Camp Verde Salt Mine (Wingfield Gypsum; Sodium Products Corp. Mine; Graham Wingfield Sulphate Mine; Graham-Wingfield Sulfate Ground), Camp Verde, Camp Verde District, Yavapai Co., Arizona, USA
|Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):||34° 32' 42'' North , 111° 52' 26'' West|
|Latitude & Longitude (decimal):||34.54500,-111.87389|
|Köppen climate type:||Csa : Hot-summer Mediterranean climate|
A former surface and underground salt-clay-gypsum mine located about 2 miles West of Camp Verde, SE of Clarkdale, on the West side of the Verde River. This mine produced in Pre-Columbian times (was working in 1492) and worked again in the 1920's to 1933.
NOTE: Alternate coordinates provided: 34.5833N, 111.8944W.
Mineralization is hosted in the Verde Formation. Local structures include the Verde Fault Zone.
The Camp Verde Salt Mine is one of the oldest known mines in the United States and some experts note that the area was likely worked for salt as long as 2000 years ago. Rare artifacts have shown that the mine was worked for salt at least before the arrival of Columbus (pre-Columbian) in the 14th and 15th centuries. The mummified body of an Indian miner was found in the underground workings during the most active mining period in the early 20th century. The establishment of Ft. Verde in 1871 brought new attention to the salt deposit and some of this was used for human consumption but the majority was used as stock salt. In the 1920's, the Western Chemical Company operated an open pit on the property. The ore was used in the processing of paper pulp. Later efforts in the early 1930's by the Arizona Chemical Company employed underground mining techniques and 14 tunnels were driven in horizontal strata for several hundred feet and followed rich layers of salt. At the time, about 75 men were employed (about half were Apache Indians) and the mine produced nearly 100 tons of "salt cake" daily, making the Camp Verde Salt mine the most productive in the country. This success was short-lived and duty-free and purer German ore entered the market in 1933 and essentially forced the closure of the mine. Attempts were made as late as the 1960's to market the deposit but current market needs demand 99% purity and the Camp Verde salt deposit is limited to 92% purity. Additionally, much larger deposits in the US and Canada exist and the mine has been dormant ever since.
Geology: The origin of the Camp Verde salt deposit can be traced back to massive volcanic events some 13 million years ago in the Hackberry Mountain and Thirteen-mile Rock volcanic center about 12 miles southeast of present-day Camp Verde. During this time of massive geologic upheaval, much of central Arizona was faulted into deep basins and high ranges. The deep basins captured eroded materials from the neighboring mountains and the southern limit of the Verde Valley was blocked by a massive volcanic flow and continued volcanic eruptions added more material to this natural dam.This basin captured materials and water and held it like a huge lake. Seasonal periods of acute dryness led to the evaporation of the super-saline waters and essentially left behind the salt and gypsum as layers within the Verde Valley sediments. The volcanic dam that blocked the southern end of the Verde Valley eventually eroded and normal drainage was achieved.
Commodity ListThis is a list of exploitable or exploited mineral commodities recorded at this locality.
6 valid minerals.
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 Macrostrat.org
|Gelasian - Burdigalian|
1.806 - 20.44 Ma
|Pliocene to middle Miocene deposits|
Age: Cenozoic (1.806 - 20.44 Ma)
Description: Moderately to strongly consolidated conglomerate and sandstone deposited in basins during and after late Tertiary faulting. Includes lesser amounts of mudstone, siltstone, limestone, and gypsum. These deposits are generally light gray or tan. They commonly form high rounded hills and ridges in modern basins, and locally form prominent bluffs. Deposits of this unit are widely exposed in the dissected basins of southeastern and central Arizona. (2-16 Ma)
Comments: In dissected basins of southeast and central Arizona
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. 
2.588 - 5.333 Ma
|Cenozoic volcanic rocks|
Age: Pliocene (2.588 - 5.333 Ma)
Lithology: Volcanic rocks
Reference: Chorlton, L.B. Generalized geology of the world: bedrock domains and major faults in GIS format: a small-scale world geology map with an extended geological attribute database. doi: 10.4095/223767. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5529. 
5.333 - 23.03 Ma
|Evaporite beds of Verde Formation|
Age: Miocene (5.333 - 23.03 Ma)
Stratigraphic Name: Verde Formation
Reference: DeWitt, E., V. Langenheim, E. Force, R.K. Vance, P.A. Lindberg, R.L. Driscoll. Geologic map of the Prescott National Forest and the headwaters of the Verde River, Yavapai and Coconino Counties, Arizona. Scientific Investigations Map SIM-2996.