By A. H. KOSCHMANN and M. H. BERGENDAHL - USGS 1968
Gold lodes are the most important deposits in Lincoln County. The total gold production of Lincoln County through 1959 was about 163,647 ounces; however, mining virtually ceased from 1943 through 1959. Although production has come from a number of districts (Graton, in Lindgren and others, 1910, p. 175-184), only the White Oaks and Nogal districts have produced more than 10,000 ounces of gold.
The Nogal district, in the Sierra Blanca Range about 6 miles southwest of the town of Nogal, has produced minor amounts of placer and lode gold, mostly before 1908. Gold placers were found in Dry Gulch, northeast of Nogal Peak, in 1865, and lode deposits were found at the site of the American Lode mine in 1868. Mining did not begin, however, until this region was withdrawn from the Mescalero Indian Reservation in 1882.
By 1910 ore worth about $250,000 had been mined, but operations declined thereafter (Anderson, 1957, p. 92). The district was mostly idle from 1936 through 1959. Total gold production was about 12,850 ounces; most of it was from lode mines.
Bedrock in the Nogal district is predominantly monzonite porphyry which has intruded Cretaceous sedimentary rocks that are exposed east, west, and north of the Sierra Blanca Range. The monzonite porphyry is cut by dikes of diorite porphyry. Scattered patches of andesite flows and tuffs, of probable Tertiary age, are found near Nogal Peak, but their relations with the other rocks are not clear (Graton, in Lindgren and others, 1910, p. 176-177).
The ore deposits are in stringers of quartz and dolomite in the monzonite porphyry and quartz-calcite veins in andesite. The ore minerals are gold, pyrite, sphalerite, galena, and chalcopyrite. A mass of bleached, kaolinized, and brecciated porphyry, located about 1 mile southeast of Nogal Peak, has also yielded gold and a little silver (Graton, in Lindgren and others, 1910, p. 178).
WHITE OAKS DISTRICT
The White Oaks district has produced about seven-eighths of the gold in Lincoln County. It is about 12 miles northeast of Carrizozo in the White Oaks Mountains, which form the northern continuation of the Sierra Blanca Range. A small amount of placer gold was produced intermittently in the 1850's and 1860's in Baxter Gulch (Graton, in Lindgren and others, 1910, p. 179).
The gold-bearing vein deposits were not discovered until 1879 in what is now known as the Homestake mine. The Old Abe mine was the most productive in the district and reached a depth of 1,375 feet (Jones, 1904, p. 172-173). The total production of the district through 1903 was $2,860,000 (Jones, 1904, p. 175). From 1903 to 1926 a small amount of gold was produced in most years, and through 1925 the total production was about $3 million; most of it was lode gold (Lasky and Wootton, 1933, p. 78).
Only small-scale activity was reported through the 1930's, and the district was practically idle from 1941 through 1959. The total gold production of the district through 1959 was about 146,500 ounces; most of it was from lodes.
The rocks in the White Oaks district (Graton, in Lindgren and others, 1910, p. 179-180) are Cretaceous shale and post-Cretaceous fine-grained mon-zonite. Both are cut by lamprophyre dikes.
The ore deposits are in veins that cut the monzonite, lamprophyre dikes, and the shale. Most of the veins are narrow stringers, but where the intervening wallrock is impregnated with ore minerals, the deposits are irregular shoots. Gold, auriferous pyrite, and huebnerite are the common ore minerals. Quartz, albite, fluorite, and tourmaline are associated vein minerals.
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