conglomerate}

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

  • California
    • Inyo Co.
      • Bishop District (Tungsten Hills District)
        • Scheelite
          • Pine Creek Mine (Black Monster Mine; Snow Queen Mine; Pine Creek Tungsten Mine & mill; Pine Creek apt plant; Pine Creek custom mill)

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.


Knopf, Adolf (1917a), Tungsten deposits of northwestern Inyo County California: USGS Bulletin 640: 229-249; […(abstract): Washington Academy of Science Journal: 7: 357; …Geol. Zentralbl., Band 28: 165].

Tucker, W. Burling (1921), Los Angeles field division: California Mining Bureau. Report 17: 296, 301.

Hess, Frank L. & Esper S. Larsen (1922), Contact-metamorphic tungsten deposits of the United States: USGS Bulletin 725: 275, 276.

Young, George J. (1926), Mining tungsten at Pine Creek: Engineering & Mining Journal: 121: 605-606.

Vanderburg, W.O. (1935), Mining and Milling Tungsten Ores, U.S. Bureau of Mines Information Circular 6852.

Chapman, R.W. (1937), The contact metamorphic deposit of Round Valley, California: Journal of Geology: 45: 859-871.

Burwell, Blair (1941), Milling Tungsten Ore at Pine Creek, ining Congress Journal: 27(10): 16-18.

Lemmon, Dwight Moulton (1941a), Tungsten deposits in the Tungsten Hills, Inyo County, California: USGS Bulletin 922-Q: 497-514.

Lemmon, Dwight Moulton (1941c), Tungsten deposits in the Sierra Nevada near Bishop California: USGS Bulletin 931-E: 79-104.

Lenhart, W.B. (1941), Milling Scheelite at Tungstar Mine, Mining Congress Journal: 27(4): 67-71.

Wharton, M. (1943), Tungsten from the High Sierras - United States Vanadium Corporation Works Lofty Mine for Critical War Metals, The Explosives Engineer: May-June 1943: 79-85, 100-102.

Bateman, Paul C. (1945), Pine Creek and Adamson tungsten mines, Inyo County, California: California Division Mines Report 42: 231-250.

Kerr, Paul Francis (1946), Tungsten mineralization in the United States Geological Society of America Memorandum 15, 241 pp.

Butner, D.W. (1948), Blasthole Diamond Drilling in California Mines, U.S. Bureau of Mines Information Circular 7451.

Bateman, Paul C., Max P. Erickson & Paul D. Proctor (1950), Geology and tungsten deposits of the Tungsten Hills, Inyo County, California: California Journal of Mines & Geology (Report 46): 46(1): 23-42.

McKinley, H.L., Holmes, T.W., and Sausa, L.E. (1951), Boosting Tungsten Output and U.S.V.'s Mountainj-Top Mine, No. 1 U.S. Producer, reprint from Engineering and Mining Journal: 152(5): 11 pp.

Palache, C., Berman, H., & Frondel, C. (1951), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, Yale University 1837-1892, Volume II: 1081.

Bateman, Paul C. (1952), Geological Maps Report.

Behme, R.L. (1953), United States Vanadium's Tungsten Mine in California The Explosives Engineer: March-April 1953: 39-41.

Engel, A.L. and E.S. Shedd (1954) Treatment tests of scheelite ores from California, Nevada and Utah. US Bureau of Mines Report of Investigation 5087, 24 pp.

Bateman, Paul C. (1956), Economic geology of the Bishop Tungsten district, California: California Division Mines Special Report 47, 87 pp.

McKinley, H.L., and Wright, L.A. (1957), Mining Methods at the Pine Creek Mine, Mining Engineering: October 1957: 1099-1102.

Warner, Lawrence A., William T. Holser, Verl R. Wilmarth, and Eugene N. Cameron (1959), Occurrence of Nonpegmatitic Beryllium in the United States, USGS Professional Paper 318: 91-92.

Zabra, J.B. (1959), Milling and Processing of Tungsten, U.S. Bureau of Mines Information Circular 7912.

Cooper, J.R. (1962), Bismuth in the U.S.: USGS Mineral Resources map MR-22.

Lemmon, Dwight Moulton and Tweto, O.L. (1962) Tungsten in the United States, exclusive of Alaska and Hawaii. USGS Mineral Investigative Resources Map MR-25.

Wright, L.A. (1964), Pillar Blasting at the Pine Creek Mine, Mining Engineering: May 1964: 79-83.

Bateman, Paul C. (1965), Geology and tungsten mineralization of the Bishop district, California: USGS PP 470: 127-128, 129, 130, 134.

Murdoch, Joseph & Robert W. Webb (1966), Minerals of California, Centennial Volume (1866-1966): California Division Mines & Geology Bulletin 189: 111, 225, 268, 294, 308, 328, 329.

Gray, R.F., Hoffman, V.F., Bagan, R.J., and McKinley, H.L. (1968) Bishop tungsten district. In Ore Deposits of the United States, 1933-1967. The Graton-Sales volume, New York. A.I.M.E.: 1549, 1550, 1552, 1553.

Griffith, R.E. (1970), "Tungsten," U.S. Bureau of Mines Bulletin 650, Mineral Facts and Problems: 399-415.

Novak, G.A. and Oswald, S.G. (1971) Laumontite from the Pine Creek mine, Bishop, California. Mineralogical Record: 2: 222.

Hobbs, W.S., and Elliott (1973), "Tungsten," USGS Professional Paper 820, United States Mineral Resources: 667-678.

Pazour, D.A. (1978), Union Carbide Increases Tungsten Production with New Nevada Mine, Mining World: March 1978: 58-59.

Wright, W. A. (1978), Mineralogical and Compositional Zonation in the North Ore Body, Pine Creek Mine, Bishop District, California, Geological Society of America abstract with Programs: 10(3): 155.

Posner, R.H. (1980), Senior Mine Geologist, Pine Creek Mine, Union Carbide Corporation, oral communicatrion to USGS staff, October, 1980.

Voelker, D.E. (1980), Departmental Metallurgist, Pine Creek Custom Mill, Union Carbide Corporation, oral communication to USGS staff, October.

Stafford, P. (1981), U.S. Bureau of Mines, Tungsten Commodity Specialist, oral and written communication to the USGS staff, January-February 1981.

Newberry, R. J. (1982): Economic Geology: 77: 823-844.

Pemberton, H. Earl (1983), Minerals of California; Van Nostrand Reinholt Press: 79, 89, 94, 126, 188, 332, 339, 341, 367, 387, 401, 405, 409, 474, 478, 489, 495, 501-502.

Tschernich, Rudy W. (1992) Zeolites of the World. (facing p. 52 on following non-numbered photo page). Geoscience Press, Inc.

The Mining Record (1995): 106(35): (August): p.3.

USGS (2005), Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS): U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, loc. file ID #10008713, 10188014 & 10236233.

U.S. Bureau of Mines, Minerals Availability System (MAS) file ID #0060270008 & 0060279002 (mill).

Lemmon, D.M., Tungsten deposits in the US; Vol. I, unpublished data.

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