Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Geology Photo of the Week 2 - Sept 2-8, 2012

Welcome back to school everyone! I hope that you all had great long weekends as well as great summers and productive field seasons! 

This weeks photos were taken during my recent trip to Whitehorse to do field work. I was collecting water samples in the Wolf Creek watershed just outside of town. Wolf Creek flows past an old copper mining district and the Trans-Canada Trail passes right past the old open pit mines along what is know as the Copper Haul Road. The trail is littered with boulders and rocks like the one below, which came from the mines and are heavily discoloured by copper minerals. I can't confirm the mineralogy on these ones but I suspect that it is a combination of malachite and chrysocolla. The blue box on the top of the rock is my conductivity meter for scale.

A large boulder absolutely full of copper alteration minerals.  (Photo: Matt Herod)

A close up of some of the discolouration by copper minerals. Pretty sure that is is malachite and maybe some chrysocolla. (Photo: Matt Herod)
Copper was discovered in Whitehorse by miners/prospectors on their way to Dawson City during the gold rush. The first claim was staked in 1897 and numerous others were staked in the following years, some by Sam Magee, of poetry fame. Mining of the claims began and was the first industry that the town of Whitehorse was built around. The early mining days continued until 1920 and ~150,000 tonnes of copper were extracted.

The development of better exploration techniques in modern times allowed for the discovery of additional copper reserves and mining began again and ran from 1967-1982 with an additional 9.8 million tonnes of copper extracted as well as some silver and gold.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the first week back!


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