2020 MSSC Annual Banquet Speaker

Mineralogy of the Copper World and Mohawk Mines, San Bernardino County, California
 presented by Paul M. Adams

The mines are located just north of Interstate 15 near the California-Nevada border. The Copper World mine was located in 1868 by Johnny Moss who was told about the location by the Paiute Indians. An expedition by the Piute Company from San Francisco in 1869, located more claims, including the rich silver deposits on the north side of Clark Mountain. The Copper World mine was not worked significantly until 1899 and saw three brief periods of activity, between then and 1918, by the Ivanpah Smelting Company, Cocopah Copper Company and Ivanpah Copper Company. A smelter was constructed at Valley Wells (Rosalie) about 7 miles south of the mine by the Ivanpah Smelting Company and it produced $750,000 worth of copper between 1899 and 1902. However, it cost them more than that amount to produce the copper, resulting in bankruptcy. The Mohawk mine was also worked for lead on a limited basis during this period. Dan Murphy, who was the richest man in Los Angeles in the early 1900s, was the president of the Cocopah and Ivanpah Copper Companies. In the late 1970s, the Copper World mine was worked for gem azurite and malachite (marketed as Royal gem azurite, azurmalachite) by Par Gem Spectrum. In 2005, the mine was sold to the National Park Service for incorporation into the Mojave National Preserve. The area is noted for diverse cacti and succulent communities and big horn sheep.

The Mohawk mine is located on Mohawk Hill and is visible from Interstate 15. It was leased (and later purchased) from the Ivanpah Copper Company by Mohawk Mines Inc., during the 1940s, and worked for lead and zinc. During the 1970-1990s the Mohawk mine was a popular collecting locality for micromounters and produced a diverse assemblage of well crystallized secondary lead and zinc minerals (primarily carbonates and arsenates), including: adamite, aurichalcite, austinite, azurite, beudantite, cerussite, conichalcite, cuprite, duftite, hemimorphite, jarosite, malachite, mawbyite, mimetite, segnitite, smithsonite and wulfenite. A detailed description of the minerals was given by Dr. Bill Wise in 1990 (http://www.desertsymposium.org/DS_1990-1_Mohawk_Mine.pdf ). A much-expanded article on the history and mineralogy of the Copper World and Mohawk mines has just been submitted to the Mineralogical Record. This talk presents the material in that article.

Paul Adams has a Master’s Degree in Geology from the University of Southern California where he studied monticellite-vesuvianite-clintonite skarns on Clark Mountain, near the Copper World mine. He has worked as a microscopist and spectroscopist in the aerospace industry for 40 years. Pauladamsite is a copper-selenite-sulfate-hydroxide-hydrate, which he discovered at the Santa Rosa mine in Inyo County, that was described by Dr. Tony Kampf in 2015.